Books, yay!

Recently, I joined BookFunnel, which is great because it gives me stuff to talk about. So you know, that’s what I’m going to talk about. This may be the most straight forward introduction to a blog post I’ve ever made, go me.

One group I joined is for YA Coming of Age Books.  Most of these are contemporary and straight romances. One book with queer characters and a cover I like is After the Fall by Brad Graber. It’s about a teenager girl on a quest to find out more about her mother.

Rikki, a teenager being raised in New York City, has a secret. She can’t remember her mother. Whenever she asks her grandmother a question, the older woman falls apart and refuses to discuss the matter. Desperate to learn the truth, Rikki finds a hidden album with family photographs. Can the boy in the picture with her mother be a long lost uncle? Determined to unlock the mystery, she embarks on a journey to meet Harry, a writer who is struggling with his own issues of identity.

This group lasts until the 15th, so yes, I am last minute like usual. Pretend this post is happening a week ago when it was supposed to before my computer charger broke and I had to order a new one.

Some of the other promotions I joined for August are these, Summer Laughs and Happy End of Summer. Summer Laughs offers giveaways and all the books in the other one are on KU. I will tell you more about these later because then I can make another post. I mean, because of another sensible reason.

Superpowers and the Powerpuff Girls (hey, those topics are related!)

I would never repeat myself, but it’s possible I’ve said this next bit before. But I’m going to say it again anyway, even though it’s not entirely new, and you’ve perhaps heard this already. I hate repetition and also being subtle, apparently. Yes, I repeated myself intentionally in this paragraph to be hilarious. I will give you a second to laugh and collect yourself after my wit nearly knocked you over.

While I was about to say something else, I’m now off topic. Because I thought of Mojo Jojo, who always repeats an idea in new ways, and I’m going to put a picture here. Why? Evil monkey! That’s the best answer to any question ever. And in general, an evil monkey is a great idea. I know someone whose nickname is JoJo, and sometimes they like sharing their name with a cartoon monkey supervillain, and sometimes they get angry at being called ‘Mojo Jojo.’

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When trying to type ‘Google’ after ‘Mojo Jojo, I typed ‘gogo.’ Pic from Pinterest.

Back to what I was originally going to say, the deleted scene I’m going to post talks about superhuman abilities. I’m almost positive I put my superpowers in the back of one of my books, but I’m not sure which one. I don’t think it’s in all of my books, so this might be new information if you haven’t read that one book this is also from, or if you skip the author section at the end of novels.

After accidentally building this up, my superpowers will be anticlimactic. Oops! I never trip over untied shoelaces, and I can lose anything in the most annoying way possible. Is my debit card still missing after I misplaced it a few weeks ago? No way! Ahem, those are my superpowers. And now for a character from One Little Lie talking about some stuff I also talked about.

P.S. Luke from this series is Bubbles from the Powerpuff Girls. Ryan is Buttercup. I’m proud of myself for getting those names right as at first they were respectively ‘the one in blue’ and the ‘the one in green.’

~

My name is Luke Chambers and I’m a superhero. Once upon a time, I thought I was an ordinary guy. Sure, I was good looking and athletically gifted but that was genetics and practice. Now, I had a strange gift I hadn’t asked for.

That’s the only thing that makes sense. Only I could keep taking awkward, potentially bad situations and making them infinitely more complicated. I used to be suave, so my ability to mess things up had to be supernatural. It was a superpower. I was Bad Idea Man. Okay, that’s not the best name for a superhero, but like I said, I’m not so good with bright ideas.

My parents thought I was dating a girl, and I hadn’t corrected them yet, so it was time for the Luke’s an Idiot Explanation Tour. I’d done this tour before. Who did I want to face first: Ryan or Lydia? Lydia would be brutal, but maybe she’d give me some advice about how to fix this or how to tell Ryan in a way that didn’t get me in trouble. I couldn’t think of one, but as she liked to tell me, I was dumb.

Plus, getting through this conversation with Lydia meant I could see Ryan next, like a reward.

I thought about telling the truth to my parents last night. In fact, that was all I had done. I laid on my bed and worried about it, which was surprisingly exhausting as I fell asleep early and still didn’t feel rested when I woke up. Maybe if this conversation somehow went well and was over quickly, I could take a nap. I had a game later today.

 

And now the story of this story

Because I am incapable of on topicing, first I have to say that the title I made up sounds like something Perd Hapley would say. He’s the painfully literal over-explainer and reporter from Parks and Rec for those who aren’t as Perd obsessed. Actually, maybe the title is an actual quote from him? Well, either way, totally intention on my part.

(The only way to improve on the perfection of Perd, in my opinion, is to know his actor is also a reporter in real life and he only plays reporters.)

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pic from reddit

The Story’s Origin Story

Fun fact, or at least one of those things, when I wrote One Little Word, I had no idea what I was doing. It was my first ever YA gay romance and the plot contained such depth and complexity. Just kidding, the original idea was this: so there’s this nerd. And then there’s a jock. And they aren’t friends but then they have to date for reasons.

How did I come up with something so original? Easy, I didn’t try to be unique! I wanted to use popular tropes. Plus, I was also counting on my complete inability to ever keep things simple to ensure the end result would be both familiar and unique.

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Needed a picture, so here’s one with a quote from the book.

Writing this, it sounds like I had a plan with this novel. When I wrote it, again, I had no idea what I was doing. Whether I’ve learned anything since then, who knows, but now I more confidently fumble my way along.

These observations brought to you by my attempts to make a print version of the ebook.

Extreme Makeover Book Edition

Someday I would love for all my books to have print and audio versions. Though, it’s hard to say when that mythical day will arrive. My current print efforts are being done with all the speed of an old, doomed gazelle at a watering hole.

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Another quote

The cool part is that the ebook is getting an update. New cover, expanded scenes, theoretically more editing. Which means, when One Little Word goes on sale, that’s a perfect opportunity to get the new edition, become acquainted with the series, or even leave a review. I’m saying all this as if it’s totally just occurring to me and not something planned at all.

The One Little Word sale is from, oh my god, I literally just looked it up, how do I not remember again? Okay, the sale is from Feb 16-23. The book will be 99 cents the whole time. Yay!

Also, if you have Kindle Unlimited, anytime before April is a good to check out the book. Or any of the books I’ve written. Since they are leaving the KU library. I have as much idea as you whether this will be a permanent change or not, which means I have no idea. Unless you have an idea, then you know more than me, so let me know? That would be kind.

The End

And now, I’m going to start as I began, with gratuitous Perd Hapley.

Bisexual Blues

This is a scene from One Little Lie, a humorous romance featuring a bunch of queer high schoolers. The book is currently on sale!

Luke

Zach was at our lockers, thankfully by himself and not making out with anyone this time. I viewed him from the other end of the hall. Wait, I’m glad he’s alone because he’s been all over girls and he makes it hard to get my books. Not that I’m heading over there at the moment. But that’s why I said thankfully. Because of him and the girls.

Not for any other reasons but that he was annoying and got even more cocky after fooling around. Yep, him going after everyone was totally a hassle and I wasn’t thinking of any one specific instance where it wasn’t a girl he was kissing.

“You can’t avoid him forever.” Ryan stood beside me and looked amused.

I would have tried to act all casual and like I had no idea what he was talking about, but then I looked down at myself and realized I had scrunched myself against the wall as much as possible in the space before the lockers began and was half obscured by the tall structures, with just one eye and one side of my face peering intently at Zach.

Avoiding Zach forever? “I could test that hypothesis,” I said loftily.

“Okay, you speaking science to me is so hot,” he leaned close to me with a smile on his face and then playfully pushed me in Zach’s direction. “But really, go talk to him.”

I nodded. I probably should. I really don’t want to. I gave him a pitiful look. “Please don’t make me?”

“I won’t.” My boyfriend is a sucker for my puppy dog face. I didn’t even have to break out the dimples. Except then his face turned calculating. “I’ll go tell Lydia.”

She would definitely not fall for my puppy dog face, my dimples, or any of my faces.  “I really hate you sometimes,” I told Ryan seriously.

He only smiled at me and quipped, “Don’t be like that, Undecided Nickname.”

“Oh my god. Fine. I’m going.”

This wasn’t a  big deal or anything, but Ryan had totally gotten here early. There was nothing special about today at all, he was just here before homeroom because he knew I’d be freaking out about Zach and wanted to provide moral support or something less sappy sounding.

And that was pretty cool of him and I wasn’t at all getting sentimental over the little gesture and behaving like a giant girl whose boyfriend did something nice and so I got all dreamy and swoony and melty. Yeah, Ryan was great. No big deal, nothing to see here, move along.

Treat Yo’ Self

December is the time when most people start shopping for others as various holidays encourage gift giving and thinking of your fellow man and peace on earth and whatever. That’s great and all but don’t forget about yourself.

I’m just a concerned citizen with no conflict of interest or agenda of my own, telling you to think of you. How might you do this, you ask? I’m happy to tell you!

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This has nothing to do with anything really, I just love Parks and Rec.

In case you want to treat yo self (shout to Tom and Donna), here’s a couple suggestions that are on sale this week:

What Love Means – A prep school brat and a biker have a complicated past and an uncertain future. Plus, spelling bees!

Then There’s You – Kissing in costumes always makes things difficult.

Both these stories are on sale from Dec. 10- 17th. Get them for 99 cents while you can!

Not only do you get great books to read while it’s snowing and you’re stuck indoors, but they’re on sale so you can still get presents for others and yourself.

Deleted Scene

Another deleted bit from What Love Means.

“You are so stupid,” April told me while trying to swing her leg back and kick me.

“We had rules for tonight,” I said very seriously. “And this game has too much reading.”

Cal and I opted to watch rather than play any of the arcade games, trailing behind the kids and holding stuff for them instead. We’d banned all talk of spelling, bees, and linguistics and headed to the most fun place for kids we could think of. This place was half arcade, half junior amusement park with games, laser tag, and go karts. Bright lights and merriment filled the air.

April and Brendan were about to play some action game with fake orange guns. I jumped forward and covered both their eyes when a long-winded backstory involving chunks of text filled the screen. Reading was kinda like spelling and that was not allowed right now.

“We won’t know how to play,” April argued, throwing her elbow back when she had little luck with her leg. She nailed me in the stomach.

I grunted and let her go but kept my hand over Brendan’s eyes. “You shoot the monsters. Do you really need an instruction manual for that?” I quipped.

The smile threatening Brendan’s face turned into an actual grin as April threw herself into us and the three of us collided with the machine. After a brief tussle, I ‘surrendered’ with my hands up and moved away from them. I said, “I hope the monsters eat you first, April.”

Brendan smiled again and then their focus was taken by the creatures filling the screen. I didn’t really care about the ‘no spelling, no talking’ about spelling’ rule we instituted. I just wanted to cheer up Brendan and his frowning brother.

The Five W’s

Here’s what you need to know about my book What Love Means using the five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why.

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Who: Finn Manning. Me! That one was easy enough. And I’m not an egomaniac by putting that one first, it’s just how the list goes.

If you want to know a little more about me: I’m a queer author who writes queer fiction. I’m in my early 20’s and I live on the West Coast in North Carolina. I have two nephews I adore, a dog I spoil, and my interests include Zumba, going to the beach, and working my way through a giant queue of books and TV shows. I’m currently reading Reasons to Love a Nerd Like Me by Becky Jerams and just got done watching the latest season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I planned on watching season five of Arrow next but started Wild, Wild Country instead because Netflix told me to.

What: What Love Means is a gay YA romance. Without falling back on my fancy synopsis, it’s about two old friends who parted on bad terms. Max and Cal are about as opposite as can be. One is rich and the other is poor, one is an uptight academic and the other is a bad boy with a motorcycle, one is brunette and the other is blonde. You get the idea. Aside from mutual lust, the only other thing they have in common is that they both have younger siblings. When the kids both start competing in spelling bees, Max and Cal must confront their past and find out whether they could have a future together.

When: It’s contemporary, so it takes place now. The main characters are beginning their senior year of high school.

Where: New Jersey. Let’s see, the action takes place in many locations. There’s a party at an abandoned warehouse where our heroes have a chance encounter that makes sparks fly. There’s one tiny apartment and one fancy ass mansion. Max has two uncomfortable conversations in two coffee shops. A sexy scenario happens in the least appealing place Cal can think of: his old middle school. An emotional conversation happens in what Max considers the worst place for a serious discussion: the parking lot behind the auto shop where he works.

 Why: My previous work, One Little Word, involves the classic jock-nerd dynamic. I wanted a similar opposites attract scenario without doing the same thing, and I love spelling bees. That led to the concept of two old friends meeting again years after their last bee. One of them is the studious, hardworking teen one might expect would come from the spelling bee (i.e. an uptight nerd for those who aren’t familiar with spelling bees) and the other has gone through a complete transformation and become the dangerous, carefree rebel that first character really shouldn’t be attracted to, but dammit, he is anyway.

What Love Means is available now on Amazon.

The Meaning of Life… or at least names

Okay, this post doesn’t discuss the meaning of life, unless you mean the Monty Python movie, which I will discuss now to say that I thought it was alright. I saw it in like fourth grade after I watched and loved Holy Grail and I didn’t think MOL was as good but I would likely appreciate it more now.

Actually, I do have a guess about the meaning of life: dogs. That’s it. Just dogs. Dogs are totally the meaning of life.

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Anyway, I wanted to discuss name meanings. My book What Love Means came out in April, and April is also the name of a character, the little sister of one of the protagonists. Apparently I like month names because the last name of another character is March.

I wondered what April meant; did it have a cool name meaning? If you’re named April, does your name just mean the fourth month of the year? No, it’s a little better than that. April is latin (isn’t everything?) and means open.

Then I wondered what my other characters names meant? Brendan is the other little sibling in the book and his name means brave.

Calvin goes by Cal. He got the short end of the stick. His name means bald, but I promise he has hair.

Max means greatest. I think Max would be very pleased with his name meaning and Cal’s while Cal would not be amused.

What Love Means is available on Amazon. Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:

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Max                                                                                                           

Bodies filled the decrepit, rusting building while the chilly night air had many openings to invade the space inside the run-down walls of the old warehouse. Maybe that was why several empty barrels held fires or maybe that was for ambiance. It didn’t seem like this forgotten place would have any electricity, yet someone somehow got music playing.

People cheered and danced while the booze flowed liberally. Then glow sticks appeared. This was going to turn into a rave. I fucking hated raves. I missed the days when it was just me and the guys breaking into some ramshackle place that no one even used or cared about but went through the trouble of locking anyway.

And now snobs infiltrated the party, their stares boring into me – the scowling guy who filled out his leather jacket – with disdain and grudging interest. Rich kids were all the same, with critical eyes and upturned noses, both envious and judging of those below them. Good to fool around with sometimes but that was all they were good for.

Continue reading “The Meaning of Life… or at least names”

What Love Means release!

After much excitement and anticipation, What Love Means is officially available! Yes, a lot of the anticipation and excitement was from me. It still counts. Thank you to everyone who downloaded the sample. I hope you enjoy the book! It’s more than 300 pages and is on Kindle Unlimited too.

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Max is a walking bad boy cliché; Cal shouldn’t want anything to do with him. Cal is everything Max hates about rich people, but he comes in the prettiest package.

Can you spell sexual tension? They can. Can you spell love? Okay, that’s a pretty easy word to spell. Cal and Max can spell it, but they don’t what it means. They’re about to find out.

Available here

 

 

 

 

This is also the last day to enter my contest for 10 queer YA books, so enter while you still can!

Here’s a snippet from the book:

The purr of the motorcycle sent vibrations up my thighs. The wind whistled in my ears as I shot around a corner. I leaned into the motion and tightened my grip on the handlebars. A jolt of adrenaline zinged down my spine as I relied on skill and luck to carry me through. I felt invincible as I raced down back alleys and reveled in the soaring sensation that came from rushing down the road.

I parked my motorcycle at the latest worn-down, abandoned warehouse that had turned into a party spot for vagrants like me. While I hadn’t had anything to drink yet, the ride made me feel buzzed and on top of the world. I guess that’s what people meant by a natural high. Huh. I normally go for the unnatural highs when offered, but being on a bike almost beat anything drugs or alcohol could do.

Almost. It depended on whether a guy was pressed up behind me on the bike or not.

The lot held bikes and beat up cars along with some kids I recognized from school, but the Lexus’s, Audis, and BMWs made me sigh. Even in the dim light they sparkled. Some rich kids from a prep school must have wrangled an invite to see what the kids from the ‘other side of the tracks’ got up to. My friends loved scoring with the yuppies who did things with them no self-respecting girls could do with their boyfriends while the girls loved hooking up with someone their parents would disapprove of.

Too much hassle for me. Besides, I gave up girls years ago.  I didn’t know the preppy kids at this party and didn’t care about them. Until I saw him.


 

 

What Love Means- April 15 Release!

It’s almost here! My new book What Love Means will be released on April 15. You can order it here. As a celebration, I’m giving away ten gay YA romances and you can enter here.

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What Love Means

Can two opposites turn their attraction into something more?

On the surface Max Keller and Calvin Winthrop-Scott should repel each other. Between their shared past that ended badly and their polar opposite personalities, there should be no love in their love/hate relationship. They have nothing in common. Except for their attraction to each other.

A friendship between their siblings and the kid’s shared interest in spelling bees brings the former best friends back together. Neither one of them wants to be friends anymore, but can they admit to themselves and everyone else that they want something more?

Max and Cal know how to spell love, but they’re about to find out what it means.

This high school romance features a bad boy with a soft spot for his little sister and a prep school brat whose perfect world is about to get more complicated. In this teen LGBTQ story, opposites attract, enemies become lovers and a second chance means two old friends could become more.

Excerpt:

 

Our jibes weren’t really antagonistic or biting, and the mood had turned almost playful. I only realized once it ended. Max scowled and his hands clenched. Oh well, I might as well take the advantage when it’s offered. “Touch a nerve?” I asked.

Just when I thought I might get the upper hand, Max smirked. “You touched more than that,” he leered. His face turned wolfish. I wanted to smack that look off his face or bite and kiss it away.

It was my turn to grimace. “About that.” I couldn’t let my stupid libido win. I had to be reasonable about this. Being reasonable and careful was as easy as breathing for me. Except when Max was around.

“We should keep it between us?” he whispered, sounding mocking as he stepped closer. We probably looked ridiculous: two teens outside a library acting like we were auditioning for West Side Story as we postured and glared. Or maybe Romeo and Juliet. “Well, what’s in it for me if I do?” he flirted.

“The feeling of being a good and decent person?” I suggested, struggling not to lean into the tempting heat of his body.

“Maybe I’d rather feel you instead.” His hands ghosted right above my chest. I prided myself on not moving into the touch. It was just a little chilly out suddenly, and his broad, hot body next to mine was alluring. Because of the temperature. It’s not like I had a leather jacket to keep the cold at bay.

“This doesn’t have to be a big thing,” I said and immediately realized my mistake.

Max grinned. “Oh, you didn’t just say big thing.”

I made a frustrated noise. “Can you take anything seriously?”

“Do you wanna see what I can take?” he shot back. I was the one to walk away this time even though Max followed merrily after me.

“Is this what we’re going to do? Just annoy each other to death?” I asked while he trailed behind me.

“Why, you can’t handle it?” Max caught up and stopped me before I entered the library. His hand was on my arm where I wore a navy long-sleeved shirt; the heat of his hand bled through easily. I didn’t say anything. “Hello?” he asked after a few moments.

I thought of and rejected several responses to his question. “I just don’t know how to answer in a way that won’t sound like an innuendo,” I admitted.

His lips pressed together in a mocking pout. “You’re no fun.”

“You’ll stop teasing me then?”

His eyes sparkled with mischief. “I didn’t say that.”

Yeah, I didn’t think it would be that easy.