Invisi-bi-lity: New YA M/M Romance!

My newest novel is up on Kindle Vella right now!

When a teen’s attempts to come out of the closet are influenced by a vengeful witch’s hex, bisexual erasure takes on a whole new meaning in Invisi-bi-lity.

Vella is a new way for authors to post stories on Amazon, and it works in episodic format. An author I follow had this plan, probably much more thought out than my own, to have five stories published by the new year. Pretty ambitious, considering they possibly wanted the novels to be complete too. For some reason I thought I could do the same thing, so I guess I’ll look on the bright side and praise my confidence.

I have three works currently on Vella and one soon to be published. Of these four, two are finished. So I actually didn’t do too bad and am going to give myself an A for effort. I tried and I tell myself that’s the important part.

Here is a scene from the beginning of the book. The main character John has some trouble pinning down his sexuality because a certain boy always gets in the way.

~

Figuring out my sexuality is difficult enough without Cody O’Keefe screwing everything up.

The high school halls are filled with attractive people. From the cute girl with amazing legs in my English class to the washboard abs of the football quarterback. Then Cody smiles at me, his eyes crinkling at the corners, and I only see him.

Intelligent, funny, and gorgeous, Cody O’Keefe has it all. My favorite thing about him? When people talk, he listens. He makes people feel important. It’s basically a superpower in a boring city where nothing ever happens like Buffalo, New York… though his warm brown eyes are also nice.

Cody’s gay. And he always knew. Back in kindergarten, he told his parents he’d rather marry me than Ella Hopkins and no amount of her sharing Rice Krispy treats would change that. Girls? Not gonna happen.

Me? I’ve sometimes been pretty sure I may not be straight. Occasionally. Much less definitive.

Sometimes I think I’m not bisexual, I’m just a little in love with my best friend. Or am I bi but only fixating on the nearest and best queer guy and not really in love with him? These questions swirl in my brain constantly these days. How do I gain clarity? The answers won’t just slap me in the face with the truth.

“Ah!”

Tuning back into the world around me, I stand on the sidewalk, staring incredulously at the guy who just slapped me in the face.

“Sorry, did I hit too hard?” Cody pats my cheek this time, an affectionate sort of slap. “My bad, but you were pretty far away.”

About a head taller, he stands there with an easy smile, all up in my business without the slightest hesitation. Comfortable in our friendship and totally unaware of the thirsty thoughts in my brain.

Cody O’Keefe has amazingly soft chocolate-brown hair that gets mussed if you so much as look at it wrong. With peach skin and the most enticing slightly chubby cheeks, his beautifully open face is nearly as expressive as the song lyrics, affirmations, and notes he always writes on his arms in black or blue pen.

-check out the rest of the novel here on Vella!

Glitter and sales

What you always wanted for Christmas, One Little Lie is on sale. Or maybe what you didn’t know you always wanted for Christmas. Yeah, that works. And because in my mind it’s appropriate, I picked part of the book to share where they talk about glitter because glitter is a vital part of Christmas. Not as celebrated as Santa but totally there in every shiny present and tacky decoration.

The book is about Luke, a popular athlete at his small town high school who just did the unthinkable by falling for another guy. His journey to figure out his sexuality will test everything he knows about his relationships and himself. In this scene, Luke and friends are going out to a gay bar and he’s trying not to freak out.

I wrote this book so long ago I barely remember writing it, but I do know this part was really fun. Luke and his boyfriend were both panicking for different reasons, and there is glitter, moody drunk girls, snark, and cuteness, which is apparently everything I adore.

~

Glitter!

Luke

As Ryan’s really good at being a spaz, I should leave that to him. Me? I’m awesome. I had to remember that. So what if I was going to a gay bar for the first time and couldn’t even get drunk? Without alcohol to help, I was a terrible dancer.

Did I belong at a gay bar? As a couple, yeah, I guess. But me? No idea. What if everyone looked at me and knew I didn’t belong? What if they didn’t? Did that mean I did belong?

I went simple with my clothes, a red shirt that hugged my muscles and tight jeans. Ryan… did the opposite. He looked good, a little ridiculous with all the glitter, but also like himself. Also super gay.

 “What do you think?” Ryan asked coyly while preening, batting his eyes in a way he thought was flirtatious but was actually excessive.

Dragging my eyes away from their current focus, I managed to reply nonchalantly. “Are you sure that’s the most obnoxious glitter you could find? Because I can barely even see it when I close my eyes.”

-This is from One Little Lie, the second sweet and snarky M/M romance in the One More Thing series of contemporary YA novels. Grab this gay romance for 99 cents right now! The deal lasts from the 26th-31, for those in the US and UK.

If you miss the sale, you can still get a great deal! Grab the book here as part of the One Crazy Love Story Boxset, which features the first four books in the One More Thing Series.

Secrets, secrets

High school is complicated. Especially when you start pretending to date a guy in secret, for totally legitimate reasons, and then just when the whole thing might blow over, the secret is out and then you have to keep pretending to date the guy for… slightly less legitimate reasons.

This is a moment from One Little Word, part of the One Crazy Love Story Box Set.

~

Ryan

“I guess our secret fake relationship is now just a regular old fake relationship.” I said instead. I sighed dramatically. “We’re losing the magic already, darling.”

Luke laughed. He changed the subject to something else. I allowed his happy voice to cast away my doubts.

My second kiss with the blond had been no less surprising than the first. I never had time to prepare, so that’s why his lips always caught me off guard and stole my breath away.

The setting for this embrace had been even less ideal than the first. There had been many people watching us and we were both super tense. Yet the moment still made me want to do nothing but kiss him over and over again. Crap.

Another failed love story?

Luke has some important choices to make when it comes to the fate of his relationship in One Big Decision. This is the hilarious and heartwarming final novel in the One More Thing series which follows a small-town couple as they navigate fake relationships, first loves, high school, and making everything more difficult than it needs to be.

If you aren’t aware, Luke is a high school senior who is dating a loudmouth he loves, but they aren’t sure where their relationship is heading. Especially when… well, this is a romance novel, so there’s conflict and secrets. In this part, he’s trying to decide whether to walk away or not.

What’s Luke going to decide? I can’t tell you that, obviously, but here’s what he’s thinking about.

Luke

Ryan could become a footnote, a point of reference, the first guy I ever dated or was even attracted to. I might not even remember what went wrong, only that we went our separate ways for college. Our saga would end at the point where all failed loved stories did, the part where we loved each other and it wasn’t enough.

Maybe the question wasn’t what should I do, what would be best for both of us, or should we give this another chance. Did I want it to end here? That’s the question. Did I want him to become my past?

To be or not to be

Here’s a quote from One Big Decision that sums up the main question in the novel.

Ryan and Luke must figure out their plans for the future separately and together while enjoying the remaining days of senior year and having an amazing prom. How likely is this to go smoothly? Well with friends breaking up, graduation getting closer every day, and even a few secrets… Not very likely.

In this quote Ryan explains the difficulties he and Luke face. They love each other a lot, but it’s hard to expect a high school relationship to last. Though Ryan phrases it a little more creatively.

“Here me out here,” he said as though anything else were possible. “This is big and scary, and lots of high school couples think they’re in it together forever, and it never works out.” He scowled and I predicted he was about to get carried aw—”We don’t want to be like those dumb idiots, those stupid dumb idiots who probably dress bad and—”

silver lining

In One Big Decision, Ryan and Luke must figure out their plans for the future separately and together while enjoying the remaining days of senior year and having an amazing prom. How likely is this to go smoothly? Well with friends breaking up, graduation getting closer every day, and even a few secrets… Not very likely.

This is an excerpt where talks about the problem with storm clouds and silver linings. He isn’t a weatherman, or even concerned about an impending storm, this is naturally a metaphor for his life.

Ryan

The phrase ‘every storm cloud has a silver lining’ doesn’t make sense. While meteorology isn’t my area of expertise, a storm cloud is a storm cloud. Who cares about the lining? Even if a small sliver isn’t dark and stormy, the rest can still rain on your parade. And a storm cloud can still produce lightning. Or tornadoes.

A better positive phrase? Not every storm cloud has a tornado. My life was fortunately free of cyclical funnels of death from the sky.

Unfortunately, my life was so full of happiness, there were only regular clouds, no storms at all. Which meant an anti-silver lining had so many places to attach itself.

Pageant Moms Fighting Other Pageant Moms

For the final book in the One More Thing Series, the lovable losers of Lake Forest are headed to greener, gayer pastures as they graduate high school and move on to college. So One Big Decision deals with college decisions and discussions, which threatened to cause problems for me.

Technically, I think it’s okay to mention colleges in books? As I’m a small-time indie author, probably nobody would care if I used actual colleges. The rules for using real things in fiction is tricky, and sometimes TV shows are careful about that, but they also reach a much larger audience. By my understanding, you can use real brands and titles and whatnot as long as you’re using them fictitiously, which seems obvious in fiction but whatever.

So while I debated whether to use real schools or make some up, the answer occurred to me. Neither one! I could use code-names instead. That’s something I love about first person stories, the character tells the story, so the unreliable narrator can be even more inaccurate as they might want to tell the story incorrectly.

The following is how and why Ryan came up with nicknames for different institutions of higher education.


Ryan

Okay. Researching colleges and fantasizing about being at them? Actually a stress reliever during some of my less pleasant high school years. I loved higher education, I could talk higher education all day. I wasn’t going to be one of those people who said, ‘oh, I went to Harvard or Princeton’ only because I recognized that was obnoxious. I was saving all my obnoxious passes for other parts of my personality. But when bringing Luke into the mix, my brain freaked out and wanted to make the situation less scary.

So while we were contemplating life-changing, possibly relationship-breaking areas of the future, let’s spin it positively. Make it something awesome or at least weird so I wouldn’t mind thinking about it. Thus code-names like Pageant Moms Fighting Other Pageant Moms, Dancing Pineapples University, and T-Rexes with Longer Arms were born.

Other College Code-names

(Some appear in the book, others do not)

  • T-Rexes with Longer Arms
  • Honey-badgers
  • Space Unicorns
  • The University of Perfectly breaded chicken fingers with the right amount of dipping sauce
  • Sculpted Male Torso with Goldilocks Amount of Chest Hair
  • Tap-dancing Walruses University

Prom

One of the big milestones at the end of high school is prom. It’s no different for the seniors in One Big Decision. Though Ryan and Luke have two promposals because they’re difficult like that. I’ll let Luke share his thoughts regarding his promposal.

Luke

Making decisions wasn’t always easy for me outside of the pitcher’s mound, and the length of time it took me to reach conclusions might be… slightly… longer than the time it took everyone else. My mom says some people are late bloomers in terms of physically maturing and others are late bloomers mentally. Hey, she was kinda insulting me, wasn’t she? Okay, I guess she had a point. But I wasn’t dumb really, I just took my time.

So, when asking my boyfriend to prom, Zach suggested I hire a focus group. Which sounded pricey and also he made the suggestion because he’s a dick, but it normally wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Except this time, I knew exactly what I wanted.

For my prom date: Ryan.

For my ask: some of his favorite things.

I also wanted him to look completely different. Okay, not completely. From the top of his unruly brown hair to his amber eyes bursting with life and down to his ridiculously freaking sexy long legs, which always seemed on display in months with nice weather, he looked good.

Except his shirt, which featured a giant picture of… a tacocat? Cat-taco? Yeah, half taco, half cat. Taco-cat. And today might be the warmest day yet this year, so he’d gotten into popsicles or something which stained his lips an artificial blue color.

Best Laid Plans

The road to where is paved with good intentions? Probably somewhere awesome. This is relevant to the quote I have to share with you today. As high school seniors, Ryan and Luke have been putting off discussing the future until they’re ready. This is supposed to save them from freaking out and causing a huge mess. Does it work? Maybe. But probably not.

In this excerpt from One Big Decision, Ryan is discussing what senior year means for him and his relationship.

In our relationship, panicking and freaking out has historically caused anything from a mild inconvenience to a cataclysmic event that ended the dinosaurs. When discussing the future, we decided not to start the chaos early. Not worrying about it until the time came was great, but it couldn’t last forever unfortunately.

Soon high school ended. College beckoned with its new opportunities and limitless potential. Living in this rural, fairly small community all my life, I’d probably been looking forward to college since grade school. The only opposite silver-lining was all the things that might happen to a high school relationship once high school ends…

Love & Spite, the best of both worlds

Ryan is a brainy overachiever with ivy league dreams. Luke is a bi athlete whose whole future is up in the air since he decided he’s not going to give up the first part for the second. Their love story is perfect for them, queer, overly competitive, snarky, and sweet.

But all good things must come to an end, right? Maybe.

It’s the end of senior year, and the odds are good they’ll be in different places for college. Ryan’s friends don’t want him to do anything rash that he’ll regret while he contemplates a long-distance relationship. So his friends are checking if they need to talk some sense into him in the scene down below from One Big Decision.



Ryan

“This is… a pep talk?” I asked.

“Um.” They faltered, glancing to each other unsurely. Pep? Not exactly their strength.

“Okay, not pep.” I tried again. “A crushing reality talk?”

They conferred silently, nodding. “Yeah, we’ve got this.”

They were both wearing dark clothes, looking vaguely like enforcers in some old-timey gangster movie thanks to Zach’s slicked back hair and Lydia’s general face and attitude.

“There’s no need,” I said, attempting to put myself out of my misery. “I understand. I can’t change my mind now just because Luke isn’t sure he can go to the same city. I need to think of my future and what’s best for me, not what’s best for my relationship. Right?”

That’s what they wanted to impart, albeit with more ‘dumbass,’ ‘moron,’ and ‘pathetic loser.’

“Uh. Yes.” They conferred silently again, suspicious and unsure. “This was easy,” Lydia admitted.

“I mean, I’m still convinced we’re living happily ever after and you especially,” I told Zach. “Can suck it because we’re so gonna be together, we so are. Not only do I want to be happy with Luke in general for love reasons, I also want the same for spite reasons, so double reasons.” I narrowed my eyes at him, challenging. “You just watch us, you—”

“Fine, you and Luke will be together forever and ever,” Lydia humored me, realizing I’d gotten carried away and forgot what we were talking about. “You’ll ride unicorns down the aisle to a wedding officiated by Tim Gunn and Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

“Weird combo,” I provided my opinion obligatorily. “I dig it.”

“Even in your happily ever after love story, you and Luke still go to college in different cities,” she finished the hypothetical. “Are you okay with that?”

“Yes,” I asserted immediately. “Maybe,” I amended when met with their disbelief and slightly evil faces. “Where I go to school is about me, not him. I know that.” I whispered, “Part of me wants to not know that.”

I wished I didn’t know. I wished for a lot of things.