Anyone

Growing up in a small town as a (presumably) straight guy, Luke Chambers has certain preconceived notions about gay people. He used to believe queer people were more flamboyant and easy to identify, but after frequently being hit over the head with the realization that this is not the case in One Little Word, it’s finally starting to sink in.

In this scene, Luke is working through his misconceptions. This is also called ‘revolutionary thoughts that actually aren’t that revolutionary at all.’ The scene is from One Little Word, and the box set for the first four books is available here.

Luke

“There are signs,” I tried slowly. “Clues that point to someone’s sexuality. There can’t just be nothing until suddenly, uh.” I puzzled my way through this as I spoke. “It doesn’t work that way. Because if there aren’t signs, then that means. That means anyone could be gay.”

“It’s true though,” she said.

“No, that can’t be right.” I laughed nervously. “Because if anyone could be gay—” I didn’t want to continue, but I also had to keep going. “If anyone could be gay, then that means I could be gay.”

Alicia nodded but showed no other reaction. The whole world turned upside down for me, but she just kept sitting next to me, eating her breakfast burrito.

“Aren’t you going to freak out?” I asked her.

“Oh no, oh no,” she replied in a monotone voice. “It’s the end of the world.”

“You’re a terrible actress.”

She smiled at me. “I’m actually a great actress.” She hooked her arm with mine and put her head on my shoulder companionably. “I just really don’t give a shit about your sexuality.”

Who knew it could be that easy?

-Get the book now!

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!

Book Review: Catch and Release (MM Merman Romance) by Isabel Murray

Quick Summary: The world’s worst fisherman stumbles onto the best catch ever when reeling in a mysterious man from the sea. Two fish out of water fall in love and try to find a place for themselves when one lives on land and the other at sea.

My Thoughts: Catch and Release is a beautiful, hilarious love story about basically falling for someone from outer space… or underwater. The writing is fantastic, though there’s only so much material to work with in this premise, and it goes on a bit too long.

Imaginary Rating System: 3.5 cryptids out of 5, except that seems unfair to the poor .5 creature

Our main characters

Joe used to be a hedge fund manager, had a near death experience, and changed his life. Now he’s a terrible fisher in a small seaside town. He’s minding his own business when he finds a strange man washed ashore.

Or is he a man? The guy’s caught in a net, and the situation escalates quickly when Joe tries to help.

The strange blue-haired person with gills doesn’t speak the language, is naked and well-endowed, and is instantly drawn to Joe. And weary/hostile to his buddy Jerry. And Joe is drawn right back, though he doesn’t know what to make of this encounter.

Joe doesn’t even really know what Dave is. They refer to him as a cryptid, a creature whose existence is rumored but not proven like Nessie, Big Foot, sirens, and mermaids. (However, we do learn what Dave is eventually.)

The Love Story

On the plus side, they’re attracted to each other from the jump. But they can’t communicate verbally. And humans aren’t well suited to prolonged periods in seawater. They come from different worlds and there aren’t cultural divides so much as species divides. Can they really make it work just based on the chemistry between them?

And yes, the name they give this buff, chiseled sea god… is Dave. It’s awesome.

Sidekicks and Shenanigans

Dave can’t really speak so Joe and his sidekick Jerry carry the brunt of the conversation, sharing their thoughts about Dave’s origins and what his behavior means throughout the novel. Jerry is great. He’s an older veteran fisherman who is absolutely no threat yet becomes the unwitting rival/enemy/pet of Dave throughout. He’s a lot of fun.

And many parts of the novel are light-hearted because making it work with an alien lover who doesn’t understand human customs has a learning curve. Dave woos Joe with fresh, sometimes frightening, fish, Joe worries Dave is a sea vampire for a bit, and there are some wild misunderstandings about mating rituals. It’s all very entertaining and hilarious.  

If the hilarity isn’t in play, then the writing is so descriptive and beautiful instead. It’s a joy to read and a lot of rich detail and lovely writing. However, the problem when communication is limited and their environments aren’t compatible? The title says it all. There’s only two options: catch or release. So they get together and must separate, catch and release, catch and release, rinse and repeat. It just didn’t need to be as long as it was for me.

More about Dave:

Without giving much away, Dave isn’t human or animal. He’s pretty much treated as something else entirely. That’s just something to keep in mind as some might be uncomfortable with this concept. The romance is a bit different than with shifters or vampires because those are partly human or were human once. Dave has some human-like features, but he’s largely alien.

Quote From The Novel:

Catch and Release by Isabel Murray

Joe McKenzie’s high-flying London life imploded six years ago, and it happened dramatically enough that paramedics were involved. That’s all in the past. Now, Joe couldn’t be happier living a solitary life as a fisherman on England’s wild northern coast.

Okay, he could be happier.

It’s not like he’s depressed or anything but, you know. The weather’s not great. Life’s a bit samey. He’s only thirty-eight. The idea of another forty years is a bit exhausting, to be honest. He passes the time pretending to be a fisherman but the truth is, he sucks at it.

Then Joe makes the catch of a lifetime when he stumbles across the mysterious Dave washed up on the beach—an enormous man with gills and uncanny power over the sea. Once Dave stops trying to kidnap Joe and/or kill Joe’s fishing buddy, Jerry, turns out he’s kind of…intriguing?

And not half as smooth as he seems to think he is.

There’s a lot Joe doesn’t know about Dave. He doesn’t know why Dave keeps disappearing or why he can’t seem to stay away. He doesn’t know what Dave wants from him. He doesn’t even know what, exactly, Dave is. And Joe can’t ask, because they don’t speak the same language.

Joe does know one thing, though. He is in love.

Which, great. How’s that going to end well?

Catch and Release is a gay paranormal romantic comedy featuring a truly terrible fisherman with an octopus phobia, a merman (maybe? Confirmation pending) with no sense of personal boundaries at all, constant communication fails, a whole lot of sea life not in the sea but in Joe’s house, yes, it’s dead, some epic yearning from both sides, and bewilderingly enough, maybe a way to make it work?

Shameless Flirting

In One Little Lie, a clueless athlete learns the world is more than just gay or straight in this coming of age love story about secret relationships, friendship, and bisexuality. This scene involves two boyfriends snarking at each other before they go out for the night. I don’t believe more context is necessary, this is mostly shameless flirting.

Oh, expect some helpful information to know is that One Little Lie is on sale. Get a discount now by grabbing the book for 99 cents while you still can! This is the second sweet and snarky M/M romance in the One More Thing series of contemporary YA novels.

~

Luke

“Wait, your parents weren’t home?” Ryan asked. “Shoulda mentioned that earlier, Chambers.”

I had no idea. Also, I blamed him. “You’re supposed to be the smart one, Miller.

Ryan squawked in outrage. “Sorry, I was distracted by someone trying to pick out the right nail polish and dress to wear.”

“Are you implying I wear a dress because I’m gay?” I managed not to add an ‘or something’ on the end and ruin the joke. I continued with, “That’s homophobic and I’m offended.”

Ryan rolled his eyes. “Don’t even try that with me.”

“I’ll do what I want with you,” I muttered darkly, moving into his personal space.

He batted his lashes at me. “Promises, promises.”

–You can also 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.

Art

Art.

Such a tiny word for a huge subject. At its core, art is a form of expression. A way to show a piece of your heart or soul when words fail.

As the shy kid hiding behind his mother’s Anne Taylor pant leg, skipping words altogether appealed to me. Putting pretty colors on a blank page and creating a picture, creating a statement without the awkwardness and anxiety, it was everything.

I love painting. I love everything from color theory to the first brush stroke. I love art.

Art is beautiful, transformative, passionate… and limited.

The Boy Next Door

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.

What seemed closer to a vast ocean as a child is actually a tiny oasis of blue and green serenity where water plants thrive. The greenish dark water and picturesque lily pads on top spark a rush of nostalgia. I remember the satisfying splash of chucking a bottle in there.

As kids, we were creative since we lacked glass bottles. Instead, we used old prescription bottles from our parents to deliver our notes. The little orange capsules stuck out, orange buoys signaling a secret message from friends.

The Boy Next Door

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.

Zach

Zach Ahmad is a fun character from the One More Thing Series. I would explain more, but I think this quote showcases my point without needing more context. This is from One Little Lie, which is now available as a box set.

Zach nodded his head at her words, then changed tracks. “Don’t get me wrong, you’re a bitch and we can definitely be friends. But is this seriously the only reason you guys are here? To talk about our big gay feelings?” He grimaced. “I’m already getting enough of this from Luke.”