You’ve already posted this quote before, I’ve told myself multiple times. Are you sure, I ask me next. Pretty sure, I reply. I should check just in case, I decide and then I agree with me. And then my dog tells me to pay attention to her or I see something outside or whatnot and I get distracted. Until today, when I finally see that, no, I have not yet posted this quote.

The quote is from Summer Romance, and it’s available on Amazon.

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Diabolic Shrimp… just go with it

What do gay young adult books and seafood have in common? I have no idea! However, a blog quirky enough to be about YA lit and sending shrimp to space resonates with me on a spiritual level. Diabolic Shrimp has tons of book reviews for indie books across all genres and the website also raises money for different charities.

Joshua Grant is a YA author and book blogger like me, so we have that in common even though I don’t eat shrimp and all I know about space is that my nephew doesn’t like it anymore, he’s all about Godzilla now. Anyway, my books and this author’s aren’t exactly in the same sphere, but I have never stayed on topic once in my life and I don’t intend to now, mostly because I couldn’t even if I tried.

I’m a pretty small-time blogger, so it was cool when he emailed me about being featured on my site because it’s like I have arrived. I don’t know where I arrived, but wherever it is, that’s where I am now. When I stop making sense, it’s time to move on to the next thing.

One thing Joshua Grant is better at than me is reviewing books, so while his is on my list to read, I haven’t yet. His works have more of a sci-fi/dystopian vibe. I really like sci-fi, but I don’t think a lot of my interests at the moment are reflective of that, so I’m just going to say the first related words that pop into my head. Doctor Who, robots, Dungeons and Dragons, oh hey, I love Stranger Things! Does that count? I’m saying that counts.

Here’s a summary for one of his books, Nexus.

nexus

When the Hollow Men came, humanity fell. Forced to scrape out an existence from the rubble with the rest of the survivors, Jonah Byerly struggles to get by. Hunted by dark murderous things, he yearns for something more—a hope from civilization long past, for love and acceptance. But Jonah isn’t like the others as much as he would like to be. He harbors a secret, a shadow in his soul that could revive humanity…or see it drown in the endless hunger of the Hollow Men.

Excerpt from One Little Problem

Here’s a sample from the beginning of One Little Problem, available on June 16 and for pre-order now.

Ryan

OH WOW, MY LIFE IS SO TERRIBLE BUT AT LEAST THERE’S A HOT GUY TO LOOK AT WHILE EVERYTHING GOES TO HELL. ALSO, I’M A SPAZ.

Just figured I’d put that out there. Draw people into my story, make my life relatable and not totally perfect because who wants to read about someone who’s got everything and having the time of their life? Well, hopefully someone is interested in that… I certainly am.

Because, yeah, my life rocks. But don’t go anywhere! It didn’t always rock. I used to have only one friend and everyone hated me because I was the lone out gay kid in this Midwestern conservative farming town, which was totally  unfair because if they actually got to know they’d see I have several other qualities that others might call annoying, but I called charming, and hate me for those instead. But no, they didn’t even take the time to hate me for who I am, so rude.

There was just me and my one friend Alicia and my dad and I had no love life, no life of any kind. But then Luke Chambers came into my life and now? Things were pretty good now.

“Okay, okay, okay,” I said, holding my hands up to stop Luke from talking more even though he might not have a clear view of that because he was driving. “I refuse to be associated with Post Malone in any way.” I felt very strongly about that; it was a matter of principal.

This was very serious business. The last Big Relationship Decision—or Luke and Ryan Being Disgusting as our friends called it; our friends were tools—was deciding nicknames. Now we needed a song. Why? Because relationship. That’s why.

“What about the new Jonas Brothers song?” I asked Luke.

Luke didn’t even think about my suggestion. “Even you aren’t that gay,” he joked, keeping his eyes on the road. He was driving, I wasn’t, so I happily put my eyes on him. He wore a blue t-shirt that hugged his shoulders, and his aftershave smelled woodsy and intoxicating.

He was gorgeous, but I glared at him anyway. “How dare you imply there are limits to my gayness?”

“You’re right,” he conceded. “My mistake.” He looked over at me for a moment with a goofy smile that showed off his dimples.

One Little Problem

Ryan Miller knows how to handle life when things go wrong, but what about when things go right?

He hasn’t quite figured that out yet.

Ryan has a bright future ahead of him and a great boyfriend in the present. Luke Chambers is the total package, a blonde, green-eyed baseball player who is incredibly fun to tease. Life seems almost perfect. What comes next? A break up.

See, there might be a tiny problem. Their families don’t approve of the happiness this nerd and jock found together. With summer approaching and bringing new changes, a fake break up might provide the opportunity Ryan and Luke need to escape disapproving parental figures and enjoy their relationship.

This all sounds perfectly logical in Ryan’s head.

What could possibly go wrong?

Ryan and Luke are about to find out.

One Little Problem is a silly and sweet young adult novel that features romance, gay characters, snark, and hand holding. This is the third book in a series, but the novel can also be read on its own.

Get the book here.

Vocab

book-3259352_960_720Do you own a dictionary? I’m not sure I do. The internet takes care of that for me. The only problem is that you can’t flip to a random page of an internet dictionary and start looking for challenging words. You need an idea of what you want to look up. Typing in “hard words” just gives you the definition for ‘hard’ or ‘words’.

This was my super serious predicament when writing What Love Means where spelling bees serve as a backdrop for the action. Luckily, vocabulary.com was around to help me out. That might be the nerdiest thing I’ve ever said and I have a few seasons of Star Trek on DVD.

Apparently, the site does more than help authors find challenging spelling bee words.  I think you’ll be happy to know that at least one queer book is popular/important enough to have a vocab list on the site.

Way to go, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. You’re official. You can see the vocab here or here.  It’s split into chapters and includes the word, definition, and sentence the word was used in during the book.

In the spirit of list, I made my own little vocab list for What Love Means.

Dumbass
A super stupid person, usually Max.

Her parenting advice normally involved stern words and phrases like ‘stop being a dumbass’ and ‘make smart decisions because I’m not paying for bail.’

Yuppie
Cal Winthrop-Scott. That’s all. That’s the whole definition.

Cal looked preppy and chipper in the afternoon light. He’d look like a perfectly modern yuppie tool if he had a sweater tied around his neck to complete the picture.

Marijuana
An illicit drug.

What would it be like to kiss Max after he smoked? Would I get a contact high from probing my tongue into his mouth? Maybe I should buy some pot and smoke with him. Oh god, I was addicted. All it took was one puff. Marijuana really was a gateway drug!

Flirting
What Cal and Max can’t help doing with each other.

I wasn’t entirely comfortable with him hitting on me here in the light of day while I was stone sober and at my old prep school, until he closed off for a second and left me bereft. I apparently didn’t like him not flirting with me either.

Frustration
dissatisfaction due to an unresolved problem.

I wanted to throw my body on him and bruise him, get all my frustrations out with my lips and teeth and have him do the same to me.

Feelings
Max’s  biggest foe.

I shouldn’t lose my cool again and act all… emotional like a person with feelings, a guy with a heart just waiting to get it broken.

Nerd
What everyone but Max is. Usually, this is a bad thing. Usually.

Cal was so cute when he was being an uptight nerd, and it was fun to get him to loosen up. Shit, I had it bad.

This has been your vocab lesson for the day. I’m sure you’re much smarter now. You’re welcome.

Get To Know Cal

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I’ve chosen some questions from one of those ‘get to know me’ surveys for Cal from my book What Love Means to answer. They’re written from his point of view.

Get to know Cal Winthrop-Scott

What time do you wake up most mornings?
Around six for school. Earlier if I forgot to iron my clothes for the day. I mean, six, and never earlier because my family has a maid that does the ironing. I totally don’t even pay attention to ironing and have no preferred way for my slacks to be creased. What 17-year-old boy does? Definitely not me.

What do you do to relax at the end of a stressful day?
What is this ‘relax’ you speak of? I don’t think I’ve heard of it before and I know many words since I used to compete in spelling bees. At the end of a stressful day (everyday), I thank whatever gods are listening the day is over and count down the days until I can legally consume liquor.

Where did your last kiss take place and with whom?
I don’t remember the specific logistics, but it had to be with my ex-girlfriend Katie. And– no, the less said about this the better.

Do/did you get into trouble a lot at school?
Of course not! I’m on the honor roll.

Do you often pick up on double entendres and innuendos?
Yes, unfortunately. I wish I didn’t as I have a friend… acquaintance… associate? A, um, Max who makes many innuendos. Well, I don’t have him, he’s not mine or anything, I. Next question.

Have you ever been offered drugs but declined?
Just say no. I’m above the influence and straight edge and all that. I’m all kinds of straight, all the kinds of straight one can be.

Have you ever met someone who has completely altered your way of thinking?
No one comes to mind. Most people I know are like me; they go to the country club and come from good families. I certainly don’t know any leather jacket wearing rebels that are so comfortable about themselves and who they are, who make we wonder how to do that.

Have you ever been offered drugs and accepted?
Of course not! Wasn’t that already asked? Okay, maybe there was an occasion. It was just a puff or two of marijuana. Max and all his friends were around; they’re bad influences! Peer pressure is a real thing, okay?

I mean, I’m going to politely decline to answer this question.

Tell us something weird that turns you on.
There’s nothing weird, I’m just a totally normal guy who likes girls. Not leather jackets or a hint of stubble and a smoldering stare–

Um. No comment.

When did someone last admit romantic or sexual feelings for you? Was the feeling mutual?
Good lord. Absolutely no comment.

What is something you have given a lot of thought to lately?
College decisions. How closely I want to follow in my parent’s footsteps. Certain brunettes. Shit, how about some easier questions?

 Name one thing you wish you could change about your life right now.
This is definitely not easier.

What do you usually eat for breakfast?
There, perfect. I eat whatever the cook makes. Okay, it may not have yielded a very exciting answer but really this was a much better question.

When did you last swallow your beliefs to avoid an argument or confrontation?
Swallowed my beliefs? Isn’t this a bit harsh? So maybe I haven’t been as vocal as I could about wanting to attend Stanford, but it’s not that simple. My parents went to Princeton, their parents went to Princeton, so I’m just waiting for the right time to broach the subject. It’s strategic. Smart. Shut up.

Do you usually initiate hugs?
I’m a wasp. Wasps don’t hug.

Are you a very affectionate person?
I will refer you to the above.

 Do you think you’re a good person?
Who is to say what good means? I don’t murder anyone or play music without earphones in the library. I would say that I follow the rules and do whats expected of me and I generally try not to be a terrible person, but am I actually kind to people? Caring? Happy? I mean, good? I don’t know. Are these questions meant to be an emotional powder keg or is it just me?

What are you looking forward to?
Being done with high school. Starting my future. Being away from my parents. No, that’s far too harsh. Being an adult and making decisions for my self… And though I would absolutely deny it if asked again, maybe when Max isn’t around, I might look forward to seeing him again. Maybe. Just a little.