ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords is happy to have Anne Tenino back to talk about my favorite frat, the boys of Theta Alpha Gamma and her latest release, Poster Boy! Welcome, Anne!
Welcome to the Poster Boy Blog Tour! *confetti*
As you may or may not know, Poster Boy is the fifth in the Theta Alpha Gamma series, and (at least as far as I’m able to be sure about such things) the last TAG book. No, no, don’t be sad, be happy—we’re gonna go out in style!
Let’s discuss the nitty-gritty: the Blog Tour Giveaway. The prize package this time includes: one lovely “Theta Alpha Gamma Beer Terrorist Response Team” sweatshirt (I believe I have sizes M-XXL available, choice of two styles); one paperback copy of Frat Boy and Toppy with the new cover art, signed and inscribed to the winner; a bar of soap I bought in Les Baux (was going to send olives from Sainte-Remy, but we ate them . . . sorry about that) and; of course, one penis crocheted by moi.
How does one win, you ask? By following the tour, collecting all the official “prize” words (posts will have them clearly marked), and using them as directed at the end of this post (it’s complicated).
Happy word hunting, and enjoy the tour (psssssst, this one is heavy on the cut scenes).
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Poster Boy buy link.
It’s all fun and games until someone puts his heart out.
When Jock meets sexy grad student Toby at a frat party, things finally start looking up. After having been outed to his hockey team and then changing schools, he figures he’s due something good—like the sex he missed out on in the closet. Toby seems like a great place to start, and their night together is an awesome introduction to the fine art of hooking up.
Toby’s heart takes a bruising after the near-perfect experience with Jock leads to . . . nothing. He’s been left on the outside as his friends pair up into blissful coupledom, and he’s in danger of never completing (or starting) his thesis. Can’t something go right?
Then Toby’s coerced into chaperoning a Theta Alpha Gamma trip to France. Not that he’s complaining. What better place to finish his thesis and get over that frat boy? Except Jock’s outing is leaked to the press, making him an unwilling gay rights martyr, and he decides France is a great escape, too. It’s a break from reality for both guys, but they soon find their connection is as real as it gets.
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When I first started working on Poster Boy, the personality of Toby was pretty much set in stone—or at least the previous books in the series. Jock was less defined, but I thought I had a pretty good handle on him.
The road to writer’s block is paved with characters that don’t conform to expectations. It’s paved with some other stuff, too, like plots that careen out of control, but today we’re discussing characters—Jock specifically. The character who derailed this book for a couple of months.
He’s mentioned in Frat Boy and Toppy as Tank’s little brother, although he’s unnamed in that book, and we don’t see or hear from him again until Sweet Young Thang. Right up until he walked into the frat/dorm with his big brother, I thought he was going to be a happy-ish guy, even with the specter of having been outed hanging over his head. Here’s a very early character note on him (before I started writing SYT): “. . . his first experience in college got him totally burned. By end of book he should be showing some signs of his joyous, puppy dog ways.”
Then he actually entered the room and everything changed. He was pissed, I could see it in my head—angry flush to his cheeks, jaw hard and set, hands fisted in his jeans pockets, staring down the world. I tried to hang on to my vision of the Jock who would turn into the big, playful, puppy dog.
That lasted about ten paragraphs. You see, Jock shows up at Theta Alpha Gamma a week into Calapooya College’s winter term after having been kicked off his college hockey team for being gay. That’s not the official reason he was booted off, but everyone knows it’s the real one. This is a snippet of the scene where I ultimately gave up trying to make him what I’d originally thought:
“How is you being gay pertinent?” Collin kept his voice calm
Jock lifted his head and looked Collin in the eye. That’s when it became clear that while the kid felt depressed and ashamed and maybe beaten, he also had a lot of anger. “There’s a lot of blood-letting in hockey, you know.”
It took Collin a few seconds to get it. “He thinks you’re a health risk?”
Jock clenched his jaw and nodded. Then he laughed shortly and looked away. “You can even see the other guy in the photo has a condom on.”
“That is the most fucking archaic attitude I think I’ve ever heard.” Kyle said, relatively calmly for him.
Jock shrugged, looking back at the floor. “He’s an archaic guy.”
“That’s illegal.” Kyle stood up straight again. “You can’t discriminate against someone because of their HIV status, and you certainly can’t discriminate against someone because of their potential status.”
“He said that he needed to know it was possible so he could take the necessary precautions, and that I’d endangered the team.” Jock’s voice had gone flat, and he took a long swallow of beer.
He’s angry over being exposed like he was—I had to write him that way, it would be ridiculous not to—but somehow I knew right then that once he’d worked through that anger, there wasn’t going to be a happy, bouncy dude underneath. He’s in a good place by the end of Poster Boy, sure, but for Jock, being happy looks more like not being a dick than greeting the world with a smile.
Now is when I should say something like, “In the future, if a character changes like this, I’ll . . .” blah-blah-blah. The reality is this happens every freaking time. Or, if my characters behave themselves, the plot decides to go wonky. It doesn’t matter what I do—everything is subject to change. And to be honest? I love it that way. I’d be bored if I knew every step they’re going to take. So, you know? I’m glad Jock took over and directed things.
In the end, it all worked out. He ended up being the guy he needed to be, and the guy Toby needed.
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Contest: For those of you playing to win the blog tour prize cache, here’s the word: swag.
The word game—the rules are that I provide a bunch of words, and you have to create an ode to testicles. Hey, it’s fair—I gave you an ode to testicles in the book (well, part of one), you should give me one in return, using all the words from the tour. You may add any other words you need to, but it must include every word I gave out on the tour.
Of course, creative cheating might receive a pass from me . . .
At the end of the tour, send your ode to me at anne @ annetenino.com and I will choose one lucky winner from all the entries I receive by paying one of my children some exorbitant amount to draw an ode out of a hat (or other handy receptacle). All masterpieces must be to me by May 4th, 2014 at midnight Pacific Daylight Time (GMT -7:00).
For a schedule of all tour stops, you can go here.
*If the winner will be at GRL, GayRomance Northwest or the RT Booklover’s Convention, I’m also offering a lunch with me. And yes, I’ll pay. 😉
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Author Bio: Raised on a steady diet of Monty Python, classical music and the visual arts, Anne Tenino was—famously—the first patient diagnosed with Compulsive Romantic Disorder. Since that day, Anne has taken on conquering the M/M world through therapeutic writing. Finding out who those guys having sex in her head are and what to do with them has been extremely liberating.
Anne’s husband finds it liberating as well, although in a somewhat different way. Her two daughters are mildly confused by Anne’s need to twist Ken dolls into odd positions. However, other than occasionally stealing Ken1’s strap-on, they let Mom do her thing without interference.
Wondering what Anne does in her spare time? Mostly she lies on the couch, eats bonbons and shirks housework.
Check out what Anne’s up to now by visiting her at: