Out of Darkness Can Come Love with Mia Kerick’s The Art of Hero Worship (excerpt and giveaway)

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TAOHW Front Cover-1

The Art of Hero Worship by Mia Kerick
Release Date: February 14, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris

Blurb

Trembling on the floor, pressed beneath a row of seats in a dark theater, college freshman Jason Tripp listens to the terrifying sound of gunshots, as an unknown shooter moves methodically through the theater, randomly murdering men, women, and children attending a student performance of Hamlet. Junior Liam Norcross drapes his massive body on top of Jason, sheltering the younger man from the deathly hail of bullets, risking his life willingly, and maybe even eagerly.

As a result of the shared horror, an extraordinary bond forms between the two young men, which causes discomfort for family and friends, as well as for Jason and Liam, themselves. And added to the challenge of two previously “straight” men falling into a same-sex love, are the complications that arise from the abundance of secrets Liam holds with regard to a past family tragedy. The fledgling passion between the men seems bound to fade away into the darkness from which it emerged.

Jason, however, is inexplicably called to rescue his hero in return, by delving into Liam’s shady past and uncovering the mystery that compels the older man to act as the college town’s selfless savior.

The Art of Hero Worship takes the reader on a voyage from the dark and chilling chaos that accompanies a mass shooting to the thrill of an unexpected and sensual romance.

 

Pages or Words: 212 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Gay Fiction,

Excerpt

Pop-pop-pop….

No, I’m not even remotely safe. But thankfully I play dead far better than my dog did when I taught him that trick at the age of seven.

The shots are earsplitting and getting louder because the shooter’s heading our way. I’m so fucking scared I’m trembling violently, but I promised the guy lying on top of me that I’d stay still. I concentrate on taking short shallow breaths, one after another, in my effort to stop trembling. To stay frozen—like I’ve been since I pulled Ginny to the floor and promptly let go of her hand so I could curl up into a tight fetal ball.

Somebody near me sits up, scrambles to his knees, and impulsively crawls toward the far aisle.

Pop-pop-pop…

“Bang, bang… you’re dead.” The voice comes from directly above me; it’s blank and monotone and controlled. The weird snicker that follows is chilling. I want nothing more than to throw the big guy off my back and run like hell toward the double doors, but I just keep on going with the short breaths and stay as still as I’ve ever been in my life. Even in my terrified state, I know that the guy on top of me is totally exposed and I can’t move because I’ll cheat him out of his life, for sure. Which is so not cool when he’s trying to save mine.

I smell blood. Never noticed the smell of blood before. It reminds me of Grandma’s penny collection… if it got spilled onto the sticky floor of the theater. The scent of old copper is everywhere… like wet pennies strewn all around me on the floor.

Pop-pop-pop…

Shooter’s right above us now. Don’t move… don’t move… don’t move….

“Dear God, help us!” This request seems to catch the shooter’s attention and he turns around and steps away from us. I curse myself for feeling as relieved, and maybe even glad, as I do.

Pop-pop-pop….

We wait and it seems like forever. We wait as voices beg and plead and pray and he shuts them up with bullets. We wait as the sound of shots moves to the front left near the exit, where I figure he’s shooting at anyone who tries to get out through the double doors.

And then, for a second, it’s quiet.

“Now….” The big guy’s voice is whispering but it seems to blast into my left ear. “We have to make our move now.” Before I agree, the heaviness of his body lifts and I feel cold and exposed. “This is our chance to get outta here….”

His hand is attached to the back of my wrist, clutching me so hard that I know I’ll have fingerprint bruises for a week… if I live so long.

Buy the book:  AmazonAllRomance 

 

Meet the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to CoolDudes Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Where to find the author:


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Mikky’s World of Books, Jessie G. Books, TTC Books and More, Bayou Book Junkie, Happily Ever Chapter, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Inked Rainbow Reads, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Louise Lyons, Unquietly Me, Bonkers About Books, MM Good Book Reviews, Velvet Panic, Kirsty Loves Books, The Hat Party, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Molly Lolly, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews

 

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $15 Amazon Gift Card. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

 

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In the New Adult Fiction Spotlight: Mia Kerick’s ‘Clean’ (excerpt and giveaway)

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CLEAN FRONT COVER WITH SEALS-fin3

Clean by Mia Kerick
Release Date: December 1, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris

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Today I’m very happy to be interviewing Mia Kerick, author of Clean.

Hi, Mia,  thank you for stopping by and agreeing to answering a few questions for us here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

  • Tell us something no one else knows about your characters.

Lanny and Trevor are based, physically, on Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson of One Direction. I imagined the two of them throughout the creation of Clean. And it was great!

  • Have you ever written something that made you cry?

Inclination made me cry. When Anthony left the Catholic Church, he became so desperate because he thought he lost his connection with God, which was all he had ever wanted in life. His utter devastation and loneliness and forlorn feelings led me to cry buckets!

  • Have you ever co-written with someone before?

Michael Bowler and I co-wrote a short story for The Kickass Anthology. It was a story that indirectly protested the practice that the Boy Scouts had about refusing to let gay people participate. It was a great experience, but co-writing really isn’t my thing.

  • What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

NO DOUBT it is the technological aspect of being an author. I have no training on computers and social media and Facebook takeovers and stuff like that. All of this is necessary to creating and promoting books. I am lost!!

  • Name your four most important food groups.

Coffee

Chocolate

Cookies

Candy Corn

Interesting… all begin with letter C.

Thanks for the mini introduction to Mia Kerick, now lets take a closer look at Clean.

Blurb

High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.

Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school bad-boy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.

Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.

When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.

Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability?

Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.

 

Pages or Words: 289 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

 

ExcerptCLEAN FRONT COVER WITH SEALS-fin3

PROLOGUE

Lanny

Trevor wouldn’t even look at me when I walked over to the gas station this morning to say hi. And Jimmy’s Fuel Stop is like three miles from my house so it took a major effort to walk there, especially since I’ve been feeling like total crap lately. Another one of my shaky human bonds bites the dust. I need to go out and get myself a cat.

“Can’t you see I’m working, Keating?” That was all he said. But I’ve always been good at reading between the lines. I could tell what he was thinking as he stood beside the gas pumps, totally caught up in not looking at me. “Take a hike before you get me fired, loser. Some of us got goals in life….” So I took off before he had a chance to make me feel like I shouldn’t have ever made an appearance on the planet earth. But I still know it would have been better had I never been born…maybe Joelle would still be okay.

It’s Saturday afternoon and nobody’s home. Mom and Dad are probably off at the park with Joelle, sloshing through the wet snow together so she gets her daily exercise. Or maybe they took her to the make- your-own-sundae-place to improve her fine motor skills by sprinkling sweet toppings on big scoops of ice cream. I’m in Mom and Dad’s bathroom, bent in half with my head stuck in the closet, searching the cluttered shelves for anything that will get me high enough to escape. And I mean anything.

That’s when I see the cough syrup. The bottle in front is almost new, and there’s an older bottle of a different brand right behind it, little more than halfway full. Seeing these medicine bottles reminds me of something Chad suggested about a week or two ago— that we should try robo-tripping. He told me that if we drink enough cough syrup, the DXM in it would get us high in a “super blissful, tingling-body-parts way,” which sounded pretty decent to me then and still does now. Not completely surprised I remembered Chad’s exact description of a DXM high, I thank God for this dextromethorphan stuff that suppresses nasty coughs, because it looks like I’m going to find my much-needed buzz after all.

Pleased that I don’t have to resort to sniffing glue from the tube on my father’s basement workbench or huffing my mother’s hairspray—and believe me I came close—I snatch the bottles with a shaky hand. They’re both sticky with the syrup that dripped down the side last time one of the Keating’s had a major head cold accompanied by a hacking cough. Licking my fingers provides me with a hint of the cherry flavor I’m probably going to be barfing up later tonight. But I don’t care. I can’t get through a single day without some help, and by that I don’t mean help from my human friends, seeing as I have none left.

The walk to the shed seems longer than ever. It’s an effort to so much as put one foot in front of the other. I haven’t eaten anything for a full day; I’m sure that’s why I feel like such crap. And it’s not like I want to think about this stuff, but I can’t stop myself. The “stuff” I don’t want to think about is really people. The people I have hurt so much lately because of my bad habits.

This list starts with my little sister Joelle, who I told to “stuff a sock in it” when she asked me to read that goddamned book about a kid going to school—for the zillionth time! “School’s not all it’s cracked up to be, Jo. Stop being so damned excited about it! Those kids are gonna tear you to pieces and won’t even wait until you turn your back to do it!” It hurts too much to remember the expression on her face right after I told her that, so instead I stare beyond the leafless trees into the gray sky and think about my parents.

I’ve hurt Mom and Dad a lot too, because they know I’m sick, they just don’t know exactly what’s wrong with me. And I’m not sure how much they care. Their plates are too full already with Joelle’s problems, I guess.

I glance down at the two bottles of cough medicine dangling from between my fingers and remember Chrissy and Robyn, who I use like toilet paper. They can do way better than me in the study-buddy department.

I trip over a root that crosses my path and fall to my knees, but just as quickly drag myself back to my feet. A stray root isn’t enough to stop me from getting to where I’m going.

I’m almost at the shed now, and I can’t avoid thinking about him any longer. Trevor hates me. He never calls anymore, never asks me to go to the shed to drink some beer and fool around. He just looks at me in the hallway at school with angry disgusted eyes, and tells me every chance he gets “you’re fucking up your life and I’m not gonna let you fuck up mine.”

Trevor Ladd…the ultimate untouchable. If I could’ve made somebody like him want to be with me, I would’ve surely been able to win my parents back. Well, no such luck. I’m more of a zero to Trevor than I ever was…and Mom and Dad still don’t care.

Blew my entire life sky high. Which is where I’ll be soon, if all goes according to plan. I lift each bottle of sticky sweet cough medicine to my lips and kiss them, one by one.

Just the sight of the tiny, beat-up brown shed fills me with an indescribable sense of relief, probably like the feeling of coming home after years at sea. As soon as I push open the door, I see that Trevor isn’t here and I’m illogically disappointed. But Trevor can’t save me from myself. He did his duty; he tried to get me clean, and he got clean in the process.

Way to go, Trevor.

Alone in a frigid shed in the middle of the woods, I’m more than eager to suck down a couple bottles of cough medicine so I can be somewhere else…someone else. A vision of Landon Keating forms in my mind—not Lanny, the student, or Lanny, the athlete, or Lanny, the son and brother—but the near-future version of me when I’m “simultaneously mellow and stimulated,” if the online experiences I’ve read about taking DXM are accurate. Sad truth is, I’ll take just plain disoriented. Any effect will be fine if it whisks me away.

I drop down to the cold floor and without ceremony open one of the small bottles. The cough medicine goes down more easily than I thought.

Cherry-berry-sweet-thick-burning-soothing- pleasure-pain. It doesn’t take too long.

Itchy as hell…belly’s on fire….

“Read to me, Lanny…read it again!

”Can’t feel my legs at all….

“Wishes don’t wash dishes, son.”

Can’t stop barfing…. So sick….

“Take a hike, Keating—you filthy, no-good, loser boozer-druggie!”

Blew it with Trevor…blew it with everybody.

Can’t breathe…need a breath….

Gonna die here alone.

Buy the book:

Meet the author:

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to CoolDudes Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

30-Nov: The Hat Party, Mikky’s World of Books, Hearts on Fire, Bayou Book Junkie

1-Dec: Gay Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Multitasking Mommas, Books A to Z

2-Dec: Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, The Jena Wade, Love Bytes

3-Dec: Lee Brazil, Gay Media Reviews, Divine Magazine

4-Dec: V’s Reads, Posy Roberts, Nephy Hart

5-Dec: Dawn’s Reading Nook, Bonkers About Books

6-Dec: Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

7-Dec: The Day Before You Came, QUEERcentric Books, MM Good Book Reviews

8-Dec: Happily Ever Chapter, BFD Book Blog

9-Dec: Kimi-Chan, Inked Rainbow Reads

10-Dec: Emotion in Motion, Jessie G. Books

11-Dec: Havan Fellows, TTC Books and More, My Fiction Nook

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10.00 Amazon gift card.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  
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Check Out A Hard Day’s Night by Mia Kerick (excerpt and giveaway)

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A Hard Day’s Night by Mia Kerick
Release Date: September 1, 2015


Goodreads Link
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris

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Buy the book: Amazon  | All Romance (ARe) | Gumroad

Blurb

High school senior Kalin (Lennon) Macready knows several facts for certain: John Lennon is his hero. Beaumont Finley Danforth II (Fin) is his best friend. And—this is the complicated one—he feels more for Fin than mere friendship.
For weeks, Lennon pesters Fin, who like Lennon admits to questioning his sexual orientation, for a commitment to spend twenty-four hours together exploring “the gay side of life.” Fin reluctantly agrees. Each boy will seek to answer the daunting question, Am I gay? Lennon pre-plans the day, filling the hours with what he assumes “gay life” is all about: shopping for fashionable clothing, indulging in lavish dessert crepes, boogying to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, and yes, listening to show tunes.
However, Lennon quickly realizes that in creating his plan he has succumbed to the most common and distorted of gay stereotypes. Can he be gay and not fit them? And more importantly, is it possible that spending one very hard day and night together will help Fin accept that he’s gay, too? If so, maybe Lennon has a shot at winning the heart of the boy of his dreams.
“A Hard Day’s Night” is an amusing young adult contemporary romance about two boys who seek to discover if they must fulfill stereotypes to be together.
In the end, maybe all you need is love.

Pages or Words: 21,500 words
Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

 

Excerpt

“Fin and I have managed to get locked into what I will refer to as a repetitive pattern of affable behavior, and, in my opinion, it’s working out splendidly. We are the dearest of friends.”
Scratch that. Starting over.
And since I know it’s well past time for some brutally honest self-talk, I sit up in my bed, and by the warm glow of my Yellow Submarine nightlight, study my frayed picture of John Lennon. To complete the visual, it’s the photo from Mom’s retro record set, The White Album, that I pinned to the wall beside my bed and have worshipped regularly since I was in the seventh grade. Behind those round wire glasses, the man’s piercing eyes don’t lie—John was a brutally honest sort, often to his detriment. After all, back in 1966 didn’t he assert that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ? Now, that is certainly calling it exactly as he sees it.
Not that I necessarily agree with the sentiment, I respect that kind of direct- ness in a person.
I owe him this much.
Out of respect for John, I revise and reissue my previous assertion.
“The Finster and I are stuck in a rut of pleasant compatibility… an unusually
deep rut, at that.”
This attempt at telling-it-like-it-is is definitely an improvement, but it’s still
not right on the money, and I’m nothing, if not specific.
I prop up my pillow and lean hard against the creaky antique headboard (call it like you see it, Lennon—the headboard is just plain old), with the certain knowledge that I’ve completely outgrown this flimsy, twin size bed of my childhood.
So maybe it’s more like this….
“Fin and I each have one leg semi-submerged in a muddy ditch, and we’re in it well past our knees. This is the kind of murky and dark, seemingly bottomless, pit that will suck the rubber boot right off your foot with a single, hollow, slurping sound, and then belch with satisfaction.” For the third time I speak aloud in an effort to make my declaration official. “It appears that the two of us are gonna be stuck here in this mucky BFF-swampland for the long haul— bootless and slowly sinking into the sludge—unless, of course, I act decisively and with haste. And with great vigor—because, to accomplish the task I have in mind, I’m most likely going to have to shift into full-hyper-dunk-mode, possibly coupled with the drama-queen-approach. Neither of which poses a problem for me, other than that they require an excessive expenditure of energy.”
That was most definitely a mouthful, but an accurate mouthful.
And all I need is one day. Just one gay day.
Thankfully, ever proud of the open-mindedness he hides so well from his ultra-conservative family, Fin has granted me my greatest wish. On Saturday, March 21st, Beaumont Finley Danforth II (IMHO this BFD is a Big Fucking Deal) is mine for the day to do with as I please. I sincerely hope that a single day is sufficient to help Fin figure out what I already know.
Um, Lennon…maybe now is not the right time to start suffering with a debilitating bout of self-doubt.
Confidence is of key importance in this endeavor.
No, I do not have any worries, and yes, I do have twenty-four feminine-side-ex- ploring, team-switching, relationship-igniting hours to make my homeboy see the rainbow-hued light. Starting bright and early tomorrow morning.
On that note, I’ll get started with my beauty sleep. I sure hope I’m gonna need it.
I wiggle down so I’m flat on my back with my feet sticking six inches over the end of the bed, pull the covers up to my chin, and listen to my mental arrangement of “Imagine” until I fall asleep.

RC

About the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.
Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mia.kerick?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MiaKerick

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $15 Amazon gift card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
Rafflecopter Code:
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WillPride

 

Tour Dates & Stops:
31-Aug

Bayou Book Junkie: http://bayoubookjunkie.blogspot.com/2015/08/book-blast-mm-hard-days-night-by-mia.html

SA McAuley: http://samcauley.com/2015/08/31/releasing-tomorrow-mia-kerick-a-hard-days-night/

1-Sep

TTC Books and More: http://www.ttcbooksandmore.com/2015/09/a-hard-days-night-by-miakerick.html

My Fiction Nook: http://www.myfictionnook.com/2015/09/blogtour-hard-days-night-by-mia-kerick.html

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews: http://wickedfaeriesreviews.blogspot.com/2015/09/a-hard-days-night-by-mia-kerick-blog.html

2-Sep

Hearts on Fire: http://heartsonfirereviews.com/mia-kerick-a-hard-days-night-tour-excerpt-and-contest/

MM Good Book Reviews: https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/a-hard-days-night-by-mia-kerick-blog-tour-excerpt-giveaway/

Up All Night, Read All Day: http://upallnightreadallday.blogspot.com/2015/09/blog-tour-had-days-night-by-mia-kerick.html

3-Sep

V’s Reads: http://vsreads.com/2015/09/03/loving-a-hard-days-night-excerpt-and-giveaway/

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents: http://fangirlmomentsandmytwocents.blogspot.com/2015/09/a-hard-days-night-by-mia-kerick-blog.html#.VehJTLQni-I

4-Sep Cathy Brockman Romances, Mikky’s World of Books, Jessie G. Books

5-Sep Kimi-Chan, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

7-Sep Amanda C. Stone, Inked Rainbow Reads

8-Sep Velvet Panic, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Divine Magazine

9-Sep Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Parker Williams

10-Sep Prism Book Alliance

11-Sep BFD Book Blog, Ogitchida Book Blog

 

Need a New Contemporary Romance? Check out “Uncommon Valor” by Rachel Ravenheart (excerpt and giveaway)

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UNCOMMON VALOR Final cover

Uncommon Valor by Rachel Ravenheart
Release Date: July 22, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris

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Sales Links:  All Romance eBooks | Amazon |  CoolDudes Publishing  |Gumroad

About Uncommon Valor

“Lil’ Bro,

If you’re reading this, then something obviously happened and I’m not going to be around. I wanted to let you know how much I love you, and you don’t have to tear yourself up over this. I’m the one who chose to enlist, and I believe I’ve served proudly for the last few years. I know this won’t ease your mind any, but I believe I’m probably in a better place now. Please don’t be sad. I died doing what I loved, fighting for my country. I wish I could be there for you when you tell Mom and Dad about you being gay. Just know that I am with you in spirit.

Look to Chase for guidance. I know he’ll be the big brother for you I can no longer be. The guys will be a great support for you, and they won’t care that you’re gay. They’re a great group of guys, and they’ll treat you just like I would. They’ll be a support system for you when Dad blows up, and you know he will. Be safe and know I will be watching out for you from the other side.

Love, Sam.”

Uncommon Valor is not just a story of a gay man, it is the fulfilling story of a young man who is on the verge of discovering his true self and he has the perfect prop to do that. He is also about to become a Dad. Will he pull through as a gay man and a Dad? Or will he fall upon the wayside and reject his newborn child, and in so doing, also reject the man of his dreams?

Pages or Words: 172 pages, 48,661 words

Categories: Gay fiction, M/M Romance, Military

Excerpt:


Last weekend with the platoon was great.
I met a ton of new people, and the guys were really supportive when I told them. I hadn’t heard anything from my Mom, so I wasn’t sure what to think about that, but I’d decided I wasn’t going to worry too much. I was on cloud nine from having spent time with people who didn’t care I was gay and treated me like one of the guys even though I wasn’t a Marine.
That all came to a halt when I ran into Tina in the dining hall on campus during the week.
Tina uses her beauty to her advantage. She’s medium height with red hair and green eyes. Whatever she said was right and she was of the opinion that no one could outsmart her. Personally, I tried to stay away from her if I possibly could.
But, she had a crush on me.
I never got the chance to tell my brother that during a night of drunkenness I had slept with her. There was a part of me that always felt something else had been involved, but I couldn’t prove it. I didn’t even know if we did anything. All I knew was I woke up the next morning in the same bed with her and both of us were naked. It wasn’t something I was proud of, and I honestly hoped I would never see her again. Unfortunately, we were both in law school together, so I knew that wasn’t going to be an option.
I’d almost completely forgotten about the incident because it had happened at the end of the semester and I had taken the summer off. The new semester had just started, and I had been lucky enough to not see her in any of my classes or around campus.
I was shocked to see her with what I would consider a baby bump, but I didn’t want to make any assumptions. I pretended to not see her, but she saw me.
“Jason! I need to talk to you,” she said, and grasped my elbow from behind.
“What do you want, Tina?” I yanked my arm out of her grasp with a snarl.
“It’s a private matter.”
“We can talk tat my house, but that’s all that’s going to happen.” I turned and walked away, expecting her to follow me to the parking lot. As it turned out, we were parked fairly close to each other, and I motioned for her to follow me as I got into my car.
§

We arrived at my house and I was still trying to figure out what she wanted to talk to me about. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to like it.
Inside, she headed for the lounge. “Would you like something to drink?” I asked. When I turned to face her she held her stomach in a protective manner.
“Water would be nice.”
“Have a seat and I’ll be right back.” I said, placing my bag on the floor by the door.
When I returned, she was standing in front of the bay window looking out over the park. “Here you go.” I held out a bottle of water to her as she turned around.
“Thanks, Jason. I’m sorry to put you out like this, but I needed to talk to you and I didn’t want to do it with people around.”
“What’s going on? I haven’t seen you since the end of spring semester.” I walked over and took a seat on the couch and waited to hear what she had to say.
“I went home for summer break and some surprising news came up just before I came back to school.” She came over and sat down next to me.
“Spit it out,” I said, frustrated. I just wanted her gone; something about her really irked me.
“The thing is, just before I came back I realized that I had missed my period so I went to the doctor and took a pregnancy test. I’m pregnant.”
“What’s that got to do with me?” It felt like I had been punched in the gut.
“Well, I hadn’t been with anyone for a while before you and I hooked up at the end of the semester.” She licked her lips and wrung her hands.
“We didn’t hook up. I got way too drunk and don’t remember anything until I woke up the next morning with you by my side and naked.”
“Why do you refuse to believe that what we shared was something special?” she whined. “You know you love me, you only need to admit it and we’ll be happy together as a family.”
“It wasn’t special. What do you want from me?”
“I want you to be a father to our child. I want us to be a family.” She tried to put her hand on my arm. I pulled away.
“We will never be a family. What the HELL were you thinking? Obviously you weren’t; that’s the problem.” I walked over to the bay window and glared out. “If the child is mine I’ll support it and even take custody of him or her, but we will never be together. As soon as the baby is born I’m going to fight for custody and before I commit to anything there needs to be a paternity test, until that time you are nothing more to me than a pregnant woman. Until you have further information, I think this is all we have to talk about.”
“We’d make good parents together. Why are you refusing to admit that?” she cried.
“I have no doubt that we will be good parents, but we won’t be a couple. I’m gay and will not be in a relationship with any woman. Now, if there’s nothing else, I think that it’s time for you to leave. Let me know when you set up the paternity test and I’ll be there. We’ll talk more after the test results come back.” I opened the front door and waited for her to leave. I was being mean and harsh, but I was pissed about what had happened, mostly at myself because I let myself get wasted at that party. I wished I could remember what happened that night.
She stormed past me and went out to her car mumbling under her breath. Part of me hoped I was the father, but there was a greater part of me that hoped I would have nothing more to do with her.

About the author:

Rachel Ravenheart is new to the literary world, but has had the desire to write since she was in junior high school. She moved from a small town in Iowa in time to start high school in Louisiana.

Rachel lost sight of writing as she got bogged down with sports and school. Her dream of being a writer forgotten as she looked to the future to study Political Science with the hope of going to law school when she moved to Texas.

To make her way in the world she got wrapped up in the field of nursing when she got a job as a C.N.A. and soon even her dream of law school was forgotten. Strangely, thanks to an injury she was at home recuperating and was bored when she remembered her love for writing. Never thinking she would ever get published she began.

It was writers like Rob Colton, Mann Ramblings, and Alicia Nordwell that inspired her creativity. She found GayAuthors.org and after some encouragement she decided to post her first story. With the enthusiasm of readers her confidence grew and she took the step to send off her first story to be published. It was with great delight when she was offered her first contract. Hopefully, the first of many.

Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/rachelravenheart
Twitter: @wolfwriter1492
Other: http://rachelravenheart.weebly.com

RC


Tour Dates & Stops: July 22, 2015

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Mia Kerwick Talks Trans and Gender Fluid Characters and her book Love Spells (interview, and contest)

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 Love Spell by Mia Kerick
Release Date: June 1, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris

Buy Link:  Amazon

Mia Kerick Talks Writing Trans and Gender Fluid Characters…Our Interview With Mia Kerick

Do you consider your character Chance gender fluid or transgender?

The way I think of it, Chance is gender fluid, which means that his gender identity falls under the trans* umbrella. So, in some respects, Chance is both (trans* and gender fluid). If you are asking yourself, WHAT EXACTLY IS THE TRANS* UMBRELLA? I will offer you several explanations.

I found the following explanation and image on TransAustin: A space to foster development of the transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming community of Austin. Here is how TransAustin defines The Trans* Umbrella: “The Trans* Umbrella is a term used to refer to the range and diversity of gender variance. The words “transgender” and “trans*” are all-encompassing terms that refer to a broad spectrum of identities and expressions.”

ItsPronouncedMetroSexual.com (IPS), another online organization that supports the reality and correctness of nontraditional gender identities, defines trans* as “an umbrella term that refers to all of the identities within the gender identity spectrum.” Sam Killerman of IPS created the graphic below to illustrate what his group means by the term trans*.

And I found this simple image on the blog Disrupting Dinner Parties, which speaks very clearly to me:

But what really matters is the way that Chance thinks of his gender identity, right? And this topic is a great source of agitation for him throughout the entire novel. In fact, it has been a source of distress for him over the course of the better part of his life. You see, labeling an aspect of yourself that is this individual and distinct from one person to the next—and in Chance’s case constantly changing—is not a simple task. He sees himself in many of the terms in the graphic below, and he struggles to find one ideal term to fully identify with. Interestingly, Chance is never actually successful in finding the perfectly appropriate term for his gender identity; he does not realize “the trans* umbrella” even exists in a formal sense. Instead, over the course of the story, Chance learns more and more about himself as a person—he very gradually accepts that he likes some things that are considered too feminine for a boy, but that he also likes being male. And without finding the perfect label for “who or what he is”, Chance pushes through his emotional hardship and manages to find meaning and acceptance in his life with friends and romance.

Transgender or gender fluid?  What prompted your decision to make this the focus of your character and story?

You have heard that children learn what they live, I’m sure. But more truly, all people learn what they live. The aspects of life with which we are familiar become “normal” (I dislike that word but you know what I’m getting at) to us. For example, if you see lots of people whose faces have been dyed to resemble the stars and stripes of an American flag, then red, white, and blue skin will eventually become, in your mind, commonplace. Picture this… at the grocery store—half of the shoppers sport patriotic faces. On television—red and white stripes on the cute guy in the car chase scene, whose nose is incidentally a solid navy blue. In romance novels, you can’t help but be reminded of Betsy Ross when you’re reading the physical description of the romantic lead character.

My point, however, is less patriotic than it is merely encouraging of open-mindedness. The more we see anything the more “normal” it becomes in our eyes. For kids who are struggling with gender issues, they need to see their likenesses in books. The message “YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR STRUGGLE” is truly quite comforting. And for those who are not struggling with gender issues, they need to see characters who are. They need to read about boys who feel like girls sometimes, and girls who are certain they were born with the wrong body. All kids and people need to become familiar with those who are unlike them in terms of gender identity. This is the only way we can get past all of the alienation and isolation and depression and suicide. And we can finally find acceptance.

Transgender people are in the news recently, from Bruce Jenner to the Washington Post article on Asexuality. All of which has sparked a lot of discussions over sexuality, acceptance and equal rights.  How big a part do you think literature plays in the LGBTQIA community gaining acceptance?

I guess I went into this subject in question number two, but I will elaborate. Literature MUST open people’s eyes. As a writer, I am inspired when I see Bruce Jenner bare all in front of the harsh American and worldwide public. He is opening eyes by sharing the most intimate details of himself. In my eyes he is a hero, as I am certain that it will cost him a large measure of pain. And I can do no less in my literature. There doesn’t have to be a super-preachy theme—the story doesn’t need to be a moral wrapped up as a story. Just by creating characters who are “different” –ones who love differently, in that they love the same sex or both sexes or neither sex, and ones who identify differently than what is traditional in terms of gender, and ones who decide to change their sex from male to female or female to male, we are all together creating a very different “new normal”. Which is true acceptance of all varieties of people.
. Or does it play a part?

Yes!! I won’t say I feel a responsibility to open people’s eyes, but I really am inspired to do so.

Q This doesn’t look YA but would you consider writing a YA or New Adult novel?

Love Spell is true Young Adult literature. In the unique, snarky voice of a seventeen-year-old a story is told of self-questioning in regard to vital contemporary issues. The main character experiences peer pressure and parental woes, and he dares to try some rather risky behaviors for the very first time. To teens, the main character is relatable in terms of his language and the way he sees popular culture and the world, as he struggles to find his unique place. I would, however, definitely consider writing a New Adult or Adult novel on this same topic.

  What prompts you to write a certain story?  Where do you get your inspiration or story prompts from?

Inspiration comes most often from pop music, but I am also inspired by events in the news, actors and movies, or even a concept I come up with for a character. Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow was very inspirational to me as I wrote Love Spell. Chance César and Jack Sparrow share some characteristics.

7.  What’s next for Mia Kerick?

I have put aside a very dramatic, not nearly as humorous as Love Spell, YA novel. I wrote fifty thousand words, found it to be a very heavy and emotional topic, put it aside, wrote a novella inspired by The Beatles, and am now promoting Love Spell. But I will get back to my partially finished book soon. And I look forward to it. Lanny and Trevor need their HEA.

 

STRW Author BookSynopsis

Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.
As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.)  However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”
But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.
An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.

Pages or Words: 44,300 words

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance, Young Adult

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Not to say that I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days, but I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days. Yes, I was oh-so-pathetically waiting for his call, which I am aware fully explains the need for the phrase “get a life.” But Jazz hadn’t been at school on the Thursday or Friday after he had called and cancelled our playdate, and now it’s Sunday night, and I still haven’t heard from him. And although I’m frustrated that all of my elaborate plans to make him fall head over heels in love with moi have apparently tanked, I’m also growing genuinely concerned.
That’s when my cell phone, which I placed on my chest before I lay down on my now “love-spell-pink” wrapped mattress, starts singing Express Yourself.
“Yo.” I don’t check the number. It’s Emmy—who else would it be?
“Hi, Chance.” The deep voice is so not Emmy’s.
Yaaassss!!! This is what ninety-nine percent of my insides shout. One percent says quietly, “It’s about frigging time you called, asshole.”
But my voice is calm. “Jasper,” I say blandly. In my opinion, he hasn’t earned the right to be called Jazz any longer.
“Um, sorry, no. It’s Jazz.”
I try not to roll my eyes even though I know he won’t see, but it’s an epic fail. “Whatever.”
“I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch for a couple days. My mom’s been real sick. I was lookin’ after her, gettin’ her to the doctor, goin’ to the pharmacy, bringing JoJo back and forth to school, and stuff.”
Oh.
“Mom caught JoJo’s strep throat and had to go to the ER because she couldn’t even swallow.” He stops talking for a second and then clears his voice. “Alls she could do was spit into a rag whenever she needed to swallow.”
Well, that’s definitely TMI, but I get the fucker-nelly revolting picture. “I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault, dude.”
And then there’s silence.
“Gonna take JoJo to the library after school tomorrow. But first I gotta stop by the cable company and pay up or we’re gonna lose our TV and internet at home. They already warned us like twice.”
“Want me to pick up Yolo at school and take her to the library?” I’m so freaking pissed off at him. Why am I offering to save his ass again?
“That’s cool of you to offer, but there’s a bus she can take to the library from her school. Could ya be waiting for her at the library, in case I get held up?”
“Of course.” I’m a Class A sucker.
“You’re such a cool pal.” Ugh—so not what I’m going for.
“Thanks.”
“I’m not gonna be at lunch tomorrow seein’ as I’ll probably be collecting my makeup work. So, I’ll see ya at the library. ‘Kay?”
I don’t say kkkk cuz it’s not even slightly cool. “Sure. The libes after school, it is.”
“Thank you, bro,” Jazz offers.
One more silence, and then I say, “Later.”
I have research to do.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Stop by Mia’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind. Find Mia on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.
Where to find the author:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mia.kerick?fref=ts
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MiaKerick
Pinterest: http://www,pinterest.com/miakerick/

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Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $25Amazon Gift Certificate. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Tour Dates & Stops: 

25-May

Bike Book Reviews

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MM Good Book Reviews

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26-May

BFD Book Blog

Cathy Brockman Romances

Mikky’s World of Books

The Novel Approach

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27-May

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3 Chicks After Dark

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28-May

Love Bytes

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Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Chris McHart

29-May

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EE Montgomery

Molly Lolly

My Fiction Nook

Nephylim

Jessie G. Books