Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A New Book is Born: BIGGER LOVE

Today, my 35th novel, Bigger Love, comes out. For a kid who dreamed of one day being a writer, that's a heady statement to make. The story of a high-school outcast who embraces that he's different no longer belongs solely to me--but to you. Be gentle....

Also for a kid who once thought of himself as an outcast because he thought no one would love or accept him if they knew who he really was, a book like Bigger Love is a real revelation. The book is all about being who you are and embracing it--and that means not conforming to anyone else's idea of who or what you should be.

My main character, the fierce, independent, an out-and-proud high school senior, Truman Reid, suffers from self-doubt despite what he projects to his small town high school. Jean M. Auel, author of The Mammoth Hunters, kind of describes him:

“He began to understand that just because some people thought certain behavior was wrong, that didn’t make it so. A person could resist popular belief and stand up for personal principles, and though there might be consequences, not everything would be necessarily lost. In fact, something important might be gained, if only within oneself.”

I hope you'll give Bigger Love a chance. If you've been an outsider, or even loved someone who was, I think you'll enjoy the book and may find yourself not only thinking, but moved.

Truman Reid is Summitville High’s most out-and-proud senior. He can't wait to take his fierce, uncompromising self away from his small Ohio River hometown, where he’s suffered more than his share of bullying. He’s looking forward to bright lights and a big city. Maybe he’ll be the first gender-fluid star to ever win an Academy Award. But all that changes on the first day of school when he locks eyes with the most gorgeous hunk he’s ever seen.

Mike Stewart, big, dark-haired, and with the most amazing blue eyes, is new to town. He's quiet, manly, and has the sexy air of a lost soul. It’s almost love at first sight for Truman. He thinks that love could deepen when Mike becomes part of the stage crew for Harvey, the senior class play Truman's directing. But is Mike even gay? And how will it work when Truman's mother is falling for Mike’s dad?

Plus Truman, never the norm, makes a daring and controversial choice for the production that has the whole town up in arms.

See how it all plays out on a stage of love, laughter, tears, and sticking up for one’s essential self….


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

10 Silly Questions with Charley Descoteaux

Delighted to have fellow Dreamspinner Press author Charley Descoteaux with me today. Read on to see how she responded to my rude and impertinent probing....  


RR: If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you eat?
CD: Whatever they wanted to cook.

RR: Who do you think you are?
CD: Nobody special, just a queer with voices in my head.

RR: What’s your problem?
CD: See #2.

RR: If you could have one wish, would you give it to me?
CD: Sure! If you had one wish would you give it to me? (Note: I absolutely would because then we'd be even and we'd both have the added plus of good Karma coming our way.)

RR: Where you at?
CD: Crone stage.

RR: If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?
CD: Chocolate. It’s truly a vice if you do it right.

RR: What’s your favorite brand of cereal?
CD: Chex, because it’s cereal and you can eat it right out of the box at midnight.

RR: When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble?
CD: Beaker from The Muppet Show.

RR: Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground? And if so, how do you tell the difference?
CD: Sometimes. I rely on the fact that I usually don’t have to bend down to reach my ass.

RR: Do you have anything you’d like to plug?
CD: Thanks for asking! The final book in my Buchanan House series is out from Dreamspinner Press. Art House, Buchanan House: Book Six gives Chase and Garrett their HEA while wrapping up threads from the previous books. Art House can be read as a standalone novel, but series fans will recognize a lot of characters from previous books. It’s a little angstier than the rest of the series, but age gap and hurt comfort can be angsty tropes.

BLURB for Art House, Buchanan House: Book Six
Chase Holland spends his days painting Portland scenes to hang in local businesses, neglecting his own surrealist style. After twenty-five years as a full-time artist, he’s frustrated that his career has stalled, but churning out the equivalent of corporate art is better than getting a day job. Chase and Garrett have been together—off and on, but mostly on—for a decade. If asked, they would both say the source of their trouble is the seventeen-year age gap. The truth is less clear-cut. Life would be so much easier if Chase could make a living with his own art, or if Garrett held less conventional ideas about relationships.

Garrett Frisch has been watching their friends get married for the past two years, and it’s taking an emotional toll. When he proposes as a way to keep them together permanently, he thinks he’s being responsible, but Chase is ambivalent and hurt and can’t hide it. It doesn’t help that Garrett’s anxiety is out of control and he’s dealing with insecurities about his own art career. They will have to do their least favorite thing—talk about something more important than which food cart to visit—if they are to get the happy ending they both want.

Here’s a happy excerpt from Chase’s point of view.

A soft knock on the bedroom door startled a sound from Chase. Whoever it was would probably think he was asleep and leave him alone. Not many people it could be. My life is small and only getting smaller.

Regardless, he had no plans to give up his comfortable wallowing to try and be social. He wasn’t dressed to answer the door anyway, wearing only a faded pair of green plaid boxers—a pair Garrett had bought one year around the holidays. He did his best work without any clothes on at all but didn’t have the heart to be fully nude when he was so lonely.
I haven’t done my best work in years. No great loss.

When the doorknob turned, Chase sat up. When the door opened and Garrett peeked in, it took Chase’s breath away.

“Hey. Did I wake you?”

“No.” He wasn’t sure Garrett heard; he barely heard himself. “It’s good to see you.”
Wow, great line.

Also, the understatement of the week. Chase wanted to apologize, to throw himself at Garrett’s feet and beg his forgiveness for being so stupid, but couldn’t seem to move. He still sat with his legs over the far side of the bed, twisted to look at the vision stepping into the room and closing the door behind him. It almost felt like he was dreaming, but he’d never ached so badly from a dream before, so hopefully it was real.

It had to be real, because it was happening differently. If he were dreaming, things would be happening the way they had in the past. Chase hadn’t gotten a call first, and Garrett for sure didn’t look tentative or the least bit upset. He looked amazing—confident and relaxed, even with the shadows of bruises still on his face. He had shaved, and Chase missed the facial hair, but Garrett could never be anything short of gorgeous in his eyes.
Garrett moved closer to the bed, breaking the spell Chase was under. He stood and closed all but one step of the distance between them.

“I’m sorry.”

Garrett shook his head, a tiny smile playing on his lips. “I’m the one who’s sorry. You didn’t do anything wrong. Okay if I—”

Before he could finish the one thing that was playing out the same as it always did—Okay if I stay?—Chase leaned forward and kissed him. Softly, only enough to stop him from finishing that sentence. If everything played out differently this time, then maybe it would be the last time they spent days—or weeks—apart, the last time he drove away the love of his life with careless words or boneheaded actions.

The kiss was short, and when Garrett pulled back he was smiling. “I guess that’s a yes.” He reached out and rubbed his thumb over a splotch of green paint near Chase’s left nipple. “Were you working?”

“Taking a break.”

“Want to take a longer break?”

“I really do.”

Garrett gripped Chase’s upper arms and pulled him close. Still a little stunned, Chase didn’t move. He sighed when Garrett wrapped both arms around him and squeezed tightly. “I missed you.”

“I’m so glad you’re here.” Chase embraced him and squeezed, burying his face in Garrett’s soft auburn hair. He moaned when Garrett slid both hands past the waistband of his boxers and pushed them to the floor. A twinge of embarrassment made it past the relief and desire flooding his mind when Garrett grasped his cock and it didn’t even say hello back.

It did, eventually, and Chase welcomed Garrett home the way he always did.

BUY Art House, Buchanan House: Book Six

Charley Descoteaux has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Mx Descoteaux has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through a single day without stories.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

10 Silly Questions with Catherine Ryan Hyde

Catherine Ryan Hyde doing one of the things she loves.
Many years ago, back when I lived in Chicago, I went to see a movie that changed my life. It was called PAY IT FORWARD and it had a simple message of how simple gestures, when given selflessly with love and kindness, can have a cumulative effect. 

Little did I know that seeing the movie would send me on a quest for the book's author and that she would also become one of my favorite authors, bar none. I've probably read most everything she's written and have to confess, I rarely failed to shed copious tears when caught up in her web. That I also consider her a friend is one of my life's greatest blessings.

Be sure to check out her December release, Just After Midnight, details below. 

My intention when I wanted to do this series of questions was to ask sarcastic and silly questions and be responded to in kind. But Catherine makes her own way--read on to see her witty and wise answers... 


RR: If you could invite any famous person, dead or alive, for dinner, what would you eat?
CH: It would probably be the Dalai Lama, so we’d be eating like monks. Bowls of mung beans and rice, maybe. Then again, by most people’s standards, I eat like a monk every day.

RR: Who do you think you are?
CH: I think I’m a human being. And I think, maybe more than some people, I have no quarrel with that. I don’t pretend I have everything mastered, I don’t play games to make myself believe that nothing can go wrong. I don’t cover over mistakes in that cat-like manner. (Yes, I fell off the couch in my sleep, but I meant to do that. *Carefully grooms shoulder.*) I’m not adverse to just saying, “Yeah, that was not my best thinking.” And I try to impart some of that in my work. My hope is that readers will come away feeling more human, and more as though human is an okay thing to be.

RR: What’s your problem?
CH: Hypocrites. People with no empathy. Liars. People who seem to be able to focus only on complaints. People who completely overlook a flaw in one person and all but call for the death penalty for the same flaw in another, based on nothing but their own unrecognized tribalism. As you can imagine, I’m finding our current social climate a bit indigestible.

RR: If you could have one wish, would you give it to me?
CH: Absolutely I would! Because in the last six years or so, I’ve been given so much. I have everything I need and most of what I want. I helped somebody out with financing his dream a couple of years back, and when someone asked why, I said, “In the past few years, all my dreams have come true. It was time to see what other people were dreaming.” So, yes. If you want my wish, it’s all yours, my friend.

RR: Where you at?
CH: I’d like to say “Here.” You know, like the Ram Dass classic Be Here Now. I’d like to say it, but it’s easier said than done. I try to ground myself in this actual moment of this actual world as often as possible. But, let’s face it: My job is pretty much to walk through the world lost in my own head. So the more realistic answer would be “Lost in my own head.” Oh, well. At least I’ve found a way to make a living at it.

RR: If you had to choose only one vice, what would it be?
CH: This may sound weird. And I hope it’s not off-putting. But to get to one vice I swear I would have to add one. I’m a recovering alcoholic and addict, so I haven’t had alcohol or drugs for almost 30 years. I quit smoking in 1989. I eat unusually healthy food because my mood is not very stable when I don’t. This is not to suggest I’m perfect. Far from it. I just get obsessed with much smaller, sillier and more harmless things. Refreshing Twitter or some idiotic thing like that. But as far as actual “Big V” vices, I think I might have left them in the dust. Hate to tempt fate, though.

RR: What’s your favorite brand of cereal?
CH: I have a granola that I make from scratch, and if I do say so myself, it’s killer. Thick cut rolled oats toasted in the oven with whole almonds and walnuts and cashews and sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, all coated with honey and tahini and baked together. Am I making you hungry? Good.

RR: When you wake up in the morning, what celebrity do you most resemble?
CH: I think I’d have to say it’s a tie between Lassie and Mr. Ed.

RR: Do you know your ass from a hole in the ground? And if so, how do you tell the difference?
CH: On a good day, I do. And it helps, in this case, to be 63 years old. The ground is noticeably more firm.

RR: Do you have anything you’d like to plug?
CH: You bet I do! Always. I’m writing and publishing two books a year, so there’s always some new title I hope people will hear about. My next release is due out December 4th from Lake Union/Amazon Publishing. It’s called Just After Midnight, and it’s a novel set against a backdrop of the dressage (horse show) world. That makes it exciting to me, because I ride (novice level) dressage, and I think it lends an excitement to the book. But it’s about far more than horse shows, so a love of horses is helpful but definitely not required.

Then next summer I have another new novel coming out. It’s called Have You Seen Luis Velez?, and it’s special to me. I’m just especially looking forward to that one. It’s close to my heart. Then another in December ’19, and another that I’m working on now, and it just keeps going. And I want it to just keep going. I’m doing what I love to do.

BLURB for Just After Midnight
From the New York Times bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes an uplifting and poignant novel about friendship, trust, and facing your fears.

No longer tolerating her husband’s borderline abuse, Faith escapes to her parents’ California beach house to plan her next move. She never dreamed her new chapter would involve befriending Sarah, a fourteen-year-old on the run from her father and reeling from her mother’s sudden and suspicious death.

While Sarah’s grandmother scrambles to get custody, Faith is charged with spiriting the girl away on a journey that will restore her hope: Sarah implores Faith to take her to Falkner’s Midnight Sun, the prized black mare that her father sold out from under her. Sarah shares an unbreakable bond with Midnight and can’t bear to be apart from her. Throughout the sweltering summer, as they follow Midnight from show to show, Sarah comes to terms with what she witnessed on the terrible night her mother died.

But the journey is far from over. Faith must learn the value of trusting her instincts—and realize that the key to her future, and Sarah’s, is in her hands.

PRE-ORDER Just After Midnight
Amazon Kindle
Amazon paperback

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 37 published and forthcoming books.

Her newest releases are Heaven Adjacent, The Wake Up, Allie and Bea, Say Goodbye for Now, Leaving Blythe River, Ask Him Why, Worthy, The Language of Hoofbeats, Take Me With You, Walk Me Home, and When I Found You.

Forthcoming are Just After Midnight and Have You Seen Luis Velez?

Pay It Forward: Young Readers Edition, an age-appropriate edited edition of the original novel, was released by Simon & Schuster in August of ‘14. It is suitable for children as young as eight.

Other novels include When You Were Older, Where We Belong, Don’t Let Me Go, Second Hand Heart, Jumpstart the World, Becoming Chloe, Love in the Present Tense, The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, Chasing Windmills, The Day I Killed James, and Diary of a Witness.

She is co-author, with publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of How to be a Writer in the E-Age: a Self-Help Guide.

Her bestselling 1999 novel Pay It Forward was made into a major Warner Brothers motion picture. It was chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in over 30 countries. Simon & Schuster released a special 15th anniversary edition in December of ’14.

Her newer novels—such as Take Me with You, When I Found You, Leaving Blythe River, Say Goodbye for Now, etc.—have been translated into fourteen languages and achieved Kindle bestseller status in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List. Jumpstart the World was chosen as a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards, and was honored with Rainbow Awards in two categories. Love in the Present Tense enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on  national bestseller lists, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year Award at the British Book Awards. When I Found You spent two weeks dominating the US Kindle charts in the top three. Walk Me Home was #1 in Kindle at the same time as When I Found You held the #3 spot, causing Catherine to jump to #1 in Amazon author ranking, just above JK Rowling. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013 and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015.

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, The Sun and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O'Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.