Thursday, September 27, 2012

Body Image and the Romantic Hero: CHASER

And we have a winner! Drumroll please... Through a random selection process involving my Boston Terrier, Lily, the following winner of an ebook edition of CHASER has been chosen. Congratulations, Dannyfiredragon. I'll be in touch, Danny, via e-mail, with your copy.

Welcome to my contribution to The Romance Reviews GLBT Madness Blog Hop, taking place today through September 30. Be sure to click on the blog hop icon at the bottom of this post to read the contributions of dozens of other authors--and to increase your chances of winning dozens of cool prizes. 

Since the publication of my new novel, Chaser, back at the end of August, I've gotten quite a few letters from readers thanking me for introducing a romantic hero who is not the ideal. See, the object of desire/affection in my story is Kevin and Kevin's a little overweight. The "chaser" in the title refers to the gay lingo term for men who prefer their men on the meatier side: chubby chasers.

My other main character, Caden is one of those men. Although Caden is a runner, with a lean and what some might call a perfect body, he prefers his men to have a little something to hold onto. Here's Caden's first glimpse of Kevin in a bar one night:

Caden did have his eye on one guy, down on the lower level at one of the high-topped tables, talking with a couple of friends. He stood out because he was not built like most of the guys here, who were, to a man, either too skinny or too pumped up to register on his attraction meter.

 This guy seemed comfortable in his own skin and Caden liked the way he threw back his head and laughed when one of his buddies said something funny. Unlike most of the other guys in Sidetrack that night, he did not show any signs that he was conscious of his appearance. Caden liked that he wore comfortable clothes, a cotton sweater of faded blue-gray and a simple pair of carpenter pants, most likely Carhartt. He peered over the rail and saw the guy’s feet were encased in work boots. Ah. A blue collar man. A working guy. Just my type. Caden also liked his tousled blond hair, which revealed fetching layers of color that went from almost brown, to wheat, to pale blond, to nearly platinum, yet revealed no indication, Caden thought, of the attentions of a hairdresser. And what put him on the “edge of glory” was the crowning touch: a thick beard, not manicured into tortured geometric lines.

And he was blessedly overweight. Not fat. But a bit of gut protruded, and his thighs, in denim, looked like tree trunks. When he turned around, he revealed an ass of ample proportions, the kind Caden could just imagine as two perfect, creamy white spheres perfect for grasping and pulling apart.

“Is it hot in here?” Caden shouted in Bobby’s ear. He took a gulp of beer and fanned his hand in front of his face.

Most of the time, in gay or straight romance, you don't find men like the one above. But in Chaser, I tried to show that objects of desire and/or love can come in all different shapes and sizes.

The vagaries of sexual attraction are definitely not a one-size-fits-all affair.

But if that was all there was to Chaser, there wouldn't be much of a story, now would there? As an author, I like there to be some drama, some tension, so I asked... "What would happen if...."

...and filled in the blank with "Kevin lost the weight that drew Caden to him in the first place?"

So, when Caden has to leave town suddenly for an extended period, he returns home to a man who is not at all what he was originally drawn to. How does one deal with such a situation? As the tag line on the cover of Chaser wonders: "Is it really what's on the inside that counts?"

Well, is it?

I think open-hearted people everywhere know the answer to that question, even if might be modified somewhat by "within limits". But to find out if Kevin and Caden are still a love match when body images change, you have to read Chaser to discover what happens.

I leave you with a sentence near the end of the book that may give you a clue to how things turn out:

Caden turned back to Kevin. The fight had gone out of him. He appraised him with new eyes.

And what do you think he saw?

Win a free ebook edition of Chaser by leaving a comment below. Please include your e-mail address so I know where to contact you if you win.

Or you can simply grab your own copy of Chaser by clicking on one of the links below:


  The Romance Reviews GLBT Madness Hop
Bookmark and Share


  1. Very interesting, Rick! I'd love to read it. In fact, will you have a copy to sell at GRL? There's no Rick R. Reed book in Iceland's LGBT library :O Actually, there aren't any fiction books written after 2003 in the library and I intend to change that.

    I'd love the chance to win a copy of this ebook though as I'm still deciding which of your books to buy in print.

    Can't wait to meet you at GRL! You seemed to be the star attraction last year and I've heard you're just as amazing in person as you are online ^.^ Expect to meet a short little Icelander with stars in her eyes at some point.

    Erica Pike

    eripike at gmail dot com

    1. Thanks, Erica. Yes, there will be copies of Chaser and Caregiver (and Rent, which releases tomorrow) for sale at GRL. I am so looking forward to it....and to meeting you. There will also be giveaways at the Gentlemens Juke Joint party, which I'm cohosting.

  2. Hi Rick
    I've read some great reviews about Chaser so looking forward to reading it. I like that you have written about a character thats not 'ripped' or showing off his however many pack of abs! In RL, not many of us (male or female) are as portrayed often in romances - even when female characters are portrayed as overweight, by the time I've worked their pounds back to stones/pounds, I'm thinking 'I was that when I was 14' or something similar.

    Littlesuze at hotmail dot com

  3. Hi Rick, Just discovered you. Love the excerpt and would definitely like to read the entire story. I love the realism in that one of your main characters isn't the usual 'body beautiful'.

  4. I've read Chaser and it's a great book. Good luck to everyone entering for a chance to win it. You're going to love Caden and Kevin!

  5. The excerpt is interesting and, of course, makes me want to read more. For someone who is into the bear culture, I can understand that the muscle-bound physique is not the only body type to attract attention. Those guys with a little 'meat on their bones' can be just as sexy! I look forward to reading the rest of your story.

    Alex Morgan

    1. Thanks, Alex.As a member of the bear culture, I wonder what your reaction would be if you found the perfect "meat on his bones" bear guy, fell completely for him, then life called you away for a few weeks. You return to a radically slimmed down version of you would you react?

  6. Thanks for taking part in the hop!

  7. The story sounds interesting, unique and captivating. I'm definitely interested in reading this.

  8. I've already read Chaser so don't enter me in the contest. Just wanted to tell you how much I loved it and I'm looking forward to Rent!


  9. Sounds like a good read... add me to the contest please.

    Christopher Hammel

  10. Would love a copy of Chase.


  11. I'd love to read Chaser. Sounds like a great story!

  12. Sounds great! Please count me in. Thanks!


  13. This pursues an interesting theme and I'd love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

  14. Thanks for the hop.Adding to my list.

  15. I have read Chaser already and I loved it! So no need to enter me in the drawing. Just wanted to let you know.

  16. The most tantalizing things about folks who,don't fit an idealized false standard is that often have no,idea how delectable they are. Bald men, for example, have no idea that people don't care! ;-)

    brendurbanist AT gmail DOT com

  17. Interesting premise. Thanks for participating in the Hop.

    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

  18. Sounds like a great book. Adding it to my list.

    smurfettev AT gmail DOT com

  19. I am looking forward to reading Chaser! Hopefuly I win so I can read it sooner :) chellebee66(at)gmail(dot)com

  20. As someone that is a little on the chunky side I would hope what is on the inside counts but in real life based on my experience it doesn't. But I can always dream! I hope in your book it does!
    Thanks for participating!
    OceanAkers @

  21. I love the idea of a less than perfect romantic hero! Well done. Nice to meet you on this hop.

  22. I would hope he saw a healthier version of the man he loved. I appreciate books where the hero or heroine aren't perfect as long as the characters don't obsess on it. There's nothing worse than reading a story where someone is constantly whining or yacking incessantly about their or another's personal issues. Yes, these issues can drive a story, but shouldn't overwhelm it.

  23. I love when the hero of the book is not perfect yet still finds love and happiness.

  24. Please count me in. Love these hops, because its a great way to discover new books and authors.

  25. Chaser sounds like a novel I will certainly enjoy. I have add it to my wish list.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  26. Hi Rick. I'm looking forward to reading this win or lose. You right I've never read a m/m storie like this. i have read a few in the m/f section before. thanks for being a part of this Blog Hop.


  27. This sounds like a really good one and am adding it to my wishlist but winning would be good too.

  28. I've been waiting to read Chaser, it sounds awesome, thanks for the giveaway!


  29. Chaser sounds fantastic. Can't wait to read it. I put it on my wishlist.


  30. I added this to my TBR stash on GR not too long ago. Really like the idea behind the book. Thank you for the chance!


  31. The book sound good.