Monthly Archives: June 2013

Write On the Edge Blog Radio

I participated in an author round table on the Write On the Edge Blog Talk Radio show with some of the other authors in the Mixed Tape Anthologies – Cherie Noel, Jambrea Jones, Embry Carlysle and also Kris Jacen, the editor.

It was a lot of laughing and fun, but you’ll also get to hear how each of us came up with our stories and how we picked the songs we chose.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marketingforromancewriters/2013/06/28/write-on-the-edge-showcasing-the-mixed-tapes-anthologies

After you listen, answer the question on Wt Prater’s blog and be entered for the chance to win a Mixed Tape story!

http://jwasg.blogspot.com/2013/06/write-on-edge-and-chance-at-free-books.html

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Free Giveaway for Pride Weekend!

June has been a busy month! Along with the release of my first published book, Heaven, I have also been excitedly preparing for my first Pride event! If any of you are going to Columbus pride on Sat. June 22nd, stop by our author booth and say hi and grab some free goodies!

Before Heaven was released I posted a few fun and frivolous posts about the fashion and music of the 80’s, so if you are a first-time visitor to my blog go back and check them out–there are some short excerpts from the book posted as well. For the most part Heaven is a light-hearted story about two best friends—Joey and Brian—coming of age and falling in love in the 80’s.

But along with the frivolous flashbacks of the music and fashion from that era in the story, there is also woven throughout some real glimpses of gay life in the 80’s, and I thought those would be some good parts to discuss during Pride week.

For Joey, we get to see him figure out pretty early on that he is not like the other boys who are all into which girls are hot and which ones they can get to first base with, etc. And there are small scenes of how (living in a small Iowa town) he has to hide that he’s gay from the kids at school, etc. who already think he’s a freak.

Brian and Joey, of course could also NEVER go to their prom, it wouldn’t have even been considered in those days. So it is so enlightening to see the hear the story of the teen couple in New York, Brad Taylor and Dylan Meehan, who got voted by their peers as Cutest Couple. They not only got their picture in their yearbook, but they also got to go to their prom together. (a friend sent me this video interview the boys did on their prom night and they are just adorable and inspiring. Sure this kind of thing isn’t happening in every high school in America and there are still way too many kids getting harassed and bullied for being gay—but it’s wonderful to see that some strides have been made in the last twenty-five years.

Cutest Couple goes to Prom

Now, as much as I love Joey and Brian . . . the two men who ended up stealing my heart were the Uncles. They kept speaking up and sneaking into scenes and being all adorable together.  However, they also had an important role to Joey and Brian not just as parental figures, but also as gay men. Joey, especially, turns to them when he begins to realize he is gay.

And throughout the story, we do get to find out a little bit about how life has been for them, trying to live together as a gay couple in the midwest, getting strange looks out in public, etc.

Again, though there are still strides to make, things have thankfully come a long way since the 80’s.

This weekend to celebrate Pride, I am giving away a copy of Heaven! Just leave a comment (and make sure your email is attached) on this post before midnight Sun., June 23 to be entered!

Release Day!!!

My story Heaven is finally out from MLR!!

Buy links below:

http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=CJAHEAVN

http://www.amazon.com/Heaven-ebook/dp/B00D97A9U2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1370672032&sr=1-1

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-heaven-1219017-149.html

You can also buy Vol. 1 of the whole set of Mixed Tape stories together:

http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=MT1_0000

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html

The Music Revolutions of the 80’s

Since the whole concept of the Mixed Tape anthology (out tomorrow at MLR Press!) was born from that iconic 80’s music invention – the Mixed Tape, for today’s post I thought it seemed appropriate to talk about what else – music!

Of course there has been a major revolution in the 90’s and 2000’s from CDs and radio to MP3’s and internet streaming. But there were some big changes in the 80’s too. We went from vinyl records to cassette tapes to CD’s. I’ve been a big music lover from my preteens on and the first rock album I bought was Pat Benatar’s Live from Earth. It kept skipping though and after a couple trips back to the store to exchange it for another (only to discover it skipped as well), my mom bought me a small boom box for good grades. So all of my 80’s music collection was on cassette. And yes I had mixed tapes, but not with any theme or rhyme or reason. They were mostly just a random mix of songs I liked that I taped from the radio. I saw Matchbox 20 earlier this year and Rob Thomas told a story of how he used to sit there, fingers paused on the record button, waiting for the DJ to stop talking and play the song. Yep, did that! 🙂

There was another big revolution of the time, that I did include in Heaven. It was the music video. Made famous of course by MTV, which debuted August 1, 1981. In the beginning the VJs didn’t even have enough videos to fill up 24 hours and they had to keep rerunning the same ones. But the popularity of the video soon exploded and changed the music industry and the way we listened to music. Although MTV doesn’t play videos anymore, in the 80’s, often the first time you heard a song might not have been the radio but on MTV instead.MTV logo 1981 june16

Now, I lived in a small Midwestern town growing up, so our cable system didn’t get MTV until years later – I think I had already left for college before we got it. So my memories of watching videos as a teenager involved staying up after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights, watching programs on cable like Night Tracks and Friday Night Videos.

The original MTV VJ’s recently released a book talking about what it was like in the early days of MTV.

http://www.amazon.com/VJ-Unplugged-Adventures-First-ebook/dp/B008J2C2J8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370536476&sr=8-1&keywords=MTV+VJ

I heard a radio interview with them after I had already written Heaven and submitted it and (in talking about the influence of MTV) Nina Blackwood made the comment that “MTV brought the world to kids living in places like Iowa.” I squeed a little because in my story, MTV is a big influence on my character of Joey as he is growing up and creating his image.

In the vein of “everything’s on the internet these days,” you can actually watch videos of the first hours of MTV from that very first day. And see a list of the first 100 videos played, in their order. (Links below)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_music_videos_aired_on_MTV

And now I’m going to stop because I’m starting to feel old. 🙂

~~~~~

From Heaven –Anthony_Front_Cover_72

The cushions sagged as he plopped himself on the couch, propping his feet—clad in one purple sneaker and one green sneaker—on the coffee table. “Are you ready for the revolution, Bri-baby?”

I rolled my eyes as I got up to turn the TV on to the right station. It wasn’t quite midnight yet so the only thing on the screen was running video from what looked like a rocket launch from NASA. The MTV logo was in the bottom corner though, so it was the right channel.

“I don’t get the big deal. Nothing but music videos, ever? I bet they’re off the air in a month.”

Joey turned toward me with crossed arms, shaking his head.

“You are such a grumpy old man. Has anyone told you you’re not forty?”

I bopped him in the head with a pillow and he fought back. We were tussling like that when suddenly the MTV theme music came on. The screen flashed some crazy animation of an astronaut on the moon, and then it all began.

The very first video was some band I’d never heard of singing something about video killing the radio star. It was cheesy and crazy and awesome all at the same time.

Okay, so maybe this music video thing was pretty cool. I looked over at Joey after a few more videos played and in the flickering light of the TV screen—the only light in the room—he looked like he was in another world. His eyes were wide, his mouth was stuck in this “O” shape. I had to poke him a few times to finally get his attention. As he came back to earth, this huge smile erupted across his face. It was infectious and as I shook my head I couldn’t help but smile back. Then one of us started laughing, which started the other one laughing, which eventually caused Uncle Gary to yell down at us to keep the noise down.

So we shut up and settled back into the couch to watch the world come to our little TV in the Middle-of-Nowheresville, Iowa.

OhmiGod!! Did I really wear that?

So if it’s not obvious yet by my theme this week, Heaven, which I wrote for MLR’s Mixed Tape anthology takes place in the 80’s. The only real rule for the submission call was to write a romantic story around an 80’s song–otherwise it could conceivably be about anything or take place anywhere. But I was an 80’s girl and the story of two best friends growing up in the 80’s just took flight before I could even write one word down.

So I thought it would be fun this week to tease the book with some 80’s flashback posts (well flashbacks for those of us old enough to remember the 80’s) .  Today I thought we’d discuss Fashion.

Now, every decade has it’s own (good or bad) style trends that we may look back on with fond memories or we may burn every piece of clothing and every picture from that era. The 80’s though were definitely distinctive. The picture below is sampling of some style trends from back in the day.

80sfashion

Look familiar to anyone? I would love to say that picture was 25 years old, but I actually took that picture while shopping at a Kohl’s two weeks ago.  Yep, some of the 80’s trends are creeping back in. The striped jacket I could live with, but the patterned pants? Really? Did someone really think that was a good idea again? I think I did actually own a couple pairs of patterned jeans back in high school (when I was a skinny little thing) but I am too old (and a few pounds heavier) to do them again.

Other fashions of the times I remember sporting:
I had a huge fluorescent pink sweatshirt, leg warmers, long baggy blouses that I belted. I remember fingerless lace gloves and a wristful of bracelets ala Madonna, and a black fedora ala John Taylor from Duran Duran, *sighs dreamily* 🙂

I know there was more but I think I’ve blocked them from memory. So  now that I’ve come clean, what about the rest of you? What  “totally awesome” duds did you wear in the 80’s?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

from Heaven:Anthony_Front_Cover_72

We were both excited to finally be starting high school. And underneath, secretly a little scared but we didn’t talk about that. We were cool, we were awesome, we were now in high school.

The first morning I was still in my bedroom getting my stuff together, when Joey rapped on my window, then shoved the sill up and jumped on in. I think my mouth dropped open for like five minutes. He was still wearing his signature two-different colored shoes, but the rest of him was completely new to me. He was wearing a gray suit jacket that was at least a size too big for him, with the sleeves rolled up to his elbow, a red and white wide-striped t-shirt underneath and his jeans were rolled up to just above his ankle, showing off his one red shoe and one yellow shoe. Casey had taken Joey thrift-store shopping last weekend and when he got back Joey was bouncing off the walls with all the “cool” things he said he’d found and for dirt-cheap. I just hadn’t seen any of the things he’d bought yet. I was personally a little weirded out by the thought of wearing some stranger’s rejects, no matter how many times you washed them.

The real topper to the whole ensemble though, was the hair. He’d been letting it grow this summer, and it was just long enough in the front to hang down into his eyes, with the back creeping down his neck, almost to the top of his shoulders. It was kind of well, messy was the best word to describe it. But the big thing was, he had bleached his bright red hair platinum blond with a couple of red streaks in the front.

“How awesome do I look?” He did a little twirl, ending with his hands on his hips.

“Wha—what did you do to your hair?”

He just shrugged. “The red was too boring.”

I pointed. “But you added red to your hair…that was already red.”

“Not the same at all. This is Passion Red.” He tugged on the red strands of hair.

“And…blond?”

“Isn’t it bitchin’? Same shade as Nick Rhodes hair!”

It’s 80’s Week!

I came across this YouTube video and thought it would be the perfect way to start off the theme for release week.

 

Your high school years will be some of the best years
of your life—yeah right. Anthony_Front_Cover_72Try some of the worst.

Best friends since they were five, Joey Whitcomb–a Freak—and Brian Davis—a Brain—just want to survive the landmine of their 80’s high school years. Upheaval begins when Brian gets elevated unwittingly to boyfriend of the Queen of the Popular clique. But when Brian (with a little help from Bryan Adams) comes to an epiphany about his true feelings for his best friend does he risk ruining their friendship for a little piece of Heaven?