Omorphi by C. Kennedy from Harmony Ink Press

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Blurb:

High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.

Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s team-mates becomes an enemy and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together.

Purchase Omorphi from   Harmony Ink Press    Amazon    Barnes & Noble   ARe/OmniLit

Omorphi-200x300About Cody:

Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody Kennedy doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as: If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary.

Find Cody: Facebook    Goodreads    Twitter @CodyKAuthor
Cody’s Blog – http://www.ckennedyauthor.blogspot.com/
Cody’s Free Serial Story, Fairy – http://www.fairybycodykennedy.blogspot.com/p/about-fairy.html
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/CodyKennedyAuthor?ref=hl
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5816900.C_Kennedy
Twitter @CodyKAuthor

Follow Omorphi’s blog tour for three chances to win an ebook copy of Omorphi! http://ckennedyauthor.blogspot.com/2013/09/let-omorphis-blog-tour-begin.html

Guest Blog: Jamie Mayfield – Tackling Issues in LGBT YA Fiction

1078380_10151627199984685_2008443037_nI first heard the phrase “Issue Fiction” at RT earlier this year. It’s the concept of writing about things like eating disorders, drug abuse, self-harm, and other gripping issues facing teenagers into YA fiction. I attended a panel on the subject where they discussed how to approach such topics, and thought to myself – our kids have to deal not only with the same issues as an average teenager, but an entire layer of being “different” on top of that. Plus, being taught to hate yourself helps to manifest other behaviors that may not have otherwise surfaced.

As a YA author, I think it’s important not to gloss over these topics, but to give teens an honest look with consequences and solvable problems. Give them hope, but show them that sometimes, they have to work for it. Mainstream books like Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson or Willow by Julia Hoban show the depth of pain involved with self-mutilation while other books like All of Me by Maureen Stewart or The Best Little Girl in the World by Steven Levenkron talk eating disorders. Other books cover the spectrum of drug and alcohol abuse—all subjects that teenagers shouldn’t have to deal with, but do, every day.

1082298_10151627202829685_1571613525_nIn the Waiting for Forever series, Jamie battles a serious drug addiction. He makes some good choices, and some bad choices—both have consequences.  Teens who read the series learn that even good people make bad choices, and they have to live with those choices. Having sex, blowing off college, getting into porn, coming out, drugs, standing up for your friends, putting your life back together—everything has repercussions, some good, some bad. In A Broken Kind of Life, Aaron is recovering from a traumatic experience that many adults wouldn’t be able to come back from. He meets Spencer, a deaf classmate and finds the strength to fight his demons and persevere.

By bringing these issues out into the open and talking about them, my hope as an author is that teens will see themselves in these books and be able to find some peace within themselves. With a teen in the Harmony Ink age range, I want them to seek out help—a parent, a teacher, or some other adult they trust and find the help they need. For our LGBT kids—I want them to know that they’re not alone. There is an entire community of us all around them, and we love and accept them just the way they are. When they’re ready, we want to watch them shine.

Jamie Mayfield is celebrating the release of the Waiting for Forever series with a 12-week blog tour and giveaway. View the full tour schedule HERE. Comment on any blog tour post or tweet using hashtag #WaitingForForever to enter to win a Kindle! Drawing will be held on 8/15/2013. You must be 18 to enter and have a valid US mailing address.

About Jamie Mayfield:

1082776_10151627199644685_2134619801_nA survivor of the ex-gay residential institution The Sunshine Center, fictional author Jamie Mayfield went on to find his voice in novels. Always a great lover of books, Jamie found his passion as he began to pursue a liberal arts degree in creative writing. An avid reader, he’s a fan of gay romance, suspense, and horror—though not all in the same novel.

Jamie lives in San Diego with his fictional husband, Brian. He writes YA fiction as a way to let kids know that they have an entire LGBT family all around them. Above all, he wants them to know that they are not alone. It does get better.

Jamie Mayfield is a fictional character from the acclaimed Little Boy Lost series by female author J. P. Barnaby.

Website: http://www.JamieMayfield.com
Tumblr: http://JamieMayfieldYA.tumblr.com
Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/JamieMayfieldYA
Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/JamieMayfieldYA

Guest blog: Eli Easton – Inspiring “Superhero”

Today, we welcome guest blogger Eli Easton, talking about the inspiration for her new YA novella, Superhero!

“Superhero” is my new YA novella from Harmony Ink.  It’s a story about two best friends, Jordan and Owen, growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, and the way their relationship changes as each character comes to terms with his sexual orientation.  Jordan realizes in sixth grade that he’s gay.  For Owen, it’s a much longer and more difficult road to find his own truth, one that strongly tests the nature of he and Jordy’s friendship. “Superhero” is primarily a m/m romance with lots of heart, a little angst, and some sexual tension!

So where did the idea for the book come from?  There were a few inspirations.  I began the story as an entry for a sports-themed anthology (Owen is a high school star wrestler).  But it soon became clear to me that I was going to go WAY over the word count limit so I decided to write it as a stand-alone novella instead.

The inspiration for the high school setting for this love story was Fer and David, characters on a Spanish TV show who play two high school boys who fall in love.  The show is called Física o Química (English: Physics or Chemistry).  I discovered the show while browsing around youtube and trolled the web until I found videos with English subtitles.

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Fer (in back) and David, played by Javier Calvo and Adrian Rodriguez

What I particularly like about Fer and David is the fact that the show is a soap opera about a high school, and Fer and David are just one plotline among many and are treated much like any other romance.  They have a loving and public relationship, including PDA in the halls, and neither the teachers nor the others students have a problem with it.  That was very refreshing to me.

Fer was an inspiration for Jordan.  He was the model for what Jordan looks like (a tall and very lean cute brunette) and for Jordan’s self-confident attitude.  Like Fer, Jordan is completely comfortable being gay and he’s really very emotionally mature.

Of course, I don’t live in Spain. I grew up in Ohio so I set my YA story in the American Midwest where things are not quite so progressive.  Being gay is definitely not widely accepted at Jordan and Owen’s school and so that figured into the plotline of “Superhero” in a big way.  And Jordan, unlike Fer, is a very talented artist who is obsessed with comic books and in love with his best friend.  Owen is not really anything like David in the show.  He’s an athlete, a wrestler from a family of wrestlers, who ends up being good enough to be ranked number one in the state.  At his core Owen is a big-hearted, very responsible guy. But the really important thing about these two is not so much who they are as individuals, but the beauty and strength of their friendship.  They’ve been best friends since second grade and nothing can come between them.

As a writer, I love it when I find something that excites me and makes me feel intensely.  I want to channel those emotions and direct them into my work.  Because if I can feel passionately about something, I know my audience can too.  So whether the inspiration is a friend, a beautiful painting, a song, a movie, a biography, or a TV show, I’m happy to let that emotion churn up inside me and get poured into a new work that will then, perhaps, inspire others.

If you want to check out Fer and David’s story, here’s a link to videos with English subtitles:

http://foqmylife.tumblr.com/Playlist

And here’s a lovely screen grab of Fer and David from a FoQ fan on tumblr:

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Eli Easton

Read an excerpt from “Superhero” here:  http://elieaston.com/books-by-eli-easton/superhero/

Peekaboo, Spooky & Brimstone Slot Canyons hike, Escalante, UtahAbout Eli Easton

Eli Easton is a new nom de plume for an author who has primarily published mystery thrillers in the past.  As an addict of m/m romance novels, she decided to tip her size-nine toe in the water and write in the genre herself.  “Superhero” is her first YA novella.  She has various other m/m titles out or soon releasing from Dreamspinner Press.  She lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows, and six chickens.  You can get news about her books at the links below:

Eli on goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7020231.Eli_Easton

Eli’s blog:  www. elieaston.com

Eli’s Tumblr:   http://elieaston.tumblr.com/

Eli’s Twitter:  EliEaston

Superhero links:

Buy at Dreamspinner here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4081

On Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17855574-the-lion-and-the-crow

Eli Easton’s website:  www.elieaston.com

GIVE AWAY:

Check out True Colorz for an interview with Eli and a chance to win a free ebook of “Superhero” (just leave a comment). http://true-colorz.blogspot.com/search/label/featured%20author

Guest Blogger: Madison Parker on Gay Siblings

Play Me, I'm Yours Blog Tour - Madison Parker

Gay Siblings

If you’ve been following me along my blog tour, you know I’ve talked a bit about bullying. One of the things I was interested in exploring when writing Play Me, I’m Yours, was the impact that bullying can have on other family members. In the novel, Lucas has a younger brother named Mason, who is fifteen years old. Because their age difference is only two years, they attend the same high school. Mason is well aware of the taunting Lucas endures, and it greatly affects the relationship he has with his brother. Mason doesn’t have a problem with Lucas being gay per se, but rather the impact it has on his own social life. Mason’s mindset is one of self preservation. He gets angry when people tease him for having a gay brother, and even angrier when people assume he’s gay too. He lashes out at the easiest target—his brother.

I hope readers find Mason to be a sympathetic character. Sure, he’s a brat, but deep down, he’s a good kid. Although much of his internal struggle occurs off-page or is implied through dialogue (both by the things he says and the things he refrains from saying), I think he’s one of the most interesting characters in the novel, and he does show personal growth over time.

Interestingly enough, studies have shown that younger sons are more likely to be gay than older sons. Had the ages been reversed (if Lucas were the younger gay brother, and if Mason were the older, straight brother), I think the relationship would have played out very differently. Mason, in that case, would probably be more outwardly protective of his brother. But since Lucas is the older brother, the one Mason is supposed to “look up to”, the stigma surrounding Lucas’s effeminate nature causes a lot of resentment on both ends. Lucas looks at his younger brother as the type of person he’s “supposed” to be—the one everyone loves and admires. Neither brother feels he has anyone he can talk to about his feelings. Their parents come with a whole other set of issues. The saddest part is that everyone means well. They’re all just horrible at communicating with one another, as is the case in many families.

Andy Squared by Jennifer LavoieI haven’t read many “coming out” stories that deal with sibling relationships. Many focus on the reactions of parents and friends instead. One notable exception is Andy Squared by Jennifer Lavoie. In that story, the young gay man has a fraternal twin sister, who reacts very badly to her brother’s coming out. In this novel, her feelings stem from her personal beliefs that homosexuality is wrong, and she has a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that her brother, whom she has always been close to, is gay.

What I have not yet come across in fiction, although I’ve seen some articles and videos about the subject online, are stories of families with multiple gay siblings. Surely authors are writing about that too, and if you have any recommendations for me, please list them in the comments.

Resources, such as “My Brother or Sister is Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual“, published by PFLAG are available to help family members deal with questions and concerns they have regarding gay siblings.

Of course not all siblings struggle with finding out their brother or sister is gay. Some offer unconditional love and support from the beginning, and in some cases, finding out a sibling is gay even strengthens the relationship. In closing, I’d like to share the video “My Brother Does My Makeup TAG! (feat. Brian)“, made by YouTube vlogger Coen with his (adopted) younger brother, Brian. Although Coen is an out-and-proud gay man (see his coming out video here) whose look is the perfect blend of both masculine and feminine beauty, his younger brother, Brian, appears to be completely comfortable with Coen and his love of makeup. I love how playful they are with one another. I also love the part of the video where Brian reaches for a blush brush and Coen says, “Why do guys always like the big fluffy brushes?” and Brian, without even thinking about it, says, “You’re a guy.”

Mason could learn a thing or two from hanging out with Coen and his brother!

Play Me, I'm Yours by Madison ParkerPlay Me, I’m Yours by Madison Parker
Published by Harmony Ink Press

Fairy Tate. Twinklefingers. Lucy Liu. Will the taunting ever end? Lucas Tate suffers ridicule because of his appearance and sensitive nature. When he’s not teased, he’s ignored, and he doesn’t know which is worse. His one comfort in life is his music; he feels unloved by everyone. What he wants more than anything is to find a friend.

Much to his dismay, both his mom and a schoolmate are determined to find him a boyfriend, despite the fact Lucas hasn’t come out to them. His mom chooses a football player who redefines the term “heartthrob,” while Trish pushes him toward the only openly gay boy at Providence High. But Lucas is harboring a crush on another boy, one who writes such romantic poetry to his girlfriend that hearing it melts Lucas into a puddle of goo. All three prospects seem so far out of his league. Lucas is sure he doesn’t stand a chance with any of them—until sharing his gift for music brings him the courage to let people into his heart.

Click here to read the first chapter.
Purchase Links

Visit Madison Parker’s Website at www.madisonparklove.com for bonus materials including character sketches, piano covers, music videos, and lyrics for songs referenced in the novel.

Connect with Madison:
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Enter to WinTo celebrate the release of Play Me, I’m Yours, Madison Parker is hosting a giveaway. Enter to win your choice of a free copy of Play Me, I’m Yours or a $10 gift certificate from Rainbow eBooks by leaving a comment below along with your email address. For multiple chances to win, comment at each stop along the tour. Click here for the complete tour schedule. Winners will be chosen randomly on April 23.