GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Vicarious Living by Theo Fenraven

"The Osprey" by EcoCottages

“The Osprey” by EcoCottages

I’ve always been interested in tiny houses. You know what I’m talking about, right? There are a multitude of shows about the “tiny house movement” on various channels these days, extolling the virtues of going small and decreasing the carbon footprint. They are built on trailers to get around current building codes (and some states, including Florida, where I live, have declared war against them because MONEY). Some of them hook into city sewer and water while others can go off-grid.

In the last few years, I’ve gone from living in a 1000 sq. ft. house with fenced yard and full basement to a two-bedroom apartment, followed a year later by another move into a small one-bedroom place. After that, I fled to south Florida and now reside in a two-bedroom condo. Every time I relocated, I shed material goods, slowly but steadily donating/giving/dumping things I didn’t need.

If I were to move into a tiny house tomorrow, I’d have to get rid of even more!

That scares a lot of people, and I’m no exception. There is one thing I would not want to toss: my hardcover and paperback books. Despite constant winnowing over the years, I still have quite a number of them, and the thought of getting rid of them makes me sad.

Otherwise? I could so live in one hundred and sixty square feet. Though I currently have plenty of room, I live in the bedroom. Why? My neighbor is a jerk who likes to play his bass too loud, so I avoid the living room where we share a common wall; in summer, the lanai is too hot to use; the guest room is not very inviting. So I pretty much use the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. It works! I discovered I don’t need a lot of space.

Tiny house living is the idea that started me thinking about the book that eventually became Half Moon House, released 7/18. I had a starting point, but a vague idea does not a book make, so the next step was creating compelling, interesting characters.
And that’s when I came up with Jon and Cass. Jon is your typical college-educated, middle-class white guy, married with one kid, and living the good life… sort of. The original Cass was gay and flamboyant and blond and also white.

But a funny thing happened when I started writing. Cass whispered in my ear and said, “I’m not that man. I was born in Jamaica. I have dreadlocks to my waist, and there are beads and ribbons in them.” Those dreads figure heavily in the story, to the point where I briefly considered turning my boring Caucasian hair into them. Didn’t though. I rightly decided they wouldn’t fit who I am these days.

Instead, I enjoyed Cass’s beautiful dreads. Because that’s what writers do: they live vicariously through the lives of their characters.

So I was Jon and Cass. I got to reside in a tiny house with a gorgeous half-moon window in the loft. I lived next to a lake, woke up in the morning, and sat on a deck, sipping coffee and staring at the water. I saw a duppy (ghost), and I worked in a cool café near the Caloosahatchee River, wearing a sarong and eyeliner and spike heels, and in the end, well, I won’t tell you where I went next. You’ll have to read the book to find out. :)

As a human, I get one short life. As a writer, I have the pleasure of living several, enjoying cities all over the world and exploring various orientations and genders and lifestyles. I even get to have dreads and come from Jamaica. People who don’t write have no idea what they’re missing.


Half Moon House

Half Moon House by Theo Fenraven

Half Moon House by Theo Fenraven

Abandoned by an industry that has been decimated by the economy, and struggling in a marriage that isn’t quite the stuff of dreams, Jon Donovan is ready for a change. It appears in the shape of Cass Allen—as comfortable in a skirt and heels as he is in jeans—who has happily spent his life drifting from place to place and job to job.

Pragmatic and practical meets mystical and magical as they start a new business, help solve a murder, and are blindsided by a devastating betrayal neither of them saw coming.

The tiny house community has two new advocates, but Jon and Cass will only find their happy ending if they are willing to give up who they were and become the men they are supposed to be.

Buy Links: Amazon, ARe, Kobo, Page Foundry, Oyster


If you would like to enter for a chance to win a copy of Half Moon House, please leave a comment with your thoughts AND that you would like to be considered in the random drawing Thorny will do Tuesday, July 28, at 12:00 EST.

A Revision & A Title

After posting the opening of my new story in here, I got some great feedback, so I wanted to post the revision. How do you like it now? :)

Also, I’d love your opinions on the title I’ve chosen. First, though, some reasons for it:

  • I don’t want anyone to think it’s a kid’s story just because there’s a Teddy bear involved.
  • Someone else already used “This is not a fairytale” which would’ve been kinda perfect here.
  • I like it because it sounds sort of fantasy and maybe a little scary.

bearstitle

Continue reading

SNEAK PEEK: My Next Novel

This is the opening scene of the as-yet-untitled new story I’ve been working on :) I’m actually having some trouble deciding on a title because I don’t want it to sound like a kid’s book — teddy bears are a big part of it — and the title I’d latched onto originally was taken not too long ago by a LGBT YA book. But there’s plenty of time for titles ;)

Anyway, this is the story of Wells Granger, a man who’s recently getting his life going where he wants it to, and the very bad problem lurking under the beds of everyone in his new apartment building. Oh, and the sexy elf who, with Wells’ help, will save them all ;)


 

Chapter 1

“Hi! I’m Wells. I just moved into—”

When his neighbor slammed his door, Wells lost his smile and swallowed hard. Pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose, he looked left and right down the hall. No one else was around to see his latest humiliating attempt to meet the other people living on the second floor of his new apartment building.

All day long he’d been unloading his Silverado and hauling second-hand furniture and a billion cardboard boxes. All day long he’d seen people coming and going…with scowls on their faces.

At first, he’d felt like he shouldn’t interrupt. Whenever his father looked like that, no one bothered him for fear of becoming a target for whatever had upset him.

But Wells was twenty-six, moving into his first solo apartment, and life was finally getting good, damn it. He was happy and he was damn well going to let that show. He deserved to smile and bounce a little. Why shouldn’t he greet his neighbors and introduce himself while he was feeling so lovely?

Not one single person had said a kind word or shown even the smallest hint of being pleased to meet him. No handshakes, no questions, not even any eye contact. He was beginning to suspect he’d moved into a halfway house for perpetually cranky people.

Or that they knew something about him that pissed them off.

Wells gulped again and hustled into his apartment. Jeez, that brought back memories of high school. Being so cautious, planning his every action and word to make sure he’d be perceived as straight, and worrying about every look he couldn’t interpret. And then when he’d been outed, the disgust and derision had been impossible to miss. People said kids could be so cruel, but Wells knew adults could be worse.

Like his own father kicking him out, forcing him to couch-surf through his senior year.

Wells mentally shook that off. Things were great now and a few grumpy neighbors didn’t mean anything. Sometimes people were grouchy, and they might not even realize they were being rude. Heck, maybe that last guy was deaf and hadn’t heard Wells talking to him as he’d gone into his apartment.

So he’d let it pass, take care of his own business, and maybe knock on some doors tomorrow. Nodding to himself, Wells bounded down the stairs to get another group of boxes.

* * * Continue reading

Book Recommendation Day!

I have an Amazon gift card and I’m ready to use it! :D

Honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t used it all up by now, but it could just be that there were so many free stories out there to read, and then my backlog TBR list up and looked kinda meh so I’ve been reading those older comfort reads, you know? I think I go through periods where I do that. It’s not a bad thing, really, since I do love those stories.

So, what are your comfort reads? What have you recently been reading that’s knocking your socks off? It doesn’t have to be m/m or LGBT romance, but we kinda like it that way ;)

Come on and share! :D


(FYI, there are a few author names that, if you mention them in your comment, your comment will go into moderation. I’d prefer not to explain, but if your comment goes missing, that could be why. Thanks.)

Queer Romance Month Begins

queerromancemonthThorny let me know about Queer Romance Month a while back. We talked about what he might write for his guest post over there and I’m looking forward to reading what he ended up writing. When he shared with me the tentative schedule of posts for the month, I was impressed with the fact each day has at least 3 guests. That’s a lot of people speaking out about queer issues and romance fiction. I’m looking forward to reading those too.

Thorny’s on the list for Saturday, October 11, but I’m going to encourage you to go take a look at the QRM website every day. Why? To support our brothers and sisters in expressing themselves. Whatever they’ve decided to talk about, I think it’s important we all pump up the pageviews, leave a comment, and share the links.

Fiction with LGBT protagonists is still rare and our little niche of the romance world is still small and isolated. I don’t want for this event to be about marketing the latest book as much as I hope to about the ideas and people behind them. I want to see connections between me and a crowd of other people who’ve had those thoughts, lived through that, struggled for this same something more.

So you’ll probably see me around in the comments section and I hope to see you too. I hear they’re kicking things off over at Joyfully Jay’s today.