Thank you so much, Raine, my new partner in crime, for welcoming me to The Hat Party to promote the release of The Art of Hero Worship, a New Adult LGBTQ Romance filled with suspense!!
I’ve written a lot of blog posts. No, that is far too great of an understatement, like saying “teenagers often roll their eyes.” I have written more blog posts than I have books, twenty-five times over, and let me tell you, I have written a lot of books in the past few years.
I’ve written guest blog posts about my love of music and coffee, cats and chocolate, and books by my favorite authors. I have discussed teen alcoholism and drug use, bullying, and gender identity. I have shared stories of my children and my parents and of course, of my husband, and tales of my youth as a strict Catholic and an outsider in high school. I have written of my career as a middle school teacher and my experiences as an ice cream scooper. And I have outlined my future, in terms of my writing goals and my personal goals. I have even been dropped (figuratively) on a remote island where I only have five critical items of my choice, and written to tell about it.
What’s left to write? Well, somehow new ideas kept popping up in the overly fertile ground that is my mind, but as of late, I have experienced a guest blog post drought, of sorts. And so today, I will share something I am working on, a new novel that will be more Young Adult than it is a romance, and a book with which I hope to break some new ground. As yet untitled, I refer to it as My Crunchy Life, because one of the characters prides himself on how he has evolved into the perfect retro hippy. This excerpt, however, focuses on the other main character, Julien.
I fucking hate it that when I get dressed in the morning for school all I can think about is Sydney Harper. She should have absolutely nothing to do with my clothing choices, or any other choices I make. But I’m not yet strong enough to disregard her turned up nose when it’s wrinkled with disdain because she’s clearly thinking, “Julien looks like a freak in leggings” and her eyes when they narrow into slits just wide enough to shoot arrows of scorn through… and then there are her words. Always well chosen, always cruel and demeaning, and always very public.
Her voice echoes in my head:
“Mrs. Rosen, you said you wanted the boys on one side of the room and the girls on the other, but where do the shemales go?”
“Julien, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.”
“You’re in the wrong place if you’re looking for RuPaul’s Drag Race, hon’.”
As I pull on yet another carefully selected androgynous ensemble—a white silky blouse, open at the neck, a loosely knotted narrow men’s tie, and black skinny jeans—I remind myself that high school is not a fashion show and I don’t go there to receive anyone’s stamp of approval. Which is probably good because I don’t think I’d have much success if this were my goal. I go to school to get straight A’s in the most challenging classes so that I can earn a full ride to a competitive college, and then go on to medical school, specialize in transgender healthcare, and take care of Ma.
By the time I get downstairs, Ma is already gone, and the guilty feeling surges. How long can she keep doing this—working twelve-hour shifts five days a week?
The guilty feeling seriously interferes with my ability to eat, but I force down a banana. Maybe I’ll stop by the Global Village Coffee Shop at the corner of the block for a caffeine infusion before I get on the bus.
I grab my trench coat, sling my messenger bag full of books over my shoulder, and head out the door. There’s just enough change in my pocket to buy a small cup of liquid energy at the coffee shop. As I walk down the sidewalk, though, I can’t stop my brain from traveling back in time.
After that day last spring when it was all too much for me and I decided I wanted out of this pretty little thing called life, everything changed. Not only had I been suffering over the bullying at school—which was par for the course in my life—but I had also become newly horrified with the changes that were starting to happen to my body. I was one of the last boys in the sophomore class to experience some of the classic changes that let the world know I was turning into a man, and a big part of me knew that this was responsible for a lot of the teasing I endured. But when the changes finally started to happen—hair growth in places I didn’t want hair, changes in my body and voice—I freaked out. It felt like I’d fallen into a hole I would never be able to climb out of.
After everything was said and done—in other words, when I didn’t kick the bucket as planned—Ma and me finally had “the talk.” I told her the truth, which was more complicated than coming out had been the year before. “Ma, I only want to keep living if I can be myself, and that means being the same girl on the outside that I am on the inside.” Thankfully, Ma heard me. And so we went on a series of visits to the Children’s Gender Center in Norwell, where it was decided that I would receive counseling and puberty blockers.
It was the beginning of a new life of hope for me, but at the same time was the start of endless work cycles for Ma.
“Changing genders ain’t free, Jules.”
I sigh and push open the glass door to Global Village Coffee Shop. But I end up using the change in my pocket to buy a whole grain carob chip muffin that I will present to Ma tonight for her evening snack.
Hi everybody! I’m back!!! Down here!! Thank you for reading my excerpt and I hope you will pick up a copy of The Art of Hero Worship.
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Book Name: The Art of Hero Worship
Release Date: February 14, 2016
Pages or Words: 212 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Gay Fiction,
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris
Trembling on the floor, pressed beneath a row of seats in a dark theater, college freshman Jason Tripp listens to the terrifying sound of gunshots, as an unknown shooter moves methodically through the theater, randomly murdering men, women, and children attending a student performance of Hamlet. Junior Liam Norcross drapes his massive body on top of Jason, sheltering the younger man from the deathly hail of bullets, risking his life willingly, and maybe even eagerly.
As a result of the shared horror, an extraordinary bond forms between the two young men, which causes discomfort for family and friends, as well as for Jason and Liam, themselves. And added to the challenge of two previously “straight” men falling into a same-sex love, are the complications that arise from the abundance of secrets Liam holds with regard to a past family tragedy. The fledgling passion between the men seems bound to fade away into the darkness from which it emerged.
Jason, however, is inexplicably called to rescue his hero in return, by delving into Liam’s shady past and uncovering the mystery that compels the older man to act as the college town’s selfless savior.
The Art of Hero Worship takes the reader on a voyage from the dark and chilling chaos that accompanies a mass shooting to the thrill of an unexpected and sensual romance.
No, I’m not even remotely safe. But thankfully I play dead far better than my dog did when I taught him that trick at the age of seven.
The shots are earsplitting and getting louder because the shooter’s heading our way. I’m so fucking scared I’m trembling violently, but I promised the guy lying on top of me that I’d stay still. I concentrate on taking short shallow breaths, one after another, in my effort to stop trembling. To stay frozen—like I’ve been since I pulled Ginny to the floor and promptly let go of her hand so I could curl up into a tight fetal ball.
Somebody near me sits up, scrambles to his knees, and impulsively crawls toward the far aisle.
“Bang, bang… you’re dead.” The voice comes from directly above me; it’s blank and monotone and controlled. The weird snicker that follows is chilling. I want nothing more than to throw the big guy off my back and run like hell toward the double doors, but I just keep on going with the short breaths and stay as still as I’ve ever been in my life. Even in my terrified state, I know that the guy on top of me is totally exposed and I can’t move because I’ll cheat him out of his life, for sure. Which is so not cool when he’s trying to save mine.
I smell blood. Never noticed the smell of blood before. It reminds me of Grandma’s penny collection… if it got spilled onto the sticky floor of the theater. The scent of old copper is everywhere… like wet pennies strewn all around me on the floor.
Shooter’s right above us now. Don’t move… don’t move… don’t move….
“Dear God, help us!” This request seems to catch the shooter’s attention and he turns around and steps away from us. I curse myself for feeling as relieved, and maybe even glad, as I do.
We wait and it seems like forever. We wait as voices beg and plead and pray and he shuts them up with bullets. We wait as the sound of shots moves to the front left near the exit, where I figure he’s shooting at anyone who tries to get out through the double doors.
And then, for a second, it’s quiet.
“Now….” The big guy’s voice is whispering but it seems to blast into my left ear. “We have to make our move now.” Before I agree, the heaviness of his body lifts and I feel cold and exposed. “This is our chance to get outta here….”
His hand is attached to the back of my wrist, clutching me so hard that I know I’ll have fingerprint bruises for a week… if I live so long.
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Meet the author:
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to CoolDudes Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Mia-KerickAuthor-231404220346244/
Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/bCLWfT
Amazon Author Page:
Tour Dates & Stops:
Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card