Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.
As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”
But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.
An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.
Pages or Words: 44,300 words
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
About 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-two 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 people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy 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 Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.
Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially 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.
Stop by Mia’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind. Find Mia on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6474518.Mia.Kerick
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris
1 If you could be any character male or female from one of your books, who would it be and why?
I’d have to say I would be Chance César from Love Spell. I had a blast writing him because he has an attitude that I wish I had. He just doesn’t get defeated. He is a fighter. He is lots of fun. And very sassy.
2 How do you think your writing has developed since you started?
I’ve learned a lot from different editors as well as from reviewers who give me honest criticism. From editors, I learned to CUT. The less words the better, and I learned not to over-explain. I also became aware of words that I repeat (Thanks, Louis!) And may other things.
From reviewers, I learned that I can’t rush the ending of a novel, which I still sometimes do (but I now know it is not to my book’s advantage). I have learned stylistic techniques that drive readers crazy, which I don’t necessarily avoid, but I use to a lesser degree. Thanks, readers!
Overall, I have improved greatly since I wrote Beggars and Choosers, but I know I will continue to evolve and improve as a writer.
3 Are you tempted to write in other genres?
I will be honest and say no. I love writing in the YA LGBTQ Contemporary Romance genre, and I think it suits me. No desire to roam, but I have written gay, lesbian, and now gender fluid. So I am flexible within the genre.
4 Do you have an image in your mind of your characters before you start? Do you use photos or character interviews? How do you bring them to life?
I need an image in my mind of the characters in order to write about them. I search the Internet for just the right guy to “be” each character, print a few pictures of him, and then I can write. I do not conduct character interviews, but when I lie in bed at night I think about my characters. The problem with doing this is sometimes these new characters tell me things about them that I can’t afford to forget, so I have learned to keep a notepad beside my bed. They talk to me when I’m in the shower, too, so I leave a note pad and a Sharpie marker (waterproof) on the sink.
5 What are your strengths as a writer?
My biggest strength as a writer is my ability to create a believable and sympathetic narrator’s voice. I think I can do this so easily because I am extremely empathetic, so much so that it is hard to watch the news because I feel everybody’s pain. When I write I become the character, and it is easy for me to know exactly what he’d think and feel and say.
6 What stories inspired you to write?
Much of my inspiration is found in music. One of my daughters made a CD for me called “Writing Songs” and I listened to it every time I worked on Beggars and Choosers. My kids accused me of liking only “guys who sing with raspy voices”, which might be true. That was a long time ago.
Since then, I have written Intervention that was about a young man who could only reach his love interest when he sang to him in the coffee bar they both worked at. I used many of my favorite, most inspirational songs within the book. Yes, many of the vocalists, male and female, had raspy voices. Not Broken, Just Bent was inspired by the song by Pink of the same name, and Here Without You was inspired by the song by 3 Doors Down. “She Keeps Me Warm” by Mary Lambert inspired Come To My Window, which I self-published. And “Come To My Window” is the name of an awesome Melissa Etheridge song. I have recently written and signed a novella inspired largely by The Beatles.
7 Which of the characters in your books did you have the most fun writing?
Definitely Chance César in Love Spell. His use of language, his personal style, his sassy attitude, his determination—it was all so much fun. I want to write another book that makes me laugh when I proofread SOON!!
8 How much happens in your brain before you know you have a story?
There is an anxiety that crosses my mind—OMG I’m never gonna get another idea again—and before I know it, I’m searching the Internet. I listen to music, watch YouTube, read uncommon fairy tales, look at pictures of various types of guys (emo, goth, preppy) and little by little it just comes together. Once in a while an idea just pops into my brain—and then I have to figure out what to do with it. See #9
9 Do you have to envision an entire plot or just a few ideas?
I have to have a sense of who is involved, what my main theme will be, the good guys, the bad guys, and a general direction. Armed with these things, I can start writing. Usually after two or three chapters, I stop and write a rough outline. But nothing is written in stone, as characters sometimes do not do what you tell them to.
10.What is the best part about being a writer? What’s the most challenging?
Creative Expression is THE BEST PART!! I’m never bored as there is no time! I get to touch readers’ hearts and inspire them. I get to work when I want to!
Challenges—summed up—using my computer without driving myself crazy. Who am I trying to kid? It is too late. The Gods of Technology have pushed me over the edge.
Thank you, Cate, for having me today! I hope you all check out Love Spell and LAUGH!!
Not to say that I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days, but I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days. Yes, I was oh-so-pathetically waiting for his call, which I am aware fully explains the need for the phrase “get a life.” But Jazz hadn’t been at school on the Thursday or Friday after he had called and cancelled our playdate, and now it’s Sunday night, and I still haven’t heard from him. And although I’m frustrated that all of my elaborate plans to make him fall head over heels in love with moi have apparently tanked, I’m also growing genuinely concerned.
That’s when my cell phone, which I placed on my chest before I lay down on my now “love-spell-pink” wrapped mattress, starts singing Express Yourself.
“Yo.” I don’t check the number. It’s Emmy—who else would it be?
“Hi, Chance.” The deep voice is so not Emmy’s.
Yaaassss!!! This is what ninety-nine percent of my insides shout. One percent says quietly, “It’s about frigging time you called, asshole.”
But my voice is calm. “Jasper,” I say blandly. In my opinion, he hasn’t earned the right to be called Jazz any longer.
“Um, sorry, no. It’s Jazz.”
I try not to roll my eyes even though I know he won’t see, but it’s an epic fail. “Whatever.”
“I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch for a couple days. My mom’s been real sick. I was lookin’ after her, gettin’ her to the doctor, goin’ to the pharmacy, bringing JoJo back and forth to school, and stuff.”
“Mom caught JoJo’s strep throat and had to go to the ER because she couldn’t even swallow.” He stops talking for a second and then clears his voice. “Alls she could do was spit into a rag whenever she needed to swallow.”
Well, that’s definitely TMI, but I get the fucker-nelly revolting picture. “I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault, dude.”
And then there’s silence.
“Gonna take JoJo to the library after school tomorrow. But first I gotta stop by the cable company and pay up or we’re gonna lose our TV and internet at home. They already warned us like twice.”
“Want me to pick up Yolo at school and take her to the library?” I’m so freaking pissed off at him. Why am I offering to save his ass again?
“That’s cool of you to offer, but there’s a bus she can take to the library from her school. Could ya be waiting for her at the library, in case I get held up?”
“Of course.” I’m a Class A sucker.
“You’re such a cool pal.” Ugh—so not what I’m going for.
“I’m not gonna be at lunch tomorrow seein’ as I’ll probably be collecting my makeup work. So, I’ll see ya at the library. ‘Kay?”
I don’t say kkkk cuz it’s not even slightly cool. “Sure. The libes after school, it is.”
“Thank you, bro,” Jazz offers.
One more silence, and then I say, “Later.”
I have research to do.
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