Take My Hand

TakeMyHand_lowres

“Take my hand.” A simple request with the power to change everything.

Artist Clay Cahill retreats to her hometown of Pine Cone, Georgia, when she’s betrayed by a woman she thought cared and the pressure of the New York City art world becomes too much. Setting paints aside, she takes a job at her grandfather’s garage seeking the restorative comfort of small town life where women are sweet and life flows as slow as molasses.

Manhattan art gallery owner River Hemsworth is preparing for a show when she’s informed her aunt has bequeathed her a local gallery in Pine Cone, a place where the idea of fashion is anything with a Carhart label. En route to review inventory and unload the property quickly, River wrecks and Clay comes to her rescue.

If River can convince Clay to start painting again, she may be able to pull off the show that will make her career and quench the desires she never expected to feel again.

Welcome to part one of the sweet, romantic adventures of Pine Cone, Georgia. I was super excited to write this trilogy with two of my favorite authors: VK Powell and D. Jackson Leigh

Trilogy wallpaper

 

Getting started

Isn’t that the hardest part sometimes? Just sitting down and putting the first lines on paper. I can’t seem to move forward until I get a first paragraph that I feel good about and the very first line needs to feel just right. I’ve realized that many of my books begin with taking a first step, crossing a threshold, which is usually a signal that things for the main character are about to change.

For my newest work in progress, Spencer’s Cove, there is no first step. There’s a cat, who has no concept of how much he weighs (18 lbs.) and a mystery to be solved… oh, and a painfully shy heiress.

Now, back to work on that first chapter.

Spencers Cove LOW res

The Moment When Everything Changes

Wedding Day

It’s hard to believe that only days after writing the previous blog post about coming out in the Deep South we’d be celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide. I woke this morning on the West Coast to texts and emails from friends on the East Coast sharing the news.

After a celebratory dance, in the kitchen with my wife, in our pajamas, I had two thoughts. The first was that we’d be able to move back to Georgia if we wanted to at some point in the future because I wouldn’t have to worry about my wife not being protected by the law, or our relationship. Now they both are. And then the second thought was that for youngsters in the future, everything would be different.

Future generations of kids won’t have to hide their feelings or feel lesser than others for who they love. They’ll be able to marry and create a family with the person they fall in love with, regardless of gender. Discrimination against gay people will be something they read about in history books. As decades pass it’ll sound as strange to them as racial segregation now sounds to us.

The passage of marriage equality is a great legacy for our generation to leave to the next. We send the message that “love truly is the greatest unseen force in in the universe.” That love has the power to ultimately triumph over bigotry, dogma and even politics.

In an interview about my first book, All Things Rise, I said that I imagined a time when being gay is as unquestioned and un-judged as is having blue eyes. That some might call it fantasy or science fiction, but that I’d like to think it’s the future.

I’m celebrating today because the future is now.

President Obama commemorated today’s historic Supreme Court ruling with a quote from Robert Kennedy. It’s one of my favorites, and it’s a great call to action for any injustice:

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Love won!

All Things Rise is OUT!!

Missouri Vaun and All Things Rise

My All Things Rise selfie :-). Tweet me yours at @MissouriVaun or post it on my Facebook page. I’d love to see it!

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” — Matsuo Basho

I am so happy that one milestone along my new journey as a storyteller has arrived. All Things Rise is now live in the Bold Strokes Books webstore! It can be purchased in paperback and in all eBook formats exclusively through our store, ahead of its widespread release.

I’d like to send out a special thank you to the Bold Strokes Books family of writers who have been incredibly kind, supportive and welcoming during the months leading up to the release of my first novel. Radclyffe has created an amazing creative community and I’m grateful every day for the opportunity to be a part of it.

The Missouri Vaun author page on Goodreads is also now up and running. Please visit me there and let me know what you think about All Things Rise.

Writing Book 3: Whiskey Sunrise

Royal of Whiskey Sunrise

One of my favorite characters in Whiskey Sunrise. Stay tuned 🙂

I’ve been working on my third book for Bold Strokes Books titled, Whiskey Sunrise, and it’s been interesting to watch the characters for this story evolve. Unlike with my first book, All Things Rise, where I knew the characters well before I started writing, these characters have been revealing themselves to me a little at a time. Currently, of the two leading women, one character is more butch and one character is more femme, but I’m learning that the fabric of their personalities is much more complex than those two labels imply. In addition to the context of operating a moonshine operation in a dry county in the Deep South in 1939, this book is also turning into an exploration of gender.

Over the past few years, I’ve come to be good friends with a few trans men and it has made me take notice of the subtle aspects of gender conditioning in our culture. Neither of the characters in this book are trans, but my exposure to a bit more trans culture has broadened the way I think about gender, and how we are expected to act, even write, a certain way depending on who we are perceived to be in our gendered society. I think my trans friends uniquely experience this reality, and they have influenced how my Whiskey Sunrise characters tap into this truth.

This story is also tapping into deeply personal religious experiences that I had growing up in the South — experiences that relate to gay issues, roles of women in the church and racism. I realize I’m making this sound like sort of a heavy read, but believe it or not, there’s actually quite a bit of humor in this book. The best humor has its roots in heartache I suppose.

Oh, and yes, there is a steamy romantic thread weaving all of these elements in the story together. The one thing that has been obvious from the first few lines of this book is that these two characters have incredible chemistry. I’m enjoying this glimpse into their world, feeling what they feel as they learn to be authentically themselves while at the same time falling in love.