Take My Hand

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“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

 

My New Year: The Deep South and Beyond

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Lovey Porter and Royal Duval of Whiskey Sunrise.

I was planning to write something that looked back at the past year, but I decided to look forward instead. Mostly because I just finished proofing the final edits for my fourth novel, Whiskey Sunrise. This is a story that’s very close to my heart. Growing up in the South, in a deeply religious family, enabled me to use a lot of my own experiences for conversations in this book and for the obstacles the characters face. I set this book in the late 30s, but it could easily have been written in a contemporary setting because many in our Southern LGBTQ community still struggle with all of these same issues of culture, religion and race.

Whiskey Sunrise is set in 1939 in rural north Georgia, the moonshine capital of the world according to some. Lovey Porter and Royal Duval cross paths unexpectedly and immediately Lovey’s world begins to tilt. Her feelings for Royal challenge every belief that Lovey holds dear and calls into question every truth she felt sure was absolute. Even if she must defy her father, the local Baptist minister, in the end, Lovey has to find her own path to faith and love.

Here’s an excerpt from Whiskey Sunrise:

Temptation. Lovey had heard her father speak of it from the pulpit numerous times and never fully understood it until now. The vices that seemed to tempt others beyond their ability to resist things like cards or whiskey had never held any sway over her, so she’d wrongly assumed that temptation was a problem for others. No one warned her that temptation would smell this incredibly good, feel so exquisitely satisfying, or burn as hotly across her tender flesh as this did.

Whiskey Sunrise will be out February first through Bold Strokes Books, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Thanks for a great 2015. Here’s to a splendid New Year.

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.