Friday, February 22, 2013

The M/M Romance Outrage Squad Strikes Again...Long Live GayRomLit!!

During my blind rage over the ridiculous behavior I've been witnessing (once again) from M/M Romance writers in the past 24 hours I conveniently remembered that I in fact have a blog that two or three people might still read...So I figured why the hell not go on a rant about just how disheartening and silly this whole thing really is for me.

I am not disheartened about GRL, nope I will be going to that like I have for the past two years. I am not disheartened about reading M/M Romance (although the quality has been lacking as of late) no not that, I am disheartened about the harsh , cruel and self-serving way that people have been acting just so that they can hear themselves talk.

So this week's cause for outrage amongst the M/M authors is the fact that GRL has capped the number of writers that can be featured at the retreat and participate in events and the signing. They have also reserved a few spots for authors whose presence readers expressed as highly desirable. Well I should fucking hope so!!! Since that is what we frigging asked for!! Those of us who went to the retreat last year filled out a survey after we left Albuquerque and  REQUESTED  that the number of authors be more manageable this year...Not only that...The GRL organizers graciously asked us for a Wish List of the authors we hope to see in future retreats. I, like other attendees filled it out and made sure to include the people I would like to meet. Because the truth is I am only interested in seeing and talking to the authors I love, there are very popular authors I could care less about, I'm happy for their fans who get to see them but I want to see MY FAVORITES, and so does everyone else, so the LOGICAL thing is that the authors that make it are those that the readers mostly want to meet.

Furthermore, would the fact that some of my favorites are featured authors make GRL a better experience for me?  HELL YES! Would it be nicer not to walk around 73 writers I could care less about to get to the ones I want to see? AGAIN YES! That doesn’t make me MEAN it makes me a rabid fan wants to get the most out of my GRL experience. Am I grateful for the fact that the GRL team understands the concept of service and enhancing the experience of those of us who faithfully will go to the retreat and has taken these things into consideration? FUCK. YEAH.

The stuff that I read on Facebook and Twitter was just embarrassing. I was embarrassed as a devoted fan of this genre. I was embarrassed for the writers that were posting this stuff who obviously suspended all common sense and were oblivious to how petty and angry they seemed. I was embarrassed for the GRL organizers who BUST THEIR ASSES to make GRL a haven for our community to come together and celebrate the stories we love and the people who make this genre thrive. Mostly though I was embarrassed and sad for us as a community, because it is a shame that people would go out of their way to belittle and to cut down the efforts that are being made for us even have a place to gather.

GayRomLit is an amazing thing. A gay romance retreat for readers, authors, publishers to gather, safely and celebrate. When I became a fan of M/M Romance I never would have thought that there could be an event like that for me to go to, to meet all the people that I had met online or get to not just meet but chat, eat, drink, PARTY MY ASS OFF with some of my favorite authors who also turned out to be wonderful people as well as fabulous writers. I couldn’t have imagined it,  but Ethan Day, J.P. Bowie, Carol Lynne and all the others authors who have made this event for us did, and all I can be is thankful for their vision and hard work. Putting together and event like that is HARD FUCKING WORK it takes a year of planning, HOURS of logistics and organization, of headaches, changes of plans, arguments, SWEAT, BLOOD and TEARS, so that when we the guests arrive we can check in to our room, grab our "Welcome Bag" and go ENJOY. This event was given to us as a gift,  for the readers for the authors many of whom do this anonymously and can have GRL as a place where they can get the accolades they deserve for their work, and to be anything else but glad that we have GRL is ungrateful and petty.

Petty is the way that writers have been behaving. Instead of contacting GRL organizers privately for clarifications to go on FB and condemn them it's PETTY. To malign and accuse them of discriminating is WRONG, to make it about themselves is SILLY. For a publisher (LT3 and Storm Moon Press) to choose yesterday, a day that was already so full of negativity, and use that conjuncture to launch and boast their own event at the expense of the trouble that the GRL organizers where dealing with is the height of bad form. They should be ashamed of the way they handled that.

I know this will all blow over and that by the time it is all said and done the people that have gone beyond overboard with the online vitriol will wake up with a moral hangover, and will register. I am confident that GRL in the end will be the weekend that it has been before, one of the biggest highlights of my and many others’ year. I just hope that in the future as a community we can learn to take a step back and have a bit more grace and dignity whenever something does not go our way.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Nothingness of Ben by Brad Boney

Sometimes you have to loose the life you have to gain the one you're meant to live

That is what happened to Ben Walsh when on a winter day walking through the streets of Manhattan a phone call from home changes his life forever. His parents are dead. A car accident. They've left behind his three younger brothers in Austin, Texas where he grew up. Three boys he barely knows really. They are 16, 14 and 12...Ben is 28 and has been making his way in New York City as an up and coming litigator for one of the best firms in the city. But he has an obligation, and he does what has to be done.

Ben goes home and he buries his parents, but HE IS PISSED. What is he supposed to do with his entire fucking life?! His career that he has worked so damn hard for, his friends, his big time NY connections, his boyfriend!!...What will happen to them? Is he supposed to wave them goodbye to play parent to THREE teenagers? He is not prepared for this! He can't do it!

His brothers don't expect much from Ben to be honest, he's always been the distant brother who didn't have much use for family, or their hometown. Quentin the oldest is strong and direct and he tells Ben that he knows he won't do right by them...Jason the quiet one, he just wants to stay together he's going through stuff and he needs his brothers, and Cade the baby...He misses his daddy so badly. He wants to be protected and loved and just hopes that things will be okay. 

Ben has hard choices to makes and he DOES NOT want to give up what he's worked for. Even with the hurt of his parents being gone he still wants the life he had. Because grief is like that, tragedy doesn't change who you are, or what you want magically. Giving up what you've worked for even when you know it's the right thing to do IS HARD. Loss does not make any of that easier, doesn't make you nobler. Growing up DOES, understanding love DOES, seeing what you would be missing by making the selfish choice DOES. Ben STRUGGLED with all this, and even though I wanted to bitch slap him for his utter dumbassness more than once, I sympathized with the guy, because the things he had to do were hard.

Thankfully for Ben in the midst of this terrible time he meets his parents' neighbor, Travis. Travis is close to his brothers (he has taken the role Ben wasn't there to fulfill) and he helps Ben make the right choices. He helps Ben get through those dark weeks of grieveing that him and his brothers do. He helps Ben try and get settled into the life of guardian of his brothers. He and Ben fall in love.

...And they lived happily ever after...NOT SO MUCH Because these were people and people are never that simple. Things were hard, VERY hard. Ben could not give up his hope of returning to NYC, despite knowing what was best he couldn't to give it all up and he tried HAVE IT ALL. The boys, Travis, the NYC career. Only when Ben understood, FINALLY, what really was the most important thing did he open his eyes to the fact that what he was giving up could not hold a candle to what he was getting in return. He earned the love and trust of his brothers, who he loved right back and he got the kind of love from Travis that he was willing to be selfless for. 

I loved this family story. The boys were gorgeous, Ben was a self-centered clueless asshole sometimes, but the guy had integrity and he manned up when it mattered. Travis was wonderful. 

Oh yeah and the sex was smokin!! Seriously this book was awesome. Very glad my friends sent it my way. 

Wonderful debut from Brad Boney, looking forward to more from him.


The Nothingness of Ben is for sale on Dreamspinner Press

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Homo Action Love Story! A tall tale by Ben Monopoli


How in the hell does a person even write a book that is a full onKick Ass Action Feautre Feelm complete with explosions, high speed open ocean chases, latino hearhthrobs, silent and steady sea captians with honest hearts, fantastic knock you down MMAC boys with a romantic streak, paintballer champions for GOODNESS SAKE!!! with love, romance, passion, beutiful views and even lovelier emotions, melt your face off sex scenes and the sweetest ending ever OMG... and PIRATES!! YES I said PIRATES people!! What the hell even just happened to me?!?! What was I asking??? Right! Who can pull this off?! Ahh...BEN MONOPOLI is who!

Ok so boys, men...They like movies with shit that blows up and heroic characters and why not, a bit of an epic love to round things out...Ben Monopoli who is a boy, went and made hisself one of these beauties for US TO READ, and it is an absolutely amazing AMAZING adventure. 

Those of us who are fans of Mr. Mopoli are well aware of his writing prowess, however this book IS a bit of a change of pace for him. So, before I even start my review, I have some recommendations to make your journey with Boots McHenry, Clemente Santiago and the rest of boys the best experience possible:

1. Please take out of your cranial area any preconcieved ideas, notions, expectations of what this book is, of what a "gay romance" should be, and read with a mind that is OPEN...If you do you are in for a FABULOUS time, and YOU WILL get your Love Story.

2. Be prepared to fall in love with Boots (total skank but I lurves him), Clemente (SWOONS), Colby (my FAVORITEST), Marcus...and Natan and Miguel. They are all such amazing characters they rock, they kick ass, they fuck like gods and they made me LAUGH, cry, cringe, sweat...EVERYTHING!!

I digress...

3. Do not commit yourself to any activities that involve the use of your fingernails, because you will have NONE left by the end of this book.

4. For the last third of the book do yourself a favor, and read it in a place where people won't think you're crazy if you start high fiving your kindle...This comes from personal experience.

Alrighty the STORY...So Boots McHenry our narrator, is a professional athlete for the American Paintball League. He has a man he's in love with, fellow Paintballer Ryan Kroft and he's at the top of his game. Things go downhill fast on the day that Ryan is shot during a game and is immediately taken to the island where all players who fall during a game are exiled to for five years. He is heartbroken...Ryan his love, his partner is taken away, and they had not time for closure, for ANYTHING...What is he supposed to do for FIVE YEARS? What was it that Ryan was trying to tell him when he got on the helicopter? What is he going to do with that big empty house? Why  can't he stop staring at other dudes?

Boots he's confused, he's lonely, he misses Ryan, but also he doesn't want to have his life on hold for five years, he's horny as all hell too...He is stuck.

When Clemente Santiago another one of his teammates suggests that they go on a mission to find the mysterious island and Ryan, Boots is ALL IN...They recruit Ryan's brother Colby (my favorite thing in the world) and MMAC junior champion, Piper Pentfors (teammate and also Boots' ex, the guys is a douche, but we needs one of those to make stories interestinger), Marcus Tumble (captian of the Intrepid the yatch that will take them across the sea). This group of guys sets out in an unlikely mission with very little certainty that they will even reach their destination, but the adverture they have it is LIFE CHANGING. 

Nothing can be the same after what they live through, what they find in their group, for some it's love at first sight, for others is coming to the realization that there was love for them all along, for others the truth of their cowardice and selfishness finally comes out, and for all of them, it's gaining a bond with the other men in their groups that is unshakeable and it's seeing life with a different perspective and embracing IT and love and all that stuff.

Mostly though it's about Boots finally being able to face the truth and be ok. Being in love, living your life can be messy and painful. Sometimes you can be hurt or be the one being callous and careless, but you can also man up and do the right thing even when you are not returned the favor. Boots learned in his journey that even though things he held as certain turned out to be lies...He also learned that opening your eyes and seeing what you already have and embracing it can make your life FULL...even if nothing is guaranteed.

The characters...Boots was a fantastic voice. He was honest and carnal. He loved men and sex and fun. He wanted love, he did, but mostly he wanted to be happy with himself without hurting anyone in the process. I love a man that unapologetically is open about his lust and desires. 

Clemente...Mighty. He was mighty. The man tore down an ocean for love people!! I do not lie, this is the truth and that mustache! Just for that you gotta love the man.

Colby.Like I said, loving him is not optional. What a fantastic character. That boy dished out some serious ass kickings. So fucking hot.

Marcus strong and steady and when it was time to fall in love...He did not fuck around. He took his chance.

Piper will annoy you, but he is also a necessary evil. He's like mosquito repellent, bothersome and makes you feel gross, but it's better than the mosquito bites or getting Malaria.

There are also the lovely Natan and Miguel who are not our main crew, but provide a strong dose of spice and do wonders to *ahem* lubricate the most sticky of the situations the boys get into.

Frankly I can't say much more without spoilering the hell out of this story. Just know that you will be surprised again and again...You will witness love that is flawed, but honest and passionate...Steady. You will laugh, you will hold your breath, and you will have  loads of fun.

Once again Ben Monopoli has written a wonderful book. The man can write anything. GO READ IT...Those loooking for generic gay romace formulas need not apply.


Homo Action Story! A tall tale is for sale at

Thursday, November 15, 2012

J.C. Lillis and her Boys Have Come to The LL's Word for a Visit...

Last month when I had just gotten back from my yearly week ManLove Worship aka GayRomLit I was looking for something awesome to read and I stumbled upon this self-published book with an adorable cover, a bit of a funny title and a pretty wacky blurb. No one else on Goodreads had read it but I thought "what the hell, I'm an adventurous reader and the self-pubs have done me right this year",  so I started to read and...POW POW POW!!! I was HOOKED. I didn't blink for the next 18 hours, because How To Repair a Mechanical Heart hijacked my brains!! 

Without questions this book has been my finest discovery this year, I pimped the crap out of it as soon as I finished reading it, and I only wish I could have a super power like hypnotism or mind control so I could MAKE everyone read it...So given my *ahem* enthusiasm for this gem of a book the very kind and incredibly talented J.C. Lillis author of HTPaMH has not only agreed to grace us with a visit at the LL's Words, but she's gone on Skype and gotten us some facetiming with the boys...YES!!!! ABANDON IN DA HOUSE BABY!! 

Brandon and Abel my favorite thing next to a nice chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc (and those who know me personally understand the weight behind that statement) have also spent some time with us and have indulged us answering all our questions. We could not be more excited to share this with you, Those who have read HTRaMH like Laddie and I, and are now desperate fangirls or fanboys of Team ABANDON enjoy!!  Those of you who have not, sit back grab a straw and start chugging on this koolaid baby! You can thank us later.

The Interview:

JC Lillis

LL: So we absolutely loved HTRaMH, Brandon and Abel were so incredibly layered and wonderful. Were you inspired by any particular fandom to write them and if so, which of all the fandom boys inspired Brandon and Abel?

JC: First of all, thank you so much. I’m blown away by the nice comments about the book, and you guys were the first to notice it and get the ball rolling. I’m so grateful! (I’d promise you my firstborn, but she’s five already and highly suspicious of strangers.)

So as far as inspiration: I’m a serial fangirl, so I’ve been following one fandom or another pretty much my whole life. The idea behind HTRaMH came from my general fascination with the drama surrounding real-person fic—not only the controversy it causes within fandoms, but also its potential effect on the people being shipped. I mean, if you’re a seasoned entertainer, you probably expect stuff like that and laugh it off. But how weird would it be to go on a reality show as a sheltered teen, get famous within weeks, and then find out that people are shipping you with another contestant and writing this eerie fic version of you? How would it affect you psychologically—especially if you actually DID have feelings for the other person?  

I didn’t base Brandon and Abel on anyone in particular, but those were the basic questions I started with. Hearing about the slash fandoms for American Idol got me thinking I’d make the characters reality-TV contestants, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to write a whole book set in that universe. I also knew I wanted both characters to be gay and out, because I didn’t want to do a sad unrequited-love thing or a coming-out story. So I cycled through a bunch of options and then hit on this idea that they’d be heavily involved in fandom themselves, as co-runners of a vlog dedicated to their favorite sci-fi show. (I loved creating the show-within-the-book. Castaway Planet is a weird blend of Lost, Star Trek, and vintage B-movies and I wish it were real so I could ship Cadmus and Sim.) I thought it would be funnier if Brandon and Abel were vocally opposed to slashfic about their TV crushes—the idea of anti-slashers finding themselves slashed was irresistible to me.

LL: Brandon's struggle with his faith was an incredibly raw and touching part of the book. Were you afraid that presenting his inner conflict would turn off readers?

JC: I’m glad you liked that piece of it. Yeah, I definitely knew that was a risky move. I didn’t start planning the story with “unresolved Catholic angst” on the drawing board; it’s something that kept insisting itself as I thought about Brandon and his obsession with a TV android who’s not sure if he wants to be human. And it’s also something that’s very, very close to my heart, because I struggled with Catholicism, sexuality, and belief in God since I was a young teen and only recently made peace with who I am and what I believe. I felt like I could write that aspect of his inner life convincingly—though I’m a girl and my specific experiences have obviously been different.

The big challenge was working that aspect into a book that’s basically a romcom for fandom geeks. I was concerned that it would overwhelm the narrative. A lot of Brandon’s inner conflict mirrors my own (the superstitious thoughts, the memories of things he’d heard at church and at home), and in my experience, that can be a pretty consuming thing when you’re 18 and desperately trying to figure yourself out. I kept an eye on it, toned it down a little as I edited, and tried to weave it into the plot in logical places so it didn’t bog the whole story down or overshadow the humor.

I don’t regret addressing Brandon’s difficulties with faith. It’s something that lots of young people struggle with—often in silence, because they’re afraid of upsetting or alienating their families. It took me an embarrassingly long time to get comfortable with the fact that I didn’t believe certain things I was taught in school and church, and I would’ve loved to read a book like HTRaMH as a younger person. I would’ve felt less alone, I think.

LL: ABANDON That word kind of embodies most of the themes of this book. Brandon's summer to get away from all the guilt in his home life, for Abel to finally to try and catch Brandon, of the freedom that an internet identity gives people, how the anonymity allows for so much to the point of recklessness and cruelty, of letting go of ideals and paradigms that we build from characters/actors we fall in love with. This story holds so much, so many layers. Can you tell us a bit about how you weaved it together?

JC: Wow, thanks—that’s like a huge compliment in question form! Well, I try not to be too conscious of theme the whole time I’m writing, because I don’t want to wallop readers too hard with it. I came up with the ABANDON portmanteau pretty early in the process as I was thinking up good names for my characters, and it did seem like a word that hummed with all kinds of possibilities. I liked that “abandon” can mean embracing freedom or leaving something behind, because Brandon has to do both before he can make a go of it with Abel. But I didn’t think too hard about making all the other elements align with the theme. I just developed the characters, nailed down the basic story arc, and hitched a ride on the RV to see where we were going.

It was really tough sometimes. When I came up with the structure—six sci-fi conventions over six weeks—I thought “oh, I have a roadmap to follow; maybe this’ll be easy to write.” But SO MUCH happens on a six-week road trip, and I agonized over what to show and not show. I ended up with reams of deleted scenes. My number-one priority was to keep the book as fast-paced and funny as possible, while still developing Brandon’s inner conflict in a way that didn’t feel cartoonish or over-the-top. Plus I had to figure out which cast member they’d meet at which tour stop, when to start dropping hints about the secret Abandon fan community, how fast things should evolve between Brandon and Abel, what Bec’s involvement would be, etc. It got so tricky that I actually had to walk away a few times, not sure if I’d ever finish. I’m glad I did, and I’m REALLY glad fellow fandom geeks have been slowly discovering and enjoying it. That makes it all worth it. My laptop’s even forgiven me for all the times I cursed it out at one a.m.

LLAfter that WHOPPER of a question we just want to know, who is your fave fanfic writer? Or at least the fandom.

JC: Oh, wow. . .I’m probably going to date myself with this answer, because I don’t read as much fic as I used to. I used to read tons of X-Files fic, some Star Trek (TNG and Voyager; I wasn’t really an original-series fan). The only fandom I ever wrote for was Carnivale, that HBO show that lasted for a couple weird seasons in 2003-2005. My good friend and I wrote like 10 or 11 songs for Carnivale: The Musical!, which was incredibly fun. I was also involved in a small Yahoo community of fic writers/artists at the time, and this girl who went by Vorona wrote great fanfic. I was shy about fandom back then and went by a pseudonym, so I never got to know her personally, but I still think about her sometimes.

I’ve also read some fics in the Game of Thrones fandom that I’ve enjoyed as much as the actual books. I probably shouldn’t say that, right? I hear George R.R. Martin hates fanfic. I guess I understand the impulse to “protect” your characters on some level, but in my gut I just find it so weird when authors lay the smackdown on fic writers. I actually wrote the showrunner’s rant in HTRAMH as a response to writers who don’t want anyone else playing with their creations. I really do believe that when you put characters out into the world, you give joint custody to your readers. If they want to take them out for a wild weekend, that’s their right, and also THE BEST POSSIBLE compliment to you as a writer. Seriously, if real Brandon/Abel fic ever popped up somewhere, it would make my life. Celebratory snickerdoodles would definitely be baked.  

 Brandon and Abel

[The boys videoconferenced in from their college dorm rooms—Brandon from Loyola Maryland, Abel from Temple. Abel’s wearing his puffy red vest; Brandon’s got on a new Castaway Planet t-shirt.]

ABEL: Bran? You there?

BRANDON: Yep. Hiya.

ABEL: Aww, look at your desk! You’ve got like eighteen books with a thousand Post-Its. You’re such a nerdling.

BRANDON: It’s a ruse. I’m at Swallow at the Hollow every night. Are those cinnamon jelly beans?

ABEL: Drive up here and you can have some. [Grins, chomps a handful.] ‘Kay, so before we start, I would just like to point out that Bran has finally FINALLY pitched that baggy-ass Castaway Planet shirt and replaced it with an elegant slim-fit version courtesy of his sweet and thoughtful boyfriend.

BRANDON: My biceps look glorious. I’m told.


BRANDON: You have our friends?

ABEL: I do indeed. [Fishes Plastic Sim and Plastic Cadmus out of his vest pocket, where they’d been spooning. Stands the action figures on his freshman Media & Cultural Studies textbook.]  Okay, ladies: we’re ready. Whatcha got for us?

[After some serious crooning and possibly a bit of baby talk to express our delight to see our most favest boys and we are ready for our questions]

 LL: So, we know that Brandon had a favorite Abandon fic but, Abel, what was your favorite Abandon story and why?


ABEL: What?

BRANDON: Don’t even say what I think you’re going to say.

ABEL: I don’t—

BRANDON: [whispering] The steampunk AU?

ABEL: Wha—no! That one’s just ours. Guys, he’s a tiny bit shy because we read this amazing steampunk fic right before we—


ABEL: Sorry! Sorry, sorry. Okay, so all joking aside, I think I’ll have to go wiiiiiiiiith. . .a retro robot fic.

BRANDON: Really?

ABEL: That’s good stuff, Bran.

BRANDON: Not the one where we’re nineteenth-century vampire hunters.

ABEL: Nope. The one where we’re cowboy vampire hunters.

BRANDON: I’m incredibly glad I missed that.

ABEL: Shush. It is stunning.

BRANDON: So are we hunting cowboy vampires, or cowboys who also happen to hunt vampires?

ABEL: The latter. We’re herding sheep in Wyoming, see, and one bright summer morning we wake up in each other’s arms and all the livestock’s been exsanguinated.  So we arm ourselves with silver stakes and tromp off into the woods that night—

BRANDON: Does this end with us getting stuck in an elevator?

ABEL: No, but you kick some vampire ass and it’s SUPER dreamy.

[We struggle to regain control after this display of adorableness and move on to Q #2]

LL: Now that you two are together and Abandon had a bit of a hand in it do you think you'll ever find a way to get along with those crazy Cadsim shippers? Not their leader but some of those girls have to be okay, huh?

ABEL: Well, ACTUALLY. . .should we spill about the drama in the Cadsim comm?

BRANDON: If I say no, will you do it anyway?

ABEL: Of course. Miss Maxima’s out. Dethroned. willabelle’s the mod now.

BRANDON: No one cares.

ABEL: Well they should, because it was the most FLAWLESSLY entertaining piece of Internet theatre I’ve witnessed since the Abandon community melted down. Apparently Miss Max banned cavegrrl94 from the comm and then got in this epic dustup with mrs.j.cadmus about it, so mrs.j.cadmus got all her friends to post SCATHING reviews of Maxie’s new “Android Immortal” trilogy, and then when Miss Max found out—you know that scene in Ghost Rider where Nicolas Cage’s entire face bursts into flames? Like that.

BRANDON: And then. . .mistakes were made.

ABEL: Meaning Miss Maxima posted five grody photos of mrs.j.cadmus at CastieCon, getting it on with some old dude in assless chaps and a tinfoil Xaarg hat.

BRANDON: Long story short. . .

ABEL: Miss Max’s reign of terror hath endeth. Willabelle’s cool. We’re five episodes into the new Castaway Planet season and things’ve stayed pretty chill. We visit their fanjournal a couple times a week. They’ve got a handful of new fic writers who are definitely a cut above.

BRANDON: “Replacement Parts”?

ABEL: LOVE that fic. It’s hurt/comfort but you don’t feel grimy reading it. Seriously, when Sim told Cadmus “Perhaps you should stop treating love as I treat a malfunction, Captain”? I teared up.

BRANDON: You’re so easy.

LL: There's something wonderfully fantastic about being a geek among geeks. Are there any more Castie-Cons in your future?

ABEL: YES. Definitely!


ABEL: No ifs. CastieCon 1 is in Atlanta next summer; we’re totally taking the RV.

BRANDON: Dad’s selling it.

ABEL: He’s been saying that for six months. If he sells it, I WILL BUY IT.

BRANDON: Aww. You’re cute when you’re impractical.

ABEL: We’ve even got a place to stay. Dave lives 20 miles outside the city. I mean, he and Bec broke up like two months ago but they’re staying friends.

BRANDON: She’s mad at him now.

ABEL: No! Why?

BRANDON: She said purity balls were creepy and he called her narrow-minded.

ABEL: I will call that boy later.

LL: Abel, we know you got some kick-ass snakeskin boots and a jacket on your roadtrip as well as some other awesome knick knacks. What is your favorite thing of all the stuff you picked up on the trip?

ABEL: Can I tell them about the bracelet?

BRANDON: Aw, crap.

ABEL: Pleeeeaaaase?

BRANDON: Let me tell it, because you’ll get all melty. We were in this thrift store in Phoenix and I saw this ID bracelet, like the kind he gave that guy Jonathan—

ABEL: Who completely smashed my heart.

BRANDON: —and so I bought it while he wasn’t looking and held onto it, and then after all the drama died down later on, I. . . [Blushes, mumbles into hand] . . .got it engraved.

ABEL: “TEAM ABANDON.” [Flicks Plastic Sim and Plastic Cadmus; they topple over and clatter to the floor.] That was supposed to be a dual swoon, sorry.

LL: You've met all of the major players on Castaway Planet and some of them weren't what you were expecting. Now that you've gotten a glimpse of who they are in their everyday lives do you have new favorite characters or are you sticking with Cadmus and Sim?

 ABEL: Well, I have to say that Bree LaRue is like 41% more interesting since she chopped all her hair off and went batshit. They wrote it into the show this season, have you seen it? Her character gets possessed by one of Xaarg’s demons and she’s off in the forest hunting giant alien pig creatures with a nail file.

BRANDON: Whatever. Still Sim and Cadmus for me, all the way.

ABEL: Don’t you hate the whiny streak Cadmus is on this season, though? [holds up Plastic Cadmus] Oh, I’m so emo! No one’s as tormented as I am!

BRANDON: You should totally write some fic about it.

LL: So Brandon have you attempted to write more of your own fanfic or have you left that to the shippers?

ABEL: Oh, we write our own fanfic every day. . .

BRANDON: Will you quit it? Nah, I can’t really bring myself to do it. Once the new season started I actually tried to write a Cadsim fic but I’d get three sentences in and then just pound the delete button. I’ll leave the fic to the experts.

LL: And know we HAD to ask this! Are you guys going to keep dating now that you are in different colleges?

ABEL: Oh, we tried, but then Brandon had this torrid fling with his Shakespeare professor, and we broke it off.

BRANDON: I really just wanted someone to read me sonnets.

ABEL: We’re kidding. He’s my boy.

BRANDON: It’s been good.

ABEL: I mean, we’ve had issues

BRANDON:  Everything’s fine.

ABEL: Except his dad won’t have me over for Thanksgiving.

BRANDON: Mom’s working on him.

ABEL: Whatever. You’ll come to my house for pie, right?

BRANDON: Is “pie” code for something else?

ABEL: Yes, but there will also be actual pie involved.

BRANDON: Cool. Don’t forget those two.

ABEL: These guys? [Holds up Plastic Sim and Plastic Cadmus] They packed their bags yesterday. They can’t wait to see you, Tin Man.

BRANDON: The sentiment is mutual, Captain.

ANNNNDDD that is all from our peeps from How To Repair a Mechanical Heart we hope you loved this visit as much as we did! Our thanks to JC Lillis author extraordinaire and one of our favorite internet ladies. Make sure you stop by her blog to hear about her new projects and news from Brandon and Abel.

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Crush by Laura Susan Johnson

More than anything else Tammy and Jamie’s story is about LOVE

Made for each other kind of love. Soul mates kind of love. There is no one else for Tammy than Jamie and Jamie only ever knew to love Tammy. That is the heart of this book.

Their story is a HARD story to read, because the road they have to travel is so riddled with pain and hurt. Evil things are done to these two people. As boys they are hurt. The unthinkable, the unforgivable, the WORST evil is done to them as children. At times it seems like it’s too much. It’s worth reading though. IT REALLY IS.

This was a WHOLE lot of book, so it’s difficult to describe it without either making it sound scary or being so vague it might make seem a lot less profound and moving than it was.

This book will touch you to the core, it will break your heart, it will make you question how it is that there is evil in this world that could break down lives…It will make you ask how is this possible? It will also make you look at yourself and say what do I do to make the world a better place? What do I do to propagate love and hope to those who need it? It will make you rejoice in the resilience of people and the healing power of love and forgiveness…In the end this book left me with the realization that pure Evil just like pure Goodness are things that cannot be explained they just ARE. Some can grow up in a loving home and still be able to harbor hatefulness in their heart, can still be capable of doing awful things. But others they can grow up in hell, be hurt and broken and walk away harried but with a heart still full of love and goodness, and live their life doing what’s right.

Tammy and Jamie were made for each other. As little children they met fleetingly and that one meeting was branded in their memories. So they tell us their story from high school until the present day. Alternatively Tammy and Jamie walk us through the road they have travelled and how they have gotten to the place that they are.

Jamie and Tammy are brought together again as teenagers. They live in small town in Northern California. Tammy is a local boy, a jock, a bit of a player. He’s a bit of an angry kid. Things have happened in his life that have made him closed off. All he cares about is chasing women, getting laid, and doing what he has to do to get out of Somerville. He has plans to be the next Walter Cronkite.

Jamie comes to Somerville after being adopted by a police officer who rescues Jamie from a horrific situation. Horrific does not even begin to describe what Jamie childhood was. So he’s a fragile boy with lots of dark memories and a trauma that makes him shy and vulnerable.

So they meet again at church and from the moment they touch it is clear that they is a special bond between them. But they are young and the hatefulness and prejudices that live in their town keep them apart. They are so in love with each other. SO IN LOVE, but it’s not possible then Tammy is not brave enough…So they lose a lot of time. Tammy goes away from Somerville to make a life and Jamie sticks around and makes his there with his adopted father and his best friend.

However life brings them back together, because they ARE meant to be together, their love is like an ABSOLUTE there is no alternative but to be each others. It’s a STRONG love , it's MIRACULOUS because the tests that these men are faced with, the pain, the horrible things that happen to them are not easy to live through. They survive though, and their love is only made stronger. In the end they win because they get the life that they always wanted. But even with that it is just amazing to read about them loving each other, with their words, with their bodies, with EVERYTHING.

Like I said at the beginning this is a hard book to read, evil like that it’s hard even to think that it can be possible for people to do such things, but it is also such wonderful a story of grace, resilience, hope, strength, faith, forgiveness, justice, patience…So many things.

God is a big theme in this book which surprised me, but also made thoughtful, because God really is a different God for each person depending of what is in their hearts. For some God is about hate and guilt and prejudice and for others he’s about grace and love about acceptance and kindness…Bottomline this is a story that is completely worth reading.

Tammy and Jamie you will get to know them so deeply, so intensely you will feel like you can read their minds and sense their hurt and feel their joy. They’ll get under your skin and you will LOVE them. You will cheer for their victories, and cry with them in their hurt. The people around them, the good ones and the bad ones you will see them clearly. You’ll love the ones that are good, you will learn to forgive their mistakes and you will even be able to move on from the hatefulness of the ones who hurt Tammy and Jamie.

I feel like I just ran an emotional marathon, but IT WAS COMPLETELY WORTH IT.


Crush is for sale at

On other news!!! Very soon we will have a visit from JC Lillis and Brandon and Abel from How to Repair a Mechanical Heart one of the best things that has happened to us this year...We will keep you posted about THE INTERVIEW.

Have a great week everyone!