So here was my stop at Guys Like Romance, Too, during my blog tour for “Summer Lover.” You can find the original posting by RIGHT HERE. You should visit Guys Like Romance, Too. It is a pretty awesome blog. You can find it by clicking RIGHT HERE.
Carson back atcha to pull the reigns on our “Out the Box” theme to make room for a tour. Dreamspinners Press’s BJ Thomas has decided to stop by and show us his latest book, Summer Lover.
So, without further delay…BG Thomas!
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to tell stories. Just ask my friends! They’ll tell you it’s true. Ask me a question and I take ten times as long as anyone else to answer. I make it a performance! LOL!
I don’t know what it is. I don’t seem to be able to help it. It’s the performer in me I guess. What gay man doesn’t wish he could do a big show stopping number on Broadway.
In a way, just a few years ago, that’s just what I got to do. It wasn’t on Broadway. But it was on stage and it was a big number with back up singers and costumes and set dressings and all the rest. I was dressed as a nun—one of the Sisters of Explosive Release. I was lip-syncing to the Broadway number, “I Don’t Want to Show Off No More,” and boy oh boy, did I show off! It even ended where I ran across the stage the leapt into the arms of six hunky men. Oh it was fun!
And where did I get to do this? Why on the stage and a gay men’s spiritual retreat out in the woods in the middle of nowhere. My audience was perhaps a hundred men, but they were my brothers and it might as well have been Carnigae Hall at full capacity. These were gay brothers who loved me and supported me and wanted the best for me. What’s more, it was for charity. The charity was the actual event, but listen to this.
The men’s festival doesn’t turn a man away if he can’t afford all the fees. So the money went to pay for those who showed up who couldn’t afford it. Plus that money goes other places as well. This year it went to the Quakers who are running an underground railroad to help GLBT people escape Uganda.
This festival took in a damaged man, a year or so out of a very abusive relationship, a man who believed no one could really love him and a man who thought his dream of becoming a writer was a pretty damned foolish dream.
And it was this group of men who helped turn him—me—around.
Ever see that episode of “Queer As Folk” where Emmett and Michael go to gay camp? The whole episode was about a group of men called the Radical Faeries. Harry Hay, one of the most important and famous gay rights activists, began to worry that gay people, in order to gain acceptance, were hiding their fabulousity under a skin of conformity. It was the drag queens and bull dykes and cross dressers and leather men who revolted in that bar, called the Stonewall Inn, in New York City and began the whole gay rights movement. He didn’t want the GLBT community to forget that. So he founded the Radical Faerie movement.
Now each year, there are camps like that all over the world. Groups of loving wondrous gay men who get together and hold each other, lean on each other, pour out their hearts, love each other and get in some skinny-dipping too!
It was just such a group that helped me heal and then pursue my dreams.
So it was only a matter of time before I had to write about my experiences and it was one of the inspirations for “Summer Lover.”
Over and over again through the last thirteen years I’ve seen men arrive, men who have never been there before, wounded and shell-shocked by the world and their families. And I have seen them transform! I have seen them cry and then laugh and dance and sing and get up on stage and sing their hearts out, even if a high school teacher told them they can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Who cares if they “can” sing or not? We hear their hearts! It is amazing. Festival saves lives.
So if you pick up my new novel, that’s what you will see. You will witness Scott Aberdeen, a man who doesn’t believe in anything anymore. He is the least likely type of man who would wind up at such an event. And you will see his heart melt and the walls come down as he is touch by the magic of Heartland Men’s Festival. You will see him find love, when he had come to believe it is the last thing he will find.
And you will see Cedar, a man with ghosts and demons of his own. A man who hides in sex, because that is so much easier than trusting in love.
Two men you would never expect to find love. But they do! And I hope you will check it out!
I love writing MM Romance—for two reasons really. One is that the genre encompasses so much. Not just romance, not just a gay version of the old Harlequins my mom used to read, but more. The field includes Westerns and mysteries, period pieces and adventure fiction, science fiction and fantasy…all worlds I like to read and all worlds where I like to dabble. As I like to say, the heart of every good story or epic or even motion picture has a romance! And now that I write in this genre, I get to write what I know. Men falling in love with men. That’s what I do. I write stories that celebrate men loving men—and they get to have a rollicking good time while they to it.
I hope you agree with my new novel, “Summer Lover!”
I leave you with this final thought. Never let anyone tell you what you can’t do. I used to listen to that bull. Not any more. Now I know that what the mind can conceive, it can achieve. Picture it and it can be there. Leap, and the net will appear!