Hello everyone! Today I am super excited to welcome Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton to the blog. They are here to share a bit about writing Family Man and have brought a nice, juicy excerpt for you guys. I reviewed this one yesterday and just loved it. Welcome Heidi and Marie!
Thanks to Jay for hosting the second day of our excerpt blog tour!
Though we had fun writing co-writing, every now and again things certainly got interesting. Marie writes out of order, and Heidi plods along slowly in a straight line–this worked, for the most part, but every now and again Vinnie would turn into an asshat and Heidi had to figure out how to work that into the plot. That actually became a fun challenge, letting one POV turn someone a bit gruff and stiff and needing to make his turn come out clean.
We ended up each writing some of each character too, just as we did in Second Hand. In the end we feel our collaboration made not just the story but the characters richer and more dynamic. Heidi swears up and down this is our best book; Marie never likes to lay down that kind of challenge for the universe. Whatever the outcome, we can tell you this: we had a ball writing Family Man together, even when it made us work hard to get to The End. We hope you have as much fun reading it as we did writing it for you.
Be sure to check in to Coffee and Porn in the Morning and Amara’s Place for two other excerpts.
“Don’t you like me?”
His blush had been fading, but now he was bright red again. He couldn’t look at me. “I, umm… I don’t…”
“You had fun the other night too, right? I mean, it felt like you were having fun.”
“Oh, Christ,” he swore. He tilted his head back, rocking on his heels, covering his eyes with one hand.
He wasn’t denying it, though. That was the thing. He was flustered and uncomfortable and embarrassed, but only because I was right. It made my heart race. It made the butterflies in my stomach go into overdrive. It also gave me courage.
“Go out with me tonight.”
“You can. We can go to dinner, or a movie. Or we could go back to that same club, or a new club. We could play Putt-Putt, for all I care. What do you say?”
“Listen,” he said, meeting my eyes at last, “what happened the other night was—”
“Hot as hell?”
“But it was.”
He took a deep breath and looked me in the eye. “It was an accident.”
I knew what he was trying to say, and yet it annoyed me to no end. I waited for him to either explain, or to realize how stupid he sounded, but he just stood there, like he actually thought I’d mistake his explanation for some kind of logical answer. “Let me make sure I have this right,” I said at last. “You accidentally wandered down to Boystown, and accidentally went into a club. And then you accidentally followed me to another gay bar where we accidentally found ourselves groin to groin on the dance floor and accidentally had the fucking hottest, sexiest dance since Patrick Swayze taught that chick at summer camp to dirty dance. Like, that kind of accident?”
I could tell right away I’d let my sarcasm go too far. I’d been trying to loosen him up, but what I’d done instead was piss him off. He stood up straight. He put his shoulders back, and the look he gave me almost made me change my mind about wanting to see him again. He looked at me like…
Like he wanted to call me a fag and throw me out of his life.
“You’ve got the wrong guy. I don’t do this. I don’t date guys.”
Despite the absurdity of it all, I didn’t want to argue. If he was on the defensive, we’d never get anywhere. I wanted to appease him, and that meant I had to stop giving him a hard time and start being sincere.
I held my hands up in surrender. “I get it, Vin. I really do. It’s okay. I didn’t mean a date. Last time wasn’t a date either, remember?” I smiled when I said that. He didn’t smile back, but the anger was fading from his eyes.
“Okay.” He nodded gruffly, almost in thanks, and he started to turn away.
I spoke quickly before he could. “Maybe we could have a not-date like that again. That’s all.”
He didn’t seem to know how seriously to take me, but at least he’d stopped being pissed.
I stepped closer, and although he looked a bit alarmed, he let me. He stood perfectly still. “You don’t date guys?” I said. “That’s fine. I don’t date guys either.”
His eyebrow went up at that. He almost smiled. “So,” he said, “you’re not gay either?”
His tone was teasing. Slightly sarcastic. Somehow, he was making fun of himself more than of me, and it made me smile. “I hate to break it to you, but I’m queer as a three-dollar bill.” I was glad when he actually laughed.
I took another step toward him. Then a second. We were only a few inches from each other. His cheeks started to turn red again, but he didn’t back away.
“The thing is, Vinnie, for most guys I meet, ‘date’ means ‘sex’. Nobody ever has one without the other. But I…” I looked down at the floor, trying to figure out how to finish my sentence. I don’t have sex? I’m still a virgin? I’m not that easy?
“You don’t date,” he said pointedly.
I thought maybe he was teasing, but when I glanced up, I was surprised at what I saw. Yes, he was amused, but there was something else in his eyes too. Maybe not respect. Not quite. But I thought maybe he understood. That hint of fear I’d been seeing since I’d walked in the door was gone.
“Right.” I was relieved he understood. “I don’t date.”
He smiled at me, finally. That goddamn cute, quirky, smartass smile like I’d seen the other night, and I knew I was on the right track.
“So,” I said, “since you don’t date, and I don’t date, how about if we not date together?”
He crossed his arms over his chest, looking thoughtful.
“Tonight?” he asked.
My heart just about jumped out of my chest. It took a conscious effort to not squeal and start bouncing like a teenage girl. “I’d love to.”
How does a man get to be forty without knowing whether he’s gay? That’s a question Vince Fierro is almost afraid to answer. If he is gay, it’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, he can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing for the wrong team.
There’s only one way to settle it, once and for all—head for Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.
Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek to the sultry strains of Coltrane, Trey finds himself wanting to help Vinnie figure things out—no promises, and no sex.
It seems like a simple plan, until their “no-sex” night turns into the best date of their lives and forges a connection that complicates everything.
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state’s LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway. You can find her at www.MarieSexton.net.