Hi everyone! Today I am very excited to welcome author Will Parkinson to the blog! Will is here to talk to us about his new release, Pitch. And he has brought goodies! First, we have an EXCLUSIVE excerpt just for us here at Joyfully Jay. Pitch: Day Before School introduces each of the main characters and a couple of the secondary characters and gives an idea of their motivations and what will drive them during their school year.
Will has also brought a fabulous prize of a signed copy of Pitch and a $25 online book store gift card to one lucky reader along his tour. So be sure to follow the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post to enter. Welcome Will!
The day Jackson Kern walks into Taylor Andrews’s classroom is a momentous day in Taylor’s life. He’s had crushes before, sure, but as time goes on, this is starting to look a whole lot more serious. Still, Jackson doesn’t return Taylor’s feelings.
Taylor has his own admirers, though. Kevin Richards is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants right now is Taylor, so when Taylor rejects him, Kevin retaliates. At first Taylor’s entourage rallies around him, but then Kevin takes his deception one step further and Taylor sees his support dwindle, teaching him the valuable lesson about who he can truly consider a friend.
Pitch: Day Before School
Jackson Kern folded the navy blue sweatshirt and tucked it into the bottom drawer of his dresser. He looked around his new room, sighing at the bare beige walls. It was a bit better than the last place they’d stayed, but he had learned early on not to get too attached to anything or anyone. Still, maybe a few pictures wouldn’t hurt.
“You almost ready, Jackson?”
“Yeah, Dad. Just putting my clothes away,” he answered.
His father stepped into Jackson’s bedroom door and did his best to give an encouraging smile. “It’s gonna be different this year, buddy. You’ll see.”
Jackson turned his head and grimaced. Moving to another school meant being the new guy again. He’d actually lost count of the number of towns they’d been in over the last sixteen years. It was always awkward as hell, but he vowed this year was going to be different. He had a plan to make people sit up and take notice of Jackson Kern.
Sleep didn’t come easily that night. He was so keyed up over what the new school would bring. If he had started at the beginning of the year, maybe then, but coming in during the middle of the year wasn’t going to make it any easier. Jackson lay on the bed, hands behind his head, and stared up at the ceiling. Chicago had been good. Maybe Milwaukee would be, too. Just stick with your plan became his mantra.
The morning came too quickly. The bravado of last night lost to a few hours of dream-filled sleep. He stopped in the school office to pick up his schedule and wished he could turn back the clock on his life. Undo some of the things he’d done in his past. He stopped at the door to his new homeroom class and took a deep breath.
“You think by now it would be easier. I should be able to do this without any problems. Why am I so nervous? I have a plan and it’s going to work. Ready or not, it all starts here.”
Taylor glanced in the mirror once more, hoping something had changed in the last two minutes. No, of course not. He decided to go out for a walk, do something to clear his head.
His neighborhood was nice enough. A quieter section of town where few children lived. With a weighty sigh, Taylor decided he’d stop over to see Benny. Maybe they could grab some lunch. Taylor’s reached down touched his stomach, and heaved a deep sigh. Okay, he decided, Benny could eat and Taylor would watch.
He was nearing the corner when Larry’s harsh voice caught Taylor’s attention.
“Hey geek freak, still doing your drawings?”
Taylor closed his eyes and began counting his breaths.
“Talking to you freak. I need you to do something for me. You’re gonna draw me some pictures. I want hot chicks in leather…no, wait, I want them naked! I can get you some pictures since you don’t know what women look like.”
Taylor lost count of his breaths. His breathing was strained and sweat dripped down his sides.
Taylor shook his head, and tried to remain calm. “N—no, I won’t do it.”
Larry’s rubber soles scuffed the sidewalk as he walked a tight circle around Taylor.
“You will if you don’t want everyone knowing your little secret. What do you think people would do if they found out the truth? You think it’s bad now? Wait until I tell them—”
A beefy hand clamped down on Larry’s shoulder. “Larry, how many times am I gonna have to go through this with you?”
Taylor shrank into the background, his breathing harsh, as Benny stalked toward Larry, who paled upon seeing Taylor’s mountain of a friend.
“We were just talkin’,” Larry squeaked.
“You don’t just ‘talk’, Larry,” Benny said, his voice low. “You bully. One day it’s going to get you into trouble and I hope I’m there when it happens. Now I’m in a good mood, and I’m thinking maybe I’ll let this one slide.”
“Yeah. Okay. Thanks, man.” Larry glanced toward Taylor. “Thanks for doing that thing for me, gee….Taylor.”
Without another word, Larry hustled down the sidewalk. Taylor’s heart kept pounding erratically. Benny turned and offered a smile, before he walked slowly to Taylor, put an arm around his shoulder, and urged him to sit down.
Benny Peters rubbed slow circles on his best friend’s back while Taylor sucked in deep gulps of air. This wasn’t the first panic attack he’d seen Taylor have and he knew the hand on his back would calm his friend.
“Wanna talk about it, Tay?” he asked softly.
Taylor Andrew’s curly blond hair bobbed as he gave a definitive ‘no’.
“You know you’re gonna tell me. Let’s just cut to the chase.”
Benny smirked when Taylor gave him a cold glare. Benny continued to give a gentle massage as Taylor calmed down, his breathing returning to normal.
“Larry was bugging me again. Said he knew I was gay and if I wanted it to stay quiet I needed to do some sketches for him.”
“What kind of sketches?”
Taylor flushed, causing Benny’s temper to rise. He hated to see his friend get worked up. He’d seen firsthand what it could lead to.
“He said I would have to draw naked girl pictures for him.”
Benny gave a quick snort. “Can I get a copy of those?”
“It’s not funny,” Taylor protested. “What am I going to do?”
Benny put a beefy arm around his best friend’s shoulder and pulled him close.
“Larry doesn’t know anything, okay? And even if he did, is coming out so scary? People do it all the time.”
Taylor turned from Benny. “You couldn’t understand.”
“No matter what happens, I will always be there for you. Do you understand?”
Taylor gave a slight nod.
“Taylor, do you understand?”
“Yeah. Okay,” Taylor said weakly.
“Trust me. There is nothing we can’t handle if we stand together.”
Benny hoped he would always be able to keep that promise to his friend.
Becca Monroe ran her fingers through her long auburn hair, then adjusted her artificially ample bosom. Her lips shone with the fresh application of sparkly pink gloss. She smiled at her reflection. This was going to be her year. Head cheerleader was assured. Cody Daniels had been a good enough player to get her invited to all the best parties, but since he graduated she was going to have to get in good with someone new. She thought of Larry first, and then shuddered. That boy was freaky. It was okay, though. Tomorrow was the first day of the school year. She had time. And since everyone knew who she was, and wanted to be with her, she could afford to be choosy.
“Rebecca? Cody is on the phone. ”
Becca rolled her eyes. Didn’t Cody get it? She wasn’t interested in him anymore. Since he’d graduated he couldn’t help her get ahead. “Tell him I’m not home, Mom.”
She sat down at the desk and thumbed through her old class yearbook, laughing at the signatures from people who’d wished her well. Most of them weren’t worth her time. They were hangers-on, the bottom feeders who took whatever scraps they could get. She was always cordial to them, because you never knew when you might need help with something, but for the most part like stuck with like. Cody had been great last year, and if he was going to be around this year, she could definitely see dating him during baseball season, but now she needed someone who could take her all the way to the top. She licked her lips, tasting the bubblegum flavor and flashed a predatory smile.
“I wonder who’s gonna get lucky this year?”
WILL PARKINSON believes that no matter what obstacles are thrown in the path of young love, it will always find a way to win in the end. He wants his characters to have their happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to come easily.
None of this would have happened if he had followed the advice he was given many years ago. “What are you wasting your time on that for? It’s never going to amount to anything.” He believed it for the longest time, abandoning characters he’d created in his childhood.
He picked up his very first m/m story by a writer named Eden Winters, who was an absolute joy when they corresponded. She asked him if he wrote and he told her the story. Eden explained to Will that the voices in his head would never go away and how he needed to let them out. With that thought in mind, Will put e-pen to e-paper once more. It was truly a liberating experience and one he has no intention of giving up again.
Pitch Tour Schedule
- Magnolias and Men
- True Colorz
- Hearts on Fire
- My Fiction Nook
- Madison Parker
- Elisa – My Reviews & Ramblings
- Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books
Will is giving away a signed copy of Pitch and a $25 gift card to the winner’s choice of online book reseller. The contest closes on August 16th. Please be sure you enter by following the Rafflecopter link, not by leaving a comment here.