Today I am so pleased to welcome Eli Easton to Joyfully Jay. Eli has come to talk to us about her latest release, The Mating of Michael. She has also brought along a copy of the book to give away to one lucky reader. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Clipped Wings: A Romantic Hero with Polio in “The Mating of Michael”
I’ve always loved romances that feature a disabled character. One reason is that I love hurt/comfort stories. I also have a soft spot for underdogs. I love to see someone who is not perfect find romance and passion and an HEA. And I treasure the realness such a character brings to a story. In real life, not everyone is a gorgeous gay alpha male with a ten-inch cock.
In “The Mating of Michael”, one of my main characters was a given—the gay sex surrogate Michael Lamont. He appeared in the first two books in the “Sex in Seattle” series. As a sex surrogate, he works with men who have a variety of issues such as disability, erectile dysfunction, or morbid shyness. He’s a gentle and giving soul. But who would be the perfect love interest for Michael?
I’ve been interested in the history of polio ever since I saw a documentary on it on PBS (“The Polio Crusade” on American Experience). It’s hard to imagine it now, but as recently as the 1950’s, polio crippled and killed tens of thousands of children. Parents were rightfully terrified of it. When a case cropped up, the patient was quarantined, even from their own family, and all their belongings might be burned. As I considered using polio in a story, and began to seriously research it, I found the character I needed–James Gallway, my other MC and Michael’s love interest.
James contracts polio at the age of five while visiting India with his free-spirited mother. As James says, in one way he was fortunate and in another not fortunate at all. Polio, short for poliomyelitis, is a virus. Most people (90%) who get it experience no symptoms at all. Others go through what feels like a typical flu, and recover from it without ever knowing they had polio. But in about 1% of all cases, the virus enters the central nervous system and once there it can destroy motor neurons, leading to paralysis. The result depends on which motor neurons the virus destroys. It can lead to one or more paralyzed limbs or even affect the muscles in the diaphragm, leading to a life spent needing an iron lung to breathe.
In James’s case, his legs were affected, but not the rest of him. He had a very difficult childhood and ended up being raised in a home for disabled children. The home’s owner, Felicia, taught him how to be independent. James is strong willed and highly intelligent. He learned the lesson of fending for himself a little too well, assuming no one would ever want to be in his life as a partner.
James is wrong. In “The Mating of Michael”, it takes Michael a lot of effort to get through to James, who is now a reclusive and prickly science fiction writer. It’s not easy to earn his trust and his heart, but it’s worth every effort, and I hope well worth the read too!
If you’re interested in learning more about polio, here are some excellent resources:
- “7 Wheelchairs: A Life Beyond Polio” – by Gary Presley (on kindle)
- “Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio” – Peg Kehret (on kindle)
- “A Paralyzing Fear: The Story of Polio in America” – documentary directed by Nina GIlden Seavey (on Amazon Instant Video and free on Prime)
To read an excerpt from “The Mating of Michael”, you can visit my site here.
Note: This can also be read as a stand-alone title.
Everyone admires Michael Lamont for being a nurse, but his part-time work as a gay sex surrogate not only raises eyebrows, it’s cost him relationships. Michael is small, beautiful, and dedicated to working with people who need him. But what he really wants is a love of his own. He spends most of his spare time reading science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author and long-time crush, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise.
James Gallway’s life is slowly but inexorably sliding downhill. He wrote a best-selling science fiction novel at the tender age of eighteen, while bedridden with complications of polio. But by twenty-eight, he’s lost his inspiration and his will to live. His sales from his J.C. Guise books have been in decline for years. Wheelchair bound, James has isolated himself, convinced he is unlovable. When he is forced to do a book signing and meets Michael Lamont, he can’t believe a guy who looks like Michael could be interested in a man like him.
Michael and James are made for each other. But they must let go of stubbornness to see that life finds a way and love has no limitations.
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.
As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.
- Her website is www.elieaston.com
- Twitter is: @EliEaston
- You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eli has brought a copy of The Mating of Michael to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, July 10th at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.