Today I am so pleased to welcome Wade Kelly to Joyfully Jay. Wade Kelly has come to talk to us about GRL and her latest release, Names Can Never Hurt Me. She has also brought a copy of the book to give away! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
GRL, Blog Tours, and Conventions
This is the end of my blog tour for Names Can Never Hurt Me. I began with Joyfully Jay on August 4th, my book released on August 11th, and now we are at the end of the whirlwind of guest blog posts where I talked about the POVs I write in, evoking an emotional response, and how I wrote about my dad. If you missed any of the posts, I will have the links on my blog or website and I would encourage you to read them all as each one was specifically written about a part of NAMES, but also written to reveal a bit of me.
What I have learned over the course of a three weeks is how demanding a “tour” actually is. I normally write blog posts off the top of my head (like this one) and I don’t write three or four in the same day. Having a post every other day for a couple weeks, was mentally exhausting because I tried very hard to make each one different. Kind of like my books.
I like to write about unique topics and find ways to bring to life unexpected characters. Making readers laugh in one book and then cry in the next keeps you guessing. My blog tour was to inform readers and potential readers of the types of topics I like to write about. Hate crimes, suicide, bullying, and rejection are just some of the topics real people face and I like to write about circumstances readers can relate to. I want to bring up the issues and work through them. I do this mainly by talking about myself.
That’s why Augusts 4th “tour post” was about the book and its title. I wanted to talk about the inspiration behind it. I continued the tour with 10 “Interesting” facts about Wade Kelly, How And WHY the book took so long to complete, following up with a “self-esteem” series, the challenges of writing in 1st versus 3rd POV, what the “Wade Kelly Special” is, and how music inspires me when I write. I also did a fun interview with Jeff Adams and since he’s a friend, he came up with some fun things to ask.
Personally, I think all my blog stops were interesting. Each one had an excerpt from my new book ,which tied in to my topic. This blog tour was about ME and my book, but what about the up coming conventions?
Next up is GayRomLit in October.
The very first convention I went to was GRL last October. I knew about 6 people and I brought a friend who has never even read male/male romance. I was a little shy and felt lost, but the people I met were so welcoming that I left there missing the people I had just met. People like Michael Chulsky, Eric Arvin, Kade Boehme, Cate Ashwood, and many others. Some of those people I would see again when I went to Rainbow Con in April, but others I would not see until possibly this coming October.
What I can see is that conventions are for the fans. Either for the fans to be excited to see ME, or for ME to be the fangirl and see other authors. Conventions are a time to gather with friends you’ve made (I’ve made) online who live all over the country and the world.
Having gone to GRL one other time, and then three conventions this year, what I think I can say with confidence is that the LGBTQ community, and genre, as a whole is a close nit group that truly cares for one another. I really think our authors are there to support others in the genre. I think the bloggers are there to support other bloggers and encourage the authors to write the very best. I think we are all out to make the world a better place, a more accepting place. I am not so sure that other genres can really say the same thing. I don’t think other groups of authors, fans, and reviewers can say they feel like family. In this group, I feel like we all are.
So as I wax poetically about my experiences in writing post after post and taxing my brain over what to write, and also my feelings for the conventions I have been to and the one coming up, I can say without a doubt that I am very excited for GRL in Chicago. I am no longer the little shy girl who didn’t know anyone. I know many people and I look forward to seeing all of them! AND, I am excited to meet new people as well. I am not shy. Come up and talk to me! And if you don’t mind hugging, I would love a hug too!
As far as the newest book I have out there, Names Can Never Hurt Me is a romance for sure, but one that delves deep bullying and how apathy can be just as hurtful as being the person using the words. Names, words, and labels really DO hurt.
The following is one of my personal favorites because what happens to RC happened exactly that way with me. I told you I write about myself. This is me remembering my dad.
“What are you thinking?” RC asked.
I glanced up. “What?”
“You’ve been staring at my groin for five minutes,” he said, leaning in presumably so the couple behind us couldn’t hear him.
I felt guilty. “Sorry. I was thinking about your hair.”
RC did not look convinced. “Really? Are you sure?”
“Yes. Yes and no. I was thinking about lots of things.” I stepped closer and touched his chest. I licked my lips. “I was thinking about you in general. I think this is the happiest I’ve felt in a really long time. I feel free.” I took a deep breath. “And despite my natural fuck-everything instincts, to be with you, I’ll wait forever if I have to. I will.”
“You say that now.”
“No, I mean it. I’ve been thinking about it all day. Every line we stand in, I look at you and touch you, and I think how much I’ve liked you even when I didn’t realize it.” I reached up and stroked his jaw. I loved his gangster beard. “You’re so different than anyone I’ve met before. And I don’t simply mean your looks. It’s everything. My friends are shallow and superficial. Maybe that was why I never felt relaxed around them. Hanging with that crowd feels like an ongoing popularity contest. And I think I was afraid that one day I’d fail. Now, I don’t care.” I looked into his eyes, I mean deeply into his eyes. “I want to do whatever makes you happy. I want to be yours. Only yours.”
“I’m not rushing into bed with you, Nick, no matter how charming you are. You need to give me time.”
“I know. I get that.” I was standing very close, but somehow I managed to step closer. My stomach was touching his, and I was still cupping his jaw and rubbing his beard with my thumb. I licked my lips again. “I can wait,” I whispered as I leaned forward and rested my weight against him. I slipped my arm around his hip and put my head on his shoulder. Part of me expected him to tense up or push me away, but I was glad to be wrong and feel his hand in my hair. He pulled me more tightly to him, and I sighed. Maybe the people behind us said something, I didn’t know. I didn’t care. I was in his arms—a millisecond of heaven—and I was remaining there until we got on the ride.
We were next for the haunted house ride and when the attendant opened the gate, we got in the car. I held RC’s hand as it jolted forward, moving on the metal rail. It was the oldest ride I think I’d ever seen. The special effects were cheesy and I laughed more than anything. It was supposed to be scary, but it could have only been scary to little kids, five-year-olds and under. There were fake vampires and mummies, and a big plastic spider hanging from the ceiling. The car tilted left and right every so often as it curved around the track. I thought the fake screams were hilarious.
It never occurred to me RC had been silent the whole ride until we stopped at the end and exited. He wasn’t looking at me, but at least he still held my hand. I could have walked to the next ride in silence, but something inside told me he needed to talk now. I found a line of bushes outside the haunted house ride and led him into privacy.
“Are you okay?” I asked, trying to look into his eyes, which was difficult because he was doing everything he could not to look at me.
“No.” His voice was strangled. That was when I noticed his cheeks were wet.
I reached up and removed his glasses, even though he tried to pull away. “Raffy, look at me.” He did, and his eyes were red from crying. “What happened?”
“Me. Crying. It’s stupid.”
“Obviously something upset you. What was it?” I tried to wipe away his tears, but he wouldn’t let me, and stepped back and hastily did it himself.
“Stop. I’m not a baby.”
“You’re crying like one,” I quipped. Not very nice, but it was a gut response.
He scowled. “Gee, thanks.”
I shrugged. “I’m an ass, what can I say?”
He looked at me and then grinned. “You are. But I’d rather have your company than anyone else’s.”
I tried again. “So, why were you crying?”
“That ride. That stupid, cheesy, haunted house ride. I didn’t remember it until we went through the doors and into the dark. They had the exact same haunted house ride on the Boardwalk in Ocean City when I was a kid. My dad used to take me on it every year. I remember thinking it was the scariest ride ever, and how my dad always kept his arm around me. I remember covering my eyes and peeking through the cracks to glimpse the fake zombies and corpses. I remember that same huge spider suspended at the end of the ride that made me jump when it swung down at the car. I remember all of it.” He started sobbing. “I remember getting on that ride every year with my dad. I miss him so much.”
RC collapsed into my arms, crying on my shoulder, and I held him tightly. After several minutes, when his heaving sobs subsided, he leaned back from my embrace. “Thanks Nick.”
He allowed me to wipe the tears away. “Any time,” I said. I knew he wouldn’t let me kiss him, and if I tried it would only look as though I was taking advantage of his weakened state, adding more to my reputation of being an ass. I didn’t need help redefining “ass.” Instead, I leaned in and kissed his cheek. Tenderness was more appropriate anyway. I wasn’t always a cad.
RC caressed my cheek, and tears welled in his eyes again. “You know that day… back when you were singing?” His breathing hitched and I could tell he was trying hard not to sob again.
“I turned it off because I knew I’d cry… if I listened to you sing the rest of that song.”
“The one by Carly Simon?”
He confirmed, “Uh-huh. My mom used to sing it to my dad.” He shook as the sobbing overtook him. “It was like their song. My dad loved James Bond movies. He would have liked you, Nick.”
Now I was crying too. If anyone walked by I could only imagine how pathetic we looked clinging to one another in a secluded spot next to the building. I felt awful for him. And I had unwittingly compounded his sadness. I held him tightly as I cried, “I’m sorry. I won’t sing it again. I didn’t know.”
RC pulled back, suddenly serious. “No, Nick. Don’t say that. My dad would have loved it.” He didn’t remain composed, however; the tears erupted again. “I think he would have sung along with you.
You have to sing it again to me. Please?”
“Okay. But if you cry, I’ll cry, and I won’t sound very good.”
“Then I guess your chance at winning The Voice will be shot all to hell.”
I started laughing through my tears. “I guess so.”
“Oh fuck. I think I’m done for the day.” RC released his hold on me and wiped his face.
I pulled the hem of my shirt up and wiped my nose. Only clear liquid, FYI. “Really? Can we ride the Scrambler one more time? And I thought you wanted to get on the Pirate Ship?”
“I did. I guess we can. The Haunted House ride took a lot out of me.”
I took his hand again and smiled. If he wasn’t up for making decisions, surely I could make them for the two of us. “Just follow me. We’ll hit a few rides, and then I’ll drive us home. Okay?”
What if sexuality wasn’t a definable thing and labels merely got in the way?
Nick Jones can’t remember a time when he wasn’t part of the in crowd. Everywhere he goes, he stands out as the best looking guy in the room, and women practically fall into bed with him. Then, after kissing Corey on a dare led much more and on many occasions, Nick’s “screw anything” reputation escalated, but he didn’t care.
When Nick meets RC at the restaurant where he works, it throws his whole life out of whack. Overweight, always sweaty, gay, and hairy like a bear, RC lives up to his dubbed nickname “scruffy dude.” He seems Nick’s complete opposite, but Nick can’t get him out of his head.
Because of peer-pressure and his fears about defining his sexuality, Nick struggles with stepping out of his comfort zone and caring about someone different than himself. If he’s lucky, somewhere between arrogance and ignorance, Nick might find out what it means to be an adult, but if he’s wrong, he could lose everything.
Hi. I’m Wade. Yes, I’m an author.
I live and write in conservative, small-town America. Here, it’s not always easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Nevertheless, I strive to write passionately about controversial issues and ponder contentious subjects on paper as I try to make a difference in the world by making people think. Basically, I write what I feel, I write what I know, and I write what I think others need to hear. And if you think a character sounds like someone you know, think again… All my characters are ME.
Unlike some authors, I have no huge background in writing or philosophy. I’m not good at punctuation or spelling, and my thoughts often surpass my ability as an author to express them. However, I can’t NOT write. It’s who I am. I also enjoy mixing things up and keeping my readers guessing, so all of my novels are very different. If you don’t like one, try a different one. I can write laughter or tears. OR, message me and ask for a recommendation in the genre or style you like. I know MANY authors and I’m sure I can point you to a book you’ll like.
When not writing, I’m thinking about writing and more than likely scribbling notes on old napkins in the car while playing “taxi driver” for my three children. I like ball pythons and I have a tegu (lizard) living in my bathroom. I hope you are touched by my stories.
Wade has brought a copy of Names Can Never Hurt Me (ebook or paperback) to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Sunday, August 31st 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.