Today I am so pleased to welcome Rick R. Reed to Joyfully Jay. Rick has come to talk to us about his latest release, Big Love. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Rick a big welcome!
Big Love is the first book I’ve written where I’ve made the setting a small-town high school. In fact, my fictional high school is very much like the one I attended. Writing about the turbulent emotions of adolescence, first loves, and beginning to come to terms with who you are was a challenging and thought-provoking trip down memory lane.
For this leg of my tour, I thought I’d share a couple of pictures and memories of my alma mater, East Liverpool High School in East Liverpool, Ohio (the only high school in town). Like the characters in Big Love, my high school years were a time of struggle, sometimes joy, and often a lot about coming to grips about who that person was looking back at me from within the mirror.
Here’s the small, pottery town of East Liverpool where I grew up, taken from the Ohio River. The town rises up from the river’s banks.
And here is the high school that I mentally traveled back to in order to draw upon the memories and feelings that eventually went into Big Love. The school sits on one of the hills surrounding the town, so there was always a good view of everything. As a personal aside, my eldest niece and her husband still teach at the very same school.
And here’s the picture you may or may not have been waiting for: me as a much younger version of myself. One is my high school graduation photo and the other is from a time when I was just entering the confusing and awkward torture of adolescence. Oh, the innocence of that young man/boy! He had no idea what was in store for him. I suppose that’s true for all of us, right?
Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay.
But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men. And a new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth himself is starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup. The last thing Seth wants is another relationship—but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.
As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.
He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”
Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”
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Rick has brought two prizes to give away to lucky readers on his tour. 1) Winner Prize: $15 Amazon GC + Winner’s choice of any eBook title from Rick’s Dreamspinner Press backlist. 2) Runner Up Prize: Audiobook of Dinner at Fiorello’s Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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Loved the book, and especially loved Truman, it was such an enjoyable read! Thank you Rick!
Congratulations on the release of your 29th book! I have yet to read Big Love, but it sounds appealing. Thanks for sharing bits of your past in words and photos.
It came; I read; it conquered. While I loved the two Dinner books and many others by Rick Reed, this book blewe away. I cried, I laughed and I related to it. Truman was distinguishable as a true hero. Dane and Seth became his saviors in many ways. The sub-themes of coming out to one’s children and helping a student in trouble hit very close to home. Having dealt with and lost three students to suicide tore aty heart as well. If anyone can read this work, Reed’s best for me, and not be moved, I would suggest that they have no feeling within their heart or their soul. Congratulations on a crowning achievement, Rick.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Guy!
Another great read from Rick Reed… So creative, imagitive and such insight… Love
Sounds like a great read. I know all about growing up small town & going to a small high school. Yours looks bigger & more modern than the one I went to. IIRC the graduating class after my dad’s was the first to attend what was then the new high school; my brother & I both graduated there. My son went there until junior year, when we moved to a different district.
I don’t even like to think about those years. I was so happy to leave them behind.
Congrats on the new book. It sounds great. 🙂
This one appeals to me!