Today I am so pleased to welcome KC Burn to Joyfully Jay. KC Burn has come as part of the Coastal Magic Blog Tour to talk to us about her release, Illusion of Life. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Ah, the Coastal Magic Con is right around the corner, and I’m starting to get excited! It’s absolutely one of my favourite events, but it comes with its own unique stressors. First of all, as much as I love fantasy and paranormal, I don’t write much of it. Secondly, I’ve just started dipping my toes into self-publishing waters, which is far more challenging than I’d ever anticipated. I’ve been trying to make sure some of my self-published paranormal stuff is available for Coastal Magic, but it seems like EVERYTHING I tried to do had about a thousand associated hurdles.
Nevertheless, I got the rights back to one of my older paranormals, dressed it up a bit with 13K additional words, and I have super high hopes of having a few paperback copies available at Coastal Magic. The new version is called Illusion of Life and this story has always occupied a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons. In fact, this is one of my favourite stories that I’ve written.
Once upon a time, a publisher put out a prompt for an anthology collection. The anthology never ended up happening, but the prompt of “voyeurism” triggered both this story and one other. Illusion of Life doesn’t feature voyeurism in a traditional definition, but when I started writing it, I started thinking about watching. In this case, an unwilling watcher. During the Depression, Max gets trapped in a painting, and is cognizant the whole time, an observer imprisoned on a wall, watching the decades pass. The idea was so deliciously tragic I couldn’t NOT write that story. In the present day, Max (in his painting) comes into Tyler’s life. Tyler is a history professor who has been hurt in the past, and he becomes fascinated by Max. Before long, he starts investigating Max’s life.
The next interesting thing – at least for me – was trying to make two men who can’t speak to each other fall in love. Writing that love story might be one of the most difficult things I’ve done, but it was so incredibly satisfying. Obviously, I hope it’s satisfying for the readers as well, but I just loved the intricacies of building a relationship with no touching, no kissing, no talking.
Finally, because Max spends a lot of time, well, hanging about on the wall in a single room, much of the story takes place in Tyler’s apartment. This apartment was inspired by my own first apartment. My first apartment wasn’t in a building. It was a large two story house with basement that had been cut up into eight small apartments. In order to work around plumbing and whatnot, the layout of my apartment was super weird. I had a tiny bedroom and kitchen on the main floor, then I had to go downstairs into the basement to get to my bathroom. Also, the water meters, electrical meters, and fuses for ALL of the apartments were accessed by a utility door through my bathroom. See? Weird layout.
In addition, there was a crazy possible draft dodger and/or possible marijuana grow-op who lived in one of the basement apartments. He had boarded up windows, a video security system, and a giant line of empty Jack Daniels bottles outside his door. He was feuding with one of the women in one of the second story apartments and they’d scream obscenities at each other while crazy dude whacked a length of chain against the side of the building – aka the spot right under my window.
Worse still, the cockroach infestation was horrific. Ever see that movie Joe’s Apartment? Yeah, that was not at all funny. I’m still paranoid whenever I see anything move out of the corner of my eye, and the memory of it all still makes me shudder. UGH – that time one of them crawled up the shower curtain while I was in the shower? Ew. So many gross memories. The only silver lining about it is that I will never forget what a cockroach infestation SMELLS like. There is no way I’m going to miss that sign in future residences.
Of course, my first apartment was sort of the horror fun house reflection of Tyler’s apartment – his was waaaaay nicer – and there aren’t a huge amount of words dedicated to it, but there is a firm picture in my head of Tyler’s apartment, even to this day.
I have so many good memories of this book, and if you check it out, I hope you’ll have as much fun with it as I had writing it. Keep your fingers crossed that I’ll be able to figure out the self-pub print process!
Thanks to Joyfully Jay for hosting me – and I’m so looking forward to seeing you all in February!
Newly single Tyler Williams ought to be out partying every night, sampling the buffet of gay men Toronto has to offer. Carefree and casual has never been his style, even less so now that he’s a tenure track history professor approaching thirty, but he has a better chance of finding Mr. Right in a club than on an app.Distraction from his dismal love life comes in the form of a housewarming gift – a life sized portrait of a gorgeous naked man, complete with a mystery.
Maxwell Friedland, a Depression-era artist, went missing shortly after posing for the portrait, presumably murdered by his lover. Finding out more about Maxwell and his disappearance plays right into Tyler’s love of both history and murder mysteries, but before long, Tyler finds himself obsessed with the man in the painting. It’s not long before he starts treating Max like a silent companion and sounding board. Max doesn’t judge or tell him he’s a failure at dating or cheat on him. Everything he learns about Max makes him yearn for a man long dead.
Trapped in the painting by a curse, Max has spent decades longing for oblivion. Until Tyler. Tyler is everything Max would have wanted for himself, and it doesn’t take many of Tyler’s one-sided conversations for Max to start caring more than he should. For all that Tyler has friends and family, there’s a deep-seated loneliness in him, one that Max wants to erase. But the thickness of canvas trapping him might as well be miles of stone for all that Max could be with Tyler for real.
Falling in love might be the worst curse of all.
NOTE: This is an expanded, revised version of a previously published work. The title and publisher have changed.
Available at Amazon and All Romance eBooks.
KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds). After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own — getting published. After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does.
K.C. has brought a $10 All Romance eBooks gift certificate to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, December 14th at 11:59 pm EST.
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