Today I am so pleased to welcome Michael P. Thomas to Joyfully Jay. Michael has come as part of the GRL Blog Tour and is here to talk to us about writing, GRL, and his latest release Dude Mama. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
I follow a guy on Instagram who’s what my friend assures me the Internet calls an “influencer.” He’s stylish, brain-scramblingly handsome, and madly in love with his equally sexy and suave successful young husband. Their Love Story, which is both inspirational and sweet, is a prominent feature of his posts, and focuses, especially in “throwback” mode, on The Grand Gesture—the Paris proposal, guests applauding the magical wedding, lavish hotels with stunning infinity pools shimmering in tropical sunsets. As far as I can tell, they are big-hearted, community-oriented men who want to leave the world a little better—and more than a little better-looking—than they found it. They’re fancy, they’re fabulous, and I follow them for the sheer fun of it.
And they lay the Fairy Tale on a little thick.
Don’t misunderstand me. I once flew to Portugal for a blind date. I fell in love with my husband just watching him cross the street from a block away. Heck, in my story that comes out in June, the main character Hubert meets the Great Love of His Life after he dies—I’m a hopeless romantic. But if thirteen years of romance with the same dude have taught me nothing else, they’ve certainly driven home the point that there’s a lot more to love than Paris and “perfection.”
When I first started writing romance, which was shortly after I moved in with Jared, most of my story ideas sprouted up around The Perfect Moment—the just-when-you-thought-it-was-too-late proposal, the long-awaited first kiss atop the Great Wall of China, the sex with the straight guy that exceeds sky-high expectations (we do write fiction…). In the years since, Life, as it will, has gone on. We’ve adopted pets. We’ve almost gotten a divorce in a moving van. He’s turned thirty and I’ve turned forty-five. I quit flying and he started doing drag. His mom lived with us for eight months, hot on the heels of which episode mine underwent emergency brain surgery. We’ve loved each other through it all, but we’ve done precious little of it (not none) in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
But I’m a romance writer. I require romance in my life. And I find it, like the sequins from his drag wardrobe, all over the damn place. Not in sweeping gestures in front of cheering crowds, as Instagram might have me waiting for, but in a surprise bag of Chinese food on a night the last thing I want to come home and do is cook. Or on the couch when he snuggles up and laughs along with an old sitcom on a DVD I got from the library that he couldn’t be less interested in watching. Or in the refrigerator when he’s bought me more of the half and half I didn’t tell him I was running out of. When he pours me a glass of wine, or helps my mom with her makeup so she feels glamorous on her birthday, or tells me I look handsome when I’m dashing out the door to work in my dopey-looking running shoes and I know I don’t. Our first Christmas back in Colorado he’d been without a job for weeks, we had nothing for money, and he filled my stocking with Dollar Tree art supplies because he knew I was wanting to do more creative stuff. He spent all of ten bucks, and danged if it wasn’t the morning I discovered I’d love him forever.
So now when I write, I look for these little moments, too. The jokes with the kids around the dinner table. The unforeseen free tickets to a concert at Red Rocks. The one guy blowing his nose on the other guy’s T-shirt. I plunked the Dollar Tree art supplies moment pretty much whole into a Christmas story. My hunky Instagram friend seldom posts about the tedium of their day-to-day—and why would he? Nobody needs to be “influenced” to sit at home and watch TV and eat ice cream—but somewhere along the line they had an awkward first date the way we all do. One of them has farted at the most embarrassing possible moment, and the other regularly suffers through his most-hated pizza topping in the name of love, or else the pictures of the Paris proposal would be boring and crooked and no one at the wedding would be clapping. Without the little moments, the Big Moments? Not so big.
This will be my first GRL. I’m Facebook friends with several authors who regularly attend, so I’ve seen photos—more of seemingly “little” moments than of big, while we’re on the subject—and always thought it looked like fun, but it just never came together for me. When I was flying for work and could have flown to whichever GRL I chose for free, I’d forget about it until I started seeing posts; when I quit flying and had to start going through airport security like a regular person, getting on airplanes lost most of its appeal. But this year it’s in Denver. As in, like five miles from my house. And I’m not letting it get away. Driving ten minutes across town in my little beat-up car is nobody’s idea of a Grand Gesture, but they’re ten little moments that will make other moments possible. I’ve been in anthologies with writers I’m dying to meet; I can’t wait to make friends with people who like to read what I love to write. I love that you’re all coming to Denver! Who needs Instagram when fancy, fabulous, and fun set up camp right down the street?
When button-down biracial lawmaker Cassidy Uematsu meets hardscrabble fry cook Buford “Jax” Jackson, it’s lust at first sight. They’re only too happy to jump into the sack, and when Jax loses his condom mid-getting-to-know-you, Cassidy urges him forward, damn the consequences. What’s the worst that can happen?
After a couple weeks of barfing up his breakfast and a few months of stacking on weight, Cassidy learns an unfathomable secret about the men in his family that he’s pretty sure he was happier not knowing. Jax is a fan of Cassidy’s rapidly rounding belly, and of the sexy “Dude Mama” roleplay it inspires, but the night he feels a kick from inside Cassidy, he hightails it, certain at least one of them has lost his damn mind. A pregnant dude? That’s impossible. As the ninth month since the condom mishap approaches, Cassidy sure hopes he’s right.
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