Today I am so pleased to welcome F.T. Lukens to Joyfully Jay. F.T. has come to talk to us about her latest release, The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hi everyone! This is F.T. Lukens, author of The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic, and today I would like to talk about my upcoming release and acceptance of queer teens.
The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic is a young adult urban fantasy novel that features Bridger, a bisexual protagonist who is struggling with changes in his life that come with being a senior in high school. Bridger has a crush on the new kid across the street but is worried about coming out to his friends and family. Bridger has been abandoned by one parent and doesn’t want to lose his mother or his best friend. His journey is indicative of many contemporary queer teens.
Unfortunately, within current society, it is still difficult for many teens to come out about their sexuality. There is an underlying fear of not being accepted, and there are also very real consequences for some teens when coming out including bullying, homelessness, and depression/anxiety. Parents, teachers, and peers all have the capacity for acceptance, but also the capacity to do harm.
Bridger mentions that while he’s heard acceptance from the media – movie stars and social media—he’s not experienced validation from anyone close to him. He’s not been directly told that he’s okay. When he does, it’s a powerful moment for him.
Pavel poked at a string of glittering ice hanging from a branch. “Bridger, it’s perfectly acceptable to like both. Or all. Or none of the above.”
Bridger stopped, startled. No one had ever said that to him. Of course, he had heard it. He’d seen it on social media and in speeches made by famous people, but it hadn’t been directed at him. It wasn’t as if he needed permission to lust after Chris and Scarlett at the same time, but acceptance was a powerful thing. An adult—one Bridger trusted with his life—told him it was okay. He was okay.
His knees went weak and he sat on the ground hard.
I was asked on twitter by an advanced reader of the book about what we as adults can do for queer kids/teens. We can be a safe place. We can offer an ear or a shoulder or a place to stay. We can offer acceptance to the teens in our life. We can donate to organizations that help. We can offer education to other adults. We can validate their experiences and their feelings and personhood. As a writer, I can write stories that feature diverse characters like Bridger and Leo.
And maybe we can have the same effect Pavel’s friendship had on Bridger to someone in our lives.
It wasn’t a full practice, so they weren’t wearing pads. They ran a few sprints and then reviewed plays. Leo was ridiculous in how hot he was and how easily he moved. He ran faster than anyone else. He caught the ball better and jumped higher and outperformed everyone on the field. He was humble when he received praise from the coaches and his teammates; he ducked his head and blushed, waved off the compliments and gave his own to the others.
He was a hero. King Arthur brought forth from Avalon. Or Heracles descended from the heavens.
And he wanted to date Bridger.
Bridger couldn’t help but smile as he thought about it; his whole body was alight and warm. He was going to ask him to Homecoming. It was only a week away, and Leo may already have a date, but Bridger was going to ask him. He was going to do it. Today. After practice. Yes.
Bridger stretched, basking in the sun, and lazily watched the activities on the field. The football players ran plays. The field hockey girls practiced. The cheerleaders did backflips. The track team jumped hurdles. A large black dog stalked the tree line.
Bridger sat up so fast he almost fell off the bleachers. He banged his elbow on the metal, but it barely registered.
Oh, please, no. Please don’t be real.
But there, in the shadows of the adjoining woods, prowled a large black wild animal. It was huge, the size of the cougars Bridger had seen at the zoo, but instead of slick fur, it was shaggy; its coat was more like a bear’s than a dog’s. Twin horns sprouted from its head, curling around the side of its face. And it was pure black, so dark that it seemed to absorb every ounce of light—except for its eyes, which were red and slitted and glowing. It noticed Bridger watching, and it pulled back its lip in a snarl, fangs dripping and sharp. Its tail twitched, but it kept to the trees, as if there was a line it could not cross.
Keeping his gaze locked on the animal lest it decided to charge, Bridger hopped up, grabbed his bag, and walked briskly toward the equipment shack. He smiled tightly at the students he passed and felt blindly in the bottom of his bag as he strode to the small building.
He made it there just as the mirror began to ring. Perfect timing. Flipping it open, he saw Pavel with Nia hovering over his shoulder.
“Bridger, there is—”
“A really scary and large black cougar-dog-thing near the football field? Yeah, got it, boss.”
“Ah, yes, well.” Pavel cleared its throat. “What is it doing?”
“Other than being terrifying? It’s growling and stalking.” Bridger peeked around the corner of the shed. Yep, still there. “It’s acting like it’s stuck. Like it can’t cross over the school property line.”
“Do you have your book?”
Bridger rooted in his bag until he grasped the leather binding. He pulled it out.
“Got it. Now what?”
“Look up the Ozark Howler.”
Bridger flipped through the pages, which was difficult while trying to hold the mirror and not be noticed by the dozens of students on the fields. He shot an overly friendly smile at a nearby cheerleader and winked. It freaked her out, and she frowned and walked away to the group of girls.
“Um… Ozark Howler. A nocturnal apparition found primarily in the Ozarks. Well, he’s obviously lost.”
Desperate to pay for college, Bridger Whitt is willing to overlook the peculiarities of his new job—entering via the roof, the weird stacks of old books and even older scrolls, the seemingly incorporeal voices he hears from time to time—but it’s pretty hard to ignore being pulled under Lake Michigan by… mermaids? Worse yet, this happens in front of his new crush, Leo, the dreamy football star who just moved to town.
When he discovers his eccentric employer Pavel Chudinov is an intermediary between the human world and its myths, Bridger is plunged into a world of pixies, werewolves, and Sasquatch. The realm of myths and magic is growing increasingly unstable, and it is up to Bridger to ascertain the cause of the chaos, eliminate the problem, and help his boss keep the real world from finding the world of myths.
F.T. Lukens is an author of Young Adult fiction who got her start by placing second out of ten thousand entries in a fan-community writing contest. A sci-fi enthusiast, F.T. loves Star Trek and Firefly and is a longtime member of her college’s science-fiction club. She holds degrees in Psychology and English Literature and has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and writing. F.T. lives in North Carolina with her husband, three kids, and three cats. Her first two novels in the Broken Moon series, The Star Host and Ghosts & Ashes, were published by Duet Books.
F.T. has brought five copies of “The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic” + $25 IP Web Store Gift Card Grand Prize to give away along her tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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