Today I am so pleased to welcome G.R. Lyons to Joyfully Jay. G.R. has come to talk to us about his release, Kacey: The First Premise. He has also brought along a copy to give away. Please join me in giving G.R. a big welcome!
When I was a little girl, there were many nights I lay in bed, wishing I could wake up the next morning as a boy. I wished, prayed, begged whatever powers existed (whether it be some god or fate or the universe as a whole) that I could just wake up in a different body. I didn’t know exactly what was wrong; just that I had this strange, desperate need to know what it was like to be a boy. I was certain that I’d never be happy in life if I didn’t get to experience at least one day in a body that wasn’t my own.
Of course, that didn’t happen. The harder I plead, the more disappointed I became. Between that and society (to say nothing of my mother) constantly reinforcing the idea that I needed to be more feminine, I ultimately managed to shove my confusing desire into the deepest, darkest corners of my mind, slamming the door shut and sealing it with the biggest Denial lock imaginable. As years passed, I caught little glimpses here and there of the old desire trying to force its way out, so I kept trying harder. I had to be more feminine. The most feminine. Longer hair. Taller high heels. Out with the pants and in with the dresses.
I got a ton of compliments. And, for a while, I thought I was happy.
But it was all a farce. The harder I tried, the worse I felt, so I’d try harder, only to feel even worse again, this vicious cycle growing and growing until I didn’t know who I was anymore.
Then, the breakthrough. I’d heard of male-to-female transsexuals, but female-to-male? Logically, I should have been able to figure out that if one was possible, certainly the other could be, but I was so deep in denial that I’d never arrived at the idea on my own. It took me stumbling upon someone (I can’t even recall who, now) openly saying that he was a female-to-male transsexual.
What I was feeling was actually a thing. And there was a fix.
A perfect fix? No. Of course not. I’d never get that magical change that I’d always prayed for as a kid. But something close enough? I’d take it!
It just so happened that the start of my transition occurred around the time I began self-publishing. That early in the game, I had accepted that I was trans, but wasn’t yet ready to actually allow myself to be trans. I hid. I pretended. I lied. I made up excuses…
“Oh, my breasts are suddenly gone? Well, I had a cancer scare and decided to be pro-active…”
(Not entirely a lie, but one that I could pull off, and people bought it.)
“Yeah, I cut off all my hair…” [It had been down past my waist] “…You know, it’s just getting to be too hot with these 120-degree days.”
(Again, true, but not the real reason).
I stuck with what was safe. I had no guiding hand to help me navigate the world of Coming Out and actually living as a trans man. I felt like I was constantly hiding in the shadows, no longer in denial but not really being authentic, either.
So I did the same with my writing. I stuck to the tried-and-true, familiar realm of m/f fiction. Granted, part of that had to do with the fact that I didn’t yet know gay fiction was a thing. I’d seen gay characters in books and movies, of course, but never as the MCs.
Until I finally did discover m/m romance as a genre, and had another light bulb moment. This was what I wanted to write. What I needed to write. Something with which (once I finally accepted the fact that I could be both a trans man and gay) I could identify.
But, if that were the case, why not write just gay characters but trans characters? I’d stumbled upon a few after some serious hunting, but there wasn’t much out there. E. Davies and Jay Northcote write awesome trans fiction, but I wanted more. So much more. FTM MCs were so hard to find.
Which meant it was time for me to write some of my own. I’d snuck one trans person in as a minor character in my fantasy series, but what I really needed was an MC. A POV character. And thanks to the help and inspiration of authors E.M. Denning and Kate Hawthorne, I found a story for one.
It’s dark. And very taboo. It’s definitely not a series for every reader. But Hunter needed his story told, and Kacey, being trans, allowed for certain things to happen that made the stakes even higher.
In many respects, Kacey is nothing like me. He’s sociable. Sassy. Flirty. He’s openly trans and flamboyant and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him. In other respects, though, he and I are very much alike. We both struggled with accepting our identities. Both had meltdowns over body parts being wrong. Both felt that we could never be loved or desired because we weren’t normal.
Kacey: The First Premise hit #1 on the Transgender Romance Bestseller list on Amazon on release day, and stayed near the top for several days thereafter. I never imagined I’d ever see that orange banner. Granted, it’s a very niche category, so it doesn’t take many sales to climb that chart, but the sight was still thrilling.
What was not so thrilling was the sight of what else was on that list. Scrolling through the other books that were there as I watched Kacey slowly climb the ranks, I was both disappointed and disgusted with what I saw. Yes, there was the occasional Davies or Northcote title (yay!), but the majority of the books on that list looked to either have nothing to do with trans characters (no indication on the cover or in the title that those books were in the right category) or were so obviously making transsexualism a fetish as to be grotesque.
I get that there are people who like to read that stuff. That’s fine. To each, his own. But as a trans person, living with the daily struggles of being trans, needing characters with which I can identify and connect on a very real basis, I wished I could have seen more of the kind of trans fiction I’d like to read rather than seeing the bestseller list riddled with erotica.
Which just means that I need to write some more of my own. It may be that nothing I write will ever top a bestseller list again, but I still need to write it. I need more trans characters. I need more trans stories out there in the world.
Thus, I’m in the midst of planning a whole new series featuring all trans MCs. Seven of them, to be exact. The way the outlining is going so far, it looks like it’ll be seven origin stories, if you will, followed by a handful of stories that have them all together as a group. Because everything is set in my fictional world (which combines advanced technology, magic, and the paranormal), these characters will all have magical abilities, including the ability (once they learn to harness and control their powers) to alter their bodies so they can pass and feel less dysphoria.
That’s the little kid in me needing to explore some wish fulfillment that I never got to experience in real life. If fiction is the ultimate escape from the real world, where anything can happen and all our dreams can come true, why not pretend, for a little while, that all it takes is a spell to make the breasts go away? To make hair grow in new places?
To go to sleep as a girl one night and wake up the next morning in the right body?
Hunter Fitz keeps running from his past, but the dark claws of memory follow him everywhere he goes. Taking another new job in another new city, Hunter hopes that maybe, just once, he can finally settle down.
Then he meets Kacey Reynolds, a free-spirited student who is as beautiful as he is exasperating, to say nothing of the unbearable arousal Hunter feels whenever the boy is around.
Hunter knows he can’t give in to temptation. He’s managed to stay celibate for two decades, and breaking that streak would make him just as bad as them.
But Kacey might prove more than he can resist.
**This book contains content of a taboo nature.** Also contains one stern logic professor who’s haunted by his past, one sassy FTM trans student with an affinity for makeup and belly dancing, and philosophical musings on different cultures’ views on sex and relationships.
(Note: This story takes place in a fictional world, the same as in the Shifting Isles Series. There are multiple gods, different names for the days of the week, etc. A glossary is included.)
The Transitivity Series must be read IN ORDER:
- Kacey: The First Premise
- Austin: The Second Premise
- Hunter: The Conclusion
While daylighting as office manager for the family auto repair business, G.R. Lyons can often be found working on one of multiple manuscripts or desperately trying to keep up with the TBR pile. Anarcho-capitalist, quietly ‘out’ trans guy, former belly dancer, coffee guzzler, highly-sensitive introvert, CrossFit enthusiast, and lover of m/m romantic fiction.
G.R. has brought a copy of Kacey: The First Premise to give away to one lucky reader (sent direct to Kindle). Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Tuesday, April 23rd at 11:59 pm ET.
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