Today I am so pleased to welcome Bob Appavu to Joyfully Jay. Bob has come to talk to us about her latest release, Art of Death. She has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving Bob a big welcome!


What does it mean to be naked?

When my conservative parents agreed after a hard-fought battle to allow me to go to art school instead of medical school, they probably didn’t realize that their sheltered, innocent child would spend twelve hours a week up close and personal with live naked bodies—and countless additional hours examining photos and paintings of yet more naked bodies.

The human nude is a foundation of art education. Even a drawing of a clothed figure begins with thorough, intimate knowledge of the body underneath. There’s no escaping it in the art world. The nude body is both a base to be built upon and a source of aesthetic inspiration in itself.

My first experiences with life drawing were a little surreal. Nudity wasn’t the issue; the mere sight of naked bodies doesn’t faze me. But how exactly do you interact with a stranger when they’re naked and you’re not? Here’s something you might not know if you haven’t taken figure drawing classes: some models are chattier than others. I went to a great public high school that thoroughly educated me on everything from black history to methods of contraception, but they did not teach me how to casually chat with naked people about how long I thought the rain would last.

Fortunately, I got used to it over time. These days, my interest in nudity as a concept has less to do with the human form—as beautiful as it can be—than it has to do with what nudity means in context. Nudity is a form of intimate exposure, and not all of us are comfortable with the same level of exposure, be it physical or otherwise.

Riley, the main character in my newly released novel Art of Death, is a former art school student who, in a moment of desperation, returns to his alma mater as a nude model in order to make ends meet. For Riley, getting naked in front of an audience isn’t a huge deal. He needs the money and he knows he has a good body; only his jealous boyfriend makes him think twice about showing it off.  Regardless, his body isn’t a source of insecurity for him.

His body isn’t the thing he’s afraid to expose.

Art of Death (Lychgate: Book 1) is an m/m supernatural murder mystery about a starving-artist-turned-nude-model who, with the help of a shady-but-hot investigator, has to survive being the target of an undead serial killer.

But it’s also about a guy who struggles with his own inner demons—debilitating depression, grief over the death of his brother, insecurity over the power imbalance in his relationship with his rich boyfriend, and intense fear that if someone were to discover all of these things about him, they’d realize what a mess he is.

Enter Westwood, an undead man who’s so far removed from humanity that he can only feel emotion vicariously through humans—through their blood, their tears, and other more invasive means.  Westwood can’t feel his own emotion, but he can feel Riley’s. He doesn’t have the human perspective that would lend itself to being judgmental; instead, he finds Riley’s human emotion addictive, regardless of its cause.  It’s the only connection he has to the mortality he lost.

Riley’s greatest fear is to expose his inner demons to those who love and respect him. People have treated his weaknesses as weapons to be used against him, and the thought of being physically brutalized is less terrifying than the thought of a loved one seeing the truth of his heart and soul. But the untamed, unpredictable, undead Westwood can feel his heart whether or not he tries to hide it.

Riley starts off the trilogy naked, but with his heart and soul shrouded. He’ll end the series clothed, but with his heart and soul exposed. I can’t wait to share this character journey with everyone.

Most of us have some part of ourselves that we’re afraid to expose, or only willing to expose to those closest to us. Which areas do you keep guarded, and which do you send out naked and unafraid?


Starving artist Riley Burke refuses to be dependent on his rich older boyfriend—hence his second job as a nude model at the local art school.  When the famous artist Coliaro requests him for a private modeling session, he jumps at the chance to earn some real cash.

But then Westwood, a mysterious stranger, warns him to steer clear—it’s said Coliaro is undead. That his worshippers perform rituals to fill him with life energy. That every time he paints a male nude, the painting transforms to depict a gruesome murder. And that shortly after, a young man turns up dead.

Riley dismisses the rumors—until they start to play out before his eyes. When he becomes a target, Westwood comes to his aid. But Westwood is secretive and dangerous himself… which just makes him more attractive to Riley. Riley is in over his head, and even his tenuous alliance with Westwood might not save him.

Note: This title was originally published under an alternate pen name. This second edition has been re-edited and significantly updated.

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Bob Appavu is an author, illustrator, and creator of the long-running LGBTQ+ webcomic Demon of the Underground. Born and raised in a conservative Chicago suburb to South Indian parents, Bob turned to reading at an early age to find the inclusive, illuminating worlds that couldn’t always be accessed in real life. Bob recalls spending most of the 90s at the local bookstore feigning interest in the poetry anthologies that were conveniently shelved next to the LGBT fiction.

As a queer writer who enjoys challenging conventions and pushes creative boundaries, Bob has a passion for crafting the types of stories she can’t readily find on the shelf and the types of characters who are often denied the spotlight. Bob is a lover of suspense, speculative fiction, and deep world building, but her greatest joy is portraying the full scope of her queer characters’ humanity.

Bob is an incurable workaholic whose preferred fuel is tea. When not at work, she enjoys caring for rescued ferrets.


Bob is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky reader on the tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

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