Today I am so pleased to welcome Mia Kerick to Joyfully Jay. Mia has come to talk to us about her latest release, Born for Leaving. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Huge thanks to Joyfully Jay for welcoming me to her blog today!
I have had an almost decade long journey as an author. Until July 2020 it was as Mia Kerick.
To sum up Mia Kerick romance in a few words, I’ll use my tag line. “LOVE IS WHAT I SEE.” Lots of YA romance. New Adult love stories too. A little bit dark, a lot steamy. Very poignant and sometimes tragic. You may laugh; you’ll more likely cry. Sweet but broken characters. And in my stories, love heals. At least, this is what I was going for in…The Red Sheet, Not Broken Just Bent, Us Three, Intervention, Love Spell, The Art of Hero Worship, A Package Deal, Beggars and Choosers (and many more).
But then I diverged from my path. A few examples: The Weekend Bucket List was witty and trendy but ultimately a story of friendship. I left many of my regular readers disappointed. The Princess of Baker Street had 13-year old protagonists. It was a story with a message—is fiction with a message cool? But it’s a story I’m proud of. My town’s church book group read it when a trans girl started to attend the local elementary school. I believe it opened minds. It had a place.
I began to worry that readers wouldn’t know what to expect when they opened a Mia Kerick novel. I’d gone in every conceivable topic direction (yes, a slight exaggeration)—in addition, I’d experimented with stream of consciousness writing and I will confess to including a bit of poetry in my books. Total cringe—poetry isn’t my game. And branding is essential, right? Well, I’d lost my brand. Thinned it from lobster bisque to spring water. Both enjoyable, yet remarkably different. But I pressed on.
I next took on a subject matter that led me to hire four sensitivity readers to review and make suggestions to improve the finished story. I wanted to be sure I had gotten it right. They said it was good. Really good. Two thought it was important. When asked directly, though, the other two felt it was not my story to tell. Whether or not I agreed, I respected the differing opinions. All four sensitivity readers were being honest with me. I put that novel away. But the differing conclusions left me unsure of what I was called to write. I stopped writing for a year.
Finally, I felt the urge—the need—to write. No, not a light and fluffy story; I’m not much good at those, although they do have their place. I wanted to write the type of story I wrote when Mia Kerick started out. And the type of angsty story I most like to read.
Inspired by a song, as Mia Kerick very often is, I wrote Born for Leaving. The song, by the way, is “Colder Weather” by the Zac Brown Band. Here are the lyrics that hooked me:
“Well it’s a winding road
When you’re in the lost and found
You’re a lover I’m a runner
We go ’round ‘n ’round
And I love you, but I leave you
I don’t want you, but I need you
You know it’s you who calls me back here”
I fell in love with the story I created. Dark and gritty and, at times, tragic. Starring a roughhewn but sweet urban cowboy and a narrator with a voice you can relate to. My beta readers said they cried. My editor got distracted from editing by the story itself. But I was plagued with doubt. Had I confused my audience by following so many different paths in my storytelling?
IMPULSIVE DECISION TIME: (and yes, I’m very good at these) Within the span of three days I’d booked a blitz, had the story formatted, and BOOM!!! Born for Leaving was on Kindle Unlimited. And I was newbie author, JUDE MUNRO. Hello, world!
This is not a good place to be when you’ve done zero advanced preparation for the social media community. Not only did I never tease the book itself, I never introduced my new author persona, Jude Munro, to readers. I was basically invisible. Tweeting and posting my way into further oblivion. And pulling at my pandemic mullet—I have not had a salon appointment in seven months—in frustration.
To make a long story short—well, maybe not short, but let’s say, less long—I reached out to my (awesome, amazing, I-love-you-guys) MM Romance writing community. I did this in a DRAMA-FILLED please help me Facebook post. And guess what? The LGBTQ+ writing community—readers, writers, bloggers, friends—offered love and support. And plenty of ideas.
I was also the recipient of tough love. You know, blunt honesty. Which was exactly what I needed, because not-so-deep inside I knew I had made an error by rashly changing pen names. And some authors, I’m not sure they’d want to be named but special shout out to Garrett Leigh, advised me to do what I already knew was right for me. And so I’m returning to writing gay romance exclusively as Mia Kerick. “Don’t look back” is my motto. It’s tricky. And messy. There are rules, such as, an author’s name cannot be removed from a book. Jude Munro will not cease to exist… and that’s okay.
Amazon and Goodreads maintain Jude Munro as the primary author of Born for Leaving but allowed me to change the cover to show both authors’ names and added Mia Kerick as an additional author. Book tour hosts, reviewers, and bloggers have been literal saints allowing me to change just about…everything. (Yes, this includes Joyfully Jay.) The Goodreads librarian I worked with (Suzi, you rock!) helped me. Many people did. I’m in awe.
Mia Kerick is back, and it feels like coming home. Some of my readers are overjoyed. (Yes, you, Kevin Casey.) And I have learned. A lot. With regard to the “Jude Munro repeal,” I started out STRESSED to the max; I ended up BETTER-INFORMED and INSPIRED by my community.
So, I will leave you with this:
- Mia Kerick still writes dark and gritty, but also witty, love stories for and about adults.
- The LGBTQ+/MM/Gay Romance writing community is as supportive as it is talented.
- Think long and hard before changing your pen name.
- And last, if you’re looking for a page-turning beach read, pick up Born for Leaving. Oliver and Bodie’s angsty soulmates/forced proximity/hurt/comfort love story that is only 99 cents on Amazon and FREE on KU will leave you breathless.
When they say be careful what you wish for, do you pay attention?
Neither did Oliver Tunstead.
Oliver wishes for nothing more than to get his mind off his crappy bartending job, pile of debt big enough to swallow him whole, and playboy ex-boyfriend/boss who refuses to back off. Too bad distractions, like the hot little convertible he has his eye on, cost megabucks. And Oliver is flat broke. Renting the spare bedroom in his rundown beachfront cottage is his only option to pick up the cash he needs–a risky proposition, as Oliver is the polar opposite of a people-person. When he responds to a bizarre ad in the Waterfront Gazette seeking summer housing, he gets more than he bargained for. But Oliver can cope… After all, how much harm can a single quirky tenant do to his tightly guarded life in three short months?
Where Oliver is a loner by design, urban cowboy Bodie is a loner by necessity. A family dispute long ago dropkicked him onto the path of a lifelong wanderer. This changes when Bodie moves into the tiny beachfront cottage and starts working the door at Oliver’s bar.
Despite Oliver and Bodie’s nearly paralyzing instinct to avoid commitment, they fall into a wary romance. And to their surprise, life as a couple is sweetly satisfying; that is, until their jealous boss devises a cruel plan to destroy the tentative bond they’ve built. True to form, Bodie hits the road, leaving Oliver to lick his wounds alone.
Can these wounded souls defy their urge to flee and fight for love?
**Trigger Warning: discussion of childhood sexual molestation of adult character, graphic physical violence, off-page coerced sexual relationship
Buy Link: Amazon
Jude Munro is merging with the writer’s original pen name, Mia Kerick.
Jude Munro, very briefly Mia Kerick’s adult gay romance pen name, writes fictional characters in her adult gay romance novels who are drawn to the beach. They’ll answer questions like “Who do you think you are, the sun god?” (who they often resemble) if they can hear you over “Boys of Summer” cranking on their headphones. To most of Jude’s men, no shoes and no shirt is really not a problem. But even on the sunniest of beach days, the guys in Jude’s books do have problems… as in, serious relationship issues. Many of which seem insurmountable. And each character must earn his day at the beach. (Yes, there is always a HEA).
As Mia Kerick, this author’s books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine. They won a 2019 IPPY GOLD award, a 2018 YA GOLD MOONBEAM, a YA Readers’ Favorite Award, several first place Rainbow Awards, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, a YA Indie Fab Award, a First Place Royal Dragonfly Award, a First Place Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award, and a YA category finalist for the Eric Hoffer award, and more.
Mia has brought a $10 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Monday, August 24th at 11:59 pm ET.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
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- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.