Today I am so pleased to welcome Mary Dumas & Bettina Kurkoski to Joyfully Jay. Mary and Bettina have come to talk to us about their latest release, Romeo X Julien (and you can check out our Buddy Review here). They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!


Mary has written some questions and answers to share today!

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I write in the m/m romance genre because I read the m/m romance genre. Within that genre there are all the other genre, from mystery to science fiction, and everything in between.


Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.

The parents and siblings and family of gay man are intentionally part of my writings. Because gay men did not hatch from eggs, though there are those writers who seem to think so.


Do you use a pseudonym? If so, why? If not, why not?

Bettina and I started out using a joint pseudonym (or nom-de-plume) when we began this RomeoXJulien story. We called ourselves Marina, combining our names, because I wanted to protect my artist.  Bettina was known for children’s story books at the time.  I did not want her to lose business.  However, as we came up on the finals of our book, she had a change of heart and we are now both listed as co-creators of the book.


Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?

Almost always a character, I want to make up a story about a photo or drawing I see, or a person who is sitting on the park bench alone. Or on an airplane with a bunch of friends.


If you had a grant to write any book you wanted as a freebie without worrying about sales, what kind of story would you like to tell?

M/m romance, probably a mystery story, because I find myself reading mysteries more than once if I missed the clue that gave away the ending.


How do you approach covers for your indie stories?

I have a lot of great artist friends, I commission them to make my covers.


What was the most valuable piece of advice you’ve had from an editor?

“Don’t worry about the reader.”


Name the book you like most among all you’ve written, and tell us why.

Romeo X Julien Act 2, because I love the secondary characters of the “friars”.


How do you combine all the different worlds of your life in your works?

My graphic novel came about because I worked with a drag queen troop for a few years. Some of my other stories came about because of the USN in my family.


What’s the funniest or creepiest thing you’ve come across while researching for one of your stories?

Creepiest was the Aztec fonts for the hearts of enemies. Funniest was the scientist who had to measure how far a man could shot his cum.


What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?

Mary is working on an anthology of short stories, and has a contribution in to a short stories erotic anthology that is about Hanukkah.

Bettina has returned to her first love, knitting, and is tied up in a few projects.



Romeo Montague has always been a little awkward. His cousin, Benny, doesn’t help, often tossing him into situations unprepared; like dragging him to a Renaissance Faire in the middle of Wine Country.

Julien Capulet, a respected festival promoter, has his own quirks. While dealing with his crazy parents and goofy gay uncles, he holds out hope of meeting the one who’ll see past all the frills.

Romeo X Julien is a sexy homage to Will Shakespeare, with more comedy than tragedy. Entertaining and tender, it shows how the course of true love may never be smooth, and that the LGBTQ community has come a long way in a short time.

Buy Link:



Co-creators, Mary Dumas and Bettina Kurkoski, have been fixtures on the Comic Con circuit since 2003. Mary was on staff for a number of convention groups, while Bettina was the artist in residence for those organizations.

In 2015 this friendship became a partnership in creating the comic series, RomeoXJulien. Following this comic creation lead them to Artists Alley in many Fan Conventions for the next five years. In 2019, with the finish of the story they decided to give the comics a bright new life in full color as a graphic novel.


Mary has brought a $10 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on the tour. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter. 

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