Today I am so pleased to welcome Kim Fielding to Joyfully Jay. Kim has come as part of the Rainbow Readers Cruise Blog Tour to talk to us about her latest release, Bread Crumbs. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

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Let’s talk about romance, shall we? Today’s the day for it!

The word Romance originally meant languages that derived from Latin (that is, from Rome) but weren’t Latin. We still refer to the modern forms of these as the Romance languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and about forty others. In the middle ages, Europeans told tales about chivalrous knights, often rescuing maidens, and since these tales were told in the local language, they were called romance stories. Think King Arthur. Eventually, of course, the term romance shifted a little to mean not just stories about love, but the love itself, usually with a connotation of excitement or adventure. Romances get your blood stirring.

kim fielding rainbow readers cruise avatarBut consider also this definition of romance, from the Oxford English Dictionary: “a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.” A romance isn’t just love per se, but the feeling we get when we’re falling madly, extravagantly into love. That heady state in which the rest of the world sort of falls away and we focus on the fascination in front of us.

For me, there is nothing more romantic than travel. Going away from home makes us feel a little uncertain, maybe, but separates us from everyday cares and opens us up to all sorts of new discoveries. Those can be small things, such as the new-to-me bread I first tasted at the Nuremberg airport (it’s called laugenecken and it is dreamy), or huge things like a stunning national park. They can be quirky, sweet, mystifying, funny, swoony, and even scary. Sometimes they can be a perfect fifteen minutes, such as sitting at a sidewalk café in beautiful weather with good coffee and a good pastry, watching local families take a Saturday morning stroll, or reaching the top of an island mountain just in time to watch the sun set into the sea. Travel is romantic because it too gets your blood stirring.

I travel as often as I can manage it. Some of my very recent jaunts included an amazing three weeks on sea and land in Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy; a week with family in the Mojave Desert; and a quick getaway to San Simeon and Catalina Island. Next month I’ll be off to New Orleans. And in August, I’ll be joining some of you on the Rainbow Readers Cruise!

I think some forms of travel are especially romantic: trains and ships. So I’m especially excited that we’ll have the chance to spend several days at sea.

As an author, I often find that the romance of travel translates naturally into writing romance stories. My trips always inspire me to write, and that adds to the excitement for me. What plot bunny will hop into my arms when I walk through that ancient stone archway or gaze out at the sparkling waves?

Whether you travel in person or in your imagination, I hope that your blood is stirred and you experience the most wonderful romances!

rainbow readers cruise logoThe Rainbow Readers Cruise celebrates the readers and creators of LGBTQ+ fiction and romance. The cruise departs from the Port of Fort Lauderdale on August 19, 2024 and returns August 23, 2024, with stops at Key West and Coco Cay (Celebrity’s private island). Along the way, meet and mingle with some of your favorite LGBTQ+ fiction and romance authors and creators, as well as attend panels, meet and greets, small group social activities, and the Signing at Sea. Plus, the cruise itself, with fabulous destinations, food and drinks, entertainment, and more. You can find all the details about the Rainbow Readers Cruise on our website:


Zimri gave Johnny’s thigh a hard poke with one finger. “I’m not going back to those fuckwads. Let ’em try to book gigs now, with no percussion and no backup vocals. With nobody to write new material. I’ve got better plans.” He hopped to his feet and started waving his arms around as he spoke. “A new band, you and me. I’m on guitar and vocals, you’re on drums. Maybe we’ll add another guitarist later, I dunno. All new songs, written by us. Amazing songs. No fucking manager who takes a chunk of our earnings and pays us back by selling us out. I’ll find some local gigs. I’ll put together a street team and splash us all over the internet. Before we know it we’ll be signing with a label and leaving those losers in the dust. Whattaya think, man?”

“It’s a nice fairytale.”

“Not a fairytale—it’s a plan.” As if the matter were settled, Zimri collapsed back onto the couch.
Except for the refrigerator’s hum, the apartment was quiet. The closed front windows blocked the street sounds, which was almost too bad; Johnny like the swish of tires on wet pavement. When the temperatures were warmer, he liked to open the sashes slightly so he could hear the city.

“We can do this,” Zimri said quietly.

“You can. Find someone more talented than me. Someone better-looking.”

“Don’t want someone else. I want you.”

Zimri started to scoot closer, but Johnny shook his head. “I wish you wouldn’t do that.”

“Don’t want my cooties?”

Johnny’s throat grew tight and his heart pounded. If he moved his hand just a few inches, he’d be touching Zimri. Of course they’d touched before. You couldn’t be in a band without at least occasionally bumping into each other. There were even times when Johnny had sat at Brenda’s stupid desk, working on lyrics, and Zimri had leaned up against him—his hand on Johnny’s shoulder and his mouth so very close—offering suggestions. Humming a few notes.

This was different, though, and Johnny kept his hand to himself.

Zimri let out a long breath. “Okay, so we’re friends, aren’t we?”


“I’m glad you think so. Be straight with me then. Why don’t you want to play with me? Why can’t I even sit next you?”

Maybe because he’d already lost so much today, Johnny suddenly wanted to drop his burden of secrecy too. He turned and looked at Zimri straight on. “I’m afraid.”

“Of what?” Zimri looked baffled.

“That I’ll… do something inappropriate.”

That brought a series of slow blinks. It was almost funny to see Zimri so puzzled, so at a loss for words. Finally, he spoke. “Inappropriate… like what?”

Shit. Spit it out, Gehrings. “I-I’m attracted to you.”

That wasn’t even the truth, at least not completely. If Johnny hadn’t been a complete coward he would have said I love you. But then he might as well take a kitchen knife, slit himself open, and carve out his heart.

Zimri’s mouth had fallen slightly open. “I didn’t even know you were gay. Or bi? Pan? Hell, I’ve never seen any sign that you were attracted to anyone.”

“I want… you.”

Johnny had felt it from almost the first moment he’d set eyes on him and during every minute since. Sometimes the yearning was so fierce that he could barely breathe; other times he felt as if his desire for Zimri was the only thing keeping him alive. Maybe he should consider it a triumph that he’d kept it a secret for so long.

“I’m sorry,” Johnny whispered and finally looked away.

“Oh, babe.”

And suddenly, somehow, Zimri was on Johnny, knees straddling Johnny’s lap, hands cradling his face. Foreheads touching.

“I don’t want your pity.” Johnny’s intent—a harsh growl—became instead a plea. He wanted to push Zimri away but couldn’t make his hands do his bidding. That’s what happens when you spill your guts: you lose dominion over your body.

“Who could pity a grouchy son of a bitch like you.” Instead of finishing with a question mark, Zimri punctuated his statement with a kiss. Just a soft one, barely a whisper of lips against lips. Still, Johnny tasted the salt of the stolen potato chips.


“Don’t tell me you’re not talented enough or pretty enough for this. I’m here with you. Not with any imaginary drummers or hypothetical lovers. You. And it’s exactly where I want to be.”


With their band on the brink of stardom, Johnny Gehrings is cast out by his stepmother and half brothers because he’s not pretty enough for social media. He takes some solace when Zimri Hayes quits the band too—beautiful Zimri, who is Johnny’s secret heart’s desire.

A job at a grocery store and a part-time music gig at a drag club pay the bills, but Johnny is still emotionally adrift, a wanderer abandoned in the forest. And when Zimri is offered a chance to make it big, Johnny fears that a devious manager will eat Zimri alive.

Finding his way out of the woods is hard enough, but Johnny would also like to save Zimri—if Zimri even wants to be saved.


Kim Fielding is very pleased every time someone calls her eclectic. Winner of the BookLife Prize for Fiction, a Lambda Award finalist and three-time Foreword INDIE finalist, she has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California, where she long ago ran out of bookshelf space. She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full time. She also dreams of having two daughters who fully appreciate her, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others.