Today I am so pleased to welcome Kris T. Bethke & Tia Fielding to Joyfully Jay. Kris and Tia have come to talk to us about their latest release, Rebuilding Charlie. They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Kris and Tia a big welcome!

 

Tia: Okay, so, interviewing each other, right? I still only have two questions for you, by the way. I guess I need to figure out a third while we chat. Aaaanyway, here’s the first one:

Kris, when did you first figure out you wanted to be a writer? Not necessarily in the “making this my profession” kind of serious way, but when did it first feel like “this is my thing”?

Kris: Long time readers of mine might already know this story, but when I was 10-11, and in fifth grade, we did a huge unit on creative writing. Now, my memory of that year is kind of fuzzy. I was out of school more than I was in because of persistent and repeated strep throat and tonsillitis. And it’s probably because of that it felt like ALL we did that year was creative writing. I read far above my age level, so I wrote far above it as well.

Now all this backstory is important because I wrote a story about a teenage girl whose mother was a foster parent for infants, and surprisingly got a placement of triplets. It was called Someone Special. One of the times I was absent, my teacher got a hold of it. I still don’t know how. But when I was back, she asked the class who wrote the story. I thought I was in trouble, by the serious tone and expression, so I tentatively raised my hand. Now I don’t remember the words she said, but I do remember the utter shock and awe, the absolute praise as she told me that story was so good. In front of the class. And that was the moment I knew I not only wanted to be, but would be, a writer.

Tia: Okay, but now I want to read that story, because it really does sound like you would’ve had a whole different kind of mindset to storytelling compared to your peers at that point. I mean, I started to read romance novels at around twelve and I know that probably shaped the way my brain wraps around ideas for sure.

Kris: Sadly the story is long gone, so I can’t share it. But knowing what I do now, it was vastly different from the other kids. I too was reading romance at that age (teen romances at 10-11, but by 12 I was stealing Oma’s Harlequins) and it 100% changed the way I told stories.

I have other questions for you, but first I’m going to throw this one back at you. Tia, when did you have your “ah-ha” moment of yes, I want to write?

Tia: I don’t actually remember that moment. I just know I’ve been writing ever since I knew how to? So from very young. I think I learned to read really early, like at three or four? Then I started to write stories and my first memories of trying to write something is from when I was like… five? Six?

There is, however, an actual local newspaper article of me from when I was sixteen where I say I want to be a published author by the time I’m thirty. If I remember correctly, my first story came out a couple of days after I turned thirty, so I kind of made that dream come true?

Kris: Yay for dreams coming true!

Tia: So, Kris, what’s your “Desert Island book?” If you were stranded for who knows how long, what book would you bring with you and why? And yes, ONLY ONE.

Kris: I like how you qualified it! Because of course you have to. It’s a lot harder for me now than it used to be, because some of these authors be out here wildin’ and showing their true colors and I try very hard not to support problematic authors. That being said, and even though there’s been some controversy around this author, the book would still be The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. The emotional connection, the reason I got to read it when I did (which is a whole other story) and how often I reread it back then, it’s got that special place in my heart.

Tia: Yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense. I hate that nowadays, we can find out things about the people we used to look up to and then that puts us off from their art. One of my favorite fantasy series from my teens totally suffers from that and I can never re-read it. And no, it’s not the one everyone is instantly thinking about, either.

Kris: It’s a double edged sword, for sure. On the one hand, it’s really great not to give hateful, bigoted, and/or harmful people a platform. On the other, it ruins good memories, or comfort we as readers derive from the stories, and now we have to grieve that loss.

Tia, you write across multiple different sub-genres. Some authors do, but many stick to just one or two. Why do you think your stories are so varied?

Tia: Because ADHD? Hah. No, actually, I think it’s because sometimes an idea comes to me and then it doesn’t work for certain sub-genre, or let’s say a character appears in my head and they’re forming and then casually go “oh, and I’m a werewolf” and I’m very much like whyyyyy because it was such a contemporary idea, if that makes sense? I wish I had better control of the voices in my head, just saying. Uh, question time… let me think…

Kris: Well I’m glad you don’t have better control of the voices in your head, because a) I like all the stories and the variety and 2) it makes me feel better about having the same dang problem!

Tia: Okay, Kris, we know not everyone re-reads books, but I know you do and I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now as well. What’s the book in our genre you’ve re-read the most and why?

Kris: Ack! Why you gotta ask the hard questions?? Let me say first that I do reread, and I do it a lot. I’ve been known to finish a book and start it over again. And there are quite a few books from our genre that are on my reread list, the ones I go to over and over again. It’s a comfort, especially with my anxiety. But, if we’re including audio, it’s probably the Soulbound series by Hailey Turner. I’ve read it through a couple of times, but I’ve listened to it another 5 or 6 times through. Part of that is the outstanding narration by Gary Furlong, but mostly because it’s a complex, huge story with characters that just feel real and relatable. Add to that the expansive world building and the way Turner combines so many mythologies, and it’s really just a great series.

Tia: Okay, I just took a look at that series and it seems very interesting, but also something that was way too much worldbuilding for my brain at the moment. But I’ll definitely keep it in mind if I ever want to sink into that sort of universe. And I’ll definitely recommend it to someone who might enjoy it, especially since there’s audiobooks available!

Kris: Blog readers here know just how much I love the series. And to be honest, I am a Turner fangirl.

Tia, what’s your favorite part about the writing process? What’s your least favorite?

Tia: Least favorite first. BLURBS. I HATE those. Which is part of why I feel so fortunate about having you as a co-author now, because you love blurbs. I just… can’t. I hate them so much. I don’t know how to condense things? You know I’m rambly!

Favorite part is probably the occasional flow we get to when the story is really just coming out of our brain and through our fingertips. It often leads me to that moment of doing something else and then my brain goes “oh, we should read more of that one book that’s really cool” and then I realize that book is the one I’m writing and I should like, write more if I want to read more… Writer brains, I swear….

Kris: It’s true, I do love to write blurbs. I’m the rare author that does, apparently! But yeah, I also love those times when I get into the flow and the story just pours out of my head, through my fingers, and onto the page.

And that’s a little about us! We hope you enjoyed learning about the authors behind the book. And we really hope you’ll get a chance to check out Rebuilding Charlie, the first book in our Black Dog Inn series. We’ve combined forces to bring you a story we both really love. You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Rebuilding-Charlie-Black-Dog-Book-ebook/dp/B0CW1G1SP7/

Tia: What Kris said. Hah.


Excerpt

It only took seconds for me to process what I was seeing. Pretty man was still here, which at first glance was a bonus because I’d get to apologize and explain. But he was not just crouched down and petting Steve. No, the man was literally cowering behind the dog. Because of me. I had to fix it.

I did the only thing I could think of, threw my hands up, and called, “I come in peace! I mean you no harm!”

For a moment, there was silence, then Dana let out a snort of laughter and her frown morphed into a slight smile. “Of course you don’t. Your…Regan called to tell us you’d be doing the Sugar Rush deliveries.” She moved her attention to the man who was slowly standing. “Charlie?”

Charlie. Pretty man had a name, and it fit him. I’d never thought much about names fitting a person before, except for that kid I went to high school with whose parents named him Leslie, but he was the burliest, gruffest man I’d ever met. But Charlie looked like a Charlie, not Charles or Chuck. I liked it. Not that my opinion of his name meant anything, because it was his name no matter my feelings on it.

Focus, Teague.

“I’m okay, D,” Charlie said, his voice shaking just a little. “I’m just going to…” He pointed over his shoulder at the building, and then his long legs ate up the ground as he hightailed it back inside.

I dropped my hands—why was I still holding them up?—and then my head. “Fuck.”

“Teague?”

Dana’s voice brought me sharply to the here and now, and I quickly moved to grab the three boxes Regan had packed for Black Dog. At the last second, I grabbed the smaller fourth box and stacked it on top. I carefully bumped the truck door closed to not wobble my tower of pastries and headed toward Dana.

“The other day, Charlie overheard me in the store on the phone, and I think I scared him.” I knew I had. It had been clear then, but even more so now. But for some reason I didn’t want to admit that to Dana. “I really need to apologize.”

Dana led the way into the dining room but glanced back over her shoulder. “You? Scare someone?” She scoffed. “Teague, I hate to break it to you, but despite your size, you’re the softest, squishiest marshmallow around.”

“Normally, yeah.” People always seemed to think that would offend me somehow, but I didn’t care that I was known for my good nature. I liked being the good guy. “But it was Bart.”

Dana made a face like she smelled something gross as she held open the door for me. “What’s his problem now?”

Dana and Nic knew about my sister and her husband’s beliefs, as well as their attitude toward me and Regan. I’d met them when Dad and I had come to collect a few trees they’d wanted taken down to make more room in the back of the property. I didn’t know the pair really well, but I’d been out here on more than one occasion over the past few months, not only to deliver pastries for Sugar Rush but to drop off firewood as well. It was still too hot for fires in the fireplaces in the cabins, which I didn’t think they were renting out yet anyway. But they had a firepit that they’d used on occasion for the guests they’d had so far. During those visits, we’d got to talking a little.

“It’s a whole ass thing,” I said, with a weary sigh. “But their oldest is gay, and he’s here and they don’t want that.”

“Say no more.” Dana could figure out the rest and didn’t need me to go into detail. I followed her to the table along the far wall and set the boxes down. I separated them out, keeping the smallest box in my hands.

“That one’s the regular, then this one is gluten free, and this one is nut free.” Pointing to each one with my free hand.

Dana smirked. “I can read. Regan marked them.”

“Yeah. Uh.” I sucked in a breath. “Listen. Where’s Charlie? Do you think he’ll talk to me? I really want to apologize.”


Blurb

One day at a time, one cupcake at a time, I was determined to win him over.

Charlie Caldwell has hit a breaking point. With more than just his mental health on the line, he makes the decision to move across the country to work for his best friend, leaving his brother and niblings behind. A new start isn’t going to fix him. His dysmorphia isn’t going to magically go away. But his hope is that being in a new place and going no contact with his toxic mother will at least allow him to breathe.

Teague Mulligan might look like a lumberjack, but he’s really a marshmallow. And he likes it that way. He’s a doer, a fixer, and his wide shoulders are big enough to handle any problem. He’s always going to put himself between the world and the people he loves. But when he first meets Charlie, Teague doesn’t make a great first impression. Fortunately, he gets a chance to apologize and explain. Though Teague is immediately attracted to Charlie, he recognizes the other man has built walls around himself. Teague vows to go at Charlie’s pace, even if friendship is the only thing he can have.

The more they get to know each other, the more the attraction blooms. But Charlie’s past trauma keeps him from leaping. As much as he likes Teague, he knows the road blocks his mental health puts in the way. But Teague is as patient as he is kind, and as the days go on, trust is built. Slowly and surely, Charlie lets Teague in. Neither Charlie nor Teague were looking for love, but day by day, and cupcake by cupcake, love is exactly what they find.

This book includes: cis body dysmorphia, parental emotional and mental abuse, ex-partner mental abuse (shown briefly in memory), mentions of suicidal ideation and self-harm (no act shown on page), animal death (minor, the dogs don’t die!), and religious trauma (emotional, not physical).


Bio

Kris is a bisexual hardcore fan of romance, and has been from a very young age. She believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated. With that in mind, she writes romance across several subgenres but with the ultimate goal of a satisfying happily ever after at the end. That is, after all, the important part.

Kris lives in a converted attic with a pack of rodents who amuse her daily, and long naps on the weekend are her greatest pleasure. A creative soul and an avid daydreamer, her pursuits range past just the written word into a plethora of creative hobbies. Kris finds inspiration in all of life’s twist and turns. From the mundane to the fantastical, just about anything will make it into her books. To stay up to day on her latest, make sure to follow on her site at kristbethke.com.

 

Tia Fielding is a Finnish author who loves witty people, words, peppermint, sarcasm, autumn, and the tiny beautiful things in life.

Tia identifies as genderqueer but isn’t strict about pronouns. Why? Because luckily, in their native language there aren’t gender-specific pronouns.

These days, preferring to live in the middle of nowhere with their fur babies is as big of a part of their psyche as writing. Tia likes to recharge in nature and tends to watch where they’re going through their cell phone’s camera.

In 2013 Tia’s novel Falling Into Place was recognized by the industry’s Rainbow Awards in the Best LGBT Erotic Romance (Bobby Michaels Award) category.

In 2019, their novel Four (Love by Numbers #2) won a Rainbow Award in the Best Transgender Contemporary category.

Social media links, including a newsletter signup that gives you a free story can be found at https://campsite.bio/tiafieldingauthor.


Giveaway

Tia and Kris have brought a copy of Rebuilding Charlie to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Tuesday, March 12th 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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  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
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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.