Please welcome Mia Kerick and
Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.
As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.)
However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”
But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.
An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.
Not to say that I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days, but I kept my phone basically right beneath my chin for the next four days. Yes, I was oh-so-pathetically waiting for his call, which I am aware fully explains the need for the phrase “get a life.” But Jazz hadn’t been at school on the Thursday or Friday after he had called and cancelled our playdate, and now it’s Sunday night, and I still haven’t heard from him. And although I’m frustrated that all of my elaborate plans to make him fall head over heels in love with moi have apparently tanked, I’m also growing genuinely concerned.
That’s when my cell phone, which I placed on my chest before I lay down on my now “love-spell-pink” wrapped mattress, starts singing Express Yourself.
“Yo.” I don’t check the number. It’s Emmy—who else would it be?
“Hi, Chance.” The deep voice is so not Emmy’s.
Yaaassss!!! This is what ninety-nine percent of my insides shout. One percent says quietly, “It’s about frigging time you called, asshole.”
But my voice is calm. “Jasper,” I say blandly. In my opinion, he hasn’t earned the right to be called Jazz any longer.
“Um, sorry, no. It’s Jazz.”
I try not to roll my eyes even though I know he won’t see, but it’s an epic fail. “Whatever.”
“I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch for a couple days. My mom’s been real sick. I was lookin’ after her, gettin’ her to the doctor, goin’ to the pharmacy, bringing JoJo back and forth to school, and stuff.”
“Mom caught JoJo’s strep throat and had to go to the ER because she couldn’t even swallow.” He stops talking for a second and then clears his voice. “Alls she could do was spit into a rag whenever she needed to swallow.”
Well, that’s definitely TMI, but I get the fucker-nelly revolting picture. “I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault, dude.”
And then there’s silence.
“Gonna take JoJo to the library after school tomorrow. But first I gotta stop by the cable company and pay up or we’re gonna lose our TV and internet at home. They already warned us like twice.”
“Want me to pick up Yolo at school and take her to the library?” I’m so freaking pissed off at him. Why am I offering to save his ass again?
“That’s cool of you to offer, but there’s a bus she can take to the library from her school. Could ya be waiting for her at the library, in case I get held up?”
“Of course.” I’m a Class A sucker.
“You’re such a cool pal.” Ugh—so not what I’m going for.
“I’m not gonna be at lunch tomorrow seein’ as I’ll probably be collecting my makeup work. So, I’ll see ya at the library. ‘Kay?”
I don’t say kkkk cuz it’s not even slightly cool. “Sure. The libes after school, it is.”
“Thank you, bro,” Jazz offers.
One more silence, and then I say, “Later.”
I have research to do.
Get the book:
Hi Mia, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hello! Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog today as I promote my YA LGBTQ Contemporary Romantic Comedy, Love Spell!
Please give us ten tips for becoming a better writer.
I’m a people pleaser, and I would love nothing more than to give you a list of fantastic tips in regard to grammar and story structure and characterization, and other formal elements that should go into every worthwhile piece of literature. But I’m not sure I have any professional-sounding words of wisdom as I write my stories straight from my gut (TMI sorry), so instead I will tell you what has made me a better writer.
This is what I do:
1. Edit. Often. After you think you have a work as perfect as you could possibly have it, put it down for a week and then reread it. You will find a lot to edit. Believe me.
2. Read your finished text aloud, and if you can, read the dialogue to someone else. Everything that is awkward will become crystal clear to you as you attempt to make impromptu changes so it comes out sounding right.
3. Think twice about using a dialect for a character’s speaking and thinking voice. A few people love dialects. Lots of people tolerate them. But the people who hate dialects will let you know about how much they detest them, loud and clear. And these people are not few and far between.
4. Even while keeping your readers’ likes and dislikes in mind, be true to yourself as a writer. Do not allow all of the many rules for writers to so constrict your voice that it completely removes it. Readers above all want a fresh, unique perspective and if it means breaking rules, then I guess you will have to be a bit of a rebel.
5. Get inspired! When you are going through a slump as you write a book, just stop. Do whatever it is that returns your passion to you. Listen to your favorite songs, watch a movie that makes you think, read a comfort book. Surf online, page through magazines, engage in a controversial discussion with friends. Have a good cry. Eat chocolate. **Do not try to write in an attempt to push through it or to just go through the motions. Stop first, and refresh.
6. Know your character, inside and out. Find a picture, if necessary, so you know what your MC looks like. Or better, find lots of photos of him—that is even better. Sad face, pouty face, laughing, smiling. You can find these pictures in model’s portfolios; this is what I do. (No matter my MC’s mood, I can picture him.) Then you need to get to know him. And what better way than to talk to him? I take my MC’s places with me. We chat while grocery shopping, driving the kids to their after school activities, and as I watch my son play basketball. Lie in bed at night and talk to him, too. Ask him questions. Bed is a good place to imagine how he acts when he is with the love of his life—at the most critical moments. When they first lay eyes on each other, after their first kiss, when they argue. Once you know exactly what your MC will say and do in every circumstance, then you are ready to write his story.
7. Read a lot. Notice other authors’ styles. What are you drawn to? What takes you out of the story? Learn from this.
8. Pay attention to all of life’s tiny details—the way he breathes when he is sleeping, what you think of when you hear shrill laughter, how the sun feels on your face. And don’t forget.
9. Always have a pad of paper and pen available. And when you are suddenly struck by brilliance—a line of dialogue, a concept that will enhance your character’s plight, lyrics to a song that evoke just the emotion you were looking for—write it down!! This way, it cannot escape you.
10. Now edit your story one more time. Problems will pop out and be easy to fix!
Thank you, Mia. Those are some great tips!!
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.
Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
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