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Manties In A Twist
The Subs Club #3
Look, I’ll never stop missing Hal, but this Subs Club my friends started to review suck-ass doms isn’t gonna bring him back or give him justice. For me, it’s just another chance to hang out with my friends, even if they think I’m too dumb to understand the important work we’re supposedly doing.
But maybe I’m not as dumb as they think—at least I know when I’ve got a good thing going. Which is why I just moved in with my dom. Ryan’s awesome possum. He’s really short, never makes me feel stupid, and is up for anything. One word: costumes. Two more words: women’s underwear. We’re all about the lace, no leather.
Except when we do pony play. We first tried it as a joke, but turns out I’m ballin’ at it. Now PetPlayFest is coming up, and I wanna take down the Subs Club’s archrival, Cinnamon the ponygirl, in the horse show.
My friends think I’m spending too much time with Ryan and ignoring my obligations to the group. But since when is friendship an obligation? Ryan’s my first serious relationship, and I want to take it . . . seriously. At some point I need to think about my future, not my past.
Get the book:
Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and right now I’m touring the internet talking about my latest release Manties in a Twist—Book 3 in The Subs Club series. Thanks so much to the blogs that are hosting me on this tour, and be sure to leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win your choice of two backlist ebooks and a $10 Amazon gift card!
In Manties in a Twist, Kamen struggles with transitioning into adulthood without losing himself. It’s a bit of a struggle, because maturity is not the Subs Clubs strong suit. Well, okay. It depends on how you define maturity. Miles is pretty solid on adult stuff—owning a business and a house, becoming a father. But Dave has never outgrown his childhood volatility and constant bids for attention, Kamen still loves fart jokes, and Gould would rather slip into obscurity than lead his group into the murky waters of adulthood.
I write a lot of characters in their twenties who act childishly. Which some people are into, and some people most definitely are not. In a genre historically populated by strong, certain, alpha male heroes, the increased presence of waffling, catty, unmotivated, new adult naval-gazers might be a bit disconcerting.
I’m interested in the ways in which behavioral expectations for new adults have shifted over time.
Science has made much of millennials’ extra-long transition into adulthood. It’s a generation that sometimes gets labeled self-absorbed, aimless, spoiled, greedy, etc. But it’s also a generation that’s been exposed to very adult things at very young ages (thanks, internet). It’s a generation where Jennifer Lawrence can sort of believably play a forty-year-old, and Adele, at twenty-seven, can have a song called “When We were Young” and sing it with all the pain and nostalgia of someone much older—but then we turn around and watch Kardashians and Real Housewives behaving like bratty kindergartners.
Maturity-challenged adults in fiction aren’t anything new. TV and movies have, for decades now, presented characters—particularly male characters—as behaving like eternal children, even into middle age. The brahs from The Hangover movies. The bumbling, whiny dad from A Christmas Story. Even Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Storytelling has long thrived on the idea that we never stop being children. Never stop wanting what others have, never quite lose the self-pity when things don’t go our way. Add to that a culture that suggests that it’s not only funny and cool but expected for us to cling to our youth for as long as possible…and you’ve got a recipe for man-children.
In the Subs Club, I wasn’t looking to play immaturity just for humor. I wanted to capture how difficult it can be—in a first-world-problems sort of way, sure—to participate in a transitioning culture. One where the traditional markers of adulthood—marriage, children, buying houses, settling into a stable career—are falling by the wayside. Where we’re told to follow our dreams, but crushing student debt and a lousy job market make that very difficult. Where the etiquette of the past doesn’t really apply, and informality is increasingly commonplace, even in classrooms and in the workplace.
What do you do in that world if, like Miles, you want the house and the children and the steady job, and you’ve been over fart jokes since age eight? Or if, like Kamen, being a doofus has always worked in your favor to charm people, and you’re afraid to let go of that image? What if, like Dave, you have no idea what you want to do, and so it’s easier to snark about others than to get your own shit together?
The protracted limbo seems to be a legitimate part of modern new adulthood. I don’t think it’s necessarily an extended childhood, as some studies suggest—it’s more a period of self-discovery. And sometimes self-discovery looks a lot like self-absorption.
So the men of the Subs Club, who start the series in their mid-twenties and end it as they’re about to turn thirty, aren’t any great shakes at acting like grownups. But that’s part of why I wrote the series—to look at that ever-thinning line between childhood and adulthood, and to explore the way we view youth as desirable, attractive, and worth clinging to, while simultaneously judging those who don’t grow up fast enough.
About the Subs Club series:
After the death of their friend Hal at the hands of an irresponsible dom, submissive friends Dave, Kamen, Miles, and Gould band together to form the Subs Club—an organization seeking to expose dangerous local doms. The club slowly evolves as romances blossom, loyalties are tested, and tensions mount in a community already struggling for unity in the wake of Hal’s death.
From domestic discipline to knife play to fashion paraphilia, and from family drama to new jobs to first loves, the members of the Subs Club explore life’s kinks inside and outside of the bedroom as they attempt to let go of the past and move forward.
About the author:
J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including By His Rules, Take The Long Way Home, and, with Lisa Henry, The Good Boy and When All The World Sleeps. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.
To celebrate, J.A. is giving away your choice of two ebooks from her backlist and a $10 Amazon gift card. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 9, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
Promotional post. Materials provided by the publisher.