Friday, May 31, 2013

Sex slings and Dolphin Jet Skis - I help Lisa Henry Pick Out a Wedding Gift for Jayk and Amon

Today, my marvelous co-writer Lisa Henry has invited me to her blog to talk about The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker, sex slings, naughty Winnie the Pooh, and more. After our recent spats regarding who speaks correct English, I try to present her with a peace offering, written entirely in Australian English. She calls me passive aggressive.

Every relationship is a work in progress.

Read the interview here.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Big Gay Wedding Tour, HAHAT Winner, and a New Book on the Horizon

Welcome to update central.

First of all, congrats to L├Âni, who was selected by as the winner at this stop on the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia. And Thanks again to all who participated.

Second, Lisa Henry and I have just been offered a contract by Riptide Publishing on our second collaboration, Under. So excited to tell you more about this one!

Finally, who likes gay weddings? The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker is one of several m/m wedding books being released for Loose Id's I Do...Unless I Don't call this month. Join me and the other LI authors on our Big Gay Wedding Tour.

Here are the authors and titles, and the list of places we'll be and when. We even have an awesome banner designed by Kate McMurray.

Release Date: 6/4
Kate McMurray - Save the Date
J. A. Rock - The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker

Cassandra Gold - Always a Groomsman
Dev Bentham - Bread, Salt and Wine

Dominique Frost - The Bitter Rednesses of Love 

The Tour:

Purple Rose Tea House: 6/5 and 6/12
Armchair Reader: 6/11 and 6/18
Tara Lain 6/14 and 6/15
Kay Berrisford 6/19-6/21

There are prizes to be won, so be sure to check it out. I'm also making a pre-tour stop Monday at Jessewave to talk about gay marriage. And Allen Ginspurr will be back on the blog (hopefully Tuesday) to answer your wedding questions in his special wedding edition of Furreal: Meowdern Romance Advice. It's not too late to submit a question, either. Just leave your question in a comment on this post, or e-mail to jarockauthor at gmail dot com.

I think that's all.

UPDATE 5/31: That's not all. I just got word that Calling the Show is going to print! Very excited. No date yet.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sequelpalooza: Which Wacky Wednesday Characters are Coming Back for More in The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker?

The cover is here. Look!

Beautiful work from Fiona Jayde. And I get another falling-down Y! Blurb time?

A year after the body swap that let brat Jayk and his dom, Amon, experience each other’s lives for a day, the pair is ready to be married in a small, stress-free ceremony. Things are going smoothly until they meet Jennifer and Ron Gaines-Brake—a quarrelsome couple with a laundry list of troubles whose wedding is at the same venue. When Jayk and Amon are drawn into the other couple’s drama, their own doubts and fears about marriage start to surface. And when they accidentally switch bodies with Jennifer and Ron the day before the wedding, their simple, stress-free celebration starts looking more and more like a nightmare.

As the couples attempt to deal with each other’s families, secrets, and last minute wedding preparations, things spiral out of control. Add to the mix a missing cat, a vigilant police officer, an intimidating dildo, and a cake like no other, and it’s anybody’s guess whether the weekend will end in bells or bedlam.

BTJP will be out June 4th from Loose Id, which is less than two weeks away, which I feel totally calm about.

The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker is the first sequel I've written. It’s a follow up to Wacky Wednesday, which was about a miscommunicating D/s couple who switch bodies for a day. Writing BTJP was quite fun, because the world was already there, I already knew the characters, and Jayk and Amon were 116% on board with the idea of relaying the next chapter in their lives. But it was at times a bit of a challenge to decide which side characters got to come back, and who had to be sent packing.

Who’s In

-Beth, Connor, and Stephanie. Jayk’s best friends and Beth’s yoga-loving girlfriend were at each other's throats for most of WW. Getting along much more harmoniously now, the three return in BTJP to throw Jayk his wedding shower, plan his bachelor party, and help dec the hall.

-Luciana Diamente. Top domme in town and organizer of extravagant BDSM parties, she threw a gala to remember in WW. Here she just has a cameo, but would it really be a wedding without her and her crab rangoon?

-Alex and Mr. Steve. This D/s couple were bit players in the first book, but in BTJP Alex is the procurer of a bizarre dildo that ultimately gets more page time than he does.

-Allen Ginspurr. I promised J&A’s cat a bigger role if there was ever a sequel. He is a more significant character in BTJP—unfortunately, significant mostly by virtue of his absence.

Who’s Out

-Bernard Witmeyer. Amon’s top pick for a job at his firm in WW and Jayk’s archnemesis. It pained me to turn down a Witty cameo, since he is so skilled at antagonizing Jayk. But there was no room for the World’s Most Qualified—and Douchiest—HR Candidate in a wedding story. Maybe next time.

-Coworkers. Amon’s coworkers are reduced to passing mentions, except for Carol Blean, who gets to have a little fun. And Jayk's days at the community college library are over, so goodbye to Carrie and Grogasshole.

Who’s New

-Ron and Jennifer Gaines-Brake. Jayk doesn’t need Witmeyer to make his life hell in BTJP. He’s got his hands full with this pre-hyphenated couple, who are getting married the day after Jayk and Amon at the same venue. Jayk is particularly offended by the complete mess they make of loving each other, and by Ron’s polo shirts.

-Amon’s parents. The Montereys show up to take Jayk and Amon to dinner—and to inadvertently make Jayk and Amon feel awkward about their wedding.

-Johnny Brake, Pet Detective. I’m not even going to say anything.

-Officer Gudd. A local police officer obsessed with catching the elusive Hancock Hills Hose-Splitter. Who may or may not be Amon, as far as Gudd’s concerned.

More to come on the BTJP front. BTJP will also be featured on the Big Gay Wedding Tour, a collection of m/m Loose Id authors who have wedding-themed books coming out in June. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I'm a Real Woman (and I Eat Real Food): Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2013

"People who are reactionary try to keep the world from changing, rather than do the hard, but ultimately more realistic work of changing themselves." --Kate Bornstein, Hello Cruel World.

Hi, hoppers! Thanks for stopping by. The Hop Against Homophobia was one of my favorite events I participated in last year, and I'm thrilled to be part of this year's Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Today, May 17th, is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Check out the webpage for more info. Also, here's a link to the Hop's main page, from which you can reach the blogs of the nearly 200 participating authors, publishers, reviewers, and cover designers of LGBTQ fiction.

If you leave a comment with your e-mail on this post, you're automatically entered in a drawing to win a copy of any of my backlist titles (more info about each on the sidebar), plus a $10 Amazon GC. So please, speak your mind.

During last year's hop, I looked at the subtle ways society lets LGBTQ people know that things would be a little better if we were straight. This year I'd like to talk a bit about that again, but also about how we view gender, especially in conjunction with sexual orientation.

I cook and bake a lot of vegan things for my friends and family. One thing I hear a lot is “You can’t even tell it’s vegan.” It’s meant as a compliment: I expected vegan food to be bland or full of lawn clippings or uncooked barley or something—but this actually tastes good.

“This tastes just like real food,” is another one. Which is amusing, because with some exceptions (I’m looking at you, Oreos) most vegan food is more “real” than say, hot dogs, or Easy Mac. But I know what people mean. The entire vegan/vegetarian marketing platform involves packaging veg food as something recognizable, familiar. Seitan becomes "Chik'n Strips," tofu becomes "tofu ribs," and so on.

The norm is our society's home base, its comfort zone, it's starting point, and anything that deviates from it gets assessed in terms of how close it comes to passing for normal.

A lot of times, I can taste the difference between vegan food and “regular” food. And I like the difference. It's why my two-month vegan challenge back in 2009 turned into four years of veganhood. I don’t mind if you can tell my stuff’s vegan. It is vegan. And it’s delicious.*

I was thinking about this in connection with the few times I’ve heard—directed at myself or at others and meant as a compliment—some variation on I can’t even tell you’re gay/lesbian/bi/trans, etc. I've even done it too, for friends who didn't want to be outed when we were younger: I can't even tell.

It seems like it's still considered a positive thing if LGBTQ people can pass as "normal." For those who fear losing a job or the love and support of friends and family if they come out, maybe "I can’t even tell" is a relief to hear. After all, we’re supposed to be able to identify people who don't fit the sexual norm based on their appearance and mannerisms, right? Remember the show Gay, Straight, or Taken? Yeah. Wow.

My mother, who I feel like I only mention on this blog when I’m talking about things parents say to kids that send mixed messages, which is unfair, since my mother is exceptional and 99% of everything she has ever said about me being queer, BDSM oriented, an erotica writer, and shamelessly obsessed with the Lord of the Rings trilogy has been exactly what I needed to hear,** told me when I came out, “Well, I think you look very feminine.”

I think when people say things like this, it’s not necessarily their own prejudices or stereotyping tendencies coming through. It might be a reaction to prejudices at work in society. In other words, it’s not I thought all lesbians had short hair and wore lumberjack shirts or I thought all gay guys loved fashion, or I thought all bisexuals were sex-crazed, but rather, I recognize this is a stereotype held by a lot of people in our society, and I just want you to know I don't think you fit that stereotype—in case you were worried about that.

It's a reassurance offered with the best of intentions, but the fact that it is offered as reassurance is a little troubling--as though every LGBTQ person's default state should be a fear of being called out on their sexual orientation because of deviation from traditional gendered behavior or appearance. Don't worry--you look like a real woman or a real man, even though you're something real women or real men aren't supposed to be.

There are really two issues here: the misinformed linking of sexual orientation and gender, and the assumption that LGBTQ people want to pass as members of the current sexual norm (as opposed to redefining it, doing away with it, or existing proudly outside of it). And that the way to do that is to dig a trench firmly on our assigned side of the gender binary.

I think we need to be cautious about when and why we praise adherence to traditional models of what's feminine and masculine. Not everyone is or wants to be one or the other. Our definitions of masculinity and femininity are outdated and limiting, and when we use the gender binary to create LGBTQ stereotypes, we open the door to potentially damaging messages: Don’t worry, you look so feminine/masculine no one will be able to tell you’re not normal. Or maybe if you looked/dressed/acted a little more like your ascribed gender, people would make fun of you less.

Once, a guy I’d just declined to go out with asked if I was a lesbian.

“Bi,” I told him.

“I could tell,” he said--not nicely.

That's still what some people reach for when they need an insult: you seem gay or I can tell you're gay. You're not a real man; you're not a real woman.

I'm happy to see traditional ideas about gender gradually turned on their heads, and to see an increased understanding that while we sometimes incorporate those traditional models into our identities by either embracing or rejecting them, the way we "do" gender isn't necessarily linked to our sexual orientation. But sometimes it is, and that's okay. It's not a compliment to be told I can pass for straight any more than it's an insult to be told it’s obvious I’m not.

We like to put people in boxes. I need to be able to tell at first glance that you’re a woman or a man or a woman dressed as a man or vice versa or gay or straight or bi or trans…

How about this? If you can’t tell, fine. Though hopefully it’s not because I feel I have to put on an act so you won’t be able to tell. And no need to high-five me about it.

If you can tell, fine. And don’t think it’s a) an insult to me or b) something you have to apologize for noticing.

My vegan cakes taste different from a cake made with three eggs and half a stick of butter. They’re delicious.

And they’re still cake.

*Except for that cucumber avocado soup. I don’t know what to say to the people who ate that except…I’m sorry.

**When you have a mother who says she saw some riding crops on sale and wonders if you want her to pick you up one, you lose your right to complain about anything else she says. Ever.

Thanks again for stopping by, and don't forget to leave a comment with your e-mail address for your chance to win. Now go hop some more!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pardon My Radio Silence While I Flee the Country

I wasn't kidding when I said I wanted to get out of Alabama. Far, far away from Alabama. No offense to anyone reading this who's from Alabama. Your state has some beautiful hiking trails. Your love of football, however, is a little overwhelming.

Anyway, my post-graduating plans seem to involve a lot of not being in America. In three days I'm leaving for Chile, where I'll be staying for just over a month. I'm told Valparaiso is "the San Francisco of South America." I hope that means lots of leather clubs and frotting. I'll come back for a little bit to take care of some bridesmaiding and Authors After Darking (anyone else going? So excited!) And then in September I fulfill a long time dream when I go to...

wait for it...


Where I'm going to try my hand at farming. Shouldn't be too hard, right? Me, some goats, some vegetables, some tractors. What could possibly go wrong?

But I'll still be writing everywhere I go, and once I get settled in Chile, you'll start hearing more about The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker, which is now less than a month away (June 4)! There's gonna some happenings this month on this blog, including BTJP excerpts, a special wedding edition of Allen Ginspurr's Meowdern Love advice column, the awesome Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17-27), and the possible return of my mother. To this blog, I mean. She didn't leave in real life or anything.

Plus, in a couple of weeks, you can start following the Big Gay Wedding Tour, starring the LI m/m authors who have wedding books coming out in June.

Stay tuned. I have to go find my passport. Because honestly, I am not 100% sure where it is.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Naughty Boy is here! (and FREE)

Wow, so much has happened in the last few days. I failed miserably in my quest to become King of the Log, I finally graduated and left Alabama behind forever (though I'm still a little wary of saying that. I mean, Katniss thought she was done in the arena after the first Hunger Games, right?), and The Naughty Boy was just released! TNB is part of Loose Id's Spring Fling. It's a short companion piece to The Good Boy and tells the story of Brin dressing Lane for Lane's first date with Derek from Brin's POV.

If you've read TGB, you probably remember Brin. Super bratty, ultra-fabulous, the perfect counter to laidback Dom Ferg? Well now he's got his own story. It's available for free on the Loose Id site until May 8th, after which time it will be on sale for $1.99. And The Good Boy is on sale for a reduced price at Loose Id this week too.

Brin and his Dom, Ferg, have enjoyed a fun, sexy domestic discipline relationship for years. Brin knows his role--flamboyant, fabulous brat--and Ferg knows it's his job to play the big bad Dom, giving Brin the punishment he desperately craves. When Brin is tasked with dressing his new friend Lane Moredock for a date with Brin's ex, Derek, he's excited--fashion is what he knows best, and Lane is going to look stunning. But what should be a fun afternoon takes a serious turn when Brin sees that Lane has been injured, and Lane's reluctance to tell Brin the truth about it makes Brin start to question who he is, why things didn't work with Derek, and what people really think of him. Is he just a flittery, glittery fashion fairy? Or does he mean something more to the people he loves? And can he find a way to bring these doubts up with Ferg--or is Ferg going to have to Top his way to the bottom of this?