Saturday, June 17, 2017

#Exclusive #Interview and #Giveaway Robin Reardon talks about "Waiting for Walker" out June 23rd!

An Interview with Robin Reardon: What's a straight, cisgender (slightly queer on the inside) female author like you doing writing in the world of GLBTQIA teen fiction?

Author Robin Reardon answers this and other questions about her work and her latest release, Waiting for Walker, which features a gay teen and an intersex teen.

It's my great pleasure to have Robin on my blog today, and she was kind enough to allow me to interview her. Her newest novel, Waiting for Walker, is a wonderful story and I can't recommend it highly enough. So much so, I wrote a foreword for the book. Check out my awesome interview with Robin and don't forget to scroll down and enter the give-away! FIVE lucky people will win an ecopy of Waiting for Walker!

Waiting for Walker is now available for pre-order
(Print edition available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & IngramSpark.)

Cody: Let's take it from the top. How did you get into writing in this area of fiction?

Robin: Isn't late teens the most intense time of a person's life? I mean, either something is critically important or it's "whatever." Teens know more than their parents and teachers one minute, and the next they feel like total idiots who'll never be able to figure out this thing called Life. And anything can change with no more than a second's warning.

So I wanted to write for teens, and GLBTQIA teens are under-represented. And misunderstood. I want to support them by writing. If my writing makes even one young person feel better about him, her, or theirself, then I have done a good thing. And I write about boys because—well, because I know what it feels like to want a man. See? Even adults can be a little queer on their gender identity.

Cody: That’s awesome to know, Robin. Not many adults admit they’re a little queer on the inside. I understand you've written stories in addition to your novels. Tell us about those.

Robin: I contributed a short story (Giuseppe and Me) to author Brent Hartinger's Real Story Safe Sex project, and I contributed a novella (A Line in the Sand) to a project benefitting The Trevor Project. I felt it was important to contribute to these projects, each for its own reason.

Many younger gay men—and even active teens—don't understand that even if HIV/AIDS isn't a death sentence the way it was in the 1980s and 1990s, it still takes over your life in a very bad way. And it affects the lives of other people in your life, too. Perhaps the younger generation also takes it less seriously because they didn't attend the funerals of friend after friend after friend as I did. But safe sex is critical, and that's what Brent's project is about. As for the Trevor Project, their work in suicide prevention is absolutely vital. A hugely disproportionate number of teen suicides occur among GLBTQIA youth. That's horrifying, and Trevor wants to end it.

Cody: Crucial information, to be sure, and I join you in the support to put an end to GLBTQIA youth suicide. What do you like best about writing?

Robin: Research. I know, I know, that makes lots of people cringe. But I find that unusual subjects can add a lot of depth to the characters and I also like to teach you new things as I write. Besides, it's fun learning new things like how some people see colors when they look at letters. I like knowing the best way to handle a misbehaving dog. Hey, if I hadn't done some research, I wouldn't know that it's a part of our brain that dictates what our sexual orientation is—which means nothing but genetics can make someone gay or straight—not even you no matter how hard you try.

Cody: Exactly. I wish more parents understood that. I also like that you include trans and bi characters in some of your stories, not only gay teens. 

Robin: And there's an intersex teen in my newest book, Waiting for Walker. Being intersex is much more common than people realize, and it's seriously misunderstood even by people who've heard of it. I researched it in depth to write my character, Walker Donnell, but even after all my research, I wouldn't presume to describe it accurately. You wrote a foreword for the book that provides a long list of informational resources, including a video that's a great starting point. 

I'm also fascinated by the difficulty some people have in accepting differences around sex and gender. And I really, really, really (writing coaches will tell you not to use "really" even once, but I'm not big on rules) want GLBTQIA people, and teens especially, to know that there is nothing wrong with them. The only thing wrong is how some people treat them.

Cody: I totes agree, Robin. Micah and Walker are the main characters in Waiting for Walker. Micah is a gay boy with a rather morbid disposition. He isn’t thrilled with his life and expresses himself through photography. How did you come up with Micah’s personality?

Robin: It's a process. I come up with an idea for a story, and then I think about who's in it. In this story, I landed pretty quickly on the contradiction between Micah and Walker. In the beginning, Micah's life looks lousy, and Walker's looks dreamy. But in reality, Micah is a lot more grounded, and Walker's life includes challenges few people have to face, making him vulnerable in ways Micah is not. BTW, that seagull image is pretty much what Micah wanted to do with his shots of the dead seagull he's shooting when he meets Walker.

Cody: One day when Micah is out on the jetty, Walker sails up in his boat. Walker is outgoing and confident... and cool, and Micah is taken with him. As the story progresses, we find out that Walker is intersex and Micah struggles with that concept in two ways. Tell us about those two ways.

Robin: Micah has never heard of intersex and, until he meets Walker, has no idea that sometimes nature creates people with a little bit of both natal sexes. That sort of blows his mind. But then he grapples with what that means. Can Walker be gay? For Walker’s part, he is certain he’s gay, but his family isn’t all that supportive, and it takes time for him to develop autonomy.

This story helps us understand the differences among the concepts of 1) natal sex (how we are born), 2) identity (how our minds and hearts feel about ourselves), 3) sexual orientation (the physical and romantic attraction we feel toward others), and 4) gender (roles that have been constructed in society).

Cody: This is one of the best stories I’ve read to explain those complicated things, and I commend you for writing it. You’ve covered tough subjects, and subjects that parents and teachers don’t always want to discuss with youth. How do you know what's going to happen next when you write a story?

Robin: My characters tell me, and I always listen to my characters. They’re teens. They know more about their stories than I do. Here’s an example. When I was writing Thinking Straight, I got stuck at one point when Taylor and his roommate, at the "ex-gay" camp they were in, were separated into different room assignments. The story ground to a halt. I leaned back in my chair, stared at the screen, and said (I think I said this to myself silently, but I can't be sure), "Okay, Taylor. Where did I go wrong?" It was almost as though he reached a hand out from the screen, took mine, and led me back to that split. "Here," he told me. "This is wrong. We stay roommates." And they did. And it worked. The story practically flew forward after that.

Cody: I am firmly of the opinion that talking aloud to yourself as you write is acceptable. Do you have any advice for young wordslingers-to-be?

Robin: LOL! Well, I do a lot of talking to myself, though I don't do it when I'm writing. But here's my advice. Read. Read a lot. You can’t write until you have read. Then, write. Write some more. Read what you've written. Read it aloud. Give it to someone else to read, someone who'll be honest with you. Edit. Read again, watching for places you know (and you will know) are rough or awkward. Fix those places. And if those awkward places include language or phrasing or ideas you're in love with, too bad; delete or put them somewhere else. We authors call this “killing our darlings.” Read aloud again. When that work is complete, write something else.

There's no point in wanting to be an author. There's no point in wanting to write. If you need to write, if you truly want to write, you will write. And if you write, you’re a writer even if you never publish anything. And if you write things other people want to read, at some point, someone will call you an author and it’ll make you smile huge.

Cody: *huge smile* What's next? What are you working on now? 

Robin: I'm taking a chance. My next work will be a three-book series. I've never written a series, although many readers have asked for sequels to their favorites of my books. In this series, the main character will be older than in any of my previous books. He'll be a college freshman for the first book and in his mid-twenties when the series ends.

Cody: What will the title of the series be? 

Robin: The series title is A Natural Man. Each book will have its own title, based on the location where the crucial part of the story takes place. Here are the working titles, which might (or might not) change during the writing process: On Chocorua; On the Kalalau Trail; and On the Precipice.

Cody: When will we be able to buy it? 

Robin: I'm hoping for a release date in the first half of 2018. But somehow, my books always seem to take longer to write than I think they're going to. Maybe it's all that research. 

And maybe there'll be an interview to announce that launch, and we'll have to come up with a different headline. Because my teens will have grown up.

Cody: Thanks for joining me today, Robin. I love your books and I’m honored to have you here. Go read Robin’s books! They are awesome! And don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Additional Books by Robin Reardon

A note from Cody: Waiting for Walker is an important book. Please read it and discuss it with your family and friends. Librarians and Teachers, please recommend this book.

The official release date for Waiting for Walker is June 23, 2017!
Waiting for Walker is now available for pre-order
(Print edition available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & IngramSpark.)

GIVE-AWAY!
Five hearts 
LUCKY WINNERS! 

The first five people to contact Robin Reardon and include a mention of this post along with their email address will receive a digital copy of Waiting for Walker in their choice of mobi (Kindle) or epub format.

About Waiting for Walker

Micah Jaeger's life is a mess. His folks have split, and his mother is seeing a medium to communicate with Micah's older brother, killed in Afghanistan. He had to change schools for his junior year, and he retreats further into himself, hiding behind his camera—and hiding that he's gay.

One sunny day in June, as he's shooting a dead seagull on the shore of Long Island Sound, a mysterious guy appears in a beautiful sailboat. At first, the guy's boat shoes are the image that stays with Micah. But soon it's the person himself, Walker Donnell, who haunts Micah's dreams.

Walker's life looks perfect to Micah. His wealthy parents adore him. He has everything he could want. He's gorgeous and generous. And he falls hard for Micah. But he has a secret: Walker is intersex.

The closer Walker and Micah grow, the more Walker feels the need to be sure of himself in ways he hasn't fully faced before, and now it's his turn to retreat. Micah knows Walker is worth waiting for, so he waits. And waits.

Waiting for Walker is now available for pre-order
(Print edition available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, & IngramSpark.)

About Robin Reardon
Robin Reardon is an inveterate observer of human nature, and her primary writing goal is to create stories about all kinds of people, some of whom happen to be gay or transgender--people whose destinies are not determined solely by their sexual orientation or identity. Her secondary writing goal is to introduce readers to concepts or information they might not know very much about.

Interests outside of writing include singing, nature photography, and the study of comparative religion. Robin writes in a butter yellow study with a view of the Boston, Massachusetts skyline.

Facebook Author Page, and Twitter @TheRobinReardon

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The stunning conclusion of the Elpída Series is out! Buy Elpida & get Tharros for #FREE through June 6th! Don't miss them!

The stunning conclusion of the Elpída Series, Elpída, is now available from Harmony Ink Press! If you purchase Elpída from Harmony Ink Press, you receive Thárros for FREE through June 6th!

And don't forget to join the BUDDY READ in the GOODREADS YA LGBT BOOKS GROUP!

Also available at AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, GooglePlay, & Kobo


Hope sees the invisible,
feels the intangible,
and achieves the impossible.
                                    ~C. Kennedy, Paraphrased from Winston Churchill

~*~

Michael and Christy attended prom, graduated high school, and Michael leads the USATF tryouts. With Oxford University on the horizon, his future looks bright, and he believes life has returned to normal after Christy’s rescue. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Christy has been free from a life of slavery for more than a year and has made remarkable progress due in no small part to the love he found with Michael. But the recent prosecution of a past abuser has shattered the life he so painstakingly built out of nothing but a mountain of horror. He now faces the daunting task of building a new life—yet again.

Twelve-year-old Thimi has been missing since Christy left Greece and, unbeknownst to everyone, has hidden out in a vacant mansion in Glyfada. Learning of Christy’s survival is the only thing that brings him out of hiding. People, open spaces, even the most common of sounds frighten him beyond reason. A mere ghost of a boy, Thimi arrives in the US with no knowledge of the outside world—the only constant in his life a purple marble.

Lost, shattered, and afraid, only hope gives them the strength and courage they need to begin anew.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Thárros is On Sale for $1 Until Midnight EST Thursday May 25th! Elpída releases May 30th!

The stunning conclusion of the Elpída Series, Elpída, releases May 30th! 

Why not read Thárros, Book 2 in the series, now?

On sale for $1 until midnight EST Thursday, May 25th from Harmony Ink Press!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Timmy interviews Christy, Thimi, and Zero from Elpida!

Timmy interviews Christy, Thimi, and Zero from Elpída! This is the first part of a two-part post. The second part will appear on June 17th on Love Bytes! Check it out!

Don’t forget to check back to see what Michael, Jake, Sophia, and the entire cast have to say next month, Saturday, June 17th!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Stunning Conclusion of the Elpída Series is out! Buy Elpida and get Tharros for #FREE! Don't miss it!


The stunning conclusion of the Elpída Series, Elpída, is now available from Harmony Ink Press! If you purchase Elpída from Harmony Ink Press, you receive Thárros for FREE through June 6th!


And don't forget to join the BUDDY READ in the GOODREADS YA LGBT BOOKS GROUP!

Also available at AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, GooglePlay, & Kobo


Hope sees the invisible,
feels the intangible,
and achieves the impossible.
                                    ~C. Kennedy, Paraphrased from Winston Churchill

~*~

Michael and Christy attended prom, graduated high school, and Michael leads the USATF tryouts. With Oxford University on the horizon, his future looks bright, and he believes life has returned to normal after Christy’s rescue. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Christy has been free from a life of slavery for more than a year and has made remarkable progress due in no small part to the love he found with Michael. But the recent prosecution of a past abuser has shattered the life he so painstakingly built out of nothing but a mountain of horror. He now faces the daunting task of building a new life—yet again.

Twelve-year-old Thimi has been missing since Christy left Greece and, unbeknownst to everyone, has hidden out in a vacant mansion in Glyfada. Learning of Christy’s survival is the only thing that brings him out of hiding. People, open spaces, even the most common of sounds frighten him beyond reason. A mere ghost of a boy, Thimi arrives in the US with no knowledge of the outside world—the only constant in his life a purple marble.

Lost, shattered, and afraid, only hope gives them the strength and courage they need to begin anew.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Salon du Livre 2017! Win Surprise Gifts for the Elpida Series!


Salon du Livre is the book fair event of the literary scene in Paris at the Porte de Versailles. Stop by the Dreamspinner/Harmony Ink Press booth to pick up your special gift from the Elpida Series. And don't forget to stick around for the surprise gift bag! 

Livre Paris est, depuis sa création, un événement incontournable de la scène littéraire qui, en 2017, se déroulera du 24 au 27 mars, porte de Versailles. Découvrez ce salon au travers de notre présentation mais aussi et surtout grâce aux photos et aux vidéos témoins de cet incroyable événement. Bonne visite ! 

Visitez le stand Dreamspinner / Harmony Ink Press pour récupérer votre cadeau spécial de la série Elpida. Et n'oubliez pas de rester pour le sac cadeau surprise !


Friday, March 17, 2017

#CoverReveal! Elpida, the 3rd and Final Book in the Elpida Series, is now available for pre-order!

It’s with great pleasure that I bring you the cover for Elpída, the third and final book in the Elpída series, coming to you from Harmony Ink Press on May 30th, 2017. 

As most of you know, this series is special to me and I am deeply thankful to Harmony Ink Press for publishing it. It’s an important trilogy, intended to give courage and hope to survivors of abuse. Here is the author’s note contained in the back of the book.

As with the first two books in this series, Ómorphi and Thárros, this novel was written to give victims of abuse hope. By supporting this series, and buying and reading these books, you are supporting those youth who struggle daily to learn to live again. Thank you for reading this series.

Now available for pre-order at Harmony Ink Press!


Michael and Christy attended prom, graduated high school, and Michael leads the USATF tryouts. With Oxford University on the horizon, his future looks bright, and he believes life has returned to normal after Christy’s rescue. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Christy has been free from a life of slavery for more than a year and has made remarkable progress due in no small part to the love he found with Michael. But the recent prosecution of a past abuser has shattered the life he so painstakingly built out of nothing but a mountain of horror. He now faces the daunting task of building a new life—yet again.

Twelve-year-old Thimi has been missing since Christy left Greece and, unbeknownst to everyone, has hidden out in a vacant mansion in Glyfada. Learning of Christy’s survival is the only thing that brings him out of hiding. People, open spaces, even the most common of sounds frighten him beyond reason. A mere ghost of a boy, Thimi arrives in the US with no knowledge of the outside world—the only constant in his life a purple marble.

Lost, shattered, and afraid, only hope gives them the strength and courage they need to begin anew.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

See What French Reviewers Are Saying About Ómorphi!

« Il y a ces livres, si rares, si précieux qui bousculent votre vie, bouleversent votre esprit et restent gravés dans votre coeur... "Omorphi" est de ces livres. » —Eryna

« J'ai été tellement touché que j'avais envie de les prendre dans mes bras, les réconforter...Les personnages secondaires sont tous aussi importants, car malgré la gravité de la situation, ils apportent une belle touche d'humour! Cody Kennedy est un auteur à suivre. » —Livie

« Ce livre c'est le genre d'histoire qui vous fait passer par tout un panel d'émotion et qui vous est impossible à arrêter en cours de lecture. Vous en voulez toujours plus, et même arrivé à la fin, vous ne voulez pas quitter les personnages. C'est le genre d'histoire qui résonne en vous, qui s'infiltre dans votre tête, et vous remue de l'intérieur. » —Ely

« Il y a bien longtemps que je n'avais pas lu un livre si poignant, si dur qu'il me fallait arrêter de lire pour supporter et assimiler l'horreur indicible de ce que l'Homme peut faire subir à un autre être humain ! Ce roman est une ode à a vie et à l'espoir bien que regorgeant de tout ce qui se fait de pire. J'en ressors bouleversée et grandit car j'ai eu la chance d'avoir des parents comme Michael qui ont su faire de moi une personne tolérante, ouverte et sans préjugés. » —Marionle6tron

« ENORME coup de coeur pour ce livre de plus de 550 pages (tout de même) mais qui se lit avec une extrême facilité tant j'ai été happée, "aspirée" par cette histoire qui m'a prise aux tripes...Ce sujet qu'est la maltraitance, abus....n'est pas un sujet facile à aborder et pourtant C. Kennedy l'a fait avec extrêmement de pudeur et de retenue, même si certains passages sont poignants. » —Caliméro

« L'histoire est émouvante, mais l'auteur a fait en sorte que ce ne le soit pas en continue. On a donc des moments bien bouleversants, avec l'histoire de Christy, mais également des moments de franche rigolade avec le duo Michael et Jake, les inséparables. Il y a aussi des moments de doute, d'angoisse, de joie, d'apprentissage de la vie.... » —de Nanaho



Saturday, February 11, 2017

See What People Are Saying About Books by C. Kennedy!

Ómorphi

“Hauntingly beautiful, a book that you never wanted to end... Magically written, the voices and setting of the story were so clear you lived each moment with the characters.”—2014 Rainbow Awards

“Cody Kennedy writes with staggering beauty... The love story... leapt from the page and wrapped itself around your heart.”—Sammy Goode, Joyfully Jay Reviews & Goodreads YA LGBT Group

“The beauty of Omorphi is more than skin deep... There were so many facets to Cody Kennedy’s first full-length novel, it was just… so much.”—Tina, The Novel Approach

“This book, in the guise of a fictional novel, ... lets [you] know that you are not alone and you are not defined by what has been done to you.”—Deb, Live Your Life, Buy theBook

Thárros

“...for beneath the social overtones of this novel lurks a breathtaking story of love and healing.... Author Cody Kennedy has created an indomitable spirit in Christy—one that will not be broken despite all the horror he has experienced. Kennedy has given us a novel of hope…of love…of courage…thárros.”—Sammy Goode, Joyfully Jay Reviews

“A STANDING OVATION FOR SHEER AWESOMENESS.... yet another installment of beauty and strength, love and devotion, and now we’re adding hope and loyalty to the mix too...”—Caer Jones, QUEERcentric Books

“I loved being back in Michael and Christy’s world.... Most of the book was sweet and moving, but the ending just about broke my heart. This book was just beautiful all around...”—Jenna, Love Bytes Reviews

“We must start with courage. And Thárros is courage... we do muster courage, because without it there is no hope. And without hope, we are all lost.... a story of great struggles, of great friendships, and of great pain, all turned into a wondrous blend of both strength and love. The telling of a great, great love story—with true friendship shining through, the kind of love that inspires both happy endings and hope....”—Anna Lund

“Cody Kennedy is the literary artist who created the compelling situations. As I read, I was right there with Christy and Michael.... it was awesome! Highly recommended.”—Mia Kerick, author of Not Broken, Just Bent

“...to sum up this whole story into one word it would be magnificent. I highly recommend reading the Elpída series.”—Joanne Swinney, Jo & Isa Love Books

“[Thárros] is a must read. It will break your heart, but it will also fill you with love as these two boys struggle with the unthinkable. Loved it.”—Pam Kay

Slaying Isidore’s Dragons

“...intense, emotional, crazy... and beautiful.”—Brian Katcher, Forever Young Adult, and author of The Improbable Theory of Anna and Zak and Almost Perfect


“This bold, sweeping saga is a compelling story of redemptive love and healing grace. The people who inhabit Cody Kennedy’s Slaying Isidore’s Dragons are heartbreakingly real and heroic.... I highly recommend this novel to you. It is one that will impact your life in so many ways and remind you that we must all be dragon slayers.”—Sammy Goode, The Novel Approach

“If you read just one book this year, this should be the book….”—Wendy, Joyfully Jay Reviews

“Kennedy has done it again... he has put his heart and soul on the page and produced magic.”—Bec, Bike Book Reviews

Safe

“Cody Kennedy has done a great job of making two distinct personalities for the boys, and I really want to know more about their lives together.”—Becky Condit, USA Today, Happily Ever After Blog

“Mr. Kennedy pushed all the right buttons and touched me deeply with this story.... The author made me long for more because of  the way he portrays their experiences.”—Dani, Love Bytes Reviews

“…the most effective tool an author possesses to illicit emotion from the reader is excellent characterization, and in this, Kennedy is a true master.”—Mia Kerick, author of TheRed Sheet

“Safe easily rises to the bar set by Mr. Kennedy in Omorphi. I love this author. The writer and the man. Please read this.” —Tina, The Novel Approach Reviews

“Emotions, connection, first love, friendship, family support. Everything that a young boy needs while walking down the road of self-discovery.” —Connie, Gay List BookReviews

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Timmy's 5★ Review of John Goode's "Edge of Glory," Bk 2 in the Fadeaway Series!


I’m back with another review of a Goode book! Yay! Does it seem most of my reviews are on John Goode’s books these days? They are! All the Goode books are being passed my way and I am a very happy little fanboy! I’d like to thank Michael Thompson for this awesome book! 

If you have a book you would like me to review please don’t hesitate to let me know. Request a review here!

Edge of Glory is book two in the Fadeaway Series. If you have not read Going the Distance, the first book in the series, please stop reading this and bookmark it to return to after you have read the first book! You can find my review of Going the Distance here. (Hint: I have never read a bad Goode book!)

I would like to thank John Goode for writing this book, but I would also want to thank all the people who helped with his GoFundMe so that this book could be published. I really wish I was able to help because I am a big fan, but I’m hoping that people will read my review and go buy the book! That will help John write more books!

When I read the first book in the series, I really liked it. This book I loved. I’ma try my best to explain this without giving away spoilers. LOL So Hard!