Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Jeff Adams for taking the time to talk with us today.
Author: Jeff Adams
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance, Winter Holiday
Mitchell Turner and Alex Goodman squared off over a face-off dot throughout high school. Their schools were cross-country rivals. Those face-offs were tough on Mitchell because he harbored a huge crush on Alex. High school, and college, are behind the guys and they meet unexpectedly on Thanksgiving Day, once again on the ice. Mitchell is home for the holidays and is thrilled to see his crush all grown up.
Alex asks Mitchell out for coffee to catch up. Could this be the start of something magical for the holidays … and beyond?
Inspirations Behind “Rivals” & Ebook Giveaway:
Thanks, Brandilyn, for letting me come by to talk about the re-release of my short story Rivals. I’m excited to have this short story back in print in an expanded edition from what was available from 2009 to 2013. To celebrate the re-release, I’m happy to give a holiday gift of a free ebook copy to one lucky commenter to this post. Plus, if you’ve got any questions, you can leave those in the comments and I’ll drop back to answer them.
There was no one key inspiration behind Rivals, but several things did get mashed up into this story. In fact one of the things is out of my life. For many years, while I lived in New York City, I played hockey. During a tournament one year, I was on a shift playing defense and made a quick turn, and before I’d the turn was complete I slammed into a teammate. We didn’t see each other at all. It was a hard hit. While he managed to stay standing, I crashed to the ice. It made me realize what a solid wall the guy was. I got up and played on, but I hurt for a couple days as a result. That collision ends up as part of Mitchell and Alex’s reunion, and it gives Mitchell a lot to think about as he makes contact with the solid muscle of Alex’s body.
The idea of rivals becoming friends and even lovers is nothing new. What I liked about using that in this story is that there’s two guys who stared down each other multiple times but never figured out that there was more there. Even on their first meeting years later, Mitchell doesn’t believe it’s possible that Alex could have any interest in him. You can’t blame Mitchell for feeling that way. He has no information on Alex’s relationship status or if Alex knows that he’s out.
Another brief scene in the story comes out of a film. I’ve been entranced by the British film Beautiful Thing from the first time I saw it in 1996. There’s a scene where Ste and Jamie go running through a park full of trees as The Mamas and The Papas “Make Your Own Kind of Music” plays. It’s a moment of fun for the boys that ends up with some passionate kisses. It’s a favorite movie scene, and I put my own spin on it in Rivals.
Running through the trees makes up part of the scene I chose for the excerpt below. I hope you enjoy it. You can see how it turns out by picking up a copy of Rivals for yourself.
We sat across from each other, cross-legged on the fountain’s rim. Our knees touched. “What’re your friends going to think when I show up at the game tomorrow? A guy they don’t really know.”
I shrugged. “Well, it’s not like they don’t know about me. My guess is they won’t say anything. Why do you ask?”
“Little nervous I guess.”
I squeezed his hand, trying to be reassuring. “Don’t be. They’re good guys. I wouldn’t hang with them if they weren’t. Besides, they’re gonna like you. You play good hockey.” I kissed his hand. “Plus you’re with me and that’ll make it okay.” I placed another kiss where I’d put the first one. He shuddered. “You getting cold?”
“No. Not at all. That kiss did that.”
“Glad you liked it.” The little bit of light around the fountain glinted in his eyes perfectly. The green was amped up, like looking into shimmering stained glass. I knew I was looking too long, but it was impossible not to. “Here’s my corny comment. Your eyes are amazing. I’ve loved them from the first time I took a face off against you as a sophomore. The green is stunning. It was the first thing that attracted me to you. Those eyes starting out through your face mask.”
“For me, it was your hair, super dark, kinda curly.” He reached across and ran his hand through it. “Our second game against each other, you warmed up with your helmet off. I had a hardon the whole game. Do you know how hard it is to skate with that in your cup?”
“Oh yeah, I’ve been there. Always because of you.” I unfolded my legs, which were starting to stiffen up. I ended up grunting as I stretched out. “Sorry. That crash into you took more of a toll than I expected.”
“Are you letting yourself get out of shape?” Alex asked, a mischievous look on his face.
“Remember, it was me who beat you.”
“It was planned,” he said. “I couldn’t let you look bad in front of Trevor.”
I couldn’t decide if he was kidding or not.
I stood up to stretch so I could pop all the kinks I was feeling. “Let’s see how your off-ice conditioning is. See if you can catch me.” I took off running across the grass before he could get up.
I heard his footfalls behind me. I started zig-zagging, heading towards the trees. I ran all the time in the hills of San Francisco, so on this flat ground, even around trees, it was easy to maintain speed. I spun around and ran backwards so I could see where Alex was. I couldn’t find him. Going into the trees might have been a mistake, too many options. I turned around and charted a course to bring me back out into the open. I looked around, keeping an eye out for Alex. He was good at being stealthy. I heard nothing, except for the noise I was making.
“Gotcha!” I was just about to clear the tree line when Alex jumped in front of me. He kept moving, backing me into a tree.
About the Author:
Jeff Adams caught the writing bug in middle school and finally became a novelist with the Hat Trick series, which will conclude in 2015. He’s also written a number of m/m romance shorts. Jeff and his husband, Will, left the hustle and bustle of New York City to return to the more peaceful lifestyle of Humboldt County, California, during the summer of 2014, which allows more time for him to write. Extending his love of hockey beyond novels, Jeff covers the Detroit Red Wings, as well reviews books that feature LGBT hockey players, for PuckBuddys.com. To learn more about Jeff, visit jeffadamswrites.com and follow him on Twitter at @hockeyguynyc.
Jeff Adams has kindly offered one ebook copy of Rivals for 1 lucky commenter.
Locally held contests will end 7 days from original posting date at 8pm CDT. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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