Rick R Reed on Blink ~ Blog Tour, Excerpt, Interview, Rafflecopter Giveaway

Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Rick R Reed for taking the time to talk with us today.

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Title: Blink
Author: Rick R Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Release Date: 01/23/2015
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Historical, M/M Romance

Blurb:

Life can change in the blink of an eye. That’s a truth Andy Slater learns as a young man in 1982, taking the Chicago ‘L’ to work every morning. Andy’s life is laid out before him: a good job, marriage to his female college sweetheart, and the white picket fence existence he believes in. But when he sees Carlos Castillo for the first time, Carlos’s dark eyes and Latin appeal mesmerize him. Fate continues to throw them together until the two finally agree to meet up. At Andy’s apartment, the pent-up passion of both young men is ignited, but is snuffed out by an inopportune and poorly-timed phone call.

Flash forward to present day. Andy is alone, having married, divorced, and become the father of a gay son. He’s comfortable but alone and has never forgotten the powerful pull of Carlos’s gaze on the ‘L’ train. He vows to find him once more, hoping for a second chance. If life can change in the blink of an eye, what will the passage of thirty years do? To find out, Andy begins a search that might lead to heartache and disappointment or a love that will last forever….

Interview:

1. We are here today to talk about Blink. What can you tell us about it?

I can tell you that the first part, especially, is quite autobiographical. I can also tell you that it’s a unique and, I hope, very satisfying story of love overcoming the odds. And last, I can tell you it’s one of my own books that touched my heart very deeply when I was writing it. Here’s the blurb:

Life can change in the blink of an eye. That’s a truth Andy Slater learns as a young man in 1982, taking the Chicago ‘L’ to work every morning. Andy’s life is laid out before him: a good job, marriage to his female college sweetheart, and the white picket fence existence he believes in. But when he sees Carlos Castillo for the first time, Carlos’s dark eyes and Latin appeal mesmerize him. Fate continues to throw them together until the two finally agree to meet up. At Andy’s apartment, the pent-up passion of both young men is ignited, but is snuffed out by an inopportune and poorly-timed phone call.

Flash forward to present day. Andy is alone, having married, divorced, and become the father of a gay son. He’s comfortable but alone and has never forgotten the powerful pull of Carlos’s gaze on the ‘L’ train. He vows to find him once more, hoping for a second chance. If life can change in the blink of an eye, what will the passage of thirty years do? To find out, Andy begins a search that might lead to heartache and disappointment or a love that will last forever….

2. Tell us more about Andy and Carlos?

Andy and Carlos are two gay men, who for very different reasons, have reached middle age alone and lonely. Their near-connection, in their youth, haunts each of them (although Andy moreso) and ultimately puts them in each other’s path again, after thirty years. I think they represent my romantic belief that true love never dies.

3. What about Blink makes you the most proud?

It’s a book that’s rooted more in my own life than any other that I’ve written. I am proud of how I handle two generations of gay men in the book (Andy, once married, is also father to a gay son who figures prominently in the second half of the book). The first generation needed to hide who they were (even from themselves) and the latter generation (shown by Tate, Andy’s son) exhibits more hard-won freedom to love and be with the person they want.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

It’s a short piece of advice, and it’s one I always give when asked this question, but it has stood me in good stead—write a lot, read a lot. I know that seems simple and maybe even simplistic, but they are, to my mind, the best and only ways you can improve at your craft. The art part of writing comes from the heart and I would advise aspiring writers to, once they have a decent mastery of craft, listen intently to their hearts. Unlike the brain, it will seldom steer them wrong.

5. What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?

It really doesn’t vary. Characters always come first (although I do, of course, have a general idea of theme and story arc). Once they’re real in my head (and they become surprisingly real—so much so that I mourn them when I finish writing a book), they dictate what they say and do and they often surprise me. As much as I guide my characters’ journeys, I take them with them. So, I am a proud ‘pantser’ and have great faith in my intuition.

6. What do you keep in your bedside table?

That’s kind of personal, isn’t it? Let’s just say I keep things in it that might come in handy in the bedroom (grin).

7. What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?

Believe it or not, right now I’m reading a biography of movie star, Natalie Wood (called Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood) who was a star in the 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond, and drowned under mysterious circumstances in the early 80s. Even though I’m gay, I have had a crush of her since I was a little boy and she fascinates me. The story of her life is quite compelling and tragic. She was a remarkable person. Next on my TBR list? Oh, who knows? I have so many books on my Kindle to be read! I have a nasty habit of continuing to buy books even when there’s something like 60, 70, 80 books already in the queue.

8. Rapid Fire Time

  • Tea of Coffee? Both! I usually drink coffee in the morning, but a nice pot of black tea (Earl Grey, maybe) in the afternoon is a wonderful and civilized way to relax.
  • Favorite Color? Blue
  • Porsche or Prius? I guess if I had to pick one, it would be the more environmentally-friendly Prius. It’s how we roll here in Seattle.
  • Electronica or Jazz? Jazz…Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and many others.
  • Underwear and socks: folded in the drawer or tossed? Neatly folded and sorted by color.
  • Fire or Ice? Ice…I’m a water sign (Cancer)
  • Handcuffs or Rope? Silk neckties.
  • Steak or Pizza? I try to avoid carbs as much as possible, so steak.

8. What are you working on? What is next?

It’s a new year and I have just begun writing a new book called The Couple Next Door (which will be published by Dreamspinner Press probably in December of this year). It’s a romantic suspense novel about a young gay man who falls in love with one half of the couple who move in next door—who are not at all what they seem to be. Next up will be a re-release (by Dreamspinner’s new imprint Dreamspinner Press Publications) of my serial killer thriller, IM, about a murderer who preys on gay men using online hookup sites. And in May or June of this year, Dreamspinner will publish Dinner at Fiorello’s, a contemporary romance. The following blurb is not yet finalized, but it’ll give you an idea of what Dinner at Fiorello’s is about:

Henry Appleby is hungry. The recent high-school graduate, the son of a wealthy family in one of Chicago’s affluent north shore suburbs, has his life laid out for him—following in the footsteps of his successful attorney father. The only problem is, it’s a future Henry doesn’t want. He dreams of being a chef and when an opportunity comes his way to work in a real kitchen the summer after graduation, at a little Italian joint called Fiorello’s, Henry jumps at the opportunity, putting his future in jeopardy.

Vito Carelli, in his own way, is also hungry. The darkly handsome young chef at Fiorello’s says little to anyone, preferring to let his amazing Italian peasant cuisine do his talking for him. His past harbors a secret….

When the two men encounter each other in the kitchen at Fiorello’s, sparks fly. And where there are sparks, fire often erupts—sometimes good, sometimes bad. It’s up to these two souls, both looking for something real, something true, to learn how to separate the good from the bad and find the love that just may be their salvation.

Excerpt:

From Chapter 2: Carlos
The guy obviously has a thing for me. I’ve caught him staring now a couple of times, and hey, I’m flattered. He’s cute. No, maybe that’s not a strong enough word. He’s handsome, with green eyes and dark wavy hair that clues me in to some sort of Mediterranean heritage. Italian maybe? Greek? Whatever. Maybe the word I’m looking for is hot.
I can imagine kissing him and the feel of his dark, bushy moustache against mine.

I don’t ride the train to meet men. I don’t do much to meet men, period, to be perfectly honest. I ride the train in the mornings simply to get to St. Philomena elementary school on the west side, where I teach fourth grade.
I’m okay with being gay. I wasn’t always, hence my stint in the seminary, where I studied to be a priest. I learned pretty quickly, by the grace of God and the hands and mouth of a fellow seminarian, that the priesthood was not work I was cut out for. Not if I wanted to live my life honestly, anyway.
So I left. I had already gotten my teaching degree, concurrent with my seminarian studies, so the job at St. Phil’s, low paying as it was, was a natural fit.
But I digress. I’m trying to sort out my feelings for this sweetheart on the train. I know he’s gay too. I know he’s attracted. But I also know nothing will ever come of it.
Why? Because I can see that, when our eyes meet, he’s filled with shame and guilt. I recognize his remorse because I cloaked myself in that dark, heavy fabric for many years.
And maybe still do, a little, to this day. The Church teaches us that same-sex feelings are to be avoided. They are not our natural order. We should turn our sights away from our own sex and devote them instead to loving and pleasing the Lord.
Yeah, good luck with that.
The Lord created that cute guy who gives me the eye on the train, the one I feel this probably misplaced connection with. What is it about him that makes me think of him all the time? Why do I hope he’ll be in my train car every time I step onto it in the morning, even though most times he’s not? Why do I try and quickly scan the windows of the train as it rumbles into the station for a glimpse of him?
Is it just because he’s cute?
There are cute men, hunks, whatever, all around. I occasionally venture out to the intersection of Grand Avenue and Clark to the New Flight bar for happy hour and bring one of them home. Or I head up farther north to the Loading Zone on Oak, where I can watch free porn in the back or dance up front. Somebody usually brings me home.
I never make any lasting connections. I don’t even know if I want to. Shame lingers on me like the scent of cigarette smoke after leaving those places.
But there’s something about the guy on the train. He tugs at my heart as well as my loins. Even from the brief glances we exchange, he makes me think there’s the possibility of more than just sex. He makes me think, for the first time in my life, that maybe I could love another man.
And that terrifies me.
See, I thought this thing that I say I accept, this state of being gay, was just about sex. And sex I can deal with, maybe even embrace. It can be taken care of and dispatched with the same routine nonchalance as any other bodily function. Despite what my Church and other naysayers contend, it’s natural.
I don’t know if I ever believed being gay was any more than that—a couple of dicks calling to each other.
But the guy on the train makes me think differently.

About the Author:

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Web: http://www.rickrreed.com
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed.
E-mail: jimmyfels@gmail.com

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble

Giveaway:

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WillPride

Farewell Giveaway
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,

Brandilyn
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