Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Jeff Erno for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: My Dumb Jock
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Genre/Sub-Genre: Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
The final book in the Dumb Jock series brings us back to Jeff and Brett thirty-plus years after their “happily ever after.” Jeff, now a university professor, and Brett, CEO of a sporting equipment company, prepare to celebrate Brett’s fiftieth birthday. Suddenly, a devastating emergency derails all plans. Fear and unknown questions force the couple to look back on a lifetime of struggles as an openly gay couple just starting out in the 1980s. My Dumb Jock chronicles their life together, beginning after the sports banquet at the conclusion of book one, continuing through their college years, engagement, wedding, and birth of their children. Together they shoulder homophobia and rejection and build their own family in the face of many crippling losses and temptations. This final book of the series brings together an entire cast of characters from five books, all connected by one remarkable couple. A couple not quite ready to say goodbye.
Recent Release Spotlight with Jeff Erno
We are here today to talk about My Dumb Jock: Dumb Jock 6. What can you tell us about it
First off, thanks so much for the guest spot and for the opportunity to promote my new release, My Dumb Jock. This type of forum, where authors can reach out to readers, is an invaluable resource within our community.
It seems light years ago I began writing on an amateur level and posting my stories online. I posted my very first story, a jock/nerd love story called Dumb Jock, as a free read on the Nifty Archive back in the early 2000s.
I never imagined Dumb Jock becoming a published novel. Merely completing the story fulfilled a lifetime dream for me. Originally, I used my laser jet printer to produce print copies of the manuscript and shared the story with a few close friends. I then went on to write several far more erotic stories for Nifty and basically considered my writing to be a rewarding hobby.
In 2008, after about a thousand feedback emails from Nifty readers, I decided to explore the possibility of publishing the story as a print book. At that time, I’d never even heard of e-books. I submitted the manuscript to several publishers, only to receive rejection letters. I finally shrugged and said, “What the hell. I’ll publish it myself.” I never expected the story to be a big seller, but I wanted to fulfill the dream, to cross off an item from my bucket list. So I forked over about a thousand bucks to a vanity press and self-pubbed Dumb Jock.
Approximately three months later, I leapt for joy when I received my first royalty check of $28.14. I framed it and hung it on my office wall. Three months later I received another larger check. Within the first year I’d made my money back and then some, and to my astonishment, a review site called Rainbow Reviews had picked up a copy of the book and featured it on their website. They gave Dumb Jock a five star review. I then submitted a copy to Reviews by Jesse Wave, and Elisa Rolle featured the book on her blog. Several other review sites noticed the book as well, and I began receiving emails asking for e-book copies.
Dumb Jock opened the door for me and led to my first publishing contract. I then went on to create other Dumb Jock stories, spinoffs of the original, featuring other jock/nerd pairings. Each of the subsequent stories were in some way connected to the original but did not highlight the main characters from book one, Brett and Jeff.And now, approximately fourteen years after I completed the first Dumb Jock story, I’ve at last come full circle and have returned to Brett and Jeff’s story. My Dumb Jock, set in the present day, is a look back
And now, approximately fourteen years after I completed the first Dumb Jock story, I’ve at last come full circle and have returned to Brett and Jeff’s story. My Dumb Jock, set in the present day, is a look back on the lives of this couple who started it all. The story contains their complete journey, from the moment after the sports banquet at the end of book one, all the way through their college years, marriage, and birth of their kids.
Tell us more about Jeff and Brett?
Originally Dumb Jock was written as a “what if” fantasy and was loosely based upon my own high school experience. Like the story’s main character, I was a shy, nerdish teen who tutored and developed a crush on one of the school’s football jocks. In real life, the jock was not gay and did not fall in love with me, but the fictional story allowed me to imagine how things could have been if my feelings for Brett had been reciprocal.
The fictional Brett and Jeff have assumed their own unique identities at this point, and I don’t think of them in any sort of autobiographical sense.
You have said that My Dumb Jock is the end of the Dumb Jock Series. What about My Dumb Jock and the whole Dumb Jock series makes you the most proud?
Certainly not the writing. J It’s very difficult for me now to go back to that very first book and read through all the glaring mistakes. I often told when I should have shown. The dialogue was stilted. I wrote in passive voice. The list goes on and on.
But Dumb Jock flowed from my heart. The story contains so many of my own feelings, my own real-life traumas and experiences. I had only my own well from which to draw. I simply wrote what I knew, and I knew unrequited love, heartbreak, angst, grief. I knew friendship and loyalty. And I knew my small hometown, Boyne City.
And yeah, I supposed if I were more intelligent or educated I’d probably have enough sense to be embarrassed by the story and all its flaws. But I regard the book as my signature piece, the story that changed my life. I’m proud of its honesty and of the sincere, raw emotion that flows through each of the characters.
(And hopefully my writing craft skills have improved some.)
My Dumb Jock revisits the relationship of Jeff and Brent from the first book, Dumb Jock. How much of the series should someone read to be able to full enjoy My Dumb Jock?
I’d recommend reading at least book one. Since each of the other four books (2 through 5) are separate stories that can be read as stand-alones, readers would have no problem jumping from one to six. That being said, I should warn readers that the entire cast of characters from all six books is reunited in the final book, so if you’ve skipped any of the books you won’t recognize some of the names.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Oh God, I hate this question so much. I think I’m the worst person to offer advice. Contact me, and I’ll provide you a list of hugely successful authors you can contact. They’d be far more qualified to answer.
What is the nicest thing a reader has said to you in a review, email, in person, or on social media?
This question also makes me nervous because I don’t want to slight or offend anyone. I’ve received so many letters from readers, many of them gay teens, and those always touch my heart. One such teen wrote to inform me he’d chosen my book Bullied to do an oral book report for his high school class. We then raised money to send print copies to the entire class.
Another reader, a college professor who taught human sexuality, contacted me to inform me he’d added my Puppy Love series to his course syllabus as required reading.
I’ve gotten really touching, heartfelt letters from readers and fans from all over the globe. Every one of them makes me feel thankful and humble. I’m still shocked there are people out there who like my stories.
If I have to pick one, though, it would probably be the very first review I received on Dumb Jock from Rainbow reviews in which the reviewer said: “If I were stranded on a desert island and had to choose one book to take with me, this would be that book.”
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
I’m currently reading Remember My Name by Chase Potter. I have a to-read list a mile long and have no idea which book I’ll choose, but the next one that’s currently loaded on my Kindle is Easy Ryder by Deanna Wadsworth.
Rapid Fire Time
- Salty or Sugary? sugary
- Winter or Summer Olympics? summer
- hot air balloon or blimp? balloon
- Neville or Ron? NEVILLE!! (Have you seen him lately???)
- Hats or Fascinators? I had to look this up because I didn’t know what a fascinator was. But I definitely have to choose fascinators.
- Flowers or Candy? Flowers
- Thongs or Flip Flops ? Thongs
- Beatles or Stones? Beatles, without question
- Favorite meal? Tacos
- Shifters or Vampires? Vamps
- What are you working on?
What is next?
So many things. For fun, I’m writing a series of shorts for a book titled “Bad Boys Get It.” Each short will be titled “Bad Boys Get____.” The blanks will be filled in with:
About the Author:
Jeff Erno began writing LGBT fiction in the late 1990s. Although an avid reader and amateur writer from a very young age, Jeff pursued a career as a retail store manager in Northern Michigan. When his first gay-themed novel was published, he was shocked that anyone would even want to read it. Four years later, he writes full time and has published fifteen novels. Jeff now lives in Southern Michigan, where he resides with his pure-white cat, Gandalf.
Jeff’s writing credits include a variety of themes and sub-genres including male romance, Young Adult, Science Fiction, erotica, and BDSM. He is the winner of a 2012 Rainbow Award and an Honorable Mention in 2011. His style is unpretentious and focused upon emotionally-driven, character-based stories that touch the heart. Jeff is especially passionate about young adult literature and combating teen bullying and youth suicide.
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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