Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Xen Sanders for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Author: Xen Sanders
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Genre: Drama, Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 09/05/2016
Saint’s afraid to die. Grey can’t stand to live.
Grey Jean-Marcelin wants to die. He thought painting his passion—vivid portrayals of Haitian life and vodou faith—would be enough to anchor him to this world. But it isn’t. And when the mysterious man known only as Saint saves Grey from a suicide attempt, it’s more curse than blessing—until Grey discovers that Saint isn’t just an EMT. He’s a banished fae, and can only survive by draining the lives of those he loves.
All Saint needed was a simple bargain: one life willingly given for another. But as Saint’s feelings for Grey grow deeper, centuries of guilt leave him desperate to save a man who doesn’t want salvation, even if Grey’s life means Saint’s death.
When Grey’s depression consumes him, only he can decide if living is worth the struggle. Yet his choice may come too late to save his life . . . or Saint’s soul. And whatever choice he makes, it may shatter them both.
Meaning and Message
Hey there. I’m Xen Sanders, and thank you for joining me for the release of Shatterproof! (I will have you know that exclamation point was under duress. Grr. I am grrr and dour and deadpan man-thing. Really.)
I’m immensely grateful that some of my favorite blogs have opened their doors and given me an opportunity to talk about a book that means so much to me, and that comes from so much personal experience. Stick around to chat, ask questions, and join in the discussion for a chance to win a $30 Riptide gift card and a $25 Amazon or B&N gift card! (@*$%!#ing exclamation points…)
What are you hoping people will gain from reading this book?
There are so many things that I put into this story, so many deeply personal things both large and small, that I’m not sure where to start. There are little things, like wanting to simply and quietly make one of my heroes bisexual just through a simple, almost offhand acknowledgment passed through conversation without it being a problem; there’s wanting that same hero, a dark-skinned Black man, to have the room to be seen as a beautiful, attractive person when so often darker-skinned POC are dismissed on the sexual front – otherized, derided, stripped of sexuality altogether. I wanted this story to say dark-skinned POC are sexy; sexy to others, sexy to themselves. To present something other than the bias of colorism, and hopefully create a narrative where Grey’s dark skin is loved for its beauty, his beauty, instead of seen as a detriment. And there was creating a cast that reflected reality, too – where out of the five characters who ever get any real page time, three are POC, and three are women (yes, in M/M). I wanted my story to reflect my reality.
Really, though, more than anything I hope that this story gives people a deeper insight into what it’s like living with depression; I hope it helps people understand that it’s not just laziness, not just feeling sad or emo or mopey; not some kind of drama. It’s a real illness that sometimes hits the off-switch on your ability to function, and you can have very little control over when or how it gets turned back on. Without treatment, depression can take you to some frightening depths. Sometimes even with treatment, when we don’t even understand how SSRIs work and medication is no help at all.
And on that note, one major thing that was so critical to convey in Shatterproof was the portrayal of a man of color dealing with his mental health – with treatment, without treatment, sometimes in utterly desperate ways that led to his relationship with Saint in the first place. People of color often aren’t allowed the latitude and humanity to have mental health issues; we’re dehumanized as not having emotions, or the only emotions we have are slanted as either anger or insanity. That portrayal is harmful and painful, and has led to so many people of color either being forced to ignore their needs or, even if they want to seek diagnosis, support, and treatment, being unable to because services are unavailable, inaccessible, or just completely unequipped to understand the factors influencing POC mental health. There’s a world of nuance and deeper underlying societal causes, and they’re so often ignored to throw harsh, oversimplified labels at POC without acknowledging that we’re drowning, and it’s getting harder and harder to come up for air.
But I also wanted to convey that it is possible to pull back from the edge. Grey survived a suicide attempt and found it in him to want to try to live again, even knowing it wouldn’t be easy. That came from personal experience; I survived a suicide attempt, and the abuse-induced nervous breakdown that pushed me to it. But I’m still here. I’m still here, and if I wasn’t I couldn’t tell you that there are people who want to help, if you’re having trouble holding on. People who care. People who know what you’re going through, and even if you feel completely alone…right now, in this moment, there are so many people having the exact same thoughts, and they aren’t crazy or sick or bad. They’re just hurting, and whether you know it or not you’re hurting together, and there’s nothing abnormal about it. It’s okay to reach for help. It’s okay to say “I hurt.” It’s okay to say “I don’t know what to do, how to cope.” It’s okay to say “I can’t stand on my own right now; please let me lean for just a little bit until I find my way.”
It’s okay to say “I know your love can’t fix everything, but right now I need it anyway just because I need a reminder that I’m worthy of being loved.”
And you are.
So very, very much.
To celebrate the release of Shatterproof, one lucky winner will receive $30 Riptide Credit and a $25 gift card to B&N or Amazon. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 10, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
About the Author
Xen Sanders is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in the metropolitan wilds of the American Midwest. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats. He wavers between calling himself bisexual and calling himself queer, but no matter what word he uses, he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA representation and visibility in genre fiction.
He also writes contemporary romance and erotica as Cole McCade. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Twitter: @thisblackmagic
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xen.cole
• Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/ColeMcCadeBooks
• Website & Blog: http://www.blackmagicblues.com
He’s recently launched the Speak Project, an online open-access platform where anyone can anonymously or openly share or read stories of abuse—a way for survivors to overcome the silencing tactics of abusers to speak out against what was done to them, and let other survivors know they’re not alone.
He also runs an advice column called Dammit, Cole, where he occasionally answers questions about everything from romance and dating to the culture of hypermasculinity, from the perspective of a male romance author:
Looking for more? You can get early access to cover reveals, blurbs, contests, and other exclusives by joining the McCade’s Marauders street team at:
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
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