Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Cy Blanca for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Title: A Teacher and a Poet
Author: Cy Blanca
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Release Date: 03/15/2017
Shawnee County, Kansas, might not be the most accepting place for a gay couple, but boyfriends Antony James and Curtis Ramírez have made it their home. Both of them work at Pauline Central Primary School, and while Antony is content teaching, Curt would rather pursue his passion: poetry. He plans to resign, but he doesn’t get the chance.
Working together has its risks, and when a student witnesses Antony and Curt sneaking a kiss in the workroom, they’re reprimanded. The school board’s punishment is mild, but some members of the community aren’t willing to let the indiscretion go. That small mistake could cost Antony and Curt their home—or it could remind them that home is in the heart, and as long as they stay strong in their love, they’ll always have a place to belong.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Recent Release Spotlight with Cy Blanca
We are here today to talk about A Teacher and a Poet. What can you tell us about it?
It’s about two men who teach at Pauline Central primary school in Topeka, KS. They’re names are Curt Ramírez and Antony James. The two of them have been together for three years and are deeply in love with each other and still get irrationally turned on by each other. Unfortunately, they get caught being a bit too “friendly” in the teacher’s workroom, and have to deal with the repercussions of that, which actually get kind of dangerous. Ultimately it’s a story highlighting just how powerful love is between two people and how it propels them.
Please tell us more about our main characters.
Curt Ramírez and Antony James are two teachers at Pauline Central primary school in Topeka, KS. Curt is actually the poet in the relationship: words turn him on almost as much as his lover, Antony. Antony adores children and adores seeing them learn and grow. They’re both black men, though Curt is of Afro-Dominican descent. They’re fiercely dedicated to each other, and their love is genuinely stronger than anything that could try to tear them apart.
What about A Teacher and a Poet makes you the proudest?
Honestly, it is the representation of both two black men in a dedicated relationship. Showing black love in all its manifestations is important to me, and I’ve always felt there’s a need for more representations of black gay and lesbian couples in media. I also wanted to highlight just how important education is to them. I grew up in and around the educational system, and it’s rough, I have to be honest. Seeing what my father has to deal with every day (and even more frightening at times all the things he never showed us he goes through) opened my eyes to all the flack and oftentimes lack of respect teachers really get from all angles. I wanted to show that there are teachers who love what they do, love reaching children and molding their minds for greatness—just like Antony.
What is next for these characters? Is there more to this series? If so who will we hear from next?
Well, not to spoil too much, but they’re getting married. I hadn’t planned on expanding their story further than that, but if people love these two men the way I do, maybe we’ll see just where their journey takes them after they say, “I do.”
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Be honest. That’s it. And I don’t mean say things that will make people like you or, you know, speak a “truth” that’s most likely to get people in line with you. As a writer especially, your truth, your honesty is what defines you. Reach into who you are, find the words that define your makeup, your morals, your thoughts and fears and feelings, and put those on the page. Don’t worry about how it sounds or what it looks like on the page (grammatically and otherwise—that’s what editors are for and why they’re so important). The page is your space to let out what it is that’s truly inside you. Don’t hold back, and don’t be afraid.
What one story made you lose sleep as a kid?
Okay, don’t laugh. But the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” actually gave me nightmares. That troll under the bridge, though! I mean, there’s this creepy dude just chilling under a bridge. You never see his face, he’s always talking about how he can see you, though, can hear you “tripping” over his bridge. All I kept thinking was this thing can be under my bed with his eyes and his jowls and just… yeah, nightmares… Haha.
What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?
Honestly? None of that. It really always just starts with an image or a word. I suppose it could vary, or maybe the more accurate thing is a scene? But honestly I’ll just see a series of words that go together. From that sprouts a random scene, and kinda I go from there.
Do you have a character in your head that you have yet to write a story for?
Oh goodness, the amount of characters in my head at any given time is just ridiculous. I should start making them pay taxes or something! I’ve got a lot of half ideas and characters just floating around in space, but there are for sure three characters and stories that I’ve got mapped out in my mind. Just need to put pen to paper (or, ya know, finger to keyboard…).
How important are secondary characters to your story telling? Do you actively try to have women characters in your M/M to balance the male focus of the MCs?
Honestly, any character that interacts with the main characters is important in some way to me. Just as people that aren’t your immediate family or your lover(s) at the time still impact your life, so do secondary characters for me. As far as making a conscious choice to have female characters, not really. If the character belongs there, he/she does. Just like I don’t consciously choose to make my secondary characters male. I just let it happen organically. I know, it’s cheesy, but that’s honestly how most everything in a story happens for me.
What book do you keep by your bed?
Sidecar by Amy Lane. It’s one of those stories that just never, ever stops affecting me in some way. It was the first story I purchased from DSP and also the first romance I ever read that I had such a strong reaction to.
If you could have a conversation with any famous author, who would you want to get writing tips from and what skill of theirs would you like to emulate?
I would’ve loved to pick apart James Baldwin’s mind. He’s one of the most gifted writers and powerful thinkers of the 20th century. The way the man put words together, the way he put his thoughts on paper, the music he made with his words, the questions he forced us all to ask of ourselves and the world around us. He was brave, bold. His commentary on racial issues is still relevant and necessary in 2017 as they were in the ’60s. And he was just… an artist. The things he did with language still excite me to write.
Do you remember a character talking about a particular food and it made you want to eat it RIGHTNOW? and if yes, what was it?
Okay, not so much a character (and not from a book) but the movie Selena… Selena and Chris are on their first kinda date at a pizza parlor. Chris looks at her like she’s crazy because there’s this entire medium pepperoni pizza in front of her, and he asks her if she’s going to eat the whole thing. After proclaiming she can eat an entire medium pizza on her own, the next words out her mouth were, “I love pizza!” That pretty much made me NEED pizza right that second!
If you could have a threesome with any two people in the world, with the stipulation that their names had to rhyme, who would you choose?
This is tough because at any given moment I want to have threesomes with so many people… HaHA. I’m gonna reach into my iTunes and choose Kim Eun-young (her stage name’s Cheetah) and Kyle Dion (slant rhymes count!).
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
At the moment, I’ve got The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson, milk and honey by rupi kaur, and S by Saul Williams, and a manga called Golem. And yes, I am reading them all at the same time. After that, I’ve got sooo many books I have to read I don’t think I can properly get into what’s next… HaHa.
Rapid Fire Time
Kanye or Beck?
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Kanye, Odelay Beck (don’t make me choose!)
Sushi or pasta?
Alone or At a Party?
Handcuffs or Rope?
Rope (more creative)
Sex or Chocolate?
Wait, they’re not the same thing?
Read or writing?
Cook or eat out?
Red Heads or Blondes?
Ginger ladies are delicious!
Hugs or Kisses?
Kissing’s the best!
Tax Audit or Enema?
ENEMA! Those are good for you. I needs all mah coins!
What are you working on? What is next?
I’m currently trying to finish a novel I’ve been working on for three years now. I’m getting to the home stretch, and I’m starting to really get excited about it. So hopefully that’s next. Other than that, more writing, more music, more food.
Thanks so much for this! It was so much fun to answer these questions. I truly appreciate you inviting me to introduce myself and my guys to your readers ^^
About the Author
Cy Blanca has enjoyed words since she was in elementary school. They hold magic powers for her, and she loves playing with them to see just what they can do. She got her degree in English poetry, but she’s been doing mostly editorial work for online magazines YAM Magazine, Rock ’N Seoul, and SeoulBeats (yeah… she loves Korean music and gets to interview folks and write about it). She’s exceptionally blessed to actually be able to do exactly what she went to school for, and fiction is a new avenue she’s trying to explore. Hopefully she can make some magic happen with the words she’s been in love with since she was in elementary school.
She’d love to hear from people who want to know a bit more about her, or just want to become homies.
You can reach her on Twitter: @madcywhite
You can also reach her on Instagram: @mindless_cy
(For K-pop related fangirling, venture over to @mindlesscy if you dare.)
March 8 – MM Good Book Reviews
March 10 – Prism Book Alliance
March 15 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
March 17 – Alpha Book Reviews
March 18 – Love Bytes
March 20 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
March 21 – Open Skye Book Reviews
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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