February 8th, 2017

Winter Duet

Welcome E. Davies - Flaunt

A big welcome to E. Davies today as part of his blog tour with Embrace the Rainbow Book Promotions for Flaunt.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
Hi! I'm Ed, and I've been writing as E. Davies since 2013. These days, I write only M/M contemporary romance novels – I'm up to about twenty now, and in many ways I feel like I'm just hitting my stride. I started off with short stories and found them too short for the kinds of stories I wanted to tell.

When I released the first book in my Riley Brothers series, Buzz, the “slice of life” style seemed to really resonate with readers, and I followed that theme for a while. My books these days are a little heavier, but I still carefully focus on infusing every book with a sense of hope and progress. I don't write tearjerker books with unhappy endings, characters who are punished in the narrative for being gay, or preachy books. I read too many of those books as a kid and young adult. I decided very early on that my writing would be more lighthearted and optimistic, like me!

Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
Flaunt is a project I've had in the back of my head for a while, as a love letter to fellow gay and queer femme men. In particular, it was important to me to write more books about gay trans men, since romances featuring trans characters are woefully scarce and often don't get the details quite right, alienating the very readers who are looking for them. I've always been femme, but I've often struggled with incorporating my femininity into my identity as a gay man. The community dynamics around masc and femme guys, especially when it comes to sex and romance, can be strange and arbitrary. I didn't see enough realistic or positive portrayals of femmes loving femmes, and I wanted to explore that in fiction.

Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about them?
Through my own journey of being gay and femme, one of the main characters, Nic, came to me. I wanted to write about a man learning that masc is not the only option, but I didn't know who his perfect man would be. Then, last year at Pride, I saw a guy with bright dyed hair, garters, and fishnets, and boom! Kyle was in my head. He was one of those characters who sprang into my head fully-formed – everything Nic, and the story, needed. I knew I wanted at least one of the characters to be a trans man, so it took me some time to figure out which of them would be. There's a lot more that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the story is clear, ensure I'm not following harmful or outdated stereotypes while representing my characters faithfully, and so on. I like to have each character's story, and their story as a couple, nailed down before I begin to write.

*What are your writing and personal goals for 2017 and beyond?
I'm writing and publishing quite a few books this year—about one per month! My first few releases are coming out on January 31st, February 21st, and March 14th... and I'm already plotting April's release. My big goal is to keep experimenting, pushing myself, and trying new things in my books. I have so many themes and ideas I want to explore and so little time! I'm a full-time writer, so I'm lucky to have so much time to dedicate to writing. When I'm not on social media, it's amazing how much I can write. I've challenged myself: this year, I want to see how many of these stories in my head I can tell!

I travel a lot but I'm otherwise prone to hiding in my writing cave, so a big personal goal is getting back outdoors with friends over the summer when I'm at home. I'm also planning a move to London, and I'd like to start learning Spanish. Perhaps by putting it out there, I'll embarrass myself into remembering to do my Duolingo lessons!

What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
I'm finishing up Aftermath, which is the third book in a series world, and is due to be published February 21st. Afterburn and Afterglow, the first two books, followed two Californian firefighters and best friends as they both found the guys of their dreams and worked through mental health difficulties with and beside them.

I've touched on difficult matters like depression, PTSD, suicide attempts, and anxiety in these books. All of these issues are handled realistically and with careful research, not magically healed, and I know a lot of readers struggle with one or more of these issues, as I do. As such, I'll share just a short unedited snippet of a lighthearted moment in the book.

----

“Don’t fish for compliments,” Jace told him, a glint in his eye now. He was playing along. “That’s not attractive.”

“But where would I be without my ego?” Charlie clicked his tongue. “Not running the best-ranked gliding school in the city.”

Jace looked impressed, but then he lifted his eyebrow. “What kind of flight? With other people or alone?”

“Tandem’s mostly for beginners, but I teach it. I go solo.”

“I’ve been single for a while, too,” Jace said and smirked, lifting a brow as he sipped his coffee.

Hey. Charlie glared. He was perfectly used to people assuming he was some broke surfer loser funding an extended young adulthood here on the beach. “I’ll have you know I bring all the boys to my launch pad. Usually not at once.”

“Mmm. Is a fear of heights a deal-breaker for you, then?” Jace grinned. “A lot of people are afraid of them, aren’t they?”

“Nah. I don’t care, as long as I get to ride whenever I want.” No, stop flirting. Fuck. “Why? Did you want to fly sometime?” Charlie raised his brow.

“I think I’ll leave it to the experts,” Jace said, raising his cup in a slight ironic toast and sipping.

Maybe it wasn’t chemistry between them, it was… barely-veiled cattiness. Was Jace the judgmental, slut-shaming type?

For his part, Jace was seeing right through to what would annoy him and happily pressing those buttons.

It flustered Charles. He couldn’t remember if anyone had gotten to him like this before. He wrapped his hands tightly around his mug to calm himself again. Thrill of the chase, he reminded himself.

How did you come up with the title?
This is a great question. I actually had the title and the general premise long before the characters themselves came to me, because they tie together so strongly. “Flaunt” is a word often used against gay men, especially those who are more feminine. We're criticized for “flaunting it” if we're too visibly gay. This could include anything from speaking in the wrong pitch to kissing in public to wearing clothing that sits on your body slightly differently from what people expect. Sometimes this criticism comes from those within the gay community, who would like to “overcome” the image of gay men as feminine... even though our existence is just as valid as theirs. Sometimes it comes from others, including allies and even readers who just don't know better, which was one big reason I wanted to tell this story. I wanted a title that was “in-your-face” (another phrase applied far more stringently to people being a little too gay in public than people being a little too straight, I've observed), and a story to make people see that it's perfectly okay to be you, whatever you wear, however you walk or speak, and whoever you love.

Are there any characters that you write, that are based on you, or people you know?
So many! Pretty much every character has some small attribute, personality feature, or life experience of someone I know. I never take a full characterization directly from people I know. I wouldn't find that terribly interesting to write, either. But little features of people I know (and, usually, love) are in there, all over, if you know where to look!

Are there big events in your life that affect your writing?
Absolutely! So many of my experiences have come through in my books. I find myself dwelling on some of these preoccupations from book to book, and addressing others very briefly. For example, many of my characters are moving or have moved, because I grew up moving a lot, and the process of finding and integrating into a new social circle is so familiar to me, so fascinating in the way you can reinvent yourself yet fall back on the same you as before (or not!), and so rife with story potential.

Do you have any genres you prefer reading, and if so what are they? What book are you reading at the moment? What other novels do you adore/ writers you follow? What book do you wish that you had written?
Honestly, M/M contemporary romance is nearly all I read! I used to enjoy fantasy, sci-fi, literary fiction, short stories and poetry, and many other genres, but I've set them aside. I feel like I have years of romance reading to catch up on first, because I didn't realize M/M romance was out there until 2013... when I immediately started writing it, too!

At the moment, I'm rereading a book I just finished: Hope Sawyer's debut novel, Thrown. I know her, so I expected to like the book, but wow. I had to reread to savor the slow southern sweetness of her prose, and the atmospheric details. I've never been to the South (yet – I'm visiting Atlanta in May for the RT romance convention!), but I felt it through this book.

Every book in the Inheritance series by another friend, Amelia Faulkner, has hit raw nerves for me. I nearly only read contemporary, but I fell in love with the urban fantasy elements here—when the first god entered the room in Jack of Thorns, my jaw dropped. Addictions, sexual and physical abuse, trauma and its effects on memory, bullying, demisexuality and perhaps hypersexuality and looking at how they mesh in a slowly-developing relationship, and so many contemporary themes that matter a lot to me... all in one long, unhurried story allowing for deep exploration and a slow reveal of the long game. I'd say that's the book (series) I wish I'd written, but I'm enjoying getting to find out the story slowly, even if it's trying my patience. Cough, cough, Amelia...

After grabbing my Kindle to check, other writers I follow include... quite a list! Avery Ford, Zach Jenkins, Lucy Lennox, Sierra Riley, Aimee Nicole Walker, Cait Forester, Clara Coyle, Devyn Morgan, H J Perry, Max Walker, Jason Collins, Sean Ashcroft, and... I'll stop there for now, but my one-click finger gets a LOT of work!

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don't follow other people's advice... but do observe your own patterns. Figure out when and why you're falling down, listen to what other people say, and try it. Discard what doesn't work for you, and build your own writing routine!

For example, for a long time, I wanted to write five days a week and take weekends off because it works for other people I know. It took me three years to realize that my brain just doesn't want to get back to work after a couple days off. I waste so much time and energy fighting resistance! But if I write just a couple thousand words every single day, it doesn't feel like I need a weekend off from writing, because I love the writing itself. Others will write ten thousand words a day for a week, then take the rest of the month off. Whatever works for you, stick with it!

Do you have a favourite character and/or book you've written? Who, what and why?
There's at least one character or one aspect of every book that I'm head over heels for, so this is a brutally hard question! But... if pressed to choose one book, I'd say Buzz, the first book in my Riley Brothers series. It was a relief to see so many people fell in love with Cam just like I did, even if his decisions weren't perfect. And I adore Noah's unashamed femininity, and no-nonsense attitude in the moments that matter. It was the book where I got to start hinting at the stories and personalities of the rest of the Riley brothers, friends, and some of their love interests. I was also able to set Buzz, and thus the whole series, in a small Canadian town for the first time.

And finally, it was fantastic to get to write a slice of life story where every new character is welcomed with open, loving arms, no matter who they are or where they came from. That's perhaps the best way to summarize my wishes for my books and the kind of world in which I'd like to live!

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Title: Flaunt
Author: E.Davies
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

33844763

BLURB

“He's waiting for me to ask, and I'm afraid.”

“I'm just one more gay guy here.”

Moving to the suburbs of L.A. was supposed to give Nic Montero a fresh start. After escaping his family, coming out as a gay trans man, and excelling in computer programming out of desperation to get financially stable or die, everything should be easy. But joining gay culture now, post-transition, feels impossible... until he runs into the force of nature that is Kyle. Everything Nic isn't, Kyle embodies. Green hair, garters and cut-off shorts, sports jerseys, and all, brash Kyle is the most gorgeous man he's ever laid eyes on, and he pulls Nic headlong into the center of his world. If only Nic felt like enough for a man like Kyle.

“One-night stands are my only option.”

Loud, loving, and too much for most men to handle, Kyle Everett catches eyes and occasionally scorn... even at his job at the local HIV charity, Plus. His days and nights are spent at work, his precious spare moments spent with his son, Kevin, when it's his turn to co-parent, or his best friend, drag queen River. He only has money or time for cheap flings, but the lanky otter who walks into his life makes Kyle want to hold him for longer than a night. He knows what it's like for Nic to be without a family, but he isn't brave enough to let this man into his life... until his charity is targeted by bigots, and Nic's there for him.

“I'll stay with you if you're brave enough to be you.”

Nic spent his twenties avoiding family and even his own femininity, but his yearning is impossible to ignore. Kyle's used to flying solo, but Nic offers him safety and fills gaps in his life he never realized existed and now can't stand. Living in close proximity, they can't run from their attraction, but they're each used to being rejected, with the emotional scars to prove it. Can two men who feel like they're not enough and too much find something just right?

Flaunt is a steamy, stand-alone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Goodreads

EXCERPT

“Welcome to our headquarters! Er, not that we have other locations. Not full-time, anyway. Don’t worry about being late. I’m not even ready. I’m so sorry.” This had to be Kyle— the voice on the intercom matched this peppy yet sibilant, rapid-fire speech.

“I— that’s fine,” Nic assured Kyle with a quiet laugh. He was relieved not to be in trouble for showing up late, nor for showing up in formalwear when everyone else was probably going casual. “GPS pointed me the wrong way.”

“Oh, they do that! Right this way, please.” Kyle scanned his card against a reader near the staircase door. When he twirled to hold the staircase door open, his skirt flared out a little.

Kyle was wearing a skirt, over men’s skinny jeans and boots, and a blouse, and chest hair peeked out from the top of the blouse, his biceps unmistakeable. And his suspenders reached under the skirt, presumably to his jeans waistband. It made Nic wonder if he was wearing garters, which was a wholly inappropriate thought for their first meeting.

He awkwardly stepped through the doorway and Kyle brushed past him to trot upstairs at top speed, already talking again.

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About the Author

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E. Davies was proficient in real estate ad shorthand (the old-fashioned newspaper kind) by the age of nine. Growing up moving constantly taught him what people have in common, the ways relationships are formed, and the dangers of “miscellaneous” boxes.

As a teen, he tore through a stack of found romance novels, wishing someone had written similar for M/M, though he could never find anything at Chapters or the library. Just after graduating university in 2013, semi-out and clutching his English B.A. for dear life, he stumbled on an Amazon M/M short story. It was a whole new... phrase he dares not repeat for fear of lawyers. It shone and shimmered splendidly, though.

After failing forty times to avoid crafting happily-ever-after endings for steamy short stories, he plunged into romance novels and hasn't looked back. As a young gay author whose formative gay fictional role models were characters punished for their sexuality, Ed prefers his stories lightly dramatic, full of optimism and hope.

Now out and proud, he writes full-time, goes on long nature walks, tries to fill his passport, drinks piña coladas on the beach, flees from cute guys, coos over fuzzy animals (especially bees), and is liable to tilt his head and click his tongue if you don't use your turn signal.

To find out when E. Davies has a new release, you can subscribe to his newsletter.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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