Today, The Novel Approach welcomes author J.A. Rock as we continue the countdown to GRL 2015. Enjoy J.A.’s guest post, then be sure to check out the instructions on how you can enter to win one of J.A.’s backlist titles.
Celebrating Diversity at GRL
Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and I’m so happy to be back at The Novel Approach! I’m also super excited to be attending my second GRL in October. One of the things I’d heard about GRL before I ever went was that it was a safe place for people to be themselves. And I was like, “Take me to this utopia of costumes, dancing, books, and widespread acceptance!” I wasn’t disappointed. The diversity and openness I witnessed at GRL 2014 extended not just to people, but also to books. It’s called Gay Rom Lit, and m/m romance is certainly the focus, but the conference celebrates books featuring characters who are all over the LGBTQIA spectrum, and stories spanning a wide array of genres.
As a queer author of stories that are sometimes hard to classify, I really appreciated my experience in 2014. I met so many amazing people and was introduced to so many awesome books. And I danced. A lot.
Since I’m on tour this week for my new release, THE GRAND BALLAST, which may or may not kind of I guess possibly be a romance, I’m using my GRL slot at TNA to talk a little about what I write, and about some of the experiments I’m doing in 2015, and how those have been going so far.
I don’t come from a romance writing background—I’m more horror/spec fic/general creepery. But I absolutely fell in love with queer romance in 2012, and over the past few years I’ve had a blast writing lighthearted books with low body counts like the WACKY WEDNESDAY series and—with my lovely cowriter, Lisa Henry—THE PRESCOTT COLLEGE series and the PLAYING THE FOOL trilogy. I’ve had an equal amount of fun writing darker novels with Lisa, from WHEN ALL THE WORLD SLEEPS to ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE.
I’m spending 2015 getting back to my roots a bit. So far I’ve had TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, a coming of age dark comedy about a volatile young man dealing with family issues and first love. The aforementioned THE GRAND BALLAST, a gay spec novel about a world where people value little beyond sex and violence. And in October, I’ll have MINOTAUR, a horror/urban fantasy novel about a young criminal who takes on a mythological beast in a quest for redemption.
I’ve loved playing around with genre this year, but I’m looking forward to rounding out 2015 with a return to kinky romantic comedy when THE SUBS CLUB books start releasing in December. The series focuses on a group of submissive friends who go vigilante when a member of their circle is killed in a BDSM scene gone wrong. They form a club to try to ferret out dangerous doms in their community, and antics ensue.
So that’s a little about me, what I write, and why I heart GRL. I’m looking forward to celebrating diversity in literature and in humanity once more in 2015, and I hope to see many of you there!
Blurb – The Grand Ballast: In a future where live sex shows abound to keep a jaded population entertained, dancer Bode Martin falls for the brilliant and unstable Kilroy Ballast, who molds Bode into the star attraction of his erotic circus, the Grand Ballast. Drugged beyond any real feeling, Bode trades freedom and his once considerable pride for an illusion of tenderness—until he inadvertently rescues a young man from a rival show, and together they flee to an eccentric town in the west where love still means something.
Valen’s not an easy man to know, and Bode shed his romantic notions under Kilroy’s brutal employ. Yet their growing bond becomes a strange and dangerous salvation as they attempt to overthrow the shadows of their pasts and wade together through a world of regret, uncertainty, beauty, and terror.
But Kilroy won’t let Bode go so easily. Long ago, Bode was responsible for the loss of something Kilroy held dear, and he still owes Kilroy a debt. As the three men battle toward a tangled destiny, Bode must decide if his love for Valen is worth fighting for—or if he was and always will be a pawn in the story Kilroy Ballast will never stop telling.
About the Author: J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including BY HIS RULES, TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, and, with Lisa Henry, THE GOOD BOY and WHEN ALL THE WORLD SLEEPS. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.
THE GRAND BALLAST is out this week, and in the spirit of its nontraditional romancey-ness, I’m giving away an e-copy of any of my backlist titles that exist in that sort of Is-this-a-romance-novel? gray area. Choose from TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, THE SILVERS, and ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE (co-written with Lisa Henry). More information about each title is available HERE.
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED