Monday, November 30, 2015

Virtual Book Tour: M/M ~ Clean by Mia Kerick ~ (5 Star Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Virtual Book Tour: M/M ~ Clean by Mia Kerick ~ (5 Star Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Author Name: Mia Kerick
Book Name: Clean
Release Date: December 1, 2015

Buy the book: 


High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.
Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school bad-boy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.
Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.
When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.
Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability?
Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.

Pages or Words: 289 pages

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance



Trevor wouldn’t even look at me when I walked over to the gas station this morning to say hi. And Jimmy’s Fuel Stop is like three miles from my house so it took a major effort to walk there, especially since I’ve been feeling like total crap lately. Another one of my shaky human bonds bites the dust. I need to go out and get myself a cat.
“Can’t you see I’m working, Keating?” That was all he said. But I’ve always been good at reading between the lines. I could tell what he was thinking as he stood beside the gas pumps, totally caught up in not looking at me. “Take a hike before you get me fired, loser. Some of us got goals in life....” So I took off before he had a chance to make me feel like I shouldn’t have ever made an appearance on the planet earth. But I still know it would have been better had I never been born...maybe Joelle would still be okay.
It’s Saturday afternoon and nobody’s home. Mom and Dad are probably off at the park with Joelle, sloshing through the wet snow together so she gets her daily exercise. Or maybe they took her to the make- your-own-sundae-place to improve her fine motor skills by sprinkling sweet toppings on big scoops of ice cream. I’m in Mom and Dad’s bathroom, bent in half with my head stuck in the closet, searching the cluttered shelves for anything that will get me high enough to escape. And I mean anything.
That’s when I see the cough syrup. The bottle in front is almost new, and there’s an older bottle of a different brand right behind it, little more than halfway full. Seeing these medicine bottles reminds me of something Chad suggested about a week or two ago— that we should try robo-tripping. He told me that if we drink enough cough syrup, the DXM in it would get us high in a “super blissful, tingling-body-parts way,” which sounded pretty decent to me then and still does now. Not completely surprised I remembered Chad’s exact description of a DXM high, I thank God for this dextromethorphan stuff that suppresses nasty coughs, because it looks like I’m going to find my much-needed buzz after all.
Pleased that I don’t have to resort to sniffing glue from the tube on my father’s basement workbench or huffing my mother’s hairspray—and believe me I came close—I snatch the bottles with a shaky hand. They’re both sticky with the syrup that dripped down the side last time one of the Keating’s had a major head cold accompanied by a hacking cough. Licking my fingers provides me with a hint of the cherry flavor I’m probably going to be barfing up later tonight. But I don’t care. I can’t get through a single day without some help, and by that I don’t mean help from my human friends, seeing as I have none left.
The walk to the shed seems longer than ever. It’s an effort to so much as put one foot in front of the other. I haven’t eaten anything for a full day; I’m sure that’s why I feel like such crap. And it’s not like I want to think about this stuff, but I can’t stop myself. The “stuff” I don’t want to think about is really people. The people I have hurt so much lately because of my bad habits.
This list starts with my little sister Joelle, who I told to “stuff a sock in it” when she asked me to read that goddamned book about a kid going to school—for the zillionth time! “School’s not all it’s cracked up to be, Jo. Stop being so damned excited about it! Those kids are gonna tear you to pieces and won’t even wait until you turn your back to do it!” It hurts too much to remember the expression on her face right after I told her that, so instead I stare beyond the leafless trees into the gray sky and think about my parents.
I’ve hurt Mom and Dad a lot too, because they know I’m sick, they just don’t know exactly what’s wrong with me. And I’m not sure how much they care. Their plates are too full already with Joelle’s problems, I guess.
I glance down at the two bottles of cough medicine dangling from between my fingers and remember Chrissy and Robyn, who I use like toilet paper. They can do way better than me in the study-buddy department.
I trip over a root that crosses my path and fall to my knees, but just as quickly drag myself back to my feet. A stray root isn’t enough to stop me from getting to where I’m going.
I’m almost at the shed now, and I can’t avoid thinking about him any longer. Trevor hates me. He never calls anymore, never asks me to go to the shed to drink some beer and fool around. He just looks at me in the hallway at school with angry disgusted eyes, and tells me every chance he gets “you’re fucking up your life and I’m not gonna let you fuck up mine.”
Trevor Ladd...the ultimate untouchable. If I could’ve made somebody like him want to be with me, I would’ve surely been able to win my parents back. Well, no such luck. I’m more of a zero to Trevor than I ever was...and Mom and Dad still don’t care.
Blew my entire life sky high. Which is where I’ll be soon, if all goes according to plan. I lift each bottle of sticky sweet cough medicine to my lips and kiss them, one by one.
Just the sight of the tiny, beat-up brown shed fills me with an indescribable sense of relief, probably like the feeling of coming home after years at sea. As soon as I push open the door, I see that Trevor isn’t here and I’m illogically disappointed. But Trevor can’t save me from myself. He did his duty; he tried to get me clean, and he got clean in the process.
Way to go, Trevor.
Alone in a frigid shed in the middle of the woods, I’m more than eager to suck down a couple bottles of cough medicine so I can be somewhere else...someone else. A vision of Landon Keating forms in my mind—not Lanny, the student, or Lanny, the athlete, or Lanny, the son and brother—but the near-future version of me when I’m “simultaneously mellow and stimulated,” if the online experiences I’ve read about taking DXM are accurate. Sad truth is, I’ll take just plain disoriented. Any effect will be fine if it whisks me away.
I drop down to the cold floor and without ceremony open one of the small bottles. The cough medicine goes down more easily than I thought.
Cherry-berry-sweet-thick-burning-soothing- pleasure-pain. It doesn’t take too long.
Itchy as hell...belly’s on fire....
“Read to me, it again!
”Can’t feel my legs at all....
“Wishes don’t wash dishes, son.”
Can’t stop barfing.... So sick....
“Take a hike, Keating—you filthy, no-good, loser boozer-druggie!”
Blew it with Trevor...blew it with everybody.
Can’t breathe...need a breath....
Gonna die here alone.
Tracy's Review:

5 Stars

*copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by author/publisher via Pride Promotions/Divine Magazine in exchange for an honest review*

**This review was previously posted at Divine Magazine**
This is Lanny and Trevor's story. Two high school seniors who we watch spiral
into the depths of alcohol and drug use.

Lanny and Trevor tell a powerful story. I say this because, I definitely saw this story through their eyes. I never once felt like I was being told this story. I felt I lived this story with Lanny and Trevor. I told my co-blogger at about 10%, I may have to break this up and read something else in between bouts of this story. It wasn't that the writing was bad, the writing was excellent, but that the story is so raw, gritty, sad and emotional I wasn't sure I could make it through the entire book and not end up in a really dark place. But I didn't read anything else, because Lanny and Trev pulled me in and wouldn't let me step away from their story. They held on tight until I got to the last page. This was an amazing story, but it gutted me to read it at times.

Mia tackles some very tough subject matters in this story. Drug use, alcoholism, sexual, mental and physical abuse. This wasn't an easy story to read at times, but it gets easier as the story progresses. Although this wasn't an easy read, I'm really glad Mia didn't take the easy route and skip over Trevor and Lanny's spiral into addiction. I thought the subject was handled very realistically.

Told from alternating POV's we get inside both Trevor and Lanny's head as they spiral deeper into addiction and depression. We are privy to their most inner thoughts, and these thoughts were so heartbreaking at times. This book isn't all dark though. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Mia left me hopeful and feeling the warm and fuzzies when the story was over. I loved these boys. I wanted to protect them and take them away from all the hurt.

This story was well written. It flowed well and kept me turning the pages. Highly recommended!

Author Interview:

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Mia Kerick, author of Clean. 

Hi Mia, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi Bayou Book Junkie! Thank you for again welcoming me to your blog!! You asked some great questions—I hope my answers enlighten your readers.

  1. What inspired this story?

I wanted to write a book in which two teenage boys hit their own versions of rock-bottom and have no choice but to turn to each other in order to rise from the depths. I enjoy creating characters who can fully experience pain, whether it be with angry isolation and defensiveness, or with pitiful self-destructiveness, and I relish placing them in the way of a love that can help to redeem them.

The physical appearance of the characters was inspired by two of the One Direction members, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. Something as simple as their youthful beauty, as well as the way they look at each other in photographs and in interviews, can inspire characters. But they did not inspire the story.

  1. Is there a message in this book you would like readers to grasp?

My biggest fear is to sound preachy, but, yes, there is a message in almost every book, don’t you think? Sometimes messages in books are not delivered by the author, though. Sometimes an author just sets up the situation and lets chips fall as they may. The message comes from the readers’ interpretation of the characters actions and reactions to the situation.

With Clean, I intend to show how several teenagers react to what they perceive as their lives falling apart. I show the truth of what happens to them as a result of their choices to use alcohol and drugs to “fix” their problems. The reader can create his/her own message as to whether the boys could have made different and better choices.

  1. What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

Using the computer. I am technically challenged and EVERY DAY something comes up that causes me to gasp- “Oh no! What have I done now?”

  1. Can you share the project(s) you are currently working on?

Of course, and I’m going to let you in on a little secret: My next two books will be published under my new adult pen name, Remy Kendrick, which is a true combination of my real name and Mia Kerick. I want the freedom to separate temporarily from the “teen” feeling I have built in many of my recent books, and to go wherever I want in terms of content, as an adult author.

I have two books in progress; one that will release on Valentine’s Day from CoolDudes Publishing under the Remy Kendrick name with a topic regarding random violence that has been of great concern in the past years, and another, one that I’m in the process of writing, will deal with a transgender character finding his life partner.

  1. Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else? 

I am very visual, so I will admit to being very susceptible to awesome cover images, however, I buy many books based on the buzz I hear on Facebook. I also do a lot of research, so very often what I am reading is non-fiction.

Meet the author:
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to CoolDudes Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Where to find the author:

Website (& Blog):
Clean Facebook Page:
Mia Kerick Author Facebook Page:
Newsletter Sign Up:
Publisher: Cool Dudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Louis C. Harris

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  1. I haven't read any of her stories, yet, can't wait!

    1. Hi Jennifer!! Thanks for giving Mia Kerick books a try!!

  2. Hello Bayou Book Junkie!! Thank you for welcoming me to your blog, the awesome interview, and the AMAZING 5 STAR review!!