Keep Me In Mind Tour ~ There You Are (Wild and Precious Book: Two) by CJane Elliott ~ (Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author Name: CJane Elliott
Book Name: There You Are
Series: Wild and Precious
Series should be read in order to best appreciate this book
Release Date: December 23, 2015
Bisexual musician Cody Bellstrom is a free spirit, easygoing and unattached. On a cross-country trip, Cody befriends young Sandy Nixon and gets him safely to Portland and his uncle, Phineas MacDonald. Beautiful Phineas turns Cody’s life upside down, and Cody learns he's not as unattached as he aspires to be. With the hard-won knowledge of what lies underneath his need to be free, Cody wins a chance at real freedom and true love.
Ever since his longtime lover Allen died, Phineas MacDonald has lived a circumscribed life. He stopped performing as fierce drag queen Phanny Hill and works part-time in a bookstore. Phineas never expected to find love again. But when sexy and caring Cody Bellstrom turns up, Phineas feels his orderly life slipping out of his control. Cody brings him alive again, but now Phineas must find the courage to let go of his grief over Allen and give love a second chance.
Pages or Words: 33,000 words
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
“YOU SURE about this?” Bette’s pointed glance packed a world of meaning as she maneuvered the car through the DC traffic and Union Station came into view.
Cody shifted, touching the door handle to ready his escape. “Yes, I’m sure. Didn’t we go over this?” In excruciating detail, he added silently but didn’t dare say aloud. Not with the mood Bette was in.
“I’m giving you one more chance to come to your senses.” Bette pulled up outside the train station, frowning, and turned off the engine.
She looked so unhappy, Cody wanted to change his mind. I can’t, he thought.
Won’t, you mean, said the Bette in his head. He reached over and laid his hand on top of hers. “You’ll get along fine without me.”
“That’s not the point.” She nailed him with a baleful scowl. “We don’t want to get along without you. Dang you, Cody Bellstrom, you have no idea who you are to us.” At his puzzled expression, she turned away and stared stonily through the windshield.
“Well… I guess this is it.” Cody waited, but she didn’t respond. “I love you, girl, you know that, right? You and Aurora.” He meant it. He, Bette, and Aurora had been friends since they were college freshmen ten and a half years ago. Cody sometimes found it hard to believe that he’d known them since before Bette and Aurora had become a couple. It seemed like they’d been together forever.
A barely perceptible nod.
“Come on, Bette, don’t be mad. I’ll be back. I swear.”
“Sure you will.” She sighed and turned a softer face toward him. “Goddammit, you better. We love you. If you gotta do this, of course we can’t stop you. All we want is for you to be happy.”
A car honked behind them, and a uniformed officer motioned them to get moving.
“Shoot,” Bette muttered. “All right, babe. Get outta here.”
Cody leaned over and planted a kiss on her cheek. “I’ll text. And call. And Skype.”
“Okay. Send us a postcard from every stop, and take a picture of yourself in Powell’s Books when you get to Portland.”
Cody opened the door and unfurled himself from the passenger seat, then hauled out his luggage, such as it was. He traveled light; always had. A knapsack, one rolling suitcase, and his guitar, and he was good to go.
He stood on the curb and waved as Bette pulled away, then strode into the station, his spirits lifting, while Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again” played on a loop in his mind
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Hi CJane, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hi there! Thank you for having me on the blog today to share about my new novella, There You Are, which is the second book in the Wild and Precious series. There You Are picks up the story of Cody Bellstrom where we left him in Wild and Precious. He moves to Portland, Oregon to join a funk band and meets the man who is to become the love of his life, Phineas MacDonald. But they both have issues to work through before they can get to their happy ending.
By the way, a third story in the series, Sand-Man’s Family, will be released by Dreamspinner in the spring. It’s the story of Phineas’s nephew, Sandy Nixon—his coming out and running away from home, and what happens to him after the events of There You Are.
- Was there a basis for your story? A previous experience or something else?
I put my stories in settings I’m familiar with, although I’ve never taken a cross-country train trip. I’ve been living in the Pacific Northwest for ten years now and have been to Portland a lot. I thought it would be fun to set There You Are in Portland and include some of the things that make Portland unique (or as Portlandians say proudly: weird). My experience as a hospice social worker certainly informed my characterization of Phineas MacDonald and his grief over the death of his partner. And I’ve always loved the movie quotation: no matter where you go, there you are. It was fun to base a story on that wise saying!
- What skills do you think a writer needs?
Probably the biggest skill, which is more like a quality, is persistence. To be a writer means working alone much of the time and keeping going until you finish your manuscript. Most would-be novelists never get to that finish line. Then in the editing process you have to get rid of much of what you’ve just tortuously wrung out of your brain! Writing a book takes way more time than most people imagine. You have to be single-minded and not give up. You have to persist.
- What for you is the perfect book hero?
Someone who isn’t perfect, who has to grow and evolve to meet the challenges before him, whether that’s some mighty adventure or simply allowing himself to fall in love. To me, a hero is someone who is scared but who doesn’t quit, and finds the strength inside and outside himself (through allowing others to help) to vanquish the dragons and complete the mission.
- Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sex scenes! You have to account for all the body parts—the mechanics—as well as the physical sensations and the emotions that are occurring. And find a way to write it without falling back on the same old phrases (‘tongues battling for dominance’ after they ‘deepened the kiss’).
- Tell us about your favorite childhood book.
I loved Little Women by Louis May Alcott. Four sisters made up the central characters, and there are four girls in my family. She takes them through all the coming of age rites peculiar to that time and setting, and the characters were so vivid. I read it countless times as a child, but I haven’t read it in years. I wonder what I’d think of it now.
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
Cody is a free spirit, a musician who doesn't particularly care about setting roots in one place. When he moves across the country to Portland for a job, he meets Sandy on the train ride and they become fast friends. What he never imagined was the impact Sandy's uncle would make on him.
Phinney has been grieving for his late husband for a long time, and it isn't until he meets Cody when he finally decides to give love a chance again. Cody's insecurities and his inability to remain in one place for too long might make their relationship harder than it has to be, though.
I really enjoyed this story. It was well-written and flows at a nice pace. I really liked Phinney and Sandy and Phinneas friends, Gemma and Blaine were great, too. I wanted to strangle Cody several times, but I could see where he was coming from and I was very happy to see the growth he had during the course of the book. Phinney and Cody were as different as they could be, and just what the other needed in that particular time of their lives, a second chance at love for sure. Their chemistry was great, and I particularly enjoyed the scenes where Phinney let Miss Phanny Hill out! She was a hoot!
Rating: 4.5 Stars!!!
Meet the author:
After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27919852-there-you-are
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Angsty
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Wild And Precious
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Aspiring writer Brent Granger has good friends and a great job at an arts magazine in DC, but he’s batting zero in the arena of love. Brent begins to get a clue why things aren’t working with women from his strong attraction to his gorgeous, gay, and already attached boss, Graham Stoneford. When he sees a personal ad from a man that quotes his favorite poet, Brent decides to do something wild and answer.
Enter Cody Bellstrom, easygoing bisexual musician, who is happy to initiate Brent in the ways of gay sex. Brent now has a new problem: he realizes he’s gay and no one in his life knows it. Cody tires of hiding their relationship, but Brent finds it challenging to come out to family, friends, and especially to Graham. In the end, Brent must confront the truth of where – and with whom – his heart lies.