The “Wade Kelly Special”
For many of you readers it is not a surprise that I tend to make readers cry. In fact, my first novel When Love Is Not Enough pulls all kinds of emotions from people including anger, rage, laughter, joy, and plummeting sadness. It has been described as an “emotional roller coaster” to read. But not all of my books evoke the same response.
My Roommate’s A Jock? Well, Crap! was a funny book. Lighthearted and playful in many ways, my story about the cynical Cole Reid represented the more jovial side of my personality. I have stated many times in several places that I basically write about myself. Well, I have a wide range of emotions and therefore I write a range of emotions into my characters. Nick Jones from Names Can Never Hurt Me is more in the middle of my two extremes. Nick is vain where I am not, but he is naïve and simpleminded as I an easily be! NAMES does have some potentially tearful moments for readers, as well as some whimsical ones, but the feel of the book overall is in the middle of what I like to call “The Wade Kelly Scale.”
Because my books cover different subject matter, the amount of pain and angst differs. I created my scale so that readers can refer to this to get an idea of the kind of read they are in for. Funny & lighthearted on the one end or the spectrum, and angst & pain on the other. I try to update this scale as often as I can and list the titles I am working on as well as ones that are published. As you can see, Names Can Never Hurt Me is in the middle and can be seen as the most mainstream book I offer.
WHY do I feel the need to do this? Because sometimes the subject matter dictates it. Suicide is not an easy topic to tackle. If I made a funny book about it, that would be disrespectful to the people who have endured it. (whether by the death of someone close, or personal attempts.) I go with how the characters play out and where the angst level needs to be. This chart is my way to prepare you. Please, visit my website or blog for updates and current news as to what kind of read is coming out next.
But be assured, I DO write romance. The romance genre pretty much dictates a HAPPY ENDING (HEA), or a Happy For Now (HFN). I will try to give that as best I can.
NAMES was put in the middle because my writing is character driven and the POV is from Nick Jones’ point of view. He leads a simple and cushy life at home with his parents. That is not angsty. Nick is spoiled. He also lives in this little bubble where everything works out for him. “Planet Nick” he calls it. That I get from ME. My family tells me I live on my own planet where everything works out. And much of the time that is true. Come over to planet Wade, we have cookies. (Or cake.) LOL. The book is intended to a have a feel of comfort in Nick’s vanity and arrogance. (If possible.) Yes, he is irritating at first, but I hope that you can feel his confusion and work through his progress to become a better person. Not in an angstful, I-just-got-F**ked sort of way, but from an outsider POV. The angst and pain happen to RC, and they happen in his past. Nick lives and experiences the pain second handedly. He is effected by it, but directly. I did it this way because it was easier, but also because sometimes the pain we feel is through empathizing with our friends and not because bad things happened TO us. Hopefully that comes across in this story.
Anyway…. Thank you for stopping by Rainbow Gold Reviews. I hope you like my newest book. I look forward to bringing my readers a variety of experiences.
What if sexuality wasn’t a definable thing and labels merely got in the way?
Nick Jones can’t remember a time when he wasn’t part of the in crowd. Everywhere he goes, he stands out as the best looking guy in the room, and women practically fall into bed with him. Then, after kissing Corey on a dare led to much more and on many occasions, Nick’s “screw anything” reputation escalated, but he didn’t care.
When Nick meets RC at the restaurant where he works, it throws his whole life out of whack. Overweight, always sweaty, gay, and hairy like a bear, RC lives up to his dubbed nickname “Scruffy Dude.” He seems Nick’s complete opposite, but Nick can’t get him out of his head.
Because of peer-pressure and his fears about defining his sexuality, Nick struggles with stepping out of his comfort zone and caring about someone different than himself. If he’s lucky, somewhere between arrogance and ignorance, Nick might find out what it means to be an adult, but if he’s wrong, he could lose everything.
Here is an excerpt from NAMES:
“Nick! Fuck! Why do you have to make this so difficult?” He grabbed the shirt when I wasn’t paying attention and slipped it on.
“I’m sorry. I guess I don’t know how to restrain myself. I look at you and feel really—”
“Shit!” RC exclaimed, his hand going to his eyes. I don’t think he was listening to me as he stumbled to the bathroom and fumbled for his contact solution.
“What’s wrong?” I asked from the doorway.
“I think I got a hair in my eye. It’s sticking to my lenses. I knew I should’ve taken them out last night.”
“Why didn’t you?”
RC dripped some solution in his eye as I watched. He wasn’t looking in my direction when he said, “You know how I said I don’t like people staring at me?”
“Well, I don’t.” His eyes were closed, and he was leaning on the sink with both hands.
“Okay. But I have a hard time not staring when I think you’re sexy.”
RC snorted. “Yeah right.”
I pressed the issue. “No, it’s true. For months now, I haven’t been able to get you out of my head. I’m really attracted to you. I like your smile and your thin beard. I like your strong shoulders and your hairy chest. And I seriously have a thing for your hair. You’re the perfect combination of everything that makes me horny.” I know it wasn’t an elegant speech, but it was what I felt.
RC sighed. He leaned on the sink, still blinking the excess solution from his eyes, because I could see it dripping onto the back of his hand. “I wish I could believe you, Nick. I feel as though I’ve been walking around in a dream ever since we met. I often think nobody could be as straightforward as you. But I’ve also spent way too many years pushing everyone away. It’s been so draining.”
“Well, I hope you believe me,” I told him. “My mom hates lying, so I’ve tried to always tell the truth. Corey was the one who made me see I’ve been in denial. But you’re the one I want. Really want. I even told my mom about my crush on you.”
“You did?” He turned, but winced and went back to messing with his eyes. Looking at me was not working out.
“Yeah,” I said. “I told her I’m gay, and she told me she knew right away I liked you.”
“I wish you had said something.”
“I know. I’m sorry. Ever since I can remember, I’ve felt this disconnect. I didn’t know why boys fascinated me, but then Dawn came along, and I got swept up in a constant wave of sexual gratification and before I knew it years went by. I can’t tell you how many girls I’ve slept with. But I also can’t tell you which ones I actually enjoyed being with. Maybe Dawn. I don’t know. I often wonder if I really did like her, or if I’m attached to her memory for sentimental reasons because it was my first time. She is pretty, but she’s also the most manipulative person I’ve ever met.” I heaved a sigh. “So, there you have it. I’ve been confused a long time and you walked right into the middle of my personal struggle. When I learned you were gay, it only added more chaos to my confusion.”
“You’re gay, I’m gay—we can be gay together.”
RC chuckled. “Weirdo.”
I joined in and laughed a little at myself. My comments were pretty stupid sometimes. “So, back to the subject at hand, what does any of this have to do with your contact lenses? I thought people were supposed to take those things out at night.”
RC’s laughter died, and he hung his head. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me, Nick.”
I shifted my stance. I hated standing still in one spot for so long. I would have rather had this conversation on the bed. Or while playing Xbox. “Yeah, so?” I asked when he sounded agitated. “I know that. But I don’t get why—”
“My eyes aren’t brown, Nick,” RC blurted. “Oh, I feel sick.” RC rubbed his stomach and paused again. This was taking way too long in my opinion. “Nick, I haven’t shown anyone my eyes since Bobby Carter in the tenth grade.”
“What?” I questioned. “What are you talking about?”
“You don’t know what I’ve been though.”
“No, but I’ll listen if you tell me.” I tried to sound compassionate. He didn’t get to see this side of me much.
“Can you go back in the other room? Please?”
“But I want—”
“I’ll tell you, only give me a minute.”
I closed the bathroom door and glanced at my watch. We had five minutes until checkout. I grabbed the key card off the dresser and bolted out the door, making sure to flip the security latch around to keep the door ajar. In the elevator, I texted RC: I’m in the lobby returning the key card. I noticed it was almost 11 and I didn’t want to get in trouble for checking out late. I’ll be right back.
He didn’t need to panic and think I’d left. It was bad enough I’d joked about the hickey.
It didn’t take me long, so I was back in a few minutes to find RC packed and ready to go. “Cool. Are you ready?” I asked in the cheeriest voice I could muster.
“Are you going to look at me?” I asked. RC was looking at the floor, and I purposely stepped into his field of vision. All RC had to do was look up and tell me what was going on. I hoped he would.
“I wear colored contacts, Nick. My eyes aren’t brown.”
“You said that before. Why?”
“Because I don’t like people staring at me.”
“Well, what color are they? Are they red or orange or something bizarre like that? Because that would be cool, like something out of Dr Who. I’ve heard albinos have red eyes. Are you an albino?”
RC snickered and shook his head. “No, Nick. I’d have white hair and very light skin.”
“You could dye your hair.”
“I’m not albino.”
“Then why change your eye color? How bad could they be? Violet? That would be awesome!” I reached out and touched his head. If he wouldn’t look at me, maybe I could take advantage and stroke his hair. It was like chinchilla fur between my fingers, his hair was that soft.
“No, not violet. They’re green.”
“Green?” I asked, feeling my heart jump inside my chest. “Green’s my favorite color.”
“They aren’t a normal green, Nick.”
I could not believe my ears. Green? “So? Whatever shade they are, I’m sure they’re beautiful. As I said, green’s my favorite color. I mean seriously my favorite eye color. Back when I met Marcy, I was attracted to her dark brown hair and her lovely green eyes, and I thought she was my vision of perfection, except I work with her and I don’t date coworkers. And then there’s the fact she’s a girl, and I finally realized I didn’t want to be with girls, so that made all her great features a little less wonderful.”
My rambling did it. RC looked up. I gasped as our eyes met. We remained motionless for a few moments. His eyes were stunning, and I felt drunk on his beauty. I stepped forward into the space between RC’s parted knees, into his personal space, and caressed the side of his face. I removed his glasses and smoothed the wisps of hair away from his forehead as I continued to study the depths of his eyes.
RC was silent as I touched him, but the emotion swirling in his eyes was like the eye of a hurricane. I bent forward and kissed each of RC’s eyes, one after the other, and then straightened again so I could memorize their loveliness.
RC hesitated, his expression faltered, and then he busted out laughing. I stepped back, chuckling as well, although I wasn’t sure why. “Nick,” RC said between loud guffaws. “That had to be the cheesiest move you’ve ever made.”
I smiled. “Yeah, probably.”
RC continued snickering for a few minutes, but eventually the laughter we shared died down.
I inched closer and caressed the side of his face and said, “I wanted to kiss you, but you said you weren’t ready. You have good reasons. I know I’m not virtuous or monogamous and all those other words that M-L uses, which I have to look up in the dictionary when I get home. But I also know I can change—for you. So if I have to keep at a distance until you trust me, I can do that. I won’t push. And whatever made you hide these amazingly beautiful eyes behind fake contacts—the explanation can wait. It had to have been bad for you to hide like that.”
RC took a deep breath. His hands gripped my thighs. Not in a sexy way, but as if he was holding on for dear life. Then he explained, “They used to make fun of me, the kids in school. You know, for being fat. And then some girl was listening to the sound track from Wicked and “One Short Day” came on at lunch. All it took was for one girl to say my eyes looked like the Emerald City, and then another to say it was a waste on a guy as disgusting as me. They laughed. Then more girls laughed. All I remember was everyone laughing and pointing at my expense, and those girls took away the last ounce of dignity I had left. I was a fat, green-eyed waste of breath. And I was gay. No one wanted me. I figured no one would ever want me.”
RC leaned his face against my abdomen, but I lifted his chin and forced him to look up. “I wasn’t lying when I said I thought you’re sexy. But now…. Raffy…,” I whispered his real name, “you’re truly beautiful to me. I can’t change what they did, but knowing what you went through makes me so proud of you for surviving. And if it takes me years to convince you of that….” My voice hitched, and I had tears in my eyes. I collapsed into RC’s arms, sitting in his lap and hugging him tight. “I’m sorry,” I sobbed. My emotions were too great to contain.
“You didn’t do it.”
“No. But back in high school, I was the guy who laughed as someone else did. I’m sorry. Not only for you, but also for all those I didn’t step in to defend. I’m just as guilty for letting it happen.”
RC hugged me back. He had tears in his own eyes. I was in his arms. RC. I couldn’t believe it. He held me tight for a few minutes and then moved us both farther back on the bed. He rolled to the side and I slipped off his lap and onto my back. RC looked down into my eyes, positioned very close, and laid a hand on my chest. Oh God. And I’m supposed to exercise self-control now?
“I feel like I’m dreaming,” RC whispered. I pinched his back, and he yelped. “Ouch.”
I grinned. “See, not dreaming.”
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Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it is not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. She writes passionately about the controversial issues witnessed in real life and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing “taxi driver” for her three children. She likes snakes, and has a tegu (lizard) living in her bathroom.
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One thought on “‘Names Can Never Hurt Me’ by @WriterWadeKelly #LGBT #GuestPost”
Fabulous book. Thought provoking but also sweet. I loved it.