Welcome back everyone. Today we have something special for you. L.A. Witt aka Ann Gallagher aka Lori A Witt has three books that go along with RGR’s Trans Aware Event, ‘Having Her Back’, ‘Static’. & ‘The Left Hand of Clavus’. Check out the blurbs for each of them and enjoy Dana’s review of ‘Having Her Back’.
TITLE: Having Her Back
COVER ARTIST: Lori Witt
LENGTH: 64,000 words
PAIRING: Heterosexual, Transgender
GENRE(S): Young Adult, Sweet Romance
Trevor Larson is a Navy brat. He’s used to moving every few years, and thanks to social media, he can stay in touch with the friends he leaves behind. But shortly after he leaves Okinawa, his best friend, Brad Gray, cuts off contact and disappears.
Four years and two bases later, Brad resurfaces—and announces his family is coming to Trevor’s base in Spain. But a lot’s changed in four years, and Trevor is stunned to find out Brad is now Shannon. Their reunion isn’t quite what either of them had hoped for, but they quickly find their footing, both relieved to have each other back.
Except nothing is ever all sunshine and roses. The military is a small world, and there’s no keeping Shannon’s transition a secret. Parents warn their kids away from her. She can’t attend school on-base for fear of harassment or worse. And although her parents try to hide it, being ostracized by their only social circle while they’re thousands of miles from home is taking a toll on them too.
More and more, Shannon leans on Trevor. But she’s also drawn to him, and he’s drawn right back to her, feeling things he’s never felt for anyone before.
Trevor’s scared, though. Not of dating a trans girl. Not of damaging his chaplain father’s career or reputation. After finally getting his friend back, does he dare take things further and risk losing Shannon a second time?
Dana reviews Having her Back by Ann Gallagher (Self Published May 19, 2017 Length: 250 pages)
NOTE: A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
There are so many things I want to say about this book after reading it that I don’t know if there is any hope for an organized review. Please bear with me. 🙂 First let me show some love for the title. Having Her Back is perfect for this story both literally and figuratively.
One of the reasons I picked this book to read for our RGR Transgender Awareness event was because I really like this author’s writing. In her many names, she has written about bisexual, gay, lesbian, asexual and transgender characters. They have been vampires, wolf shifters, shifters that change from male to female, rock stars, actors, police officers, military, doms and subs, and they have been polyamorous at times. I don’t know a book she can’t write the hell out of. Her books that take place on military bases often ring very authentic to me and I could believe that she has lived on a base and visited all the scenes she describes so perfectly. Since this book takes place between two teens whose parents are in the Navy, we get a good view of what being gay or trans is like among the other families stationed there, and we get to see a little bit of Spain through the author’s words.
Another reason I picked this book is because of the pairing. I am a huge m/m romance reader. In that time I have read a few books with trans men as main characters falling in love with other men. Essentially it is still an m/m romance novel. I was eager to read something a little different and I got it with this story of best friends to lovers with a twist. Trevor is a straight teen who has lost contact with his best friend Brad, only to learn during the radio silence that Brad transitioned into Shannon. There is trouble at their first meeting when Trevor has difficulty accepting the changes to their friendship, but most especially he feels betrayed that Shannon didn’t trust him to stand by her during that time. Happily both of them are willing to give each other another chance for perceived and very real hurts, and they strike up their friendship again. Though Trevor sees Shannon as possibly more than a friend?
I really love that as the story goes along, Trevor doesn’t compare his relationships with Brad and Shannon. In fact, in his memories, Shannon starts to replace Brad. There is only his good friend and the past and present versions are one in the same. Still he has to wonder about what it means for his own sexuality that he likes someone who used to be male and he also fears losing his friend by entering into something more. I love when life makes you question everything you thought you knew before and leaves your mind open to new things. There is so much I love about their pairing. Their relationship will never be smooth sailing though, especially with their parents careers and the military still not being the most open place for anyone who identifies as other than straight and cisgender.
I love that a handful of friends do accept Shannon’s change and that her family put her above their own jobs in allowing her to transition. A parents love should always be unconditional and Shannon’s parents show that. So does Trevor’s parents. Seeing as his dad is a chaplain you don’t necessarily expect instant acceptance of Trevor’s friend’s change but there is. Trevor’s dad really steps up later in the book to stand up to church gossipers and puts things in perspective. That everyone can’t see the things the way he does is sad because his thoughts on God and love mirror my own. I feel despair at times that some people still feel they get to be the judge instead of just showing kindness and compassion and love to those around us. I teared up a little bit at this part because I identify with it so much but not all the people in my life do.
Okay, moving on from my dip into moroseness. I was moved reading this book and I really enjoyed the story. There are moments of hurt feelings as Trevor and Shannon fumble about in each of their first relationships. But that is to be expected with any first love. I love most of the side characters. It is a YA book and the sexual content is appropriate with just a few makeout sessions that start to round second base but no more than that. The future for the characters is sort of open-ended because there is much of life to be lived for them and who knows what will happen. Both of them show a lot of maturity and care for each other so I think they have a good fighting chance at an HEA. In my opinion, the book is definitely worth reading and I definitely recommend it.
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
LENGTH: 74,000 words
GENRE(S): Shapeshifters, Speculative Fiction
After two years together, Alex has been dreading the inevitable moment when Damon learns the truth: that Alex is a shifter, part of a small percentage of the population able to switch genders at will. Thanks to a forced implant, though, Alex is suddenly static — unable to shift — and male. Overnight, he’s out to a world that neither understands nor tolerates shifters . . . and to his heterosexual boyfriend.
Damon is stunned to discover his girlfriend is a shifter, and scared to death of the dangers the implant poses to Alex’s health. He refuses to abandon Alex, but what about their relationship? Damon is straight, and with the implant both costly and dangerous to remove, Alex is stuck as a man.
Stripped of half his identity and facing serious physical and social ramifications, Alex needs Damon more than ever, but he doesn’t see how they can get through this.
Especially if he’s static forever.
Word count: 74,000; page count: 283
Winner: Best Science Fiction Romance in the 2013 EPIC Awards
Finalist: Best Transgender Fiction in the 24th annual Lambda Literary Awards
Winner: Best Bisexual / Transgender Sci-Fi / Paranromal / Fantasy in the 2011 Rainbow Awards!
This is a revised and edited second edition of Static, originally released in 2011 by Amber Allure.
Check out Dana’s review for Static here: Static
TITLE: The Left Hand of Calvus
COVER ARTIST: Lori Witt
LENGTH: 52,000 words
PAIRING: Gay, Transgender/Genderqueer
GENRE(S): Historical Romance, Ancient Rome, Sweet Romance (no sex)
Former gladiator Saevius is certain Fortune’s smiling on him when a Pompeiian politician buys him to be his bodyguard. That is until his new master, Laurea Calvus, orders Saevius to discover the gladiator with whom his wife is having a sordid affair. In order to do that, Saevius must return to the arena, training alongside the very men on whom he’s spying. Worse, he’s now under the command of Drusus, a notoriously cruel—and yet strangely intriguing—lanista.
But Saevius’s ruse is the least of his worries. There’s more to the affair than a wife humiliating her prominent husband, and now Saevius is part of a dangerous game between dangerous men. He isn’t the only gladiator out to expose the Lady Verina’s transgressions, and her husband wants more than just the guilty man’s name.
When Saevius learns the truth about the affair, he’s left with no choice but to betray a master: one he’s come to fear, one he’s come to respect, and either of whom could have him killed without repercussion.
For the first time in his life, the most dangerous place for this gladiator isn’t the arena.
This 52,500 word novel was previously published under the pseudonym L.A. Witt, and has been lightly revised.
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…