One of the reasons we are hopping around on a Transgender* Romance Writers Blog Tour is to give our readers a better understanding of what it means to be transgender* and to start a dialogue. The more we understand >>> the more accepting we will be.
Let’s take a look at the genderbread person. The picture depicts for us how gender identity, biological sex, gender expression and sexual orientation reside in different locations. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. The sliding scales allows for us to be on different ends of the spectrum or not. We are all unique. Where are you on the scale?
We want to encourage your participation in this hop so please leave a comment, tell us where you fall on the genderbread person or ask us questions for a chance to win:
1 of 2 $20 Amazon gift cards
1 of 1 $20 online retailers B&N, ARE, or Amazon
1 of 1 $15 gift card
1 e-book copy of Groom of Convenience
1 e-book copy of Illusions & Dreams
1 e-book copy of Transgression
The winners will be picked after our last stop March 5th. We will notify you by e-mail.
A few questions and answers with the blog hop authors…
What has been the reader reception to your story?
Theo Fenraven: Based on the reviews I’ve read, it seems 95 percent of people enjoyed it. Many of them contacted me to talk about it.
Sara York: It’s been positive. I think we made it clear that one of our characters was transgender, and the people who have read the book have enjoyed it.
Corvus Alyse: So far, those who have read my WIP have been very enthusiastic about wanting me to write more. It’s coming guys! I just have a bit more life stuff to organize.
Ethan Stone: I’d say it was very well. The complaints with the story aren’t about Taylor. I haven’t heard from any trans* man or woman saying we got it wrong, but I have heard from one or two who loved the story.
Vicktor Alexander: LOL. I had a reader (who gave Groom of Convenience a 5-star rating) liken the book to Marmite. Now, since I hate Marmite, I thought she was insulting it. But she said that people were either going to love it or hate it. But she was right. For the most part I either get 1 or 5 star ratings for the book from readers. I’ve had a lot of readers who seem to love it (YAY!) and have been after me about the sequel, and they love the new approach to gender I’ve taken. The four new genders that I’ve created. The way I’ve pushed people past their limits when it comes to understanding their ideas of genders and even opened their minds and held up a mirror to some phobias they may have had. But some of it was a little too confusing I think for some readers, which I can understand.
Z.Allora: Readers are surprised by how much they enjoyed the genre, which was new to most of them and how much they learned (like not everyone who is transgender needs or wants surgery).
Kimberly Gardner: It’s difficult to say since I don’t hear very much from readers. HFL has gotten some good reviews, but as every writer knows, reviews don’t necessarily translate into sales.
Charlie is the quintessential bear. Big, muscular and hairy. But that isn’t the type of men he’s attracted to. He is drawn to men like Taylor—short, smooth, and sexy. Taylor is Charlie’s idea of the perfect twink. But there’s something about Taylor Charlie doesn’t know.
Taylor is unsure about a lot of things, but when he sees Charlie, he instantly knows he wants him. The only issue standing in his way is how Taylor views his own masculinity. He’s afraid that Charlie will leave once he knows the secret Taylor wants to keep hidden. Can he be transparent with Charlie and allow him to look behind the image he’s so carefully constructed?
Excerpt from Transparency
(It occurs at the end of Taylor and Charlie’s first date.)
All too soon they were back at Taylor’s place and Charlie shot him a look that melted Taylor’s underwear. Charlie didn’t waste any time in getting out of the car and coming around to open Taylor’s door. His knees were weak and he leaned against Charlie, praying for some sort of reprieve. He didn’t want this to end. Any other man, he would have patted him on the back and said he’d had a nice time, but Charlie was too good to let go. Nice, good-looking, sexy, strong—any positive adjective Taylor thought of could be used to describe Charlie. This date—this man was all too good to be true.
Everything was going great as they entered his building. Taylor had a plan and he knew he could talk fast enough to explain to Charlie why he didn’t want to actually fuck, or undress below the waist, but then he heard a sound that stilled his heart. Clunky shoes clomping down the hardwood stairs, their loud voices ringing out made him wish he’d told Charlie to go home. He tried to hurry Charlie to the door, and almost made it, but his key wouldn’t fit in the hole.
“Look at that, the freak has a man.” The high-pitched squeal of Elizabeth’s voice hit him. She’d known Taylor for a long time, long enough to remember when Taylor was Lisa Marie, named after none other than the King’s daughter. Of course, Elizabeth hadn’t wasted any time telling her roommates about Taylor’s past. Had he known Elizabeth lived in this building, he never would have moved in. He still had three months on the lease, and he didn’t have the funds available to break it, so he was stuck in this dump, hearing their taunts, and living with the pain of their teasing every time he saw the group.
His shoulders sagged and tears sprang to his eyes. He felt Charlie straighten beside him. The last thing Taylor wanted was a confrontation. Elizabeth and her friends wouldn’t hesitate to spill the truth, leaving Charlie just as disgusted as all of the other people who didn’t want to listen to his truth.
Fucking tranny was followed close by pussy boy, then girly freak, and all the other derogatory expressions used to describe what others thought he was. The words cut deep, leaving raw gaping holes in the armor that protected him against the depression demons. His shoulders curled in as he worked the key into the lock.
“I’ve had enough of this,” Charlie growled.
Taylor froze, fearful Charlie was going to leave, or worse hit him, but Charlie’s murderous glare wasn’t turned in his direction. The man was going to stand up for Taylor against the bullies. But the fight wasn’t worth it. Elizabeth, and her friends were heading out the door, probably going to a bar or somewhere else, Taylor didn’t care as long as they left him alone. Maybe the group heading away so quickly had a bit to do with Charlie’s muscle, or the angry scowl that even had Taylor frightened.
“Please don’t,” Taylor begged as he grasped Charlie’s shirt and tugged him toward the door and away from the jerks.
“They can’t get away with taking to you like that. Someone needs to teach them a lesson.”
“Please, please, please just let it go. Don’t engage them.” He didn’t want Charlie to fight for him only to be disappointed once he realized what those idiots were saying was true—well, true if you were a narrow-minded prick.
“I can shut them up.” Charlie turned to Taylor, his eyes still full of menace and anger. For one brief second Taylor wanted this man to protect him from the hurt, but he had to deal with the words in a calm and reasonable manner, drawing no more attention to him than necessary. Fighting every asshole who questioned his identity wasn’t realistic. Letting anger rule would set him back, and he’d never be comfortable with who he was.
“Please just come inside,” Taylor begged.
Miraculously, Charlie followed him in. Taylor shut the door, but he still heard the laughter and stinging barbs. He turned the lock, wishing the world would go away. Unable to face Charlie, Taylor braced himself with one hand on the door, and let the tears trail down his cheek. The taunts from his brother and parents filtered through his mind. He was crying like a girl, just more proof he’d never be a man. He’d heard the damning evidence time and time again, and Elizabeth and her friends reminded him with their mean words that he couldn’t hide from the truth.
Charlie’s hand on his shoulder was an unwelcome reminder that falling apart wasn’t an option—yet. He still had to deal with the truth, even if it meant Charlie would pound him. He hoped Charlie wouldn’t beat him, but he guessed he deserved any pain heaped upon him. Going on a date before telling Charlie he was a transman wasn’t fair. But he’d never be given a chance at a real relationship if he led with candor, allowing every potential date to know about his change. That’s why he went to the bookstore. He guessed Pleasures was out now that Charlie knew.
“Hey, babe, come here. Don’t let their words get you down.”
“Didn’t you hear what they said?” Taylor spit out, wishing Charlie would end this instead of drawing out his shame.
“They were just jerks. They probably treat all twinks like shit, calling them names and telling them they’re girly. You’re cute, but a man. That much is obvious.”
Taylor spun around and stared openmouthed at Charlie, wondering if he was full of shit or oblivious. “Didn’t you hear them?”
“What, they’re just jerks. Don’t listen to them.”
“Oh fuck, you didn’t hear their words, did you?”
Charlie threw up his arms and Taylor flinched, wondering when the first blow was going to come. But Charlie never hit him, instead he ran one beefy paw over his beard before sighing heavily.
“Okay, I have a bit of a processing issue. I didn’t hear everything they were saying. I kind of have to listen closely, and sometimes if I’m excited, I can’t hear anything. I’m not stupid, I just don’t concentrate well.”
Taylor heaved in a few breaths before sliding down the door, wrapping his arms around his knees, hugging them close. Charlie knelt in front of him and lifted his hand, his touch gentle, not at all what Taylor expected.
“Don’t cry, let me hold you. I can help you forget what they said.”
Charlie’s words sounded nice, but they had the opposite effect on Taylor. He couldn’t hide the truth from Charlie any longer. The fear was too much and if Charlie walked out or punched him, he’d take it. Charlie was too nice and Taylor owed him that much.
He opened his mouth but the words stayed inside, his fear too great to speak. Then Charlie sat on the floor and pulled Taylor into his lap. The strong arms gave him the courage to speak, and if he was in Charlie’s arms, the guy wouldn’t be able to hit him.
“They weren’t just words, it was the truth. I’m transgender.”
Charlie stilled and even stopped breathing. Taylor waited a second before continuing.
“From as early as I can remember, I knew something was wrong. I’m supposed to be a man. I don’t know why I was born a girl. Every Barbie, every dress, the long hair, all of it, I knew it was wrong. When my breasts developed, I felt so betrayed. I prayed every night, asking for this thing to go away, but I couldn’t live the lie any longer. When I had my first operation, the one where they took my breasts and gave me a flat chest, I finally felt like I was me. This is me.” Taylor crawled off of Charlie’s lap and stood, his gaze unable to meet Charlie’s. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have a penis, and I never will. You can leave now. I’m sorry I made you go out with me and didn’t tell you.”
Taylor waited for Charlie to move, to do anything, but he stayed still, almost as though he was frozen in time. Going out on a date with this man had been wrong. To think he’d be able to have a normal life, too presumptuous. All he wanted was to be accepted as a gay man. Was that too much to ask for?
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