We here at The Paperback Princesses often receive emails from Indie authors requesting reviews and are blessed with free book copies. Often we are unable to get to so many titles before our mass market published books take over our TBR shelves. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of great reads though! We want to give back to those Indie authors and are declaring EVERY SECOND SUNDAY our SHOUT OUT TO INDIES MEME. For those of fellow bloggers, please feel free to add our meme to your regular schedule. We only ask that you quote and link back to us as a courtesy. For all of you Indie authors, we invite you to contact us at the contact link to your top left. We will select 1 - 3 titles (each time we post) that sound interesting. Here's this week's selection:
Blurb of Love Spell by Mia Kerick, a YA LGBTQ Contemporary Romantic Comedy:
Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.
As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”
But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.
An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.
We asked Mia why she likes to write for a YA audience:
We all want to see characters like ourselves in books—with the same types of personal problems, fears, and dilemmas that we face every day. Reading books with characters that resemble us in some significant way is comforting, suggesting that we aren’t alone in what feels like an epic battle to survive the teenage years. This is precisely why I write YA LGBTQ fiction. LGBTQ kids are at a distinct disadvantage here as they don’t have an equal opportunity to find themselves in books since the books on the shelves at the library and the local bookstore and even online don’t feature enough characters of diversity. This situation is discouraging to kids in our society who are most in need of models to provide them with hope. LGBTQ teens need to be able to easily find reasons for hope and sources of inspiration in the books they read. Studies show that LGBTQ teens have higher rates of depression and more suicide attempts than students without gender or sexuality acceptance issues. The kids who are struggling with their gender identity need books like Love Spell. They need to read about Chance César—a gender fluid seventeen-year-old boy who quite often feels like a girl. They need to see him as awkward at times, and strong at other times, but always engaging and real. They need to see him make mistakes and fix them. They need to see him negotiate the circumstances of his life as a teen with a non-traditional gender identity. The kids who need to read Love Spell are my inspirations for writing.
I also deal with other contemporary topics of interest to teens such as body image, religious questioning, bullying, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and depression. If it affects teens, it is fair game to be the central theme of one of my novels. However, all of my books share one common theme, which is that the main characters are LGBTQ.
Here’s an excerpt of Love Spell:
Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snu
Read this first, hun.
I’ve been accused of thinking too much, which might be true, but I con-
sider that fact to be a minor blip on my personality radar. Nothing more.
I mean, it’s not hurting anybody, is it?
People may call the activity of my mind overthinking, and it wouldn’t
be a monster stretch for them to call it obsessing. Then, of course, there are
those uptight douches who’d slap a neon pink Post-It Note on my brain—
the phrase “has a few dozen screws loose” scribbled on it with a chisel tip
I, however, choose to view the slightly convoluted manner in which I
process thoughts as ingenious. And to be real, at this very moment I have
about fifteen more ingenious adjectives, fully capable of describing the way
I think, burning a hole in the cargo pocket of my painted-on pastel camo
skinny jeans. But I very rarely subscribe to the concept “less is more”, and
this is one of those extremely rare occasions.
(SMH) Not that I’m happy about it.
In any case, consider yourself fairly warned.
So, my fine friends, sit back on your comfy couches and listen to what
went down last year in my cray-cray neck of the woods.
Shine On, Harvest Moon
Just call me brazen.
It occurs to me that brazen—unabashedly bold and without an inkling of
shame—is the perfectly appropriate word to describe moi right about now.
It is, however, the only perfectly appropriate part of this evening. Which is
perfectly appropriate, in my humble opinion. So get over it.
I lift my chin just enough to stop the stiff orange spikes of glitter-gelled
hair from flopping forward onto my forehead. But who can blame me?
These spikes are razor sharp—best they stay upright on my head where
they belong—and gravity can only do so much to that end.
Okaaaayyyy... sidetracked much?
* Forces rebellious thoughts onto business at hand.
Chance César is a brazen B.
I stare ‘em down, but only after I pop the collar of the blinding “Orange
Crush” tuxedo I’m rockin’ and shrug my shoulders in a sort of what-the-
fuck fashion. Rule of thumb in this queen’s life—first things must always
Pop, shrug, and only then is it kosher to stare.
* Clears throat.
“Eat your ginger-haired heart out, Prince Harry.” Based on the buzz of
scandalized chatter blowing about in the crisp evening breeze, I’m reasona-
bly certain that nobody in the crowd heard me speak. And although several
of the girls currently gawking at me may do double backflips over my red-
haired counterpart across the pond, Prince Harry of Wales, they don’t give a
rat’s ass about Chance César. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that they
view my atomic tangerine locks as more reminiscent of Bozo the Clown
than of the sexy singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
They are, however, completely unaware that this carrot top is going to
make Harvest Moon Festival history tonight.
Refusing to succumb to the impulse to duck my head, I take a single
shaky step forward on the stage that’s been set up on the dusty ground be-
side the vast (by New England standards) cornfield. The stage doesn’t wob-
ble, but my knees sure as shit do. Okay, so I’m a freaking honest diva and I
tell it like it is. And I’m what you might call a wreck.
Nonetheless, this brazen B takes a deep breath, blows it out in a single
gush, and starts to strut. I mean, this boy’s werkin’ it.
Smi-zeee!! Yeah, my smile is painted on, just like my trousers.
Chance, you are by far the edgiest Miss Harvest Moon this ramshackle
town has ever had the good fortune to gaze upon.
I am a major fan of positive self-talk.
Using the feigned British accent that I’ve perfected—thanks to long hours
of tedious practice in my bathroom—I dish out my next thought aloud. “I
wish I’d put in a tad more practice walking in these bloody heels before
going public in ‘em.” And despite one slight stumble—a close call to be
sure—the clicking sound my pumps make is crisp and confident. I saunter
out onto the catwalk.
#trueconfessions: Faking foreign accents is a hobby of mine. I can yam-
mer it up in improvised French, German, Mexican, Russian, and plenty
more accents, but I don’t mimic Asian languages, as it seems too close to
ridicule. My plan for the rest of the night is to continue vocalizing my abun-
dant thoughts in Standard British, with just a hint of Cockney thrown in
for charm. New Hampshire is the “live free or die” state and I’ll do what I
“Introducing this year’s lovely... or, um, handsome Miss...ter... Har-
vest Moon. Let’s hear an enthusiastic round of applause for Chance César!”
Mrs. Higgins always speaks using a lolling Southern twang, although I’m
sure she’s lived her entire life right here in less-than-gentile, way-too-many-
dirt-roads, Fiske, New Hampshire. Like, can you say “backwoods Fiske”
without it sounding too much like “backwards Fiske”? But, overall, I’m
pleased—it seems I’m not the only one with an affinity for a colorful accent.
The applause is—to be real—disappointingly, but not surprisingly, scat-
“Woot!” A solitary hoot splits the night—it’s quite impossible to miss—
and I recognize an undeniably shrill and nasal quality in the sound. I know
without a doubt that the hooter is my best (only) friend, Emily Benson. In
my not so humble opinion, Emily’s hooting for my benefit sounds as liberat-
ing as Lady Gaga bellowing “Born This Way” live on the Grammy Awards
after emerging from a large egg.
My Emily is everything!! Not to be dramatic.