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Evolution and Growth



Hello, again! It's been a long time.


I hope everyone has managed to stay safe and sane over the past year-and-a-half of world-altering craziness. I just wanted to reach out briefly to offer an update on life and writing.


When last you heard from me, I was working on a new series of novels -- a post-apocalyptic superhero road trip story that's filled with action, adventure, and thrills. For those who read my published novella collection ("Out of the Shadows," which you can find a link to on this site's home page, if you're interested...), you'll know this new book series is pretty on-brand for me.


So... what if I told you that the series has been put on a temporary hold in favor of writing a dramatic queer romance novel?


"BuT tIm, ThAt'S nOt On-BrAnD fOr YoU!!!!!"


Here's the thing:


I'm not "rebranding." I'm "brand-expanding." I still love action adventures, thrills, and epic tales of good overcoming evil. But I also experienced a massive mental shift last year when all of us were stuck at home forced into mini-existential crises in which we examined our lives, decided we wanted to bake lots of bread, realized we needed to exercise and get in shape, and admitted many of us weren't happy with our jobs and lives.


Me? I realized I'd spent almost four decades denying that my gayness was a big part of who I am. I'd resisted for so long, vowing never to put queer characters in my stories, because I didn't want to "make a political statement" and risk pulling people out of the journey I'd written, and I wanted my work to be "more marketable" to the masses. (Fun fact: the character of Trevor from the "11:24" story in "Out of the Shadows" is, indeed, gay. I just never explicitly stated it, because it wasn't pertinent to the story. It was my own little subtle defiance of the status quo.)


But the time for subtly is over. Queer stories and queer romance need to exist in mainstream media, because... well... we exist. And we deserve to have our stories told, too. In September of 2020, I grew randomly frustrated that the majority of queer romance (and a ton of erotica) was written by straight, middle-aged women. It was like they'd taken my personal experiences and turned them into a money-making fetish for themselves and their fellow straight, middle-aged women. (And most of them never get it quite right. Like they've written their idealized version of a sexy and perfect gay man without talking to a single gay person about their experiences.)


So, I set out on a journey to consume as much queer content by queer writers as I could. There isn't a ton that can be considered mainstream, but it's there if you look for it. Since then, in the past ten months, I've read twenty-nine queer romance books. And it kind of ignited a fire within me. For the first time, I realized that the reason I've avoided putting overt romance in my stories wasn't because I hated romance; it was because I didn't relate to or care much about the never-ending stream of heterosexual romance that I'd experienced all my life. I wasn't reflected in those stories, so I didn't connect with them.


Thus, for a while now, I've been working on crafting a lovely little story of self-discovery following a damaged man who must return home to his small town to bury his father and sell his childhood house. While there, he's forced to examine his own life and upbringing while cleaning out the home's belongings and meeting a certain man on his trip who ends up changing his perspective on life.


But don't worry -- I'm not giving up on my epic, post-apocalyptic superhero series. I just needed to take a personal detour before going back to that journey. You will still one day get to meet David (who's queer now, by the way) as he navigates the wastelands of America on his trek across the ravaged country.


Typically, crossing genres isn't advisable due to marketing reasons. But hey -- that's not my problem, is it? That's a problem for my future agent -- good luck to them. It's not unheard of, but I'm at the point where I'm not too concerned about it. I write what I want to write. And now, this romance novel is what I need to be writing. I can't wait for you all to meet and fall in love with Cal and Eddie sometime soon.


And Happy Pride month!


Until next time,

--T

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