The world of gay fiction has been steadily growing, not only in terms of authors and books, but readers as well. Unfortunately, it’s not near as big as other genres out there. Not even close. That means it’s a little hard to earn a living doing what I love most. Would it surprise you to learn that, even if you buy every book as I release them, that I only see about four or five dollars of that money annually? That’s the way the system is currently set up, but sites like Patreon are offering an intriguing alternative. One that I would like to explore together. The general idea is that if there’s an artist you like so much that you want to support them, you can by giving a small amount each month. You can see where this is going, but I’m not asking for a handout. I want to create even more content for you guys, or share sneak peaks and glimpses into the writing process. Or how about insider movie knowledge, digital character art, and exclusive flash fiction featuring characters from the Something Like… series? Or maybe you want early access to my books, or the power to decide who the next novel will be about. I have all sorts of stuff to offer, so if you’re interested, please visit my brand new Patreon page. Or watch the two informative videos below. Actually, only one of them is informative. The other is just me being awkward in front of the camera. Is this the beginning of the Something Like… fan club? It just might be!
When I agreed to write a short story to help fundraise the Something Like Summer movie, I honestly didn’t have a solid concept in mind. I didn’t even consider myself very good at writing short stories. So I approached Something Like Fall by indulging in what I wanted most—to spend time with Benjamin Bentley again. I had a blast working on the project, especially since it allowed me to revisit at least one character I never expected to see again. Jace. This opened the floodgates. Who else did I miss? Victor? Of course! I felt there were still a few unanswered questions about him. Eric? While he wasn’t a mystery, I did like the idea of fleshing out his origins, and perhaps best of all, seeing Tim through his eyes. And I’ve long since wanted to give Allison her moment in the spotlight. She has so patiently helped Ben, Tim, Jace, and even Kelly through hard times. She not only needed a story, but some time off. At this point, I was so giddy about diving back into the past of the series, that I decided to really go nuts and create a character guide, one that is hopefully unlike any you’ve seen before. You might expect all of the above to result in one messy and confusing book, but I feel it comes together nicely. I pity any first-time readers who start with this volume, but for the rest of you… If you love these characters even half as much as I do, I think you’re in for a lot of fun. I sure hope so, because I’d like to do it again someday. Thanks as always for showing your support for this series and for allowing me to do this full time. You guys are making a dream come true, and I’m not ashamed to say I love you for it!
Yesterday the news dropped about Something Like Stories, a compilation of short tales that bring back many of the characters from the Something Like… series. Ben, Tim, Jace, Victor, Eric, Allison… They’re all there! You can still win a pre-release paperback over at Boy Meets Boy Reviews, so be sure to head over there now and enter. If contests aren’t your thing, preorders are also live. You can reserve your copy of Something Like Stories from Amazon Kindle, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Google Play. It’s also available as a good old fashioned paperback.
Now then, let’s follow tradition and take a closer look at that cover. Doing so requires us to travel back in time to a previous book, and one of my favorite pieces of art that Andreas has whipped up. Something Like Autumn!
I absolutely loved Andreas’s take on Victor, enough that I totally overlooked that Jace should have featured prominently on this cover instead. We have a bit of reality bending here because Victor is in his clearing and yet somehow he has a clear view of the lake. I’m always happy to grant Andreas artistic license though. If I made him stick to the book, it would suffocate him creatively. I think we’re all pretty chill about such things, right? The cover doesn’t have to match the interior content exactly. So yeah, I love this one, especially little touches like the tin can with a spoon in it. That is in the story, since Jace brings Victor food on more than one occasion.
Imagine my surprise when I saw that the can had made a return on the newest cover. I totally laughed out loud. Then I thought about it, and got really freaking sad. The scene on this new cover doesn’t represent those careless days from long ago when two boys discovered each other in the woods. A lot of time has passed since then. The shelter Victor had Jace had once cuddled beneath is in ruins and a solitary figure crouches in the middle of the clearing, one hand touching the ground. Who and why? If you already know, please don’t spoil it for others. Needless to say, my first reaction to this cover was a happy chuckle. Then a deep sorrow overtook me. Well done, Andreas. Looks like we both have a talent for dishing out tears.
Something Like Stories: Volume One gets released on November 11th. I’ll be back to talk about it more then. I can scarcely wait, because this book was a pleasure for me to write. I hope you guys like it too!
Ready for the next entry in the Something Like… series? It’s nearly here! What’s it called? Who’s it about? What’s the cover look like? You’ll have to head over to Boy Meets Boy Reviews for the answers. I’m helping them celebrate a birthday, and get this—you can win a paperback copy of the book before it comes out! Seriously! Get on over there, then come back for another announcement.
Back already? Good. A new audio book is here! Prepare to have Lightning blast your ears! Actually, that sounds painful. Uh, anyway, I don’t know if you guys are aware of this, but I listen to each of the audio books before release, trying to catch any last minute errors. It’s only natural with so many hours that a few slip through, but they always get corrected. This process can be a little tedious for me. Once a book is published, I generally don’t enjoy rereading it again. So when I listen to the audios, I do so grudgingly, although Kevin R. Free’s performance always makes the experience much more pleasurable. Listening to Lightning was unusual because it made me realize a few things about the story I hadn’t before. Perhaps because of the way Kevin brings the characters to life. Kelly is kind of a brat, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. His biggest problem, it occurred to me while listening, was being paired up with the wrong guy. I won’t give anything away, but Kelly’s character remains consistent throughout. For much of the story, he seems to make everything worse by being who he is. And yet, in other parts, the opposite is true.
I think this reflects real life too. Compatibility is everything. Ever had a friend that you adore, or maybe someone that you were dating, that your friends and family couldn’t stand? For you, the friend or whoever was awesome and you always had a good time, but for the others in your life, this person rubbed them the wrong way. I think Kelly is like that. I love the guy, I really do, so it’s almost painful watching him struggle in the wrong environment. In those moments where he finds his rightful place, it’s such a relief, because you can see how fun and charming his brashness can be. So Lightning is very much a story about finding where you belong, and how that can make everything right. In theory, anyway. There’s more to this story. So much I couldn’t cram it into one book, but never fear! Something Like Thunder should be out in about a week. If you want to know exactly when it comes out, please subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll send you a reminder. In the meantime, please be patient with my boy Kelly. He’s got a good heart. He just needs to find the right home for it. You can buy Lightning from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Or get started for free below!
Primary shooting on the Something Like Summer movie has been completed. As you might already know, I was on set to witness a fair amount of filming. It’s high time I report back to you, my loyal readers, so that you can draw your own conclusions. Where to begin though? I found the entire experience overwhelming, although in the best way possible. I suppose I should tackle the questions I hear most often. Sound good? Let’s begin!
What did you think of the actors?
In the comfort of our own homes, most of us have reacted to the casting choices by focusing on the most immediate impression; appearance. While it’s only natural to compare the actors to the descriptions in the book or the images in our own minds, what really matters is how talented these people are and how capable they are at bringing the characters to life. In that regard, the casting choices are absolutely inspired! Grant Davis is emotional and loves passionately, just like Ben. Davi Santos has the soul of an artist and is ridiculously handsome, much like Tim. Ben Baur is quirky, cool, and impossible not to adore, making him the perfect Jace. And hey, let’s not forgot Allison, the ultimate best friend, who is performed with perfection by Ajiona Alexus. These actors aren’t the actual characters—their personalities more complex than my brief descriptions—but they are fairly close to the source material. Enough that I often found the line blurring between reality and fantasy. This is ideal, since each actor has the necessary experience to draw on to portray their character realistically. And if you’re worried about acting ability, don’t be. Each of them is more than capable!
What about the script?
It’s different. If you approach this movie expecting it to be exactly like the book, you’ll be disappointed. That seems to be what upsets most people when a book they love is adapted to film. While I’ve had that same reaction, it’s not a fair one. My favorite example is the very end of the book, which mostly takes place in Ben’s head. Dialog is part of this, yes, but the bulk is spent in Ben’s thoughts—his longing, his doubt, a tide of memories and a surge of emotion. Sure, an actor can relay these things with body language or whatever, but it would be pretty silly for Grant Davis to stand there and make a bunch of different faces before finally kissing Davi. There are plenty of examples like this in the book, not to mention budget and time constraints. No matter how much we might wish otherwise, it’s simply not possible for the movie to be exactly like the book. That having been said, they’ve kept as much as possible intact. They’ve also made some changes, which means you’ve got a few surprises in store for you. What struck me most about watching scenes being filmed is how different they were when finally realized. What seemed fine in the script was made awesome by a mixture of cinematography and performance. Post production will polish the material even further.
So you think the movie is going to be good?
I don’t know. That’s not a reflection of any doubts I have. I just lack the experience to objectively say one way or the other. From cast to crew, I never felt like anyone wasn’t trying their best. Everyone seemed to take the project very seriously, wanting to give it their all. I didn’t realize how grueling a film shoot could be either. All I had to do while there was chat with visitors or occasionally drive beautiful and talented people to their next location. For me the set visit was one big vacation, but it was still exhausting because the hours are so extremely long. I have a newfound respect for the sheer amount of effort and determination that goes into creating a movie. Considering this, I could understand people slacking off or not making much of an effort, but that never seemed to be the case. Everyone involved wants this project to be a success. In my mind that’s the most crucial factor, so if I had to guess, I think the Something Like Summer movie is going to be pretty damn cool. I’m certainly very excited to see the final product!
Is your head exploding or what? Seriously. Your book is a movie!
I honestly can’t express what an emotional experience it was seeing the story brought to life in this way. Often I would stand at a distance, suspend my disbelief, and convince myself that I was witnessing Ben and Tim meeting again in college, or that I had somehow stumbled upon Ben and Jace’s wedding while strolling through the park. Much of my time was spent holding back tears, because it was pure magic seeing what often appeared to be the real Ben, Tim, and Jace interact. The actors were supremely patient about me staring slack-jawed at them. Or maybe they’re just used to it, considering how pretty all of them are.
Shut up and tell me when this thing is finally getting released!
Ah. Well there might be a scene or two left to film requiring special circumstances. That needs to be taken care of first. Post production will follow, which is a crucial step. I’m sure you’ve noticed how raw the deleted scenes of movies appear. That demonstrates how much work needs to be done even after the cast and crew has gone home. Once the movie is presentable, it will go to film festivals where it will hopefully win lots of accolades and attract the best possible distributor. That’s important, because this movie isn’t just for us. It’s also for the millions of people out there who have no clue about Benjamin Bentley’s life. The poor bastards! Once all of that is out of the way, you and I can buy tickets to select screenings, have viewing parties in our home, or just sit alone on the couch with a tub of ice cream and a box of Kleenex, so no one can see us cry. So the answer to that question is that we need to be patient a little while longer. Obviously the movie isn’t coming out this year. I don’t know exactly when it will get released. I don’t think anyone does. There is still much work to be done!
In the meantime, I’ll keep the stories about these characters going. I have another book due out before the end of the year, and there are two more audio releases as well. As always, I’m writing more more more, and I hope that makes the wait a little easier. We’ve made it past the hardest part though, so for now, just kick back with a good book and let other people continue to toil on your behalf. Soon enough, we’ll be able to enjoy the fruit of their labors. Just for the record though, I can’t wait either! Hurry up, world! I wanna see this movie! I leave you with my favorite of the Snapchat videos that were posted during filming. In a way, it’s a miniature version of the movie!