Hi there! I'm Jay Bell, the guy who writes the Something Like... series. The first book, Something Like Summer, is becoming a movie. I also wrote Kamikaze Boys, which is the tale of two guys versus the world. If you're wary of smooth talking indie authors, then you can check out Language Lessons for free, or nibble on the sugary sweet Like and Subscribe for almost nothing. Or maybe you already love me as much as I love you. Boy, I sure hope so! Either way, take off your pants and get comfortable!
Warmth is returning!
Something Like Spring has arrived!
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There are few things I enjoy more (sex) than revealing new cover art. Andreas always blasts his amazing talent into my book covers, and this time he’s created my all-time favorite. The cover art for From Darkness to Darkness, the sequel to The Cat in the Cradle, has actually been finished since late last year. I’ve had many opportunities to consider this image, and I fall deeper in love with it every time. So without further ado:
To the right we have Cole, a new character, holding aloft the magical black loka. But what is he contemplating and what does he intend to do with it? You’ll have to wait a little longer to find out. Frankly, whenever this art is around, I have a hard time to do anything but stare and drool. Not in a pervy way exactly. I’m just a sucker for nighttime scenes, a swirl of stars, and—okay, I confess—a cute guy.
I’m hoping this cover will seduce a few of you into trying the first book in the Loka Legends series. The Cat in the Cradle features twenty-five illustrations by Andreas, plus a rocking purple cover and a map of The Five Lands. Best of all, for the next week, the eBook price will be a paltry 99 cents. What could be better (sex) than a book for a buck that’s stuffed full of art, wondrous adventures, and a little gay romance? You’ll never have a better opportunity to find out! You can pick your poison on the left-hand side of this page or learn more here. Enjoy!
In three different ways no less! The Big Apple is one inspiring city, and to prove it, you have three mediums in which to relive our recent trip to New York. The first, good ol’ fashioned prose, covers what went down at the 2012 Lambda Literary Awards. I wrote a guest post over at Reviews by JesseWave that covers all the details. Did Something Like Summer win? Did I get kicked out for eating too many h’orderves? You’ll have to read to find out.
Andreas has put together a swanky PDF presentation, featuring photos from the trip. As a special bonus, you can see some of the sketches he made while there. These were all done on the scene, often over breakfast when I’m still too grumpy to socialize. View the PDF in full-screen mode and page through with the right arrow key to see it how the hunky artist intended.
Finally, you can check out the video below for a fast paced montage of photos, accompanied by none other than the Pet Shop Boys. How stereotypical of me! I’ve always been more an Erasure fan, really. Seems like you have to like one or the other to be a bona fide gay from the eighties. Have fun!
You know what I’m tired of saying? “The companion novel to Something Like Summer.” Or even worse: “The book from Tim’s perspective that sheds new light on the story while revealing what he gets up to when away from Ben.” *Whew!* I think it’s high time we finally have a title for this sucker, don’t you? From now on, all we need is five simple syllables. Something Like Winter.
Continuing the seasonal theme seems obvious, which might be why I fought against it for so long. I had a million working titles for Something Like Winter, but none of them were quite right. Having read through the new book, the winter theme is very appropriate. If summer in the first novel refers to an eternal feeling of love, what in the world could winter symbolize? I hope you’ll discover that on your own once you read the book. Easy now! Put those credit cards down, because Something Like Winter won’t be out until… well, winter.
In other news, I’ve packed my bags and am heading to New York this weekend to represent Something Like Summer in the Lambda Literary Awards. Writing is such a solitary job that the idea of suddenly being around tons of other authors, publishers, book lovers, editors, press agents, and hopefully a very generous bartender, is a little intimidating. If you hear a report of some guy breaking down in the middle of the Lambdas screaming “DON’T LOOK AT ME! WHAT IS EVERYONE STARING AT? AAAAAAH!” That’ll be me. I’ve lived as a happy hermit for far too long. Andreas will be with me though, and he makes everything okay. I’ll probably ride around on his shoulders all night—nice and high where I’ll be safe.
I’m participating in the Hop Against Homophobia in honor of the international day against homophobia. You can see my post over at Reviews by JesseWave. Once you’ve checked that out, head on back here and watch the informative video below. You’ll learn how to get some free swag while helping me become more famous than J.K. Rowling and Stephen King’s love child.
For those that are hearing impaired or don’t want to watch the video, I’m giving away cool post card stickers. (Update!We are now out of postcards. Sorry!) I’ll send a pair to anyone that wants them. If you happen to know of a good place to leave a stack of these postcards (gay book stores and reading groups, gay bars, gay all-you-can-eat buffets) and you want to help me out, I can send you extra. Please only request a stack if you’re truly motivated to distribute them. If you’re not, I’m still totally happy to send you a couple postcards for you to keep. If you want them autographed, be sure to let me know. All requests should be sent to me via the email address over there on the left (and down a bit). Supplies are limited, so please don’t grab your Jay Bell voodoo doll if I run out!
A long time ago, in a galaxy exactly like this one, I was a big fish in a very small pond. That pond was called Warrensburg, Missouri, and for a twelve-year-old, I thought I was hot shit. Then a job transfer brought my family to The Woodlands, Texas, a suburb just outside of Houston, and the game changed completely. I was still rocking my California Raisins T-shirts (yeah…) while the other kids in my class were sporting designer fashion labels. Painful story short, I went from big shot to big target. In retrospect, I’m glad. I needed a healthy dose of humility and probably would have ended up a royal asshole otherwise. Unfortunately, this lesson came at a price. I was pummeled on the playground regularly by a bully that makes Chuck Bryl look brave. My bully paid other kids to rough me up. I took as much as I could from him and others. Then I started going crazy in the most destructive way possible. These experiences were the inspiration for Kamikaze Boys.
The true story is more complex, drawn out over many years, but the gist of it can be found between the printed sheets. While not truly autobiographical, Kamikaze Boys tells that story of wanting to lash out at the world and finding a partner that is just as willing to join those destructive impulses. An author drawing inspiration from his past is hardly surprising, so let’s check out some of the images and sounds that helped get my creative juices bubbling. When prepping for this book, I sought out photos of models that resembled the characters in my imagination. David was the most successful in this regard. The photo I stared at most can be found above. The model is Simon Nessman, who with his delightfully curly hair, sensitive eyes, and luscious lips, is the perfect combination of nerdy and hot. (Now we’ve clearly stepped away from autobiographical elements!) Simon looks a lot cooler in most of his model shots, but as a bonus, I found a few images of him that look like a more confident David, perhaps after basking in the Florida sun.
Speaking of Florida, I name-drop a song in the book as Connor and David are on their way down. If you haven’t heard Empire of the Sun’s debut album, it’s a wild trip. There’s a lot of weird stuff going down musically in Australia lately. I’m loving that movement and hope it takes the world by storm. Chances are you’ve heard the song I played on a loop while writing this book. If not, check out “We Are the People” and see if it clicks with you at all. I can totally imagine David dancing to this, or him and Connor cruising off into the sunset with this in the background.
Creating Connor was a bit different than the process I used for David. In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit that part of him comes straight from reality television. A well-meaning series called Jamie’s Dream School had troubled teens getting another shot at an education with very mixed results. One of the participants, Henry, caught my eye. His persona had little in common with Connor’s, but I sure liked his appearance. The weird thing is, the more I wrote Connor, the less I imagined him looking like Henry. I’m including a few images anyway, so you can see where I started, but the Connor in my mind is rougher around the edges. And of course he has that awesome scar.
Connor’s theme comes straight from the eighties and is sung by Billy Idol of all people. In an odd example of synchronicity, shortly after Connor started calling David “Sweet Sixteen,” I began hearing Billy Idol’s song by that same name on the radio. A lot. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d ever heard it before, even in the eighties. But it’s a pretty cool tune, and at the time, the lyrics matched where I intended the plot to go. Plans and people change, but I still love the vibe of this song. Check out Billy strumming his guitar below.
So those were the biggest influences on my writing this time around. Feel free to apply mind bleach if any of this conflicts with what you imagined while reading. In fact, if there’s anything you associate with Kamikaze Boys, no matter the media, I’d love to hear about it!
Considering the date, I should precede this by saying none of the below is a joke, or even remotely funny. The only thing wacky here is that I meant to have this news update posted in March, but hey, I’m on vacation. The first of draft Something Like Summer’s companion novel is done, From Darkness to Darkness is nearly ready to go, and Kamikaze Boys has just been released. With those three ducklings in a row, I decided to take a break to prevent my head imploding. I already spent a week in Amsterdam where I visited my fairy godmother, as you can see in the photo. Strange city, Amsterdam.
Now for some really exciting news. Something Like Summer is a finalist in 2012’s Lambda Literary Awards! If you’re not familiar with the Lammies, they’re sort of like the Oscars, but celebrate gay books instead of closeted Hollywood celebrities. It’s a big fancy shindig and I’m thrilled to pieces to be part of it! I’ll be flying to a little town called New York City to see if Summer can score a win in the gay romance category. If not, I’m still deeply honored that Something Like Summer was chosen among the many entrants this year. If anyone wants to hang out with me and Andreas, you can find us at the awards ceremony and the after party. Neither are cheap to get into, but feel free to throw pebbles at the window and maybe I’ll come outside. Details and ticket prices for both events can be found here.
Continuing the love for Something Like Summer, there’s an extremely flattering article at Joyfully Jay (love the site’s name!) where Brahmin talks about her passion for Something Like Summer. She really knows her stuff too! What she says about Tim is dead on and will be made clear in the sequel. There’s also a new review for The Cat in the Cradle over at Risingshadow. I have a lot of plans for this series. If this review doesn’t convince you to hop on board, I’ll get you eventually.
Kamikaze Boys is also doing well, having been reviewed at Jessewave’s wonderful site. If that weren’t awesome enough, Kamikaze Boys is also My Gay Book Club’s selection for April! Reading is a lot less lonely when done in a group. If you’ve already read it, pop on over there and leave a comment about what you thought. Or join them on Twitter to keep things short and sweet.
Alex Knapp has published an article on Forbes about enhanced eBooks, which may or may not be the new way to read. The idea is enhancing a foggy Jack the Ripper scene with haunting footstep sound effects or even a scream. The article quotes my opinion on this possibility toward the end. I would love to hear your thoughts on enhanced books, even if you don’t agree with me.
And finally, to those of you still waiting for Kamikaze Boys to show up on iTunes, I’m very sorry that it hasn’t yet. Not that it’s my fault. I did everything I was supposed to nearly a month ago and never thought it would take this long. I hate the idea of any of you feeling left out, so with future releases, I plan on cutting out the middleman to avoid delays. Lesson learned! Hmm… I don’t want to end on a down note, so here’s a photo of me hanging out with Eddie Murphy. Coming to America, baby!