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New short story, Spring update, and Awards!

Like and Subscribe Jay BellThe quick version: Spring isn’t ready, I have something to tide you over, and I need your vote. The long version: Hey everyone! I have a brand new short story for you to read. Before we get to that, I should answer the question many of you are thinking. When is Something Like Spring getting released? The good news is that the book is super close to being ready. Frustratingly so, since with the looming holidays, it’s not going to make it out before the end of the year. So early next year, hopefully early early next year. Worse case scenario is the end of February. No later than that. You have my word. Now then, on to my peace offering!

Like and Subscribe is a brand new short story. You haven’t met the characters before, and you don’t need to know anything before you dive in. The story is about one of those hot guys on YouTube. You know the type. They rarely have their shirts on, and you can’t stop going back to their channel, no matter how dumb they might be. The stud in our story seems to have a good heart and is surprisingly insightful at times, but he’s not the main character. The main character is Evan, who is desperate to meet this person. Again. Grab a copy of the story and you’ll see what I mean. Like and Subscribe is currently available for Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iBooks and all sort of other formats at Smashwords.

Goodreads M/M Romance Member's Choice Awards Nominees WinnersDon’t leave yet! The M/M Romance group over at Goodreads is having their annual fan vote again, and Something Like Autumn has been nominated in multiple categories. This is one of the best ways you guys can express your appreciation for what I do, and encourage me to keep writing. Money and stellar reviews are nice too, but we’re talking awards here! You can vote by clicking these pretty words. The categories Autumn has been nominated in are:

Favorite All Time M/M Romance Book
Best Book of the Year
Best Contemporary (genre)
Best Long Story (250 pages or 100K words)
Best Tear Jerker (themes)
Best Young Adult (genre)
Favorite All Time M/M Series [it’s listed there as “Seasons”]

I’ve also been nominated as Favorite All Time M/M Author. Oh my gosh! Thank you to the kind souls who did the nominating. That’s all from here. Much love to you guys during this holiday season!

 
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Our ten year wedding anniversary!

Published on September 27, 2013 by in Gay, Holiday

Big Gay Wedding Day, Jay Bell and Andreas BellAndreas and I were living in sin for three glorious years. He was a college boy with the body of a Greek god, and I was… uh… me. For reasons still unexplained, he said yes when I popped the question. That was ten years ago. Ten years! A decade! I’d say it felt like yesterday, but that would be trite and not at all honest. But still, it only feels like five and a half years. Maybe six. So anyway, to commemorate the luckiest event of my life, I made a video. It tells our story, gives you a glimpse of our wedding, and features nine billion photos of us. Putting this video together, that really drove home our history and reminded me of how much we’ve been through. Time flies when you’re married to a guy like Andreas. Relationships are a lot of work, but he makes it so damn easy. And I love him. I love him, I love him, I love him! *sigh* Okay. Enjoy the video!

 
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A hint of Spring

Who is Jason Grant?Happy Birthday, Tim Wyman! Now please move out of the spotlight because there’s a new guy in town. Speculation has been rampant over who the main character in Something Like Spring will be. When I announced it would be an all new character, I should have been more specific and said a newly invented character. My easily misinterpreted statement led some to believe that “new” meant anyone but Ben, Tim, or Jace. Many people thought Eric would be getting his own book, or even Victor or Ryan. I’m afraid this isn’t the case. The season of spring brings with it a fresh start, so it seemed appropriate that we would meet someone we’d never had before.

Why? Well, we’ve already gotten into Ben, Tim and Jace’s heads, and seen each character from the perspective of a person who loves them, or in some cases, a person competing with them. Those are all very intimate perspectives, which made me eager to see Ben and Tim through the eyes of a stranger. That stranger’s name is Jason Grant. I know the name doesn’t mean anything to you right now, but when you’ve finished reading Jason’s story, I hope he’ll become just as special to you as the other guys.

So what exactly is Something Like Spring about? Will Ben and Tim adopt a kid? Is that who Jason is? Not exactly. After three books, a definite theme has emerged for this series. Each book starts with a teenager on the verge of becoming an adult and takes us through their first great love. Then there are jumps in time, allowing us to see their life over multiple stages, with themes of love, loss, and death being tackled along the way. Something Like Spring will be no different, and yet, like each book in the series, it will very much be its own unique journey. But never fear, Spring does tie in with the other books. Rather than give us familiar scenes from a new perspective, this book is supported by a slew of characters from the previous three, and yes, we do get to see what happens to Ben and Tim after the events of Winter. While Jason isn’t an adopted child in the traditional sense, he’s very much the spiritual successor of one character… maybe two. I’ll let you discover who on your own.

That’s all I’m willing to reveal for now. Much work remains. With such a rich history to draw from, so many new characters to meet, and untold stories to explore, Spring is shaping up to be another fat book. It continues to be very exciting to write, and I hope that translates to a thrilling read for you guys. I can’t nail down a specific release date at this point, but Something Like Spring should be ready to go this winter. As usual, you can be notified the moment it’s released by signing up for my newsletter. The quick and easy form is on the left and down a little. Love you guys! Peace out!

 
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End of summer Summer sale!

Happy Birthday, Something Like Summer!It’s Tim Wyman’s birthday! Almost! To celebrate, in the week leading up to the big day, Something Like Summer will be on sale for a mere ninty-nine cents. Ninty-nine cents!!! “But Jay,” you are probably saying. “Why put Summer on sale when Winter is Tim’s book?” Well, my sexy little friend, the idea is to get more people reading this series, and we all know that Summer is a gateway drug to the other seasons. This is the perfect time to get your more stingy and skeptical friends to read one of the greatest gay love stories ever told. Tell them about the impending movie! Tell them about the sex scenes! The angst! The love! The arrrrgh! Ideally, by the time Something Like Spring is here, there will be so many Ben and Tim fans that Amazon’s servers crash on the day of release. So please please please spread the word about this sale. I’m not really going to make any money off it, but I would love for new folks to discover this story.

And speaking of Something Like Spring, on Tim’s actual birthday, I’ll be posting a blog entry revealing who the new main character is. I’ll also tell you what to expect from the latest, and perhaps final, installment in the series. So please come back on August 24th, Tim’s birthday, to help celebrate the hottest fictional guy in the universe. At least I think he is. *blush* Oh, and if you haven’t heard, we’ve got Something Like Summer shirts available and a slew of art for any sad barren walls. Check it all out here!

And here are some handy links to the Summer eBooks on sale:

Amazon Kindle US – UKFR – IT – ES – DE

Barnes & Noble Nook

Apple iTunes (iPhone and iPad)

Epub, Mobi, Palm, eReader, PDF, and more at Smashwords

Get the audiobook for free:
If you’re not yet a member of Audible, you can get your first audiobook for free, and that includes Something Like Summer. Learn more here. Or buy from: Amazon, Audible, or iTunes

 
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Summer T-shirts, Winter’s new look, and art art art!

Something Like Summer shirtWe’ve got Something Like Summer shirts for sale! Art prints too! We’ll get to that in a minute. First I want to talk about something else that’s changed. The cover art for Something Like Winter has been overhauled. To an extreme. Why? Well, Andreas doesn’t have much time to work on these covers. First he’ll read a late draft of a book to get the vibe. Then he has to dream up a cover and start creating it. My final drafts tend to go pretty fast, leaving him almost no time to revise his ideas. Thankfully, Andreas is used to working under the wire and keeps cranking out masterpieces. But with Something Like Winter, he was never completely satisfied. Personally, I like the cover we had, but when Andreas asked if he could change it, I wanted him to be happy. I figured he would touch up the cover a little. Instead, it’s almost an entirely new composition. Check it out!

Something Like Winter new cover

The guy up on stage playing the piano? Yeah, that’s Tim Wyman. I’m always willing to let Andreas chase his own artistic vision, and this is perhaps the very best example because no, Tim cannot play the piano. Luckily, we’d always envisioned the cover to be Tim’s dream of seeing Ben up on stage before their second reunion, and it’s not hard to imagine Tim wanting to play some music for Ben to sing along to. The good news for those of you with the old cover art is that it will never be sold again or reproduced in any fashion. You have a genuine collectors item that will remain rare, especially considering that the old cover was sold for a mere six months or so. But what if you want to get your hands on the new cover?

Well, that bring us to the new merchandise. We’ve teamed up with Redbubble to provide you with quality art prints of all Andreas’s book covers. Sound too fancy? There are posters too, which are sure to please your inner-teenager once taped to the wall. A variety of his illustrations from the Loka Legends books are also available as prints or postcards, as well as a selection of his non-book related art. My favorite though is the new Something Like Summer T-shirt, which is available in all sorts of colors and sizes. These shirts are the perfect way to subtly communicate your love for books and all things gay. Forget Grindr! I’m already dreaming of someone meeting their true love by wearing one of these shirts. Not guaranteed of course, or even likely… but not entirely impossible either.

If you guys like the idea of T-shirts and these sell okay, I have some really cool original ideas that don’t utilize the cover art. Or feel free to make your own suggestions, because we’d love to hear them! You can visit our store on Redbubble right here.

Still not convinced about all of this? Check out this video of me showing off some of the new merchandise. Did I mention my father was a salesman? It’s in my blood!

 
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Kamikaze Boys wins a Lambda Literary Award!

Lambda Literary Award Gay RomanceI was twelve years old when my family moved from small town Warrensburg, Missouri to The Woodlands, Texas. Much like Jace in Something Like Autumn, I was keen to escape to somewhere more exciting and much less sleepy. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand that I was just as uncool as the town I came from. Things were okay until that first day of school. That’s when it became clear that I didn’t fit in. Maybe it was my dopey clothes, or my lack of athletic ability. Or perhaps, on some subconscious level, the other boys could sense there was something different about me. I was out at recess one day when a group of about ten guys came up to me and started shoving me around. They pushed me down, picked me back up again by the ankles, and held me upside-down like they wanted to shake me down for change. When they were done with me, they dropped me to the ground and wandered off. Then a guy from my class sauntered over and explained he had paid them each fifty cents to do this to me. This experience pretty much set the stage for the next few years of my life.

Lambda Literary Award Gay Romance List of Winners Jay BellI went to school every day with a crippling sense of dread in my stomach. I pleaded with my parents not to take me there. They did the best they could, taking to teachers and such, but every kid knows how ineffective this is. My response was to lose myself in books. I’d always been crazy about reading, but now I escaped into fantasy realms with a vengeance. The lady who ran the local used bookstore felt like my only friend. Or my dealer. Things got a little better as the years went by. I fought back a few times, which helped a little, but I remained a frequent target. By the time I reached high school, I freaked out. I indulged in destructive behavior, vandalizing and other terrible things because I felt like I would go insane otherwise. If you’ve read Kamikaze Boys, this is probably starting to sound familiar. You also have a good idea of how it all played out. Like David in that story, I eventually found my way to a better place, both mentally and physically. The journey wasn’t easy, but I survived.

Jay Bell loves Andreas Bell

Andreas and I at last year’s award ceremony.

Today I woke up to the news that Kamikaze Boys won a prestigious Lambda Literary Award. Unfortunately, Andreas and I couldn’t make the trip to the awards ceremony in New York this year. Had we gone, I can only imagine what my acceptance speech would have been like. It would have been made up on the spot, because I never expected to win. As I tried to imagine myself on stage giving an impromptu speech, I considered who I would thank. Andreas, of course, and all of you readers, but then I thought of all those bullies. Weren’t they the most responsible for this book being written? The idea of thanking the people who made my life hell is laughable. My heart isn’t that generous. But winning this award does go a long way toward healing old wounds.

I’ve often fantasized about travelling back in time, showing up on that playground and protecting my younger self from that gang of bullies. But now, maybe I’d show up after the fact. My younger self would consider this a betrayal, but I’d explain to him that this is the way it has to be. Those bullies shaped who I was, put me through a number of trials that—as painful as they were—make it possible for me to write about such experiences today. Hopefully, others going through similar situations can take refuge in the pages of my books, just as I once hid in the pages of so many novels. Of course my younger self would probably hate this explanation and kick me in the shin. Then I’d have to wipe his memory to prevent a paradox. Come to think of it, I could probably beat those bullies up and then wipe their memories too!

Looks like I need to power up my time machine. Before I do, I’d like to say thank you to the Lambda Literary Foundation for working so hard to support and celebrate gay literature. As for anyone out there that might be going through a rough time as I once did, all I can tell you is to keep on fighting. Don’t let the bullies win. Survive long enough to build yourself a wonderful life full of laughter and love. That is the best revenge.

 
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