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New Interview and Freshly Won Awards! Yeee-haw!

True Colorz Review SiteCurious about Something Like Autumn and Spring? I drop a few hints in a recent interview over at True Colorz, a new site that’s chock-full of gay goodness. Book reviews, author interviews, reading lists, freebies—the resources over at True Colorz are amazing and growing every day. Please check them out! Quite a few gay book sites bit the dust last year, so it’s great to see a big ol’ rainbow phoenix rising from the ashes. Aside from the next two books in the Seasons series, I also talk a little about my troubled past and the inspiration for Kamikaze Boys. Read the article about me all the way to the end for details on how to win a free paperback or eBook copy of Something Like Winter!

In other news, the results of the 2012 Member Choice Awards are in, and you guys were very very good to me. I won five awards in total, or more accurately, you won five awards for us. This particular award is very special to me, since it’s based on what readers like. That’s the only criteria. Read it, love it, and vote. And man oh man, thank you guys for all the love! Something Like Winter won an award for Best Cover, which made Andreas very happy. Ben and Tim won an award for Best Couple. Don’t tell Jace! Kamikaze Boys won an award in the Best Coming Out Story category. At first I thought that was a little odd, since the book begins with both characters already out, but then again, living with the consequences of being openly gay is also part of coming out. David and Connor also scored in the Best Story Featuring Young Adult Characters category. Last but not least, Something Like Winter nabbed a prize for Best Contemporary Story. I literally couldn’t have done it without you guys. Thank you so so SO much. The only way I can think to repay you is by writing more. Rest assured, Something Like Autumn is progressing nicely!

Goodreads M/M Romance 2012 Member Choice Awards

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Something Like Series

Jay Bell's Seasons SeriesHow many books does a series make? Two is a pair, three a trilogy, and four… Hm. That sounds about right. Four books is enough for a series, and just happens to be the number of seasons there are. How very convenient then for us then, because what started as a stand-alone book (that I was sure no one would bother reading) is now expanding into a series. Something Like Summer told the story of Ben’s love for two very special men. Something Like Winter gave us Tim’s perspective on their history, both together and apart. Now I think it’s time to hear one more tale before moving on. What do we really know about Jace?

Something Like Autumn will tell Jace’s life story. Like the other two books, it will begin in the teen years. This is very exciting, because by the time we meet Jace in Summer, he’s already a very well-adjusted adult. I love the idea of exploring what Jace’s younger years were like, and discovering how he slowly developed into the lovable and rather saintly person we see in Summer and Winter. Surely he wasn’t always perfect, and wisdom always comes at a price, so his story won’t be simple. While I’ve made good progress on the book, I’m not sure if there will be any revisited scenes like with the previous two books. Something Like Autumn might end the moment Jace and Ben meet, or it might further flesh out their relationship. Regardless, Autumn will rely even less on retreading previous scenes than Winter did.

Painting by Andreas Bell, and no, it's not the cover of Something Like Spring

Painting by Andreas Bell. www.andreasbell.com/blog/

That just leaves one season. Spring symbolizes new beginnings and fresh starts, and while I don’t want to give away too much now, I think it’s safe to say this is the book many of you have been waiting for. Something Like Spring will be told from a new character’s perspective, but will feature a supporting cast from the other three books. The best part? This story begins after the events of Something Like Winter. In other words, it takes place in the future of many characters we know and love. You want to know what happens to Ben, Allison, Marcello, Tim, and even Chinchilla? Are you sure you want to know? Are you really really sure? Yeah, me too.

find-the-prizeIt’s too early to talk release dates. I still have a lot of work to do. I can promise that neither story will see the light of day until I feel they are up to par. I want the Seasons Series to be the absolute best it can be, not just for us, but for the characters that I adore so much. I want them to continue living in our hearts and imaginations, and I hope you are as excited to see their return as I am.

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End of year sale! Awards! New book news!

Goodreads M/M Romance Group Members Choice Awards 2012I need your vote! But before we get to that, I’m having big ol’ sale. From now until January 2nd of next year, all my books will be priced at a meager $2.99. Why? I know this time of year can be expensive, so I hope to help folks out that way. I’m also aware that many of you will be getting eBook readers for the holidays, and as a big believer in digital media, I want to make your introduction to this brave new world as cheap as possible. Or maybe the lower prices will help you pimp me to your friends and family. Or make it more tempting to try out some of my weirder stuff, like Hell’s Pawn. So there are lots and lots of reasons, but the bottom line is two weeks of cheap.

In other news, Something Like Winter and Kamikaze Boys have been nominated for various awards. Want them to win? The power is yours! The M/M Romance Group is having their Members Choice Awards, and you can weigh in on all sorts of books by voting right here (voting is now closed). It’s a long list, but you don’t have to choose an answer for every category, which is good if you don’t read BDSM or books about cowboys. Or books about BDSM cowboys. The categories my books have been nominated in are:

Best cover:
Something Like Winter (I wanna win this one for Andreas!)

Best Couple:
Ben and Tim – Something Like Winter

Funniest/Best Quote:
Something Like Winter

Best Contemporary Novel:
Something Like Winter

Best Book of the Year:
Kamikaze Boys

Best Coming Out Story:
Kamikaze Boys

Best Book Featuring Young Adult Characters:
Kamikaze Boys

Finally, if you’re wondering about the aforementioned new book news, I’ll be making a full announcement on January 2nd, so check back here for details. You guys are going to be so pumped! But I can’t leave you hanging right? So here’s a completely random image that isn’t a hint at all. ;)

Something Like... what?

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Inspiration – Something Like Winter

Model Bruno SantosOne thing I absolutely adore is when readers send me songs, saying “This one made me think of your book.” I used to do the same as a reader, discovering by chance a song with lyrics or vibe that suited a favorite story. I still do this as a writer, but in reverse. I’ll find a new tune that sets a certain mood, one that I want to capture and insert into one of my novels. Something Like Winter had quite a few songs that helped inspire it, one of my favorites being Bizarre Love Triangle by a little band called Ghost Ghost. Many of you have commented on the couch scene in the second half of the book. We have the below song to thank for it.

For me, the song encapsulates perfectly that desperate feeling of being the third wheel. Some of the lyrics suit Ben, some suit Tim, and you won’t have to dig deep to figure out that I took direct inspiration from a few of the lines. If you dig this song, you can learn more about the album or listen to all the tracks for free right here.
Speaking of art inspiring art (inspiring art!) there’s another musician by the name of Gavin Beach, who is not only gay and adorable, but has the most phenomenal voice ever. Sometimes I listen to him and imagine Ben Bentley sounds much the same. The second coolest part? While in the middle of reading Something Like Summer, he recorded the following cover, and he later told me the story was on his mind at the time:

Gorgeous! The mostest coolest part? His singing contributed to Something Like Winter. I couldn’t stop listening to Gavin’s cover. I listened to it when getting in the mood to write, and this song along with many of Gavin’s other videos, were playing while Andreas worked on the book’s cover. In other words, we’re big fans. Gavin is working on recording some original tunes, so be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel to keep up with this shooting star.

For Love of Evil-Piers AnthonyAnother big… okay, tremendously HUGE inspiration in my life has been Piers Anthony and his books. They’ve influenced my personal life and my writing. Each of my fantasy novels borrows something from his stories I grew up reading, and in a weird way, so does Something Like Winter. Piers has a series called The Incarnations of Immortality. Each book was about a personified force of nature, such as Death, War, Fate, and the like. The villain in each book was the Devil. Pretty cool, especially the 6th book in the series, which is from the Devil’s perspective. In that book we learn about his early life, what motivates him and makes him tick, and then we relive all those villainous moments, but through his eyes. The twist is, the Devil has a very good reason for doing all those things that appeared evil in the other books. Brilliant! While I didn’t want to make Tim seem like a saint, since that wouldn’t be honest, I did want to provide that same “A-ha, now I get it!” feeling where his actions are at least understandable, and maybe a little forgivable.

That’s it for this time around. There’s plenty more that inspired me, like that photo of Bruno Santos up top, or The Maltese Falcon, since Marcello and The Fat Man share a deliciously offbeat charm. I could go on and on, but I’d rather go listen to more music, seek out more art, and keep working on my next release. Curious what it’s about? Stay tuned!

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New Release! Something Like Winter is here!

Something Like Winter by Jay Bell eBooks and paperbackThis is it! This is the book you’ve all been waiting for! … Actually, I suspect if you guys tied me to a bed Misery style and forced me to write a book, it would probably be about Ben and Tim’s future. That’s okay. I have my reasons for not doing so, and I hope when you read Something Like Winter, you’ll understand them better. And it really is quite the tale. The high school years will feel like a nice flashback to Something Like Summer, but when you hit those college years—watch out! By the end of the book, I hope you’ll agree that this was a fun way to revisit Ben and Tim’s lives. As I’ve said elsewhere, a good sequel should be more of the same and yet different, and I feel Something Like Winter really delivers in that area.

But hey, don’t take my word for it. Something Like Winter is out, and just begging to be bought and devoured. Be sure to bring a glass of water with you, because at 130,000 words long, this bad boy is a lot to swallow! Hopefully it will keep you guys busy while I get started on my next release. As usual, eBook versions are cheapest and available across the spectrum. The bar to the left has all the buying options. iTunes (update! iTunes version is now out!) always takes longer to get my books, but you can use the Kindle or Nook app on any Apple device in the meantime, or pick up Apple compatible formats from Smashwords. The paperback price is higher this time around because of the page count. Despite the price hike, I don’t earn more than I do on any of my other books. For those short on cash right now, or dubious about this whole scheme, there are five free chapters on the product page here.

When I first wrote Something Like Summer, I had no idea that the story would resonate with so many of you. Now, with this second book, I’m in the same position. I’m clueless as to what most of you will think. All I can say is that while writing Something Like Winter, I fell in love with Ben, Tim, and Jace all over again. Having to say goodbye to them one more time is almost unbearable. Eh, don’t worry about sad old me. You guys are just beginning the journey. Go on then! Off you go!

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Winter never looked so pretty! New cover art!

Feast those sweet little eyes of yours on the cover art for Something Like Winter!

Something Like Winter by Jay Bell cover art

Andreas and I put a lot of thought into this one. We wanted a cover that harkened back to Something Like Summer. One of the earliest ideas we had was to invert that cover. Since Summer’s cover is looking over Ben’s shoulder at Tim, we figured Winter’s art should depict Tim looking at Ben. We also thought it would be neat to invert the colors. Instead of orange with a touch of those wonderful blue shoes, we have blue with a kiss of sunshine from Ben.

Full cover art isn’t really meant to be seen like this, with the front, back, and spine visible all at the same time. Something Like Summer had Ben on the back as well, so likewise we get to see another image of Tim here. Of course the full view makes it look like there are two Tim’s in one place, an idea that has me fanning my nether regions. Yeah, you heard me right. Let’s return our focus to the art. Didn’t Andreas do a fantastic job? Don’t you just want to kiss his face and tell him how adorable he is? I know I do!

Something Like Winter is due out on November 2nd. You can learn more about the book by reading the blog entry before this one. I’ll see you guys then!

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