Charlie, I want to thank you so much for having me on your (beautifully redesigned) blog today. Before we dive right into it, though, I wanted to mention that I’ll be doing a giveaway at the end of the tour. Every comment that is made on each of the posts will be put into a hat and two winners will be drawn at random to win e-copies of the book. I’ll announce the winners on my website on April 10th.
Today I wanted to tell you my coming out story. I sincerely hope that I don’t offend anyone by calling it my coming out, because I know many have had to struggle for love and acceptance from the people they chose to be honest with. My coming out story wasn’t nearly as tumultuous or risky. Mine was telling my parents that I write gay romance novels.
Until I received my contract from Dreamspinner, my novel was a secret. There were only two people who knew I was writing—my husband and my sister, and honestly if I could have kept it from my husband I would have, but he thought I was having some sort of cyber-affair. Every time he walked by, I would hide the laptop screen or quickly change windows. (Nothing sketchy about that at all, right?) But I was embarrassed. I had no idea if I would be any good at it. You know how every parent thinks their kid is a genius? Writers (or at least me) walk a fine line between being the parent of their manuscript and hating everything about it. We must think it has some merit, or we would never send it in, but the second it’s too late to turn back, you reflect back on it and realize it is probably the absolute worst thing ever written.
Anyway, to say I was shocked to receive my acceptance letter is the understatement of the century, but then I was then faced with a choice. Should I tell people what I was writing? What would they say? What would my mother think?
I couldn’t keep it from her, though. My family is close. Very close. Closer than a family probably should be, so I told my mom first and she was thrilled. Initially a little confused why I was writing gay romance, but she was so very happy for me. She broke the news to my dad, who was, if possible, more excited than my mom was. I asked them to keep it quiet in the beginning. I wasn’t sure I wanted my grandmother knowing I was writing sexy books, but my mom practically took out billboard space on the highway. She told everyone—and I do mean everyone. Friends, family, acquaintances, the waitress at the restaurant where they go for breakfast (who is an aspiring writer, so my mom gave her my email address)—everyone.
So, I have to say that I am happy they know. They love me and would be proud of me no matter what, but having them celebrate my successes with me makes them that much sweeter.
Here is the official blurb for Keeping Sweets:
Days away from high school graduation, with hardly a penny to his name, Evan Lowry needs to earn money for college. When he comes across an ad for modeling, he thinks his luck has changed—until he learns he’s interviewing for an adult film and will be expected to have sex. On camera. With other men.
For gay porn star Brandon Court, the shine has worn off of regular shoots. He and his producer, Les, decide to try something new: a reality-show porno set at a beach house. When he meets wide-eyed and naïve Evan for the first time, Brandon isn’t sure if he wants the kid to get lost or get naked. Naked wins.
On set, Brandon takes Evan under his wing, and over the next month, they are thrown together in every intimate way conceivable—except emotionally. Both Brandon and Evan are terrified of trying for anything deeper, and insecurities and doubts wear on their hopes, but the chemistry between them won’t let them slow things down.
And here is an excerpt from the book. Evan is this kid who has been waiting eighteen years for his life to begin. He doesn’t know a lot about the world, or even himself, but once he leaves home he begins to understand where he fits into the bigger picture. This is from a little ways into the story when Evan starts to understand where he belongs.
He was beginning to realize that his desire to be normal, to fit in with a loving family and friends who cared about him had fueled a sort of denial about what would really make him happy. He had been searching for all these years for a magic trick to instantly make everything better, but there was no magic.
The forest opened to the cliffs that outlined the beach. A set of well-worn wooden steps carved a path through the low brush toward the water. He walked toward the ocean, listening to the sounds around him. He crossed the dry sand and sat down, then pulled off his shoes and socks before dipping his feet in the water. He wiggled his toes, burrowing into the loose sand, letting the waves splash against his shins.
The water was cold, and felt a bit like needles piercing his skin, but the calm that overcame him with being this connected to the sea overrode any discomfort from the temperature.
Slowly, his skin numbing slightly, he became accustomed to the cold. He stared out past the slowly rolling waves toward the calmer water at the horizon. He closed his eyes and thought of how peaceful it was here. He would be happy to stay like this forever. Quiet, serene, and tranquil, it was such a change from the quiet that had permeated his life until now. What had once been loneliness, separation, and isolation had become a quiet strength and acceptance of himself.
Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.
Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.
Cate loves to hear from readers. You can find her here: