Writing and Passion

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: For a little while there, I think I lost my passion to write and to change the world.

If I had to choose a timeframe, I’d say from about November of last year until quite recently. Hmm. I wonder what happened in November that might have impacted me to lose my passion for changing the world? Hmm.

Of course no external factor is to blame for my actions, in reality. I guess it was part of a process I had to go through, and yes, I got depressed for a while, and then, once out of the depression, I floundered and felt stuck, unable to find the joy and passion I’ve had for the past decade-plus to tell, with love, stories of young people coming to understand who they are. Stories of authenticity. That’s been my jam, and it will continue to be my jam.

At some point in the future, I may talk about the major impetus for re-booting my passion; for now, I just want to get writing. But I wanted to put this out there to say to my fans that I will not let you down. I will keep writing stories and worlds which will allow you to see yourselves and allow you to see the hearts of others. That’s a powerful thing, and it’s a powerful thing for me, too. To have that connection with you, where the things I share from my heart go into yours? What an amazing gift. I never want to take that for granted again.

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Ben and Bisexuality

bi erasure

I get emails. I am mostly getting emails from readers of HONESTLY BEN right now, but this one comes from the UK, from someone who is currently reading OPENLY STRAIGHT still.

Nonetheless, it brings up an interesting issue: bisexual erasure. I’ll let the writer speak for themselves, and after, I’ll make a few remarks.

Hey,

So I’m still reading ‘Openly Straight’ (on page 254), and decided to google about Ben and bisexuality and found this blog post.

(I realise this is pretty late, seeing as the other comments are from 2014, but I hope this is read by somebody and isn’t just me talking to the void–although that’s fun too, sometimes.)

With how far I’ve read so far, I think Ben is a great example of someone who’s discovering/exploring their bisexuality. The book talks, in passing, about heteronormativity which is something bi people go through too but, I suppose, in a slightly different way. There’s a lot of different circumstances, and bi people too get that assumed straight unless out (and then sometimes still assumed straight because what, bisexuality isn’t a thing?! You’re just confused/experimenting or really just gay and not all the way there yet.)

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Openly Straight e-book for $0.99!

Want to read Openly Straight before Honestly Ben comes out tomorrow? Download it for just $0.99 today only at eBookDaily!

Ebookdaily125

 

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HONESTLY BEN: 4 Surprising Things

honestly-ben

Honestly Ben comes out in one week! I can’t wait, mostly because after that date, no one can ever again write me an email or tweet me that they hate me for how I ended Openly Straight. Now they can just go and read Honestly Ben and find out what happens next!

For my fans and for those who are just curious, I have compiled this list of 4 surprising things about Honestly Ben. No spoilers, I promise.

But first: Did you know there’s a bridge book, available for free, e-book only, between OPENLY STRAIGHT and HONESTLY BEN? It’s called OPENLY, HONESTLY, and you should, like, totally download it and read it now for your Rafe/Ben fix. It’s basically just a book that chronicles the Christmas/Chanukah break for both characters.

openly honestly

And second: Arizona fans: come to the book launch! Next Tuesday, March 28th, at 7pm, at Changing Hands in Tempe!

Now on with our countdown:

  1. While writing OPENLY STRAIGHT, I literally went to Google Maps and chose a town where Ben was from in New Hampshire. Alton. I wanted a small town where he could have grown up on a farm, and Alton fit the bill. So when I went to write HONESTLY BEN, I had to travel to Alton so I could have some idea of what this place was where Ben grew up. It was amazing to do the research about where my character was from after the fact. Like I was discovering things about him that I didn’t actually know. I spent a day on a farm there, and I used that farm as the basis for Ben’s home. I also spent time with a town historian, which was really interesting.
  2. Writing from Ben’s point of view was the hardest challenge I’ve had yet in my fiction career. If you’ve read my books, you know that my characters tend to be, well, emotional. To write a character who doesn’t show his emotions was a real stretch for me, so much so that my editor said, after my first draft, “Bill, is that what you think ‘stoic’ means?”
  3. Two characters do NOT make a re-appearance from the first book. Bryce and Robinson. I wanted Bryce to come back, but he just … he wasn’t supposed to come back to Natick, I guess, because it didn’t work to bring him back. When I had him show up at the end, it felt like a bad movie sequel, where a character returns so everyone can say, “Oh, look, remember him?” So I nixed it. Robinson just wasn’t as much on Ben’s radar, so other characters show up in his place.
  4. Toby has a secret. Yes, in this book, Toby has something on his mind and needs someone to talk to, and Albie isn’t his first choice. He searches out Ben. And can you blame him? Ben’s such a solid guy. I won’t tell you what the secret is, but I will say this: it’s a good setup for a third novel in the series!

Stay tuned for more before Ben hits the stores next Tuesday!

 

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Win Free Galley Copy of Honestly Ben!

Can’t wait for HONESTLY BEN’s release on March 28? Can’t wait to find out what happens with Ben and Rafe from OPENLY STRAIGHT?

Two suggestions:

  1. Starting tomorrow, download OPENLY, HONESTLY for free! It’s a short (35 pages) story that bridges OPENLY STRAIGHT and HONESTLY BEN. Click here for more information.
  2. Enter to win a free galley copy of Honestly Ben on Goodreads! Click here and scroll down for information on how to win one of 10 copies!

Good luck!

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OPENLY, HONESTLY!

I’ve been keeping a secret from all of you. It was a little naughty, actually, but what can you do?

For everyone who has been asking when they can read more Rafe and Ben, I’ve been saying, “March 28. Honestly Ben.”

That’s true, but. The actual answer is this:

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Yes! A free gift for y’all!

Openly, Honestly will be available as an e-book on Tuesday, February 28. You can get your Rafe and Ben fix then, and that will lead you directly into Honestly Ben, which comes, as I’ve told you, a month later.

Here’s an OPENLY, HONESTLY synopsis: NOT written by me, as it would be pretty ballsy for me to use the word “beautiful” in a synopsis of something I wrote.

Rafe Goldberg was planning to spend winter break at home in Colorado openly mourning what he almost had with Ben. He wasn’t expecting his best friend, Claire Olivia, to kidnap him. And he definitely wasn’t expecting what she has planned to cheer him up…

Ben Carver was honestly planning to spend winter break at home in New Hampshire not thinking about Rafe. But he wasn’t expecting to run into his ex-girlfriend, who’s still interested in him. And he wasn’t expecting to find himself still attracted to her…

Openly, Honestly tells two funny, sad, beautiful stories that were made for anyone who has longed for one person to see you, to understand you, and to love you exactly as you are.

For more information and download links, click here. Enjoy!

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Starred Reviews for Honestly Ben!

I remember the day I pitched Honestly Ben to my editor. We were in her office in SoHo, and I was pitching her various ideas for my next book. A thought that had barely crossed my mind came out of my mouth.

“You know, a lot of readers are writing me after finishing Openly Straight and asking if there’s going to be a sequel. You don’t want a continuation of the story from Ben’s perspective, do you?”

(Note: the best, most confident people generally do not ask questions in the negative like this. Try to avoid.)

My editor’s eyes went wide. “Yes! This! Write me that book!”

Walking north on Broadway away from Scholastic, I thought two things. One was: Yay! She wants a book from me! Two was: How the hell am I going to do that?

You have to understand. Openly Straight was meant to be a standalone book. I wrote it purposefully, and I ended it the way I did on purpose (spoiler alert). I didn’t do it to break hearts; it didn’t really occur to me that it would. It had to end that way. Rafe’s journey necessitated him not being with Ben at the end.

So I had to go back in, open up the story, change narrators, connect with Ben on a deeper, more personal level, see Rafe through a different set of eyes, and find a brand new story that would both stand on its own, and satisfy fanatics of my most loved book.

Sure. No problem. 🙂

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To be real: this was as big a struggle as I’ve had as a writer. The degree of difficulty, for the reasons stated above, was high. I sweated and I cried and I plunged deeper and I wrote and deleted and wrote and edited and then wrote and edited some more.

And when it was done, I had something. I wasn’t sure what I had, but it was something.

So I have to tell you that receiving three “starred” reviews for Honestly Ben, from Booklist, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, is just about the best present a writer could get.

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