Life Happens

I’ll try to keep today’s blog post short and sweet since it’s not a “typical” blog post. Not to worry, the next blog post will be “typical!”

A life event–a wonderful life event–has occurred for me. One that requires a lot of my time and attention. Something that I can’t half-ass with any good conscience. Not that I’ve ever looked at a life event and thought, “How much of my ass is needed here?

That’s a different type of “event.” <cue laugh track>

All joking aside, my full ass is needed for certain life events. Because of this, I have spoken with The Lion Fish Press and we have decided to delay the release of THATCHER GRAVES AND THE DEMON’S CURSE until 2023.

TLFP has always been so good to me and I’m lucky to have a family and home with them. Their patience and understanding for what is needed in my life right now is much appreciated and speaks to the type of imprint they are. So, many thanks to them for treating me like a person and not just a writing machine.

Regardless, when it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to give my full attention to the release of THATCHER GRAVES, delaying its release was the only logical option. It’s not ideal–I’m so excited to share this–in my (biased) opinion–exciting fun, and unique story with you. Thatcher is one of my favorite creations.

I’ve never delayed the release of anything once an actual date has been announced, so this is extra disappointing for me.

However, due to the pride I have for, and the excitement I feel for, THATCHER GRAVES AND THE DEMON’S CURSE, I don’t want to give it half of my ass in attention. With a story I think will be thrilling, exciting, and endearing to readers, and a beautiful cover by Matt Walker, I can’t half-ass it.

To be clear, this does not delay anything else on the books. THE BEES AND OTHER WILD THINGS will still be arriving in October. TRICKED: THE MEN OF BRIEFLY BUDDIES and the novelettes will still be coming out as planned. However, something had to give so I had the amount of ass I needed for my life. I’d rather delay THATCHER until 2023 than to have its release suffer due to my inattention.

I hope you all understand (I know you will, you’re all amazing, beautiful people) and will look forward to reading this story in 2023 and beyond.

Thank you in advance for all of your patience and all of your continued support and love!

Tremendous Love & Thanks,
Chase

Hope/Possibility

In THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR (ENZO & PETER #2), a character named Alex says:

“Hope is the belief that some course of action we take—some decision—will make our lives better. You know, we’ll say or do the right thing that fixes everything. But that’s not really what hope is. It’s the resolve to see everything through to its end. To keep trying. Because at the end of life, what matters isn’t that one thing we said or did—it’s all of the things we said and did. Hope doesn’t work on a timetable—and if it did, it’s not ours.”

Later, Enzo says:

“Did you know that hope is not the belief that one decision or action will fix everything? Hope is the resolve to take one step after another, seeing things through to the end. Because you believe that, in the end, everything will be okay. Hope is, actually, possibility.”

After their one perfect night in Montreal in the book BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE, Enzo’s and Peter’s epic love story concludes today with the release of THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR.

You can get a copy of it here.

Covering the 10 years following the events in BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE, THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR moves a few steps away from grief and attempts to unravel the mysteries of hope and possibility.

Are they the same thing? Interchangeable?

Enzo tries to discover what he hopes for most. What is possible.

The meaning of his life.

When I wrote BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE (released January 14th, 2020), I set out to tell the tale of a grieving immigrant and how one act of kindness from a stranger could set a life on a new, better, more hopeful, course.

In THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR, my sole purpose was…then what?

If you had a chance, if you were given opportunity, tools, resources, love, and hope…what would you do with that?

When I started writing WARMTH, we were in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The geopolitical landscape looked much different. My country looked much different.

As I wrote, the world changed. Drastically. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the worse. Even within the last few days and weeks, things have happened that have made hope seem pointless.

But what is hope if not possibility?

No matter what happens, there is always possibility. There is always another step a person can take. Another course of action. One can adapt. Learn. Adjust. Attack a problem from a new angle.

There is never a lack possibility. Or hope.

I have been so angry lately.

And I’ve been angry at myself for feeling angry. Because I’ve always felt that anger was a mask for a more vulnerable emotion I was afraid to show. Maybe I was sad, embarrassed, humiliated…but…not angry. Right?

Anger, like any emotion, is important. It is useful. It serves a purpose. Anger, I have learned, reminds me that I still care. That I haven’t given up hope.

I’m simply angry because someone bad did something bad and I’m upset that we, as a people, have to correct a wrong. Yet again.

Ten steps forward. Nine steps back.

That seems to be the theme, right?

Maybe one day it’ll be ten steps forward, two steps back. We can hope. It’s possible.

I write all of this to all of you because I hope you’re angry. And I hope you don’t feel bad about it. I hope you harness that anger, find its usefulness, and realize what is possible when anger is utilized correctly.

I hope you know that, in your anger, you are proving to yourself how much you care. You haven’t given up hope.

People who have given up hope are not angry. They are apathetic.

Maybe you don’t know what to do right now. Maybe you need to sit in your anger. Stew. Consider your options. That’s okay. When you’re done…when your anger has become a fiery ball begging to be cast upon those who need it most, I hope you act.

I hope you show what is possible.

And I hope, when/if you read THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR, you are left feeling lighter, more hopeful, dizzy with possibility.

I hope you revel in Enzo’s and Peter’s love story. Like anything in life, it’s not easy. WARMTH is not a fantasy. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s human.

It’s about two men whose love for each other only grew in their two years apart after one perfect night together, and they chose to find out what was possible instead of fearing what they might find. They ignored all of the obstacles in the path before them, had faith…and leapt.

Have faith. Be angry. Have hope. Find what is possible.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,
Chase.

Possibly Texas FAQs

As I threatened on Twitter a week ago, today I’m going to answer some Frequently Asked Questions about my LGBTQ+ Magical Realism novel POSSIBLY TEXAS. It dropped on March 25th, 2022 (pick up a copy or read it on Kindle Unlimited here) so it has been 3 months since its release.

It seems enough time has passed to answer some of the questions that have been asked about it.

Please, please, please keep in mind that I wrote POSSIBLY TEXAS to be open to interpretation. The answers I give are how I saw and intended things. You are still welcome to interpret the book, characters, locations, and events however you see fit. I’m totally fine with that.

***SPOILERS ALERT***

Major plot points, characters, and whatnot will be written about in this post. If you have not read POSSIBLY TEXAS, and plan to, you do not want to go any further in this blog post!

So…let’s do this! And let’s get The Big Ones™ out of the way!

Q: Is everyone in Possibly dead?

A: Yes.

Q: Is Possibly Heaven?

A: Yes. It’s Jordan’s (and the citizens of Possibly’s) heaven. In my mind, everyone who dies gets assigned to the heaven that best suits them and will help them the most. Jordan got assigned to Possibly. Maybe, one day, all of the souls in Possibly will travel up the highway that leads out of Possibly…

Q: Possibly is full of artists. You love to write about food in your books. Are there any “food artists” in Possibly?

A: I like to think that Starbuck is a “food artist.” He makes those wonderful blueberry muffins, after all! However, I did not have any specific character in mind for a food artist when I wrote it. But I’m perfectly fine with readers imagining there is one! Also, for those who don’t follow me on Twitter, I actually based those muffins off of real muffins I get from my favorite coffee shop!

Q: Is Emily, the girl whose name Brandon screams before jumping off of Lovelorn Pass Bridge, alive?

A: In my mind, yes. Or maybe they were separated and he’s still trying to get over her. Totally up to the readers.

Q: What was wrong with Jack that he couldn’t speak?

A: Jack is God. Humans are not meant to hear God’s voice. God tends to take a form that will help a newly dead person transition to the afterlife better.

Q: So, that means Auggie…

A: Auggie is loosely based on the mythology of the Metatron. They’re the only person in Possibly who understands God’s language, interprets for him, and teaches God’s language to others if they want to learn it.

Q: Who is Malia and why does she hang out at Bend of the Road Graveyard?

A: Malia is Death. The Grim Reaper. However you want to see her.

Q: Is Susurrus Creek like the River Styx?

A: YES! Good catch. If you notice, no one ever crosses back over Susurrus Creek once they get to Possibly. Jordan met his fate and made a decision in Susurrus Creek…just as Mystic Molly had foretold, after all…

Q: Why did Two-Mile Trail become overgrown as summer progressed? Does that mean no new souls will show up in Possibly?

A: The trail only stays open when a new soul has been assigned to Possibly and is on their way to join the other Possibilians.

Q: Where are Auggie’s parents?

A: One day, like his grandmother, they will die. And they will join him in Possibly. Or…maybe they will go to a different heaven. One day, maybe they will all end up in the same place. Only time will tell.

Q: What’s up with Windchime Hollow?

A: It’s how the dead communicate with the living. And vice versa. When the chimes make noise for a person, someone living is thinking of them or praying about them. I imagine, back in the real world, if a person is passing a wind chime and it rings for them, someone in Possibly is thinking of them or hanging an ornament on a chime in memory of them. Mystic Molly is obviously another conduit for Possibilians to check in on loved ones.

Q: What choice did Jordan have about staying in Possibly if he’s dead then?

A: Possibly is just one of the possibilities once someone dies. He could have decided he didn’t like Possibly and been sent somewhere else. To stay in Possibly–or any of the heavens–someone has to decide it is right for them.

Q: So, did Jordan’s mother just dump his dead body on the side of the road next to Two-Mile Trail??

A: This one is my favorite. The visual alone…

In my mind, there is no Two-Mile Trail in the real world. It’s just the road that shows up for a dead person’s soul when they get selected for Possibly. In the real world, Jordan died and his mother sprinkled his ashes in a place that had some significance for them–near where his stepfather, Jack, once lived. She wanted him to go be with someone they loved who had passed. The Jack in Possibly is not his real stepfather’s soul, but he expected to see Jack when he got to Possibly, so that’s the form God took.

The meaning of the name “Jack” is “God is gracious” or “God is merciful,” after all.

Q: Were Jordan’s texts from his mother real?

A: Those text messages–if you re-read them–were Jordan’s mother praying about him. Possibly at the place where she sprinkled his ashes. Sometimes Possibilians can get messages from the living, and, in their own way, Possibilians can get messages through to the living.

Q: What happens now? What do the people of Possibly do now?

A: They live happily in the afterlife, learning more about themselves, life, death, art, and peace.

Q: Will you ever write a sequel?

A: I’m glaring at you so hard right now. But never say “never.”

Q: Will you write Levi Lee’s story?

A: I’m glaring at you so hard right now. But never say “never.”

Q: Lastly, if they’re in Heaven, why are there ghosts that haunt Possibly?

A: In my mind, they’re unsettled spirits who could never really fit into any heaven and are left to wander the afterlife.

Okay. That’s it for now. I hope this helped some of you come to peace with my trickery and nonsense. HA!

If you haven’t visited Possibly, Texas, and you plan to–or maybe you have and plan to revisit it–remember, it’s quite possibly the best place to be!

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase

A Tale of Two Coats

***Before you read further, please be aware that spoilers for the first book in this series might be present***

As all of you might know, the sequel to BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE comes out July 8th, 2022. Titled THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR, it covers the 10 years of Enzo’s life following his one perfect night in Montreal with Peter.

For the full blurb and the pre-order link, simply click on the link above for WARMTH.

Those of you who read the first book are aware that everything began with the coat made of sugar and blue clouds being stolen from a coat hook in Enzo’s ESL class above a dumpling restaurant. The first book ended with the return of that coat and Enzo finally hearing the one word he’d needed to hear from the universe.

That one word, and his one perfect night with Peter, gave Enzo the hope he needed to move forward with his life. To try and put his life back together after so much loss and grief.

How could the sequel not be about hope? And possibility? And two coats?

In the sequel, we begin with present-day Enzo in a coffee shop in Minneapolis on a gloomy, rainy, early spring day. A bundle is in his arms, and he is ruminating about his new homeland, his life, love, and what it has all meant. About who he is now.

Then we flashback to 8 years prior with Enzo on a plane that is landing. Where has he gone?

I think we all know.

Told in 4 parts, THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR covers Enzo and Peter reuniting after a few years apart.

Then the love affair that follows.

But love is never simple. Love is never a linear line. Life is not simple or linear.

As we flip through the 421 pages, we’ll ruminate on life, what it means to be an American, friendship, hope, possibility, death, grief, and what could possibly be the meaning of life.

In the end, maybe Enzo figures it all out. Or maybe he realizes that the more he learns the less he knows.

But there will be love. Sex. Fights. Making up. Friendship. Lots of laughs. Family. Hope. Possibility. And creation.

In the beginning, Enzo has one question.

What is a life without possibility?

In the end, Enzo has one question left.

What does he have to be happy about?

And we’ll find out what happened to a black wool peacoat and a coat made of sugar and blue clouds.

THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR isn’t a simple romance–because love and life are never simple. But it is a love story. An epic love story.

And I guarantee it will leave you with hope and happiness in your heart.

Also, maybe just as important, no one dies in this one…

Tremendous Love & Thanks,
Chase

Pride 2022

TW: Mentions of suicide, drug/alcohol abuse, homophobia, racism.

I’m a proud gay man. I’ve said it many times. I don’t hide my queerness. I don’t hide my marriage. I don’t hide my demi sprinkles. Technically, I’ve never been in the closet, but ever since I first realized I was gay and admitted it out loud to someone, there was no looking back.

I try to live as openly as I can without inviting strangers to feel they can intrude on my life.

One thing that I’ve never said out loud to anyone (aside from my husband and closest friends) is that I often don’t feel at home in the LGBTQIA+ community. Many times I feel like an outsider in the community of which I’m happy and proud to be a part.

Why?

I feel that looking at my own intersectionalism, a good part of my identity is ignored. Or is not welcome. I feel that when all the flags are for sale during Pride month, the Ls, Bs, Ts, and others have options and the flag that is specific to gay men is left out. I feel that if I don’t agree with the current trendy opinions of my community (which generally come from the loudest people with the most time on their hands), I am shouted down. I feel my gay and demi identities are benched and my specific ethnic identity never had a seat at the table to begin with.

I feel like discussion and debate are no longer welcome in our community.

Fall in line or you will be ostracized and treated as a blood traitor.

Or…dun dun dun… canceled.

One can’t even say: “Hold on a minute. We’re getting carried away here.” without being branded a self-hating queer or some other buzzword that literally means nothing anymore because it has been used as a means to shut people up so they won’t argue.

Our community also favors hyperbole. Slight disagreements turn into words being twisted and, suddenly, you’re the person who said you wanted someone dead when you simply didn’t agree with their opinion.

So..let me tell you two stories. One to illustrate the types of things in this community that sadden me and one to illustrate why I still have hope.

Story One.

So far this year, I have DNF’d (did not finish) two audiobooks. It wasn’t the writing that made me put them down. They were written beautifully–from what I managed to hear before dropping them.

One was by an author who was new to me but had been recommended over and over again by people in the community. The other was an author I’d been a longtime admirer of, and couldn’t wait to read their next book.

I DNF’d these two books due to racism.

One author had me about a half-hour into the audiobook before I started to realize something was…off.

The other author did something racist on the first page. Not even the first page. The dedication.

“Surely,” I said to myself, “this is a misunderstanding, and I should do a little internet research before I jump the gun here.”

Because that’s what reasonable and reasonably intelligent people do.

After looking into the issue with the first author, I found that they were aware of the issue and didn’t care. In fact, they presented themselves as a white savior type figure in interviews and op-eds about the issue.

The second author I found out wasn’t even aware why what they did would be offensive. Which forced me to think back on all of their books, wondering if I had missed their racist writing before.

In the past, had I been so ignorant to overlook these things because I loved their books so much?

Both of these authors are gay white men.

It made me wonder why so many authors are canceled for the problematic things they do, yet two of our prominent gay white male authors are given the thumbs up and adored.

Now, I’m not looking to try and cancel anyone (which is why I’m naming no names). And I don’t like talking shit about other authors (I’ll whine to my husband and besties). I don’t think these authors are racist. I think they’re ignorant. But they could improve with a little understanding of the harm they’ve caused to other marginalized peoples.

Regardless, these two situations made me feel even less welcome in this community. It made me feel sour about how our community treats marginalized ethnic and racial groups.

I was pretty sad about both situations for a while. I’m definitely not okay with it now–and I never will be–but I’ve decided to not let it occupy any more headspace.

Story Two.

The greatest (unexpected) gift I’ve gotten from writing and publishing is other queer people telling me their stories. People read my books and, suddenly, feel they know me. It makes them open up to me. It makes them want me to know them in the way they think they know me.

Complete honesty–sometimes people can be creepy. Because some people aren’t reaching out just to connect as one queer person to another. Intention matters. Luckily, the creeps are incredibly rare now.

The queer people who reach out to me and touch my heart the most are the elders. People who were teen or adult queers when things like the Stonewall Riots happened.

Recently, I got an email from an elder reader. In an email that brought tears to my eyes, I got to read about a queer person they knew who got disowned by their family, and their struggle with alcoholism and depression for over a decade before they took their life fifteen years later.

I didn’t know this person who wrote to me out of the blue to share this story. I had never spoken to or interacted with them in any way before this email. But I’m honored they trusted me with it. That they wanted to add to the pieces of our history that live in my heart and brain. I felt honored that they simply wanted to connect with me as another queer person and share something utterly human.

Grief.

Typically, long emails I get from readers have to wait until I have time to read them–though I always try to respond within 24-48 hours. However, when I glanced and saw a few lines from this email, I read it immediately. Then again. And again.

I struggled with my response (and to see my monitor through my tears), but I hope that what I sent back touched them in the way they touched me.

Regardless, this story sent to me was obviously heartbreaking. However, the sender of the email told me about all of the things they’ve tried to do for our community in the 30 years since the person’s suicide to honor their memory. To not let their family’s abhorrent behavior towards them be the defining moment of their short life.

To not let homophobia and hate win.

In some small way, it reignited my hope for, not just LGBTQIA+ people, but all of us.

I’ll forever be grateful for that email. And I will probably think of the person who sent the email, and the queer man they told me about, at least once a day for the rest of my life.

I’ll forever be honored by that email.

Why do I tell you these two stories? Because I feel that we’ve lost our way as a community. Our mission should not just simply be fighting against governments who do not want to assure we have the same rights as others. Or to try and cancel everyone who disagrees with us (over big or small things). Though we should NEVER stop fighting the government.

A big part of our mission should be to solidify our queerness as valid–regardless of race, color, creed, sex, gender, religion…we are all valid. We are a family. None of us are safe until we’re all safe.

None of us are safe if Black people are not safe. We are not safe if Muslims are not safe. We are not safe if Jews are not safe. We are not safe while women are not safe. We are not safe while Asian and Indigenous people are not safe.

You get the idea.

So…my hope for Pride 2022 is that we all reaffirm our commitment to each other. That we work to uplift each other and fight against the wrongs done to each other, even if we don’t share the same identities. Because what else is Pride for?

What do we owe each other if not the active commitment to ensure we are ALL treated equitably and equally? If we’re not fighting against racism, sexism, and bigotry of every kind, we may as well not bother worrying about hate towards our community.

That should be where we shift all of our energy starting immediately. Not these petty fights, disagreements, and the desire to cancel people over matters that…ultimately…don’t matter.

And please, if you feel safe enough to go to a Pride March or other Pride activity, look out for the queers who look out of place. They may need someone to take their hand and offer to be their Pride Buddy. It might be their first time, and the first Pride can be so scary. Be particularly mindful that our elder, disabled, and BIPOC family members are made to feel welcome and loved and have the necessary tools to participate. Be mindful that all body shapes and sizes are made to feel beautiful and worthy of love. If you’re going in a group, that’s several sets of eyes to watch out for the queers who might need love from your group to feel welcome. Organize and make a plan for how to make sure you can help those who need it.

Pride is still so integral to our community’s safety, education, and advancement. Pride is STILL a protest. But also make sure it’s the beautiful love fest it should be.

Happy Pride.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase

Love Story

What makes an epic love story? One for the ages? One that, at its end (regardless of that end), would be looked back on with fondness?

What makes a love story swoon-worthy?

Like the rest of you, I’m sure, it’s a question I’ve tried to solve for both professional and personal reasons. As we go through life, many of us are looking for that one special person who makes our hearts sing. Who makes each day exciting and full of opportunity. Who makes life suck a little less during the bad times and elevates the happy times when they come.

Someone we want to share life with each day.

Love stories–the best ones–are about people who share their life and navigate it together. A partnership. A team. Them against the world. When the storm comes, they sail the seas together, and, even if they come out the other side battered, they’re stronger and closer. Because they’ve shared their human experience.

And genuine affection and respect for each other.

Love stories are rarely perfect because life is not perfect. Humans, even if they love each other, are not always perfect for each other every moment of every day.

The greatest love stories are not peaceful instrumental songs played softly on a piano. They’re orchestral and dramatic, with crashes and bangs as the climax is reached, played out softly by a violin as the debris settles and love comes out triumphant.

Love stories are not without drama but are about navigating the drama. As a team. With the aforementioned mutual respect and love.

When people enter a relationship, life doesn’t stop being difficult. Problems with things such as employment, finances, health, friends, and family don’t suddenly disappear. Egos and needs and desires don’t evaporate. They double.

So, love stories are not without strife.

That doesn’t change that they can still be looked back on as epic at their end.

On January 14th, 2020, I released a little novel titled BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE. It clearly illustrates that love stories are not without drama.

On July 8th, 2022, the sequel, THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR will drop. It will illustrate that through all the things life throws at our protagonists – Enzo and Peter – love can find a way.

Because sometimes all we have is hope and possibility. If those can be held onto, in the end, nothing else ends up mattering.

Enzo’s and Peter’s love story is epic. Not perfect. But, in the end, hope and possibility will always be there.

Join Enzo and Peter on the final leg of their love story.

THE WARMTH OF OUR CLOSEST STAR is now available to preorder in ebook format on Amazon.

Click here to pre-order your copy!

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase

Flickin’ the Bean

In case you weren’t aware (you’re probably new here), I started my writing career in erotica. I wrote short stories (20k words or less) for an erotica site. Ultimately, it proved to be a pile of garbage site that didn’t actually pay its creators–but since I don’t want to get sued, I won’t name names. However, they’re fading away into obscurity, so I feel I’ve won.

Regardless, I started my career with erotica because someone told me that the “real money” was in erotica and it’s “so easy to write.”

Don’t take all the advice you get, my friends. Even if it’s well-intentioned, it can be very, very wrong.

Like many people, I had a misguided view of what erotica is, who writes it, its merits, and how writing it actually works.

I could go on a long-winded rant about all of this, but first, let me quickly clear up some things:

  1. Erotica is written by people you’d never expect–because you have a misguided view of erotica.
  2. It’s not easy to write.
  3. It’s not just about titillation.
  4. It pays no differently than any other genre.

Erotica is written by writers from a variety of backgrounds, sexual orientations, ages, genders, socioeconomic classes, religions…you can’t look at a writer and tell they write erotica. Unless, of course, “I write erotica” is written on their forehead, I suppose.

People who identify in a variety of ways enjoy sex and/or writing about it.

And that doesn’t make them good or bad. They’re just human.

Erotica, like any other genre, takes skill to write. It’s not just about describing this thing going into that thing or that thing rubbing against that thing. If it was that easy, every erotica writer would be a millionaire. Like any story, it takes nuance, a way with words, and knowing your audience.

That means it’s not just about getting a reader hard or…moist. I had to use that word to make sure you’re all still with me. Paying attention? Good.

The best erotica stories explore the human condition through sex and sexual identity. Fleshed out characters, the emotions behind sex, what sex means to the character, and how the sexual experience informs their existence, is important. If a reader just wanted to be turned on, they’d go to Google. Porn is free on the internet. Trust me. I accidentally see porn at least a dozen times a day just from being on Twitter.

A reader wants to connect to the characters. To live the sexual experience through identifying with the words on the page. They want to be turned on, sure. However, erotica, in its written form presents the unique opportunity for a reader to delve into the mind of a character. To be aroused and titillated, but also feel some human connection to that experience.

But, like any other genre, how much a writer gets paid depends on skill, dedication, work ethic, creativity…and luck. You can be the best writer in the world, but if you can’t find your audience, you won’t get paid much.

These are just facts.

As I came to discover these facts and understand them over the last 4 years, I’ve ventured back into erotica writing. BULLY, BRIEFLY BUDDIES, TRICKED: THE MEN OF BRIEFLY BUDDIES are all erotica stories I currently have published for consumption.

If you’ve read BULLY or BRIEFLY BUDDIES, you’ll know that the stories are definitely about sex. They’re also about love. And family. And friendship. And self-discovery. They’re about life–and sex is a part of life.

This brings me to the real purpose of this blog post–to promote TRICKED: THE MEN OF BRIEFLY BUDDIES.

Come on, friends. First and foremost, I have to hustle to get people to read my stories.

If you’ve been reading TRICKED: THE MEN OF BRIEFLY BUDDIES on Kindle Vella, you’ll know that a lot of spicy sex has happened so far. We’ve met 5 guys so far–with a 6th one coming later this month. And it has been a spicy, hot, hot, hot journey.

But now that we’re nearly 20 episodes deep into this serial, we’re starting to learn more about the guys. What motivates them to do sex work, how sex work liberates them from life circumstances, how they feel about sex, and what motivates them.

We have a character with a brother in a care home. Sex work allows him to help pay for a better care home for his brother.

We have a character who has no idea what to do with his life after college. Sex work is a way to meet new people, have new life experiences, and figure out where he belongs.

We have a character who thought sex work would be a fun way to make money and pay off his student loans. He finds out that guys who hire sex workers aren’t sleazebags. Some of them are actually pretty nice guys who just need the convenience of sex work to get physical affection.

All of the guys are beginning to learn that sex work can open the world to them. It’s not some sleazy, underhanded niche profession that takes place in back alleys or in the back of cars in abandoned parking lots.

Sex work can involve dignity, respect, friendship, and self-discovery, and a person can make a nice living doing it. When a sex worker builds a client list of good clients, it’s a great job that is just as valid as any other.

Sex workers are not sleazy. People who hire sex workers are not sleazy. It’s an exchange of money for services. It’s someone trying to make a living and another person trying to fill a need.

It can also expand a person’s understanding of their human experience when done well.

And one keeps an open mind.

So, I invite you to read TRICKED: THE MEN OF BRIEFLY BUDDIES (or any of my erotica) and flick the bean (as far as I’m concerned, that’s a gender-neutral term). But stick around to learn about the characters and their circumstances. Flick the bean; learn something about life. Flick the bean; fall in love with a character. Flick the bean; learn about other types of people.

Open your mind. And get a little moist.

Did you stay with me to the end?

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase

Grumpy Old Man

My back hurts and I really need the kids to get off of my lawn.

Not really. My back rarely, if ever, hurts and I don’t care if you’re on my lawn–as long as you don’t bother me.

But seriously, who wants kids on their lawn? Well, kids that don’t belong to them, I mean.

Actually, I don’t mind kids on my lawn. My husband has a different opinion, but I love seeing kids being kids and playing outside. Hopefully, that doesn’t make me sound creepy.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my decision to mostly leave the young adult world behind. Maybe part of my decision to walk away was the feeling that maybe I’ve “aged out” of writing about the teen experience?

I’m thirty. Do I remember and understand what it was like to be a teenager still? Have I gotten old and jaded and focused on matters of more importance? Have I forgotten what it was like to experience first love, first infatuation, the longing for more to life that only youth can rile up in a person’s gut?

I don’t think so, but that’s neither here nor there.

I feel that I’m still closely connected to that youthful part of me that reminds me of how exciting life can be. Each morning I wake up wondering what the day will bring.

In an exciting way. Not with dread.

Each day I still feel the wonder of how amazing life can be. How we can begin in one place and end up in a totally different, unexpected place. I still get excited each morning, wondering if I’ll try new food, make a new friend, or have a new experience.

Life is beautiful and amazing and exciting and confusing and sad and happy and…everything.

Life is everything.

Every day is a new possibility–a surprise waiting around each corner. One event after another, waiting for you to show up and discover and participate.

I love life. Maybe more than when I was a teenager. Actually, definitely more than when I was a teenager.

However, one thing I have to admit as an adult–and looking back on my teen years–is that nothing is as important as we think it is when we are young. Neither is it not as important as we think it is when we are young.

Everything is a major event when you are young and new to the world. Every little thing is earth-shattering when you’re a kid.

When we become adults, we tend to mock this phenomenon.

Kids are so dramatic.

You don’t know real struggle, kid!

THAT THING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU WON’T MATTER WHEN YOU GET OLDER!

But…it does matter. Everything that happens to us when we are kids is important.

One of the ways that I think a lot of writers fail to fully capture the child/teen experience is that they write them as frivolous, overly dramatic, overly emotional…titbags?

That’s how we treat teens. Like titbags.

While it’s true that people tend to be more emotional and feel things more deeply–express themselves more effusively–when they are young, it doesn’t mean those feelings aren’t valid. Or genuine. Or that they don’t matter.

When you’re a kid, being a kid is your job. It’s your life. Why wouldn’t the things that happen to us carry a grave weight?

Presently–and for many years–the world has been coming to terms more with how the things that happen to children have a significant impact on their adult life. The traumas, the successes and failures, the happiness, the stability, sexual awakening, friendships–it all matters greatly in our journey towards adulthood. It informs what our entire adulthood might be.

When writing about it, a bit of gravitas is important.

Writing flippantly about what it’s like to be a teen is a trap into which many a writer falls. Portraying teenagers as whiny titbags who get upset over “the tiniest little thing” is how many writers like to portray these smaller, younger humans. Writers tend to be grumpy old men, even if they exclusively write young adult.

You know, maybe it wasn’t earth-shattering that when I was a teenager we couldn’t afford to go see a movie 99% of the time. Or at times that a full plate of food was like Christmas and my birthday wrapped into one.

Maybe it didn’t matter to anyone except me that a certain boy in my classes was the cutest, nicest person ever and I wanted to hold his hand (among other things).

However, it meant something to me. It was my life. It was my world.

It deserves dignity and reverence. Because it was part of my human experience.

Even when writing about people who do not exist, the experiences written about deserve the same. Because someone reading about those experiences might (probably) be experiencing the same things.

They deserve to have dignity. They deserve to have their human experience treated with reverence.

So…I think that is something I can still do. I know I can.

But I don’t want to do it anymore. I’ve told those stories. And I think–regardless of what people might think of the stories as a whole–it can’t be said that I didn’t treat my characters with respect, dignity, or that I didn’t have reverence for them and their human experience.

I wish more writers understood that teenagers are adults with rawer emotions. They feel deeply. They care deeply. They love profoundly. They hate irrationally. They obsess to no end.

But it all matters. It’s all genuine. It’s all human.

The age of the character shouldn’t change how we treat them with our written words.

Treat your young characters how you would want someone to write about your younger self.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase

It’s Time To Celebrate!

Releasing a book, finally publishing a story you’ve worked on forever, comes with baggage. Emotional baggage.

There’s relief and fear and happiness and longing and grief and…everything. Your book is finally out in the world and in the hands of readers, but you have no control over what happens next.

Fear.

You are no longer spending time with the characters you’ve spent day after day with for God knows how long.

Longing and grief.

You accomplished something on your publishing journey and you are now an author.

Happiness.

Publishing can be bittersweet. It can be joyous. It’s almost always scary. It can be a lot of things. Just as a person has no control over how something makes them feel, an author also has no control over what happens next.

People will love your work and you’ll sell tons of copies…or people will not give a shit about it or hate it. Maybe it’ll just be “okay” to them.

The quality of your writing doesn’t matter often–a story either connects with readers or it doesn’t. An author truly has no control over the life of their book once it’s published.

You can run a brilliant marketing campaign, make promo appearances, run ads, network, network, network…only to have it all fall apart at the finish line.

It’s the nature of the beast.

This phenomenon is why I have a ritual I’ve been observing after every book I’ve published for the last couple of years. Even if nothing goes as planned after a book is released, there is one thing I can control.

I can celebrate achieving my goal.

Not to blow smoke up my own sphincter, but writing and publishing a book is an incredible feat. It takes hard work, discipline, creativity, nerves of steel, and a willingness to be torn to shreds by reviewers.

So, why not do something nice for yourself?

For a few years now, on the release day of a book, I treat myself to something. It’s rarely anything big–and is almost always food–but I do something to commemorate the accomplishment.

To give you all an idea of my “ritual,” here is what I did to mark the special day for a handful of my books:

WHEN WORDS GROW FANGS – I had a big Italian food dinner with my husband. Pasta, Caprese salad, and a big bowl of gelato. YUM!

SENDING LOVE LETTERS TO ANIMALS… – Lomo Saltado and Ramune while watching movies with my husband.

JACOB MICHAELS IS DEAD – We spent the day and night in the hospital for my husband’s (we weren’t married then, though) emergency appendectomy. I had to include this one because it’s funny.

BETWEEN ENZO & THE UNIVERSE – I went out to a big dinner and stayed up until the donut shops opened so I could have donuts fresh out of the fryer.

POSSIBLY TEXAS – I treated my husband and me to blueberry muffins and coffee from a shop instead of something we made at home.

None of these things were incredibly expensive or all that impressive to anyone else. However, they all have something to do with the book that was released. They had significance for me.

This ritual allowed me to control something about the book’s release and celebrate it. It’s a small ritual that means only something to me, but that’s what makes it so special.

If you’re a writer or an author, and you’re about to release a book, plan something special for yourself. Find some way that is affordable and meaningful to celebrate your accomplishment.

In life, though it may feel otherwise at times, we rarely are in control of much. However, we are in charge of how we celebrate our victories; how we commemorate the meaningful milestones in our journey.

And, if you’re like me, maybe take some pictures of the special event and save them. Make a scrapbook.

One day, you’ll look back, and even the difficult moments will be softened by the lens of time. And you’ll look back with warm feelings at what were truly some of the most meaningful moments of your life.

Tremendous Love & Thanks,

Chase