Monday, February 10, 2014

Tailor Made by Josephine Myles ~ Guest Blog, 2nd Edition Release Day Review, Giveaway and Excerpt

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We have Jo Myles in The SSBR House today telling us what inspired her to write Tailor Made. If you want to know what shenanigans art students get up to then read what Jo has to say!!

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A Word From The Author

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of an Arts and Crafts throwback, believing (to paraphrase William Morris) that things should be either beautiful or useful, but preferably both. That’s why I’ve never been able to see the value of the work of the Young British Artists. Why bother spending time to learn a skilled craft when you could just throw a pretentious pile of crap together, give it an evocative name and spout a load of nonsense about how you’re deconstructing some facet of the modern world?

I drew on this tension between “high art” and applied arts, and the kind of academic snobbery that seeks to put the latter in its place, as the background to Tailor Made. Felix finds himself immersed in the middle of this conflict while studying fine art at university. He’s somehow managed to enroll himself on a course highly influenced by the trendy British conceptual art movement of the 1990s. You know the one – just think of the media frenzy over Damien Hirst’s pickled cows “Mother and Child Divided”, or Tracey Emin’s installation “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, 1963-1995”, a tent interior decorated with all her past lovers’ names.

I’ll freely admit it: Felix’s experiences are based on my own as a na├»ve young fine art student. I studied during the 1990s, at a time when the Young British Artists were having their heyday. For several years I dutifully attended the Turner Prize shows and attempted to find something I liked. I even visited the Saatchi Gallery (Charles Saatchi is one of the key figures in bringing the Young British Artists to the world’s attention) and a Tracey Emin retrospective. I couldn’t find anything that really spoke to me. What the Young British Artists eschewed were the traditional skills of painting and sculpture, saying they’d had their time and nothing new could come of pursuing such antiquated methods.

I beg to differ. To my mind, every artist expressing themselves through the traditional media has something of value to bring to the world, some new take on the world around them. Even at the tender age of eighteen, I could see that the Pre-Raphaelites on display in the National Gallery must have had more artistic talent in their little fingers than the whole Young British Artist collective thrown together.

However, I dutifully made the kind of art the tutors told me they wanted. Gone were the days of drawing and painting portraits and nudes (my specialty in high school). Instead my tutors wanted me to pile a load of rubbish onto a metal spike and draw that. Okay... I distinctly remember going out in the car one night down local country lanes looking for roadkill, as they wanted us to draw dead animals. I found one, put it in my freezer overnight, and then had to wait for it to thaw before I could draw it as I’d managed to curl it up so the bloody bit was in the middle of a frozen squirrel ball.

Another part of my art education I remember drawing on for Tailor Made was a fellow student’s experiments with melting plastic refuse sacks and then constructing tents out of their warped remains. The fumes were awful, and in the end the tutors insisted she went out in the cold to do it. There was other craziness in the name of art. I started growing cress on the surfaces of my paintings—for reasons now lost to me—and all the while I found myself getting increasingly irritated with the fact that no one was attempting to teach me anything about the craft of drawing and painting. Being outrageous and experimental was valued far higher than spending time developing our skills, and so it’s no wonder I gave up fine art after that foundation year.

Instead I went back to crafts. It’s been a very long time since I picked up a paintbrush, but I haven’t been idle. I’ve taught myself to make mosaics to a professional standard, along with all kinds of different textile crafts: feltmaking, knitting, crochet and dressmaking (that last obsession gave me the basis for Andrew’s Fashion course). I love to concentrate on learning new skills, and I hope that one day I might regain the urge to paint.

It could be that I entirely missed the point of my art education and I’m just a throwback to outdated notions of what art really is. It was fun, though, to explore a few of these ideas in Tailor Made, and to have my long-delayed revenge on the Conceptual Art-crazy tutors at my own college. Not that they’ll ever read it……

Happy reading,

Jo x

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Tailor-Made-med

Title: Tailor Made

Author: Josephine Myles

Publisher: Amber Quill Press

Published: 10th February 2014

Genre: MM (Contemporary)

Rating: 4 Stars

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Synopsis

College tart Felix McAvoy is used to causing a stir with his conceptual art pranks, but for his final show he's planning something even more outrageous. In a last ditch attempt to seduce his jaded tutor, Felix plans to wear the canvas in a subversive display. If he's going to do this right, however, he'll need a tailor-made canvas suit. Fortunately, he knows just the tailor to turn to for the favour--and Felix isn't shy about offering favours of a very different kind in return.

First year fashion student Andrew Wheeler knows Felix by reputation only--and plans to keep things that way. Andrew's determined to save himself for the man of his dreams, and Felix couldn't be more different from his ideal Mr. Right. There's only one use Andrew will contemplate for Felix's body--a model for his end-of-year project. Trouble is, it's going to involve a lot of close contact with a nearly naked Felix, and Andrew's never had temptation quite so close at hand...

 

 

Mark’s Review

What do you get if you cross a bucket of fake poo with a flaming tart and a conscientious fashion student? A highly amusing and funny novella from Josephine Myles!

Felix is studying conceptual art at Bath University. He is a stereo-typical, flaming man-tart and camper than a row of Christmas trees, who needs a favour for his final piece of conceptual art for his degree. Andrew is studying fashion design and is a conscientious, shy student who is a virgin and saving himself for his Mr. Right. So when these two meet, two worlds collide. Felix needs a suit to be made from canvass for his final performance of conceptual art. I absolutely loved the idea of two completely opposing characters , this sets the scene nicely for some hilarious moments. He seeks Andrew out after getting the tip from a friend that Andrew would be the person to approach. However, the temptation of corrupting innocent Andrew is just too much for him to resist, especially after seeing how attractive he is, and Felix embarks on the project of deflowering Andrew.

Felix is only doing this to impress his lecturer as he has a crush on him and at the beginning is quite prepared to offer everything to Andrew in exchange for his suit. Well, while I was reading this I could only shake my head at the whole concept of conceptual art. Maybe I’m a complete philistine, but some things just go beyond my realm of believability and to think of some of the things they were calling art just made my mind boggle. As for Felix’s idea……..

Tailor Made  

LOL……I mean seriously? If this isn’t a p*** take then I don’t know what is. I think this for me this was one of those eye rolling moments where I couldn’t just imagine what you could possibly do with a conceptual are degree.

Anyway, due to Andrew being so rock solid and down to earth, Felix begins to question his morals and values and realises that all he has been doing is pandering to his lecturers for good grades and not really concentrating on what he loves and that being drawing and painting. But not only does he question this but his way of life to date and realises that he has totally fallen for Andrew and can now quite possibly imagine being in a steady relationship.

I also adored the way that Felix deflowered Andrew. He was never too pushy and respected Andrew’s feelings and apprehension, becoming a tutor himself when it came to sex, was very gentle and considerate. A side to Felix you wouldn’t necessarily connect with if you took him on face value.

All in all this is a nice little feel good novella that is humorous, light hearted and will have you smiling as you turn the pages.

 

 

Excerpt

 

“Your top male model has just entered the building,” Felix announced as he twirled on the spot. Unfortunately he misjudged the closeness of one of the tables and ended up bumping into it. “Whoops! Better get practicing those moves, hadn’t I? Will you be wanting any mincing, because it may not come naturally but I reckon I can have a good stab at it.” He demonstrated with a hand on his hip and a pronounced pout.

Andrew’s lips gave a twitch, just like they had yesterday. God, Felix wanted to make this man smile. He’d look amazing happy, for sure. Everyone did though, didn’t they? Well, except Saul, who had smouldering arrogance down to a T and rarely deigned to smile.

“Let’s leave the catwalk practice till nearer the time. You don’t need to do anything outrageous.”

“But outrageous is my middle name, Andy-baby.”

“Would you stop calling me that!” Felix grinned.

“Whatever you say, sugarplum.”

He shrugged off his leather jacket and threw it on the table.

“Now, where do you want me? And I must warn you, I didn’t manage to get hold of a vest.” Andrew huffed, but then drew in a sharp breath as Felix stripped off his T-shirt.

Felix turned around slowly, giving Andrew time to get a good look at his torso. It was a pleasant view, even if he did say so himself. Felix might not be a bulked up gym bunny, but he had a set of weights and made sure he put in a good hour’s work out a couple of times a week, and walking up and down all the bloody hills in Bath took care of the rest of his fitness regime. God knew how anyone ever managed to get fat in a city like this. Starving, carless art students certainly couldn’t afford to. When he turned back to face Andrew he was delighted to see the want written plain in his eyes. They glittered with it, dark and demanding. Felix started on his jeans, flipping the buttons slowly, teasing.

“Please tell me you’re at least wearing underpants,” Andrew said, his voice a cracked parody of its usual tone.

“Oh yeah. Well, kind of. I think you’d have to classify them as that.”

“Fuck.”

Felix grinned, hearing the expletive rip from Andrew’s throat as he wriggled out of his jeans and struck a pose in his jockstrap.

“Exactly. I know they’re meant to be designed for sport, but I always thought they looked better suited to fucking, don’t you?”

Andrew had his eyes clamped shut and appeared to be reciting something under his breath. Felix stepped closer and caught a “Hail Mary.”

“Ah, that explains a lot.”

Andrew’s eyes flew open. “What does?”

“The Catholic thing. All that guilt. My first boyfriend was a Catholic. Used to fuck like a demon then beat himself up about it the minute we’d finished. Proper conflicted, he was.”

Liam was also the reason Felix had sworn off longer term relationships for the past three years. He needed an emotionally mature man—one who knew who he was.

“I’m not really a Catholic anymore.” Felix raised an eyebrow.

“I’m lapsed. Severely lapsed. Haven’t been to confession since I was fifteen.”

“Oh yeah? What heinous sins did you get up to at that tender age?”

Andrew looked away and paced over to the door. He shoved a plastic chair under the handle and turned back to Felix. If his eyes had seemed compelling before, now they were like magnets, pulling on the iron in Felix’s blood and making it race faster around his body.

“None of your business,” Andrew said. “Now, let’s get this out of the way before anyone else wants to use the room, okay?”

“I really hope you’re talking about my mouth around your cock, Andy-baby.”

Felix walked over, right up into Andrew’s personal space so he was trapped in the corner by the door.

“I’m determined not to leave until I’ve had a taste.”

For a moment Andrew looked like he was about to pass out, but then the dazed expression cleared and something steely replaced it. Felix felt strong hands close around his biceps and he allowed himself to be steered until he was standing in the centre of the room.

“Okay, that’s good. It’s nice to have a bit of room to do my thing,” Felix said, sinking to his knees and reaching for Andrew’s fly.

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About The Author

Josephine Myles

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity.

She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. She blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She's beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and publishes regularly with Samhain. She’s one of the organising team behind the UK Meet, an annual event celebrating GLBTQ fiction. She has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion.

 

Contact The Author

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Purchase Links

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Also by Josephine Myles…….

 

 

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Giveaway

Jo will be giving away a $10.00 ebook voucher for a publisher of the winner’s choosing.

Enter the draw below and good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

55 comments:

  1. This book looks like it is wayyyy out of my comfort zone :)

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  2. This book was great fun to read as an ebook, and I love this cover for the paperback! I agree with all you say about conceptual art, Jo. Much of it is very Emperor's new clothes, I think. I hadn't realised the extent to which it had impacted on basic art training; first educate in the fundamentals of drawing and painting etc.. By all means include a module on how to view and appreciate conceptual art. But let the aspiring artists learn the essentials of their craft, so that they can choose their own direction including whether or not they want to work in a different medium. I think your dress-making these days is a good way to use your artistic talent!

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    1. Thanks, Helena! I don't think all colleges have been this badly afflicted, but the one I went to certainly was. I was just discussing it with my sister who went there a few years after me and had the same experience, and we realised we were both really angry about the whole experience. Although we can laugh about now :)

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  3. Thanks for the interesting post and the great review! I'm looking forward to reading this.

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  4. Thanks for the excerpt. Made me curious for the rest :)

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  5. Interesting storyline and post.Congrats to Josephine!

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  6. I love Jo's stories and am looking forward to this one. :)

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  7. I think this looks awesome and great review!

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  8. I think it looks good..adding it to my TBR list

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  9. This book sounds like it would be a riot of a read! :)

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  10. Looks great! Can't wait to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway :-)

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  11. Very intriguing, added to my TBR!

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  12. Thanks for the post and review. I agree about art - much prefer more traditional techniques and I love things things that are beautiful and useful. Tailor Made sounds like a fun story.

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    1. Honestly, I think most people are like us, Jen. That's why it's so annoying when art institutions are teaching you to make art people don't actually like!

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  13. Like the book cover and the story line.

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  14. Sounds like an interesting read.

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  15. I am always interested in reading something new. This book sounds fun. count me in

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  16. Who can resist Jo Myles?! And she's not the only one who has dubious feelings about so-called "modern art". Blech. A toilet in your front yard is not a decoration; it's trash.

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    1. Yep, I'm all for outsider art, but I think it has to look good :)

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    2. Exactly!
      And this is a great, funny story
      Ninnadh(at)gmail.com

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  17. I really enjoyed this story and the characters. It was so interesting about the different studies and learning more about them too.

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  18. Considering I don't usually read M/M, the excerpt and blurb were not bad.
    Thank you,
    Ginger aka robertsonreads

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  19. I want to read this, it sounds fun! I don't think I have read any of Josephine's books before, but I think I need to start checking them out right away...

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  20. LOVE Jo's stories (they're always so distinctive and clever!), and I've been wanting to read this one for a while!

    --Trix

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  21. This sounds like a really exciting read. Something different.

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  22. Interesting excerpt. Story sounds really different too.

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  23. It sounds like I would thoroughly enjoy it!

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  24. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  25. The characters sound like a great read. Love your work!

    Kassandra
    sionedkla@gmail.com

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  26. Looks Awesome!! Great review!!

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  27. Loved this story (love all your stories!!), please keep writing :)

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  28. Sounds very interesting! New author for me, thanks for sharing

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  29. Cannot wait to read. Sounds intriguing. Thank you for the giveaway.

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  30. I'm not knowledgeable on conceptual art, but getting to see Felix deflower Andrew will be worth figuring it out :)

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  31. Wow loved the excerpt, can't wait to read this book. Thank you for this giveaway.

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  32. Another great post by SSBB, thanks for the levity in the review Mark!

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  33. I want Andrew and Felix to live next door and be my best friends - they sound that intriguing!

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  34. I love the characters of Felix and Andrew and Felix is a tart....love it love it! Beautiful cover btw! I am a visual person!

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  35. Sounds like a fantastic story. I love reading about characters that play the field a lot only to meet "the one" (even if they don't seem to realize it).

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  36. I love the humor in Jo's books, and I'm looking forward to reading all the wonderful moments in Tailor Made. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  37. I'm going to have to reread my e copy of this now! I do find modern art a bit hit and miss - dead animals a big no-no as well as piles of rubbish but I do like the sculptures made from cogs, wheels etc

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  38. Sounds good. Can't wait to read! Thanks for the chance!

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  39. Thank you, it sounds very nteresting!!!

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  40. This sounds like fun - different too.

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  41. I loved the humour in that excerpt. I will definitely be getting the book :)

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