It's always a real pleasure to welcome Tara Lain to Sinfully HQ and today she's joining us on the blog tour of her new book Canning The Center. A closeted American Footballer and a gorgeous drag queen...what a fantastic combo. Tara tells us what it is about drag queens she loves and you get to read an excerpt that will really make you want to pick up this fabulous book ASAP!
Tara is also generously gifting 1 x ebook of Outing the Quaterback and 1 x ebook of Canning the Center.
Don’t forget, throughout December we are running our December: 5 for ME! ~ 5 for YOU! Giveaway… all you need to do is answer the questions on our posts during the month of December.
A word from Tara Lain
Creating the Drag Queen
Many years ago when I was a young woman in my early twenties, I went to San Francisco with the woman I was working for at the time. We did company sales presentations for trade shows (I wrote and directed them) and we were putting on a presentation in SF. In addition to doing trade show presentations, my company also provided personnel for trade show booths – the attractive women who handed out literature or samples in the exhibits – and my employer was always looking for likely young women to sign up for trade shows. One evening, a client took us to a club called Finnochio’s, one of the most famous drag clubs of all time. My boss was a true entrepreneur – but also a somewhat conservative lady. That night at Finnochio’s, we saw men of every shape and size perform as woman and we laughed, applauded, and had a great time. Then, out on the stage came their featured act. I don’t remember her name, but this one was something altogether different. Nothing about this beautiful queen suggested she was male under her gown. She sang in a lovely soprano that was not a falsetto, but a true counter tenor. My guess is that today she would have been transsexual, not a drag queen, but in any context, she was amazing. When she left the stage – having done none of the things the other performers did to prove they were men liking taking off their tops – my boss looked at me and said, “Sign her up.” I’ve never forgotten that gorgeous queen so unique among drag queens, and she came back to be my muse when I was creating Trixie LaRue, my drag queen hero in CANNING THE CENTER.
When I decided to write an NFL football hero, I asked myself what would be the most outrageous situation I could put my football giant in? After all, the NFL isn’t known for its gay friendly atmosphere, but I didn’t just want to make my hero gay. Pairing him up with a drag queen seemed like it would create a fun and challenging story – and boy, was I right! Especially when my drag queen told me she was also a mathematical genius. So out of this dynamic inspiration, Trevor Landry, aka Trixie LaRue, was born. He/she has turned out to be a favorite character of mine, but one of her biggest challenges to me as an author was pronouns! Most drag queens are called “she” out of respect for their art, but Trevor is a young man. Trevor is with Jamal, my hero, as often as Trixie, and sometimes in the same scene. You’ll have to read the book to see if I made those pronouns work. Most of all, I wanted to create a queen who was totally believable dressed as a woman on the street as well as on the stage. That’s where my long ago drag queen inspired me. I hope she’s well!
Canning the Center (The Long Pass Chronicles) by Tara Lain
Title ~ Canning the Center (The Long Pass Chronicles)
Author ~ Tara Lain
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 17th December 2014
Genre ~Contemporary M/M Romance
A Novel in the Long Pass Chronicles
Six foot seven inch, 300 pound Jamal Jones loves football, so when he finds out the ultra-conservative owner of his new pro football team fired their current center because he’s gay, bisexual Jamal decides to stay in the closet and hang with the females. Then, at a small drag show, he comes face-to-face with his sexual fantasy in the form of Trixie LaRue, a drag queen so exquisitely convincing she scrambles Jamal’s hormones—and his resolve to nurse his straight side.
Trevor Landry, aka Trixie LaRue, hides more than his genitals. A mathematician so brilliant he can’t be measured, Trevor disguises his astronomical IQ and his quirk for women’s clothes behind his act as a gay activist undergrad at Southern California University.
To Trevor, Jamal is the answer to a dream—a man who can love and accept both his personas. When he discovers Jamal’s future is threatened if he’s seen with a guy, Trevor becomes Trixie to let Jamal pass as straight. But Trevor risks his position every time he puts on a dress. Is there a closet big enough to hold a football pro and a drag queen?
I do love anything about the world of drag. From the over the top, full blown 'sashay' snarky queens to the beautiful, androgynous guys, who make most women green with envy because they've got the figure, bone structure and legs to die for, and who are so gorgeous they could fool any hot blooded hetro male...I'm totally fascinated. So when I found out that Jamal, who we met in Outing The Quarterback, the first book in The Long Pass Chronicles, was going to find love with a gorgeous drag queen of the latter type, I was doing the happy 'sashay away' dance and counting down the days until I got it on my Kindle.
'A single spotlight crept up, illuminating a girl in the middle of the stage. Her pale blonde hair fell to her shoulders and, in the light, it shone almost as much as her fair, fair skin. Sweet holy mother. Beautiful. Drag queens liked to be called "she," and it wasn't hard to think of her that way.'
Trixie La Rue aka Trevor Landry, steals Jamal's heart the moment he lays eyes on her singing (not lip syncing) on the stage of 'The Cellar' a gay club that his bestie Will and his lover, Noah decide to take him to for a treat. He's just signed to play professionally for the Diablo's and is feeling pretty much on top of the world apart from the fact that he's debating whether or not to tell the owners and his new coach that he is in fact bi-sexual; the reason that Trixie really appeals to Jamal. He loves the beautiful feminine looks and glam female alter ego but he's also very attracted to the male side of Trevor, as really his tastes lean more to sex with guys so it's a win win situation for both of them as Trevor, has never been able to find a guy who loves, and wants, both aspects of his personality. Gay guys normally aren't attracted to Trixie and straight guys get turned off when they find that under her elaborate gowns, her 'plumbing' isn't the sort they want to get that close to, so as far as relationships go, despite being stunning in the looks department, neither Trevor or Trixie are ever that lucky in the love stakes.
The attraction is mutual as tall, dark, handsome, six foot seven inch, hot bodied Jamal is exactly Trixie's (and Trevor's) cup of tea or 'sweet chocolate bunny' as she calls him, and when she finds out that he's just as enamoured with her, even as Trevor, she's a total goner! Out of drag Trevor is a clever, clever man. This is no vapid, airhead, silly blonde twink who gets by on just his looks alone. In fact Trevor is a very complex character. There's a fair bit of conflict in his life, including a complicated relationship with his mother who has Alzheimers, and a nasty brother who, like his now dead father, treats him with utter disdain. Plus he's president of the college LGBT student action group who know nothing about his other life as Trixie, which becomes a problem when they decide to picket the Diablo's stadium in support of gay sports personalities coming out as gay! Having an IQ that's off the charts, he's the college's gay poster boy and because of all that he keeps his alter ego secret from his colleagues and professors at school because he thinks if they had known about Trixie he'd never have got his scholarship. Not that he really needs it as his aptitude for maths is way past the abilities of the professors who teach it. He's a maths genius! Jamal thinks he has a lot to lose if he comes out to the team but in fact Trevor has just as much to lose too and it's this that at one point threatens their relationship when things come to a head with Jamal and the nasty piece of work owner of the Diablo's. That side of the story has Jamal confronting not just homophobia from the high ups and some of his team members but also a touch of racism too, although that's not the main focus of the troubles he faces.
It was Jamal, Trixie and Trevor who made this so enjoyable for me.The actual storyline and sub plots surrounding Jamal's indecisions and worries about coming out in his career, and Trevor's fears and anxieties concerning his family conflicts, college and Trixie, added the meat to the story, as it portrayed just how difficult it is to be gay in such a macho sport but it also showed that in his own way Trevor was just as closeted as Jamal, as he was also hiding his true self. Then there were some great supporting characters...some really crappy, but most extremely likable...who all played their part in driving it forward, but it was the connection and relationship between the main three personas that gave it the bones to build the general story around and the heart that made it such an engaging and endearing read. I truly loved Jamal and Trixie, who was fabulous BTW, but it was Trevor who really stole my heart. I adored him and it was his life outside of Trixie that pulled my emotions to the fore. I found myself really rooting for them to make it through; out and proud in both their situations, in love with nothing else standing in their way but it wasn't that smooth a journey as some of the actions of the bad guys had me grinding my teeth and there are misunderstandings to overcome before they get to their HEA, but overall I really did love this story.
Tara's handling of Trixie/Trevor throughout the story was perfect. I got the sense of two separate personalities, and liked both of them a lot but at the same time never lost sight of the fact that this was one and the same person. As Trixie, Trevor allowed himself the freedom to be the person he really was inside...the person who didn't have to care about how people truly perceived him...or her, as the case may be. As a pairing the two of them oozed chemistry and passion. I loved them as a couple whether it was Jamal and Trixie OR Jamal and Trevor together. Tara has pulled another great story out of the bag and I'm hoping it isn't too long before the next hunky, closeted gay footballer gets his chance to come out in all his glory in the next book. Oh and being an absolute numpty when it comes to mathematics of any sort I'm highly impressed with Ms Lain's skills in portraying Trevor's skills in that department...I'm wondering now if we should be calling her Tara Einstein!
Buy it Here
“Bunny, I don’t think this is a good idea. Why don’t you drop me off and go on your own?”
God. He should stick his head in a bucket and drown. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t think about how awful it would be for you to be with all these dumb jocks.”
Trevor put his hand on Jamal’s shoulder. “No. I mean you can’t put your precious future in my hands. What if they all know I’m a guy? You’ll be wrecked. You’ll lose your job and—” He waved a hand. “—everything.”
Sadly, he told the truth. “No one will know. My sister isn’t as feminine as you look tonight.”
“No, to anyone. Plus they won’t be looking for you to be anything but female, and people see what they expect.”
“I’d much rather it was just you and me going out to dinner, but they know I have a date, and everyone expects me to bring you.”
“I’m so sorry.”
Trevor took deep breaths. He gave a long, slow exhale. “Okay, since we’re doing this, prepare me. Who will I be meeting?”
“Manny Hartford is the coach. It’s his house. I doubt the team owner will be there, although he could. Name’s Arondel, and he’s a total conservative.”
“Clearly the best person to introduce to your drag queen boyfriend.”
Jamal laughed, but he really liked that word, boyfriend. “One other significant player is Boogaloo Johnson. He plays on the team with me, and it’s his sister you saw in that photograph. He’ll be looking to figure out why I want you instead of his sister.”
“Did you explain I have a dick?”
“I missed that part of the briefing.”
Trevor placed his well-manicured hand on Jamal’s arm. “I’ll do my best, Bunny.”
“I know.” But, man, was he praying that Trevor’s best was good enough.
Another fifteen minutes and they were cruising up a winding road in the Hollywood Hills. Unlike some of the other wealthy areas of LA, the houses on these streets generally boasted the best of modern architecture. A true California style instead of something some rich guy dragged back from Italy, like you saw in big sections of the southland. Jamal slowed and looked for an address.
“Yeah. There. That’s where we’re going.” A glass and wood house on a rise was all lit up. As they got closer, they saw a sign that read Valet stop here.
Jamal pulled over, and a guy about his age opened the door. “Good evening, sir. You here for the Hartford party?”
“I’ll take the car. Just keep this ticket.”
Jamal slid out and started around for Trevor, but the valet beat him to it. He did get to see the guy’s eyes widen as one of those long legs in a black stiletto heel stepped out.
The kid’s voice sounded a little breathy. “Good evening, ma’am. I hope you enjoy the party.”
Trevor—or he should say Trixie—offered a hand like the queen of fucking Sheba, and the valet helped him out until he stood in his high shoes, towering over the guy. “Thank you.”
He, uh she—Jesus, he’d never had this much trouble with pronouns in his life. Names weren’t much better. But he needed to get used to calling her Trixie again quick.
Trixie walked around the car, and Jamal met him—shit, pronouns again—with an arm. Feeling that strong, lithe bicep slide against his reminded him again how not a girl this Trixie was. He leaned in close. “Man, you’re something special.”
Trixie looked at him with that direct gaze. “You’re pretty damned great yourself. You in that sweater could be packaged and sold in place of Viagra.”
Jamal laughed. “This old thing?” He’d only spent an hour running out to a store to buy the white silk sweater. He’d picked it because the sales guy said it clung in all the right places and, since the man seemed to be sporting an erection while saying it, Jamal figured it was getting the response he wanted.
“I’ll do my best to carry this off for you.”
“Thank you. I know.” All the way up the walkway, the butterflies in his stomach warred with the throb in his cock.
Series Reading Order
Canning the Center
AMAZON GLOBAL LINK
Meet Tara Lain
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
How about some prizes? The book that introduced Jamal Jones, the hero of Canning the Center, to the world was Outing the Quarterback. Would you like to win an e-copy of Outing the Quarterback? How about an e-copy of CANNING THE CENTER? Okay, here’s the thing. There will be two prizes –
· 1 copy of Outing the Quarterback
· 1 ecopy of Canning the Center BUT, if you win this prize and have already bought Canning the Center, I’ll give you your pick of 2 of my books, okay?