Monday, July 27, 2015

Blog Tour: Blue Steel Chain by Alex Beecroft Includes Guest Post & Giveaway

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A Word from Alex Beecroft

I only heard about asexuality for the first time three years ago, and it took me a certain amount of time to understand what it meant and think it through and fully claim it for myself. One of the symptoms of trying to find a label for myself for so long only to discover that after a while I always started to find the ways in which they didn’t fit, was that when I did find the one that did fit, it took me a long time to feel confident about that.

I’m also not a big fan of groups. I’m not used to thinking of myself as part of a community, because my existence has always felt somewhat invalid.

This is a long winded way of saying that although I first heard of asexuality three years ago, it’s only now that I’m beginning to become aware of some of the issues and debates in the community.

Blue Steel Chain, with its story of asexual Aidan being rescued from a situation of domestic abuse, was finished and on my editor’s desk at Riptide before I found out that abuse was a sensitive subject in the asexual community.

Much as there always used to be people who claimed that homosexuality was caused by abuse (there probably still are), there are people today who claim that asexuality is caused by abuse.

My kneejerk reaction to this was to point out to myself that Aidan is not asexual because he’s abused. I’m very clear that he was asexual before the abuse began and his abuser used his preexisting asexuality as a way to make him feel that he was wrong and bad and the abuse was all his own fault.

Abusers by definition tend not to be nice people, and they’ll go for any vulnerability they can find.

There’s this concept in asexual circles of a ‘gold star asexual’ – which is an asexual whose orientation cannot possibly be attributed to some other factor. They’re not religious or repressed or traumatized. They’re not unbalanced or mentally ill. Their asexuality cannot be assailed by anyone eager to write it off as a psychological problem.

My first reaction was to say “well, I don’t want people to be able to say that Aidan doesn’t want sex because he’s traumatized.” And that’s still true, because you know that if the chance to find any explanation for a character’s lack of sexual attraction to other people which isn’t “they were made that way and it’s a valid orientation,” a lot of people are going to take it.

I don’t want people looking at Aidan and saying “So what your book is saying is that abuse can put people off sex, right? Big deal.” I want them to understand that some people really are just born without sexual attraction for anyone.

Nobody wants their orientation to be invalidated. No one wants prying do-gooders to assume they must want to be fixed from being who they are.

But my second thoughts are a little more complex. For a start, I’m not a gold star asexual myself. I was emotionally abused as a child. I don’t know whether that had any affect on my orientation, and I can’t ever really know for sure. All I know is that I’ve been asexual all my life and that doesn’t look set to change. Does the mere possibility that there might be some aspect of nurture to my psychological make up invalidate the fact that asexual is what I am?

I don’t think so. I think if you look at yourself and you find you have no sexual attraction to other people at all, you get to claim you’re Ace however you got there. Like the good people at AVEN say, if the label is useful to you, you get to use it, and it is not for other people to gatekeep that.

Aidan’s story is only one of many possible stories that could be told about asexual characters. I certainly didn’t intend it as some kind of template against which real people’s orientations could be measured. I hope that now that more Aces are writing more asexual characters we’ll soon have a wide variety of characters to choose from, so everyone can find someone who they recognize.

In the mean time after this long post rambling about abuse, it’s probably redundant now to say ‘there is violence, domestic and emotional abuse in this book. The first half is pretty grueling. I hope the second half makes up for it, but be warned.’

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Blue Steel Chain

Alex Beecroft

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Series: Trowchester Blues #3

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Published: 27th July 2015

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

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Synopsis

At sixteen, Aidan Swift was swept off his feet by a rich older man who promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. But eight years later, his sugar daddy has turned from a prince into a beast. Trapped and terrified, Aidan snatches an hour’s respite at the Trowchester Museum.

Local archaeologist James Huntley is in a failing long distance relationship with a rock star, and Aidan—nervous, bruised, and clearly in need of a champion—brings out all his white knight tendencies. When everything falls apart for Aidan, James saves him from certain death . . . and discovers a skeleton of another boy who wasn’t so lucky.

As Aidan recovers, James falls desperately in love. But though Aidan acts like an adoring boyfriend, he doesn’t seem to feel any sexual attraction at all. Meanwhile there are two angry exes on the horizon, one coming after them with the press and the other with a butcher’s knife. To be together, Aidan and James must conquer death, sex, and everyone’s preconceptions about the right way to love—even their own.

Available from Riptide Publishing on July 27.

 

::: MARK’S REVIEW :::

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Purchase Links

Riptide Full Logo

AMAZON GLOBAL LINK

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Trowchester Blues Reading Order

Book #1: Trowchester Blues
REVIEW | AMAZON

Book #2: Blue Eyed Stranger
REVIEW | AMAZON

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Meet Alex Beecroft

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Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.

Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.

Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.

Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.

She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a signed paperback from Alex Beecroft's backlist. (Any title which has a paperback edition, excluding Blue Steel Chain.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 1st. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!

40 comments:

  1. Great post! I agree with what you said about labels: the label is useful to you, you get to use it, and it is not for other people to gatekeep that. Although many people are against labels, some people find them useful to identify themselves with a group... And that's really necessary if you feel a bit lost, isn't it?
    I've read the two previous books in the Trowchester Blues trilogy and loved them both. I cannot wait to read the third one.
    susanaperez7140(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Yes, I think there's a big difference between labels other people slap on you without your agreement and labels you discover for yourself. In the case of really fundamental things like sexuality, not having an applicable label at all can definitely be a worry! Thank you!

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  2. Congratulations on the release of Blue Steel Chain! I love the synopsis and I can't wait to read more about Aidan and James...
    Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!
    foebz (at) hotmail (dot) com

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    1. Thanks Elle! I hope you enjoy it :)

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  3. Angela

    Congratulations on the release of Blue Steel Chain. This definitely sounds like an emotional read.
    Thanks for the giveaway chance
    ahpg(at)ziggo(dot)nl

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  4. congrats on the new release :)

    leetee2007(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  5. COngrats ont eh new release! Sounds like an intriguing book!

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  6. Congratulations on this new book and thanks for the chance.

    agalegogen(at)gmail(dot)com

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  7. Congrats on the book, it sounds great and definitely an interesting concept! I haven't heard much about this topic but I'm definitely curious. I can't wait to check it out!
    jenndonald00(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks Jenn! I'm all about the representation of asexuality at the moment. It's got to help if people learn about it earlier so it doesn't come as a shock when they do meet someone like that.

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  8. Oh boy, loved the blurb. Sounds like a book I'd really like to read. Thanks for the chance to win.

    goaliemom0049(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. That's good to know! Good luck :) and thanks.

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  9. Good luck with the release!

    vitajex@aol dot com

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    1. Thank you! Good luck with the comment :)

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  10. Congratulations on the release of Blue Steel Chain

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  11. I'd never even heard of asexual until recently...I'm looking forward to reading this. :-)

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    1. Thanks Barbra! My work here is done, in that case :)

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  12. sounds like a great story
    jmarinich33@aol.com

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  13. Congratulations on your new release. This sounds interesting and I'm really looking forward to reading. Thanks for a chance in the giveaway.

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    1. flutterfli01 (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    2. Thank you for the comment! I hope you enjoy it :)

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  14. Thanks for the great post! amaquilante(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. Thank you so much for your straight forward post. I had no idea that anyone could be asexual and actually looked it up to get a clear picture of what it meant. I keep wondering how I could go through my life without knowing about this! I truly appreciate this eye opener.

    Congratulations on Blue Steel Chain. You've obviously put a lot into it and I'm sure it's great.

    joanne.boykoATyahooDOTcom

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    1. I wouldn't blame yourself for not knowing! It really is one of the invisible orientations. Even I didn't know about it until about three years ago, and I am asexual myself :) But now that you do know, you can help spread the news so that other people can find out sooner. Thank you!

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  16. Congratulations on the new release. It sounds like a very interesting book.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

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  17. Very interesting subject. Congrats on the release.

    waxapplelover (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you think so :) Thank you!

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  18. Thank you for talking about you book, it's very interesting mevalem258 AT gmail dot ....

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  19. interesting sounding book

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  20. I think it's interesting to see more and more people becoming aware of asexuality, whether just for edification or because it applies to them. Since the knowledge of it is not widespread, there's going to be misinformation or leaps of logic about it that aren't true, but like anything else, I hope the more people see about it and hopefully read stories with asexual protagonists that greater understanding will happen. Thanks for sharing with us!

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

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  21. Congratulations on the new release! I am looking forward to reading this!

    ree.dee.2014@gmail.com

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  22. I can't wait to read this book. It has been added to my tbr list.

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