Please give a warm welcome to Kay Simone; a new author to Sinfully, who is visiting today with her recent release The Aftermath. In her guest post Kay poses the intriguing question…“Can a book really change your life?” Plus we have a tempting excerpt and a very generous 5 e-copy giveaway of The Aftermath from Kay, who would love to hear your thoughts on the subject!
Can a book really change your life?
In The Aftermath, one character has a transformative experience when he connects with a piece of literature. Daniel Rhodes finds himself taken off guard when he becomes engrossed in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden — and it changes the trajectory of his whole future.
I found myself so anxious writing this plotline. Would readers seriously buy the idea that reading a book or a poem could change one’s life so dramatically?
Since I’ve published, I have gotten my answer over and over again: without a doubt, yes!
So many readers have taken the time to tell me what Their Book was. Hearing these stories from my audience is absolutely one of the best things I get to do now on a daily basis.
I love to relive that first-ever experience of reading a book and feeling challenged, engaged, understood, and transformed.
A poem, “They Feed They Lion” by Philip Levine, changed my life — and here I was thinking that I was in the minority. (I’ll never be sure if I should chalk that naïve thought up to whiskey, lack of sleep, or some sort of special snowflake syndrome. Some questions are better left to the philosophers…)
Daniel’s book is East of Eden. For Wilson Morrow — the other main character in The Aftermath — it’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.
Excerpt from The Aftermath
“We need to talk about that,” Will says. “Like adults.”
Daniel snorts softly, frowning.
“Yeah, that’s about two months overdue,” he says.
“OK, OK, shame me all you want,” Will says. “I’m a fucking dick and I did the wrong thing. I should’ve treated you like someone capable of making his own decisions. But I didn’t know you yet, Daniel.”
Daniel still hasn’t turned to face him. Will presses his hand into one of Daniel’s and he looks to Will, sees him smiling, and finally turns his body to face him. Will cups his hands around Daniel’s in a gesture that’s almost pleading.
Will wants to tell Daniel every little detail that now convinces him that Daniel is worth the risk.
Will wants to improvise an ode to the younger man right then and there, detailing everything he’d come to learn about Daniel Rhodes, his richness of thought that fascinated Will so much, his emotional maturity that Will knows the man doesn’t even realize he possesses, his ability to make leaps and bounds in logic that makes Will’s heart open up in a painful way that recalls every student that he’s ever wanted to succeed, the potential he sees in Daniel’s life, the vast dizzying array of opportunities in his future, the pleasure he feels every day at seeing Daniel realize more and more how smart he actually is.
He could write volumes, too, to Daniel’s physical form — Will is ready to admit that, at least to himself. It wouldn’t take long to produce a novella just outlining Daniel’s facial expressions, the lilt and fall of his brow as he works through a tricky thought in silence, the pout of lips that — in the cold weather — became ruddy even indoors. Later chapters could go further south, to the young man’s collarbones which, while fascinating, Will had only seen for the first time today, to the flat plane of his stomach which exists like a dreamt-of landscape in Will’s memory, the thatch of sparse hair below, the surprisingly strong hands threading through Will’s hair as he had knelt and worshiped Daniel’s body.
There’s so much he’d like to tell Daniel and there’s nowhere to begin. Daniel is staring at him. Waiting.
“I couldn’t even acknowledge you had a first name for the better part of two months,” Will admits.
“Yeah, I fuckin’ noticed,” Daniel says with a frown.
“Where do you go?” Daniel asks after a moment, obviously frustrated. “When you do that. You sit there like a statue for five minutes and then you come back with some lame comment about salami or saying my last name. It’s like you’re on another planet.”
“I’m coming up with brilliant shit to say,” Will says. “And then talking myself out of saying one word of it.”
Published ~ 19th May 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
What if you had to spend one year face-to-face with the biggest mistake of your life?
Daniel Rhodes is looking for an anonymous night of fun with his fake ID in the big city, an hour away from his tiny hometown in rural Washington.
“You play pool?” Daniel asks the stranger, eyeing him.
“Uh, yeah. I do,” the man says in a clipped, cocky way. “Do you play pool?”
But when an intriguing stranger flirts with Daniel, he’s desperate not to lose the man’s attention. The man is smooth, older, and funny — dark and handsome with a physical presence that has Daniel’s blood running hot. Without thinking about it, Daniel starts hustling him.
“A little,” Daniel lies. “You up for a game?”
“You’re damned right I am.”
What starts as a simple con changes as their chemistry crackles. Daniel wants this tattooed stranger, and he’s willing to bend the rules to get him on his knees. The young hustler makes the bet of a lifetime — getting him exactly what he wants.
But the anonymous fun becomes a nightmare when Daniel meets the stranger in his hometown days later, thrown into a situation that leaves them no choice but to work together.
. . .
On the advice of his friends, perpetual loner Wilson Morrow has quit his job at a state university to accept an offer in the small town of Chewelah. The university is all he’s known since he escaped a turbulent childhood in Alabama, and Will spent his twenties forgetting the memories of what happened there.
But his fresh start in a new town is a disaster from the start... Because staring at him on the first day of his promising new job is the biggest mistake of his entire life: Daniel Rhodes. They both know that with a single word, Daniel could ruin Will’s whole career.
. . .
They want to hate each other for what they are and the dishonest way they met. But as they’re forced to work together, Daniel finds that Will is changing the way he views himself, literature, and the future before him. In the gregarious and hot-tempered Daniel, Will finds someone he cannot help but care about — but he knows that the best thing he can do for Daniel Rhodes is to leave him alone.
Try as they might, something bigger than themselves always pushes the two of them together.
Nothing stays the same for either man as they navigate the minefield of a love they must keep secret. For the first time in either man’s life, they begin to build rather than repair, to forge their own future instead of treading in a wake, and to create something more important than simple survival in the aftermath of a chance encounter.
(The Aftermath is an erotically-charged emotional romance with hurt/comfort, no cheating, and a happily ever after ending.)
Meet Kay Simone
Kay Simone is 31 and lives in Florida where she blogs, podcasts, and writes full time. In her past lives, Kay was editor in chief of a newspaper, managing editor of a lit mag, a librarian, a website voodoo expert, and a cupcake baker.
In 2014/15, she accidentally wrote a romance novel in her spare time (along with more short erotica than she’d care to acknowledge), which gained her a small but lovely readership.
After months of insomnia, countless bottles of whiskey, and much encouragement from readers, Simone made the plunge into the world of publishing short, erotic ebooks in December 2015 under the pan name “Kay Decker.” For more about these stories, visit www.kaydecker.com.
In April, she launched a separate pen name, Kay Simone, for long-format fiction.
“What was your first favorite book? Has a poem or novel ever changed your whole outlook on life?”
Kay is generously gifting five e-copies of The Aftermath in a format of your choice. In response to Kay’s question above, please leave a comment (including your email address) for a chance to win.
Competition ends midnight (EST) 11th June 2016
::: And the winners are ……
kathy p, booksandmore, Suzy Webster, batchelorboy55 & Elle
…… CONGRATULATIONS! :::