Whether you loved this dreamy m/m YA fantasy as much as I did or haven’t gotten to it yet, you’re definitely going to want to snatch up a copy of Reverie by Ryan La Sala when it comes out in paperback on June 7th from Sourcebooks, because look at that cover! What cover, you ask? Why, the gorgeous one below! But first, the story:
A few weeks ago, Kane Montgomery was in an accident that robbed him of his memory. The only thing he knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. The world as he knows it feels different―reality seems different. And when strange things start happening around him, Kane isn’t sure where to turn.
And then three of his classmates show up, claiming to be his friends and the only people who can tell him what’s truly going on. Kane doesn’t know what to believe or who he can trust. But as he and the others are dragged into increasingly fantastical dream worlds drawn from imagination, it becomes clear that there is dark magic at work. Nothing in Kane’s life is an accident, and only he can keep the world itself from unraveling.
And here’s the gorgeous cover redesign, illustrated by Jonathan Bartlett and designed by Liz Dresner and Nicole Hower!
But wait, there’s more! Ryan stopped by for a little chat about the book and its stunning new cover, so check it out!
This cover is gorgeous! What did you think when you first saw it?
Well, first I thought: “lksjdfslkjsdlfk,”and that’s a quote.
And then I thought “holy smokes, there he is!“
It’s beyond exciting to see Kane, the unlikely hero of Reverie, on the cover in all his reality-unraveling glory. I created Kane when I was a kid myself, and I looked up to him all throughout my teenage years. Finally I started writing down his adventures in High School. Getting to see him — finallyseehim — on the cover of his own story feels like such a triumph. Atriumph for me as his creator, but also a triumph for little gay boys who want to find a way to feel powerful beyond just your typical man-up-and-get-muscular-and-pick-up-a-sword story.
Kane wields a magic that reacts to his empathy and imagination. The fate of reality hangs upon his ability to balance the world as we know it against the many worlds of those who dream beyond our reality’s limits. He’s difficult and fascinating and so, so important to me. I’m so gladthe artist did him justice.
What has the response toReveriebeen like since its release in 2019?
In a word: dreamy.
In many more words: the response to Reverie has been a dream come true (pun intended). I use this phrase because I have always,alwayshad huge dreams for this book despite many people telling me to temper my expectations. Reverie is not the kind of thing you’d expect togo mainstream. It’s super queer and very weird. It spins through many genres, things get surreal and even scary. Hell, the hero throws rainbow chaos magic and the villain is a drag queen sorceress! But you know what? All of these ‘niche’ elements have just brought more readersinto the pages of Reverie, and I’m thankful for every one of them. I love you all!
What’s also been interesting is the diversity in reactions. Most authors I know avoid reviews, but I revel in them–good, bad, or otherwise. I wrote Reverie to be reacted to, and to inspire people to write their own stories (out of inspiration, or even out of spite, which is how I got started writing Reverie in the first place). It’s been fun watching that take place in real time!
Unfortunately, as Reverie has risen in popularity, it’s also found the spotlights of peopledetermined to ban queer books from school librarires. Right now, Reverie is on a list to beinvestigated for it’s ‘inappropriate’ and ‘potentially pornographic’ content. Anyone who has read Reverie knows this is a wild claim, but I actually don’t think the people who make these lists know how to read. Not very well, at least.
I’m not worried. Reverie will always be here for those that need refuge from an unkind reality.Our jobs (mine, as the author, and yours as the reader) is to stand by these books, defend them, and fight for their availability so that readers who need them, have them.
When it comes to characters, who has been the fan favorite in all theReveriereactions?
Oh, easy. Ursula and Poesy, which is so interesting to me as the author because when I first concocted the idea of dream-unraveling, world-hopping heroes, Ursula and Poesy were the same person. In fact, they were sorta the main character — this hyperfeminine, dress-wearingforce of nature that was as likely to wield a broadsword as they were to wear a ballgown. I think readers can tell how much joy I have writing them, which is why they get a lot of love.
What are you excited for asReveriegoes into paperback?
Can I be frank? Hardcover books are annoying. The dust jackets are pretty but my god do they make it hard to handle a book. I’m always worried about ruining them! So I tend to just let them sit on the shelf, which–don’t kill me–is no place for a book to be.
For me, books are companions, and all my favorite books are well-worn paperbacks that have been shoved into backpacks, suitcases, and *gulp* maybe even cargo pants once or twice. Reverie going into paperback means it’ll be even more available to join readers on their own journey, whether they’re reading it on the bus to school or late at night with a flashlight. I love that. I love knowing the book’s life is about to bloom again, and I can’t wait to welcome in all of those who have been searching for a story like this, a character like this, or a world like this. What I think when I imagine all of those future readers is not quite coherent, but it feels like saying “Welcome home.”
Any further dreams for Kane andReverie?
Oh, tons. There’s no confirmed continuation forReveriein the works right now, but recently I’ve been feeling an intractable pull back into Kane’s world. There’s a lot more for him, Ursula, andthe Others (his team of dream unravelers in the book). And if you’re a fan of Poesy, don’t worry: if I were to pick up this story again, I suspect I would start before the events of Reverie evenbegin, somewhere in the past as Poesy hatches her dreams for a better world. A world onher terms.*insert witchy cackle here*
Ryan La Sala writes about surreal things happening to queer people. He is the author behind the riotously imaginative Reverie, and the brilliantly constructed Be Dazzled, both of which made the Kids’ Indie Next List. He has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Tor.com, and one time Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race called him cute! Ryan is the host of the infamous La Sala Writers Salon, the co-host the Bad Author Book Club Podcast, and a frequent speaker at events/conferences. When not writing, Ryan does arts & crafts, and rollerblades around Central Park.
Today on the site, we’re welcoming Kevin Klehr, author of The Midnight Man, which just released on August 30th from Ninestar Press! Before Kevin gets to talking about finding yourself as you get older, let’s get a glimpse of his speculative romance:
Stanley is almost fifty. He hates his job, has an overbearing mother, and is in a failed relationship. Then he meets Asher, the man of his dreams, literally in his dreams.
Asher is young, captivating, and confident about his future—everything Stanley is not. So, Asher gives Stan a gift. The chance to be an extra five years younger each time they meet.
Some of their adventures are whimsical. A few are challenging. Others are totally surreal. All are designed to bring Stan closer to the moment his joyful childhood turned to tears.
But when they fall in love, Stan knows he can’t live in Asher’s dreamworld. Yet he is haunted by Asher’s invitation to “slip into eternal sleep.”
We all do it. Some are ready for it while others avoid it all cost. But there is no fountain of youth. We all get older.
The tragedy of aging is when you feel like your life hasn’t begun. That’s the dilemma Stanley faces in my new novel, The Midnight Man.
Stan is in a failed relationship, he hates his job, and he has an overbearing mother. But soon he’ll be facing his fiftieth birthday, and this is not how he planned his life to be at this stage.
When this manuscript was accepted by my publisher, my editor emailed saying she liked what the story ‘had to say about the good and bad aspects of getting older.’ And even though she was obviously referring to my book, it was the first time I realised that was the underlying theme of this work.
When I came up with the concept, I was listening to Kate Bush’s haunting track, ‘Man With the Child In His Eyes’, a song about a mystical lover who appears when the songwriter goes to sleep.
But this is one of my novels. The plotline can’t just be about an ethereal romance.
Stan’s midnight visitor is Asher, a twenty-one-year-old who appears in his dreams. Asher offers Stan a gift. Every time they meet for their night-time adventures, Stanley is another five years younger than the last time they met.
This is how ageing is examined in the story. Stan gets to be himself at an age he once was, while bizarre dreamlike scenarios happen. He reflects without actually reliving moments of his life. He remembers what youth feels like as Asher organises whimsical, or sometimes challenging, scenarios for Stanley to face.
Sometime in the past six months I realised all my books feature a love story. Odd, I thought, because I’ve only written two books you could call Romance. The Midnight Man, like many of my novels, is Urban Fantasy, Magic Realism, Speculative Fiction or whatever you’d like to brand it. But it doesn’t mean our two heroes don’t fall for each other as Stan becomes younger.
In the end, this work is about taking control of your life, and sometimes it takes a special someone to help you do it.
Kevin lives with his husband, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.
His tall tales explore unrequited love in the theatre district of the Afterlife, romance between a dreamer and a realist, and a dystopian city addicted to social media.
His first novel, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, spawned a secondary character named Guy. Many readers argue that Guy, the insecure gay angel, is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. His popularity surprised the author. The third in this series, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes, scored a Rainbow Award (judged by fans of queer fiction) for Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality novel.
So, with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.
Today on the site I’m thrilled to be sharing the cover of All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown, a post-Apocalyptic m/m (gay and bi) YA releasing March 8, 2022 from Balzer+Bray! Here’s the story:
When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie’s house, he’s injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population, including everyone both boys have ever loved. And if this new world has taught them anything, it’s to be scared of what other desperate people will do . . . so why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other?
After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But something isn’t adding up about Andrew’s story, and it could cost them everything. And Jamie has a secret, too. He’s starting to feel something more than friendship for Andrew, adding another layer of fear and confusion to an already tumultuous journey.
The road ahead of them is long, and to survive, they’ll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire, together. Only one thing feels certain: all that’s left in their world is the undeniable pull they have toward each other.
And here’s the cover (complete with glorious finger graze oh my God I died when I saw this), designed by Chris Kwon with art by Na Yeon Kim!
Erik J. Brown (he/him) is a writer of genre-blending books for young adults. His debut novel, ALL THAT’S LEFT IN THE WORLD, will be published by HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray in March 2022. When not writing, he enjoys traveling (pre-pandemic), collecting disco compilations on vinyl, remodeling his haunted house, and embarking on the relentless quest of appeasing his Shiba Inu. He lives in Philadelphia with his husband. You can find his website at erikjbrown.com, on Twitter @WriterikJB, and Instagram @ErikJB.
The gifts of Pride month continue with this giveaway for two advance reader copies of The Other Man by Farhad J. Dadyburjor, a gay rom-com set in Mumbai (!) and releasing October 12th from Lake Union Publishing! Here’s the story:
Heir to his father’s Mumbai business empire, Ved Mehra has money, looks, and status. He is also living as a closeted gay man. Thirty-eight, lonely, still reeling from a breakup, and under pressure from his exasperated mother, Ved agrees to an arranged marriage. He regrettably now faces a doomed future with the perfectly lovely Disha Kapoor.
Then Ved’s world is turned upside down when he meets Carlos Silva, an American on a business trip in India. As preparations for his wedding get into full swing, Ved finds himself drawn into a relationship he could never have imagined—and ready to take a bold step. Ved is ready to embrace who he is and declare his true feelings regardless of family expectations and staunch traditions. But with his engagement party just days away, and with so much at risk, Ved will have to fight for what he wants—if it’s not too late to get it.
Once you see the cover, it’ll become quickly clear why it feels so extra special to be able to introduce to you The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros, a queer, Jewish historical YA thriller that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about in weeks. It releases from Inkyard Press on September 7th, and I could not encourage you more strongly to use the preorder links below! Here’s the story:
Death lurks around every corner in this unforgettable Jewish historical fantasy about a city, a boy, and the shadows of the past that bind them both together.
Chicago, 1893. For Alter Rosen, this is the land of opportunity, and he dreams of the day he’ll have enough money to bring his mother and sisters to America, freeing them from the oppression they face in his native Romania.
But when Alter’s best friend, Yakov, becomes the latest victim in a long line of murdered Jewish boys, his dream begins to slip away. While the rest of the city is busy celebrating the World’s Fair, Alter is now living a nightmare: possessed by Yakov’s dybbuk, he is plunged into a world of corruption and deceit, and thrown back into the arms of a dangerous boy from his past. A boy who means more to Alter than anyone knows.
Now, with only days to spare until the dybbuk takes over Alter’s body completely, the two boys must race to track down the killer—before the killer claims them next.
And here’s the magnificently Gothic cover designed by Mary Luna with art direction by Erin Craig!
Yes, that is my blurb on there! “The City Beautiful is the haunting, queer Jewish historical thriller of my darkest dreams.” Extremely accurate!
Aden Polydoros grew up in Illinois and Arizona and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Northern Arizona University. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys going to antique fairs and flea markets. He can be found on Twitter at @adenpolydoros.
Today on the site I’m excited to reveal a very dashing cover for the upcoming Contemporary m/m Romance Hard Sell by Hudson Lin, which releases May 25, 2021 from Carina Adores! It stars two Asian-Canadian men bonded by their mutual love for Wei, Tobin’s big brother and Danny’s best friend, and follows what happens when they meet again in the boardroom after a one-night stand… Here’s the official story:
Danny Ip walks into every boardroom with a plan. His plan for struggling tech company WesTec is to acquire it, shut it down, and squeeze the last remaining revenue out of it for his Jade Harbour Capital portfolio. But he didn’t expect his best friend’s younger brother—the hottest one-night stand he ever had—to be there.
Tobin Lok has always thought the world of Danny. He’s funny, warm, attractive—and totally out of Tobin’s league. Now, pitted against Danny at work, Tobin might finally get a chance to prove he’s more than just Wei’s little brother.
It takes a lot to get under Danny’s skin, but Tobin is all grown up in a way Danny can’t ignore. Now, with a promising patent on the line and the stakes higher than ever, all he can think about is getting Tobin back into his bed—and into his life for good.
If only explaining their relationship to Wei could be so easy…
And here’s the brutally suave cover, designed by Victor Cheng!
Hudson Lin was raised by conservative immigrant parents and grew up straddling two cultures with oftentimes conflicting perspectives on life. Instead of conforming to either, she has sought to find a third way that brings together the positive elements of both.
Having spent much of her life on the outside looking in, Lin likes to write stories about outsiders who fight to carve out their place in society, and overcome everyday challenges to find love and happily ever afters. Her books are diverse romances featuring queer and disabled people of color.
When not getting lost in a good story, Lin hosts a podcast, interviews queer people of color, and coaches aspiring authors.
You know those cover designs that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy? Well this is one of them, so I’m thrilled to be revealing the re-design of Handmade Holidays by ‘Nathan Burgoine, rereleasing* on December 1! (Yes, that’s next week!) Here’s the story:
At nineteen, Nick is alone for the holidays and facing reality: this is how it will be from now on. Refusing to give up completely, Nick buys a Christmas tree, and then realizes he has no ornaments. A bare tree and an empty apartment aren’t a great start, but a visit from his friend Haruto is just the ticket to get him through this first, worst, Christmas. A box of candy canes and a hastily folded paper crane might not be the best ornaments, but it’s a place to start.
A year later, Nick has realized he’s not the only one with nowhere to go, and he hosts his first “Christmas for the Misfit Toys.” Haruto brings Nick an ornament for Nick’s tree, and a tradition—and a new family—is born. As years go by, Nick, Haruto, and their friends face love, betrayal, life, and death. Every ornament on Nick’s tree is another year, another story, and another chance at the one thing Nick has wanted since the start: someone who’d share more than the holidays with him.
Of course, Nick might have already missed his shot at the one, and it might be too late. Still, after fifteen Christmases, Nick is ready to risk it all for the best present yet.
*Handmade Holidays was originally published by NineStar Press in 2017
‘Nathan Burgoine is a tall queer guy who writes mostly shorter queer fictions, though novels do happen. He tends to write fiction with a dash of the speculative, usually contemporary, and always with queer characters. He’s published dozens of short stories, and released his first collection of short fiction, Of Echoes Born, a series of interconnected short fiction pieces tell a story greater than the sum of its parts.
At the novella length of things, ‘Nathan tends to write queer romance, including his wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey gay romance In Memoriam, a trio of holiday-themed romances: Handmade Holidays (chosen family), Faux Ho Ho (fake boyfriend), and the upcoming Village Fool (an April Fools’ Day prank gone wrong). He also co-wrote Saving the Date with Angela S. Stone, as part of the 1Night Stand series, a romance which explores surviving and thriving after a hate crime.
His first speculative fiction novel, Light (think a gay superhero, only not very good at it yet), was a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and his first YA novel, Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks (a teen boy with a tendency to plan out his whole live has to scrap his plans when he develops a teleportation problem), was a finalist for the YA Prix Aurora Award. His other two novels, Triad Blood and Triad Soul (vampires, wizards, and demons, oh my!), are contemporary urban fantasies set in Ottawa.
‘Nathan lives in Ottawa, Canada, with his husband and his rescued husky. You can find him online at nathanburgoine.com.