Tag Archives: Taylor Brooke

Cover and Excerpt Reveal: Curved Horizon by Taylor Brooke!

A couple of months ago on the site, we had a guest post by author Taylor Brooke on mental illness in her debut, Fortitude Smashed. Today, LGBTQReads is privileged to exclusively reveal the cover to its sequel, Curved Horizon, which releases on March 8! Here’s the info:

In the sequel to Fortitude Smashed, navigating the ins and outs of love is hard enough as strangers, but now Daisy and Chelsea must find a way to transform their friendship into something more. Meanwhile, Shannon and Aiden’s year-long relationship is put to the test when a horrific accident puts Shannon’s life at risk.

And here’s the cover!

Doesn’t that look gorgeous next to the cover for Fortitude Smashed??

But wait, there’s more! Voila: an excerpt!

*****

Shannon reached out, opening his beach-tanned hand on the table as an invitation. “Let’s see it; come on.”

Chelsea tried her best glare, but Shannon wasn’t fazed. He’d seen it too many times to take it seriously. She heaved a deep sigh and slapped her right hand in his. He yanked her wrist, and his fingers closed over her knuckles as if he were admiring a ring.

“You’ve got two days left,” he said matter-of-factly. “Nervous already?”

“Of course I am.” She pulled her hand away and reached for a sugar-rimmed martini glass filled with raspberry vodka. “I’ve been terrified of this since I was a little girl, but at least then I had a plan. Now I have no clue what’s going to happen.”

“What’s going to happen is what’s supposed to happen,” Shannon said.

The server returned with their appetizers.

Chelsea stabbed a tiny, deep-fried squid with her fork and dunked it in a vat of spicy marinara. “I thought you were my future for so long, Shannon.” She spoke around a cheek stuffed full of calamari. “I was young and stupid, and I had this fantasy that you’d come back for me. It was immature,” she said pointedly, chewing and swallowing. “I’m not sayin’ all this to make you feel bad; I know I was wrong. I wasted years of my life waitin’ on someone who didn’t exist to come sweep me off my feet. I put that imaginary person to your face, because you’re the only one I ever saw myself with.”

Shannon looked genuinely hurt. His lips pulled down and his brow furrowed. “I’m sorry, Chels, but what happened, happened. How was this imaginary person different from me?” His voice wavered. “I mean—do you still have an idea of your future, because, trust me, the Clock doesn’t care. Fate gives you what you need, not what you think you want.”

“And you needed Aiden?” Chelsea muttered, hoping she didn’t come across as cold as her voice sounded.

“Still do,” Shannon snapped. His irritation showed in the click of his teeth.

“Can we not fight,” Chelsea groaned. She smashed her hands over her face and sighed again, drawing in the longest breath she could before letting it out. “I was young, honey. I had this idea of me and you: me being a doctor in Milford and you taking over as sheriff at the station. It was just an idea. I was already scared over this,” she waved her right hand at him, “when you flew home last year for New Years. Aiden just… when I saw the way you looked at him, it made every fantasy I’d ever given the time a day into a rude awakening.”

“You’re gonna find someone wonderful,” Shannon whispered.

Curved Horizon isn’t yet available for preorder, but you can buy Fortitude Smashed at these fine retailers while you wait!

Barnes & Noble * Interlude PressAmazon * Book Depository

***

After fleshing out a multitude of fantastical creatures as a special effects makeup artist, Taylor Brooke turned her imagination back to her true love—books. When she’s not nestled in a blanket typing away on her laptop, she’s traveling, hiking or reading. She writes Queer books for teens and adults. She is the author of Fortitude Smashed (Interlude Press, 2017) and is represented by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services. Follow her on Twitter at @taysalion.
Advertisements

Mental Illness and Happily Ever After: a Guest Post by Taylor Brooke

My name is Taylor Brooke and I have Dissociative Dysthymia.

I sound like I’m standing in front of an empty chair at a narcotics anonymous meeting and I’m about to share my story. Granted, I’ve done that before, too. But this is much different and there isn’t really another way to begin. I’m a twenty-six-year-old Queer girl living in Central Oregon. I write books about magic and heartache, blurred lines and wanting. Recently, I wrote a book about all these things stirred up like cake batter, sprinkled with parts of me that I hadn’t fully realized until the story finished baking, was topped with icing and ready to eat.

Fortitude Smashed is a contemporary romance. It’s a little bit science fiction, and a little bit literary. Underneath the contemporary romance, science fiction and literary, there’s a quiet, selfish sub-plot that showed itself after I piled a piece onto a plate. I didn’t realize that the sprinkles of me that I’d tossed into the book would present themselves as brightly as they did.

I have Dissociative Dysthymia, and so does the main character, Aiden Maar.

But this is Contemporary Romance. Queer, mentally ill main characters don’t get to fall in love, and if they do, they don’t get to keep it.

Except they do. We do.

After years of exposure to eerily distinct, boxed-in narratives describing mentally ill, Queer characters as problems to be solved, riddles to be answered, and ugly wounds to be healed, I anticipated that this book would never be published. It wasn’t neat. Aiden wasn’t miraculously healed after he fell in love, his anxiety didn’t vanish, his depression wasn’t erased, but he was loved. He got to love back, too.

It was inconceivable. A character, like me, that I had written into a book about soulmates, was given a messy, deserved, heartfelt happy ending. He was given a chance.

Fortitude Smashed 900px FRONTBecause we deserve to be given a chance. I hadn’t written Fortitude Smashed as a how-to or a fantasy, because it’s neither. It’s a contemporary romance – realistic, raw, a little bruised. It’s the happy ever after most Queer, mentally ill folks don’t get to see in their favorite romance books.

Aiden doesn’t get better, because there isn’t anything wrong with him.

Honestly, coming to that realization after I finished my first read through of the book was jarring to say the least. I didn’t set out to dismantle my own thought process, but I did, somehow. It’s easy to discredit ourselves, to say we don’t deserve this or that when it comes to dating, love, friendship and so on. But we do.

Happy ever after doesn’t equal the eradication of mental illness, it simply involves the communication, patience and understanding that comes with loving a mentally ill person.

We deserve love. We deserve soulmate tropes and coffee shop meet-cutes, college fling storylines and fake dating clichés. There’s room for mentally ill characters to be front and center, and to be given the same beautiful, funny, heart wrenching, warm love stories that neurotypical characters are repeatedly gifted.

Fortitude Smashed did get picked up by an amazing publisher, even though I thought it wouldn’t. No one asked me to change Aiden. He got to be himself, flawed, wonderful, manic, wanted and scarred. He got to fall in love and keep it.

We all do. We just have to be brave enough to know it, or strong enough to allow ourselves the chance to believe in it. Fate, soulmates, romance, cute dates and lifelong friendship – we get it all. Even us.

Especially us.

Buy Fortitude Smashed at:

Barnes & Noble * Interlude PressAmazon * Book Depository

Add it on Goodreads

After fleshing out a multitude of fantastical creatures as a special effects makeup artist, Taylor Brooke turned her imagination back to her true love—books. When she’s not nestled in a blanket typing away on her laptop, she’s traveling, hiking or reading. She writes Queer books for teens and adults. Her debut, Fortitude Smashed, will be published by Interlude Press in September 2017. Follow her on Twitter at @taysalion.