Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Love Spell Blog Tour! (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Love Spell 
Author: Mia Kerick
Series: N/A 
Pages: N/A
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: N/A
Format: Kindle
Genre: Contemporary YA 
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Buy Me!

Synopsis:
Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.

As for back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”

But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.

An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.
~Guest Post~
Have you ever had a reason to conduct online research in reference to the topic of heroes? In order to write this blog post I searched “qualities of a hero” and “characteristics of a Young Adult literary hero”; I found many common characteristics listed in various articles and blog posts.

Here are some of the widely agreed upon (by teachers, and philosophers, and book bloggers) traits of heroes:

*Bravery (this one makes almost every list), and please note: it must be a steadfast sort of courage

*Selflessness (yes, you must put others before yourself at all times)

*Determination (described also as perseverance, focus, dedication)

*Loyalty (it seems a true hero doesn’t cut and run when the going gets tough)

*Conviction (a hero is committed to certain absolutes, often to his detriment)

*Compassion (closely coupled with kindness)

*Wisdom (he must see the world clearly and understand what he is seeing)

These are the kinds of characteristics everybody wants in a BFF, and they are also what most parents want to encourage in their children. And in short, adults want teens to read about YA characters possessing these qualities, as if possessing a secret hope that these honorable qualities will be embraced.

In light of this list of qualifying characteristics, let’s take a critical look at Chance César. First, FYI, a brief description of Chance and his role in Love Spell:

The main character in Love Spell, Chance César, is a colorful blend of humor and sarcasm (as well as of black combat boots and ecru vintage lace.) In terms of his sexuality, Chance is out. He is proud. To school, he dares to wear guyliner and lip gloss, as well as hot pink sweatshirts that declare statements such as, “I kissed a boy and liked it.” But despite his commitment to flamboyant originality with regard to his personal style and attitude, Chance is deeply confused. As certain as he is of his sexual identity—he is most definitely gay—Chance is completely baffled by his gender identity. Though his sex is male, he identifies almost equally with females as with males. And this perplexity torments him.

Chance and his best friend, Emily, to whom he is completely devoted, set out to capture the heart of Jasper (Jazz) Donahue, the boy of Chance’s dreams. Chance goes to great lengths—to any length, in fact—to get the job done. He follows all of the “rules” to a tee. It’s possible that he misses the big picture, however, the first time around, but in the process of trying to manipulate a person to his will, Chance discovers that he has a lot to learn about love and friendship.

I think we can safely say that Chance is brave. Saddled with a heavy load of personal baggage that he has carried around since he was just a boy, his gender identity confusion, Chance courageously goes about the business of publicly expressing his female side. To school every day he wears perfume and eyeliner and sweatshirts with one-liners that dare the other kids to taunt him. He seems fearless, but he is not. Inside he cringes in fear of the possible impending pain and humiliation of being bullied because he is different, yet he forges on.

But is he selfless? Is Chance making these sacrifices to improve his own lot in life, or is he trying to stand up for all teens with gender issues. My feeling is that Chance is merely doing what is necessary to survive his own perplexing life. Will his actions ultimately help a larger group of teens that struggle with their gender identity? Yes, I think so. But this is not his primary motive.

Is Chance a character that possesses determination? Seeing as the entire novel centers on his concentrated efforts to win another boy’s heart, I would say yes.

Great loyalty is probably one of Chance’s most obvious character traits. His loyalty and devotion to his BFF, Emily, never wavers. I strongly suspect that anyone who Chance starts to care about deeply will forever be able to call Chance a friend.

Does he have conviction? Chance possesses the conviction to, first, accept and own his sexuality, and then to live as an out and proud gay person, regardless of the consequences. And Love Spell is the story of his struggle to do the same with his gender identity. He’s not fully accepting of himself in terms of his gender identity—not even at the conclusion of the story—but despite his confusion, he continues to trail blaze a path toward the acceptance of all genders.

And compassion? For the most part, Chance lives without regret, but the regret that he shows at his moments of recklessness demonstrate that he is quite compassionate to others.

Wisdom. This is an interesting characteristic, seeing as teens are learning every day, and are gaining wisdom through everything that they see. And through what they don’t see. Chance is sharp and perceptive; not much gets by him. But he is not perfect and some important lessons pass him by.

So we have now considered Chance César in terms of his suitability to be called a YA hero. If you were keeping score, I think you’d agree that Chance did well overall. He earned at least a B in Heroism 101. However, I found the very best answer to my question about the qualities of a hero in literature in Yahoo Answers, and it has little to do with the above list. The response I like so much states, “In modern times, the American hero is often simply an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances, who, despite the odds being stacked against him or her, typically prevails in the end.”

Chance is extremely afraid, yet brave.

He is selfish, but in his self-obsession is opening eyes and doors for others.

Chance possesses the conviction that all people are entitled to the freedom to express his/her gender and sexuality, and demonstrates a steadfast determination to live by these convictions. He never backs down.

He is a loyal and compassionate friend.

And even if Chance doesn’t have all the wisdom he needs, the extraordinary circumstances he is dealing with helps him to greatly increase his knowledge and understanding of the world each day. He is willing to learn, which is most important.

I don’t think there could be a better example of a YA literary hero than Chance César of Love Spell.
~Try an Excerpt!~
Lost: One Rat’s Ass, $10,000 Reward if Found and Returned In Good Condition to Rightful Owner

My parents are what you might call “rather apathetic” with regard to their sentiments toward the one who will, in theory, carry on the César name.  Or at least that’s how I see it. Fair warning—I’m a person who likes to call spades exactly what they are. And even if I so badly wish the spade was a club, I still call the frigging thing a spade. So yeah, when I was young, I used to pretend like Mom and Dad gave a crap, but you can only pretend for so damned long. Now that I’m seventeen, any and all remnants of the “I love you, you love me—we’re a happy family” charade are ancient history.

Nope. They don’t give a rat’s ass about their only child, Chance.

Now don’t get me wrong—Mom and Dad possess no wish for lousy shit to fly my way. They just aren’t into the whole parenting thing, and I figure that’s their right.

But on the brighter side, they don’t give a rat’s ass that I’m gay. Nope, there’s no horrific, scarring homophobia going on in the César family home. And get this: my big “coming out of the closet” last year consisted of three lines of dialogue between my parents and moi:



Me: Mom, Dad… I’m gay… and I just thought you guys might want to know.

Dad (yawning): That’s nice, Chance.

Mom: Yeah, that’s great. Oh, by the way, it’s get-your-own-dinner-night… again.



Nope, nothing emotionally scarring there.

Good thing I’m the kind of guy who chooses to focus on the positive. I can walk around the house in full female stripper garb, and nobody bats an eyelash. If I conjure up any reaction at all, it might be that my mother asks me where I bought my sexy stretch-lace naughty knickers, as she’s been looking for ones in that color. And speaking of color choices, neither Mom nor Dad said a single word when I showed up with my hair dyed the flamboyant shade of a Cheez Doodle. Not only do I have complete freedom with how I express my personal style, but when I go all drama-queen mode on their asses, my parents just look at each other and shrug. In fact, I try—and I try fucker-nelly hard—but I just can’t shock these people.


I can barely get them to notice me. 
~Meet Mia!~
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Stop by Mia’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind.
Mia will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

30 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for welcoming me on your blog today!! I am glad for the chance to talk about YA literary heroes!!

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    1. Hi Mia! Sorry I couldn't be here yesterday! I absolutely adore literary heroes, especially YA! Aside from the admirable Chance, are there any other YA heroes you adore?

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    2. I really loved Mia's The Red Sheet. One of the MC's, Bryan, shows us that we can all be heroes, we all have the power to facilitate change. It's a powerful book!

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    1. Hi Mary. I'm so glad you found the excerpt interesting. You know where you can find more? Pick up a copy of Love Spell!! LOL

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  3. yaaay thanks for the giveaway, and most importantly, for sharing with us!

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    1. I am glad to share what I learn through research! Thank you for commenting!

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  4. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

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    1. Strange writing habits... well, I can assure you it is not standing on my head. Not safe for me. But I do leave a pencil and paper by the shower, next to my bed, in my car--everywhere, really--incase I get the best idea ever and just have to write it down.

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    2. That's pretty excellent. I should start doing that too..though not the standing on the head thing!

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  5. Thank you so much for the chance xo

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    1. I'm so glad that you can take part in the raffle!!

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  6. The cover and title are awesome! Thank you for the great post and contest!

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    1. Hi Betty. I'm glad you like the cover and title. I really do like them, too. They came to gather and fit perfectly.

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  7. Don't forget Jazz.. He's pretty heroic too!

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    1. That is quite true, Jazz is very important in the story, gives much of himself to others, and might be a bit of an unsung hero!

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  8. Mia is on her way home from a physical therapy session for her daughter who recently had surgery and she is quite eager to read and respond to all the comments. Thanks!

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  9. Andra I enjoyed your posts on heroes and the except, sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Eva!! Thank you. I love writing all different kinds of YA heroes and Chance is one of my favorites. I hope you pick up Love Spell.

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  10. Thank you for making each blog stop different. I really appreciate all the time and effort that it takes.

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    1. Ree Dee- that is such a great comment. I wonder sometimes if readers really look at the blog posts, but truly, each one is like writing an essay. I want them all to be great because it might be the only exposure a potential reader gets to me. SO THANK YOU!!!

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  11. Interesting post and very accurate on what it takes to be a hero. :-)

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  12. Thank you Glenda- so glad you read my post! Thank you for stopping by!

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  13. Nice meet you Mia. I look forward to reading Love Spell

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  14. I think every woman on this blog should Google heroes whenever they need a pick-me-up!

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  15. thanks for the generous offer, Mia.

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