We’re so pleased to have author B.G. Thomas with us today to chat about the fourth and final book in his Seasons of Love series, Winter Heart.
Four Friends, Four Seasons
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will.
You’ve got a friend
~~ Carole King
Hello Everybody! I’m B.G. Thomas and I am thrilled to be here today at The Novel Approach.
So I was talking to Lisa and she wanted me to chat a bit about my series Seasons of Love and asked how I used the idea of the seasons as inspiration for the series, and how each of the books reflects the season in which it’s set.
So…. This series came about because I wanted to show people how gay friendships can differ from “straight” friendships. Having had friendships on both sides, I do see something… different.
I decided to make this series, my first real series, about four friends. It seemed like a good balance, and I thought I could make the entire story take place over about a year and of course that led straight away to me thinking about the four seasons. Then I just had to think which order they should go in. Should I could start with spring, when everything renews itself? Or winter, where everything hibernates, waiting for the spring?
I elected to start with the spring.
And I did something else that only a very few people have caught on to. I named my characters for their season. Spring = Sloan. Summer = Scott. Autumn = Asher. And Winter = Wyatt.
I also knew that three of our characters would be single and looking for love (although at least one of them would deny that). I knew that one of them wouldn’t be single as the series began, but would lose his lover before it came time for his book. That would be Wyatt of course, and his book, Winter Heart.
I knew there were peoples and themes and issues I wanted do deal with. Like the Samoan culture, one that’s been left startlingly alone. It’s pretty beautiful and rich, I can tell you (and I did, in Autumn Changes). I wanted to deal with different religious themes—different than Christianity that is. Asher is Jewish. His love interest, Peni, is deeply drawn to his island heritage. Scott is an atheist; Wyatt a neo-pagan. All of these ideas came to me through the people and friends around me. I will never forget listening to a man at church one Sunday morning, with tallit over his head and shoulders, singing a Jewish prayer. It changed me. Oh! And hearing about the tremendous pain during the ritual of receiving a pe’a—the traditional full-body tattoos of the Samoan people. And speaking of bodies, I was deeply drawn to the very real issue of body dysmorphia. It’s something I can relate to with my hatred of the constant yo-yoing of my weight. A sweet reader wrote to me telling me how Summer Lover gave her the courage to remove fabric that had been draped over the mirrors of her home so she wouldn’t have to see her reflection.
As it began to come together—and I’m a pantser, so it was hard to actually have to plot out a story line for once—things began to fall into place magickally, like they always do for my stories. It’s very exciting. And I soon came to see just how deeply the seasons did match my characters and their lives.
“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”
~~ Yoko Ono
Spring is about renewal, and Sloan needs to do that in Spring Affair. He needs to deal with the grief of losing his beloved mother. He needs to come to terms with the fact that the man he has loved for years, Asher, will never love him the same way. He needs to be careful as he finds himself falling in love with Max, a married man. And Max needs to finally begin to deal with that fact that he is gay and what that means in his life, especially his marriage. And they will both be renewed as they fall in love with each other.
Summer? Summer is about heat and love and sexuality. It’s about skin and the sun. It is also about growth. And Scott certainly needs to grow. A lot. And he does in the course of Summer Lover. And that title, I should explain, comes from the little summer boyfriends that happen at events like the one portrayed in Summer Lover. When you’re in paradise, it’s easy to fall in love. All that freedom and sun and acceptance and magick! But it’s when people go back home that they see their summer lovers as what they are. People. Loving maybe. But flawed. Will Scott grow enough at “summer camp” to stay in love as the summer ends? Well this is a romance book after all!
Autumn. It’s about change. Everything changing into beautiful colors, but dying as well. Or is it? Is it death or is it a time of settling down and getting ready for rest? Change? In Autumn Changes we see that Asher certainly needs to rest. He’s been burning the candle at both ends, proving to the world (or is it really just himself?) that he is a great actor, a better partier, and the best lover there is. And that he doesn’t need love. But he better be careful—because the candle that burns twice as bright, burns only half as long! Maybe it’s time for him to realize that his best assets are his friends—who are true unto death. Is he a true friend as well? Maybe, just maybe, a lovely young Samoan friend name Peni can help him through all this. And show Asher he needs love. And together they can both embrace their heritage. And change.
Winter. A time for sleep and hibernation. It’s cold. And Wyatt is feeling all of this. His lover of the last eleven years has left him out in the cold. Yes, Wyatt is feeling it in his bones. But there is also a famous song that tell us, and Wyatt, far beneath the bitter snow are seeds just waiting to bloom again in the spring. Through introspection, the love of his best friends—the Fabulous Four—and love from a most unexpected man, Wyatt will begin to learn to love himself. And how else can he really love unless he learns to love himself again. To shed the false love of an ex-lover, don the warm fur blanket of self-love, and then be able to offer himself to a man who has loved him from afar for quite a long time.
Wait! What? Someone has loved Wyatt from afar? You bet. And if you’ve read the first three books, you’ve met him, although I am hoping you don’t see him coming.
Not only is Winter Heart the closest book to my heart because of the pain I’ve been through, but also because as I learned to love myself again, a beautiful, wonderful man came into my life. One who had loved me from afar for quite a long time.
And Wyatt has really been the heart of Seasons of Love all along.
And there you go. Four friends. Four seasons. The great turning of the Wheel. And the world certainly turns for four best friends throughout these four books.
And wait until you read the Epilogue! I just dare you not to cry!
Now, how about an exclusive first meeting of Wyatt’s love interest for Winter Heart? Can you guess just who he is and where you have already met him, if you’ve read the previous books?
Kevin Owens sat up in bed the minute the alarm clock went off, neither hitting the slumber button nor even considering going back to sleep. He was awake. Time for the day to begin.
Not that he had anything to do.
He stood up, scratched his underwear-clad balls, stretched, heard his back pop. It felt good.
He turned and looked out the window, seeing the silhouette of the New York City skyline. He never tired of it. He loved the city. Loved the old familiar buildings—was proud of the new. He loved the people. And that often reminded him of a line from one of his favorite books…
…to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity, to share its life, its change, its death….
But to call Kevin a city boy would be wrong. He loved the country as well, and this morning—already—he was hearing the call of the Land. He’d been hearing it, feeling it, for a week. At least.
He could see it all in his mind’s eye. The sun on the lake, and the great blue herons flying over it. Feel the grass beneath his bare feet, the sun on his skin, the soil sifting through his fingers as he weeded Hesperides’s Garden. Smell the earth and growing things. Almost hear the cicadas and the wind in the trees. He couldn’t remember if there had been a time the call had come so early. He wasn’t going to go to Camp for another seven months.
Of course, at this time of year Camp Sanctuary wouldn’t look anything like he was used to. Not anything like what his senses remembered. He’d only been there once when it wasn’t lush and green, and that had been for a memorial service for a dear friend late one fall a few years back. The trees hadn’t been thoroughly bare—with some red and orange and more brown leaves stubbornly hanging on—but wow, quite a difference. And that had been in November. What would it look like now?
There wouldn’t be anyone there now. Except for the caretakers, he would most likely be alone if he heeded the call and headed down there.
Then again, he was usually alone anyway, so that wouldn’t make all that much difference. And it wasn’t like he couldn’t just jump in his truck and leave. What was keeping him?
But why? Why this feeling? Why this urge? He wasn’t even sure Camp would be open this time of year. Would they have the water turned on for the shower house, what with the very real possibility of the pipes freezing and bursting?
Kevin closed his eyes, breathed in deep, let it out slowly.
Shower. Coffee. Check the calendar and make sure he didn’t have to be anywhere today.
But he knew he didn’t. He always knew. He was too conscientious for anything else.
He left his bedroom, crossed the living room to the counter that separated it from the small but efficient kitchen, and booted up his laptop.
Everything was white. He liked that. White walls, white carpet, white kitchen with white appliances. Only the furniture was dark to hide dirt. Because that was sensible—and if Kevin was anything, he was sensible. Black suede couch, black chairs, black end and coffee tables. And he had plants, of course: the big Ficus, the huge angel wing begonia, and a few ferns. Somehow they made him feel like he could breathe easier.
The prints on the walls were his only concession to color (along with the plants), and they had black frames. All of them were photographs he had taken himself. Several came from Camp, including a gorgeous (to him) picture of a nearly-full moon in a sunny sky. Maybe they weren’t masterpieces, but he liked them. Other people did too. Cauley and Theresa and one or two others. His few friends.
Friends were all he had right now. He definitely wasn’t dating anyone. Or pursuing any one-night stands. He hadn’t been with a man in over a year. That was okay. Sometimes (a lot of the time) it was lonely. But nothing compared to being left alone after a night of passion with a stranger he might never see again—almost never did see again. The sex wasn’t worth it. The aloneness he felt after those men left was often worse than what he’d felt before they arrived.
While his computer booted up, Kevin went into the kitchen, opened a cabinet, and pulled out a bag of coffee beans he’d gotten from Sweetleaf, a funky Queens coffee minichain. He ground them, put them in his coffee maker, and started it up. He’d used a french press for a short while; it made the best coffee—his friend “Poof” from Festival had taught him that. But it created such a mess. Kevin didn’t like messes.
The coffee was brewing, and the aroma was already waking his senses.
By then his computer was wide awake, and a quick glance at his calendar—which he could have checked on his phone with one of the apps he’d created, but he needed to turn on the computer anyway—showed him that he was right. Nothing for today. Gym, of course. That was marked in. It was legs day. But no business. Good.
He knew he should call his ex—Cauley wasn’t doing very well lately. He’d find out if he should drop by. Cauley’s mother said the visits helped. He hoped so. If a few hours here and there did as much as she claimed it did, who was he not to help? He had the time after all.
He loved his bathroom. It was big, and he was a big man. Big tub and a shower with multiple showerheads and some of the only other color in his whole condo—stone tiles of tan and umber and beige on the walls and floor. And the large staghorn fern, of course. He stepped out of his Calvin Klein underwear (red, he liked red—he didn’t stick with white and black when it came to clothing) and started the shower, flossed while he waited for the water to heat (it wouldn’t take long), and left brushing for after the coffee. When the water was steamy hot, he got in, shifted the water to the massage setting, and reveled in it.
The pulsing woke Kevin the rest of the way, made him feel so good and vital and alive. He even considered jerking off. But no. Nothing sexual on a whim, not even masturbation. He wasn’t even truly horny. And the coffee would be ready.
So he soaped up, shampooed, shaved the strip of beard down the middle of his chin (which gave him an almost muttonchop look), rinsed, dried himself with thick towels. Macy’s Hotel Collection MicroCotton—expensive, but he didn’t consider them an indulgence. They soaked up the water and didn’t feel wet afterward and besides, they felt good.
Kevin had a code of sorts when it came to money. In some ways he indulged—he could, after all—and in some ways he didn’t. The money Google had offered—too much to refuse—had made him quite comfortable. But this was New York, and he’d spent nearly three quarters of a million on his condo—a good chunk of his money. But that was an investment, and property values didn’t go down in New York City.
Still, why buy a Tommy Hilfiger flannel shirt at seventy dollars that looked just like one from Walmart, which cost less than twenty-five? A brand name meant nothing to him unless it also meant quality. Better that money could go to something like Children’s International instead, where it would help. A brand itself meant nothing to him personally. But those Macy’s towels? He liked them for what they were and not “who.” Um, um, good.
After Kevin dried, he padded back to the kitchen without dressing because he liked being naked. Being naked felt better even than Macy’s towels. It felt good to let his dick sway. He liked the sensation when he sat down on his suede couch and his balls settled first, and he liked his bare feet on the carpet. He liked being naked at Camp as well, loved the sun on his skin and the grass under his feet, and he didn’t give a shit that most men who saw him whispered about his big balls and his below-average-sized cock. They hadn’t seen how big he got when he was hard after all (only one man at Camp ever had), and what mattered more in the end? And it wasn’t like he was small when he was soft for God’s sake. He just didn’t flop from knee to knee like Bruce “Rat Bastard” Douglas, for instance. But then, who did have a bigger cock than Bruce? Kevin had wondered more than once what you could even do with something so large!
The coffee was ready and filled the condo with its heady rich scent, and he poured it into one of his big mugs and went back to his computer to check e-mails. There were two stools next to the counter—mahogany with suede upholstery that felt good on his bare ass (and his balls; oh yes, his balls), and he always felt one should appreciate life’s little pleasures. One of his favorite authors, Malcolm Kane, had helped him learn that.
Most of the subject lines for his e-mails showed they were junk, and he deleted them quickly without opening them. Oh, look, the country of Monterosia owed him two hundred million dollars—delete. “Obama Is Killing Our Country!”—delete. “Cialis and Viagra Cheap from Canada!”—delete. “You Qualify For A $500 Gift Card from Best Buy”—delete. He could delete a lot of his Facebook notifications too, but he opened anything from the comedian who called himself “God” because those postings were always good.
Today he read several he enjoyed: “Just because you can’t figure out how ancient civilizations built stuff doesn’t mean they got help from aliens” made him laugh out loud because he always thought those von Däniken theories were bullshit. A Cheesus Christ cheese grater. And finally (and he loved this one), “Hi, I’m God. All religions got it wrong. Let’s start over. Just be cool to one another. The End.”
That really said it all, didn’t it?
Kevin smiled. Poured more coffee. Sipped cautiously.
Knew that he had got it right.
Life was good.
Wait. What was this? An e-mail from BigSir75@aol.com?
Big Sir? From Heartland Queer Men’s Festival?
Weird. To be thinking about the Land and then get an e-mail from Big Sir. What the hell could he possibly want?
He almost deleted the e-mail—Big Sir was far from his favorite attendee—but then that tickle happened. The one Kevin had learned to pay attention to. That little tingle that started at the base of his skull and shivered out over his scalp. His curiosity was captured now, and if he was wrong, he was wrong. But if he was right….
Kevin had learned to trust the tickles.
He opened the e-mail.
This is Big Sir also known as Howard. Not sure which you would remember me by.
I just wanted u to know I am free! I have finally dumped my loser lovers ass! I know you would not even think of getting with me while I was with Little Bear, but now i can tell u that it is no longer a worry. He is out of my life.
So I was wondering if you would want to get together sometime? We could have a LOT of fun I can tell! You are so freaking HAWT and I KNOW the sparks have been flying between us but you wouldn’t be with me while I was with Little Bear. I might be in New York next week. Could we hook up? You and me! Would be most hot.
Ok. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Howard aka Big Sir!
Kevin could scarcely believe his eyes. Howard (he had never been willing to actually call the man “Big Sir”) wanted to get together with him? Howard from Festival? Howard thought there were sparks flying between them? How in the world had he ever gotten that idea?
Kevin shuddered. He couldn’t stand to be around the guy. He’d never liked the way Howard stared at him, flirted with him in the shower (“Want to wash each other’s backs?”), and acted in ways that the jerk obviously thought were sexy.
Kevin shook his head and hit the delete button. He wasn’t even going to dignify the e-mail with a response.
Sex with Howard?
It wasn’t that he thought Howard was physically gross. He liked guys with some padding. But what was ugly about Howard was his heart. There was something in his eyes, something… dark. And he didn’t like the way he treated his lover—well, apparently now his ex-lover.
And on the tail of that came…
So Wyatt is single now?
About the Book
Seasons of Love: Book Four
For over ten years, Wyatt Dolan defined himself as the lover of Howard Wallace. Howard made sure Wyatt’s self-worth depended on that role. So when Howard dumps him, he is lost at sea in a storm without a rudder. If it wasn’t for his supportive friends, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Finally, after a series of disasters, he escapes to Camp Sanctuary—a sacred place to him—where he can be alone, try to put his past behind him, and find a new direction for his life.
Kevin Owens is a lonely man. He is very intelligent—several apps he created have gone on to make him a comfortable living—but he is also quite shy and is uncomfortable making conversation. The death of his dear friend and former lover after a long illness leaves him grieving, confused, and adrift. Then a dream guides him to Camp Sanctuary, only to find that the one cabin with a wood-burning stove has already been reserved. And worse, by a man he’s had a secret crush on for years—Wyatt Dolan.
When a snowstorm knocks out power at the Camp, Wyatt and Kevin must share the same cabin to stay warm, and very soon, magickal things begin to happen.
About the Author
B.G. is a novelist and blogger. Every day last year he made and entry in his blog. “365 Days of Silver,” where he found something every day to be grateful for. You can find it right HERE.
B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to conventions since he was fourteen years old and has been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was child; it is where he finds his joy.
In the nineties, he wrote for gay magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. Gay men are what he knows best, after all. He submitted his first story in years and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days.
“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”
Visit his website and his author blog at http://bthomaswriter.wordpress.com/ where you can contact him. He loves to hear from readers and is always quick to respond. You can also find him on Facebook.