We’re so pleased to welcome author J.K. Hogan today, on the tour for her brand new novel, Strong Medicine. We have the privilege of bringing to you an exclusive excerpt from her current Work In Progress.
Enjoy and then be sure to check out the Rafflecopter giveaway to enter for the chance to win an E-copy of Strong Medicine.
Hi everybody! I’m excited to be here celebrating my new release, Strong Medicine. For my guest post today, I decided to do something I pretty much never do. I’m going to give y’all a sneak peak of my current project. The reason I don’t normally do it is that I’m always afraid the idea will change or the story will flame out, and someone will be like “what happened to that great book you said you were writing?” So I’m usually pretty tight-lipped about WIPs until the go to the betas. But as I was searching my soul—and by my soul, I mean Google—for interesting post topics, I decided I’d break my rule. So, I guess this is kind an “exclusive excerpt.” Makes it sound all fancy…
I can’t tell you what the name of the book is, because it doesn’t have one yet. The codename on my computer is Untitled: BFFs. You may be able to tell from that un-title that it’s about two best friends (I’m also not using their names either because I’m still undecided, so I’ll just use letters). These two boys meet in their junior year of high school. J is an über-nerd who’s kind of an old soul. High school is kind of beneath him, and he can’t be anything other than himself, so he gets bullied for it:
I was just enough on the radar for the popular people to know me, and hate me. And I was the triple threat of geekdom—smart, artsy, and techy. Often casually tormented, I kept my head down and tried to fade into the environment.
He’s one of those kids that you know will eventually be attractive, but he hasn’t quite grown into it… He does a lot of growing after senior year.
B is a transfer student from a broken home. He’s one of those anomalies able to be both nerdy and popular—probably just because he’s so damn good-looking. J first sees him during an English class assignment and wonders if he could possibly make friends with him.
I was captivated by his analysis—it was even better than mine—and a thought occurred to me. He was smart. Not only was he one of the pretty people, but he was a pretty nerd. A unicorn! A white fucking whale! I had to have him.
When he’d finished, the teacher had us break up into our groups for a previously assigned project. Before I could even get my ass out of my chair, the vultures had surrounded B, sucking him into their flock.
I was devastated.
B is smart, but he’s terrible in History, so he asks J to tutor him. Much to J’s surprise, B is nice to him and they quickly become close friends. B tries to shield him from the worst of the bullying, while staying out of it enough to keep himself off the shit list.
In this book, I’m exploring a lot of my wonderful horrible high school memories, which is sort of fun and sort of traumatic, since I was definitely more of a J than a B. Anyway, the boys’ friendship grows even as they are separated and brought back together several times over the years. I explore—and they learn all about—some of the different aspects of the LGBT spectrum. Eventually they will realize that their love is much more than friendship… but I’m still working on the high school bit right now. So here’s a teeny, tiny excerpt from J & B’s first study session, in all its awkward glory. (I know they talk about girls, but I swear it’s an m/m. This is just one of my favorite funny parts.) Enjoy:
(Begins with B speaking) “All the high school politics. The social dynamics. It’s just an illusion. Once it’s over and we’re all gone from here, it will be people like you who’ll be successful.”
I appreciated what he was saying, but I didn’t think he could possibly understand what it was like on the other side of the fence—my side—when all the doors were open for him, bought and paid for with nothing more than his pretty face and big muscles. I so wanted to dislike him, but he was just so damn nice. Still, I couldn’t keep the chip on my shoulder from speaking for me.
“I get what you’re saying—there’s more to life than high school—but we still have to survive it, or screw up the rest of our life. That’s something that’s just going to be easier for you, looking like you do, whether you want to admit it or not. Looking like you do, it’s gonna help you out. The way I look…well, in a perfect world, it wouldn’t matter, but life isn’t perfect.”
I had to hand it to him, he looked honestly puzzled. “What’s wrong with how you look?”
My jaw dropped and I gaped at him. Seriously? He couldn’t see that my nerdiness was soul deep? Underneath my mass of almost-black hair that could only be described as a mop, my skinny body, and boring clothes, beat the heart of a true underdog. My contacts always bothered me, so my eyes were perpetually squinty and red. I broke out twice a month, and no matter how much food I stuffed in my face, I never could gain any bulk. What was he thinking?
“Uh, have you seen me?”
B shook his head again, as if I was missing the point. “So you’re still growing into yourself. In a couple of years, you’re gonna be a knockout. You’ll be breaking college girls’ hearts left and right.”
I swear, sometimes the guy talked like he was eighty years old, like his life was almost over while everyone else’s was just beginning.
I shrugged. “Girls have never given me the time of day, so I don’t give them much thought.”
That got a grin out of him. “Okay, I’m going to make it my mission to help you with that.”
“No, please, that’s really okay—”
“No thanks necessary, it’s my pleasure.” His mischievous expression told me he knew I had no intention of thanking him for the gesture. “Why don’t you come to the football game with me? I’ll introduce you to some girls!”
A root canal sounded like more fun. Sure, I’d like to hang out with B outside of studying; having him as a friend would vastly improve my street cred—hallway cred?—but the idea of him taking me up to some popular girls and trying to get me a date made me want to puke from anxiety.
And there you have it! As much as I hated high school, it’s definitely fun to write. And don’t worry, it’s not a YA novel. Only the first part is high school. I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Stay tuned to my website for information on whenever my kids decide to let me finish this up and get it in your hands!
About the Book
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Length: 289 Pages
Categories: Contemporary Romance
Blurb: Two men who meet in a psychiatric institution couldn’t possibly find happiness together—could they?
The world seemed to be telling disgraced former child star and singer Cameron Fox that he would never be happy again. A drunken car accident gets him sentenced to a work release program at Riverbend Behavioral Health Facility.
Reclusive, traumatized writer Jonah Radley has an entire graveyard of skeletons in his closet. Jonah regularly hospitalizes himself for psychotic episodes caused by a horrific childhood trauma, his biggest secret—one he refuses to speak about in therapy.
Jonah and Cameron form a bond inside the hospital, forged in mutual pain and hope for a better life. Once they leave the hospital, they must decide if they are brave enough to explore the intricacies of living with mental illness—and find a new normal together.
About the Author
J.K. Hogan has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, beginning with writing cast lists and storylines for her toys growing up. When she finally decided to put pen to paper, magic happened. She is greatly inspired by all kinds of music and often creates a “soundtrack” for her stories as she writes them. J.K. is hoping to one day have a little something for everyone, so she’s branched out from m/f paranormal romance and added m/m contemporary romance. Who knows what’s next?
J.K. resides in North Carolina, where she was born and raised. A true southern girl at heart, she lives in the country with her husband and two sons, a cat, and two champion agility dogs. If she isn’t on the agility field, J.K. can often be found chasing waterfalls in the mountains with her husband, or down in front at a blues concert. In addition to writing, she enjoys training and competing in dog sports, spending time with her large southern family, camping, boating and, of course, reading! For more information, please visit www.jkhogan.com.
One winner will be selected to win an eBook copy of Strong Medicine
Follow the Tour
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5/11 Hearts On Fire Reviews
5/11 MM Good Book Reviews
5/12 Drako’s Den
5/12 Literary Nymphs
5/13 Cryselle’s Bookshelf
5/13 Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents
5/13 The Dark Arts
5/16 Bayou Book Junkie
5/16 Liz’s Reading Life
5/17 BFD Book Blog
5/17 Oh My Shelves
5/17 Dawn’s Reading Nook
5/18 Divine Magazine
5/18 3 Chicks After Dark
5/19 Purple Rose Teahouse
5/19 Cameron James
5/20 Love Bytes Reviews
5/20 Molly Lolly
5/20 Reviews by Tammy and Kim
5/23 The Novel Approach
5/23 Alpha Book Club
5/23 Diverse Reader
5/23 Happily Ever Chapter
5/24 Erzabet Enchantments
5/24 The Blogger Girls
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