TNA: Hi, Skylar, thanks so much for being here with us today. Why don’t we start off having you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Skylar: Thank you for hosting me, TNA.
I’m listening to Mary Lambert’s song Secrets right now, and like Mary—“ my shit’s not in order,” and yep, I’m okay with it.
I value my friends and good books. I love wine and sushi, and I adore all animals. Listening to my kids’ laugher is my favorite sound in the whole universe. I like all pie, especially key lime or pumpkin, drive in movies, and swimming in the ocean.
If you meet me in person, I can be shy on the surface, but my sense of humor can be quirky once you know me. I try and live by the rule: treat others how you’d like to be treated. I wake up each day and try to be kind and compassionate in a sometimes hard world.
TNA: If you were to sit down and write your memoir today, what would the title be?
Skylar: Treading Chaos
TNA: That title’s brilliant! It says everything in just two words.
There have been plenty of authors who’ve said they made their way to the M/M romance genre via writing FanFic. What’s your story, what compelled you to begin writing gay romance?
Skylar: What compelled me to write in this genre was the belief in equality and love for everybody. Real life friends’ experiences and news events compelled me to action more than anything else.
Watching gay couples on television being denied the right to express affection on screen or get the same happily ever after as heterosexual couples did persuade me to dabble in the world of fan fiction too. I found FanFic readers and writers to be so passionate about the couple they would ship. I loved that! It was truly awesome and inspiring.Even though I was not in many fandoms or there for a long period of time, I do treasure some of the friendships I’ve made.
TNA: If someone who has never read your work before asked you for one recommendation to start with, which book would you choose, and what makes that book particularly recommendable?
Skylar: Gah! This one is difficult. I’m not sure how to answer. I love different books at different times, so I feel each book might represent me.
TNA: Let’s talk a little bit about the latest installment in your Glamour Series, The Last Guy Breathing. Would you call it an enemies-to-lovers story, or are Locke and Henry just a little antagonistic? From a creative standpoint, what do you find most appealing about beginning a relationship on the wrong foot, so to speak?
Skylar: They are antagonistic at first, maybe not outright enemies, but Locke and Henry do have a lot of heat between them.
From a creative standpoint, I love a flawed character and the idea of redemption. Locke, especially, does several wrong things in the novel but for all the right reasons. A character that steps with a“wrong foot” repeatedly but has a huge heart underneath it appeals to me. Locke is also protective, and Henry needs that in his life. I think the fun for the reader is watching them realize, after such a rocky start, that they want a relationship.
TNA: You also have a holiday story due soon, The Holiday Hoax. Between you and me, I love a good holiday romance, the mushier, the better. What’re some of your favorite things about writing, and even reading, a holiday romance?
Skylar: Me too! I love holiday stories. This one is very mushy (I hope you will enjoy it). The holidays can be lonely for people at times, and my two guys start off lonely here. I think seeing somebody fall in love is especially heartwarming at the holiday season. I wanted this story to go down like a warm sip of hot chocolate.
TNA: The Holiday Hoax is written in the first person. Do you find a certain intimacy in the first person narrative? What do you like about writing in that point-of-view?
Skylar: When I decided to write a new adult novella, I thought about some of my favorite ones and those books often use first person. It felt like a natural thing to do. For me, the first person narrator sounds younger. I’m not sure why… Yes, it can be more intimate to stay in that POV too, and Evan was self-deprecating and sweet, so I liked staying in his voice. My only concern with first person is bringing out the other main character fully too. But I think JD comes across to the reader as three dimensional.
TNA: What projects are you currently working on? Any works in progress you’d like to share a bit about with us?
Skylar: Thanks for asking! I have the start of a new series coming in February from Dreamspinner, the Sunshine and Happiness Series. Book one is titled Here For You. I’m extremely excited for its release. *happy dance*
I wrote this one from a place deep inside my heart. It is about sudden loss. How do you cope with it? How do you let love in?
The book is surrounded by a specific tragedy that throws the main characters into turmoil and despair, but the relationships in the book are honest, real and loving. (At least for me it felt that way, and I hope for readers too *fingers crossed*). It focuses on roommates in a house in South Florida.
Each roommate will get his story in the series. On a side note, please tell Jackie from TNA this is the one with the tattoos, lol. She helped me with some research on that!
TNA: It’s been a pleasure chatting with you, Skylar. Would you tell us where we can find you on the internet?
Skylar: Thanks! I’m always happy to be here! I appreciate your time.
I’m Evan Goodman, budding actor, future star, college freshman. Oh, and let’s not forget—recently dumped. If only my family wasn’t expecting to meet my new boyfriend over the holiday break. Enter JD Laurens—a sweet and quiet science major who mostly keeps to himself. When he gathers the courage to come out, poor JD gets abandoned by his only family right in front of me, and now he has nowhere to go for Christmas. But I have a proposition for him: pretend to be my boyfriend for the holidays so I can take him home. It’s a win-win. What could go wrong?
Blurb The Last Guy Breathing: Henry Clueley doesn’t want to be in Glamour, not after moving far away to overcome a difficult, if privileged, childhood. He’s no longer that pudgy kid desperate to escape his hometown, but it still holds painful memories. When his recently widowed mother needs him, however, “dependable Henry” does the right thing—even if it means leaving the IRS to take a boring corporate position. Things don’t stay boring for long. Soon Henry helps the local sheriff’s department unravel a crime. Posing as half of a fake couple seems like a fun idea… until Henry learns he already knows the deputy playing his other half.
Deputy Locke may be new to the Glamour Sheriff’s Department, but he’s fought his way up in the world and is determined to make a good impression. He keeps his private life quiet, even from his beloved younger brother. Locke knows better than most the need to protect what’s his.
Henry resents the arrogant, gorgeous cop, and Locke thinks Henry is sheltered and spoiled. Their secret and steamy encounter only adds to the animosity. As they join forces, Henry thinks a relationship with Locke would be catastrophic, but the white-hot passion between them makes it hard to resist.
Excerpt from The Holiday Hoax: JD shared with me so openly, I wanted to return his honesty. My bad experiences a few years back in school didn’t compare with his home life, but I wanted him to know he wasn’t alone. I, too, struggled to fit in somewhere.
“Yeah, I didn’t aim to be popular. It was beyond the realm of my possibilities.”
“So what’d you aim for?”
JD laughed, the sound warm and rich. “How’d that go?”
“I’ve got some battle scars.”
I was glad JD seemed a little happier. Still I hesitated before I asked, “What will happen to you after the break? Does he help you with school and everything?”
“I’ve a scholarship and can always take out a student loan if that falls through.” JD held my gaze and added quietly, “I’ll figure it out as it comes.”
“Sure. Why plan when you can improvise?”
I wanted to give him a warm hug, but I wasn’t sure how JD would take that sort of gesture. Like, right now he had a stony expression, his arms crossed, and his big frame looked braced for a fight. I was good at reading body language, and JD’s clearly said “don’t touch.” I realized he was only going along with the whole Tyler pretense to salvage his pride; inside, he must have been frightened and lonely. He had come out, been rejected by his only family, and had no place to go for the holidays. If he needed to be the one doing me the big “favor,” then I would let him. JD was practically a stranger, yet I had never wanted to help anybody more. It was clear to me how much he was hurting. I might have bought his stoic act if his eyes weren’t the saddest ever.
“To answer your earlier question, I’d like to believe something created all the wonders that I see in the universe. It’s all so incredible. I believe that much. But I’m hardly at church every Sunday. And you already know how I hate the holidays, so I guess I’m not that religious.”
“Good.” I made my tone light on purpose. “Because I invited you home for the holidays and everything, but I forgot to mention that I’m a Paul Newman.”
“A half-and-half. Mom’s Catholic, Dad’s Jewish. So get ready for some latkes followed by some fruitcake. Okay?”
“Sure.” JD appeared bemused. “I like fruitcake.”
“Oh, come on. Nobody likes fruitcake. But don’t worry; she always has Christmas cookies. We leave some for Santa. He likes a variety of cookies and eggnog too. My mom makes everything from scratch, and the eggnog so freaking good until it makes me sick, it’s so rich. You know? But I can never resist having a few cups.” I tried to rein myself in. “Sorry if I’m rambling. I do that when I get excited.”
“No, it’s cool.”
I picked at a hole in my jeans. An awkward silence fell. Possible topics went through my brain: the weather, sports, and the dorm. All so lame. I kept quiet and worried. Had JD and I already run out of things to say?
“I saw you in a play on campus once,” JD offered.
“It was something Shakespeare, and you were this guy… Huck?”
“Yeah.”His lips quirked. “Sorry. I’m not too up on that stuff.”
“No worries. At least you didn’t think my name was Fuck.” At my loud profanity, the older woman across from us gave a frosty glance, and I smiled back at her. “It’s Shakespeare,” I said. Then winked at JD, who chuckled.
“You’re a little crazy.”
“What gave me away? My talking back to strangers, or my inviting a relative stranger home for the holidays?”
“Both.” JD smiled.
“Was I good as Puck? Did you like me? No, no—don’t answer that. I’m horribly vain about my acting.”
JD’s slow smile widened. “You were good.”
“Thank you, thank you!” I gave a mock bow. I glanced at the older lady who narrowed her eyes at me. “I was fucking awesome, wasn’t I?”
I thought I had JD fooled then. I was a pro at masking my insecurities with my bravado. When the Tyler debacle occurred, I’d arrived at dress rehearsal cracking jokes and flirting with everybody around the stage, while inside my nerves jackhammered in my chest. I’d tell my family we broke up after New Year’s, over the phone and away from their pitying faces. I could handle that better.
But would this cockamamy plan even work? I had a weird feeling that JD didn’t know how to pretend. His every emotion flickered over his face, open and serious and real. My family expected Tyler to be artistic like me. They knew about Tyler’s boarding school background and other details…. They wouldn’t expect JD.
Excerpt from The Last Guy Breathing: “There’s nothing wrong with admitting it, Clueley.”
“That you still want me.” Locke shrugged. “Admit it, and I might consider a second round.”
“No?” Although Locke had been teasing, a part of him inexplicably was let down by Clueley’s refusal. He rubbed at his jaw, which felt tight. Abruptly he pushed out his chair and stood to go. Then he sat down again. Screw this. He wasn’t about to slink off. He’d handled far more annoying shit than this. His gaze narrowed on Clueley’s face. Why’d he have to be so bothersome?
“Are you all right?”
“Good, because I do have some questions for you.”
“Go ahead.” Locke deliberately eased back. “My life’s an open book.”
“What do you want to know?”
“A lot of things. But let’s start with your birthday.”
“Your horoscope. You’re a Taurus.”
“Forget it. Hobbies?”
Eating the last of his apple, Locke ran his tongue over his lower lip. “I like guns. Why do you think I became a cop?”
“You’re quick to the draw, that’s for sure,” Clueley shot back.
Locke’s mouth fell open momentarily, that he’d had the nerve to make a double entendre about how fast he’d creamed his pants that night, but he quickly recovered.
“I’ll be happy to use your ass for some target practice tonight.”
It was a fine-looking ass.
Clueley politely ignored him. “Speaking of age, how old are you? You must be older than me. I still get carded at clubs, while you… have a rather lived-in look.”
“I do not.”
“Vain, Deputy Locke?” Clueley grinned. “What is your first name? I can’t go around introducing you to everybody as Deputy Locke.”
“Your name is Locke Locke? Well, I guess it’s no stranger than Philip Philips. And I once went to school with a Johnny Johnson.”
“No, you fuckwit. It’s not Locke Locke. But Locke’s all I go by.”
“Why? Is your first name awful?” Clueley pursed his lips. “Like Carol, Leslie, or something?”
“Okay. We’re done here.”
“Geez. Now who’s touchy? I think I have some Valium in the medicine cabinet.”
“I’m sure you do. All you rich people self-medicate.”
“You’re a reverse snob. Do you know that?”
“And you’re a bored do-gooder. Stop acting like you’re helping out of some civic duty. I saw your face at the station. You want this. It excites you. It takes you away from your bland little existence.”
Clueley’s face flushed, the light dusting of freckles becoming even more pronounced. “And you don’t give two shits about justice, do you? You only want the fucking prestige.”
Locke thought about how much bullshit he’d taken after standing up for justice in Tucson. “Go to hell.”
This had been a mistake. He’d thought talking to Clueley might actually be fun. He should have known that five minutes into a conversation with Clueley, he’d want to strangle the guy. Or something. The thought of pulling him over his knee and spanking his ass to a nice pink color crossed Locke’s mind.
Locke rose to his feet, and Clueley backed up a step. He thrust a finger at Clueley’s chest. “I’ll see you at twelve tomorrow, and make sure you ask some of your coworkers to join us. Act excited about having a boyfriend.” He put his lips to Clueley’s ear and said, “Act like you spent the night getting well fucked. If you even know what that means.”
Before Clueley could respond, Locke gave his earlobe a hard nip and sauntered out the door.
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED