Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest Bloggermomma: Wade Kelly - Writing Memories of My Dad + Names Can Never Hurt Me Excerpt

Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it is not easy to live free and open in one's beliefs. She writes passionately about the controversial issues witnessed in real life and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing "taxi driver" for her three children. She likes snakes, and has a tegu (lizard) living in her bathroom.

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A note from ~multitaskingmomma~: I first read The Cost of Loving but refused to read the first of that series, When Love Is Not Enough. Seeing that I loved that second book, the author reached out and sent a personal message of encouragement: to read the beginning of the story. My reply was: I refuse. I am too scared. That triggered an exchange of PMs that eventually fizzled off. Then I got to read My Roommate's A Jock? Well, Crap! and her words of encouragement tickled me curious and sounded sort of a challenge. I finally got my nerves together and admitted I liked her challenge but did not like being scared. Thus began a beautiful digital friendship between myself and Ms Kelly. 

With her latest release, Names Can Never Hurt Me, currently on the Dreamspinner Press Bestseller's List, we asked Wade if she could be a guest blogger and be an honorary momma who multitasks - A. Lot! - and she agreed! Without further ado, here's our guest bloggermomma: Wade Kelly. 

Writing Memories Of My Dad

I asked the infamous “Multitasking Momma” what her favorite chapter was because A.) Coming up with different blog themes for my tour is difficult, and B.) I was hoping her answer would help inspire some clear thought. Her response could not have been more perfect.

If you’ve read her review, she loved the book. And I am SOOO glad. Anyone who knows me or follows my blog can tell you I worry a lot about boring people. Apparently I didn’t bore her and that makes me very happy. It took so long to write this book that I’m glad the time I spend developing characters seems to have paid off.

When I asked for her “favorite chapter,” she said chapter 16. Very cool answer. I haven’t talked about chapter 16 in the other blog tour spots so this could not have been planned better. Chapter 16 is where Nick sings Carly Simon. Why I wrote this was to show his whimsy. (And I even said that in the scene.) Nick is not the smartest guy in town, but he is sweet underneath the arrogance and vanity. So in chapter 16, I have him dance with abandon. (like Just Dance that my 18-yr-old son has done in my living room.) Silly, dreamy, like a “happy-go-lucky eight-year-old” right there in RC’s apartment. What I regret is not being able to use more lyrics in the scene. There are rules when quoting lyrics and no more than two lines of a song can be quoted without written permission. Originally, I have him sing “Nobody does it better, makes me feel sad for the rest…” but I decided to more the quoted lyrics to the other scene later on where is sings again to RC. In that chapter it may appear more cheesy, but I think it fits Nick’s character. For CHEEESY he can be.

I picked this particular song to have meaning to RC because Nobody Does It Better was my dad’s song. My mom would sing it to him. He would always comment about the same two songs when I was growing up and say they were written about him. Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon, and It’s Hard To Be Humble by Mac Davis. When my dad died 3 years ago (this coming December) I played those two songs at his funeral, and with laughter and tears we paid tribute to a great father.

My bio says I write about myself and the characters are all me. RC was my attempt to write about my father in to his character. My father’s death impacted my brother in much the same way it did RC, and the memories of my father come back with that song. And like I said in the interview with Jeff Adams, I went to Kneobels Amusement Park and cried exactly like RC on that stupid, cheesy, Haunted House ride because it reminded me of my dad.

Chapter 16 was a way to connect RC’s emotions and slight reaction to the feel of their relationship. RC is hiding his feelings at that moment, but hearing Nick sing that song definitely stirred things up inside of him. I never know if the reader can really get the sense of what I want to accomplish until someone like “Momma” says they loved that scene. I am sooooo glad.

Here, without further ado, is part of chapter 16:

I walked into the living room and plopped down in front of the stereo. It was indeed old—like dinosaur old—but easy to figure out how it worked. I opened the hatch-like front and the insides spun around like an old-time jukebox filled with forty-fives. I only knew what forty-fives were because my mom had some. I pulled one CD out. “500 Days of Summer, the motion picture soundtrack,” I read out loud. “Never heard of it.” I put it back and pushed play. I watched the inside turn since it was internally lit, and I heard the mechanism engage. Because all his shit was in alphabetical order, I found the CD case and read the back. The singer on this track was Zooey Deschanel.
I stood up, listening to the plucky tones of what sounded to me like a ukulele. Funny, I didn’t know people still played those. I closed my eyes and let myself go. If I was going to be me and act like that in front of RC, then he’d have to get use to the fact that I randomly danced sometimes. Only Corey knew that about me. I’d told him a long time ago I liked dancing with my little sister. It was fun spending time with Jennifer, and her friends could be really funny to watch, but I’d never told my friends because they might have thought I was less manly. Corey was the only one I trusted with the info. Now, RC was going to get an intro into Nick 202: Dancer Extraordinaire.
I recalled a song from Just Dance and tried mimicking the moves. They fit this swingy little tune quite well. I was not the best dancer in the world, if I was truly honest, but I was good at copying dance moves. That was the reason I always won that game and Jenn hated me for it. I swayed my hips and moved my arms, all the while tapping my toes. I kept my eyes shut, and I could only imagine what RC thought if he was watching. Was he watching? I hope he’s watching. More than likely, I appeared much like a happy-go-lucky eight-year-old, spinning with my arms held gently out as if catching a breeze as I twirled.
I remembered watching my sister dance in the grass one sunny afternoon when she was six. I’d always thought she was adorable when she whirled her princess dresses around and swayed to the music. She was so beautiful as she spun, not caring what anyone thought. I tried to reproduce that innocence now, in RC’s living room. He’d only seen the sex-crazed part of me. He needed to experience the goofy, carefree side as well. I could be fun. I wasn’t all about the sex and women.
I heard the lyrics saying something about Su-Su-Sugar Town. The singer, Zooey Descha-something, sang, “I never had a friend or wanted one, so I’ll just lay back and laugh at the sun….” I liked her voice. It tinkled like glass wind chimes.
I kept my eyes tightly shut, afraid RC was watching, but also afraid to find out he wasn’t because then I’d be disappointed. I thought he was there because I could smell him. His soap or something had a distinct aroma I’d picked up on the first time we’d eaten lunch together. I’d liked it but was too embarrassed to ask him what it was. Now I was more nervous than embarrassed to ask because he might think I was coming on to him. I mean, it wasn’t like I couldn’t or didn’t want to come on to him, but if I did, I was defeating the purpose of just being around him twenty-four seven like Paul suggested. If I really did like RC, I should feel something without the need to bring sexual attraction into the mix.
I thought my dancing might get a laugh out of him, but RC hadn’t made a sound. Either he didn’t want to hurt my feelings with snide comments or he liked watching me dance. “Liking me” was an awe-inspiring concept. Maybe I could do more quirky things in his company like I always wished I could do normally but never did for fear of ridicule. My friends didn’t welcome random silliness unless alcohol was involved. If RC accepted me as I was, it would give me more reason to pursue my feelings, even if they were somewhat convoluted in my brain.
I played it cool even though the uncertainty of the moment was killing me. In my mind's eye, he was leaning against the doorframe, observing my silly behavior from a short distance away. Possibly grinning. I was having so much fun floating around, I was saddened to hear the song end and the CD player shuffle. It picked a different one.
A song I knew came on, and my heart thudded suddenly. Oh my gosh, I can sing this one! I was so excited. I sang way better than I danced; my chorus teacher in high school told me so. She’d said I could sing professionally but that’s a hard career to get into.
I stilled momentarily, my back to where RC theoretically stood, and played the air piano I pictured in front of me. RC stifled a snicker. Oh good, he’s there. I didn’t allow his presence to draw me out of my trance, though. In that moment, I was Carly Simon. Just as the lyrics started, I pulled an imaginary microphone up to my mouth, spun around, opened my eyes, and started singing on cue.
A shadow crossed his face, and he shifted his stance. Still, I sang. Maybe he’d gotten the impression I was singing to him and he didn’t like it. So far I hadn’t seen any indication he liked me. That would explain the discomfort I plainly saw. He had gotten pissed in the car, after all. I couldn’t bear the idea M-L had about him not being attracted to me at all. I was adorable, wasn’t I? And if he didn’t like me singing this song, what could I do? It wasn’t my fault he had very little music I recognized. Plus, it had shuffled to this song. I hadn’t picked it.
RC joked, “And I thought you didn’t listen to music. How the heck do you know all the words to ‘Nobody Does It Better’?”
“James Bond,” I blurted between lyrics. “My dad loves James Bond.”
RC smiled, giving me the impression he liked my singing. He also must have known this was the theme song to The Spy Who Loved Me. He shook his head and strolled over to the CD player, switching it off.
I protested, “Hey, I was getting good.”
RC nodded. “Yeah. You should audition for The Voice.”
I tapped my chin. “Maybe I should.”
“You’re so vain,” RC half-joked, or at least I thought he was joking.
I pointed out, “That’s another Carly Simon song I know.” I knew it only because M-L sang it to me at one of her parties when I was doing something she found arrogant. I laughed at the time because I’d never considered my vanity a bad thing. Was it? I’d have to think on it.
He chuckled. “I bet. Is there anything you can’t do?”
“Um….” I considered. “I can’t rebuild a transmission. Not yet.”
RC laughed out loud and marveled, “Oh my gosh. Well, I guess there’s one thing I have over you. Come on, I’ll show you my snakes.”

Names Can Never Hurt Me
by Wade Kelly
Published August 11th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press

What if sexuality wasn’t a definable thing and labels merely got in the way?
Nick Jones can’t remember a time when he wasn’t part of the in crowd. Everywhere he goes, he stands out as the best looking guy in the room, and women practically fall into bed with him. Then, after kissing Corey on a dare led to much more and on many occasions, Nick’s “screw anything” reputation escalated, but he didn’t care.
When Nick meets RC at the restaurant where he works, it throws his whole life out of whack. Overweight, always sweaty, gay, and hairy like a bear, RC lives up to his dubbed nickname “Scruffy Dude.” He seems Nick’s complete opposite, but Nick can’t get him out of his head.
Because of peer-pressure and his fears about defining his sexuality, Nick struggles with stepping out of his comfort zone and caring about someone different than himself. If he’s lucky, somewhere between arrogance and ignorance, Nick might find out what it means to be an adult, but if he’s wrong, he could lose everything.

 Other Books by Wade Kelly
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