Families and Inspiration by j. leigh bailey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes j. leigh bailey, author of Guyliner. Read the post to see how you can win a copy of the book.

Families and Inspiration
First, a huge thank you to Long and Short Reviews for letting me celebrate the release of GUYLINER here!

In almost everything I write, family plays a huge role. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always important. That’s because family is hugely important to me (both the good and the bad). Sometimes being related to an author can cause a certain amount of anxiety. If a mother in my book is mean or controlling, then people wonder, “is that what your mom is like?” There are also those friends and relatives who want you to put them in a book—in a good way, of course. I’ll admit I often use my books to purge some of my personal issues, though the reality and the fiction are hardly mirror images. I’ve never actually based a character on one of my family members. But, I have to confess, one of the characters in GUYLINER is inspired by a relative.

year at a family reunion, my generation of relatives were sitting around drinking beer and chatting, and, I don’t know how it came up, but I mentioned that one of the characters in GUYLINER was inspired by my youngest brother. Of course, that led to much speculation. Since he’d never been caught wearing eyeliner (to the best of my knowledge), they knew it couldn’t be the guyliner character.

It was one of my sisters who go it first. “Golden Boy!”

There were five of us kids growing up and we all knew that the baby of the group could do no wrong. Don’t misunderstand—he had flaws like the rest of us, but he also seemed to do everything right. He was a good athlete. He got good grades. He was well behaved, responsible, and ambitious. It would have been annoying if he weren’t also the nicest guy I’d ever met. It’s really hard to resent someone who’s that darned good.

The rest of us believe to this day that he is our parents’ favorite child. He and they deny it, but seriously, he was the baby and he checked all the boxes for Good Son. It was inevitable. We started calling him the Golden Boy, the one who could do no wrong. To this day, he’s the one who seems like he’s living the perfect American life. He’s got an equally-great wife, two beautiful and sweet children, a dumb dog and a couple of cats, a good career, and is financially stable… And he’s still one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.

Connor—the Golden Boy in GUYLINER—was inspired by my brother. Just like my brother’s life can’t be nearly as perfect as it seems on the surface, Connor’s life is nothing like my brother’s. It’s just the façades of Connor and my brother that are similar—the outer images. I also know that if my brother reads GUYLINER, he won’t recognize himself in Connor. But my other siblings and I will nod knowingly and mouth “golden boy” when he’s around.

Giveaway—I want to know about siblings. What is the best and worst part of having siblings? If you don’t have any siblings, what’s the best and worst part of being an only child? One random lucky commenter will win a free digital copy of GUYLINER.

10_17-guylinerfs_v1Seventeen-year-old Connor works his butt off to maintain the golden-boy persona he’s created. He has the grades, the extracurriculars, the athletics, and a part-time job at his dad’s shop… every detail specifically chosen to ensure the college scholarships he needs to get the hell out of the Podunk town where he lives. The last thing he needs is an unexpected attraction to Graham, an eyeliner-wearing soccer phenom from St. Louis, who makes him question his goals and his sexuality. Sure, he’s noticed good-looking boys before—that doesn’t have to mean anything, right?—but he’s got a girlfriend. There’s no room on the agenda for hooking up with Graham, but the heart doesn’t always follow the rules.

As he and Graham grow close, other aspects of Connor’s life fall apart. Family pressure, bad luck, and rumors threaten to derail his carefully laid plans. Suddenly the future he’s fighting for doesn’t seem quite as alluring, especially if he has to deny who he really is to achieve it.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Connor stared at the screen with Graham’s contact information. He could always text him, then he wouldn’t have to worry about what he would say. “Don’t be a wuss,” he muttered and dialed the number. After three rings he figured he’d gotten lucky and would only have to leave a message.

“Hello?” Graham’s voice was a little breathless when he finally answered.

“Ah, hey, Graham. It’s Connor. I thought we should figure out our plans for Saturday.” Oh, my God, I sound like a dork. His pitch went up at the end of every sentence, making each one sound like a question. Man up, Fitzpatrick.

“My Saturday’s pretty clear. What works for you?” Graham said something else, but his words were muffled.

“What was that?”

“Sorry. I just got back from a run. I had to ditch the sweaty shirt.”

“Ah, okay.” Connor swallowed. “Saturday.” The word burst out. “I have to work at the shop until two, so I can be at the school by two thirty or so. Will that work?”

“Sure. I’m easy.”

“Con-Con!” Abby, awake from her nap, burst into his room, blonde hair bouncing in twin ponytails. “Make Kory let me play.”
Connor covered the speaker on his phone with his hand. “Abs, I’m on the phone.”

“But, Con-Con, I want to play and Kory says babies can’t play his game. Tell him I’m not a baby.” Her round face flushed with indignation.

“Little sister?” Graham asked.

“Yeah. Give me a sec?”

“Not a problem.”

Connor turned his attention to his littlest sister. “What’s wrong, Abs?”

“Tell Kory I’m not a baby and I can play with him.”

“What’s he playing?”

“The game with the shooting. I want to shoot too.”

“Abby, you’re not quite big enough for that game yet. You’re not a baby,” he reassured her when her face took on an adorably mulish expression, “but that game is for big kids.”

“But, Con-Con—” she began.

“Tell you what. If you go watch your video now, after dinner I’ll play princesses with you, okay?”

She thought about this, her little mouth pursed. “Okay,” she said, “but Kory can’t play with us. He’s mean.” She stomped out, curly blonde ponytails bouncing on her head.

“Sorry about that,” Connor said into the phone.

Graham’s voice was amused. “No problem. Did I hear you agree to play princesses with your little sister?”

Connor cringed. Oh, yeah, he had lost any and all coolness points. “Yeah?” And, to top it all off, the talking in questions thing was coming back. “Can you maybe forget that you heard that?”

“No way, I think it’s sweet.”

Sweet? So not a good image. “Yeah, well, you’re not the one who’ll end up wearing a tiara and serving imaginary tea to dolls.”

Laughter exploded through the phone. “I would pay to see that.”

“There’s not enough money in the world.”

About the Author: 10_17-jlbailey-headshot-official j. leigh bailey is an office drone by day and the author of Young Adult and New Adult LGBT Romance by night. She can usually be found with her nose in a book or pressed up against her computer monitor. A book-a-day reading habit sometimes gets in the way of… well, everything…but some habits aren’t worth breaking. She’s been reading romance novels since she was ten years old. The last twenty years or so have not changed her voracious appetite for stories of romance, relationships and achieving that vitally important Happy Ever After. She’s a firm believer that everyone, no matter their gender, age, sexual orientation or paranormal affiliation deserves a happy ending.

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  1. The worst part of being the only child: no close friend, growing up alone, cope with the family fight on your own.

    The best part: all monetary investment is on me.

  2. Mai T–You win! email me with your prefered digital format of GUYLINER (epub, mobi, or pdf) and I’ll get your copy sent to you! Thank you so much for joining in on GUYLINER’s release activities!

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