Amelia has many interesting things to say about humiliation kink and also a few things to say about Training Season in her above linked post. Love it. She’s a smart one.
Amelia has many interesting things to say about humiliation kink and also a few things to say about Training Season in her above linked post. Love it. She’s a smart one.
Before I get into the review of the book I just finished reading, I’d like to say that we’re thrilled to report that Top2Bottom Reviews gives Earthly Desires 4.5 out of 5!
“Earthly Desires is a sexy story between two unique and interesting heroes. I loved the way the story was told and enjoyed the fairytale-ish theme of the book itself. It’s full of adventure, romance and it highly entertained this reader throughout the entire book.”
Inertia by Amelia C. Gormley is the story of Derrick, a man in his early thirties, who has cut himself off from risk, adventure, and relationships after an unfortunate series of circumstances that led him to losing everyone he loved by the time he was twenty-one. Unwilling to experience the crushing pain of loss again, he’s drifted through a pleasant if boring decade of the same old, same old. Until he meets Gavin and suddenly the possibility for something more appears on his radar. Will he be brave enough to accept the inherent risk that goes along with daring to feel something new?
I worry that what I will say next will somehow come across as a backhanded compliment, when it is definitely not intended as such. It’s just a straight up compliment. So, please keep that in mind. Amelia writes Derrick with an attention to detail that in another person’s hands could become tedious. Instead, however, this detail shows us a fully fleshed out picture of a man who takes his time in everything, who tries to mitigate even the smallest loss, or unexpected outcome, by concentrating entirely on the steps of each part of his day and job. Every time I’d start to think something like, “Did we really need to know about how Derrick took his time sanding that bit of shelving?” I’d realize that, yes, we did need to know that–because Derrick’s inability to deal with unexpected outcomes, and his extreme caution in the face of everything is the crux and crisis of this book.
Derrick is a kind man, and given how slow and thorough he is, I never found myself annoyed with him for that trait. I did find his reaction to one of Gavin’s revelations sufficiently appalling (and thus incredibly realistic and human) that I had a hard time forgiving him for a little while, and frankly had a harder time forgiving him than Gavin did. In addition to Derrick’s initial reaction to Gavin’s story, I also had a hard time with the fact that Derrick, knowing what he ends up knowing about Gavin, keeps the specifics of his own issues to himself and doesn’t share them with Gavin. He uses a somewhat believable excuse that he doesn’t want to make Gavin’s problems all about him. But the way Gavin’s problems intersect with his own are the crisis of the book and the relationship, and I felt that remained unresolved because Derrick never actually shared the most damaged part of himself with Gavin.
That bothered me because Gavin laid it bare, made himself vulnerable in a really intense way, Derrick reacted horribly to it, and then, in my opinion, didn’t make up for it by providing Gavin with an equal vulnerability. That left a bit of sour taste in my mouth, because it gave Derrick a power position over Gavin, whether he intends to use it or not.
But here’s the thing–I was glad for these problems with the character. This is a very psychological book. There’s not a lot of external adventure. It’s not got a lot of vibrant world building, or evil villains, or anything outside of two people’s very realistic hang-ups about sex, love, and life as the problem that needs to be resolved to reach a HFN or HEA ending. Had Derrick handled things beautifully, there would have been no book, because it would’ve been boring as hell, and completely unrealistic. So, while I did find myself annoyed with Derrick at times, I was also incredibly happy to feel that way, because it meant I was emotionally invested and I cared about both men.
The book ends in a place without any cliff-hangers, but it’s a good thing there is another book (two, actually) coming, because I felt like if this was all that had been offered, I would have been somewhat annoyed. In fact, looking at the reviews of Amelia’s book, I’ve wondered if she would not have been possibly better off combining books one and two, because I think she would’ve gotten higher ratings had people been able to see what happens next. For the record, I know a little of what happens next because I’ve communicated with Amelia about it, and I’m very curious to see how Derrick and Gavin go from this relationship to that relationship.
If I had stars ratings, I’d give this a solid 4.5/5 stars because I was turning the pages like crazy and felt really invested in the outcome of these characters. I wanted more from them, and kind of wished the book had another 20 pages in it so that I could just revel in how cute they could be together a bit longer. I’m not sure the 20 pages I wanted would’ve added to the story in any way, though, so I am not saying this is a flaw of the book, but am saying that the book and characters left me wishing for more, more, more.
The sex in the book was very hot (yay!), but ended up being secondary for me. I was much more interested in how Gavin got to where he is now, and in how Derrick was going to open up. Was he really going to dare and risk and make himself vulnerable? Was he going to step up to the same level as Gavin in terms of putting himself out there? I wanted to know!
I thought this was a wonderful fall read. It definitely lent itself to curling up in my comfy covers while the autumn light drifted in. I can’t wait for the second book and I highly recommend this one to all who enjoy a slow burn romance with the promise for more!
By the way, if you’ve read the book, I’d love to discuss it in comments! Especially if you disagree with anything I’ve said above.
About Writer Wednesday: a couple of Wednesdays per month I hope to feature another writer and their work. Any writer of any genre is welcome to request participation by sending an email to email@example.com with the subject title WRITER WEDNESDAY COUNT ME IN! and I will get back to you about the details of participation.
Today we’re talking with Amelia Gormley!
1. Inertia is your first published book. What is your writing background?
I’ve been writing stories since the sixth grade and novels since the eight grade. Sometime not long after I discovered reading, I realized that I could do that, too. I could tell stories, and that I had stories to tell. I got sidetracked for about 25 years diving headfirst into fandom. Original material kinda got drowned out in my head in favor of the omni-present question of “what happened then?” or “what if?” that I would so often ask when I submerged myself in another world and invested myself in someone else’s characters, be it a TV show or video game or whatever. But it came full circle, in a way, and now I’m back to original characters and worlds.
2. What led you to go the self-publishing route? Has it been a satisfying experience so far?
Honestly, I had never considered getting published until last November. I was unaware of the indie publishing market, and I didn’t know about all the small niche presses that have cropped up. I assumed trying to get published meant finding an agent and trying to get in with the Big 6. While I knew I was a good writer and that my writing in fandom circles had been very well received, I also knew I wasn’t of the calibre that would require and I had doubts about my ability to package myself and my writing in such a way that would catch the attention of an agent or editor.
Then a friend of mine, who was a big supporter of my fanfiction, told me I should self-publish e-book erotica over at Amazon. She told me it was becoming a big thing and that she was purchasing a lot of it, and that what I wrote was better than a great deal of what she was finding there. That led me to discover SmashWords as well, and I decided with these two outlets, though I might never see huge commercial success, I could get my name out there, start building a brand for myself, and maybe just prove to myself that I could write something without the lure of fandom connections hooking readers into it, without that ready-made audience writing in fandom provides, and people would read it and respond to it.
And so far that has worked. One huge way in which it turned out to be a boon was in the decision to hire a professional freelance editor to do a developmental edit. It was expensive, and it required my husband and I making some sacrifices to find room in our household budget to do it, but he believed in me and invested in me and it paid off (well, in terms of experience and knowledge acquired; monetarily it’s going to take a few months, I think.) The book is much stronger both in terms of story and characterization, and I learned a great deal from the process that I will carry forward with me into future projects. Danielle Poiesz is top-notch and I’m looking forward to working with her on Book Two.
The other advantage was the control over the cover art, which leads me very neatly to your next question. 😀
3. Kerry Chin is the illustrator of your book cover. What was the process of coming up with the cover like?
I knew Kerry Chin through fandom going in to the process of writing, and consider her to be a good friend. She’s amazing. Because we’re friends, I was able to share the story with her as I was writing it, and so she got to witness the development of the characters and establish a relationship with Derrick and Gavin herself. She’s been with them since the very beginning and knows them intimately, and I think that was a huge boon in her ability to come up with the cover art. We were able to bounce ideas off each other of moments in the story which seemed particularly worthy of translation to art and what the mood of the piece needed to be. I think she did a fantastic job, particularly with the attitude evident in their facial expressions. Derrick’s long-suppressed need and Gavin’s fear and sadness.
4. What was the inspiration for Inertia?
Derrick and Gavin are loosely based on original characters a friend and I created for a roleplay we were doing. It was my friend’s idea to take those characters out of the roleplay setting and put them in a modern context, and when we did that, they evolved into characters who were different even from the ones we originally created. It was there that the story was originally born.
5. How do you juggle motherhood and writing?
It’s tricky sometimes. I eek out my writing time mostly in the evenings and weekends when my husband is home to take over parenting duty. During the daytime, I try to squeeze in moments of concentration between meals and cleaning and reading and playing games and singing songs and outdoor activities. It can be very difficult, and I’m looking forward to him being in kindergarten in the near future so that I can devote more time to writing. I have a year until he’s in the first grade to figure out whether I can do well enough at this to continue to do it as a full-time job.
I’ve been extraordinarily blessed in that I have a husband who is very supportive and who wants to see me succeed in this. He has been helping with parenting obligations and trying to make sure I have time to write, as well as, like I said, investing in having the first novel edited.
6. You’ve mentioned to me that there are some specific issues within the book that you had concerns would not play well to your audience, such as HIV and a history of abusive relationships. Has there been any pushback on that front, or has the audience seemed generally receptive to your portrayal?
My fear was that I would be accused to portraying gay relationships in a negative light, by showing that a gay relationship can be abusive, or that I’d be accused of stereotyping by featuring a gay relationship where HIV concerns are explicitly addressed. I think supporters of the gay rights movement want to get away–and rightfully so–from the persistent assumption that HIV/AIDS is a “gay disease.” It’s not, of course, and anyone who is well-informed understands that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still an issue.
I know a lot of m/m novels feature condom usage and are diligent about it, but to my knowledge (and I could be wrong about this) very few actually feature the spectre of HIV infection as a central point in the plot. As for the abusive relationship, we as writers and supporters of the gay community want to portray gay relationships in a very positive and healthy light, to normalize them and present them as a good thing. But abuse can happen within gay relationships as well as heterosexual relationships, and to ignore that fact, I think, is to heteronormalize abuse and make it harder for victims of abuse in gay relationships to seek help. Equality means that the same things that happen in heterosexual relationships can happen in gay relationships, good and, unfortunately, bad.
So far I have been very lucky in that readers have felt that my handling of these topics has been respectful and I think they’ve understood my intent with it, so I’m very encouraged by that.
7. Inertia is the first book in a series. How many books are to come? And what else can we expect from you in the future?
Impulse is a trilogy. Inertia was about these two men, each of whom are afraid and wounded for their own individual reasons, finding the courage to reach out to each other, for Gavin to begin accepting that he’s not damaged goods, for Derrick rediscover his passion and let himself begin to connect again with all the urges he’s been denying.
The second book chronicles Derrick and Gavin as they settle into this new relationship they’ve decided upon. It’s about sexual exploration, as Derrick is a character whose sexual development just sort of came to an abrupt standstill right as he entered adulthood. It’s about Gavin learning to trust in areas where he’s developed a sort of hypersensitivity to problems for fear of falling back into unhealthy and abusive patterns. It’s about Derrick learning to open up and lean on someone after so many years of self-sufficiency.
The third book deals with the end of the arc with the HIV question and Gavin’s ex still attempting to control him, and with Derrick learning that there’s a difference between living as an out bisexual man and quietly passing, which he’d been doing in the past because he’d been both celibate and deeply private, so no one had ever realized he was bisexual. He’d never had to deal with intolerance before and that will become an issue for him, complicating that last span of time leading up to the moment of truth for them.
Future projects include a short story set in the Scottish Highlands, which I actually began writing a couple days ago. It might lead to a series, I’m not sure yet. And in the conceptualizing stages, I had what may become a series of contemporary shorts which are less romance and more erotica, particularly very kinky erotica.
And after that? Who knows!
Amelia C. Gormley has been writing romance novels since junior high, and erotic romance novels since high school (she makes no promises that the early, high-school era ones were actually any good.) But it’s in writing m/m erotic romance that she’s finally found her home. She is thrilled to have recently published her first book.
When she’s not writing, she’s taking care of her husband and five-year-old son.
An Object At Rest
By the age of 21, down-to-earth Detroit handyman Derrick Chance had lost everyone he’d ever loved. Too worn-out and wounded to play the dating game, he wrote off the possibility of relationships, or even just sex. Living alone in the old house his grandparents had left him, with only his dog and a few close friends for companionship, he refused to consider himself lonely, or let himself wonder what he might be missing. He knew who he was and where he was headed. His life was comfortable, organized, predictable, and best of all, risk-free. He was content.
Until the day he installed some shelves for accountant Gavin Hayes. A contradictory combination of confidence and uncertainty, Gavin’s shameless flirtations drew him in with an intensity Derrick had never known he longed for. As undeniable as the force of gravity, he abandoned ten years of self-imposed solitude and found himself falling rapidly for Gavin in defiance of all his usual slow and methodical ways.
But Gavin carried wounds of his own. Fresh from an emotionally abusive relationship that ended with a potentially dangerous betrayal, his future was far from certain. Derrick would have to decide if his rediscovered passion was worth taking the chance of another loss.
You can find Amelia at:
@ACGormley on Twitter
Her author page at GoodReads
Her profile at Facebook. You can also LIKE her fan page at Facebook to receive current announcements and updates on her work.