Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chrissie Hynde, Deborah Harry and Me

As an author of fiction that always involves gay men, I may have given women short shrift in my ongoing learning process of writing. But women have held a strong role in my life, and the women in my fiction hopefully will continue to hold a strong place in my novels. 

Also, being in the romance genre for my pair of novels Every Time I Think of You and Message of Love, I'm happy to see that two women rock stars are being equally productive at the same time.
Chrissie Hynde

The title of my new novel, is of course based on the 1981 song by The Pretenders. Penned by Chrissie Hynde, the music and lyrics offer a hopeful and positive feeling and a kicky beat. Hynde, a former resident of Akron, Ohio, had to leave the U.S. to find success in the United Kingdom. About a decade before me, Hynde attended Kent State University. Considering the numerous band member deaths and break-ups, it's no small irony of that I used a Pretenders song title for a story about love and trust between two young men.

And although The Pretenders are not actively touring, fortunately Hynde broke her promise to never make a solo album. Her new CD, Stockholm, is out in June. Check out her videos on her YouTube channel, including the title single.

And Blondie, with lead singer Deborah Harry, has just released a new very different collection of songs. Ghosts of Download can be heard streaming on the UK Guardian's website. Among the songs is a remake of the classic Frankie Goes to hollywood hit "Relax." Other songs  have a lot of electronic bounce, and sound very different than the classics like Heart of Glass.
Deborah Harry, 1978. photo: Robert Mapplethorpe

The lyrics from "Accidents Never Happen" serve as the epigram for Message of Love. It's all very early 1980s, appropriate for the book's setting.

It's pretty neat that these two strong empowered women of music, who had a deep impact on the inspiration for my new novel, are back at it, making music.

What's also neat are the new reviews Message of Love is getting, mostly from women book bloggers who enjoy the M/M romance genre. The latest is from Jenni at Boys in Our Books. A few bits:
"The way Reid tells their story, living with these realities is tough... It’s perfect to watch them change and grow and become independent men. I loved the way they interacted and wove themselves so completely into each other’s lives."
This excerpt pretty much made my day.. no, my week!
"The way it was written was pure genius on Provenzano’s part. I’ll say it again: his writing is gorgeous and sweeping and strong. I can’t help but wonder if I’ll get more of Reid and Everett in another few years. I hope so; I don’t think I’m quite ready to let them go yet."
Melanie at Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words offered an expansive and thoughtful review:
"Of utmost importance to Reid and Everett’s story is Everett’s disability as it impacts every aspect of their life together.  Lumbar fracture, partial paralysis.  Four life changing words.  And it is here that Provenzano does some of his best work.  Starting in Every Time I Think of You and continuing into Message of Love, the reader is pulled first hand into Everett’s hard won adjustment to his disability, his mental and emotional state directly after his accident as viewed by Reid.  Reid not only sees the struggles that Everett goes through but also Reid’s adjustment of his long term goals in order to help support his lover in every way possible.  One of the things I loved about the first story is that they still acted like the 17 year olds dealing with all the uncertainty and pain that happens for Everett to accept his disability and go forward and for Reid to accept the change in Everett."
Another excerpt:
"Provenzano describes with great sensitivity the impact of Everett’s disability on their relationship, from living arrangements to their ability to have sex.  There are moments in their relationship that just ring with authenticity where Reid is prone to be overprotective and as a result Everett needs to reinforce his own need for independence and assistance on his own terms.  That’s an honest relationship, warts and all. We see them argue and listen to their internal insecurities."
Melanie also shared how my new book is differently structured by noting its more gradual pace:
"Perhaps if you looked at it as less a total romance and more of a journey of two young men coming of age and growing together into adulthood and a loving commitment, then the richness of its details and the complexities of its characters will make this a story to remember."
Also posted is her lovely review of Every Time I Think of You in April.
I'll share a single sentence:
"This amazing narrative, at times honest, tender, and raw, has left me so well acquainted with their characters, that to see the end actually hurt."
And I also have guest blog post on her site as well. Pretty neat!

I also discovered that Library Thing added Message of Love to its listings, calling it "Conniff and Forrester Book 2." You can find more info about sharing my book in my author listing. Neat. I guess I may have to write a third edition.

You can ask me about that on June 17, at my Books Inc, reading, which Library Thing also linked. A few copies of all of my books (except the PINS stage script) are on the shelves now, so ask for it or order directly from them.

For now, I actually have to write some content for work, in advance, before my upcoming trip to New Orleans for the 11th annual Saints and Sinners Literary Conference. I'll be reading and schmoozing and attending parties and panels, and moderating one as well, about (appropriately) novel sequels.

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