Hello! My name is Jacob Z. Flores, and I’m thrilled to be here at Romance Reviews Today. I’m here today as part of my blog tour promoting When Love Takes Over, my latest release from Dreamspinner Press. When Love Takes Over is the first book of The Provincetown Series, and I’m super excited to be here and share my love for this book with the readers of Romance Reviews Today.
1. Tell us about your newest release.
I’d love to. When Love Takes Over is about struggling author Zach, who heads to Provincetown after a painful break up. He’s hoping to nurse his broken heart and find his writing voice on the sandy shores of Cape Cod. He’s searching for answers to his failed relationship and faltering career. And, well, he’s also looking for some fun, and in P-town, there’s tons of fun to be had. What Zach doesn’t expect is Van, a hunky porn star who he meets in a leather shop. There is an instant attraction between the two, but both men fight it. Zach certainly isn’t looking for anything long lasting. He’s just been dumped, and Van has had his heart broken so many times that he’s weary of relationships and even turned to porn to protect his easily broken heart. However, in Provincetown, where the summer never seems to end, anything can happen when love takes over.
2. Can you tell us a little about your favorite scene in the story?
Ooh. That’s a hard one for me. It’s kind of like trying to choose the best chocolate bar. They’re all so darn yummy. If I had to choose one, though, I think it would be the leather shop scene where Zach and Van first meet. Zach is quite awkward, shy, and inexperienced. He’s never really gone anywhere by himself, so when he finds himself in a leather shop, he’s caught off guard. He actually thought it was a place to buy a belt—and not one for whipping!
He tries to cover up his blunder, but it doesn’t work. To make matters worse, Zach notices Van, who is the most attractive man he’s ever seen, as well as stumbles upon a portly customer trying to fit into a size small rubber cat suit. Zach’s stunned reaction sets off a chain of events that almost destroys the store, and of course, he’s done all of this in front of Van.
It’s a funny scene, and it’s based on a real life experience that happened to my husband and me when we were visiting in Provincetown one year.
3. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Since I was a kid. I’ve just always loved to write. It started with comic books. I would sit at my grandmother’s dining room table for hours writing issue after issue. I had so much fun! I didn’t understand why more of my friends weren’t writing. After comic books, I wrote short stories and then ventured into novels. Well, my first awkward attempts at them. What’s funny is I still have them somewhere. I remember the first novel I tried to write was my take of the classic movie Alien. If I remember correctly, I titled it Xenia, after the planet the astronauts landed on. I can’t recall what kind of monster it was exactly. I think it was one that could look like people. It was bloody and just plain awful. I dust it off every now and then and re-read it just for fun. My idea of fun might sound pretty bizarre, but I’ve been bizarre for years, so I’m used to it.
4. What is a typical writing day like?
That depends on whether it’s the school year or not. If I’m back on my teaching schedule, I usually come home and write for a couple of hours before the children descend upon the house. I try to write 1,000 words a day during the school year. If it’s summer though, well, I spend most of the summer sitting in my comfy chair with my laptop and write from about ten in the morning till dinner time, which is usually around seven. Even though it’s a long nine-hour day of writing, I can usually accomplish about 4,000 words on a good day. I just love the summer. Even though I’m writing my ass off, I’m happy doing it. And when school starts again, I turn into a big bitch because I’m not writing as much as I’ve grown accustomed. My poor husband has to deal with the consequences. Luckily, he loves me though, and I’m grateful for that.
5. Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit?
Not really. I do have to write in silence though. No music. No television. No screaming children.
If it’s not quiet, it’s hard for me to concentrate. It’s probably because I’m easily distracted. Plus, I’m just plain nosy. I have to know what’s going on! If people are talking, I want to be a part of the conversation, whether they want me to be or not. I like to call it contributing to communication. That might not be what others call it, but that’s the term I use.
So, no, I don’t have to play songs like some authors do. If I had music playing, I’d be singing. And if the television was on, well, just forget it! I love movies, and I’d get swept up in whatever was on. That’s why when I’m writing my family goes into the other side of the house to watch television quietly.
6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned as a published author?
That getting published is actually just the beginning. I had a very naïve view of the industry. I thought once my book was out there, that people would buy it. That’s not the way it works at all. There are so many good books and so many good authors that I learned I had to do so much more than just write to be an author.
I had to learn how to market, create my author brand, set goals, and establish a genuine online presence. I had to carve out a place for myself in this industry, and it takes time. I know some authors prefer just to write and be done with it, but not many of us can just do that and still sell books. To the authors that can do that, my hat is off to them. For me, it requires more work, and it takes away from the time I have to write. However, I’ve learned so much by branching out. I’ve met some truly great people and my writing has grown as a result.
7. What authors or friends influenced you in helping you become a writer?
Well, my family has always been supportive. That started with my mother. She encouraged me to pursue whatever my dreams were, and she’s still doing so today. She even reads my books! It doesn’t bother her that she’s reading about two men falling in love. All that matters is that her son wrote the books, and she takes them with her everywhere—doctor’s offices, supermarkets, you name it, and she’s always telling people, “My son wrote this book.” Her faith and encouragement have always meant the world to me.
My husband has also helped me on this path. Writing takes a lot of time away from him and the family, and he picks up the slack. He supports me in my dream, and he wants me to be happy. I don’t think there are enough words to thank him for what he constantly does for me. His unconditional support and love has really helped me accomplish what I’ve done so far. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him, and besides my mother, he’s my biggest supporter. He’s always looking for ways to promote my book and me. He’s my own personal publicist, who I get to see naked. It’s a win-win for me!
As far as growing as a writer, Poppy Dennison has been the biggest influence there. She’s become such a good friend and valuable confidante. If I’m fretting over something, writing based or not, I can always call upon her. She works her Poppy magic, and after talking with her, I always feel better. As if I’ve had my head put on straight. Sure, she some times has to knock me around a few times before I’m back on track, but she does what she needs to do. I cherish her more than words can say, and I owe her a truckload of chocolate.
8. What does your family think about your career as a published author?
The kids think it’s cool. Especially my daughter. She likes seeing the covers even though she sometimes gets embarrassed when I end up showing them to her. Too many barely dressed men for her taste, and I like that! She can go on thinking boys are gross for as long as she wants. I have no problem with that.
Everyone else in my family has been very supportive. Even my grandparents. They are Catholic, Latin, and old school in thinking, but they don’t care what I write. They won’t read my books, but they are happy for me when a new book comes out. When my first book, 3, was published, my grandmother wanted to see the cover. It had three mostly undressed men on the cover lounging around on a bed. She took one look at it and said, “I won’t ask why those men are naked on the bed together, but I’m happy to see your name on the book.” She then gave me a kiss and handed the book back to me.
I couldn’t have asked for a better support system, but as my grandfather often says, “Blood is blood.” It’s really quite simple when you think of it that way.
9. Besides writing, what other interests do you have?
I love traveling. I wasn’t much of a traveler until I met my husband, who’s always loved to travel. Now thanks to him, I just love it! Can you guess where our favorite place to visit is? That’s right. It’s Provincetown! We’ve been vacationing there in the summer for the past eight years, and it’s one of the best places we’ve ever been. We feel at home there, and that’s part of the appeal to us.
Besides traveling, I’m a big movie person. Horror movies are my absolute favorites! Alien, Friday the 13th, Scream, anything along those lines and I’ll stay up all night watching it. My husband hates scary movies with a passion, but he watches them with me on occasion. Have I told you how lucky I am to have a husband like him? I have? Well, it bears repeating. He’s absolutely wonderful!
10. Can you tell us about what’s coming up next for you writing wise?
Quite a lot actually. As I said earlier, When Love Takes Over is the first book of the Provincetown Series, so the rest of the books will be following. Chasing the Sun, which is a spin-off to WLTO, is due out in October/November. It tells the story of Gil Kelly, Zach’s father, and his search for love. When Love Gets Hairy is set to release in January/February of 2014. Nino, Van’s best friend, is the main character of that book, where we return to Provincetown. It’s Bear Week in P-town, and the model perfect Nino isn’t a fan of the big or the hairy, but he wakes up one morning next to a bear. The book chronicles what happens to Nino and Teddy after than first morning. Then, the series closes with When Love Comes to Town, which tells the story of Brody, Teddy’s ex-boyfriend, who is a reformed horn dog looking for love.
11. How can readers connect with you online?
Readers are encouraged to become a part of my social media by visiting any or all of the links below.
Before I go, I want to thank everyone who stopped by today. It’s been fun. I also want to thank Romance Reviews Today for allowing me to visit. Hopefully, we can do this again for the next book.
For those interested, I have included the blurb and an excerpt below. Additionally, as part of my blog tour I’m holding a contest. All you have to do is leave a comment to this post, and your name is entered to win a free copy of When Love Takes Over. If a reader happens to follow all my blog stops, then she or he can leave a comment at the other sites a well. At the end of the tour, a winner will be chosen and announced.
Zach Kelly’s life is a shambles. His boyfriend of three years dumped him, and his writing career is going nowhere. On a whim, he heads to Provincetown, Massachusetts, to nurse his broken heart and figure out his next step. He’s expecting to find rest and relaxation on the sandy beaches of Cape Cod. Instead, Zach meets a hunky porn star during a chance encounter at a leather shop he mistakes as a place to buy a belt that is definitely not for whipping.
Van Pierce is smitten when shy and inexperienced Zach crashes through a shelf of fetish gear. Though Van’s got an insatiable appetite for men on and off the set, his porn persona, Hart Throb, hides a broken heart. He’s struggling to find the reality the porno set doesn’t offer, and Zach is fighting to find the fantasy that will set his writing on fire. The odd goofball and the suave beefcake may either find love amid Provincetown’s colorful pageantry where summer never seems to end—or more heartbreak than either can imagine.
“Just let me know if you need anything,” the guy said before disappearing back into the dressing room he’d previously stepped out of.
Zach nodded and then realized he’d been left alone in the store with Mr. Tanned Body, who still stood silently staring at him. The realization urged his feet to move toward the back part of the store.
As he worked his way around the gas masks, he tried to forget about the fact that he was being watched. Maybe the guy worked security and had somehow pegged Zach as a potential shoplifter.
There couldn’t be any other reason that Zach could fathom, so he gave the guy his back and inspected the leather harnesses along the far left wall. They were obviously different styles, but he had no clue what the smaller ones that looked like holsters were called. He entertained the idea of trying one on just for show, but that would mean taking off his shirt. He definitely didn’t want to do that.
People typically poked fun at how white he was.
Instead, he worked his way past the harnesses and approached the back wall, where the dressing room was located. There, he found a cardboard display spotlighting a tub jam-packed with lube of assorted varieties he’d never even heard of—Boy Butter, Elbow Grease, Spunk, and FIST Powder.
The last brand name made him shudder. The thought of someone shoving an entire fist up his ass caused Zach’s hole to clench tightly shut. No matter how much being here excited him sexually, fisting had never turned him on, and the unpleasant image of some guy elbow-deep up another man’s ass calmed the raging waters that had churned so vigorously inside.
In fact, he was certain his asshole wouldn’t relax until he left this place that sold objects whose sole purpose seemed to be destroying the elasticity of a part of the body he preferred to remain tight.
He made his way around the tub of lube and stood studying the latex wrestling suits and leather aprons that covered the far wall. He could understand the fascination with the wrestling singlets. Muscled guys rolling around in skimpy gear turned him on too.
However, why would anyone purchase a leather apron?
It resembled something a sadistic butcher might wear in a horror movie.
As he pondered what the aprons were used for sexually, the door to the dressing room fell open, and Zach gasped.
The store employee struggled to help a rather obese man shove himself inside a full-body rubber suit. Talcum powder spotted the interior of the room and the outside of the outfit. It had also gotten on their faces. There was so much powder everywhere that Zach figured this must be what a coke den looked like. At least one that had imploded.
Turning around seemed the politest response, but the spectacle proved too much of a train wreck.
The large man, who resembled Jabba the Hutt trying to squeeze inside a Hefty bag, cursed as he attempted to force every roll of fat inside. His constant struggle caused sweat to drench his body, turning the powder that caked his pregnant, hairy belly into paste.
The poor employee, who knelt before the sweating crotch from which hung a tiny Vienna sausage, attempted to hike the suit farther up the man’s meaty thighs. When that failed, he stood and yanked with all his might as the rotund fellow lifted his left leg in a vain attempt at assistance. The slick material, made even slicker by the man’s perspiration, caused the employee to lose his grip.
The rubber snapped back quite unexpectedly for the big guy who already teetered precariously on one bulky limb. Unbalanced, he toppled backward onto the dressing room floor, causing the layer of powder to explode upward and resulting in a momentary whiteout in the small room.
Before he could help himself, Zach broke out into laughter.
The customer didn’t appreciate Zach’s sense of humor and called him a fuckwad.
“I’m sorry,” he said as he backed up.
Zach needed to get out of there before he embarrassed himself further, so he turned around and bolted forward, completely forgetting about the display behind him. He struck the lube bin, which began a rather horrifying chain of events.
The display fell over, causing bottles of lube to roll throughout the store, some of which he squashed open with his large, blundering feet. When Zach backed up in surprise, he collided with the wall, which contained the aprons and rubber wrestling suits. The force of the impact caused the top row of hanging garments to fall from their perch and rain upon his head.
“Need some help?”
Zach looked up from amongst the aprons and crushed bottles of lube to find Mr. Tanned Body standing before him with a humorous twinkle in his steely eyes.
The roiling passion within Zach reluctantly surged forward once again.
About the Author:
Jacob Z. Flores lives a double life. During the day, he is a respected college English professor and mid-level administrator. At night and during his summer vacation, he loosens the tie and tosses aside the trendy sports coat to write man on man fiction, where the hard ass assessor of freshmen level composition turns his attention to the firm posteriors and other rigid appendages of the characters in his fictional world.
Summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, provide Jacob with inspiration for his fiction. The abundance of barely clothed man flesh and daily debauchery stimulates his personal muse. When he isn’t stroking the keyboard, Jacob spends time with his husband, Bruce, their three children, and two dogs, who represent a bright blue blip in an otherwise predominantly red swath in south Texas.
You can follow Jacob’s musings on his blog at http://jacobzflores.com or become a part of his social media network by visiting http://www.facebook.com/jacob.flores2, http://twitter.com/#!/JacobZFlores, or http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5142501.Jacob_Z_Flores.
Jacob is giving away a copy of his book When Love Takes Over to one lucky winner at the end of the tour.