BLOG TOUR – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – Neon Saturday Night by Julia McBryant – #Excerpt #Giveaway #Interview

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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author Julia McBryant to Stories That Make You Smile. Julia is here today celebrating the recent release of her smokin’ novelette, Neon Saturday Night, book 2 in the Low Country Lovers series. She’s brought along a nice excerpt, and a generous giveaway. Pull up a chair and read on to learn about Julia’s writing process and what’s coming next! 🌟

Neon Saturday Night by Julia McBryant

Love is a story you tell each other. In good times and in bad. Through darkness into light.

Series: Low Country Lovers (book #2)
Publisher: Independently Published
Cover Artist: Lee Quail
Release Date: September 23, 2019
Length: Novelette / 15,275 words / 104 pages
Pairing / Genres / Tropes: M/M Contemporary Erotic Romance, new adult, erotica, gaylit, younger characters, beach romance, bodyguard/guardian angel, coming of age, forbidden love, healing power of sex, hurt/comfort, love can heal/redemption, true love, uncommunicative masculinity

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Warnings: descriptions of past child abuse and past violence

Low Country Lovers, Book #1 – Hurricane Dreams should be read first.

Series Blurb

The Southern Seduction series chronicles the interconnected lives of a group of well-off, high society young adults in Savannah, Georgia, most of whom have known each other since kindergarten. Their complicated relationships (and unconventional sexcapades) form the meat of the series, along with a careful attention to chronology, character, and prose. More than romantic erotica, the Southern Seduction series details a fully realized world of drama, theme, and most of all, memorable characters.

Book Blurb

Audie and Calhoun continue their long-distance relationship through college. They sneak off to Myrtle Beach. Audie drives to Charleston when Calhoun gets the flu.

They meet for a fake fishing trip on the Outer Banks. But Audie needs to belong, and because of his traumatic past, he feels like he has little to offer in a committed relationship. While he and Calhoun have fun together, they also have a difficult time negotiating Audie’s need to give as much as he takes and build an authentic relationship together.

Calhoun says his job is to learn to be loved. But Audie wants to be more than a fun top and a tragic boyfriend.

Excerpt

“You know what it means to be hurt,” Jax says finally. “I don’t know what hurt you, not really. Same’s I talked around it and didn’t tell you all of it, not the whole truth or the real part of it. But you know. You saw it right away and so did I. Henry and Calhoun don’t know what that means. That’s why they can try to put us back together and maybe it’ll work and maybe it won’t.”

“I’m afraid of sharks,” Audie says suddenly. He can’t hold it suddenly, can’t stop it. “But I’m really just afraid of the ocean and I swore I’d never get in it again.”

Jax cocks his head at him. “Someone did something to you.”

Audie tells him about his father and the pontoon boat in the Charleston harbor, about being eleven years and told to swim, just swim to his daddy and they could go home, about the four hours of sheer terror, the thirst and his father’s laughter. ‘

“You’d get in, if you made that go away,” Jax says.

“I can’t.”

“You can. And you need to tell Calhoun this story.”

“I’m not telling Calhoun this. I never should have told you.” Audie casts again. He tosses an empty back up above the high tide line.

“Henry taught me I owe him the truth.”

“I told him the truth. I have a shark phobia.”

“You didn’t tell him shit and we both know it, Currell. Same’s I told Henry I slept around. I told him something. I never told him why. Never told anyone why.”

“Why’d you do it?”

Jax looks over the horizon and squints into the sun. “I was fucking lonely, Audie, the hell do you think?” He straightens up. “How deep will you go?”

“My knees.”

“Go out to your thighs. I’ll go with you.”

“No.”

“I’m not your father and you’re not eleven. Do you trust me enough to tell me that fucking story?”

Audie hesitates. “Yes.”

“Did I trust you enough to tell you why I slept around?”

Audie stares at the vast expanse of water and wonders at its secrets. “Yes.”

“Then trust me enough not to get your ass eaten. I’ll go ahead of you so you know there’s nothing there.”

Audie begins shaking. But he looks at Jax and realizes that he’s right, for some goddamn reason he does trust him. Jax takes his hand. It’s not sexual; it’s not the way you hold the hand of a lover. More the way you’d lead a blind man, or the way Audie imagines a preacher leading someone down into a river. But Jax holds Audie’s hard firmly and takes him into the water, one step at a time. Audie looks down anxiously, watches his feet. Jax suddenly laughs and points. “See the teensy ray?” he asks, the water at their knees. “Like a little pancake.” And it is, small and gray. They keep going until they stand up to their waists when the waves come in. “You’re safe,” Jax says. “Look how clear the water is.”

Audie stops. Turns. He can see in every direction. He looks. There are no sharks. None that he can see. He knows there are sharks, knows it in his bones: this is Nag’s Head, the Carolina coast, sharks up and down it, black-tips and makos, duskies and sand tigers. But the sharks are far away, and the chances of them hurting him so small. He stands and dives. Stands. Dives again. Suddenly he’s swimming, swimming strong, the way he learned as a boy in the Low Country, in the creeks and estuaries of the Cooper River. Jax swims next to him. Audie flips, backflips. He rides the waves and swims under them, a part of this vast, mysterious thing, just one more creature in this strange universe governed by the pull of the moon. A world of undrinkable water, of whalesong, of menace and beauty, crashing whitecaps and glass-calm. Jax doesn’t leave him alone. They finally swim back to shore.

“You aren’t eleven anymore,” he says quietly.

“I’m not,” Audie says.

“And you never have to be again.” 

They share a towel.

“Your trunks are wet,” Calhoun says, when Audie comes into the living room.

“Do you want to go swimming?” Audie asks.

“But —”

“I’ll be fine, if you go with me.”

Calhoun scrambles to his feet. “I’ll put my suit on.”

They hold hands as they walk into the waves. When the waves roll at their chests, when the water is clear, after Audie looks around them, he wraps around Calhoun, tips his chin to the side, and kisses him hard. They hold each other as the saltwater crashes in front of them, as they bob in the waves. Audie feels Calhoun harden in his suit, tent it out. “That was the best kiss ever,” Calhoun says, when Audie sucks his lower lip and pulls back.

Audie does a backflip. “Why?” he asks, when he comes up.

“Because you weren’t afraid anymore.”

Calhoun touches the bottom and leads him out of the water. They walk right to the bedroom and take off their suits. Audie sheds his rashguard.

“Now we can,” Calhoun breathes.

“Yeah,” Audie says.

“You’ll taste like saltwater.”

“So will you.”

They fall into the bed, side by side, hair still soaked. Audie wraps around Calhoun and kisses him. And he tastes like seawater, oh god he does, like the ocean, like all the secrets of undiscovered whales and unknowable depths, of dolphin names and even the distance tang of shark menace. But Audie knows now you can’t have one without the other: the fear makes the beauty bloom, magnifies it from the everyday to something wild and perfect. He sucks Calhoun’s lower lip the way he likes. Audie doesn’t close his eyes to Calhoun’s beautiful sun-browned skin, blond beginning to streak his wet mermaid tangles. They press against one another, both hard, Audie almost overcome by the sudden depth of his need.

☆ Author Interview ☆

When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you realize you were good at it?

I always loved to write (my first grade teacher had to make me stop), but in fourth grade, we had journals we would write in every day and read aloud. “Journal” was a loose term; we really wrote whatever we wanted. I used to write endless stories about a klutzy night and his pet chicken. The class loved them and I realized I could actually do this thing.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

My first review on my first book was a three on Goodreads. I cried. Then I went outside, smoked a cigarette, and watched on youtube, in this order, the cast of The Magicians doing Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” “Under Pressure” (my favorite song of all time), and “Here I Go Again” (yep, the Whitesnake One). By then I had finished the Parliament Light 100 — yes, Jax and I smoke the same cigarettes — they’re a terrible habit but I only have one or two a day. I started associating them with writing fiction in grad school, and when I started on fiction again, they came right back out again.  

Now it takes a really, really bad review to require a cigarette and “Under Pressure.” Normally I message Wendy Stone or call my editor and complain about how wrong, wrong, wrong people are ;).

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I’m probably not supposed to admit this. I have an idea of where something is going, like an end goal in mind: These people will end up together, or This has an HEA, or They’re getting married and this is how, but I just had a daddy kink novel turn into an extended meditation on class pretty naturally over the course of the book, so … yeah. I don’t always know what will happen when I stick my people in a room together, and I think that’s okay. I had no idea Calhoun would be quite so mean to Audie, or that Jax and Audie would end up such good friends. God, what an unlikely pair. I thought it would be Henry and Audie, I always have. But Henry and Audie remain rather indifferent throughout their novels. Jax and Wills end up his BFFs. Didn’t see that coming.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in writing your books?

Oh god, so many things. From the profound: Fitzgerald says in his unfinished The Love of the Last Tycoon, ““Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.” That’s 100% true for me. I’m just a lot of people pretending to be one person, and it gets worse every single day. I’m not saying I’m any good, I’m saying that I carry all these people around in my head and a lot of the time they’re more real than real. I definitely say to my kids, “Let’s listen to Audie’s playlist today.”

I’ve also learned how to have gay sex (I’ve researched like you wouldn’t believe, watched videos — I have certain sites I go to and make sure that certain actions are possible in certain positions), and, terrifyingly, how easy it is to declare someone incompetent in the state of Georgia. I learned a lot about fishing for Neon Saturday Night that I didn’t really want to know. I sort of hate fish.

What secondary character would you like to explore more?

Jax. No question. Other than Audie, he’s my favorite. He gets his own series of novels in Henry’s MMF menage (with Easter Bennett, by the way, so they all get mentioned together for the first time in “The Sharks Create The Ocean”). But I always swear that if Jax Littleton appears at my door, I’m leaving my husband. He’s super complicated — the reason for all that loneliness take three freaking books to come out, though an astute reader could maybe figure it out earlier — ADHD like me, OCD, super hot without knowing it at all, battling incredibly low self-esteem, mercurial, and hyper-intelligent (he and Wills are the smartest characters in my novels, and I think honestly he’s probably smarter). That dirty talk in bed really comes out in his other novels, and it slays me every.single.time, too. I need to write some shorts about him before he meets Henry. I have one already.

What are you working on right now, and when can we expect it?

I’m editing Henry, Jax, and Easter’s MMF menage Breaking Point, which will be out sometime in January. I’m really excited about it: I strike a balance between mm and mf and mmf sex scenes, and I have a great parallel going between Henry’s attempts to rehabilitate both Jax and Easter at separate times. Audie walks in, too, as does Wills. In fact, the novel takes place at the same time as Wills and Crispin’s novel, which is why Wills and Crispin’s novel hasn’t come out yet. It’s not due until February, because it reveals key plot points in Breaking Point. 

Meet the Author

Julia McBryant is, as the saying goes, Southern born, Southern bred, and when she dies, she’ll be Southern dead. When she’s not riding her horse or writing, Julia likes to play with her German Shepherds and rescued greyhounds, make all the crafts (especially those involving glitter), and hike, especially in the North Carolina mountains. She is grateful her husband tolerates both the dogs and the glitter.

However, she spends most of her time writing like tomorrow won’t arrive, like she needs it to survive, every second she’s alive, etc. (see Hamilton for details). She also lives to sing in the car, especially David Bowie.

Website | Facebook Profile | Facebook Page | Twitter (@juliamcbryant) | Instagram (@julia_mcbryant) | Goodreads | QueeRomanceInk | Amazon

Also by Julia McBryant

Southern Seduction Series (books 1-3) & Low Country Lovers Series (book 1)

Giveaway

Julia is giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate – enter via Rafflecopter:

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