I'd like to give a big welcome to the awesome Rhys Ford! Today is Happy Release Day for Rhys' mystery romance novel
Woot! Congratulations, Rhys!
And look at that gorgeous cover by Anne Cain!
Rhys is here about ripples in life and how they affect us, and at the end of the post there's a chance to win a copy of Dirty Kiss, so thanks for being here, Rhys, and take it away!
First, I owe a huge thank you to Suzanne for giving me a spot here. Many hugs and much gratitude for this. Thank you. (Aw, thank you, hon. It's a pleasure!!)
I thought about what to write in a guest blog because really, I’m sitting on someone else’s couch trying to keep their friends company while they’re in the kitchen making coffee. By the end of this, you’ll want cream and sugar and I’ll probably be asking Suzanne to make mine Irish. ::grins::
I think that’s why I write. Those ripples. Those questions that come up in life. Not because I have answers. Hell, I’d be the first one to tell you there’s probably no answers, only more questions. Just when you think there’s the end of the line, another one starts. That’s because life is a journey and we are constantly taking steps towards something… even if we don’t exactly know what that something is.
Hopefully, those steps are towards something positive.
I wanted to write about something positive. About working towards that positive. So, the first step is Dirty Kiss.
The main character in Dirty Kiss is a former police detective named Cole McGinnis. He comes with a few issues. Some of his own making. Others… well, those were delivered to him by the Devil himself. The reader is introduced to him in mid-step. His private investigation business is doing well. He has an older brother who loves him and a support network of friends. There are demons in his psyche and probably is in denial of most of the weight on his soul. Cole believes his life is fairly full and he’s doing okay.
Cole was an interesting character to create. I wanted a gay detective but one that was a “guy”. Just a guy. He drinks beer, drives a Range Rover and has a healthy appetite for hamburgers. He carries scars on his body from a shooting that also took his lover from him. Cole stays up too late, probably should eat more vegetables and gets his ass kicked when he spars with his boxing partner, another gay ex-cop named Bobby. Cole’s voice is slightly cynical and there’s a bit of humour in it but really, he’s a good guy who has stared down a lot of really bad things and wonders how he came out on the other side.
Kim Jae-Min, Cole’s love interest, is another story.
That’s because Jae can’t tell you if there’s another side to come out of.
He knows that life is dark and that there are things that have to be done in order to survive. He’s done those things. He makes no apologies for them nor does he brag. Jae wears his scars inside and isn’t one to share any of his secrets. Unlike Cole, he doesn’t have a familial support. If he came out to his family, he would literally lose his identity, everything that makes him who he is in his mind.
Jae is trapped in a war of culture versus society. He was born to a traditional Korean family where homosexuality is shameful and regardless of a man’s orientation, he is still expected to marry and produce children to carry on the family name. He doesn’t understand Cole’s openness or rather, he understands that it is not for him. On the other hand, Cole has no comprehension of Jae’s struggle to define himself either as a Korean man or a openly gay man. For Jae, the two are as far apart on the spectrum as can be.
This cultural norm is sometimes worse than being closeted. If a man admits his homosexuality, he runs the very significant risk of being dead to his family and for many Asians, that is worse than death because family defines you. Your name, your family’s name and everything attached to it defines who you are. Remove that and a great piece of what makes a person is suddenly gone. Some make the choice to walk away and survive.
Others cannot. Some do not survive these choices by taking the most self-destructive way out.
I’ve taken my own journeys. I’ve struggled with trying to be defined both as Asian and not fitting into my family norm. I’ve worked with issues I’ve denied (although probably not as deep as Cole denies them) and have come out on the other side on many of them. I wanted to write about at least pieces of that kind of journey. Hopefully I have with Dirty Kiss, even as I whisper of those struggles behind the bloody puzzle of a murder mystery.
So this book — this series told in Cole’s voice — is about a very meat-and-potatoes Japanese-Irish gay ex-cop who falls in love with a Korean photographer while trying to solve a murder that no one else thinks is a murder. Dirty Kiss is the beginning of Cole and Jae’s journey. Whether they walk the entire way together or not remains to be seen. I haven’t planned that far in advance. I know there are things I’d like to explore between them as they stumble across dead bodies or missing jewelry… as well as them exploring each other.
If you pick it up, let me know how you found it and if it said anything to you. If the cat made you laugh, tell me that too.
Huge thanks to Rhys for a wonderful, interesting post. I've got my copy of Dirty Kiss all ready to go, I've been looking forward to reading this for a looong time, and, of course, meeting the cat! Yay! If you'd like to visit Rhys' website, it's here: Rhys Ford
Bio: Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.
Rhys currently has a day job herding graphics pixels at an asset management company with a fantastic view of the seashore from many floors up and admits to sharing the house with three cats, a black Pomeranian puffball, a bonsai wolfhound, and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Qosmio laptop, and a red Hamilton Beach coffee maker.
Blurb: Cole Kenjiro McGinnis, ex-cop and PI, is trying to get over the shooting death of his lover when a supposedly routine investigation lands in his lap. Investigating the apparent suicide of a prominent Korean businessman’s son proves to be anything but ordinary, especially when it introduces Cole to the dead man’s handsome cousin, Kim Jae-Min.
Jae-Min’s cousin had a dirty little secret, the kind that Cole has been familiar with all his life and that Jae-Min is still hiding from his family. The investigation leads Cole from tasteful mansions to seedy lover’s trysts to Dirty Kiss, the place where the rich and discreet go to indulge in desires their traditional-minded families would rather know nothing about.
It also leads Cole McGinnis into Jae-Min’s arms, and that could be a problem. Jae-Min’s cousin’s death is looking less and less like a suicide, and Jae-Min is looking more and more like a target. Cole has already lost one lover to violence—he’s not about to lose Jae-Min too.
Read chapter one here!
Find Dirty Kiss eBook at Dreamspinner Press
Find Rhys on Twitter
For a chance to win a eBook of Dirty Kiss just leave Rhys your congratulations!
Please leave a way to contact you (email in comment: Please remember to replace @ with [at] to forestall spam - or your twitter name - no way to contact you - no entry).
Giveaway is international and closes end of day (GMT time) July 7th 2011.
Full General Terms and Rules at the bottom of this post here.
You can get an extra entry by tweeting about the giveaway. Leave the link to the tweet as an extra comment.