Publisher - CoolDudes Publishing
Cover By Louis C. Harris
Genre - Young Adult, Gay, Romance, Contemporary
Tagline - Finding Love In Between the Gender Lines
Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.
As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”
But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.
An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.
Hi, Christi, and thank you for inviting me to visit your blog. Today is the release day for a YA book that is near and dear to my rather haphazard heart, Love Spell. And once you meet seventeen-year old Chance César, you will realize that he attracts all things random.
Here are ten random facts about Chance:
1. Chance is a huge fan of Bratz Dolls, and he has been for many years. His favorite Bratz Doll is Cloe. He spent a great deal of time in his grade school years wishing he had her hair. He currently has a Cloe poster on his bedroom wall.
2. In the privacy of his own home, Chance likes to wear a woman’s silky blue bathrobe. He just feels so good enveloped in light blue silk.
3. Chance has a secret hobby; he loves to design comforter sets, from satin bedspreads to high-thread-count matching sheets to complementing fringed throw pillows. He has his eye on Northeastern University’s College of Arts Media and Design so he can purse his interests.
4. Chance might be snarky and abrasive on the outside, but those few who know him well, will tell you that he has a heart of gold.
5. Chance has a sweet tooth; he can’t get enough gourmet frozen yogurt and gummy bears.
6. Chance refuses to be pushed around. He fights back when bullied, and gives the appearance of being snarky and sarcastic and unaffected by threats. But inside he is very much afraid.
7. Chance got his nose pierced freshman year of high school. He had his ears pierced in seventh grade, eighth grade, and each year of high school. He is currently considering the piercing of other body parts, as there is not much room left on his ears.
8. Chance is devoted to his BFF Emily.
9. Chance is an over-thinker. His mind never stops. Never.
10. Chance has developed a unique language that is enhanced by his BFF’s made-up words.
Since I spilled ten of Chance’s secrets, I guess it’s only fair that I share some of mine.
Ten Random Facts about Mia Kerick:
1. Mia learned to read at 4-years-old by watching Sesame Street on TV.
2. Mia played with dolls throughout high school. No, not Bratz Dolls, as they had not yet been invented. She played mostly with Malibu Barbie, Ken, and Skipper.
3. Mia is a MAJOR Boston Red Sox fan; she has a room in house (The Red Sox Room) devoted to Red Sox memorabilia with a mural of Fenway Park on one wall.
4. Mia loves crime shows on TV, especially Criminal Minds and CSI as well as true crime documentaries.
5. Mia has a sweet tooth like Chance. She would prefer to eat cookies to a fancy meal… or any meal at all.
6. Mia was a middle school teacher/drama club director before having children and becoming a stay at home mother.
7. Mia would live in jeans, white collared shirts, pearls, and Frye boots—every day of her life—if she could. Sort like a of a preppy ranch hand. Like ye-hah!
8. Mia thinks heaven is stretching out on a reclining lounge chair by the pool with a YA LGBT romance novel in one hand and a mocha latte with extra espresso in the other.
9. Mia has touched Keith Urban on three separate occasions. (He is very soft.)
10. Mia shares that over-thinking quality with Chance. She has never, ever gotten bored.
Read this first, hun.
I’ve been accused of thinking too much, which might be true, but I con-
sider that fact to be a minor blip on my personality radar. Nothing more.
I mean, it’s not hurting anybody, is it?
People may call the activity of my mind overthinking, and it wouldn’t
be a monster stretch for them to call it obsessing. Then, of course, there are
those uptight douches who’d slap a neon pink Post-It Note on my brain—
the phrase “has a few dozen screws loose” scribbled on it with a chisel tip
I, however, choose to view the slightly convoluted manner in which I
process thoughts as ingenious. And to be real, at this very moment I have
about fifteen more ingenious adjectives, fully capable of describing the way
I think, burning a hole in the cargo pocket of my painted-on pastel camo
skinny jeans. But I very rarely subscribe to the concept “less is more”, and
this is one of those extremely rare occasions.
(SMH) Not that I’m happy about it.
In any case, consider yourself fairly warned.
So, my fine friends, sit back on your comfy couches and listen to what
went down last year in my cray-cray neck of the woods.
Shine On, Harvest Moon
Just call me brazen.
It occurs to me that brazen—unabashedly bold and without an inkling of
shame—is the perfectly appropriate word to describe moi right about now.
It is, however, the only perfectly appropriate part of this evening. Which is
perfectly appropriate, in my humble opinion. So get over it.
I lift my chin just enough to stop the stiff orange spikes of glitter-gelled
hair from flopping forward onto my forehead. But who can blame me?
These spikes are razor sharp—best they stay upright on my head where
they belong—and gravity can only do so much to that end.
Okaaaayyyy... sidetracked much?
* Forces rebellious thoughts onto business at hand.
Chance César is a brazen B.
I stare ‘em down, but only after I pop the collar of the blinding “Orange
Crush” tuxedo I’m rockin’ and shrug my shoulders in a sort of what-the-
fuck fashion. Rule of thumb in this queen’s life—first things must always
Pop, shrug, and only then is it kosher to stare.
* Clears throat.
“Eat your ginger-haired heart out, Prince Harry.” Based on the buzz of
scandalized chatter blowing about in the crisp evening breeze, I’m reasona-
bly certain that nobody in the crowd heard me speak. And although several
of the girls currently gawking at me may do double backflips over my red-
haired counterpart across the pond, Prince Harry of Wales, they don’t give a
rat’s ass about Chance César. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that they
view my atomic tangerine locks as more reminiscent of Bozo the Clown
than of the sexy singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
They are, however, completely unaware that this carrot top is going to
make Harvest Moon Festival history tonight.
Refusing to succumb to the impulse to duck my head, I take a single
shaky step forward on the stage that’s been set up on the dusty ground be-
side the vast (by New England standards) cornfield. The stage doesn’t wob-
ble, but my knees sure as shit do. Okay, so I’m a freaking honest diva and I
tell it like it is. And I’m what you might call a wreck.
Nonetheless, this brazen B takes a deep breath, blows it out in a single
gush, and starts to strut. I mean, this boy’s werkin’ it.
Smi-zeee!! Yeah, my smile is painted on, just like my trousers.
Chance, you are by far the edgiest Miss Harvest Moon this ramshackle
town has ever had the good fortune to gaze upon.
I am a major fan of positive self-talk.
Using the feigned British accent that I’ve perfected—thanks to long hours
of tedious practice in my bathroom—I dish out my next thought aloud. “I
wish I’d put in a tad more practice walking in these bloody heels before
going public in ‘em.” And despite one slight stumble—a close call to be
sure—the clicking sound my pumps make is crisp and confident. I saunter
out onto the catwalk.
#trueconfessions: Faking foreign accents is a hobby of mine. I can yam-
mer it up in improvised French, German, Mexican, Russian, and plenty
more accents, but I don’t mimic Asian languages, as it seems too close to
ridicule. My plan for the rest of the night is to continue vocalizing my abun-
dant thoughts in Standard British, with just a hint of Cockney thrown in
for charm. New Hampshire is the “live free or die” state and I’ll do what I
“Introducing this year’s lovely... or, um, handsome Miss...ter... Har-
vest Moon. Let’s hear an enthusiastic round of applause for Chance César!”
Mrs. Higgins always speaks using a lolling Southern twang, although I’m
sure she’s lived her entire life right here in less-than-gentile, way-too-many-
dirt-roads, Fiske, New Hampshire. Like, can you say “backwoods Fiske”
without it sounding too much like “backwards Fiske”? But, overall, I’m
pleased—it seems I’m not the only one with an affinity for a colorful accent.
The applause is—to be real—disappointingly, but not surprisingly, scat-
“Woot!” A solitary hoot splits the night—it’s quite impossible to miss—
and I recognize an undeniably shrill and nasal quality in the sound. I know
without a doubt that the hooter is my best (only) friend, Emily Benson. In
my not so humble opinion, Emily’s hooting for my benefit sounds as liberat-
ing as Lady Gaga bellowing “Born This Way” live on the Grammy Awards
after emerging from a large egg.
My Emily is everything!! Not to be dramatic.
In any case, that single, supportive hoot is followed by mucho expected
“Chances are, Chance César is gonna moon the crowd!” That’s a girl’s
voice, for sure. I do not have a lot of female fans here in Fiske.
“Come on, Miss Harvest Moon, bend over and flash us your full moon!”
A dude mocks me next. I’m proud to say that I’m an equal opportunity vic-
tim of harassment.
I don’t blink once in the face of the jeering. This type of inconvenience
is par for the course in my life, and thus, I consider it a challenge. I simply
place one fine pointy-toed pump in front of the other, my eyes focused on
the mountain in the distance. I’m especially proud that, amidst the chaos, I
remember to offer the crowd my best beauty queen wave.
“Thank you for being here today,” I speak in my most Princess Dia-
“Werk it, girlfriend—werk hard!” Yes, it’s Emily again. She’s got my
“Aw, shit... we must be havin’ a lunar eclipse or somethin’.” It’s another
pubescent male voice, and a deep one, at that. “There ain’t no moon to be
seen ‘round these parts!” The heckler is a douche I know too well from
school, Edwin Darling—whom I less than fondly, and very privately, refer
to as “Eddie the Appalling.” I watch as he glances up briefly at the full moon
in the dark night sky and shrugs.
The lunar eclipse one-liner is actually pretty funny—I toss out ten points
for creativity in Edwin’s general direction by allowing a small smile—but
still I never remove my eyes from the single treeless spot on Mount Vernier.
* Time for a mental detour.
I wonder why this one spot is bare-assed of all trees.
That’s when the music starts and I’m more than glad for the downbeat.
It’s much easier to sashay to the sound of a jazzy snare drum than to the un-
pleasant clamor of heckling. Not that my backside won’t wiggle righteously
to any sound at all. Because, rest assured, it will.
“Shine On, Harvest Moon.” Whoever is in charge of the sound system
plays the Liza Minnelli version, which may be the silver lining to this farce.
For as long as I can remember, it’s been the traditional tune for Miss Har-
vest Moon’s victorious stroll up and down the creaky runway. I will say that
tonight is a first for the Liza rendition, and I’m curious as to whether it is
coincidental, as she is a female gay icon for the ages.
But who really cares? Ring them sparkly silver bells for Liza M!!!
On a side note, I wonder: Is it a good thing or a bad thing that Liza Min-
nelli’s voice always brings out the dramatic streak in me?
Okay, okaaaayyyy... so maybe it doesn’t take more than a gentle nudge to
get me going in a theatrical direction—but, hey, drama’s not a crime. Mo-
mentarily, my mind is pulled to the back of my bedroom closet (how ironic),
where my flapper get-up hangs.
Should I have worn that instead?
But it’s a muted peach, not a vivid orange, as seems fitting for a pumpkin
festival. And then there’s the whole “not a single soul, with the exceptions
of my parents and Emily, has yet been privileged with the honor of viewing
Chance César in full female garb” thing that held me back from rockin’ that
vintage coral dress with its spectacular tiers of flesh-colored fringe. But
tonight is the Beans and Green Farm’s Annual Harvest Moon Festival, and
for northern New Hampshire, this is a big deal—the whole town shows up
for cheesy shit like this.
In light of that recognition, I decide that pumpkin orange attire is man-
datorbs. I mean, I went so far as to dye my hair for tonight’s festivities; the
least I can do is choose garments that enhance the Halloween-like atmos-
At the end of the catwalk, I indulge the audience by providing them with
their deepest desire: I stand there, still as a statue—for ten seconds, give
or take—so they can drink in the sight of me, from spiky glittering head to
pointy patent leather toes. I allow them this opportunity for viewing pleas-
ure because I know that whether they admire me for having the balls to
strut around ultraconservative Fiske wearing a scandalously snug-in-all-
the-wrong (right)-places orange tuxedo and four-inch black pumps, which
I will admit is a public first for me, or they wish the shining harvest moon
would fall on my house and crush me while I sleep, what they all really
want most is a good long moment to study me.
To twerk or not to twerk, that is the question.
When the spectators finally start to squirm, I throw out a few of my best
vogue fem moves to the tune of some subtle arm, wrist, and hand action,
followed by several full-body poses, avoiding the death drop move as I ha-
ven’t yet mastered it in pumps.
And when it’s time to once again get this show on the road. I pivot on my
toes and strut briskly—picture it, America’s Top Model style—back to the
stage where my boss, the owner of Beans and Greens Farm, stands nervous-
ly holding my crown.
Mrs. Higgins is a tall glass of water, in the manner of a big-boned Iowa
farm girl, but she’s accustomed to crowning petite high school junior girls,
not nearly grown senior boys in four-inch heels. I crouch politely, and I
dare say delicately, beside her and she carefully nestles the crystal-studded
crown in my spiky mop of neon orange hair.
“Be careful, Mrs. H,” I warn her beneath my breath. “Those spikes might
look harmless, but they’re sharp enough to slice off your little finger.”
She offers me half of a crooked smile, for which I give her credit. I, Mrs.
Higgins’ very own “boy with the bad attitude on cash register three”, have
broken about every rule Beans and Greens has established for its hordes of
Fiske High School summer workers, right down to the “no jewelry at work” clause. But a couple of points go to the lady cuz she manages to force out a
grimace that could be mistaken for a smile... if your standard for smiles is
on the low side.
Besides, I’m not about to remove my nose ring. It in no way impedes my
ability to count, ring up, and bag cucumbers.
* Spins on a single heel to face the crowd.
“You don’t happen to have any... very brief... words of wisdom for our
audience, do you, Chance?” Mrs. Higgins asks, speaking into an oversized
microphone. But despite the laidback accent, I can tell she’s wary. Like a
rat in a corner.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.” My clipped British accent momentari-
ly stuns the woman, and I take that opportunity to snatch the microphone
from her less-than-dainty hand. Realizing that it is now in my possession,
Mrs. Higgins shudders. “I just want to thank you all, my beloved coworkers
at Beans and Greens Farm, for voting me in as this year’s Miss Harvest
Moon.” I wipe imaginary tears from my eyes with my wrist, sniff for added
effect, and, of course, I employ a most gracious, high-pitched tone of voice.
“I am just so honored to represent you all here tonight.” I sound like Eliza
Doolittle in the stage play My Fair Lady.
The crowd is silent. Maybe it’s a stunned silence. I sincerely hope so.
* Pouty lips follow dainty sniffling. Sniff, sniff.
Mrs. Higgins makes a sudden grab for the microphone but I’m more ag-
ile. I only have to twist my shoulders ever so slightly to the left to block her
Then I lower my voice so it’s all man—momentarily losing the delightful
British inflection—and I pose my question to the crowd. “So you thought
voting for me as Miss Harvest Moon, here, would humiliate me—dull my
shine or rain on my parade, perhaps?” I wag my well-manicured finger at
the crowd. “Well, in your face, my sorry backwoods homies, cuz I’m here
and I’m queer and I’m shining on—just like that big ol’ harvest moon!”
Without hesitation, I lean down just enough to grab Mrs. Higgins around the
waist, and then I lift her off her feet and swing that lady around, probs ‘til
she’s seeing more stars than the ones in the dark Harvest Moon sky.
I’d bet my ahhh-mazing ass that no other Miss Harvest Moon has ever
given Mrs. Higgins a joyride like that!
About Mia Kerick
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.
Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.