I publicly retired from being an author in 2017. Or maybe it was early 2018. I’ve talked about it before. I was going gray, the bags under my eyes were getting darker, and I needed to find me again. I was convinced, I was done. Put me out to pasture, these fingers would never type another manuscript again.

The most slack ass writer in the history of writers, that was going to be me. Randi was dead.

Then I attended a convention in October 2018, where I wandered by a table and one of the girls spoke to me. Normally, I smile and nod and keep going. But it was a question about the industry and jaded as I might be, I do know a few things, so I wrapped my metaphorical wing around her shoulders and said, “Walk with me, and I’ll learn you some things.”

I spent a good chunk of the three days of the con hanging out with these two loons. Turns out, the girl who talked to me was the artist as a brand new, tiny publisher, Moirae Publishing. Her partner-in-crime, the owner and an author at the press, and I hit it off right away. They were my kind of crazy.

What I loved about this publisher is that it was all about giving the industry the middle finger. Sure, Moirae want their books to sell (I mean, who doesn’t), but they want to publish the books with diversity and unique characters and crazy plots—the ones that my previous publishers would have passed on because they were too “out there.” They are giving life to these authors who are a little left of center, and I, myself, being an author who is a little left of center, can appreciate that.

They asked if I had anything I could submit. I did not. The look of disappointment was real and broke my heart. So I followed up with a quick, “But I have a thing I could work on.”

Sold.

Thus, Spar, which was originally written as a short story for an anthology (and was rejected—which is fine, no resentment over that, for real… it needed to be), was going to become a novella. For Moirae. For these girls who were just the right kind had done the unthinkable and pulled me out of retirement.

Why?

Because they would let me write me. I don’t have to chase trends or tropes with them. If I want to make my character a second-degree black belt in TaeKwonDo with trust issues and a job as a computer programmer—and get into the messy, technical detail that comes with all of that, I knew they’d let me. So that’s exactly what I did. (Okay, I admit, in edits, some of the technical nitty gritty came out.)

Spar is the first in a series of books about LGBT characters in the tiny, fictitious town of Resolute, Georgia. As you might expect, we’re going to deal with hiding relationships from people with conservative Christian views. We’re going to deal with fear, disappointment, longing. We’re going to deal with acceptance. Hope. But above all, love. They’re romance books, but with a twist—because these characters are a bit rougher around the edges than I’ve written previously. They’re broken, just trying to learn to survive, and how love fits in with all that.

Because these books are a little off-kilter, from a publisher who strives to find books like that, my cover is not what you’ll find on the shelves of the romance section at Barnes & Noble. (Hey, we don’t sell in B&N stores, so why should we fall in line?) But it *is* hot.

My entire life is about moving to the beat of my own drummer, and I’m just grateful to have found a publisher who will let me embrace it rather than suppress it.

Spar cover

About Spar

Chloe Darue lives in a sleepy, conservative Southern town challenging every norm she can. She’s a triple threat—she can program computers, kick someone’s ass, and she’s confident in her self-image. In fact, she only has two fears: her ex and her family finding out that she’s bi.

Enter Locke Headley, who is new to town and popping up everywhere she goes. He’s got deep blue eyes, an accent she would willingly drown in, and that amazing package is tied up with a fourth-degree black belt.

Swoon.

She’s single. He’s single. This should be easy, right?

Not when her trust issues get in the way, particularly when it comes to Locke’s bedroom behaviors. Every time he makes a step forward, she shoves him two steps back. He’s not going to give up or go away. He’s a man who knows what he wants and won’t stop until he gets it.

Then again, maybe she can use it to her advantage. Anticipating her mother’s impending you’re-almost-thirty-and-not-married-yet conversation, she recruits him to be her fake boyfriend.

Problems solved.

That’s great until real feelings start getting in the way of the ruse. But can they have anything lasting when it’s built on a foundation of deceit and foolish pride?

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