Saugatuck Summer by Amelia C. Gormley
Published by Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: May 19th 2014
Genres: M/M, Contemporary Romance
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One summer can change everything.
Hi, I'm Topher Carlisle: twenty-one, pretty, and fabulous. At least, that's what I keep telling myself. But let's get real. Walking the fake-it-til-you-make-it road to independence and self-respect isn't easy. Especially since my mom's a deadbeat alcoholic, and most of my family expects me to turn out just as worthless. Oh, and I'm close to losing my college swimming scholarship, so let's add "dropout" to the list.
My BFF has invited me to stay at her beach house on the shore of Lake Michigan. That'll give me one summer to make money and figure out what I want to do with my life. So of course I decide to have an affair with my BFF's married, closeted dad. Because that always works out.
Now I'm homeless, friendless, jobless. Worthless. Just like my family expects, right? Except there's this great guy, Jace, who sees it differently. He's got it all together in ways I can only dream of — he's hot, creative, insightful, understanding. He seems to think I don't give myself enough credit. And if I don't watch out, I may start to believe him.
Hi, and welcome to the Saugatuck Summer blog tour! Thank you to Tracy’s Place. You’re very welcome! I’m happy to have you!
Reviews for hosting me today! For those of you who have seen me talking about it on social media for the last nearly year and a half, you know that Saugatuck Summer was a labor of love far beyond what I would normally claim for one of my books. Of course I love them all, but Saugatuck Summer came from my very soul. Actually, I’m not certain it came from me at all.
Basically, here’s what happened: One day I was driving along, running errands, and Topher Carlisle whispered one line of dialogue in my ear. Just one. When I asked him what I was supposed to do with that, he promptly took over my brain for fifteen absolutely insane days and at the end I had the first draft of Saugatuck Summer.
Topher’s story of recovery, hope, making mistakes, and growing up just told itself, and the experience of being the conduit for that was at times grueling and heartbreaking, but also euphoric and wonderful. It was one of those experiences that, as a creator of some form of art, be it musical, visual, or literary, you have once or twice in a lifetime if you’re extraordinarily lucky, when you know you’re creating something magical. I’m not sure it will ever happen to me again, but I feel absolutely blessed that this book has come of it.
This week on the Saugatuck Summer blog tour, I’ll be sharing some bonus content from the book and a sneak peek at another upcoming book in the Saugatuck universe. I’ll also be having a heart-to-heart discussion with Marie Sexton about our experiences as adult children of alcoholics and how they translated into writing our ACOA characters from Saugatuck Summer and Family Man, giving you a peek at some of “Jace’s” art, and I’ll be sharing the official Saugatuck Summer soundtrack from a brilliant singer/songwriter of my personal acquaintance, Casey Stratton.
And finally, all week long I’ll be asking trivia questions from Saugatuck Summer and this week’s blog tour articles, and each correct answer emailed to me offers you a chance to win your choice of any of my backlist titles!
So put on your sunscreen and let’s go!
HOW TO WIN YOUR CHOICE OF ANY SINGLE BOOK FROM MY BACKLIST (all-in-one volumes not included):
At each stop along the blog tour I’ll be asking a trivia question from Saugatuck Summer. Yes, this means some familiarity with the book is required, whether you purchase a copy, have an ARC, or employ the Kindle or B&N lending programs. If you visit some of the other blog tour stops, you might also find the answer in some of the excerpts.
PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE COMMENTS. Instead, send the answer to me privately by using this contact form. Each response will enter you into the drawing and three winners will be picked. The more questions you answer, the more entries you get. You can choose from any of the following titles:
Inertia (Impulse, Book One)
Acceleration (Impulse, Book Two)
Velocity (Impulse, Book Three)
The Laird’s Forbidden Lover
An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2)
Inch by Inch (The Professor’s Rule #3)
Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4)
To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #5)
(Note: Giving an Inch (The Professor’s Rule #1) is already available free at Riptide, and my pre-Saugatuck novella, The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams, is available for free at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and elsewhere.)
Again, please do not post your answer in the comments, but submit it to me privately.
To give people time to read and respond, the contest will remain open for one month after the release of Saugatuck Summer. It will close on June 19, and the drawing will be held on June 20.
Today’s Saugatuck Summer trivia question:
Chapter 25, what major event happens to Ling, Geoff, and Robin?
Guest Review by Judith of Dr. J.’s Book Place
I don’t often read and review M/M novels but I was asked to do so and was happy to do so. This is a very emotional story that is written in the first person so that the reader has an opportunity to enter more fully into the experience of the main character—Christopher Carlisle—more often known as Topher. It is not a format I normally like very well and perhaps that is because I prefer to be a distant observer to the action in the novel. That is not possible here. The author has done a stellar job of drawing the reader into the personal angst of the characters and believe me, there’s lots of hurt and anxiety here, more than enough to go around.
At first glance Topher seems to be a young man who is merely hoping to find a summer job so that he can make up for the shortfall in his finances for the coming college year. As a student on an athletic scholarship he must still meet some of his expenses himself and so far he has been able to do so without going into debt with school loans. It appears that his very best friend Mo has offered him lodging and some of his meals at her family’s summer home in Saugatuck, Michigan, located right on Lake Michigan, thus saving him a good deal of money on lodging and such. However, Mo has ended up as a camp counselor all summer and Topher is left with only the company of Mo’s dad, Brendan.
Here it is important that the reader understand that Topher is a 21 year old gay man who appears to be making his way through college with his life reasonably together emotionally. Nothing could be further from the truth. What begins to emerge as the story progresses is that this young man has had his self-esteem systematically dismantled by family members throughout his growing-up years. He was taken from his mom along with his sisters at a young age. She was an alcoholic and proved unequal to the parenting task. Yet the very people who should have supported Topher in his emotional and psychological development were the ones that abused him repeatedly. Not physical abuse, mind you, but the kind of wounds that hurtful words cause. His family appeared to accept his gender preferences yet they undercut his belief in himself with long lectures about all his perceived faults, his behavior that caused embarrassment to them and the family, and his culpability for any and all negative occurrences in his and their lives.
Because of Topher’s need to be understood and valued for who he is, he is grateful for the understanding and friendship that is extended to him by Mo’s dad. Brendan was a professor who was writing a textbook over the summer, but the times he and Topher shared meals or relaxing times in the evening were so very important to Topher. It turns out that Brendan is a closet bisexual who has never allowed himself to express his attraction to men. Now, for the first time ever, he draws Topher into a sexual affair that both know is wrong on so many levels but which each man seems to be either unwilling or unable to curtail. Not only does Topher lose a safe place to reside over the summer when the affair ends, but he also loses the warmth and personal encouragement that had meant so much to him in the early days of his friendship with Brendan. He is also terrified that he will ultimately lose Mo’s friendship.
It is important that the reader not get bogged down by this affair as in the long run, it serves as a wake-up call for Topher and brings him into the circle of several local individuals who are in a long-term committed gay relationship and whose maturity and experience give Topher stability at a difficult time. He also meets an artist from Chicago who travels to Saugatuck frequently and show art is displayed and sold through the local art gallery, one of the owners of which is one of the gay partners who have become mentors to Topher. It is Jace who gradually begins to challenge Topher to see his early life experiences honestly and to identify them as abuse that has effectively diminished his sense of self and engendered the attitude that he is unworthy, lacking true talent, and is really a person who has nothing anyone can find valuable.
This is a story that is full of the realities and insights regarding the damage friends and relatives do all in the name of “saving someone from themselves.” While Topher’s family never overtly tried to reorient him to being straight, they almost did the same thing covertly as they dismantled his faith in his ability to make good decisions about friendships, discouraging his friendships with other boys all in the name of saving him from embarrassing situations. It is a story that allows the reader to walk this summer journey with Topher and to experience his joys and his disappointments in others and in himself, to share in his struggles and to learn as he eventually does that there really is someone “out there” who sees him for who he truly is and who has the patience and loving care to stay the course with him.
The book is beautifully written and constructed by an author who appears to know what she is doing when it come to putting a good story together. It was really an enjoyable reading experience as the story flowed and was edited well. The characters were all well-developed and I had the feeling that they were iconic—symbols of people who populate all our lives in one way or another. It turned out to be a very good novel and one that I was glad I read. Readers who like M/M romance fiction will like this book. Those who are just discovering this genre of romance fiction would do well to add this book to their “to be read” list. It’s a very fine novel that deserves to be read and appreciated.
Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.
Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse (Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major online book retailers, and be sure to check Riptide for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), the post-apocalyptic romance, Strain, and her upcoming, New Adult contemporary, Saugatuck Summer, available now.