We have a special treat in store for you today! Bestselling author Mia Kerrick (Not Broken, Just Bent, Unfinished Business) has a new release with Dreamspinner Press today titled Out of Hiding. She’s here today sharing a bit about her latest release and answering some questions, too! Lost, damaged heroes redeemed by love–who could ask for more? 🙂
After graduating from high school early, twenty-year-old Philippe Bergeron spent the past several years lost among the stars while fishing off the New England coast. A shoulder injury ends his dream of living reclusively on the water, and he finds himself lost among the bright lights of New York City. His older brother, Henri, has asked Philippe to chaperone his seventeen-year-old niece, Sophie, on her tours of the city’s legendary dance programs.
Sophie meets with professional dancer and choreographer, Dario Pereira, to prepare a routine for her college auditions. Dario’s cool perfection and immaculate style contrast with Philippe’s awkward scruffiness, but it wakes desires Philippe thought he’d left behind. When the attraction is surprisingly returned, Dario’s confidence won’t let Philippe remain invisible. Unsure but curious, Philippe relaxes his rule of isolation, and as the summer progresses, his relationship with Dario leads him to a surprising discovery of his submissive sexual tendencies and a greater sense of self-awareness.
Tragedy threatens to destroy the connections Philippe has made and forces him to retreat into the shadows of his past, far from the radiance of Dario’s love. Ultimately, he must decide if it is time to stop hiding and set himself free.
After the ride, which once again Dario wouldn’t let me pitch in any money toward, we almost instinctively found our way back to the Bethesda Fountain, and then we grabbed a spot to sit at the pool’s edge.
For a while we both studied the huge statue of an angel at the fountain’s center in silence.
“Here, Philippe.” Dario handed me my sandwich from the brown paper bag he carried. Then he gallantly opened my bottle of iced tea, as if I wasn’t capable of doing it for myself. After he did that, when he winked at me, I felt warm inside. Like maybe he was looking out for me.
“Thanks.” The time had come for making small talk. So I decided to unwrap my sandwich and take a big bite, which would necessarily delay our conversation.
“So how do you like New York City?” He opened up his own sandwich and took a perfect-sized bite: not too big and not too small. Just right.
I wiped at my beard with my sleeve but stopped short when I realized what I’d just done. (Fishermen weren’t exactly obsessed with the rules of proper etiquette.) “I like it right here. Right now.”
Dario smiled at me. “Good answer.” He was still looking at me like he wanted me to say more, which didn’t surprise me much. “But what I mean is, overall, do you like the city?”
“That depends. Do you want me to give you an answer you’ll like, or do you want me to tell you the truth?”
He tilted his head, trying to figure out what I’d meant. “The truth, of course.”
“One night, when I told you the truth, you got up and left me.”
“Are you referring to when I asked you why you hide behind all the hair and you said you didn’t know?”
“Yeah… that night at Pinkberry.”
“I left because you do know why you hide. Your answer to my question was not truthful.”
He had me there, which caused me to blush, something I’d been doing way too much lately. “Okay, so you want to know if I like New York City, and I do. I’m kind of surprised by that, too, because I’ve always been so into nature, especially wide open spaces like the ocean.”
“And why do you think this crowded city works for you?”
I rubbed my beard several times with a flattened palm, and then I grabbed a fist full of my long hair, pulled it up off my neck, holding it there until I felt the breeze kiss the backs of my ears. “Because I like to hide, and hiding’s easy here.”
“It’s also easy to get lost in the crowd.”
He said it like it was a bad thing. “Yeah, that too.”
“You want to get lost in the crowd?”
“Most of the time, I do.” I looked at him directly. After all, hadn’t he told me he’d wanted the truth?
Dario took a deep breath, blew it out harshly, and clenched his fists, like he was fighting an urge to shake me. “I spend my entire life trying to stand out in a crowd. If I cannot stand out in a group of dancers, I will never get a job in the dance world.”
“I guess we’re very different.”
“In some ways. But I never said that I liked to stand out, just that I have to. That’s why I work so hard to be the best dancer I can be, so I will stand out in a way I’ll be proud of.”
I nodded my understanding.
“And be warned: you stand out quite a lot to me, Philippe.” He continued to watch me, but now his gaze felt soft and warm. And focused… very focused.
Which made my face heat up again. “Uh… thank you, Dario, but I’m not at all sure why that is.”
Dario tugged my sandwich from out of my hands and stuck his own sandwich down beside mine on the paper bag. “I have never met anyone like you. I work in the entertainment field, which can be very superficial, Philippe, and you are just… just so incredibly genuine. It shows in every small detail—mostly in your eyes—but also in your personal style, the way you care for Sophie, even in your overgrown beard, which I, incidentally, love. I left Pinkberry that night because I couldn’t stand to hear you intentionally mislead me—because you do know why you hide. You may not be ready to tell me your reasons yet, but you know what they are.”
I couldn’t think of a reply, probably because of the small fact that what Dario had just said was so true. I’d never told anyone of how badly I’d suffered over my mother’s death… how I still suffered the loss of her.
Only Henri knew because he had been there from beginning to end to witness the whole ugly scene.
But the fact that I was tongue-tied did not seem to dismay him. “I’m hoping we share just enough in common to make us compatible, and at the same time, we differ sufficiently that we will be fascinating to one another.”
Nodding, I admitted to something pretty significant, at least it was for me. “I’m already pretty much fascinated with you, Dario.” I felt that frequent blush taking its usual place on my cheeks.
The look in his eyes showed the pleasure he felt at my sincerity. And in his next breath he admitted a truth to match mine. “I want to kiss you.”
So maybe I nodded again.
Dario leaned in toward me, lifted up his perfect lips to mine, and all I could think when they touched together was “so soft.” I was pretty sure he liked kissing me, too, judging by the way he reached around my neck, pulled my face down toward his, and kissed me some more.
I just couldn’t stop myself from grinning when our lips came apart, and Dario laughed out loud when he saw my huge smile, because I know he didn’t expect it from someone as reserved as me.
He spoke softly. “You are a very special man.”
A Guest Post:
Hi everybody at Sarah Madison Fiction today! I was asked a very interesting question: what ten things do you to prepare yourself (to get in the right mental zone) to write? And I thought, I don’t do TEN THINGS before I write…. But then I scratched my head and thought about it some more. Here is what I came up with.
Ten things I do before I write:
10. First I turn on music. Always Music Choice Pop Hits. Channel 921 on Metrocast, our local cable station. And I put it on loud. As in, really loud. The first thing my teenagers do when they arrive home from school is to complain about how loud Mom plays her music, and then they turn it down. But in my defense, 1980’s kids like me are from the blaringly loud “Big Hair Band” streaming-out-of-a-boom-box generation, and my kids are from the generation of Bose Earbuds and Beats by Dr.Dre that don’t require their music to intrude into other people’s personal listening space. Next, I get out my “music I want” list, which I add to whenever I hear a song I would like to hear over (and over and over) again. From this list, my 17-year-old daughter makes me CDs of all my favorite songs to listen to in my car. (I had a hard enough time transitioning from the tape to the CD. I have not made the adjustment to the iPod yet.)
9. Time for coffee. I am as enthusiastic about coffee as I am about music. I will freely admit that my Nespresso machine changed my life. Seriously. Best latte ever: 5 shots of espresso. Yeah, I know….you don’t need to tell me that I’m overdoing it in the caffeine department. Add just a taste of light eggnog mixed with skim milk—the Nespresso machine has a milk steamer that heats and froths for me. (OMG- it makes me feel so pampered!) Two Splenda packets.
A clear glass mug. (Mandatory.) And I’m in a supremely caffeinated heaven.
8. Time to get settled at the breakfast bar with my very potent latte. Okay, I’ll come clean: my chocolate biscotti that I order from Amazon.com usually makes an appearance right about now. I open up my laptop, which leads to plenty of chocolate biscotti crumbs on the keyboard, but that minor inconvenience is well worth it. And usually, at this point, a lot of things that require my attention start rocketing through my brain: laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, kitty litter, cleaning, exercising (what’s that?) All of these tasks are pushed, with only a slight measure of guilt, from the forefront of my brain.
Number 8 is an important step in the pre-writing process, because this where I smile.
7. Before I can write, I need to check things, and Facebook comes first. I am relatively newly addicted to “FB”, January 11th being my 4 month anniversary of having joined.
*First, I get inspired by a FB friend named Mel Leach, with one of her always-inspirational posts, like this: “I’m not beautiful like you. I am beautiful like me.” Yes!! Love it!! (I spend a few seconds rejoicing.)
* Lately, I have been making a habit of checking to see how TJ and Eric are doing. Their love story inspires me and I like to make an attempt at inspiring them right back. So almost every day I look for a song or a poem or a quotation or a picture that they may or may not see, but if they do, could possibly touch their hearts. I find that doing this satisfies something inside me, as well.
*I try to respond to everyone who has connected with me—with a “like” or a comment or a smiley face. Also quite gratifying.
* I go through the FB news feed until I start to feel guilty about wasting too much time.
6. The next part of my “checking routine” gives me a jolt of wariness. This is when I check my reviews. Cold chill of anticipatory anxiety finds its way up my spine. Should I just skip this part today? But maybe the review I’ve always dreamed of, the one that brings me to tears of glee, is just waiting for me to view it. Uh huh. Right.
5. Next, I check to see if Matt or Bradley (on Sundays, it’s Sam) have posted on their blog, 2 Boys in Love (if you haven’t checked it out, you should.) I smile and giggle and blush at the absolute purest, most genuine sweetness of these two guys’ candid observations as they endure the trials and tribulations of life and love. I thank my lucky stars for the gift of knowing them; I enjoy a subsequent moment of awe at the honest way they view life and willingly share their observations with us. I respond to their post.
4. Next on the list is to text Raine O’Tierney. I find her to be extremely motivational.
3. Normally, I receive a phone call at about this point of the morning—from my mother, one of my daughters who are away at school, my husband (commonly referred to as Mr. Mia), my sister—nobody other than family ever calls me. But I’m OK with my limited “real life world”, as the world in my head is so crowded with characters.
2. Now is the time I start to get serious about the prospect of creating; I’m itching to explore new ideas, break some new imaginative ground. And creatively promoting my books is a genuine hobby. So I do my second Google search of the morning for music or art or a photograph or a meaningful quotation that will help to express the meaning of my novel to interested readers. Or maybe I write a blog post like this one for my own website www.miakerick.com (shameless, I know) or a blog I am visiting like www.sarahmadisonfiction.com (it only seems fair that I plug Sarah’s blog, as well.) This endeavor can be quite time consuming and often takes up way too much of my “writing time”, but it serves to get the creative juices flowing quite nicely.
1. And by this point ideas, images, phrases, inner voices, and faces are demanding my attention, indicating it is well past the time to write. I take a deep breath and a sip of my now lukewarm eggnog latte, poise my fingers over the computer, and you know what comes next.
About the Author:
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 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 men and their relationships, and she believes that sex 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 for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of 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.
My themes I always write about:
Sweetness. Unconventional love, tortured/damaged heroes- only love can save them.