Thursday, September 6, 2018

Blog Tour: Looking Forward by Michael Bailey

Title: Looking Forward
Author: Michael Bailey
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: August 22, 2018
Cover Design: Jay Aheer at Simply Defined Art
Owen Hannity was nineteen when he lost almost everyone he thought he could trust. Each loss more painful than the last.

With the unwavering support of his best friend, Andy, Owen put the pieces of his life back together. Now, more than two decades later, Owen owns and operates a successful comic shop. Despite his modicum of success, he still feels like a shell of a man, carrying the emotional scars from his past.

Without warning, Owen’s past returns. Secrets come to light. Secrets that could either destroy Owen or finally give him the strength to re-evaluate everything he thought he knew about Andy, himself, and the way in which he views the world.

To see that he is truly worthy of loving himself and finally begin…

…Looking Forward.

I shook even more as I picked up the handset and dialed the ten digits for his area code and phone number.  The call wouldn’t connect.  I feared for a moment that he had purposely given me the wrong number.  Maybe he didn’t want me calling him after all.  Then I remembered, since this was long distance, I had to dial the number one first.

I laid the receiver back into the cradle and scrubbed my hand through my hair, willing myself to calm down.  Jack wouldn’t be able to see my fear from over the phone, but there was every likelihood that he would be able to hear it.

I took the receiver out of the cradle and dialed the eleven digits.  My heart beat faster as the phone rang, and I almost chickened out and hung up.


The other end was picked up on the fourth ring. A woman answered, clearly out of breath.  “Hello.”

I was momentarily confused.  In my head, he would answer, and we would spend my break catching up.  I had not expected someone else to answer, especially not a woman.

What if she was his girlfriend?  How would I explain myself?

“Hello?” she repeated.

He wouldn’t have given me his number if he didn’t think it would be safe for me to call.  Or at least, that’s what I reasoned.

“Is Jack in?”

“Yeah.  Hold on a sec.”

Then I heard her muffle the mouthpiece, but I was still able to hear her call his name.

Soon enough, I heard a voice that I recognized coming from the other end.  “Hello?”

“Jack?” I said, still slightly confused, and hoping that I hadn’t just caused some problem for him by calling.


“Jack, it’s Owen.”

I heard his breath catch on the other end of the phone line, and there was a second or two of delay.  Panic started to bloom.  This was a mistake.  He wouldn’t remember me.  Why would he?  I was just some kid from Toledo that he’d met in a bar weeks ago.  I’d allowed too much time to pass and had lost any chance I had, if I’d had any at all.  “Owen?”

I twisted the phone cord around my finger, an old habit I’d developed when I was nervous on the phone.  That panic came full force at his question.  He didn’t remember me.  This call was pointless.  “From Toledo,” I reminded him.

Jack chuckled.  “I remember.  I don’t meet too many Owens.”

Some of that panic eased off but didn’t dissipate entirely.  This could still go horribly wrong very quickly.  I still didn’t know what I was doing calling him.  What if that connection I had felt the night before Thanksgiving was all in my head?  I’d be the fool that had placed the call.  He’d talk about me to all his friends, tell them about this little homo that was stalking him from the other side of the state.  They’d all laugh at my expense, and I’d never know.  Or he could tell Andy, and he’d never let me forget how I’d basically come on to his straight cousin.

Yet, he had given me his number.  And those words.  I reread the napkin.  Can you feel it?

I paused, pulling in a deep breath and slowly exhaling.  I could do this.  This wasn’t a big deal if I didn’t make it one.  “No, I can’t imagine you do.  It’s not a very common name.”

“No, it’s not.  It’s very memorable.”

“I was actually named after my grandfather, if you can believe that.”


“Yeah.  Sort of a family tradition.  My father is named after his grandfather, and my grandfather after his.  It’s weird.”

“No, not really.  It’s actually kind of cool.  Like, legacy.  You have a connection to your family that will never go away.”

“I never thought of it like that.  I’ve honestly always hated the name.”  And wasn’t that a total bitch.  If my father ever found out that his only son was gay, he would totally disown me, and I’d still have this name.

“You shouldn’t.  It’s unique.  It sets you apart.  How many people have you known named Jack?”

I laughed.  “That’s true.  A lot.”

“Exactly my point.  In a world full of Jacks, be an Owen.”

Why did that warm my heart so much?

Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books to read when you need to relax?
Wow!!  This is both a hard and an easy question to answer because I want to be sure that I don’t leave anyone out.

I love authors like Devon McCormack and TJ Klune.  They both have the ability to write different types of stories without losing their signature voice.

As an example, I just finished TJ’s Tales from Vernia series.  Before that, I read his Bear, Otter, and the Kid Chronicles.  Two series from completely different ends of the literary spectrum, yet with a voice that is distinctly TJ.  I marvel at his ability to infuse his work with both humor and emotion, quite often at the same time.  He can quite literally have you laughing like a fool one moment then have you sobbing with the very next sentence.

Devon’s work astonishes me simply because of the depth of his characters.  Every time you start one of his books, he think you know his characters, but as you continue to read, you find these little nooks and crannies that truly define who his characters are.  Riley Hart has a similar ability, and I think that’s one of the reasons they work so well together.  Their characterizations and voices blend well.

Felice Stevens is another go-to author for me.  Her first book, Rescued, was also the very first M/M Romance I ever read.  That book will always hold a special place in my heart.

Christina Lee and Lane Hayes are similar in approach to Devon and Riley, yet their tone is slightly different.  Honestly, I would absolutely love to see them collaborate on something.  I think they would mesh extremely well.

If you were approached to have your book made into a film, who would you cast?
Now, this is not something I had actually given any thought to until now.  Physically, I think Timothee Chalamet from “Call Me By Your Name” would be perfect for David from “Looking In”  Or perhaps Tom Holland.  Is it too much to ask that Jake Gyllenhaal or Chris Hemsworth play Adam, also from “Looking In?” (Of course, both would need a sleeve of tattoos)

For “Looking Forward,” I would probably cast Ewan McGregor as Jack, Chris Pratt as Owen, and Christian Slater as Andy.

It's often asked what is your favorite part of being a writer but what is the easiest or most natural part of the creative process for you?
Getting into the heads of the MCs.  I’ve always believed that the characters an author creates are little pieces of them.  You hear all the time about a character “speaking to” an author, and I’m here to tell you, it’s absolutely true.  I think those “voices” are little parts of that author, maybe a thought, an experience, or a feeling from something that happened to that person that left such a profound impact that they remembered it on a subconscious level.  As such, I find that writing and reading in First Person makes it significantly easier to understand what a character is thinking and feeling.  It allows you as the reader or writer to put yourself into that character’s shoes and tap into that feeling or experience.  It allows you to relate to that character on a different level than we relate to people in real life, or to relive something from your own past and understand that perhaps you’re not the only one that felt the way you did.

I mean, let’s face it, how often to we really express how we feel about someone in great detail?  We may tell someone we love them on a regular basis, but does that truly encompass the depth of that emotion?  I don’t think so.  Sometimes, the words “I love you” seem too simple to truly express how we truly feel about a person.  Sometimes, those three little words leave us wishing we had other ways to express the true depth of what we feel.  I think we, as writers, understand the detail of emotion, and do our level best to explain it in such a way that the reader not only understands it, but also relates to it.

Is there any one character you've created that is most like you? If yes, who and why?
At the moment, I would have to say Owen from my latest book.  His story was something that was deeply important to me.  He and I are both products of the advent of the AIDS Crisis, and the hatred and bigotry that surrounded it.  It was a whole different world twenty-five years ago, significantly less accepting than it is today.  HIV/AIDS gave bigots even more of a reason to hate, sometimes from places that should have been our safe harbors.  It added an additional layer of fear.  But I also think it gave us strength.  We were isolated, to a large extent.  Forced to protect ourselves and find solutions to problems that no other community had faced.  Through that, we grew stronger.  We learned that we deserved to breath the same air as our heterosexual brethren.  We deserved to be able to love whomever we wanted, however we wanted.  And we learned to fight for those very rights.  Much like The Stonewall Riots, I think the AIDS Crisis was a turning point for us as a community.

If you could go anywhere (finances, time, & obligations not an issue) where would you go and why?
Super easy.  Prescott, Arizona.  I’ve been in a long-distance relationship now for about a year.  The simple answer would be, I would LOVE to shorten that distance.

Author Bio:
I'm the oldest of three, from the Glass Capital of the world, Toledo Ohio.

Don't laugh too hard.

I've dreamed of writing since I was eleven years old when I wrote a truly awful Choose-Your-Own-Adventure. It sold exactly zero copies. I think my mother may have a copy lying around somewhere. Mothers keep that kind of thing.

Through junior high and high school, I wrote a number of short stories, one actually published in the first (and only) issue of his high school's literary magazine.

Life took control shortly thereafter, as it often does, and the dream of writing was put on hold. Then, in November of 2016, I took a leap of faith, and began writing my first novel as part of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) competition. The goal of the competition is to write a 50,000-word novel in a thirty-day period.

I failed.

However, on the advice of a friend, I "pushed through". And so, in September of 2017, my first novel was published.


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