Friday, February 8, 2013

Be Yourself

Buy A Marine and a Gentleman HERE

By Heather Long

You know, it’s funny. I talked to a friend today and the subject of high school came up. I don’t think about high school all that often. I wasn’t part of the popular crowd or any crowd for that matter. I tended to hang out on the fringe of all the groups. My focus was on getting good grades, going to work (I worked all the way through high school) and generally making it through the day.

But I knew a “Brenden”—he was that perfect guy.  You know the guy, the one who said hi to everyone, who didn’t let cliques or status control how he behaved. He dedicated time to every fundraiser, made you feel good when he talked to you because he actually talked and he rarely if ever said anything he didn’t mean.

Of course, he was also the guy you could never have because he was so perfect. Underneath that veneer of perfection, my Brenden was like everyone else—he had fears, hopes, dreams, and a difficult home life with parental expectations and a desire to be something more. He was really good at putting on a show because he genuinely cared about other people—and he cared what they thought.

I found out about ten years ago that my Brenden was gay—and like the Brenden in A Marine and a Gentleman, he didn’t tell anyone because he had plans and goals and he didn’t want to be defined by his sexual preference.

His only regret?

He didn’t feel like he did enough to support others around him who were openly gay, because he kept his preferences private. No one blamed him for that—it’s not always a friendly world when you drop all facades and be yourself.  It’s not always easy to be that as adults much less in high school when our sense of self is still being formed.

I think I was myself in high school—I was much as I am now—I hang out with a cross-section of society, I don’t limit myself to just a handpicked few and I focus on my work and getting the job done. But I could learn something from Brenden and Liam in A Marine and aGentleman—opening up to friends opens up a world of possibilities…and happiness.

Benjamin Franklin said it best. “The U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”

Were you, yourself, in high school?

Leave a comment with your email address and tell us about your high school experience. One lucky commenter will receive a Heather Long backlist ebook.

Lieutenant Brenden Fitzpatrick is a dedicated Marine, loyal son, and devoted uncle, but he's lonely. When he went Marine, the rule was don't ask, don't tell. His brothers-in-arms pretty much didn't ask and didn't care. Watching so many friends settle into long-term relationships highlighted the absence of someone to come home to in his life. When his unit encourages him to give the 1Night Stand service a try, he asks for the impossible—a night with the one man he almost gave up the Marines for in the first place. A man he called best friend but let time and distance carry away.

Liam Gardiner grew up on the same Boston block as his best friend, Brenden. Unlike Brenden, Liam always accepted that he was gay—a fact he didn't mind flaunting to all the bullies and naysayers in school. It got his ass kicked more than once, but Brenden always had his back, rescuing him time and time again, until the day Brenden left for the Marines. He missed his buddy—the crush he never confessed, lest it cost him the precious friendship—so when Madame Eve's invitation to meet Brenden arrived, Liam faces uncertainty for the first time.

Life made them best friends, can Madame Eve help them become so much more?

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17 comments:

  1. As much as I don't particularly like m/m books, I do make exceptions for those authors who I love to read. I'll definitely be looking for this one. Not only do I love 1 Night Stands, I love your Always a Marine series within it.

    Now, for high school. Back in the day there were two basic groups in school, locals and military. I fit in both as I was born here but my dad was retired military. My local friends couldn't figure out why I had military dependent friends and my military friends couldn't figure out why I hung out with the country hicks. I, however, liked both groups and got along with them. I was what my husband and best friend called a geek as I was in all the hard classes and started college my senior year. But, I also ran for class offices, tried to play powder puff football, and made sure several friends showed up to classes. I dated fellow geeks until my senior year when I deviated and started dating one of the rougher guys. No one thought it would last but we've been married 36 years. Yeah, I had fun in high school though I never was in the in crowd, I passed through it. And, I still have the same best friend, she lives 6 doors down the street!

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    1. Thank you Terri! I'd never written an M/M before and this time it was all about the characters. Brenden was gay and this was his story, so it was important for me to address it that way. And thank you so much for your story!

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  2. In high school, I hung out with a couple of different groups, but everyone got along. We weren't the popular group by any means, but we got along with some of them okay. There were country and city kids in the group. It was a nice mix. Still not easy years though. I wouldn't want to do high school again. LOL

    Congrats on your new release, Heather! :)

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    1. Thanks Jessica! And no, I don't think anyone had it easy in high school--not even those who "looked" like they had it easy,

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  3. In high school I was the sister of the football star. The older sister but still in the shadows. I had a few close friends. Then at 17 I started dating the boy that would still be my husband 35 years later. So I am happy with that part of my life..

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    1. Kelley, that's awesome! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. In High School I had friends across the spectrum. I hung out and was nice to pretty much everyone. I like to think I was my geeky, klutzy self. :) I went to a small rural school so that helped a lot. A BIG group of us hung out in two teachers room that connected by a back storage closet, so we flowed between the two at lunch time. :)

    I love this book! Congrats on it doing so well. Last I checked it was in the 30s.

    I own your backlist, so I don't need to be entered. :P

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    1. Sheri, you are definitely one of my favorite people! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I did not like high school. I felt I really didn't fit in because most people expected you to act a certain way and I didn't fit that mold. I had few friends in high school and none that I that I'm still fiends with now. The major amount of my friends were outside of school.

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    1. I feel you Lori, I loved college, but high school wasn't my cup of tea

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  6. Hey there the years that i spent at college which is what the time of high school is called over here in New Zealand was ok, i had some great friends but was always on the out and bullying was pretty much a day to day laugh it off moment. I love books and this is where i escaped to more often than not. Bravo to those who have the courage to be yourselves. I tried and most of the time it was great. One of my teachers once told me "If it is meant to be it is up to me" still trying and climbing.

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    1. Cherie, reading was my escape valve. I can't track how many books I devoured through those years to pass the time when it was "downtime" for me.

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  7. I was a nerd in HS with not a lot of friends, though I did end up making one or two good ones.
    I can't wait to read this book - I love mm books and this sounds wonderful. I got it last night and my kindle is all charged in case we lose power!

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    1. Susan, nerds rule the world. Which is a theme in my upcoming Combat Barbie where we go to a high school reunion - apparently I have a high school theme going,

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  8. For those of you that know me this will be a shock but I was the extremely introverted girl in high school. I barely spoke to anyone at all. I hated school but loved the learning. I tried to stay away from everyone and hoped that no one ever talked to me.

    I like Sheri already own your back list so please don't enter me either.

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  9. I hated high school, had no close friends, no one I ever saw outside school, I worked very hard and spent all my spare time writing or reading. I was always on the edge of things, never at the heart. Do I wish it had been different? I honestly don't know. I am the way I am. I still don't have close friends. I'm happy being on my own, doing my own thing.

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  10. High school was just something you get through, not something most of us would ever want to do again. I was okay with it, dated a lot, was rebellious, but glad when it was over with.

    I loved your thoughts in the post and will definitely look for this book. I write an m/m story occasionally but not just to focus on two men getting off on one another. I want to show that there is all kinds of love and relationships.

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