The Taste of Ink by Francis Gideon
From the author Francis Gideon:
My latest release from Dreamspinner Press, The Taste of Ink, is an erotic romance set in a contemporary western environment. That’s kind of a mouthful, right? It was really difficult writing the submission email for this book because I just wanted to write “Calgary Stampede” in big bold letters instead.
What is the Calgary Stampede, for non-Canadians? Only one of the largest events in North America for all things cowboy and horses. The event started in 1884 as a way to promote farming and get people to move west. From there, it developed into the chuck-wagon racing, rodeos, stage performances, and many concerts it is now. Everyone in the city becomes decked out in western costumes, storefronts are painted to resemble saloons, and everyone must partake in at least one pancake breakfast.
I’ve always been fascinated by the stampede for two reasons. 1) it transforms a thriving metropolitan area into cowboy central for ten days and 2) it only lasts ten days. Like the carnival, its lifespan is only so long and all the chaos and fun that happens during it must end in order for day to day life to resume as normal until next year when it starts again. It’s kind of like the Canadian Marti Gras, except with more cowboy hats.
The protagonist of my story, Trevor Dunn, hates the Stampede–mostly because it disrupts his routine. He’s lived in Calgary all his life, but would rather spend hours in his parents’ basement, reading comic books and listening to music at top volume than spend time outdoors. Instead of being thrilled by being close to cowboys, Trevor fears what’s also associated with them–as he puts it in the novel, “ten gallon hats and homophobia.” As exciting as the western tradition can be, there’s still a lot of baggage that goes with it–at least for Trevor.
As the story goes on, and as Trevor meets Charlie, the mysterious cowboy with the green hat, he starts to unravel all of his preconceptions about cowboys, western life, and the Stampede itself. When he finds out that his former punk singer boyfriend Mathieu is now a country crooner singing about his lost love (Trevor) to a crowd of surly men in the same ten gallon hats, Trevor’s mind starts to change for good. As Trevor finally learns to enjoy himself with Charlie, his old feelings for Mathieu start to resurface. His sister, Madeline, reminds him constantly that the Stampede is only a ten day event. When the horses and crowds go, so will Charlie–and Mathieu. Forced into a corner, Trevor must make a decision about who to love and where to do it.
But not before he enters a mechanical bull riding contest for a chance to win $10,000. While zany and fun, the contest is also unpredictable–just like the Stampede itself.
I’m really happy I was finally able to write about one of Canada’s longest standing traditions. I can only hope I’ve done it justice and that readers enjoy my enthusiasm (even if it’s reluctant enthusiasm from Trevor at first).
Thank you for hosting me!
Trevor Dunn has never gone to the Calgary Stampede, in spite of living in the city all his life. He would much rather listen to music and draw comics in his basement than hang out with a bunch of cowboys. When his sister drags him to the Stampede’s opening parade anyway, Trevor is drawn to a cowboy sporting a green hat.
Charlie opens Trevor’s mind to the world of country music and country boys. But then an old flame appears in the middle of the festival and Trevor is torn. He adores Charlie, but Mathieu—a punk singer turned acoustic crooner—was Trevor’s first love, but Trevor lost him by being too afraid to chase the dreams they shared.
Except after the Stampede ends, Charlie will go back to Toronto, Mathieu will go back on tour, and Trevor will go back to his basement. Realizing that’s not what he wants, Trevor enters a mechanical bull-riding contest in hopes of winning the heart of his true love—or maybe both of them. This time, fear won’t stop him from going after what he wants.
Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante. He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal. Find him at francisgideon.wordpress.com.