Damon Suede's LICKETY SPLIT Guest Post & Giveaway

Lickety Split by Damon Suede

Damon Suede’s Lickety Split

Love won’t wait.

Patch Hastle grew up in a hurry, ditching East Texas for NYC to make his name as a DJ and model without ever looking back. When his parents die unexpectedly, he heads home to unload the family farm ASAP and skedaddle. Except the will left Patch’s worst enemy in charge: his father’s handsome best friend who made his high school years hell.


Damon Suede's LICKETY SPLIT Guest Post & GiveawaySO CLOSE: on the almost kiss, emotional curves, and living on the verge of forever

by Damon Suede

Thanks so much to the Romance Junkies for letting me come feed your addiction today as part of my Lickety Split release tour. My latest book launches today… an erotic cowboy contemporary set in East Texas.

Even the sweetest Romance lives for the kiss, that moment when two people connect eye to eye and lip to lip. My publisher Elizabeth North and I talk about this moment all the time. We call it the “almost kiss,” the moment just before lips meet when your two lovers hover on the verge of locking lips. Cover artist Kim Killion talks about those as does legendary painter Victor Gadino. No one puts the kiss on the cover; they choose the moment just before lips brush. That “almost” kiss begs the question: will they or won’t they? To find out you have to read.

That may seem counterintuitive. Don’t we read romance for the HEA? Isn’t that blissful sunset fadeout the linchpin of a million desert island keepers? Yes and no. The truth is that happy ending has to come at a cost because anything that comes easy probably isn’t worth having. The struggle gives us a way to be satisfied because we’ve earned it.

Here’s another way to think of it: the almost kiss is an emotional ellipsis, a passionate dot-dot-dot that keeps us in pleasurable suspense as we wait for the characters to remember that they have hearts, that they need each other, that their Ever After can be Happy.

See, I write gay romance. Putting two dudes together immediately creates complications and drama because so much of the relationship has to be worked out on the fly; nothing is a given, and dynamics can shift dramatically and unexpectedly. Even if you’ve never read a gay romance or thought about the differences and similarities, the complications and possibilities are endless, not to mention the opportunities for intense, and intensely male emotional vulnerability.

To complicate matters, Lickety Split is a cowboy romance and cowboys occupy a strange slice of our imaginative landscape: part myth, part grunt work, part nostalgia, part bravado. To be sure, modern cowboys exist but they harken back to an earlier time when the rules were simpler and work usually meant something you did with your hands.

What’s been fascinating about writing the story of Patch and Tucker is how much the romantic asymptote leaves them both hanging and lonely for so much of their lives. Two guys in rural East Texas who’ve made sexy messes of their lives. The seeming impossibility of real human connection and authentic emotion pins them in place and traps them in habit. Until they finally find their way to each other, these two cocky cowboys live in a state of suspense. That lifelong tension turns both sexy and disturbing until they can resolve it together. They miss each other, until they don’t…and connection becomes not just possible but inevitable.

Now, I’m not a math person, but there certain concepts in math and geometry in particular, that I find incredibly useful when talking about relationships…Like asymptotes. For anyone who grew up avoiding numbers and angles, an asymptote is a line that approaches a curve without ever actually touching it, approaching and approaching infinitely without ever intersecting. No matter how much the gap between curve and axis dwindles, they will never touch.

Damon Suede's LICKETY SPLIT Guest Post & Giveaway

Asymptote

You see what I mean?: Two entities locked together that can never complete the circuit. Sound familiar? As a romance writer, I find that mathematical paradox incredibly beautiful and charged. Love stories are predicated on the idea that eventually conjunction happens, but asymptotes are doomed to live solitary geometric lives. They’re like the sexy lone wolf of geometric figures.

Of course, you may not love math, and geometry may give you the heebie-jeebies, but if you’re romance reader you love asymptotes. In fact the vast majority of romance covers work by the same geometric rules. The romance cover’s almost kiss is an emotional asymptote, a line that approaches a curve forever without making contact. We read romance to make sure that connection happens.

Think about it. The cover of a book (Clinch! Swoon! Glance! Reach!) depicts the intense desire unfulfilled, the overwhelming forces that keep those lovers apart even though they’re drawn together against their better judgment. The premise of a book (Reformed rake! Enemies to lovers! Secret baby!) hints at the potential, at the lines of force before they connect. Even the story plays with tension and attention, spinning a yarn that keeps us turning pages to find out if they can forgive each other, how they save each other, why they need each other.

The almost kiss weaves though every moment of any romance until we reach the end, when flesh presses, lips meet, and two folks realize they’re pretty perfect together. When people ask me why I stopped writing movies, TV, and theatre to take up genre fiction, it’s so easy to explain my reasoning. I’m so much happier telling stories that can serve as a lighthouse in the dark. I always say that Romance is the Literature of Hope because of that eternal spark of optimism and aspiration in our genre: anything is possible if we stand together. We can’t miss each other as long as we connect.

And for me that’s the secret of a great romance, that it reminds us that Hope and Happiness are always so close, so close…they‘re practically kissing distance.

 

Damon Suede

Bio: Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com.

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Lickety Split by Damon Suede

Lickety Split: love won’t wait.

Patch Hastle grew up in a hurry, ditching East Texas for NYC to make his name as a DJ and model without ever looking back. When his parents die unexpectedly, he heads home to unload the family farm ASAP and skedaddle. Except the will left Patch’s worst enemy in charge: his father’s handsome best friend who made his high school years hell.

Tucker Biggs is going nowhere. Twenty years past his rodeo days, he’s put down roots as the caretaker of the Hastle farm. He knows his buddy’s smartass son still hates his guts, but when Patch shows up growed-up, looking like sin in tight denim, Tucker turns his homecoming into a lesson about old dogs and new kinks.

Patch and Tucker fool around, but they can’t fool themselves. Once the farm’s sold, they mean to call it quits and head off to separate sunsets. With the clock ticking, the city slicker and his down-home hick get roped into each other’s life. If they’re gonna last longer than spit on a griddle, they better figure out what matters—fast.

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