Clarissa Johal: Guest Author and #Giveaway - Love Spell by Mia Kerick #comedy #romance #YA #LGBTQ

Monday, July 20, 2015

Guest Author and #Giveaway - Love Spell by Mia Kerick #comedy #romance #YA #LGBTQ

Hello Clarissa and friends! I am so happy to be here today as I promote the release of my new YA LGBTQ Contemporary Romantic Comedy, Love Spell.

Who am I? Every teen wants to know the answer to this question, which may seem so simple, but for many young people, it is not.

English 4 Honors: Sample Model College Essay
Answer in 500 words: Who am I?

Hmmm….
I will start with my ethnicity and move on to my religion. Then I will delve into my physical characteristics. Aspects of my personality—my moods and temperament, passions and preferences—must also be detailed. And of course, part of who I am includes my aspirations, so I will create a brief outline of my life’s goals, as well.
And that should just about cover it.
Right?

Maybe that covers it for you. And for your brother and your BFF, and it might tell the whole story for the captain of the football team, even.  But maybe one thing is missing—one enormous, overwhelming, astronomical aspect of identity that many of us take for granted is missing from the above equation.

Gender identity. Yes, that’s what I said. Gender identity.

Am I a boy? A girl? An eclectic blend of both?
Or am I something else entirely?

Most young people grow up with the inner knowledge that they are a boy or a girl. It is a matter of such a fundamentally basic fact that it is often taken for granted.  But not for everybody.

"Sometimes your feelings about your gender aren't clear, and you can’t identify with either sex. Sometimes people question their gender if their interests and socializing don’t fit with their birth gender… Some people feel that they're both male and female. Others have a strong sense of being the opposite gender. Perhaps they've felt trapped in the wrong body since early childhood,” suggests Doctor Ady Davis, in her role as a psychosexual therapist with the North-East Gender Dysphoria Service.

So, what is gender identity, anyway? Gender identity can be defined as one’s private sense of his/her own gender. And yes, most people’s gender identity matches with their body’s physical sex, but there are many who experience a sense that they are more truly a member of the opposite sex. And there are still others who experience gender identities that fall somewhere in between male and female. Because maybe gender is a spectrum and human beings do not fall strictly at one end or the other. (Keep in mind that gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation.)

Children begin to express their gender identity when they are just toddlers, and those who experience unique gender identities begin to sense that something about them is different by an early age. The manner in which their parents respond to these expressions of gender identity is critical to the mental health and development of the children.

We, as parents, children, and members of society, live under the tyranny of gender expectations:

Boys should be strong, stoic, and determined. They should wear pants and T-shirts, never in pastel shades, and play with toy trucks. The only dolls they should have are better called action figures. And it is perfectly fine if they are boisterous and rowdy.

Girls should be soft, sweet, and delicate. They should care a great deal about what they wear, as personal style is a major aspect of their self-expression. They should play with dolls and like to bake cookies. And they should know that they are to be consistently polite and respectful.

Those who challenge and break out of these traditional gender roles are often criticized, ostracized, and ridiculed by society at large; very often this happens to gender-confused children and teens in school settings. Supportive and accepting families are critical to vulnerable teens’ self-image. Parents should hold back from pressuring a child to be more feminine or masculine in order to fulfill societal expectations, and should never show that they are ashamed of him or her. Parents need to support their teens’ nontraditional gender expressions by continuing to be communicative and affectionate with them, and requiring extended family to follow suit.

According to the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University gender identity is not a choice nor is it a phase. It is proven that prejudice toward LGBTQ issues leads these rejected teens to higher incidences of depression, drug use, unprotected sex, and suicide. Accepting family attitudes in regard to their LGBTQ children show a significantly decreased risk of these behaviors. Advocating for LGBTQ children is the compassionate, humane, and effective way to improve their overall health in adulthood.

“Good thing I’m the kind of guy who chooses to focus on the positive. I can walk around the house in full female stripper garb, and nobody bats an eyelash. If I conjure up any reaction at all, it might be that my mother asks me where I bought my sexy stretch-lace naughty knickers, as she’s been looking for ones in that color. And speaking of color choices, neither Mom nor Dad said a single word when I showed up with my hair dyed the flamboyant shade of a Cheez Doodle. Not only do I have complete freedom with how I express my personal style, but when I go all drama-queen mode on their asses, my parents just look at each other and shrug. In fact, I try—and I try fucker-nelly hard—but I just can’t shock these people.
I can barely get them to notice me.”
In Love Spell, Chance César struggles with gender identity issues from an extremely young age. His earliest memories involve sneaking into his mother’s closet to sample her perfume and try on her high-heeled shoes. His grade school friends were primarily girls and he longed to play dolls with them, but he still forces himself to act like a boy, fulfilling society’s traditional gender expectations. As a teen, he is less susceptible to caving in to pressure to behave as a typical boy would, but he still searches for a label for his atypical gender identity.

A large part of Chance’s suffering is derived from his family’s apathetic attitude toward him as a person. They are not condemning of his gender expressions, but neither are they supportive. He and what they see as his “peculiar habits” are tolerated rather than encouraged. Had Chance’s family advocated for and supported him in his struggle to identify his gender, Chance would have been relieved of a great deal of his loneliness, isolation, and pain.

  ***

Love Spell
by Mia Kerick

Genre: YA LGBTQ
Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Publisher: CoolDudes Publishing
Date of Publication: June 1, 2015
ISBN: 978-1511831857
Number of pages: 123
Word Count: 44,300
Cover Artist: Louis C Harris

Book Description: 

Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.

As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”

But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.

An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (and a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.

Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.


Available at Amazon


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-two 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 young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy 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, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially 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.


Tour giveaway

The Red Sheet ebook and Love Spell Charm made by Bewitching Book Swag
Intervention ebook and Love Spell Charm made by Bewitching Book Swag
Not Broken Just Bent ebook and Love Spell Charm made by Bewitching Book Swag






2 comments:

Mia kerick said...

Hello and thank you for hosting me on your blog today!!

Clarissa Johal said...

You are very welcome! Good luck with your tour :)