Today we welcome two Dreamspinner authors, Jack Byrne and Renae Kaye.
Jack is the author of the Bushrangers Series, which starts with Billabong and continues with Walkabout which is due to be released in a week’s time. Renae is the author of The Blinding Light and Loving Jay. Both authors have contributed a short story in the newly release anthology, A Taste Of Honey.
The Bear Next Door by Jack Byrne
It took a lot of effort for Bryce Philipson to get the attention of his neighbor, Rob Johnson, and even more persistence to prove to the middle-aged bear that he’s more than a spoiled rich kid. But both men are plagued by insecurities that threaten their relationship, and a tragic misunderstanding might prove the last straw unless they can learn to trust and forgive each other.
Bear Chasing by Renae Kaye
Neil has a crush on the big guy across the road. But someone so masculine wouldn’t be gay, would they? And even if they were, they wouldn’t be interested in someone like Neil. The guy across the road could only be described as a bear, and Neil? Well, he’s skinny, awkward and shy.
But what on earth was this “Woof!” business?
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RENAE: Hi Jack!
JACK: Hi Renae!
BOTH: (Waving) Thanks for having us on your blog, Nic!
RENAE: I’m excited about this anthology. Tell me, why did you decide to write for the Taste of Honey anthology?
JACK: I saw it and couldn’t resist! The comment about not all gay men spending hours in the gym and having ‘real’ bodies struck a chord with me. I’m a very active person, but I put gyms in about the same category as office work: I’ll only do it if I absolutely have to! I’d rather be riding horses or motorbikes or partying with friends. How about you?
RENAE: A similar story to you. I don’t think that a person needs a perfect body to be sexy. I enjoy reading and writing stories with everyday people. I saw the submission call and was excited, because I wanted to read it once it was done. I knew a bit about the “bear culture,” and wanted to learn more. Did you know about the bear culture before writing this story?
JACK: Not so much the culture, but a close friend of mine is a bear, and I have chatted to him a few times about how he feels about the way people react to him. He is the kindest, gentlest person you’d ever meet, but he rides a motorbike and is a big guy, so people think he’s mean. It couldn’t be further from the truth. So if you didn’t know about the bear culture, then how did you end up writing a story?
RENAE: <sly grin> Google and hanging out in a lot of gay chat rooms!
RENAE: What do you love most about bears?
JACK: Their combination of strength and shyness. It makes me go ‘aww!’
RENAE: So I’m guessing your characters are both strong and shy?
JACK: Well, Rob is the bear of the two and he pretty much fits the ‘strong and shy’ description exactly, but he hides his shyness behind a gruff exterior. Bryce, the guy that falls for him is more self-assured, just not around Rob where he gets all tongue-tied! So, how do your characters break through that initial barrier and realize that the interest is mutual?
RENAE: “Woof.” J Neil is a geeky guy who has been kept up <smirk> at night imagining his three new neighbours in leather and not much else. Brett tells him “Woof!” one day, and he has to go and google the term to work it out.
JACK: So what does woof mean?
RENAE: You’ll have to read the story to find out. Now back to you—in your story Rob is the bear. Does he like being a bear? Or does he wish he was something else?
JACK: He’s happy with his appearance, but sometimes he feels he is misjudged because of it. Do you think your non-bear main character was a strong person in ways that mattered?
RENAE: Ooh, tough question. Neil is definitely not self-assured or very good in social settings, but he’s extremely honourable. He’s stepped in to help out his sister, and he keeps his promises, even though it cramps his love life. I think that makes him strong. He may be physically weaker, but he’s not caving to demand even when the choices are hard. Will you write another story about bears for your readers?
JACK: I hadn’t planned on it, but when I think about it I tend to write strong characters, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to do another story involving bears. The other stories in the anthology really opened my eyes to this culture, and I’m falling a little bit in love with bear stories in general. What about you?
RENAE: Definitely. I can definitely have a lot of fun with bears. Does your story have a happily-ever-after ending?
JACK: Of course it does! Does yours?
RENAE: Of course!
Thanks so much for joining us, Renae and Jack. We’ve enjoyed your visit!
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You can find Jack Byrne at the following:
Renae Kaye can be found at: