I'd like to share a new release with you. Well, a kind-of-new-release.
I wrote my first novel, Come to my Brother, in my early twenties, when I was a film student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and had barely started my porn career. The work was supposed to be a coming-of-age/horror hybrid; a queer love story; a vampire fiction. This was before the Twilight series, and before I'd read my first Poppy Z. Brite novel.
By the time I'd finished a solid first draft of Come to my Brother, young adult fiction had become a new cultural phenomenon, and one that swallowed up the vampire genre. I felt embarrassed at what I thought would be assumed about me: that I was another Stephenie Meyer copycat, jumping on the YA vampire bandwagon to sell a few books.
After several rejection letters from publishers, I put aside the manuscript. Maybe it's best for Come to my Brother to never see the light of day, I thought.
A few years passed.
I gained some recognition from my work as a porn performer, and built a small, cult following around my (retired) Trve West Coast Fiction blog. The stories and essay I posted were predominantly based on my experiences in the adult film industry. Though, as an experiment, I decided to release a few chapters from my unpublished Come to my Brother novel. I wanted to see if my audience would be into it.
A man named Jared Rourke contacted me shortly after I posted the chapters. At the time, he ran a small press called Queer Young Cowboys. He asked if he could read the rest of my manuscript, and maybe publish it.
Of course, I agreed. I was excited at the opportunity, and took it as a sign that my work existed outside the Stephenie Meyer YA camp; that it might be good enough to read. In a way, Jared gave me the encouragement I needed to keep writing books.
Queer Young Cowboys published the first edition of Come to my Brother in 2013. Though, that edition has since gone out of print.
Earlier this year, I decided to revisit the manuscript and give it a face-lift, so to speak.
I loved many of Come to my Brother's qualities. It was preoccupied with first love and emotional extremity, and it flirted with violence and the supernatural. But in a lot of ways, Come to my Brother was a young novel -- thematically and in terms of structure, prose, and aesthetics.
I wanted to keep the story, themes, and structure intact, but I felt that the writing could be tightened and improved, and in some instances, replaced. So I took several months to go through and update the manuscript.
I hope you enjoy the final product.