Love knows no gender.
Welcome to the November 8th stop on the blog tour for Grayality by Carey PW with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Love Turns Gray: The Background Story for Grayality
“I can’t be with a man.”
The words pierced my heart, and my gut tightened. Fear engulfed me as I worried that seven years of dating and four years of marriage were slipping through my fingers. But I also feared never truly living as myself. At that time, I didn’t know which was bigger.
I lived thirty-eight years presenting as a woman. For the most part, I learned how to live with it. I slouched to hide my breasts. Each time I walked by a mirror, I stopped. The breasts, the curves, and this body that hung on me always grabbed my attention. I shifted things here, and adjusted my clothes there, but none of it helped. In defeat, I walked away from the mirror in my perpetual costume.
One day, thanks to TLC, I watched a show about transgender kids. Suddenly, it all hit me.
I don’t have to be in a woman’s body.
I can medically change this.
Eager, confused, and sobbing, I texted my husband, Joe, confessing that if I could go back and go through puberty as a man, then I would. That was the beginning of a three-year ordeal in my marriage.
At first, it was an inside joke. Joe and I would giggle about how uncomfortable we’d make others in public since we’d always been a lovey dovey couple. We’d often make comments like, “When we’re two men…” But for me, it was serious.
Our routine became, I’d talk about it, Joe listened, and sometimes, he’d act supportive. Then other times, he flipped out. He was never mean or even judgmental. He just wasn’t sure about his own sexuality.
Whenever Joe changed his mind about me transitioning, I mourned. I grieved the image of this masculine me that had appeared in my head and for months, had become increasingly real. So, when Joe said that he couldn’t do it, I had to let go of this man in my dreams. The images that had brought me joy, now only brought despair.
After a year and a half of stagnation, Joe decided to start counseling to discuss his feelings about me transitioning. He claimed that I was going to do it regardless, so if he avoided it now, then he may end up getting served divorce papers down the line.
Since Joe feared that he wouldn’t be attracted to me in masculine form, I experienced my own apprehensions about what I would look like post-transition. I had my awkward hair moments as I tried to find a masculine hairstyle that I liked. I bought different clothes. I bound my breasts until I was able to have them removed in 2019. But even though I had my own insecure moments, Joe’s attraction for me never wavered. He had encouraged me not to grow facial hair, but of course, I did. Yet, it still has not decreased his attraction or love for me. In some ways, I feel like he looks at me even more lovingly amazed.
What does this story have to do with my debut novel Grayality?
I wanted to write a memoir initially sharing my experiences transitioning. However, I became more centered on the dynamics of my marriage as Joe and I navigated this change in our relationship. It’s always been easier for me to write about personal issues through characters. Thus, Pate Boone and Oakley Ogden were created.
Pate is obviously loosely based on me. He is younger and definitely going through a more naïve, immature phase. Since I work at a community college, I decided to choose that age group for my book. There is a lot of identity exploration that occurs during that age. Nevertheless, I feel that the naivety of Pate reflects my own cluelessness going into this process. To be honest, a great deal of Pate’s physical insecurities reflects my own. After all, it isn’t easy living as a man with female genitalia, especially because of society’s stigma against trans bodies.
Oakley is loosely based on Joe. Like Joe, Oakley is adamant that he is straight, and he struggles with the concept of dating a man even though his internal self feels differently. Like Joe, Oakley has blocked this possibility from his mind instead of exploring his openness to it. I tried to convey Joe’s internal conflict through Oakley.
I chose the title, Grayality, because I wanted my readers to consider the grayness of sexuality and romantic orientation. I feel that the stigma in our society scares people away from exploring diverse relationships. Just as Joe learned that his sexuality is not strictly hetero, I want others to be able to openly explore themselves in the hopes of finding love.
About the Book
by Carey PW
Published 12 July 2022
Genre: LGBTQIA+ Romance
Page Count: 297
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Pate Boone, a twenty-six-year-old transgender man, embarks on a new adventure when his childhood best friend, and yes, ex-lover, Oakley Ogden, convinces him to escape their hometown in hopes for something new.
They land in Cloverleaf, a tiny rural town in Montana, so that Oakley can care for his granny who is battling breast cancer. She pressures the two young men to enroll in a nearby college. Pate immediately becomes enthralled with Maybelle, a young, vivacious freshman to whom he fears revealing his transgender identity. Still, he finds it impossible to resist Maybelle, even after he meets her ex, Bullet, a large, violent man determined to keep Pate away from “his girl.”
But there are others who accept Pate immediately, like Stormy. An outdoorsy, rugged freshman, Stormy warns Pate away from Maybelle and Bullet, but Pate’s too infatuated to heed these warnings.
Oakley tries to support his friend’s new love but finds himself entangled in his own emotional calamity when he unintentionally falls for Jody, a gay and ostentatiously confident drag queen. This new relationship awakens deep internal conflicts in Oakley as he struggles to accept his bisexuality, lashing out at Pate and causing friction between him and Jody.
Oakley must decide if he can overcome his insecurities so he doesn’t lose the love of his life. And Pate must discover if the love between him and Maybelle is strong enough for her to accept him as a transgender man, or if she will break his heart.
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We sat on his sofa, me sipping water through a straw and listening to a punk rock station that Stormy had found just for me. He held a bag of ice in a washcloth against my jaw for me, and I eventually laid my head on his lap to make it easier to ice.
“I know it’s hard to talk, but I don’t know what transgender means. Would you explain it to me?” he asked.
Moving my mouth the best I could, I shared my story with Stormy. I told him how I’d never felt like a girl but rather a boy always trying to be something he wasn’t. I told him about the baggy clothes in high school, the sports bras and binders to squish down my breasts, and Oakley, loving me as a girl but not as a man. I even told him about the suicide attempt. At this point, I figured he had already seen me get assaulted. He had already seen my vagina. Everyone in town already knew. What more could I lose?
He just listened in intent silence. Surprisingly, words flooded out of my swollen jaw, and I kept drooling as I talked. Stormy wiped it away with the washcloth and kept listening. The hours flew by until I saw the sun shining in through his blue curtains and heard the early birds chirping outside. I was exhausted.
About the Author
Carey PW (he/they) is a debut author, college instructor, and mental health counselor. Carey is currently completing his next manuscript, Acing the Game.
Carey lives in Montana, and identifies as nonbinary, transmasculine (AFAB) and panromantic asexual. Due to the lack of resources in rural communities, Carey has discovered that writing about his lived experiences is a therapeutic outlet for him and hopes that his readers relate to his own personal struggles and triumphs shared through his characters’ narratives. Carey is particularly interested in exploring relationship conflicts around sexuality and gender differences. He has also worked as a high school writing instructor and college writing instructor, earning a B.A. in English Literature, a M.Ed. in English Education, and Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education all from the University of Georgia. In 2020, Carey earned his second M.Ed. in Counselor Education and works as a licensed clinical professional counselor, LCPC. He has a strong passion for working with the unique mental health issues of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Readers can learn more about Carey from his blog, www.careypw.com. When he is not writing, Carey is busy training for marathons, parenting his six cats, sharing his culinary talents on social media, serving on the board for the nonprofit Center for Studies of the Person (CSP) and learning photography.
Carey PW loves to hear from readers. You can find his contact information, website and author biography at http://www.pride-publishing.com.
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Comments on “Author Guest Post with Carey PW: Grayality”
Thanks for hosting!
Thank you for sharing your guest post, bio and book details, it was enlightening to read the background story for Grayality and I am looking forward to reading the book. Have a great day!
I’m glad you enjoyed it. I liked writing this post.
Thank you! Great Excerpt!
Thanks, glad you liked it.
Thanks for hosting 😀
A powerful story – both, actually, yours and the book’s. So important to help people who don’t know get it.
Thanks so much. I’m glad you liked it. It was rather vulnerable to share.
I enjoyed reading the backstory, Carey and your book sounds like a great book to read!
Thanks for sharing it with me and have a splendid day!
Thanks so much. I’m glad you liked it. 🙂
Sounds like a great read.
Thanks! I hope you check it out. I’d love to know what you think. 🙂
this sounds like a really good book it is defiantly going on my to read list!
Thanks. I look forward to hearing about what you think. 😁