The Story Behind Deep Secrets and Hope

This Thursday is the official release of the Deep Secrets and Hope bundle from Harmony Ink Press. This is a six-book series following the lives of several LGBTA+ teens as they navigate bullying and other difficulties in their lives.

I never really planned on this being a series. It just kind of happened. Originally, I don’t think I actually planned on there being even one novel. I wrote a short story for a friend’s blog, Tales of Rue and Woe, on which they posted about writing, LGBTA+ topics, and an ongoing short story about two teenage boys named Rue and Woe. (Note that my short story isn’t on the blog linked above at this point, and the blog itself has been inactive since 2012.) A bit later, I expanded the short story into what I intended to become a free read e-book, though it didn’t quite work out that way.

The character Evan Granger was inspired by one of my older offspring’s best friends, and has some of that friend’s mannerisms. He was also, to a lesser extent, inspired by the reality TV series RuPaul’s Drag Race, in which drag queens compete with one another in an elimination-based format.

In fall 2012, I went to the GayRomLit readers and authors convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That was where I first heard of Harmony Ink Press, then a quite-new imprint of an adult male/male romance publisher that had published one of my alter ego’s novellas. After talking with the people at Harmony Ink’s booth, I decided to give them a try once I had a book that would work for them

And then I realized that Evan Granger deserved a full-length novel. So I gave him one.

I greatly expanded Nail Polish and Feathers from the free read short story. I added more characters, including Evan’s cousin Holly. I included the “drag queen competition show,” and Evan’s correspondence with Taffy Sweet, one of the queens on the fictional version of the show, became a part of the story.

Harmony Ink accepted the novel, which was released in August 2013. One of my favorite authors, who writes for both Harmony Ink and the adult imprint of the publisher, read it–fan girl moment! She actually read *my* book! And liked it so much she told me there should be more about the characters! With that kind of motivation, obviously I had to write another book.

So Shoulder Pads and Flannel came into being. Followed by the other four Deep Secrets and Hope books over the next few years. The final one, Ball Caps and Khakis, was released in February of this year.

If you haven’t read the books yet, I hope you’ll take advantage of Harmony Ink’s bundle. And if you have read them, I’d love to know what you think!