Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Guest Spot: Brynn Stein on Tour with "Through the Years"

I have Brynn Stein stopping today to talk about her latest, Through the Years.  As a fellow "Bittersweet Dreams" writer, I can say these are often the most rewarding writes and reads out there.  Don't forget to check out the raffle she has going on through the tour as well!  

Blog Tour for Through the Years

Thanks Jessica, for hosting me today. This is the third stop on blog tour for Through the Years.

On this stop, I thought I’d talk about one of my main characters, Edward. The story is told first person through Gene’s eyes and he’s obviously very tolerant of Edward’s quirks. He loves him, after all. And Gene is satisfied being around Edward in whatever capacity Edward is comfortable with.

Edward on the other hand? Not so comfortable.

He and Gene meet at college in 1967 and become the best of friends. Gene stays with Edward and his family over that first summer. They become roommates the next year. They live in each other’s pockets.

Until Edward realizes he’s having romantic feelings for Gene.

Edward has grown up in a very strict, churchgoing family and thoroughly believes that kind of relationship is wrong. I’ll discuss the role of the church in general in another post. I don’t bash churches. In fact there is another church in this story that is more what I would term Christian. But, the sad fact is that there are many churches out there that teach their children that it’s wrong to be gay and those kids sometimes internalize that. Edward is one of those ‘kids’. He can’t let himself admit his feelings even to himself, let alone to Gene, so when they both get drunk just before Edward’s graduation, and Gene kisses him, Edward bolts.

To the point of leaving town right after graduation and not speaking to Gene for a while.

Even when they get back together a couple years later, Edward is not comfortable with his feelings, but Gene is fine with just being friends and they make their way back to a close relationship.

All sorts of typical ‘life’ things happen to both men over the next decades. Good and bad. Some of the worse stuff has to do with Edward’s inability to let go of the concept that it is wrong to love another man. He eventually works it out, but he struggles with it for a long time. And Gene struggles with the fallout.

What about you? Do you know people who grew up thinking their feelings were wrong? Either because of a church upbringing or not. Did they ultimately make peace with who they were? Writers, how do you portray realistic homophobia without offending people? Readers, how do you feel about a few extreme churches being realistically portrayed, as long as it’s clear that the author does not mean all churches are like that?

Comment below to be entered into the raffle.

Here’s how the raffle works:

I’ve listed the tour stops below and have given either the link to the blog in general or to my post specifically. Feel free to stop by as many as you want. For each stop that you comment on, you will receive one entry to the giveaway. I’ll check all the stops numerous times throughout the tour and will draw five winners on Thanksgiving Day, so even if you come in late to the tour, you can go back through the list and comment on past stops.

I’m giving away five prizes. 1) a signed paperback copy of Through the Years; 2 and 3) electronic copies of Through the Years, 4) your choice of either a signed paperback copy or an audiobook of Living Again (the audiobook won’t be available until December), and 5) an electronic copy of Haunted.

Blog Tour Stops for Through the Years
Blog Stop
Blog Owner
Blog Address
October 6
Anne Barwell
October 7
Grace Duncan
October 8
Jessica Skye Davies
October 9
Shira Anthony
October 10
Emma Tett
October 11
Kim Fieldings

October 12
Bike Books Reviews
October 13
Tempest O’Riley
October 14
Sean Michael
October 15
Allison Cassatta
October 16
Jana Denardo
October 17
Louise Lyons
October 18
PD Singer
October 20
Shae Connor
October 21
Suki Fleet
October 27
Charlie Cochet
October 28
Elizabeth Noble
October 29
Tara Lain
October 31
Sophie Bonaste
November 4
Kit Moss
November 10
Lane Hayes
November 13
Mike Rupured

Thanks again Jessica, for letting me stop by today.

Blurb for Through the Years

Edward and Gene were instantly drawn to each other when they met at college in Maryland. Fast friends, they developed a "closer than brothers" relationship. But then Edward began to feel more for Gene. In 1967, those kind of feelings would not be tolerated. Not even by Edward himself.

Gene always thought he was asexual. He had never been attracted to anyone... until he met Edward. He dreamed of Edward as more than a friend throughout college, but he knew Edward would not welcome that kind of attention. So Gene wasn't surprised when Edward reacted badly to a drunken kiss just before Edward's graduation. He was surprised when Edward moved to Florida and had little to do with him for years afterward.

When fate finally brings them back together, Edward is married and has a little girl. Gene gladly accepts the role of "Uncle Gene," happy to have Edward in his life in any capacity. Together, they face all the trials and tribulations life throws at them, including the death of Edward's wife, and as each grows and matures, their life views change. The relationship they've secretly wanted all along is closer than ever, and if Edward can break free from his homophobic upbringing and admit his feelings for Gene, there might still be a chance for them to share their lives in the way they both desire.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Brynn Stein has always loved to write. Fan fiction, original fiction, whatever. While Brynn wrote in numerous genres – everything from mystery, to contemporary, to supernatural – she had always tended toward strong male characters. And then she discovered ‘slash’, male/male romance, and all those strong male characters were finally allowed to express their love for one another. It seems that there are always at least two characters clamoring to tell Brynn their story.

Brynn lives in Virginia with one of her two two-legged children, and two four-legged ones. Her supportive family encourages her writing and provides a sounding board for fledgling stories. When she isn’t writing, Brynn teaches children with special needs. In free time, when such a thing exists, she reads anything she can get her hands on, and haunts bookstores. She draws and paints, and enjoys the outdoors—especially if she can get to the beach—and is always thinking about her next story.

Please feel free to contact Brynn at any of the following:


  1. In my experience, no matter how much you want to explain homosexuality to a homophobic, their beliefs are so tight that they won't listen and they claim I was hurting them emotionally and bashing their christianity. There are others who have listened though and, at least while still in my presence, have demonstrated interest in what I've said. I can only hope that what I said did hit somewhere in their hearts and brains.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  2. As a reader I think as long as the portrayal of the extreme churches fits the storyline and doesn't refer to all churches or other houses of religion, I am Ok with it. ardent(dot)ereader(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. please count me in


  4. It's a thorny subject, but there's definitely a scope of experience to examine. As long as it's done thoughtfully, I have no problem with it.

    Trix, vitajex(At)Aol(Dot)com

  5. There are two things I don't like discussing in life. One is politics and the other is religion. I think the two just complicates a persons relationship. Everyone has their belief and I've found that they will fight hard for what they believe in to the point that you just wished you never opened your mouth about your own views on such matter. I don't mind reading about such things though.

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  6. Thanks everyone. I have your names in the raffle. (HB, I got your for Grace Duncan's site too).

  7. I agree with HB. But growing up in the 70's in Houston Texas we had all types of friends and family around. It was probably the mid 70's when we as kids knew the differences in the people around us. But they had been in our lives forever so it wasn't weird for us!

  8. While having faith and hope is a blessing, many terrible things have been said and done in the name of religion.

  9. And the winners are:
    Julie Small – Signed copy of Through the Years
    HB – electronic copy of Through the Years
    Zeoanne – electronic copy of Through the Years
    Lee Todd – Signed paperback or audiobook of Living Again
    Xena – electronic copy of Haunted
    Please send your email address to brynnstein2@gmail and I will get your prize right to you. Winners of electronic copies, it’s easier if you have an account with Dreamspinner so I can just move them to your bookshelf. For signed paperback copies, I need your physical address (you can email it to me so it’s not visible to anyone else, and please let me know if you want me to write anything in particular. Lee Todd, let me know if you’d rather have the signed paperback copy or the audiobook.