Book Review and Interview by Jude: Falling Hard by Dale Cameron Lowry

Falling HardBlurb:

Nine of Dale Cameron Lowry’s best short romance stories, available for the first time in one book. Meet a sign language interpreter who finds unexpected love at middle-age, college students in their first relationships, a vampire who would rather be a vegan, and a proudly gay ex-Mormon atheist who develops Bible-study apps for a living. From sweet to erotic, this collection exhibits the quirkiness, fun, and diversity Dale’s writing is known for.

Available at Dale’s Blog. 

Through May 19th, 75% of proceeds to to the Russian LGBT network when purchased through her website!

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Dale Cameron Lowry, author of Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love.

Hi Dale, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

I grew up in Europe and the United States and now live in the US Midwest. I love this time of year because the birds start returning, and since there aren’t many leaves on the trees I can actually see most of them. Yesterday I saw a bald eagle, a Cooper’s hawk, and a kestrel within a quarter mile of one another.

In addition to being a nature-sciency type, I love words. Part of that comes from speaking multiple languages when I was a kid. When I was eight, a friend of mine at school started bringing in notebooks filled with illustrated stories she’d made up and she’d read them to us during recess. This was the first time it occurred to me that I could make up my own stories just because I wanted to, without the compulsion of a school assignment behind it.

I started writing for fun and have been writing ever since, although for ten or fifteen years of my adulthood I wrote very little fiction, focusing on journalism and essays instead. I’ve slowly gotten back into fiction writing over the past five years, and from 2015 to 2016, I did the Ray Bradbury 52-Week Challenge: right 52 short stories in 52 weeks. I had a lot of fun with that.

Nine of the stories I wrote during that time are available in my latest release, a gay romance anthology called Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love. Others have been published in multi-author anthologies. And a few got way too long, so I’m working on turning those into novels or novellas.

Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?

I usually buy it based on the blurb, a glance at the first few pages, a recommendation, or my established love of an author—sometimes all four. Blurbs that hint at these things always get my attention: characters with a nuanced relationship to religion, positive and realistic portrayals of people with disabilities, aliens from outer space, quirky plots, and happy-ever-afters.

I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book solely because of the cover, but I’ve probably missed out on some good books because the cover design didn’t match the genre or looked like something thrown together by my cat. I feel lucky when I find a good read despite an odd cover. One of my favorite romances of all time, Companions/Nich’ooni by Jed A. Bryan, has a cover I will never understand

What does ‘romance’ mean to you?

Taking out the trash when you say you will. Leaving the windshield wipers up before a snowstorm so your partner won’t have to chip them free of ice in the morning. Making dinner or lunch for the other person just because. Going for walks. Having two pairs of binoculars so you don’t have to fight over them when you spot a kingfisher across the river.

What are your current projects?

I feel like it’s bad luck to talk about current projects much before they’re done.  I might start getting a sense of accomplishment just by telling people about them and never actually finish. But I will say this: they definitely involve gay Mormons.

What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

Having to stop when I don’t want to because my hands have started to hurt (or my voice, when I’m dictating).

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.

I love rules. Very few people believe me when I say this, because I give off the impression of being an iconoclast, and because I will make a big stink if I think a rule is unfair or applied inconsistently. But that doesn’t mean the concept of rules is bad. Human interactions tend to work better when people know what to expect, so having some rules to follow can help everyone get on the same page. The trick is making sure the rules are fair and everyone knows about them.

A lot of the work in relationships is about unlearning previous rules and writing new ones. My partner came into our relationship with a personal rule that everything gets put away as soon as you are done with it, even if you’re going to use it again soon. Put the remote back in its caddy even though you’ll probably need to adjust the volume in the next few minutes—that sort of thing. I came into it with a personal rule that things should be left out under the same circumstances.
In order to not drive each other crazy, we’ve had to change such rules.

Thank you so much!!


4 Stars

Here’s what I love about Dale’s stories and work in this collection: they are so varied — there’s something for everyone. Dale’s skills as an author are clear here. It takes a great amount of skill to be able to write such a variety of stories so well. You can clearly tell that Dale does a ton of research for her stories (either that or she’s freaking hella smart and a compendium of knowledge about Irish lore, advanced virtual reality, turtles,  mormons and American Sign Language…to name a few). There’s a level of detail in each story that speaks to careful crafting — and a love of crafting. Dale’s style is super unique; I cannot wait for the day I have a Dale novel or novella in my hands!

There were a couple of stories that didn’t really hit home with me — Sweeter than Blood is the vampire one, and blood stuff is hard for me. If you dig vampires though, it’s great. There’s a beautifully sensual scene in a barbershop in this one that was very well done.

My favorites were Loggerhead, Ghost of a Chance and Pacific Rimming (although to be honest, the title of that one isn’t my favorite. Read it anyway guys, it’s gorgeous and lush and lovely and WOW super hot threesomes ahoy!). Loggerhead stuck with me: I love the reconnecting and the deep love for each other that the MC share. Ghost of a Chance took me by surprise; I wasn’t sure about it at first but Dale did a great job packing what could have been a huge plot skillfully into a short story.

I definitely recommend you pick this one up! This author’s work is special, and I cannot wait to see what else she produces next!

Here’s a taste of each story in Falling Hard

  • Mi Alma — Ex-Mormon Alma Larsen doesn’t know the first thing about alcohol, so he hires bartender Damian Banks to help out at his winter holiday party. They build a friendship that simmers with sexual tension—and possibly something much deeper.
  • Loggerhead — Soon after they fall in love, Jake makes Eric a promise inspired by an old track uniform. But demanding work schedules at Jake’s four-star restaurant and Eric’s newspaper keep them from following through. Six years later, they take the honeymoon they never had, heading to the Florida coast in search of sea turtles—and rekindling their passion for each other in the process.
  • Reading the Signs — The only thing twenty-three-year-old Theo De Jong expects when he enrolls in a summer school for linguists in New Mexico is to get more ideas for his master’s thesis in Dutch Sign Language. But then he meets the American sign language expert Alfonso Grossman, and sparks fly.
  • Born of Fire — The fairies on Ireland’s north coast are notorious for kidnapping, and Aodhán of County Donegal has the scars to prove it. When the fairies abduct the handsome youth Cainnech, Aodhán seeks to free him—but risks losing his health and Cainnech in the process.
  • Ghost of a Chance — When shy Jeremy Anderson meets mysterious and dapper Frank at his spooky old university library, their connection is instant. Their romance waxes with the full moon—but just as quickly, Frank’s interest seems to wane. He insists that he loves spending time with Jeremy, but then why does he keep Jeremy at arm’s length?
  • Far From Home — Rajiv met and fell in love with his husband, Mateo, when they were both members of the scientific team responsible for transforming Mars into a home suitable for humans. But years into their shared mission, Rajiv is ordered back to Earth to restore the barren lands of the American Midwest. With a little help from technology, the two men find innovative ways to nurture their long-distance relationship while they wait to reunite.
  • Sweeter Than Blood — Keith was a vegan before a hot encounter with a stranger turned him into a vampire. In the year since, his sire, John, has tried to make up for the mistake by teaching Keith everything he knows about being a non-murderous bloodsucker. But temptation is strong in the form of Andres, a regular customer at the barbershop where Keith works. When Andres finally asks Keith on a date, the real danger begins.
  • Rough Love — Blake thinks new boyfriend Michael doesn’t like French kissing. Michael thinks Blake doesn’t like rough sex. Neither are virgins, except in the art of conversation. Can they set things straight before the honeymoon’s over?
  • Pacific Rimming — On Mike’s fortieth birthday, his husband, Ken, takes him on vacation to Vancouver Island in Western Canada to celebrate. While Mike mourns his loss of youth, Ken encourages him to recapture it by bedding a gorgeous twenty-something man they encounter while hiking in Pacific Rim National Park. A night of no-holds-barred passion among the three men reveals a sizzling chemistry, and when Mike and Ken return home they find themselves longing to reconnect with the young Jason. Can what started as a one-night stand transform into a threesome that lasts?

collection Genre: Contemporary Genre: Fantasy Genre: Paranormal Genre: Sci-Fi interview Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Pairing: M/M/M Pairing: Poly Review Self Published

Jude Sierra View All →

Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother who began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”. Jude began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007.

Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for Queer Books Unbound. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary queer romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her most recent novel A Tiny Piece of Something Greater was released in May of 2018. Shadows you Left, a co-written novel with Taylor Brooke will arrive spring of 2019 from Entangled Press.

Twitter: @JudeSierra
Instagram: /judemsierra/

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