Welcome to the Second Hand virtual book tour! All week long, authors Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton will be stopping by some of our favorite sites to celebrate their new release. Be sure to comment at all the stops along the way—one lucky reader who follows the tour will win a $10 gift certificate to Riptide Publishing! To enter, simply leave a comment below, making sure to include an email address where we can contact you if you are the winner. Deadline for entry is 11:59 pm EST on 9/16, and the complete tour schedule can be found here. Thank you all of our terrific hosts this week for helping us deliver another exciting book tour from Riptide Publishing!
A year and a half ago, Heidi and I started a novel together. You might think it was Second Hand, but no. It wasn’t. It was something else entirely. Second Hand was more of an accident than anything.
Second Hand started out as entirely my book, but early 2012 wasn’t a good time for me. I can’t really say what my deal was, except that suddenly I just knew in my heart I could not possibly finish this book. And yet, I’d promised it to my publisher, and to Lori. She’s already finished the first book in the Tucker Springs universe. I really felt obligated to finish, and yet the thought of doing so just made me want to cry.
So one day, I was sitting on my patio with my laptop, talking to Heidi, and I asked, “If I give you this novel, will you finish it for me?” And she was crazy enough to say, “Yes.”
God, that makes me sound like a saint. Have to say, there was some selfishness there. I’d read a bit of what Marie had written, and it was so light and easy and fun. I’d just finished wrangling my way through a gauntlet of dark fantasy only to flounder my way through a draft of an even darker contemporary BDSM. My own fun contemporary had run aground, and all of a sudden I was littered with things I couldn’t seem to finish and other things I’d finished but that didn’t work. Did I want to work on something already half done with a strong spine with the world and characters all set? Hell yes.
Second Hand wasn’t our first collaboration either, which probably helped.
Although in truth, it was less of a collaboration than a hand-off, like some kind of relay race. I’d written about 23k words (I think?), although I don’t write in order, so I had things crammed sideways and upside down all over the place. A beginning, pieces of a middle, and no ending. And I gave it to Heidi and said, “OMG!! Your turn!!”
I don’t know, I still call it a collaboration, just a non-standard kind. Which is pretty much us all over.
I learn a lot whenever I write with someone, and what I learned from writing this collaboration with Marie was different than what I learned writing our other one. Here I learned how to work into characters and setting already established, how to fall in line (mostly, maybe) with what someone else had already envisioned. Sometimes it was odd, like putting on someone else’s clothes, but it was also a fun challenge, like finding a way to make someone else’s something mine. Although I still had to laugh when Sarah (our editor) read the ending that was almost entirely mine and said, “It gets awfully emo here all of a sudden.” And of course she pointed to where it was abruptly all Heidi...
Once that was toned down though, I think our styles meshed together fairly well. Most of our betas didn’t know who wrote what. Our other collaboration (which is finished, by the way, and will probably be available in the spring of 2013) is a bit more cut and dry, each of us playing off of the other. But Second Hand is more about merging our voices. It turned out exactly the way it began: light and enjoyable. We hope you’ll have as much fun reading it as we had writing it.
by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
Paul Hannon moved to Tucker Springs for his girlfriend, but she’s left him with a house he can’t afford and a pantry full of useless gadgets. All Paul wants is to get back to normal, even if he's not sure what that is anymore. When he wanders into Tucker Pawn for a gift to win her back, he meets El Rozal, pawn shop owner and all-around cynic.
El Rozal doesn’t do relationships, especially not with clueless straight boys still pining for their ex. El may make his living dealing in castoffs, but that doesn't apply to men. Still, when Paul starts clearing out his old life, pawning kitchen equipment he never wanted in the first place, El is drawn to Paul in spite of himself.
Paul and El have nothing in common except a past full of disappointments. There's no reason to believe the two of them could fit, but in El’s line of work, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When it comes to love, El and Paul may learn that secondhand doesn't mean second best.
About the Authors
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren't enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state's LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway. You can find her at www.MarieSexton.net.