Guest Post & Giveaway: “No Angel” by Daniel A. Kaine
Hi, everyone. Daniel Kaine here, and thanks for stopping by the second destination in my blog tour. I’m here to ramble on at you today about my experiences as a gay teenager, and I’ll also be sharing some of my latest release, ‘No Angel’, which came out with Dreamspinner Press just yesterday.
As far as equality goes, the LGBT community has made great strides in the last decade. Countries all around the world are beginning to allow us the same rights as married heterosexual couples. But for me, it feels like only yesterday that being gay was a topic no one mentioned, especially to children. Maybe it feels this way because there are still many people around the world trying to wrap today’s youths in cotton wool to protect them from the evil gay agenda.
I grew up in the Northeast of England, and I can’t seem to recall a single instance of homophobia showing up in newspapers, on the television, or even been gossiped about in schools. These days—and I’m sure the vast expansion of the internet and introduction of social media has played a part in this—you can find plenty of articles on people being beaten and killed for being gay. Heck, just look at Russia right now and it’s pretty clear the world still has a long way to go. But back when I was a child, homophobia didn’t appear to be an issue. Now when I think about it, I realise that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t that people accepted homosexuals, it more like they were brushed under the carpet and kept out of sight.
By the age of twelve, I had my first crush. Robbie Williams. The only problem was, I didn’t have a clue what it meant that I was fantasizing about men, while the rest of my peers were displaying interest in the opposite sex. I had no idea what being gay meant, and why no one had ever mentioned it. I felt alienated, and alone. Why wasn’t I like the other kids? What was wrong with me?
By fourteen, the attraction to men hadn’t gone away. I was still convinced I was must have been a freak. It was around this time that I first heard derogatory terms being used toward gay men. Once, it was my father talking about two complete strangers while on holiday. The other time, it was being aimed directly at me. A few of my classmates had told me they were going to shove my head into a litter bin, while one of them fucked me in the ass. The way it was said made me feel that the act of having sex with another man was something humiliating.
At this point, I wanted some answers. I didn’t want to be an anomaly any longer, and so I set out on the internet to get information. My search led me to chat rooms with other gay men, many of whom were interested in cyber sex, and porn sites. I felt even more ashamed than I had done previously, even going as far as to hate myself for being so turned on by the images on my computer screen, and the anonymous men describing the things they wanted to do to me. Why couldn’t I just be normal? That was a thought I had every single day of my life through to the age of sixteen.
At this time, I started at college. I had made a few new friends, and there was one girl in particular who would take the time to talk to me, and tease me in that way friends do. She used to call me gay, and after a few weeks I gained the courage to ask her why. Her reply was that I just didn’t seem that interested in girls. I sent her a text message back shortly after saying I was bi. Lying, again, but at least it was closer to the truth than anything I had managed previously. I don’t know what I expected her to say back, but she accepted my sexuality. I don’t think she ever realised just how much I needed that first acceptance.
With time, I grew more confident in myself and continued to come out to my peers. Of course, I was still telling them I was bi in an effort to cling to some semblance of what I believed was ‘normal’, and each time I was met with encouragement. I even had one straight male friend fix me up with a guy. How’s that for support?
Looking back at this now, I can see clearly that the biggest problem was that homosexuality was never talked about. Surely if it was such a taboo subject that no one ever mentioned it, there must have been something very wrong with me. The very fact that being gay never came up as a subject of conversation, neither in a positive or negative light, led me to feelings of isolation and self-loathing. Feeling like you’re alone and have nowhere to turn to isn’t very fun.
There were times when I wanted out. I only ever told one person this, but I didn’t want to grow up being a freak. I’m just glad I had a friend who helped me continue on, and eventually learn that I wasn’t going to be hated by everyone just for being attracted to the same sex.
But this is why it’s important that there should be information out there for gay teens. They need to be able to see that there is nothing wrong with them, and one way we can do that is by having books out there with young gay characters. For me, ‘No Angel’ is the kind of book I wish I’d had access to when I was in school.
Anyway, enough of my rambling. I’m going to share a short excerpt from ‘No Angel’, and I’d like to also say that I will be donating a portion of my royalties from this book to the Albert Kennedy Trust. This is a great cause that helps shelter and support LGBT youths. I hope you enjoy this snippet, and thank you to Babes in Boyland for having me over.
Born with a birth defect called Devil Syndrome, it is impossible for Josh Harper to hide the two small stumps of hornlike bone atop his head. If people also knew about his ability to create force fields with his mind, they’d lock him up for sure. Left to fend for himself on his eighteenth birthday, Josh tries to make it on the streets. When he’s attacked, he’s rescued by Sam Mitchell, who has an equally strange power—and a set of pure white wings.
Sam ran away from home a year ago, and the new life he’s built for himself includes living in an abandoned house and looking after three younger kids, all with Devil Syndrome. Then along comes Josh. After a rough start their relationship grows and the two young men find a haven in each other’s arms. But when tragedy strikes their newfound family, Sam’s hatred of regular humans spirals out of control, and Josh will have to make Sam see sense before everything he’s worked so hard to build is destroyed.
After discovering what he could do, Josh spent hours at home in his room trying to use his newfound power, but to little avail. How exactly was he supposed to perfect his ability without something to protect himself against? If only he could figure out the secret to using his ability. Maybe then it wouldn’t be so useless.
“Okay, we’ll start with something easy,” Sam said, raising a fist and extending his index finger. He began to prod Josh in the side. Josh backed away, lifting his hands to protect his flanks.
“Really, Sam? This is ridiculous,” he snapped. “How is this going to help me?”
“It won’t if you keep trying to back away,” Sam replied. “You need to stand your ground and defend yourself.”
Sam nodded. “Don’t you want to learn to control your ability, Josh? If you master this, no one will be able to touch you again. Not your uncle. Not anyone.”
Josh did want that. God, he wanted that so badly, to never have to feel the jolting pain of another person’s fist. Still, it wasn’t as simple as it sounded. One glimpse of what he could do and he’d be locked up in some government facility. Only in emergencies had he tried to defend himself, and even then he mostly just closed his eyes and wished for it to happen.
“Yeah, and right after they realize I’m a freak they’ll have me experimented on!”
Sam paused. He placed his hands on Josh’s shoulders and squeezed gently. “You’re not a freak, Josh. Don’t ever call yourself that again, okay?”
Josh met Sam’s eyes and flinched. He lowered his head, unable to bear the weight of Sam’s gaze. He sure felt like a freak. The two stumps of bone were enough, but finding out he could create force fields only cemented the idea in his mind. “Then what am I?”
“You’re just different,” Sam replied. “And there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong is that other people can’t accept what we are. Okay?”
“Okay,” Josh said quietly. He was different, but at least now he had found a place where he could be himself without fear of being verbally abused and beaten. It didn’t change what he was, but he was no longer alone.
Daniel A. Kaine was born and raised in the Land of Rain, more commonly known as England. Originally trained as a biology teacher, he was always unsure what to do with his life. That is, until he chanced upon a fanfiction site and began jotting down stories between his favourite anime characters. To this day, he still cringes at the mere memory of all that cheese.
In 2010, Daniel came across the NaNoWriMo boards and started work on his first original piece of fiction. Since then, his fingers have been unable to keep up with all the ideas and characters his brain keeps throwing at him.
When he’s not writing, Daniel enjoys staying active, whether that be by running along the river banks near his home, or going to the gym. He also enjoys reading, playing video games, and learning new skills, such as image manipulation.
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