It is my pleasure to share a guest post by author Elouise East, who shares a glimpse of her path to publication...
Reading has always been very important to me. I love being taken into a different world and seeing things through the author’s mind. When I was younger, I read Charlotte’s Web, and that was the point I realized words could be used to provoke an emotional response. From that moment, I began writing. Granted it was only small snippets, little stories, etc, but I loved doing it. Essays at school were never boring or tiresome, they were a chance to write a story.
I never contemplated publishing anything I wrote. It had never even crossed my mind as a possibility. I began beta reading for a friend in 2019 and we got talking. They suggested I try self-publishing. At first, I told them I couldn’t do it. It was a terrifying thought, but after several more pushes, I decided to go ahead.
First Kiss was published in July 2019. In all honesty, it was published too quickly and needed more work on it before it was released. I’ve re-edited it now, and I’m happier with the result.
I was so overwhelmed by the little bits of information that was needed to publish, even self-publish, and I wouldn’t have made it without them. They, along with several other people they introduced me to, helped answer questions and point me in the right direction. I wouldn’t have been able to get through it and continue publishing without them.
A lot of the information they have given me, I still use now. It’s been tweaked and amended as I’ve needed to, and as my backlist and ability has increased.
The thing that has shocked me most about publishing is how easy it is to do. Although I said before there are a lot of little things that are involved, that is true, but the actual process is so simple when it comes down to the actual publishing of a book. The behind the scenes details, for example, the actual book itself, the editing, the cover, the book description, all those things help a book sell, but the actual process of putting that book into the hands of a reader itself is easy.
I’m more than happy to give advice to other people, and I have done. I’m an open book, haha. I’ve learned lessons the hard way and I’ve been given amazing information that I am more than willing to share. There is so much information out there that works for the author stating it, but every author is different. What works for one, might not work for another.
I love writing—all aspects of it—and would be more than happy to make another author love the process too.
Publisher: Elouise East
Cover Artist: Maria Vickers
Release Date: March 11, 2021
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: Friends to lovers, Hurt/comfort
Themes: Sexual harassment in the workplace
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 75 000 words
It is a standalone story, although characters from other books in the series do appear throughout
Secrets give others more power. Now is the time to fight back.
What can they do when their safety and self-worth are compromised?
Casey’s usually bubbly, cheeky demeanour is diminished by sexual harassment from a colleague. When Casey becomes scared for his safety, he seeks out a trainer to teach him how to escape. Withholding the secret is stifling, but he sees no other option if he wants to keep his job. Spilling those secrets to an almost stranger changes his life in a way he never thought possible.
Luke spends his time training people in evasive tactics. He loves his job, but feels inferior to his more successful siblings. How can he compete with lawyers, police officers and teachers? When Casey comes to him for training, Luke knows he’s hiding a secret and wants to get to the source. Finally, Casey confides in him, and Luke sets his sights on helping.
Can they win the fight against people who bring them down?
“What?” His heart rate increased while their eyes connected.
“You overwhelm me with how brave you are,” Luke whispered.
Casey got lost in the expressive, deep blue pools. No one had ever said that to him before. They’d say he was strong because of his job, or he was clever, but no one had ever called him brave. His gaze flicked to Luke’s mouth, seeing a sheen on them as if Luke had swiped his tongue across them. Casey did the same, swallowing hard. He could feel himself sway closer until Luke’s breath was coasting across his skin. When Luke’s hand rose and cupped his cheek, Casey closed his eyes.
Before their lips touched, Casey jerked back. “Marcus,” he said, breathing heavily. “I can’t do this to Marcus. No matter how much of an ass he is.” His skin felt flushed, and his nerve endings were tingling with what could have been. At that moment, he wished he was single.
“I’m so sorry, Casey. I shouldn’t have… I didn’t… I’m sorry. You told me your story, and I tried to kiss you. I’m so sorry.” Luke stood and headed towards the door.
“Luke!” He waited until Luke turned back. “Don’t go. I’m not ready to kiss you, especially as I’m with Marcus, but don’t go.” He sighed. “Tell me about you.”
Luke hesitated. “Let’s make a deal.”
Casey’s mouth twitched. “You and your deals.”
Luke winked. “It gets things done. Anyway, people are going to be worried about you after what happened.” He held up a hand to forestall Casey’s questions. “Not everyone saw, but a couple did. How about we go back out, grab some drinks, pretend you’re okay, and we will sit and talk. And you can ask about me.”
Casey’s gaze roamed the guy who was stood by the door, one hand resting on the handle. His clothing was loose but accentuated his sizeable muscles; Casey didn’t feel scared with him. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“Deal.” He gave a slow smile.
Picking up his empty bottle, he diverted to the bin before moving to the door. The closer he got to Luke, the more his skin prickled with awareness. It had never happened in their previous interactions—at least, Casey didn’t remember feeling it—and he wasn’t sure how to react. If he hadn’t been with Marcus, he might’ve started flirting, but that wasn’t his style. The only reason he had met Marcus in the first place was that Liam had introduced them when Casey had gone to pick him up from the gym one day. Casey had been instantly smitten with Marcus’s looks, which were complemented by his personality on their first date—the double date with Alex and Heath.
Casey had second-guessed their relationship when he’d found out that Craig’s ex was a trainer at the gym Marcus worked at and had spoken with Craig about it before feeling happy to try. He hadn’t wanted Craig to feel scared or upset if Marcus was around. Why Casey had never acknowledged before the possibility that Marcus might take Darren’s side of things, he didn’t know.
“Penny for them.”
Blinking, Casey saw they were still standing at the door to the office, and he felt his cheeks flush. “Sorry. I got lost in my head.”
Luke grinned. “Don’t worry. I do it all the time. My mother wanted to murder me as a child because I never heard her shout until she was right next to me. I was too distracted by what I was doing or thinking about.”
The image of Luke with a woman standing over him, yelling at him, made Casey laugh. It was far too similar to what he’d experienced with his mother, which was why it was so easy to picture.
“Come on. Let’s go get those drinks. I think we need them,” Luke said.
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Life Support by Elouise East features Casey, a paramedic, who resorts to learning self-defense in an effort to deal with sexual harassment. Luke, a trainer, makes a connection with Casey, but struggles to get through to him while maintaining professional ethics and fighting his own self-esteem issues. The pair will have to decide on priorities and learn how to trust each other if they want to form a lasting relationship, but first they have to overcome some pretty serious obstacles.
This adult contemporary gay romance is part of the ‘Crush’ series. Those with triggers should pay close attention to the book description and be aware that there are scenes of assault as well. Although this story can be read as a stand-alone tale, one should be aware that there are a considerable number of characters who are interconnected, and threads of tension and connections that link many of them. It might be helpful to have a list of characters in the back of future books, especially since both of the main characters in this tale have fairly large families.
I like that this story addresses the difficult issues of sexual harassment and emotional abuse with sensitivity and highlights the pain a victim can experience in both personal and professional situations. The slow burn that forms between Casey and Luke is realistic, and there are nicely emotional scenes that show how each evolves and learns to be vulnerable to the other. I love that there is a support network even as I ached that it took so long for the guys to reach out to those around them.
I was a little frustrated by the repetition of the characters’ names constantly, even though I understand the challenge of describing scenes with same sex characters. To me, it makes the action a bit jerky and the writing stilted. Although glimpses of each man’s daily life were provided, I would also have like to have gotten to know them a little more in depth. Since this is the first book in this series I have read, I was also puzzled by some of the undercurrents and tension between various characters, but my guess is that they have been featured in previous stories or will soon get their time in the spotlight.
This book is a thought-provoking and sometimes scary look at a distressingly commonplace occurrence in today’s world. I salute the author for shining light on the subject and giving ideas for coping mechanisms to consider. I would recommend that other books in the series be read first, because I think that would help familiarize the reader with some of the connections between the secondary characters in this particular story. I think these guys also have more of their story to share, and I hope to see them in the spotlight again.
A copy of this title was provided for review