Welcome Matthew J. Metzger – Sex in C Major

A big welcome today to Matthew J Metzger as part of his blog tour with Embrace The Rainbow Book Promotions for Sex in C Major from JMS Books.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
I’m a Brit, I’m working class, I have a collection of piercings and tattoos, I’m owned by this enormous fluffy cat that is currently giving me the excuse me, why are your hands on that device instead of brushing me face…fairly standard!

As an author, I write mainly contemporary queer romance, both young adult and definitely-not-young, NSFW adult. I typically write in the working class British environment, where I grew up and still live now. I’m aro-ace and trans, my first relationship was with a lesbian, my second with a straight guy, and my two closest friends in the world are both bisexual, and yet I never found them or me reflected in queer fiction or media because we’re not middle-class enough and we don’t talk right. So I try to plug the gap a little in what I do now!

(You can totally stalk me if you like. I live on Twitter and Facebook, I have a website with all the books, and I have a Patreon to fundraise for my surgery, so there’s exclusive sneak peeks on whatever I’m working on all over that.)

Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
Sex in C Major is a very intense, quite dark, and very sexual story about sex, gender and submission. The protagonist, Stefan, has a bit of a clusterfudge—pardon my French—of a life going on, and can’t reconcile his desperate need to transition with his intense desire to submit.

There’s this thing that happens when you’re trans where you don’t get to play by the cisgender rules. So a cis guy can like pink and flowers and he’s still a guy. But if a trans guy likes pink and flowers, whoa, no. No, that’s evidence he’s mistaken and he’s really a woman after all. It’s crap, but it does get inside your head. A lot of trans guys—me included—do this thing when we come out and start to transition where we become quite hypermasculine for a while, like there’s something to prove.

Now Stefan’s mostly not transitioned because of his life, but he’s fallen prey to that mentality. And he can’t reconcile this need to be masculine and a ‘real man’ with his sexual side, which wants to submit, and submit heavily. Stefan has pretty intense fantasies of consensual non-consent play and servitude, and ‘real men’ don’t want that. In his eyes.

The inspiration is a lot of things merged together. Firstly, having a trans man being sexually active without having transitioned—we don’t get that much in fiction. And then, exploring being a trans man and being kinky: trans women get hypersexualised and turned into sex objects; trans men get the opposite and written out of sexual life entirely, like we become invisible sexless creatures. On top of that, how does this work if you aren’t making smart, sensible choices? Stefan goes about this entirely the wrong way—he’s desperate, he’s making wildly emotional and inadvisable choices, and he screws up pretty frequently. So much of fiction insists we can’t have our characters make truly bad life choices, but why not? People do, all the time. So…Stefan does. All the time!

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Submitting it. Writing it was easy—if anything, Sex in C Major is one of the easiest I’ve ever done—but actually submitting it to a publisher was difficult. LGBT fiction has a lot of pearl-clutching going on, where if your characters or your plot isn’t palatable to middle-class, well-educated white women, then you’re going to run into trouble. And I had a big bust-up with another publisher about this, who effectively tried to bully the working class out of me, so when it came to submitting this book, this book about a guy doing pretty much every single thing he could possibly do wrong and in a very screwed-up way, I hesitated. A lot.

But I write for people like me, from the wrong side of the tracks and who do stupid things, self-destructive things. I don’t write queer people who are lovely and perfect. And I had to tell myself, why stop now? I had a young adult book where they figured the best way to deal with a bully was to punch his teeth down his throat. I had an adult book where the love interest decks the protagonist’s father over dinner. Why change?

Do you have a favourite character and/or book you’ve written? Who, what and why?
My favourite character isn’t from my favourite book, so I’m going to cheat slightly…

My favourite book is oddly one of my quieter, smaller ones, Private. It’s a young adult novel about a teenage boy, Shane, coming out as gay in his very conservative, military family. There is a romance—Shane has a steady boyfriend and they’re planning secretly to go to university together in a few years—but the focus is very much on Shane’s father and brother, and his relationship with them. It’s no groundbreaker, it’s not a hugely important or original novel, and yet it’s my favourite because it explores this military, mannish world—one I grew up in—where Shane is comfortable and doesn’t want to leave because he’s gay. It’s the kind of book I wanted when I was a kid, something that didn’t say because I was queer I had to be into the arts and my old dad didn’t have to hate me for being a bender. So, yeah, that one has a special place in my heart.

But my favourite character is hands-down Danny Hawkes, from What It Looks Like. He’s the brother of the love interest, Rob, and where Rob is big and broody, Danny is just this absolutely mad live wire. He bounces around the whole time, doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself and his big brother—and by extension, his brother’s new-ish boyfriend—and yet when that tiny family unit is threatened, Danny’s switch from pleasant to downright psychopathic is scary. He’s very, very dangerous, and I love his unpredictability and his impervious sense of self. Danny knows who and what he is and who and what he wants, and to hell with whether other people like that. He’s great, and if I ever did a follow-up to What It Looks Like, Danny would be stealing the show all over again.

Do you get emails asking why characters didn’t get together and whether you’re going to write more about them?
I don’t tend to have subplot romances so not the former because…it’s romance, of course the main couple get together! But I do get people asking if I’m going to write sequels pretty frequently. What It Looks Like and Spy Stuff especially got this treatment, and it’s really flattering, I love hearing that people were that invested in the characters. I’ve never written a sequel I didn’t plan from the first word of the original, though, so typically if there’s not already a 75% finished sequel in the works, there won’t ever be one. By the time a book is published, I’ve long since moved on to writing another one—usually two!—so I don’t remember the original clearly enough to pull off a good sequel. And nobody likes bad sequels.

If you were able to quit your day job and write full time, would you, and why/why not?
No. Firstly because weirdly, I actually enjoy my day job. It’s completely unrelated to writing—in fact, the opposite, as I’m a number-cruncher by day—so I like getting the break from the industry and switching gears into something totally different. A change is as good as a rest, and all that. And secondly, I don’t believe writers should just be writing all day. It cuts us off from the world, we get too embroiled in fictional portrayals of people and the echo chambers of social media, and it honestly starts to show. I can think of authors right now where I read their works and I’m thinking, “Have you ever met a human being? Much less one with the background this guy supposedly has?” I even had an editor once try and insist my character couldn’t use a slur, and I was like, “This guy is a drug dealer, from the roughest part of the city, and was brought up in care only to leave and go straight to prison. Trust me. He says these words.” So no, even if I could, I think at most I’d drop down to part-time at the day job. But I wouldn’t leave.

Are there big events in your life that affect your writing?
Not usually big events, but my upbringing and my experiences have very much coloured it. I write working-class and northern British because that’s what I am. I write families where they call their teenagers clumsy berks and clip them round the ear because that’s how I grew up. And I write heavy topics—domestic abuse, alcoholism, mental illness—because I grew up in their shadow. So there’s no big plane crash or duelling with pistols or whatever, but a lot of the emotional undercurrent and the backstories for the characters is leaking out from my own experiences.

Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about them?
I usually get a ‘pop!’ moment with a very brief, short idea, and then build the rest of the book around it. So Sex in C Major was literally ‘submissive with two dominants’ married up to a personal frustration that people assume I hate vaginal sex or having my chest touched because I’m a trans man. And the first scene, of Stefan in the bus station, popped into my head just as clearly.

Everything else got built around those three elements. Stefan’s demeanour in that scene said loud and clear he hadn’t come to terms with the intersection of submissive, trans and male, so the story itself homed in on him doing just that.

I wouldn’t say any of it is taking time, though—pop or not, I go from no idea at all to a fully fledged plot and outline in an hour!

What are your writing and personal goals for 2017 and beyond?
Keep going!

I’m saving up for my final transition surgery, so I guess my personal goal is get a whole lot closer. Unfortunately I have zero money, and it costs a fortune, so getting closer is definitely relative. (I’m fundraising here if you want to help out, or here if you want sneak peeks and rewards.)

Writing wise, I recently redesigned my website to show books by identity (using the QUILTBAG model) and discovered that while my works in progress nearly tick everything off, my published work is a totally different story. So I’d like to get some QUIL books finished and out there, and make a real rainbow out of my collection.

Do you get emails asking why characters didn’t get together and whether you’re going to write more about them?
I don’t tend to have subplot romances so not the former because…it’s romance, of course the main couple get together! But I do get people asking if I’m going to write sequels pretty frequently. What It Looks Like and Spy Stuff especially got this treatment, and it’s really flattering, I love hearing that people were that invested in the characters. I’ve never written a sequel I didn’t plan from the first word of the original, though, so typically if there’s not already a 75% finished sequel in the works, there won’t ever be one. By the time a book is published, I’ve long since moved on to writing another one—usually two!—so I don’t remember the original clearly enough to pull off a good sequel. And nobody likes bad sequels.

What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
I’m currently working on the total opposite to Sex in C Major, and writing a pair of books featuring a super sweet, romantic relationship forming between gentle giant John Halliday, and definitely-in-charge-here Chris Bannerman. John is this absolutely massive (six foot eight and associated back problems) monstrosity of a man, but he’s completely sappy and totally under Chris’ thumb. They’re very sweet, very sarky, and it’s a feel-good from start to finish.

Here’s the end of their second date, if you’re interested!
“There’s this guy.”

It was like listening to a story.

“He’s got a voice like whiskey, burning a trail down your throat. He’s enormous, and can crush you into the side of a parked car when he kisses you. Your feet leave the floor when he does that, and you’re helpless. It’s like being branded, when he touches you. You can feel his hands forever, and you don’t want them to go. And that’s before you even get your clothes off. He’s huge, and you’re out of your depth.”

John swallowed thickly.

“And yet, he fumbles over his words. He touches your hands between coffee mugs like they’re something incredible, and he’s scared they’re not real. You can’t see him staring, but you know he is. And there’s something desperate to please, but when you manage to sweep that away and he relaxes for a moment, he’s got the most beautiful laugh you’ve ever heard.”

John’s breath caught.

“And you make him laugh.”

John licked his lips.

“And–”

Chris’ mouth touched the very edge of his own. So soft, it were barely there at all. The merest whisper of sensation.
And John felt the words, more than he heard them.

“–for the very first time, you feel beautiful.”

John sealed his mouth over the words, and drank them away. Slid his hands up a long, slim back, to anchor between jacket-clad shoulder blades and press all that brilliance as close as he possibly could.

He could taste coffee. There was snow down the back of his collar. Someone else’s hair was tickling his forehead.

And none of it mattered.

SiCM Banner

Title: Sex in C Major
Author: Matthew J. Metzger
Release Date: May 27th 2017
Genre: GLBT, BDSM, Interracial Romance

Sex_in_C_Major_400[982]

BLURB

Stefan has … fantasies.

He knows chasing those fantasies is only going to end in disaster, but he can’t seem to stop his self-destructive spiral. He’s a transgender man struggling to come to terms with the intersection of his identity and his sexual fantasies as a submissive. He needs someone to take control before he loses it completely.

Daz can take control. He can teach Stefan everything there is to know about sex and submission, but for some reason, he can’t get inside Stefan’s head. Daz can stop Stefan’s self-destruction but not the fear that fuels it.

Stefan needs to know who he is before he can accept what he is. And it’s Yannis — Daz’s aromantic, asexual, stern, and sarcastic partner — who has the answer.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books | iBooks

Find Sex in C Major on Goodreads

EXCERPT

Other people wanted vanilla sex and dating out of a hookup in a gay bar. But Stefan wanted— this. He wanted to jump from nothing to Daz bending him over the end of the bed and fucking him like he was nothing but a sex doll.

What was he doing?

And yet he kept walking, step by step by step towards the house. A jogger had to go around him; a car hooted angrily as he walked out in front of it. He didn’t care. The house was calling. The man inside was calling. The promise of his fantasies becoming real was calling.

And it was terrifying and stupid and utterly crazy… but Stefan just couldn’t say no.

At exactly eight fifteen, the terror enough to make him throw up and the arousal so intense he could barely walk, Stefan knocked on the door.

Footsteps.

A key in a lock.

Then the door was jerked open, and a hand fisted in Stefan’s coat and hauled him inside.

“Upstairs,” Daz said, slamming the door. “Now. Nobody sees you.”

Stefan scrambled to obey, almost running up the stairs, still in his coat and shoes. He was shoved back into the small bedroom from the night before, and the door slammed behind them.

“Strip,” Daz said.

GIVEAWAY: Win ebook copies of Sex in C Major and What It Looks Like

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About the Author

Matthew

Matthew J. Metzger is a twenty-something British author of queer novels, primarily focusing on relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual or romantic. He was dragged up in London, but currently lives in West Yorkshire, where he carves out a living in an office crunching numbers before going home to write books at night. Matthew particularly writes working-class queer life, and queer people who exist outside of the standard M/M romance fare written by and for well-educated, middle-class sensibilities. There be nasty words ahead, children. Better buckle up.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Patreon

BLOG SCHEDULE:

May 27th: Alpha Book Club | My Fiction Nook | Hearts on Fire Reviews

May 28th: Nerd Girl Official | Boy Meets Boy Reviews

May 29th: The Novel Approach | A L Boyd

May 3oth: A M Leibowitz

May 31st: Happily Ever Chapter

June 1st: MJs Book Blog and Reviews

June 2nd: Bonkers about Books | Joyfully Jay

June 5th: Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter

June 6th: Making It Happen | Outrageous Heroes

June 7th: BFD Book Blog

June 8th: Triple A

June 9th: Love Bytes Reviews

June 12th: Stories That Make You Smile | Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

June 13th: Loving Without Limits | L M Brown

June 14th: All in One Place | Dawn’s Reading Nook

June 15th: Bayou Book Junkie

June 16th: Drops of Ink | Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!

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About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning. In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher and a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at https://annebarwell.wordpress.com
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