October 11, 2016
Format: Novel • Genre: Contemporary • Length: 80,000 words
Publisher: Heidi Cullinan
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9961203-6-4
Print ISBN: 978-0-9961203-7-1
Characters: Spenser Harris, Tomás Jimenez, Ed Maurer, Laurie Parker, Duon Graves
Dance with your heart, and love will follow.
Kindergarten teacher Spenser Harris has carved a quiet, stable future out of his tumultuous past, but his world turns upside down the night a homeless teen appears on his doorstep—a boy whose story mirrors the one Spenser has worked so hard to overcome. The decision to shelter Duon is easy. What’s tricky is juggling the network of caregivers in Duon’s life, especially Tomás Jimenez.
Tomás wouldn’t have hesitated to take Duon in, but his plate is already full working three jobs to support his family. Though Spenser’s carefully constructed walls are clearly designed to keep the world at bay, Tomás pushes past Spenser’s defenses, determined to ensure the man is worthy of his charge. As the two of them grow closer, Tomás dares to dream of a life beyond his responsibilities, and Spenser begins to believe he might finally find a home of his own after all.
But Spenser and Tomás’s world is poised to crash around their ears. Duon’s grandmother isn’t sure she wants him to be raised by a gay man and challenges Spenser’s custody. Tomás’s undocumented parents could be deported at any time, and all the while the state of Minnesota votes on a constitutional amendment against marriage equality and the US Supreme Court debates whether or not Spenser and Tomás get a happily ever after. All they can do is hold tight to their love, hope for a better future…and remind each other to enjoy the dance.
Retailers: Amazon • Kobo • iTunes • Barnes & Noble • All Romance Ebooks • Smashwords • Scribd
Enjoy the Dance is book two in Heidi Cullinan’s Dance series and it’s wonderful. You might think it’s centered around dancers and their lives. You might think that, and you’d be wrong. Though there are dancers in this book it’s not what the book is about.
This book is about enjoying the moments. Fighting for what’s right, what’s good, what’s powerful. Dance through all your seconds because this is the only life you get. Make it count.
Spenser’s life hasn’t been great. Actually it’s been pretty crappy. He did for himself. Got himself a place of his own, a job as a Kindergarten teacher. He’s amazing. I loved this character. His strength was admirable and he was inspirational! When he comes home and sees a boy beaten to a pulp leaning in his doorway, well, that’s when this story takes off.
Tomas is Spenser’s across the hall neighbor and he’s a dancer…. He also has like 4 other jobs and a lot of stress. Duon, the kid leaning on Spenser’s door, is a student of Tomas’s so this is how the three of them will connect.
If you read book one (and I will say you don’t HAVE to to read this one. This is a stand alone) you’ll remember Laurie and Ed. Well, they work with Tomas at the studio... it’s actually Laurie’s studio. It’s so fabulous to see them again and they are very helpful and amazing in helping Spenser and Tomas… and Duon, when the poo hits the fan.
There’s a lot of emotion in this book because on top of the personal struggles these men face, they also have to face government law. It starts out before SCOTUS ruled on same sex marriage across the United States. So we go through their struggles. And we also go through the struggle of Immigration law when it comes to Tomas’s parent. Two battlefronts with the same soldiers!
Heidi has written a great addition to this series and the fact that it’s a standalone should mean it won’t stop you from grabbing it.
It’s emotional, suspenseful, heartwarming, and powerful! A must read.
With Heidi Cullinan and Ryan Berg
Interviews are a staple of blog tours, but this time I’d like to shake things up, because while I did my homework as best I could to write Enjoy the Dance, I’m by no means an expert. I wanted to let you hear from some people who know a lot more than me about the subjects touched on in the story, and one of those people is Ryan Berg, who I know through the Avenues program in Minneapolis.
Thanks for chatting with me, Ryan. Would you mind starting with a brief introduction about yourself, a little background information on who you are? You have something of a cameo in Enjoy the Dance, but it only seems fair to let the real you give your own bio.
Thanks, Heidi. I’m a writer, activist and youth worker living in Minneapolis. My writing focuses on marginalized communities, often at the intersection of gender, sexuality, poverty, health and homelessness. My book, No House to Call My Home: Love, Family and Other Transgressions, came out last year and won the NCCD Media for a Just Society Award and the Minnesota Book Award. I’m also the program manager for the ConneQT Host Home Program of Avenues for Homeless Youth, which is an LGBTQ-specific housing program. Host homes are a community-based response to youth homelessness where volunteers open their home and provide food and shelter for a young person and we provide intensive case management and wrap-around services. This program is a part of a larger collaborative with RECLAIM! who provide mental health support to LGBTQ youth and The Link who provide longer term housing solutions for youth. Much of my work is engaging with communities about creative ways we can be inclusive and affirming while looking through a social justice lens.
I’ve written about Avenues for Homeless Youth in a few of my stories, but can you tell us a little bit about what Avenues is in real life and why institutions like it are so important to queer youth in particular?
Avenues for Homeless Youth has been around for over twenty years. We provide emergency shelter, short-term housing and supportive services for homeless youth in a safe and nurturing environment. Through such service, Avenues seeks to help youth achieve their personal goals and make a positive transition into young adulthood.
Youth-specific programs are important because youth are incredibly vulnerable when forced to utilize the adult system. They become much more vulnerable to exploitation and violence.
Avenues has two queer-specific programs: the GLBT Host Home Program, which has been around since 1997 and is a nationally recognized model, and the new ConneQT Host Home Program, which is a part of the newly launched pilot program with RECLAIM! and The Link. The GLBT Host Home Program is more of a longer term housing program while ConneQT is more short term, and considered emergency housing. Queer and trans youth make up 40% of the homeless youth population. That’s a huge overrepresentation. Many LGBTQ youth have reported experiencing bullying, violence, and abuse in general population youth shelters due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Culturally specific services for gender and sexual minority youth are important because it offers them a safe space to be themselves without being retraumatized due to abuse or mistreatment based off of identity.
Keep reading at Just Love as the blog tour continues!
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.
There's two giveaways happening here!
One is a copy of the ebook for one commentator so please
leave your info at the bottom and comment on the interview.
2nd Giveaway is an Enjoy the Dance Prize Pack: Enjoy the Dance paperback, Dance with Me paperback, No House To Call My Home paperback, MIKA The Origin of Love CD, a box of Lady Grey tea, a bottle of Tajìn seasoning
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