Damaged Goods, my latest contemporary M/M story, has been submitted! This means I now wait around forever while my publisher decides if they want to option it or not. I’m not nervous about that, nope. Not me. Nope. *whistles*

Okay, “forever” is usually less than two months (they have a great turn around time) but still. Waiting! FOREVER!

This is the story that features Templeton, the musician who was in an abusive relationship. I wrote about him in a post concerning domestic violence. Honestly, I never set out to a write a story about a character who was a survivor of an abusive relationship, but as I delved into Templeton’s story it became clear that his background was more complicated than I anticipated.

Originally, Templeton was “just” illiterate, due to dropping out of school because of an undiagnosed print disability. But then as I did research and read other people’s stories I realized that some people use a person’s disability and/or their financial impairments as a way to control them, and Templeton’s story fell together clearly: as a gay teenage dropout, disowned by his parents, he became involved with guy who promised to take care of him.

It should be obvious to all of us that no one ever wants to end up in a controlling, abusive relationship. The reason people do is because they are looking for something that the abusive partner offers them, whether that is social protection or financial security. They mistake warning signs as evidence of love (possessiveness, jealousy). Eventually they may choose to stay or reconcile with that person out of fear rather than need (something Templeton has to face at one point), but in the beginning, the relationship often looks like the answer to a prayer.

I worry about portraying Templeton in a believable and empowering way. He’s a victim, but that does not define his life, nor does that mean he is unable to rise above the terrible things that have happened to him. He still falls in love, and he is a fantastic musician. I hope you love him as much as I do.

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