Title: Drama Queens with Love Scenes
Series: Actors and Angels, book 1
Author: Kevin Klehr
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: April 17
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Genre: Romance, Literary Fiction, Angels, cisgender, Fantasy, friends to lovers, gay, humorous, Life after death, romance
SynopsisClose friends Allan and Warwick are dead. They’re not crazy about the idea, so to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blond bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel. Allan also has a secret. He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick, but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro. Not only does Allan have to win the heart of his companion, he also has to grapple with the faded memory of how he actually died.
Guest Post by Kevin Klehr, author of Drama Queens with Love Scenes
'Drama Queens with Love Scenes' has a story longer than the novel. It is the first of three books about reincarnation, relationships, friends, and a gay angel who surprised me by being everyone's favourite character. Welcome to the 'Actors and Angels' series.
NineStar Press will be the first to publish all three stories, but the first in this collection was my initial attempt at a novel, and took eight drafts to complete.
Originally it was a random tale called 'Staging Life', where two dead protagonists watched the lives of those around them in the Afterlife unfold. This first draft was mostly handwritten in a journal until my spare time became limited and it sat, unfinished, in a bottom drawer.
Years later, my partner secretly gave a mutual friend my work to read. This friend returned it and demanded I finish it. By then we had a laptop, so I did as I was told. Once the novella length first draft was complete, I had it assessed.
There were several things my assessor didn't like. One of them, as I've previously mentioned, was that my two protagonists played passive observers to the events around them. Another was that the fact that they fell in love at the end, out of the blue. Her advice was to turn this into some kind of love story. I opted for the unrequited kind in the next draft.
One thing she did like was the fact that my main character was sometimes inappropriate in social circumstances. She told me to make this his main personality flaw and pointed me toward Joe Keenan’s 'My Blue Heaven'. In her words she said ‘turn up the ‘tude’.’ This was very good advice.
I kept using her as my assessor for two more drafts, finally taking the novella to novel length. Eight drafts later, I had a manuscript that I had worked on for nearly a decade.
But as any of us know who've tried to get a publisher, it ain't easy. After many rejections one publisher was interested in my book. When I looked over the contract, one thing that stood out was my lack of control over my own copyright. I’ve worked in broadcast media, so copyright law is something I know a bit about. In this contract, not only did they want exclusive world rights forever, they also wanted me to write to them and seek their permission if I planned to write anything in the future. Plus, only they would have the right to end the contract, even if I desperately wanted to.
A lawyer pointed out that their payment of royalties was far below the industry standard. Once I asked this publisher a few questions, they dropped the publishing deal like a hot potato.
Then one Sunday I was home alone. I read my email. There was a complimentary message from a publishing house that liked my first chapter and wanted to know if I wanted a publishing deal. I stared at the laptop screen and said “Hell, yes!” (I actually used another word for ‘Hell’, but you get the idea). Within two days I had a contract to sign.
When the first notes from my editor arrived, I wanted to scream. “She doesn’t get the book!” I complained to my husband. Then I spent the first three months of 2012 stripping back my over-written style, deleting scenes and adding fresh plot twists. I was unemployed at the time, so this was my 9 to 5 gig each working day.
When I finally read the reworked novel to myself over three days, I realised she was right with everything she made me do, and to this day she is the best editor I ever worked with.
She's since passed on, but I still feel she's kept an eye on me. When other books were about to be released, I'd receive a spam email from her account or a LinkedIn invite from her. I was never spooked. Somehow I knew she was watching over me. And it makes sense considering the novel she worked on takes place in the afterlife.
ExcerptDrama Queens with Love Scenes
Kevin Klehr © 2017
All Rights Reserved
She looked like Jayne Mansfield without the attributes. Her cherry-colored wide-brimmed hat complemented her black unbuttoned jacket. A low-cut white dress completed the look. She seemed overdressed and would have looked better wearing a casual pink T-shirt and torn jeans, like a pinup girl sparking the imagination of a lusty army boy. Her pleasing smile said she had been waiting to greet us. An angel stood next to her, barefoot in old blue jeans and a ripped-sleeved khaki shirt. While he didn’t have the glam factor of the female, his striking dove-gray wings drew focus. They spanned his height and then some, towering above his head by at least an arm’s length. He rarely made eye contact with us and stood hunched with his hands lightly clenched below his navel. His demeanor implied a vanilla hint of gayness. Just what did we actually get up to last night?
My friend, Warwick, and I safely considered this scene from the doorway of our tiny room. A moment ago, we had said goodbye to my uncle and his girlfriend, and now we were facing two strangers on what looked like the set of a Greek epic. Our confused oohs and ahs echoed off the marble black and white tiles, which stretched so far into the horizon they became gray as they met a set of stairs. Each step alternated in color, again black and white. Someone had overdosed on 1980s pop videos when they conceived this design.
“What do you make of the red velvet curtains, classic or uninspired?” I asked my friend.
“Allan, they’re lush. Just lush.” “Don’t be alarmed, gentlemen,” the Jayne Mansfield look-alike said with an air of whimsy. As we nodded awkwardly, she shot a concerned glance at the angel and whispered, “Don’t smile like that. It doesn’t match the décor.”
Discouraged, he rolled his eyes and mislaid his smile. I began biting my thumbnail as my eyes darted between our hosts and the opulent aspects of this room. “A sex kitten and an angel,” I timidly said to Warwick. “Does this mean…?”
Warwick stepped through the doorway and addressed the angel. “Those wings? Please tell me they aren’t real.” The angel gracefully flapped them three times before shrugging. I switched my denial into overdrive. In the past week, Warwick and I had left our chaotic beach-town lives for a little break. My dead-end job was getting me down, and my partner in crime suggested a holiday would be the best remedy. Until this point, he was right. All had been going as planned. We’d visited my uncle Bryant and his new love interest in Melbourne before considering a driving trip around Tasmania.
Who could have imagined this strange twist in our plotline? Our hosts seemed to study us like a diplomat about to shake hands with a head of state. The angel endeavored to smile again, while the blonde bombshell gave us a moment to gauge our bearings. Then her arms extended in greeting like Jesus in a biblical painting. “My name is Samantha, and this is Guy. We’re here to welcome you.”
NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords
Meet the Author
Kevin lives with his long-term partner, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney. From an early age, Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his work commitments changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, secretly passed the notebook to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his story.
It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again. His first novel spawned a secondary character named Guy, an insecure gay angel, but many readers argue that he is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. Guy’s popularity surprised the author. So with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.
4/17 Hoards Jumble
4/17 Zipper Rippers
4/17 My Fiction Nook
4/18 Happily Ever Chapter
4/19 The Novel Approach
4/20 MM Good Book Reviews
4/21 Love Bytes