Welcome and thanks for joining us along the virtual book tour for Dirty Laundry, the latest release in the Tucker Springs series! Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a $10 gift card to Riptide Publishing!
I do love a wounded hero, and in my latest the wounds are right there on the surface in both main characters. Adam Ellery, one of the heroes in Dirty Laundry, suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and clinical anxiety. Denver, his love interest, has a learning disability.
The anxiety component wasn’t hard to layer in: I live with anxiety on two fronts. My daughter and my husband both carry that companion, and as the third leg of our family wheelbarrow, I watch their struggles to walk gracefully with the inner voice so readily eager to point out potential doom and gloom. For OCD I did recon with a friend and a lot of book research, and for the LD I refreshed the files I’d gleaned from my teaching days. The thing that struck me though, no matter how I got the information, was that there was always a through-line connecting each kind of personal wound: we’d all be shocked to see how much we identify with these labels, and each condition when fully unpacked is solidly fused to an individual’s character in a way that is neither good nor bad but simply is.
We all joke about having our OCD moments, but the more research I did, the more I realized I was basically a membrane/neuron/whatever the barrier away from letting it rule my life more often than I’d like to admit, and I suspect most people fall in that category too. Anxiety I already knew this about, and as far as learning disabilities—well, given my health ups and downs, I’ve had many flirtations with aphasia to varying degrees, and sometimes I get editorial questions on words or phrases that I honestly have no idea how they got there or what it was supposed to mean--that’s normal, but for me sometimes I can tell it’s the old ghost of mental scarring from when even thinking was a rough ride. Each one of us is walking wounded. Each one of us carries something with or without a label which, if we let it, can eclipse more of our life than it should.
What my husband and I tell our daughter is that her anxiety is as much a part of her as her beautiful naturally curly hair. It forms her choices and decisions. It keeps her from actions and forces others. It is what she struggles against some days and what she uses like an appendage without even realizing it on others. We’ve found, too, that framing it this way has turned helped her turn her anxiety into an ally. Sure, sometimes it’s a limitation, but sometimes it truly is a gift.
Wounds aren’t something we need to overcome half as much as they’re something about us we need to learn to accept. Even the greatest ones, when properly embraced, can be transformed. Because, as I tell my daughter, the true power lies in the human carrying the wound--we can let our wounds limit us, or use them to take ourselves somewhere that, without them, we could never go.
The course of true love doesn’t always run clean. But sometimes getting dirty is half the fun.
Entomology grad student Adam Ellery meets Denver Rogers, a muscle-bound hunk of sexy, when Denver effortlessly dispatches the drunken frat boys harassing Adam at the Tucker Springs laundromat. Thanking him turns into flirting, and then, much to Adam’s delight, hot sex over the laundry table.
Though Denver’s job as a bouncer at a gay bar means he gets his pick of geek-sexy college twinks, he can’t get Adam out of his head. Adam seems to need the same rough play Denver does, and it’s damn hard to say no to such a perfect fit.
Trouble is, Adam isn’t just shy: he has obsessive compulsive disorder and clinical anxiety, conditions which have ruined past relationships. And while Denver might be able to bench-press a pile of grad students, he comes from a history of abuse and is terrified of getting his GED. Neither Denver nor Adam want to face their dirty laundry, but to stay together, they’re going to have to come clean.
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren't enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi also volunteers for her state's LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Find out more at www.heidicullinan.com.