Welcome Kelly Jensen and Max and Jake from Block and Strike to the stable today! (Psst...check out our review here) While Kelly and her characters take the reins today, make sure to check out the info below and the giveaway - leave a comment w/ your answer to Kelly's question below to have a chance to win $25 Dreamspinner Press credit!
Interview with Max and Jake from Block and Strike
I miss these guys so much! I knew getting Max to talk would be a challenge. He’s a little shy. Once he got going, though, he had a lot of good stuff to share. Jake, of course, is Jake. Always happy to oblige. I hope you all enjoy this visit with two of my most beloved characters! <3
Kelly: How are you guys doing?
Jake: Good! Trying to stay warm. [winks and nudges Max]
Max: [offers a shy smile]
Kelly: Got plans to ski this winter?
Jake: Absolutely. Can’t wait to get out there. Can you believe Max has never skied?
Kelly: Actually, I can. No offense, Max.
Max: Skiing is kinda dangerous.
Jake: Seriously? Dude, you’re like the most daring guy I’ve ever met. How could you think skiing was dangerous?
Max: Daring…what? And it is. People break legs all the time. I just got my legs to do what I need them to do. Not putting them on a ski slope any time soon.
Jake: We’ll go tubing, then.
Max: I don’t want to go tubing.
Jake: Why not?
Max: [chews lip] I just don’t, okay?
Kelly: How about we could talk about the book a bit?
Jake: Awesome! I’ll start. You can join in when you feel comfortable, Max.
Max: [rolls eyes]
Jake: Fun, isn’t he?
Kelly: Okay, I’ll stop. So, how are you doing, Max?
Max: I thought Jake was starting.
Jake: But you’re actually talking. We should take advantage of it.
Max: Fine. I’m good.
Jake: [grins] So personable, isn’t he? But that’s okay. It’s the quiet guys who make it count. If I had a body to bury, Max would be the first person I’d call.
Max: What? No. Call Eric. Eric is the body-burying guy.
Jake: Are you kidding me? I’d never call Eric. First, I couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t just drive me straight to the police station. So. Not. Good. Second, even if he did help me? He’d remind me of it every day for the rest of my life.
Kelly: I’m glad this body-burying is strictly hypothetical.
Jake: Right? If I’m even caught near a body, I’m done for.
Max: Yeah, I wouldn’t want to explain that one to your parole officer.
Jake: [dark look]
Kelly: Moving on. Jake, want to share your favorite part of Block and Strike with us?
Jake: Oh, man. Hard to choose. So many great moments there for me and for Max and for both of us together. Okay, watching Max work out at the dojo for the first time was great. Just taking him there before he joined us was good, because even though I could tell he was uncomfortable, I could also see him considering the possibility, right? I could see he wanted to do it. He hadn’t admitted it to himself, yet. But he wanted to learn self-defense.
Max: I just kinda wanted to be you, really.
Jake: Nah, no one wants to be me. You just need to be a more self-assured version of you.
Max: [blushes faintly]
Kelly: What about you, Max?
Max: Driving the Mustang.
Jake: [eyebrows flip upward] Really? Not something that happened in the bedroom?
Max: [blush intensifies] You didn’t say the bedroom.
Jake: I didn’t want to all X-rated. Our first kiss, though. That’s a favorite moment. Definitely.
Max: We should just smack my face or something, so I have an excuse to look all red.
Jake: Your blushes are cute.
Max: [grumbles, then take a breath] I guess I’d say meeting Jake’s daughter for the first time. Seeing him with her. She’s… Jake’s like a force of nature, okay? He’s a storm rolling across a prairie or something. Just building and then there and no one can stop him. Caroline is just the same, only in miniature. She’s going to freak people out when she gets older. Anyway, seeing her and Jake together was kind of amazing. I sort of got the whole idea of why anyone would have a kid. I mean, I catch that every time he talks about her, but seeing them together…
Jake: [is staring at Max] Really?
Max: [shrugs] Yeah
Jake: [leans in to nudge Max’s shoulder] July fourth was pretty special too.
Max: [tries to hide a grin] You like making me blush, don’t you?
Jake: You know it.
Kelly: What about the roughest part of the story?
Jake: Glad you started us out light. Hmm, I dunno. There were some pretty dark moments. Now I can look back and see that stuff had to fall out the way it did. Just like that. Then, though? I guess finding Max that night was just about the worst thing ever. I just knew it was all my fault and I didn’t know how to fix it. Well, I had some ideas? But they all pretty much began and ended with me making a pile of bodies no one was going to help me bury.
Kelly: Probably a good thing you got some time to cool your heels.
Jake: No kidding.
Max: [looking at his hands]
Max: Walking out on dinner. [glances over at Jake]
Jake: [eyes widening] Really?
Max: Yep. Most cowardly thing I’ve ever done and I regret it every day.
Jake: You shouldn’t.
Max: And you shouldn’t blame yourself for what happened to me.
Jake: [expression tightens]
Kelly: Should we move on?
Max: [shakes head, speaks quietly] Not yet. Jake?
Jake: I know, I know, but—
Max: No buts. However it had to come about, meeting you was the best thing that ever happened to me. I needed to meet you. I needed you to pick me up and teach me how to fight back.
Jake: [smiles and leans in to kiss Max’s temple] You knew how. You just needed someone to give you permission to do it.
Max: [shows us his first proper smile]
Kelly: You guys are making me sniffle.
Jake: Suck it up, buttercup. You wrote our story.
Kelly: So what’s next?
Jake: Isn’t that up to you?
Kelly: Not really. Even Block and Strike wasn’t entirely up to me. You guys shaped it. You told me what you wanted and how you’d like it to happen. Then we figured it out together. Some stuff changed along the way. Especially for Max.
Jake: He surprised us both, didn’t he?
Max: [ducks his head]
Jake: Which is why he needs to go back to school.
Max: [groans] Not this again. I told you, I don’t want to study business. Or engineering. I know I have a thing for cars, but I really don’t want to be a mechanic.
Jake: You should study horticulture or agriculture or whatever they call the ‘take care of plants’ courses. Or maybe botany? That’s the same thing, right? Or different? Or maybe like medicine or something related to all of that. You’re really smart and good with puzzles and fixing things.
Jake: I just think you should reach for the stars, beautiful. You don’t want to corral shopping cars for the rest of your life, right?
Max: I guess not.
Kelly: What about Jake?
Max: [smiles his sly smile] Alyssa has been pestering him to help her teach kids’ classes at the dojo. He should do it and he should let Caroline sign up. He’s amazing with kids and he’s a great teacher.
Jake: F’ you all. Both of you. Whatever.
Kelly: Are you blushing?
Jake: No, it’s hot in here.
Kelly: You’re both too cute.
Kelly: Well, thanks, guys! It’s been really fun to chat with you again.
Jake: Hey now. Wait up. What about you? Have you got something planned for us?
Kelly: Maaaaybe. I’d love to see Max go back to school and I did sort of have a vague plan for you too, Jake. It didn’t include you instructing kids at the dojo, but I love that idea, so now it does.
Jake: [eyes narrow] So, the vague part…
Kelly: Yeah, we’re not going to talk about that until we get there. If you guys want a sequel that is.
Jake: You know that body I was talking about?
Max: The theoretical one?
Jake: Yeah… We should make a plan.
Block and Strike
Jacob Kendricks is three months out of prison, estranged from his daughter, and ready to get his life on track. Taking care of the bum curled up on his doorstep isn’t part of the plan. When he realizes the man has been assaulted, Jake takes him to the hospital, where he learns that Max is his downstairs neighbor… and that he could really use a friend. Keeping Max in the friend-zone would be easier if he wasn’t so damned cute.
Maxwell Wilson has been bullied for years and the only person who ever cared lives too far away to come to his rescue. Now his upstairs neighbor is offering support. Max remains cautious, suspecting he is little more than a project for the handsome Jake. When he learns Jake has had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, Max has to reevaluate his priorities—and muster the courage to take a chance at love.
Just when a happy future is within their grasp, life knocks them back down. A devastating blow leaves Max lower than ever and Jake wrestling with regret. They both have to find the strength to stand on their own before they can stand together.
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
Follow the Tour!
1/6 The Novel Approach “Behind the Book”
1/6 Just Love: Queer Book Reviews “Jake’s Book”
1/9 Sinfully Gay Romance “Writing Kids and Family”
1/9 MM Good Book Reviews “Character Casting”
1/10 Joyfully Jay “The Max and Jake Playlist”
1/10 Boy Meets Boy Reviews “Chatting with Jake and Max”
1/11 Love Bytes “Martial Arts Movies”
1/11 Prism Book Alliance “Driving Movies”
1/12 Gay Book Reviews “Learning to Make Noise – Why I Study Self Defense”
1/12 Diverse Reader “Hobbies”
1/13 Rick R. Reed “Fruit of the Forest Pie”
Thanks for following my tour! At the end of every post, I’ll be asking a question. Leave a comment with your answer (and your email address). Every comment throughout the tour counts as an entry in my giveaway. Two winners will each receive $25 (US or equivalent) to spend at the Dreamspinner Press store.
Question: Who’d bury a body for you, no questions asked?