Ravensong: Thomas Bennett, and Making Things Queer as Balls

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I don't remember what it was: a tweet, an email, or a message of some kind, but once upon a time, a reader wrote to me about Wolfsong and said that it was "unrealistic" that everyone would be gay.

In a book about werewolves.

Unrealistic.

IN A BOOK ABOUT WEREWOLVES.

Hi, welcome to week 4 in my blog post lead up to the release of Ravensong, in which I will discuss why I don't give a flying fuck if everyone in this fictional world is queer or not (among other things). If you haven't read the previous three blogs, go back and start there.

Let's begin, shall we?

Look. I'm not going to sugarcoat this. I don't have time for this type of heterosexual nonsense in the real world (my fave? "I DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH GAY PEOPLE, BUT I JUST DON'T LIKE IT WHEN THEY SHOW UP IN MY FAVORITE SHOW/BOOK OR WHEN THEY BREATHE OR ARE ALIVE. STOP SHOVING YOUR LIFESTYLE DOWN MY THROAT. #MAGA") And I certainly don't have time if someone thinks there are too many queer characters in my books.

(Though, to be fair,  when I read or watch TV or movies or listen to music or go out into the world. I often think there are far too many straight characters. So.)

So let's get this out of the way: unless I am explicit about a character's heterosexuality, readers of Ravensong (or any book of mine) should assume said character is queer. Easy, right? Unless you see a dude like balls deep inside a vagina , or a woman talking about how she wants to get all up in some dude and ride him like a wooden rollercoaster, they gay. (Or, even better, they could still be doing BOTH those things because bisexuality is a thing that exists.)

(Oh man, did that all feel good to write. Also, people: don't be this person who writes to authors to complain about "too much gay". It makes you look ridiculous, and I will not hesitate to put you on blast.)

Moving on.

Thomas Bennett is not god. Thomas Bennett is not Werewolf Jesus. (That might be Ox.) Thomas Bennett is a flawed person with many, many secrets and hidden facets to his character.

I (and, as you'll soon see, Gordo) have a complicated relationship with Thomas. When I was writing Wolfsong, I made him this towering figure, and though he's barely in half the book, his shadow stretches long. He is the Alpha. The patriarch of this pack. A grand leader and, eventually, a sort of saving grace to Ox.

However.

There is a history that extends far beyond Wolfsong, one that encompasses Gordo. We see in the first book that Gordo despises the wolves, and seems especially vitriolic toward Thomas and Mark. And while I am happy people gravitated toward Thomas and his relationship with Ox (by design), I knew there was something much deeper at play.

Thomas Bennett is extraordinarily flawed. For a dead man (sorry about that--mostly), he certainly has a big part still left to play. (And no, there isn't anything like resurrection on the horizon, so nix that now.) I wanted to delve further into his relationship with Gordo, and the pack that once was. It's hinted in Wolfsong that the original pack came to a devastating end. How? Why? Who? And what happened that caused Gordo to shun the wolves for a big part of his life?

This, like the relationship between Mark and Gordo, is a central focus to Ravensong. It's not just a love story between two broken men, but also a love story between fathers and sons, and how much the weight of their mistakes can pull a person down. It's about finding a light through the anger and grief, and eventually, hopefully, forgiveness.

And that's it.

That's the last post I'm going to do about the story contents of Ravensong.

But Tj, you're thinking. You said you were going to do posts until the release!

Oh, I am. Next week, we're going to take a little detour in the form of the cover/blurb reveal for my next book that comes out in October. Gotta pimp, you know. Bills don't pay themselves. And I'm pretty damn proud of The Bones Beneath My Skin. It's a like a queer action movie with guns and explosions and dudes touching dicks.

After that, in July, I'll be doing things a little different. We'll get an official soundtrack for Ravensong, pre-orders, and possibly another excerpt.

Looking back at the previous posts (including this one), you'll notice one thing I really didn't focus on: the relationship between Mark and Gordo. Make no mistake: they are what the book is about. The reason I haven't said much about them specifically is because I want this to be a surprise. You might have thought a time or two over the last four weeks reading these posts that I'm giving a lot away. Trust me when I say I've barely scratched the surface to Ravensong. There are big things coming, monumental things that are going to change the Bennett pack forever. By the time you finish, I want you to be fucking dazed with the story you just read.

So...deep breath. July 31 will be here before you know it. I just hope you're ready for it.

See you next week!

tj

And, of course, the tiniest of teases:

Do not fuck with Jessie and a crowbar. It'll be the last thing you do.