Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and I’m touring the internet to celebrate the re-release of By His Rules, my first published romance novel! Leave a comment with your contact info in the comments section to win a copy of the new version of By His Rules and a $10 Amazon gift card.
About By His Rules
Aiden Cole can be anything men want—naughty schoolboy, palace slave, virgin twink, or slutty secretary. He’s a gifted actor with a gorgeous body who gives legendary head. Aiden could have his pick of any Top in the local leather bar, but is drawn to Scott Runge—a cruel, sexy Dom who pushes Aiden to his limits, allowing Aiden to experience the excitement and danger of the BDSM lifestyle to a degree he never has before. But when Scott goes too far, injuring Aiden, Aiden withdraws from the scene completely. Until he meets Keaton Hughes. Keaton’s looking for something he can’t find in any dungeon: A domestic discipline relationship, in which he can provide his partner with guidance, support, and loving discipline. When Keaton takes Aiden in after Aiden’s traumatic encounter with Scott, he vows not to pursue any sort of relationship with the troubled sub. But as Aiden struggles to overcome the damage Scott has done and get his life back on track, Keaton’s rules might be just what he needs.
Note: This is a revised second edition.
Warning: contains violence and dubcon.
By His Rules and the Age Gap
When I wrote By His Rules, I was only a couple of years older than my fresh-out-of-college MC, Aiden. Even though Aiden and I aren’t very alike personality-wise, I think I identified with him more than I identified with Keaton, simply because of where he is in life. Like Aiden, I’d taken a gap year between college and grad school, and had spent a lot of time agonizing over whether I wanted to go to grad school at all, whether I wanted to go for theater or creative writing, whether any school would ever take me… It was easy for me to delve into the mindset of a new adult. To remember how epic and terrifying every new decision felt, how much it mattered what other people thought of me.
At 35, Keaton’s stage of life was more nebulous to me. “Oh, you know…he’s in his thirties,” I thought. “He has a house and stuff.” Having a “house and stuff” pretty much epitomized being in your thirties, to me. In my mind, he was good at taking care of people, because once you’re, you know, “old,” you’re automatically great at giving other people advice.
So one of the things that was fun about this rewrite was how much more I identified with Keaton this time around. It felt much easier to imagine what some of Keaton’s concerns are—about his relationship with a younger man, about his own future. And easier to identify with his desire to stay in on a Friday night and watch a movie. Five years after writing the original BHR, I won’t pretend I’ve undergone some massive change, but I do feel different now. I love talking to people in college-y age range, but it’s funny to hear my old fears and doubts and Big Decisions echoed back at me. It’s not that I have it all figured out now—or that I have a house and stuff, or that I’m great at giving people advice—but I feel way more relaxed than I did at twenty-three.
Which is what people in their thirties used to promise me when I was in my early twenties: “You’re gonna hit thirty, and there are so many fucks you’re not gonna give anymore.” I wasn’t sure I believed them. But they were right. For Keaton and me both, I don’t think it’s that we care less about the world or our futures or the people close to us. But we’ve done some prioritizing. Not everything is life or death. Not everyone’s opinion matters desperately to us. We still feel really confused sometimes, but we’re better at trusting that things will work out, one way or another. While I’m sure this isn’t a universal experience, it’s comforting to know that some of the things I was promised would click into place as I got older really have clicked into place.
So in this rewrite, I felt I could turn away a bit from Aiden and his fears about the capital F Future, and devote more time to Keaton and his concerns about what’s happening now. And in that respect, I hope Keaton’s become a more layered character in this edition. It was a fun and unexpected experience to bond more with him this time around.
August 30 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
August 31 – Love Bytes Reviews
August 31 – Crystal’s Many Reviewers
September 1 – GGR-Reviews
September 1 – Prism Book Alliance
September 3 – Joyfully Jay
September 15 – The Novel Approach
Leave a comment with your contact info to win a copy of the new version of By His Rules and a $10 Amazon gift card! A tour winner will be drawn at 11:59 p.m. EST on September 17th.
J.A. Rock is the author or coauthor of over twenty LGBTQ romance, suspense, and horror novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A. has received Lambda Literary and INDIEFAB Award nominations for Minotaur, and The Subs Club received the 2016 National Leather Association-International Pauline Reage Novel Award. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.