Allison Temple Blog

Awkward and Thoroughly Kissable
Posts tagged seb
Cover Reveal and a Giveaway!
Cover image for Top Shelf by Allison Temple. Contemporary gay romance available May 20 on Kindle Unlimited.

It’s here!! I’m so pleased to share the cover for Top Shelf with you. Designed by the amazing Cate Ashwood, I have loved this cover since the first proof landed in my inbox.

Seb and Martin’s small town slow burn romance will be available on May 20, but you can enter to win an advance copy one of two ways.

Meet Seb and Martin
Top Shelf Contemporary MM Romance by Allison Temple

Top Shelf, the first book in my new Seacroft series is coming next month! There’s big stuff planned. Cover reveals. Advance copies for a few lucky readers :) For now, meet Seb and Martin:

Martin is a ghost. Well, not really, but he might as well be. Job gone, home gone, self-respect gone, and no one even seems to notice. The only person who really sees him is Seb, the artist who lives above the used bookstore.

Seb haunts the edges of Seacroft in search of beauty. He knows how to excavate the hidden value in abandoned things—whether it's in the pages of forgotten books or in Martin's stuttering attempts to rebuild his life—and transform them into works of art.

Two lost souls, Seb and Martin discover the strength they need to face eccentric townies and their dysfunctional families together. But as friendship sparks toward something more, neither man wants to risk what they’ve only just found. It takes two to fall in love, but it will take the whole community to bring their beauty to life.

Top Shelf is an 83k slow burn friends-to-lovers MM romance. It features an anxious professor, a drama queen artist, a bookstore that might be haunted, and a full-blown heart-eyes HEA.

To stay up to date on release news, join my newsletter, The A-List. I’ll even throw in two free short stories right now! 

Nana Through the Looking Glass
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"Whether I knew it then or not, I've been a writer since the second grade, when I wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. My grandmother typed it out for me and said she’d never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before."

You'll recognize this if you've read my bio (on this blog, in my books, or elsewhere). I guess you could say my Nana was my first editor.

A year ago, nearly 30 years after that first horsey short story, I wrote a novel about an artist who lived above a used bookstore. Seb makes a living taking the books people don't want anymore and turning them into something new. One afternoon, Martin (the bookstore's newest employee and Seb's love interest) finds an illustrated copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in the store and gives it to Seb who, in turn, makes it into something special—a birthday gift for his grandmother.

Two weeks ago, my Nana couldn't get out of bed. She's 86 and still living on her own. They called the ambulance, took her to the hospital, ran tests.

A week ago, I passed a used bookstore. It wasn't in my neighbourhood. I'd never been inside it. But there, in the window, was an illustrated copy of Alice's Adventure in Wonderland. I was on my way to an appointment, and by the time I walked back the other way, the store was closed. But I knew I needed that book. For Seb. For his Nana. For mine too, because she loved to read and loved the old stories best. I went back and bought it yesterday.

Today, we said goodbye to my Nana.

Her favourite books were Seven Years in Tibet and the complete collection of Churchill's Letters to Roosevelt. She raised five daughters, had eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She made the best pea soup in the world and she gave even better hugs. She never finished high school, but left her home on Vancouver Island to move with my grandfather to Montreal in 1953. She lived in Morocco and the Cameroons. In 1988, she helped me publish my first book*

Seb's story is unpublished, but it's going to be, someday. When it is, there will be two words in the dedication.

For Nana.

Miss you bunches already.

*the first story had what you might call a limited distribution deal. It might still be available to be borrowed from my elementary school library though.

No New Ideas

jan-mellstrom-242087.jpg Nearly done editing (for now), which means I'm going back to drafting Martin and Seb. I'll introduce you to them properly soon, but the basic premise is this:

Martin is an out of work university professor who's come to Red Creek to live with his brother. The only job he can get is working part time at Dog Ears Used Book Store. It's humiliating that it's come to this, but he'll manage. What he doesn't plan on is the prickly artist who lives upstairs from the store, Seb.

Seb has his own view of things. His work involves cutting up the unsellable books at Dog Ears and turning them into something new. Martin prizes the written word above everything, and Seb's work doesn't sit well with him. Seb sees Martin as just another academic snob.

You can guess what happens.

I'd seen carved books online before I started writing Seb and Martin, and was fascinated with the way they made me feel. Books and the stories they tell have been a part of my life for as long as I remember. As a writer with a growing career, I'm learning to appreciate, in a whole new way, the effort it takes to create a story. But is the book the story? Martin would say every book is sacred. Seb says a book is just a consumer product and we shouldn't get so hung up on the medium.

I don't claim to be covering new ground with this argument. It's a debate that happens all over the place. Artists and academics, people who don't go anywhere without their Kindle and people who never throw a book away. The whole used bookstore industry exists because of the guilt that we feel at the thought of throwing out a book, but go find your local used bookstore and ask them what happened to the zillions of copies of 50 Shades of Grey people dropped off in 2012.

Seb carves books into something new. New words, new images, new ways for Alice to go through the looking glass. I hope what he's doing is a little bit unique, but there are artists all over the world who work in this medium. The reason I'm writing this blog post is because it turns out one of them has a TED Talk. What he has to say about his work and about the future of books is so thought-provoking. It might also be a little bit like looking at the inside of Seb's head, but you'll have to wait for his story to find out!

https://embed.ted.com/talks/brian_dettmer_old_books_reborn_as_intricate_art