The Real Deal – Guest Post by Joseph Lance Tonlet

My guest today is Joseph Lance Tonlet, author of Grif’s Toy and the Amazon-banned Brothers LaFon, two fantastic books that you should really check out if you haven’t already. :) When he sent me this blog post, it made me damn happy that I’d get to share it with all of you.

So… Without further ado… Joseph.

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Today is my 49th birthday, but this guest post isn’t really about my birthday, or even birthdays in general.

When I began this journey of writing, well over a year ago, I also created a social media pen name profile. You know, for places like Facebook, Twitter, etc. It was then, very early on, that I had to decide who Joseph Lance Tonlet would be. Meaning, how much of myself—the real Joe—would be incorporated into the online/fictional JLT.

Society demands we keep certain things to ourselves; i.e. there are topics we just don’t share or talk about with anyone lest we be labeled a freak, or a pervert, or worse. In addition, there’s the “author branding/appeal” aspect to consider. Indeed, if the goal as a writer is to sell books, then how one presents one’s self needs to be considered.

Well-meaning “real life” friends freely gave advice on what parts and pieces I should share, and which I should keep to myself. Their reasoning ran the gamut from maintaining a certain level of mystique, to being cognizant of how people’s perceptions of me (JLT) could potentially affect book sales.

The more I listened, the more convoluted and—to be honest—contrived it all sounded. Feeling somewhat disheartened by the whole marketing aspect, I stepped back and asked myself, 1) How inauthentic do you want to be? and 2) What’s your goal here? The answers: 1) Like most folks, I want to be as authentic as possible, and 2) My goal is simply to write. Once I did that, asked myself those two basic questions, the decision was easy: I’d be me. The real me. Without question, far more genuine than I dare to be with most “real life” friends and family.

Much to my surprise, I’ve been embraced in a way I could never have dreamed of. Indeed, the “virtual friendships” I’ve been fortunate enough to forge have been nothing short of fucking brilliant. And the reason for that? I believe it’s because I’m being real—warts, twisted kinks, and all.

Back to the birthday bit. As I mentioned, today is the big four-nine. (A number, by the way, I’m choosing not to dwell on, LOL!) Over the last week, the mailboxes, both real and virtual, have delivered birthday greetings. Receiving cards from family and friends is special, and I’m always very grateful to anyone who has taken time out of their busy day to drop a card in the mail to me. However, this birthday is different. This is Joseph Lance Tonlet’s first birthday…and the reason for this writing.

The Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc, etc, etc messages I’ve receive have seriously bowled me the fuck over. Do JLT’s birthday wishes mean as much or hold the same weight as the ones I received for Joe? You’re damn right they do. Hell, perhaps even more. Why? Because they’re being sent to the “real” me. They’re being sent to person I’ve put out there who is the most authentic version of myself that I’ve ever been allowed to present. There is nothing more meaningful than that, and to borrow Sally Field’s often misquoted quote, “You like me, you really like me!”

So, I guess what this post is really about is expressing my gratitude. My gratitude for your friendship, and my gratitude for embracing the real me in a completely unimaginable way. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you!

xoxoxo,
Joe

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Joseph, I’m damn proud to call you my friend. Happy birthday, buddy!

PLUS: Go check out the May Birthday Celebration and Giveaway Joseph is participating in over at Two men are better than one for a chance to win a signed paperback or ebook!

Interview with Joseph Lance Tonlet, author of the bestseller Grif’s Toy

Welcome back to my blog, Joseph!

Thanks so much for having me back, Bey—it’s such an honor!

 

So… You’ve been published for over a month now. How does that feel?

Wow. I’m not sure I can adequately convey the almost overwhelming emotions sharing Grif’s Toy with the world invoked. What started as a dream, almost two years ago now, has finally become a reality. It’s been truly amazing.

 

Grif’s Toy is doing rather well, I’d say. It ranks as an Amazon bestseller in a few categories and I saw that it was in the top ten for Gay Erotica. That fucking rocks, doesn’t it? Were you expecting this sort of reception at all?

*blush* Thanks!

Yeah, it’s been fortunate enough to spend a few weeks on the bestsellers list in a few categories. I honestly didn’t anticipate the reaction it’s received… No way I really could have. The entire experience has been nothing short of amazing! Grif’s Toy is a very personal story and having readers leave such incredible reviews—not to mention the heartfelt messages and emails folks have sent—yeah, it’s not something I could have ever anticipated.

 

Now that you’re a self-published author, do you have any advice for people looking to do the same? What have been some of the challenges you’ve met? What has worked for you? What would you do differently if you could turn back the clock?

I’ve talked a bit about this before, but self-publishing – as you know – is an incredible amount of work. Every single step in the process, from writing the story to readers finally being able to pick it up from their favorite marketplace, was a new one. I literally went from knowing absolutely nothing about publishing to offering both eBooks and traditional paperbacks of Grif’s Toy. To be honest, had I known exactly how much work was involved, I may not have had the courage to actually do it. But, with each step I gained invaluable knowledge that will now allow me to move forward with publishing additional works much more quickly. And, let me just say, most important in the process has been my friends. They’ve so unselfishly offered not only their valuable time, but also their unwavering support. Without question, I could NOT have done it without them!

 

What are you working on now? Can you tell us a little about them?

I’d be happy to. I have three projects in the works—all at different stages.

The first is Brothers LaFon. It’s completed and waiting in the wings. I’ve scheduled a release date of March 1st. It’s a VERY dark novelette (just over sixteen thousand words) and deals with the systematic torture and sexual abuse of one brother by another. I’m an erotic writer, so this torture and abuse are done, without question, to titillate and arouse readers. Also, I’d like to take a quick moment to make it clear that this story is in no way connected to the Tease and Denial Series (Grif’s Toy). Potential readers should heed and take very seriously all warnings and tags that accompany the blurb.

Second is Wes’ Denial. It’s the sequel to Grif’s Toy, and I have a target for a summer release. The story’s format is very similar to Grif’s Toy—meaning it covers several different timeframes and is non-linear. It not only delves into Wes’ past, but it is also a continuation of Grif’s Toy.

Third is a joint project with an amazing author that I’m completely thrilled about. But, I’ll save the details of that for another time. *wink*

*winks back* 

 

Your work is different. It’s downright challenging for some to read. Will that affect what you choose to write in the future?

It’s funny you should ask that. A friend and I were just talking about this very thing. However, it was in regard to the upcoming Brother’s LaFon; it is even darker—substantially so—than Grif’s Toy. My friend asked if I was worried about how it will be received. Intellectually, I’d be thrilled if it’s well received. However, when I’m actually writing, that’s not something I can allow myself to contemplate. If I worrying too much—about anything—it really stifles my creativity. In the end, I can only write what I write—and then hope readers enjoy and connect with it.

 

When publishing series, there is a pressure to get the next one out quick as a wink. Are you feeling it (I know I am!)? Does it affect what you focus on?

I published Grif’s Toy with absolutely no expectations at all. Zero. In fact, I’ll share something with you: a friend and I had a bet that it wouldn’t sell twenty-five copies in the first month. I was betting against myself, by the way. That the pre-orders alone far surpassed that number astonished me. And what it’s gone on to do since—there are times when I find it completely incomprehensible. I’m SO humbled and grateful.

But back to your question, yeah, there is a bit of pressure now. People connected with Grif in a way I never thought possible. Therefore, I really want Wes’ Denial to be special, to be something Grif’s fans will enjoy.

 

I don’t know if you’ve already answered this somewhere before, but let’s say someone wants to turn Grif’s Toy into a movie. Who would play Grif and Wes? What about the other characters?

Hmm, I’m assuming you mean a mainstream, theatrical movie. But, I’m gonna go with the more adult type of flick—because I’m naughty that way—and say Tayte Hanson would make the perfect Grif, and Rogan Richards would be my choice for Wes.

tayte-rogan

 

And finally: Do you plan on staying self-published?

I thoroughly enjoy being self-published for several reasons. One, I’m pretty much a control freak and being able to do things exactly the way I want to is very satisfying. Two, I don’t do well, creatively, with deadlines. And three, I’m probably the world’s worst procrastinator. So yeah, being self-published seems like a real good fit.

It does indeed. :) Thanks again for stopping by, Joseph, and good luck with your next works! I know I’m looking forward to them. 

Want to know more about Grif’s Toy? Visit Joseph’s site for buy links, reviews, and sample downloads. You can also check out my review here.