It is with great pleasure that we introduce our newest guest blogger, Tal Bauer!
Hi, everyone. What an honor this is, to be invited to be a Guest Blogger at Alpha Book Club. I’m still relatively new to the scene, and I thought in this first post, I’d open up and share a bit more about me.
And, I’ve got an announcement about the third book in the Executive Office series at the end!
I’ve been writing LGBT romance for a little over a year now. I primarily write romantic thrillers that feature gay men as the heroes and protagonists. My goal as a writer is to bring LGBT protagonists and heroes into the mainstream. I want to contribute sexy, exciting novels to the romantic thriller genre.
So far, things are going well! Enemies of the State, the first of the Executive Office series, was honored with several Book of the Year awards in 2016. Enemy of My Enemy, book 2 in the same series, was nominated for several awards as well. On Goodreads, Enemies of the State and Enemy of My Enemy are the #1 and #2 books on the Best M/M Political Romance list. I am beyond amazed at the success of these two books, and deeply, deeply honored by the warm and friendly reception I have received.
When I was asked to join as a guest blogger, the first question ABC asked me was ‘how long did it take you to research all of the politics/policy. Etc., to be able to write a novel with so much validity?’ They went on to say, ‘I usually loathe politics, but you’ve made it intriguing!’
Thank you! That’s definitely a high compliment!
As for how long did my research take? As long as it took to reach into my memory.
I have a bit of an inside track. In my former life, I worked both in federal law enforcement and in Washington DC for a time. My time in federal law enforcement spanned through President Bush’s administration and into President Obama’s administration, and my work spanned the globe.
I left law enforcement and decided I wanted to stop trying to catch bad guys doing bad things and work more on addressing and preventing the systemic causes of despair and degradation that can lead some people to believe that they only have one option: to commit hideous, violent, extreme acts in the name of terror. So, I went to work as a humanitarian. I spent most of my time in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.
I still live partly in these worlds, even though I have now transitioned to full-time writing. Last year, I took a job teaching and providing counseling/medical care to a refugee center school. I was asked to deploy to West Africa to help with the Ebola outbreak in 2013/2014. I have consulted for private intelligence firms and project management, and I count among my friends current and former diplomats, contractors, and servicemen and woman, from many, many nations.
Navigating through all of these worlds successfully means that I have had to stay up to date on what is going on in all corners of the world. Knowing the current political discussions between Washington DC and whatever country I was in at the time often made the difference in everything I did. Was today going to be a good day or a bad day? Had Washington made our job on the ground easier or harder?
I don’t get out and go on adventures anymore—I am happily married now, and I love married life—but I still keep up with my former lives.
And it’s all this that I bring to the table to tell my stories. Jack and Ethan came from my days in DC and working in the government. I knew many out and proud LGBT officers, agents, and political aides. I firmly believe that an out and proud head of an agency—say, the Secret Service?—and an out and proud Senator, Congressmen, and even President, are within reach.
Prince Faisal Al-Saud came from my experiences in the Middle East. (And, wow, do I have a lot more to write about from the Middle East. I have several stories I want to tell about being gay in the Middle East, about identity, about the struggle for freedom from so many different kinds of oppression.) He is my most challenging character to write, but also one of the most rewarding.
And, Sergey and Sasha, my Russians? Well, they’re my awkward characters at the moment. ☺ I wrote Enemies of the State when Donald Trump was a laughable option as a president, and no one thought that Russia was too close to the United States president. That said, Russian President Sergey Puchkov is NOT a thinly veiled reference to Putin. Instead, he represents what Russia could be post-Putin. He rose to power within Putin’s twisted government, and his goal has been to transform Russia into a truly new country, free from Putin’s corruption and twisted politics. You can see how well that works out for him in Enemy of My Enemy.
I create the bricks and blocks of my stories by combining my unconventional life, my what-if questions, and my hopes for the future. The details are rounded out through lived experience and research, where the gaps remain. (I can’t know everything. ☺ ) A question of “What would happen if a president fell in love with his Secret Service agent” turns into an exploration of identity, set against the background of a coup, and laden with suspense as the audience watches betrayal strike our heroes, right when they’re finally, finally coming together.
And, why add a romance component, especially LGBT romance? Love between two men? Because every single person deserves to fall in love with the love of their life, no matter their sexuality or gender identity. Telling these stories is important. Seeing gay men (and all LGBT peoples) as heroes(ines), as protagonists, as powerful people in control of their lives, and shaping their own destinies, is important. The time of LGBT characters as sidekicks and afterthoughts is at an end. We need to claim our power and make our presence known. We are here. We are heroes. We’re not afterthoughts.
On a personal note, I lived a large part of my life as a hardened person. I didn’t have time for romance, and I didn’t care to change that. I worked all over the world, I did not-so-nice things, and romance wasn’t on my agenda. I didn’t really like myself. How could I find any space to love another? I spent some time working on myself, untangling parts that had gone awry and gluing together pieces that had broken. Once I worked on myself and found happiness with myself, I was then able to let another person into my life. I found my husband shortly thereafter. Actually, I bumped into him after I came to the gleeful, joyous acceptance that I was going to remain happily single for the rest of my life. Like, a week later. Not even joking.
I lived that journey – from hardened to open, from guarded to joined. From uncertain and afraid of myself and my identity to accepting who I was and who I loved. Finding a man who loved me—every single bit of me—and wants to wake up every day by my side. That’s my happy ending.
Let’s go create more.
Executive Office Series Announcement!
Release Date Alert!
The third book in the Executive Office, the sequel to Enemy of My Enemy, will release on March 28th 2017 at Amazon, Smashwords, and other major ebook & print retailers.
Tal Bauer is an award-winning and best-selling author of LGBT romantic thrillers, bringing together a career in law enforcement and international humanitarian aid to create dynamic characters, intriguing plots, and exotic locations. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.
Pronouns: They/them or he/him
Stay connected with Tal Bauer and be the first to see the title reveal, cover reveal, and blurb reveal! Newsletter Subscribers will see it all first, before anyone else!
Alpha Book Club is Going to give away $10 to Amazon or Dreamspinner Press –
Winner’s Choice of Vendor
Leave a comment on this blog post telling us
- if you have read Tal’s series;
- if you are looking forward to book 3;
- if you like Political Thrillers;
- something you would love to see Tal write about in a guest post!
Let’s welcome him right!
One Random person will be chosen from all who comment as the winner!
Contest Closes – February 19th @ 11:59pm EST
Winner of this Contest is Didi!
Congrats! Please check your email for a message !!
Until next month where I hear we will have a couple ARCS of book 3 to giveaway ????