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The Awakening

A Different Kind of Family

by K G Follett

The Awakening - KG Follett - A Different Kind of Family
Editions:Paperback: $ 8.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1983241932
Pages: 197

Brad Kelly is preparing for “The Big Day”. Standing in front of the mirror, he wonders when he began looking so old. He did not particularly feel almost 60 years old. But still, how many people his age were about to embark on a so many life changing events all at one time? Fortunately, he had a good team to work with – his “family” – and that should ensure success.

But how he got to this point was a long, sometimes twisted path. Here he remembers his early years, that involved coming out, being rejected by his blood family, losing his best friend, and finding the first major love of his life. Through laughter, tears, love, loss and many unexpected events – both happy and sad (and sometimes just bizarre), Brad reminisces over his early life and how it started him on the path to where he is on this very special day. It was during this time in his life he began to learn the true meaning of the words “Love” and “Family”.

“The Awakening” is a retrospective of growing up and coming out in the 1970s and 1980s, in a typical midwestern environment of that time period. In those early days of the gay rights movement, coming out was an often scary and sometimes dangerous endeavor. While it is never an easy process to realize you are “not like everyone else”, the past twenty years have brought the LGBTQ+ community many protections that we did not have back then. As we approach the third decade of the twenty-first century, we seem to be teetering on the brink of returning to those not-so-happy-or-safe times.

Published:
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: MM
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian
Protagonist 1 Age: Varies During Story
Protagonist 2 Age: Varies During Story
Tropes: Coming of Age, Coming Out / Closeted, Death of Parent, Married Life, True Love
Word Count: 33250
Setting: DeKalb and Rockford, Illinois
Languages Available: English
Excerpt:

*** Prologue ***

MEMORIES

 

 

July, 2014:  Rockton, Illinois

 

The cell phone alarm buzzed persistently.   Brad Kelly barely opened his eyes as he reached over to look at the time showing on the face of his phone.  Six a.m., it read.  He swiped the snooze choice, rolled over and went back to sleep.    Again, the alarm began its persistent buzz at six-fifteen.  Another snooze swipe.

Finally, when his cell phone buzzed at six-thirty, Brad sat up on the edge of the bed and turned the phone’s alarm off.  He stretched and yawned before standing up to stumble into the bathroom.  He had taken his phone with him and noticed it was displaying a notification that today was “THE BIG DAY”.  He sighed.

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Looking in the mirror, Brad wondered when he began looking so old.  He did not particularly feel almost sixty.  But still, how many people his age were embarking on a so many life-changing events, all at one time?  Retirement, a new business, and a new phase in his relationship.  It seemed like an awful lot to be taking on at this point in his life.

Fortunately, he had a good team to work with – his family.  The family he had spent the better part of four decades piecing together, through a life journey filled with unexpected twists and turns.  It would be the people in that family who ensured his happiness and the success of these new ventures.

Yet, the sight of the aging man in the mirror brought doubts and apprehension into his head.  But “age” is really just a number, right?   Thanks to modern medicine and good genetics, he looked like a forty-five-year-old of thirty years ago.

Still, all the signs of advancing years were staring him in the face:  the graying hair, the tiny wrinkles increasing around his eyes and mouth, the chest and stomach muscles that seemed to be headed south, the graying fur on his chest and belly.  He remembered a time many years earlier, when a look in the mirror revealed quite a different picture.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

K G (Ken) Follett has lived in Rockford, Illinois for over thirty years.  Born in the Chicago area, he moved to Rockford after growing up in the suburbs and exurbs.  He graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1980, with a BS degree in business/marketing, and worked in the banking and marketing fields for over fifteen years.  After his move to “the Forest City”, he obtained his ADN from Rock Valley College in 1997, and began working as a Registered Nurse.  He now lives with and is happily married to his partner of nearly twenty years, Brent Cabrera.

Follett started writing the short story about a gay man named Brad Kelly the mid-1990s as an “escape” during a difficult time in his life.  (He had been told in school that he had a good “conversational” writing style, but never attempted anything beyond his school assignments.)  During the Clinton years, with the AIDS crisis still out of control, the term “family” was being hijacked by various socio-political groups to be used to “morally” bash LGBTQ and other alternative family structures.  Follett felt compelled to write something positive about being LGBTQ in modern “middle” America, and his original short story began to grow.  Hence the concept of A Different Kind of Family as a novel was born.

However, as the new millennium dawned, Follett put the story aside due to positive changes in his life.  The story lay forgotten for nearly two decades, until he rediscovered the unfinished manuscript in a file cabinet in his basement in early 2017.  Inspired by the ever-increasing numbers of gay romance novels he had been reading, and by numerous gay feature and short films he had watched on the internet, Follett decided to revisit Brad Kelly’s life in earnest.  He revamped his original concept and completed the book, publishing it that September.

Shortly thereafter, he realized he had grown attached to a number of peripheral characters in the novel, and he launched The Bears’ Den series of books devoted to them (Frankie & Josh:  The Faces of Love, Jacob Makes Three, and Transformations).  After publishing the third The Bear’s Den book in the spring of 2018, Follett revisited his original story.  He found that his characters still had more to tell about themselves.  Hence, A Different Kind of Family: The Trilogy was born, delving more deeply into the lives of Brad and his “family”.  He split the original novel in to three free-standing books, each covering a different “era” of Brad Kelly’s life.

More recently, Follett has been spreading his literary wings, with an historical fiction novel reviewing the early AIDS crisis of the 1980s and its effects on those who lived through it and those who are long-term survivors (Never Too Late).  His most recent publication was his first exploration of the Science Fiction genre with a gay twist.  It explores artificial intelligence and human emotions as well as time travel (Ganymede:  Time for Love).  His current project, Hello Again, is a gay romance novel with a bit of a paranormal twist.

In his books the author’s attempts to reclaim the terms “family” and “love” to be used legitimately for any kind of family structure in today’s society.  He also hopes to shed light on how LGBTQ life has improved over the past five decades, what challenges the LGBTQ community still faces, and what could be lost if we do not remain vigilant in these tumultuous times.


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