Title: Bad Dogs and Drag Queens (Rose and Thorne #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Julie Lynn Hayes (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 25, 2016 – 50,000 Words
Vinnie Delarosa and Ethan Thorne are partners—on and off the clock. Federal undercover detectives, they’re part of a covert task force designed to promote goodwill between the feds and local authorities.
They lend an unobtrusive helping hand wherever it’s needed. No credit required.
Vinnie and Ethan work primarily in the Southeast region of the United States and live together in Richmond, Virginia. A mugger problem brings them to Roanoke, where Vinnie is thrown out as bait to catch the man who’s been snatching purses in a city park, but they end up with more than they bargained for. Why is Vinnie always the one who has to wear the dress? Ethan says it’s because Vinnie looks much prettier in a skirt. How can he argue with that?
Expecting to return to Richmond afterward, Vinnie and Ethan find themselves assigned a new case instead. They are to go undercover at The Stroll, one of the biggest gay nightclubs in Roanoke. Someone is terrorizing both the customers and the performers. Could they be dealing with a hate crime?
Someone has to protect the drag queens of Roanoke, so it’s Vinnie and Ethan to the rescue!
The author is donating 10% of the royalties from this book to No Kid Hungry. Visit nokidhungry.org for more information about this organization.
This story took me a while to get into. I felt like I was plunged into the action without understanding much of anything about the characters. And when we did get to know the characters, I really couldn’t tell whether the author actually had any respect for the drag queens in the story.
Ethan and Vinnie’s relationship felt incredibly odd to me. At times, Vinnie felt like Ethan’s effeminate pet – except they were both supposed to be kick-ass undercover secret agents. Secret agents who specialised in dressing Vinnie up as a woman to catch bad guys. Hmm. It just didn’t make any sense. The first scene was ridiculous. Dress Vinnie up as a woman to catch a bad guy who mugs women in a park. Don’t they have female agents? Why the charade?
For me, this didn’t work as a romance. Ethan didn’t seem to have enough respect for Vinnie as an equal. I never really understood whether the cross-dressing was a fetish for Ethan or something Vinnie actually enjoyed.
I’ve added a star because there was more warmth in the second half of the book and the mystery was actually interesting. But as a reader who loves androgynous and gender fluid characters, as someone who can really get behind a hero in drag – there was a hint of condescension towards the drag queens in this story, a slight sneer in the narrative tone that I really didn’t enjoy.
“Remind me again whose stupid idea this lipstick was,” I huffed under my breath.
Without thinking, I licked my lips. They felt greasy, and tasted even worse. I forced myself not to grimace, afraid it might crack the foundation I’d slathered on my face.
“Mine, you sexy beast,” came the smart-ass reply in my ear. “I think you got purty lips, mmhmmm.”
“Fuck you,” I growled. “You should be doing this, not me, and you know it. I did it last time.”
And the time before that. And the time before that. Wait, did I detect a pattern here?
“What I know is you look better in a skirt than I do. And you look damn good out of it too.”
My cheeks filled with heat at Ethan’s words. Luckily the darkness hid a multitude of sins, my embarrassment being the least of them. Hopefully, no one else was listening—I knew I’d never hear the end of it. Just what I needed—to be the object of ridicule of the Roanoke PD.
1) What genre is your book and what drew you to this genre?
Bad Dogs and Drag Queens is a m/m contemporary romance. I write primarily in the m/m genre, although I also enjoy paranormal, and am writing a detective novel too. My two daughters got me interested in m/m stories, and introduced me to yaoi and fanfiction both. I had no idea they existed before that. I started writing fanfiction, and then m/m fanfiction, and haven’t stopped since. That just goes to show that children can and do teach their parents lol
2) How many days a week do you write?
I try to write seven days a week, at least for a little bit every day. Sometimes I write at work, on my breaks and at lunch. If I didn’t have to work, I’d write more every day. Maybe someday!
3) On average, how long does it take to write a book?
There is no such thing as average with me. My books run the gamut from short stories of 10k or so to novels that run over 100k. It depends on how much time I have to write, also, and how much multi-tasking I’m doing. Right now, I’m averaging one of my Rose and Thorne books within about two months.
4) Do you have a trailer for your book? If yes, give us the link. If not, do you think you’d like to have one done at some point?
No, I don’t have one, and I would love to have one. Maybe I’ll do it myself. I got a different program than I did when I did my first trailer. I just need time to get used to it.
5) If I could be a character in a book, I would be _______?
Lucifer, either from Paradise Lost or the graphic novels by Mike Carey (Ignore the TV show, it’s totally got it wrong). He is charming, slick, handsome, highly intelligent, and totally awesome.
Julie Lynn Hayes first began publishing short stories and poetry in the 1990’s, when it was a different ballgame altogether, and Ebooks hadn’t been dreamed of yet. That changed in 2010 with the acceptance of her first romance novel. She’s come a long way since that first book appeared, and is finding the journey a very educational one.
She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and her cat Ramesses. She often writes of two men finding true love and happiness in one another’s arms, and is a great believer in the happily ever after. She likes to write in different genres, to stretch herself in order to see what is possible. Her great challenge is to be told something can’t be done—she feels compelled to do it.
When she isn’t writing, she enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross stitch, needlepoint and knitting, and she loves to cook, spending time watching the Food Network. Her favorite chef is Geoffrey Zakarian. Her family thinks she’s a bit off, but she doesn’t mind. Marching to the beat of one’s own drummer is a good thing, after all. Her published works can be found at Dreamspinner Press, eXtasy Books, and Wayward Ink Press.