Q. Kelly lives in Virginia. She is a writer and an editor. She also has a master's degree in deaf education. In her free time, she hikes and savors frappuccinos. Find her online at qkelly.blogspot.com and qkelly.wordpress.com. Follow her on Twitter (Q__Kelly) and friend her on Facebook (facebook.com/yllekq).
Strange Bedfellowsby Q. Kelly
Judges' comments: I've read books that are so good that I just can't put them down until I finish them. I've also read books that have been very difficult to get through because they are terrible. This book was different. I wanted the story to go on forever and found myself putting it down just so that I could come back
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Second-place 2011 Rainbow Award winner:
Judges' comments: I've read books that are so good that I just can't put them down until I finish them. I've also read books that have been very difficult to get through because they are terrible. This book was different. I wanted the story to go on forever and found myself putting it down just so that I could come back to it later! It's kind of difficult to explain but it was so well written, and the characters were so realistic, I just wanted to have it to come back to again and again. Great read! --Mitzie
Loved the characters, loved the story! --Tammy
Frances Dourne is apparently a shining example for ex-gays. She runs Gay is a Choice, a national ex-gays group. What people do not know is that she is deeply unhappy. She is ready to come out of the closet and be true to herself. She seeks help and feedback--and okay, maybe a sexual treat or two--from a high-class call girl.
Elena, the call girl, wants to escape from the realities of her past, and her job allows her to do so. She never gets attached to her clients, but her new client surprises her. Can Elena and Frances learn to trust each other enough to find the love they seek in each other's arms?
This book is 75,000 words.
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At first, I thought this was going to be a parody---religious fundamentalist reparative therapy woman hires a prostitute to assist with Outing herself. Strange bedfellows indeed! But in the reliably competent hands of author Q. Kelly, the initial disbelief I felt at the pairing became progressively intriguing by their compelling chemistry. I'll leave it to others to dissect the storyline, but, for the most part, I'd say the plot becomes more realistic with each developing twist. The characters, drawn beautifully as they thrust and parry, as it were, try valiantly to keep their interactions "strictly business." They typically meet in a Howard Johnson suite...and the old orange and turquoise décor of that venerable chain from my own young adult years is a humorous reminder that all kinds of assignations took place at HOJOs over the years. Perfect venue for this story! Kelly's command of believable dialog, interior and exterior, gave this story an interesting and complex texture varied to accommodate the point-of-view of the character speaking. Her transitions between interior and exterior dialog were smooth and unobtrusive and seemed to come at points where one would think, "Oh dear! What's the response to this going to be?" Although the characters are drawn together by cold hard cash in search of a worthy recipient, I thought the secondary story of the two main women's simpatico over their personal histories involving a lost child was a bit forced, and too coincidental to be fully believable. But, once one accepted that as the characters' "soul mate" connection, the secondary stories were good. The character of the young girl, estranged daughter of one of the main characters, was wonderfully drawn. Perfect tempo, perfect teenage use of language and perfect mindset of said teen. I can't help but think Kelly has a secondary, or parallel, career offshoot in the world of YA, especially GLBT YA. The formatting was perfect, the book is readable on multiple formats, and the cover was perfect for the novel. There was only that one earlier mentioned bit of plot manipulation, but even that does not keep this from being a very good read. Although that one item kept the book from being a full-on five star, for me, I can also say Kelly's efforts are edging deliciously close to that fifth star, and in so doing, upping the anticipation ante for her next book.
Wow! What a great read! Frances is an ex-gay (actually the current president of an ex-gay group) who is planning to come out. She hires Elena to help her. Elena just so happens to be a call girl. Frances initially hires Elena to be a support person...someone to help her along the road of coming out to her family and the people of her ex-gay organization. Frances specifically tells Elena that she wants no touching, only an unbiased person to listen and help in a non-sexual way. However, sparks begin to fly as the two grow closer together and get closer to the official coming out day for Frances. Q. Kelly has a talent for drawing you into the story, with believable and relatable characters, realistic situations, and a few twists here and there. I wanted the two women to get together from the very beginning, despite their very different lives. The writing is impeccable and I can't wait to read more from this talented author!