Monday, August 21, 2017

Blog Tour Review: Grounded by Aidan Wayne

by Aidan Wayne
Release Date: August 21, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, chefs, children, contemporary, sports, gay, pansexual, trans

Between raising his daughter Camille, his work as a full-time pastry chef, and his hobby of capoeira, Baz’s life is pretty full. He may be a little lonely, but he’s too busy to think about it all that much.

When his cousin Alaina introduces him to Terry, another capoeira student, Baz is instantly drawn to him. Though quiet and withdrawn, Terry ends up being a fun, interesting person who Baz can’t help but fall for. And when Baz does things, he doesn’t do them halfway.

Terry is a successful voice actor and a talented martial artist. But the fact that he’s shy, on top of being a trans man, has kept him from really dating. He likes Baz, he does—he just doesn’t want to mess up their friendship by failing at romance. Still, Baz is nothing if not stubborn, and Terry is willing to give things a try.

This is a story of single father, Baz who is a pastry chef and a trans man, Terry. They both met through mutual friends and their similar interest in capoeira. Baz has a young daughter, who is a total cutie. The relationship progression seems pretty smooth sailing and low angst despite Terry's constant insecurities. Baz was totally patient and devoted to show Terry that he is really serious about liking him. I find it quite hard to relate to Terry and I wish I understand more where he is coming from. I wonder is it all about his gender dysphoria or something else. Heat wise, it was pretty low and some scene were fade to black. I'm not one that need explicit scene, although I do love them, but Baz and Terry's relationship felt lukewarm to me. This is a short story with some interesting characters and touch on gender transitioning, which I still find it fascinating. Overall, an okay short read, but I wish there is more depth of the relationship and the characters in general.

Character Bio Baz

Baz Moreau is 24 years old and originally from France. His parents own and run an antique business and they travel around a lot to stock their stores, so they had a very hands-off approach to raising Baz. When he was about twelve, his mother’s sister, Emma, insisted that Baz be raised in a more stable environment. Baz had stayed with Emma a lot growing up, and his cousin Alaina was basically a sister to him, so his parents agreed. He doesn’t begrudge his parents for this and credits it to being a factor in how independent is. He also got his aunt Emma and cousin Alaina out of the deal, so he’s not about to complain. 

Baz was always interested in desserts and their creation (he watches a lot of baking shows and YouTube) and started teaching himself when he was a kid, a go-to hobby when his parents weren’t really around. It was pretty natural for him to decide that he wanted to be a pastry chef, and made plans to start studying seriously right after he graduated high school. He was going to move back to France -his parents owned an apartment in Paris that they offered to him- and dedicate his time to culinary school and the art of French pastry.

A wrench was thrown into his plans when Camille came along. Baz was eighteen when he became a single father. Camille’s mother absolutely did not want to be in the picture, but Baz convinced her to keep the baby on the grounds that Camille would be his and his alone. He wouldn’t change things for the world, but his life did become a lot more complicated. With aunt Emma promising to help raise Camille while Baz went to culinary school, he gave up his dream to go to France in order to make sure he was giving Camille the best, most stable environment he could. It meant long days and even longer nights, but he managed to juggle taking care of his baby girl (with Emma and Alina’s profusely appreciated help), going to school, and working an entry-level job in a restaurant.

Once Camille got old enough for daycare and then school, Baz got to carve out a little more time for himself. Though he was a martial artist, he hadn’t really practiced with a school since before Camille. When aunt Emma and her partner Andre decided to open up a capoeira school together, Baz discovered how much he loved it, and threw himself into practice and classes. 

Baz is a big believer in living life to the fullest and putting all your energy and effort into everything you do. He works hard and plays hard and lives and loves with just as much intensity. This can be off-putting to some people, who can’t take how much Baz is on all the time. But Baz is also aware of this; he’s patient and kind and does his best to make everyone around him as comfortable as he can.

Because of Camille, Baz hasn’t dated a lot in the last five years. At first it was because he was simply too busy for it, but then it started coming down to the fact that most people didn’t want the addition of a child in a relationship. This was pretty hard on Baz at first, because of how he loves and wants to love. But in the end he decided that, though he wanted a partner to be part of his family, Camille was obviously always going to be the most important person in his life, and he couldn’t bring himself to regret that. 

Baz didn’t expect to meet Terry, and he expected to immediately be drawn to him even less. But, like with everything else he does one-hundred-and-ten percent, when Baz falls, he falls hard; it wasn’t a surprise that he was smitten with Terry pretty much from the get-go. Terry required a lot of patience and open communication, but those are two things Baz is really good at.

Baz was going to throw up.

It was finally time for the Roda Capoeira showcase. Baz’s martial arts school put on a demo once a year, and he was one of two people demonstrating advanced flips. He was ready, he’d been practicing for weeks, the show started in ten minutes, he was the eighth performer out of twelve, and he was going to seriously throw up if he thought anymore about performing in front of an audience. He was fine with regular capoeira games, the fighting dance performed in a rodacircle. But for some reason this felt a lot different from playing a game with his regular group.

Maybe it was because Andre and Aunt Emma had collaborated with the local community broadcast system, so there were television cameras around.

There was a quick rapping on the dressing room door—three sharp knocks to warn them all before it was pushed open. Someone Baz had never seen before walked in, looking for all the world like they belonged there.

“Terry!” Lydia, who was closest to the door, immediately rushed at them, throwing her arms around their neck. They looked tiny next to Lydia’s five-ten frame but didn’t buckle after being practically jumped on. “Oh my god, Terry, you’re back! Guys, Terry’s here!”

Baz turned to get a better look, grateful for the distraction, as all of the eleven other performers made their way toward the door and the short dark-haired newcomer, who quickly disappeared underneath a multitude of hugs. Dee, who had been putting on their makeup, practically tripped over themselves to run forward.

“Hey everyone,” Terry said, muffled under Dee and Alaina. “Missed you.”

“I’m glad you made it. Welcome back.” Andre grinned, clapping Terry on the back.

“Well, I couldn’t miss the showcase,” Terry said, smiling down at the floor. They spoke quietly, but in a way that carried. “And I’ll be coming back to classes finally. Got my schedule changed around. Just wanted to tell you all that I’m here. Put on a good show so I can see what I missed?”

“Yeah, of course,” Lydia said.

“I’ll let you guys finish getting ready. See you all soon.”

They left with a wave and a bunch of goodbyes, with a promise to Andre they’d come backstage again after the show.

Baz caught Alaina’s arm as she made her way back to the mirrors to finish helping Dee with their makeup. (Dee used they/them pronouns, so when it doubt, that was what Baz had learned to default to.) “Who was that? I’ve never seen them before.”

Alaina looked delighted. “That was Terry. I think I’ve mentioned him to you before? He’s the guy who does Tae Kwon Do and likes all the same bands as you. You’d be great friends. I’m so glad he’s back—I’ve been dying to introduce you. And, you know, see him again.”

“Has he been coming to capoeira for a long time?”

“He’s been pretty off and on. But it sounds like he’s going to be back.”

“Five minutes till curtain, everyone,” Andre called. “Let’s get into our seats.”

The performers all rushed around finishing up last-minute touches, and Baz was distracted enough by the commotion and the rest of the showcase that his nerves died down, at least a little bit.

Aidan Wayne has been a jeweler, paralegal, neurofeedback technician, and martial arts instructor. And that’s not even the whole list. They’ve been in constant motion since before they were born (pity Aidan’s mom!)—and being born didn’t change anything. When not moving, Aidan is usually writing, so things tend to balance out. They primarily write character-driven stories with happy endings, because, dammit, queer people deserve happy endings too.

Aidan has several plants: Viola and Baby V., the African violets; George, the ponytail palm; Antigone, the orchid; and an unidentified succulent, the-plant-that-has-not-yet-been-named-but-is-often-called-Steve. They live with their plants on the seventh floor of an apartment building. The building has an elevator, but Aidan refuses to acknowledge its existence.

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