Guest Post: Tempeste O’Riley

I have a guest blogger today – Tempeste O’Riley just released a romance novel with a disabled protagonist, and I was delighted to have her here to blog about that! So I’ll hand the floor over to Tempeste.

Good morning everyone and thank you Layla for hosting Designs of Desire, and me, the author, lol. Today I’m discussing an oft ignored topic… the disabled MC. It’s a topic that many don’t think about or concern themselves with—almost like if someone has a disability they aren’t a whole sexual being… Seriously? Everyone can have a fully enriching life despite physical or mental limitations. That said though, when I sat down to wrote DoD I didn’t say “Oh, I want to write a story where a disabled guy finds love.” No, what I thought about was how frustrated I get about how others perceive me and often treat me because I use forearm crutches and can’t walk much—or stand long without serious pain. The pity, anger, or out right dismissal of my existence. And so, James Bryant was born!

For James part of his disability is genetic (EDS – same as mine) and part is thanks to an ex and the damage done by him, but where a disability comes from has nothing to do with who the person is inside. Too often, in my opinion, the person that isn’t “perfect” gets passed over and ignored both in real life and in romance. I wanted James to find his “prince” and get his HEA, despite what the hate and/or pity of others had taught him about himself and his possibilities for love.

As I’ve stated before, I know what it’s like to be seen for your assistive aids instead of for who you are and that is one of James’s biggest problems. He hates that people see his “sticks” instead of him. He’s given up on finding his prince and on love for himself in general.

In giving James his prince, Seth was born. Seth Burns is not a man that cares about such trifles. If he sees something in you he likes, then that’s it. Period. The catch is convincing James that he’s serious and that he’ll not turn into another monster… like his previous partners have.

Now, I’m not the only one to think this way, though maybe not always from a personal view point. Books such as Andrew Grey’s A Helping of Love or  Love Comes SilentlyPlay It Again, Charlie, by R. Cooper; or  Fix This, Sir, by Jaime Samms, do a wonderful job of depicting various disabilities and showing how, even when they don’t fit the masses “ideal of perfection” so many strive for, love and HEA’s are obtainable.

Yes, these are all fiction, but believe me; it’s just as possible in the real world, if only you open your eyes to the blessing and beauty within others and not just their wrappings.

Designs-of-Desire-200 Designs of Desire
by Tempeste O’Riley
M/M Erotic BDSM/Kink Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 29th 2013
Length: Novel / 200 pages

Where to buy: Dreamspinner Press   Rainbow eBooks  All Romance Amazon   B & N

Artist James Bryant has forearm crutches in every color from rainbow for fun to sleek black for business. He even has a pair with more paint splatters than metal. After his family’s rejection and abuse from a man he thought loved him, James only just gets through the day by painting. He lives in constant fear that he’s not worthy of anything, let alone love.

As CEO of his company, Carrington Enterprises, Seth Burns is a take-charge kind of guy, and he is instantly smitten by the artist helping with his newest project. When he witnesses James suffer a panic attack, a protective instinct he never knew he had kicks in. He truly believes nothing is unobtainable—including James—if he’s willing to put in the time and effort.

James is shy and confused by Seth’s interest in him as a person. With Seth’s support, can he work through his fears to finally find the true love he deserves, or will someone finally land the crushing blow he won’t survive?


James gestured to the chair across the conference table and hoped Seth would sit. He hated to be stood over. Seth smiled and settled into the chair indicated. “Now, what can I do for you, sir?”

“We, Carrington Enterprises, are beginning a new venture and hope you can help with designs. Companies I can manage; design and draw, not so much.”

James nodded at Seth’s pause.

“Let me start by explaining the project you will brand. We’re opening a new hotel chain. This will be a little different than your usual hotel, though. Each site will be more like a large bed and breakfast, but they will cater to the GLBT community. It’s often an issue when a couple wants to vacation. They have to consider the area, the hotel, the other patrons even if they want to do something as simple as hold hands. That is, if they don’t want to be met with hate or possible violence.”

James wasn’t sure which impressed him more, the wonderful idea behind the hotel or the deep, commanding voice that instilled confidence in everything he said.

Obviously unaware of James’s internal dialog, Seth continued his spiel. “With our liberal policies and views, we have decided to make a place where judgment doesn’t exist. At least, that’s the theory.”

God, that voice! He shivered.

“Also, each site will have a club, bar, or restaurant attached. So, this will be an ongoing project, not a one-shot deal.” When finished with his little speech, Seth seemed inordinately pleased with the idea.

No wonder Brian gave me the account. He didn’t realize he had spoken aloud until Seth glowered at him.

“Excuse me?” Seth snapped. “I was assured you have no personal issues or biases that might hinder your ability to provide the needed work. Was I incorrectly informed?”

“No. No, sir. I apologize for my comment. It was out of line,” James said in a rush, trying to smooth over the obvious irritation his thoughtless words had caused.

“Are you able to do the branding or should I continue elsewhere?” Seth demanded.

“You misunderstand, Mr. Burns. I had wondered why I was given your account, considering I’m not one of the senior designers and your account would normally be reserved for one of them. Now that I hear what the project is, I understand why I was chosen.” He knew he was babbling but he couldn’t help it. “You see, I’m the only openly gay designer here and my family runs a small bed and breakfast. This project is perfect. In fact, once we have the branding set up, I’m sure I can point you in the right direction for some specialized marketing. Magazines, newspapers, websites, etcetera. We will help you with all of that, as well.” James tried to restrain the extent of his excitement over the project, but was unsure how successful he was. He didn’t want to seem flippant or inexperienced after admitting he was a junior designer with Skye Designs.

Seth raised an eyebrow and smiled. “Excited, are we? Carl said you were the man for the job. I guess he was right if enthusiasm counts. I have a full write-up of what we need and what we do and do not want to incorporate into the brand.” His smile fell and he became all business again. “This is an upscale getaway, not a high-priced bathhouse.”

“Understood, sir. I think the idea will work in areas with a large enough population of GLBT and open-minded people.” His hands itched to begin sketching and planning.

“Good. Once you’ve read over everything and start your designing, I want you to visit the site we chose for the first hotel. It’s here in Milwaukee, so it shouldn’t be too far for you. Would you be ready by Friday?” At James’s accord, Seth opened his briefcase and began pulling out folders and large manila envelopes and setting them in front of James. He paused, peered up at James, and blinked hard. “I should call someone to carry these things for you,” he mumbled, glancing at the items and toward James’s crutches. “You can’t fit all this in your bag.”

James pinched the bridge of his nose while counting to ten in his head. Why do they always see the sticks instead of me? “Mr. Burns.”

“Seth, please,” he interrupted, giving James a soft smile.

“Seth, Chase acts as my assistant when needed. He will tend to anything I can’t transfer up to my office personally. There is no need to be concerned.”

A strange look flashed across Seth’s face, but his expression quickly returned to his previous in-command smile. “Very good then.”

They chatted a bit about ideas and plans before Seth shifted his coat sleeve back to check his watch. With a slight frown, he said, “Well, I need to head back to the office. I will leave this all in your fine hands, James. Please call me here.” He pulled out his business card and wrote something on the back. “I look forward to our next meeting.”

Seth held out his hand. James flexed his fingers and clasped the offering. He knew this was for work, but somehow it felt different this time. Warm and strong, the grip shot tingles up his arm. Seth seemed to hold on a little longer than necessary for business needs. It had been so long since a man touched him, at least without violence or pain. James shook off the thought he might be interested. Beautiful men like Seth didn’t waste their time on guys like him. Besides, he wasn’t certain he wanted to go down such a painful road again.

James stood in the doorway, watching Seth saunter out the main doors, wishing for something, though not really sure what.

Where to find Tempeste:

Website Goodreads  Twitter  Facebook  Google + DSP Blog

I'm a writer and artist living in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Posted in Books - Other People, Guest Posts
4 comments on “Guest Post: Tempeste O’Riley
  1. slhuang says:

    I really like everything you said here. I would love, love, love there to be more books with disabled MCs.

    I’m not disabled myself, but I’ve had good friends who are. And they’re people. They’re not synonymous with their chairs or other assistive aids. They’re smart / sweet / snarky / sexy PEOPLE, with very diverse passions and dreams, and it frustrates me no end when the disability is the be-all, end-all of a character’s existence in fiction.

    Romance isn’t usually my genre (I’m a SFF reader, which brings on a whole ‘nother headache with the “magical cure” narratives . . .), but honestly, a big part of the reason it’s not my genre is my frustration with exactly the “perfect” protagonists you talked about (they usually make me want to pitch a book across the room). I’m definitely going to check out your book and the other ones you linked, because this sounds much more like a romance I’d be interested in. 🙂

    • Layla Lawlor says:

      \o/ I agree with this so much! I would love to see more disabled characters who are as complicated and different from one another as non-disabled characters. I think writers often fall into the trap of either treating the disability as the sum of the characterization, or avoiding it completely and writing physically perfect characters so they don’t have to worry about it. And I certainly don’t want to fault any author for writing their characters the way they see them … that is, I don’t think anyone should need to feel guilty for not writing disabled characters, or feel like they need to give their character a disability just to score points.

      But I would LOVE to see more characters who are silly/funny/shy/a jerk/loves cats/wants to be an artist/can’t stand kids/etc and ALSO are blind/paraplegic/missing a limb/mentally ill/etc.

      Actually, this is a good reminder that I should try to work it into my own fiction a bit more. 🙂

  2. Great post, ladies. Those of us who don’t write alpha heroes are taking over Romance! 🙂

    • Layla Lawlor says:

      I say the alpha males have held the field long enough; not that they need to vanish or anything, but it’s definitely time for the quiet, gentle boys to get their share of the spotlight. 🙂

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