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Trust Trade by Ki Brightly

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Hello All! I would like to thank Divine Magazine for having me as a guest. My newest book Trust Trade is set to release today, January 27th, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Every single book I’ve had published has a small piece of my soul trapped between its pages. I spend a lot of time and mental energy on them and each one is special in its own way.

Trust Trade means a lot to me because it is the first book I threw aside caution for. I truly pushed myself writing it. There are several dark, twisted themes wrapped around the main plot. There were times when I had to stop writing this book and set it aside for a day or two because what I was writing was getting to me, but I would still have to say talking about my books post production for blog tours and such is the hardest part of writing. I kind of feel like I’m done, finite, when I have a paperback in hand, but that’s not the case. I mulled over the story, flipping the book around in my hands, sniffing that new ink smell, trying to come up with something worthwhile to talk about. After a few days something unexpected surfaced. In writing Trust Trade, I didn’t set out to have any sort of social commentary in it, I write to entertain for the most part, but there is one subtheme that, though it could easily be ignored, does count as social commentary.

What is that theme?

Body image.

I think it might be necessary to note that I don’t necessarily consider body image to only be how we feel about the way we look, but how we interact with our own body in our minds and how we allow others to consider it. By that I simply mean, if someone says something derogatory or cutting about our bodies and we let it get to us, that’s definitely a part of our body image. People can only really get to me—not just talking about getting angry because people are being rude—if I have that same feeling they pointed out (I’m too heavy or my hair is unnatractive…whatever.) slinking around in my brain somewhere. People can only truly turn our own worst imaginings against us.

Jeb has been making his living with his body since he was a teenager. In essence, he’s hyper aware of what his body means. He knows he looks good, but he doesn’t necessarily even enjoy that because it has been used against him time and again. At the outset of Trust Trade Jeb doesn’t have the best body relationship because he sees his body almost as more of an object than a part of himself. This disassociation is absolutely hurtful to any and all romantic emotional ties he attempts to form, and after his latest client cuts him loose because he’s getting “too old”, his relationship with his body becomes even more disjointed. It takes the entire book for him to finally find peace with himself.

Freddy is a fitness fanatic. He’s a sports nut, trains daily (or tries to), and he’s also a personal trainer. He has a lot of definite ideas on what people should and shouldn’t be doing with their bodies, health wise, and is stubborn about them. He’s not mean, but he is single minded. This part of his personality arose out of personal observation of some people in the fitness world. I have been in and out of gyms since college, and most recently have started marathon training. Some athletically minded people become very strict about their regime, extremely holier than thou with it. Their daily workout is their religion and whatever diet or training fad they prescribe to is their sect. And honestly, that’s their deal. I think it’s good to have something that makes you feel good and great to do things that keep you healthy, but not necessarily when people start using it to shame others and make them feel bad. There’s a fine line between being in peak physical condition and talking with other people about how they can get there too and using your own “perfection” to make others feel bad. Sadly, some people don’t realize when they’re crossing over into cutting people down.

Enter Detective Sellers. Sellers is with the Erie Police Department. He’s a mature guy, past his days of running down criminals on the beat. He isn’t normally the first person on a scene, but the last person who comes along to clean up messes. And over years of stakeouts and slogging through all nighters without much of a chance to make healthy choices he has put on weight. A lot of it. Sellers is good with himself, for the most part, but as a large guy surrounded by in shape cops most days of his life he has heard it all. Every new weight lifting diet. Every new gym that opens in town he gets an invite to go along with someone. And frankly, he’s sick of it. It isn’t as if he isn’t aware of his size.

For a good part of the book Freddy and Sellers go back and forth about his eating and work out habits. I didn’t write this in on purpose, but it was a clear illustration of the frustrations I’ve seen in others around me. It isn’t even a large focal point of the book, but body image itself does become a part of the story because every single character in the book struggles with it in some way.

Maybe body image is one of those universal themes that we don’t acknowledge as a culture? Sort of like love is a universal theme, and death, and coming of age. But body image makes us feel squirmy and uncomfortable, so we don’t like to think about it. It’s in a lot of books, especially in the romance genre, even with something as simple as “am I attractive enough to get X person’s attention?” And then, of course, there is the way that we as a culture at large tend to write and read about body perfect people, though I’m happy to see there is more and more diversity these days.

I think, in a weird way, it is good to address body image issues in fiction because it is something so many people actually struggle with day to day. With media pushing perfection, to be yourself, warts and all, is a true act of rebellion. I’m certainly not advocating being unhealthy because people don’t feel good when they have health problems, but body shaming has been proven again and again to be an excruciatingly hurtful and ineffective way to motivate a person to get fit. And at the end of the day, everyone has their own struggles and we don’t know what they are.

But something I think people forget when they are feeling bad, is that every single person out there is someone’s idea of perfection. Everyone is someone’s sauce.

In Trust Trade it takes Jeb a lot of work to get over the things that were done to him that make him feel the way he does about his body, and it takes Freddy a lot of time to let go of the idea that he must adhere to a strict regime with his workouts and that other things might be more important than his physicality. Jeb and Freddy’s story isn’t an easy, fluffy one, but I hope you’ll stick with them to their happy ending. These guys bring out the best parts of one another, and together they learn what it means to love someone else, exactly as they are.

Thanks once again to Divine Magazine for having me today, and happy reading everyone!

Ki Brightly

💕 Blurb

Life hasn’t been good to Jeb Birchman. When he attempted to escape his abusive, zealot father, he found himself on the streets, making a living the only way he knew how, the victim of more violent men—one of whom orchestrates a series of vicious attacks that leave Jeb deaf. Now that he’s aged beyond his latest client’s interest, Jeb knows he needs to escape his risky lifestyle before it’s too late. Seeing one last chance for himself, he earns a GED and enrolls in college.

Freddy Williams enjoys a life that couldn’t be more different from what Jeb has survived. He loves sports, being a personal trainer, and hanging out with friends. The son of deaf parents, Freddy is an outspoken advocate of the Deaf community and works as an interpreter at his college. When he meets Jeb at the bookstore, he’s struck by how attractive he is, and as they get to know each other, he finds Jeb’s good heart just as appealing. By the time he learns of Jeb’s past, it’s only a few steps behind them, and Freddy must make a choice between school and his familiar routine and protecting the man he’s falling in love with.

💕 Buy Links

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💕 Review by Truus

How to start a book…getting chased by your pimp who want to kill you.
I almost jumped out of my chair…

It’s raw…the life Jeb was living as a houseboy to Nolan then to old for a houseboy and put out on the streets then used as a fuckboy for Nolan’s buddy’s. Jeb needs the money so he finally can go to college. Freddie has his life under control his college, sports, the deaf community. When Freddie sees Jeb for the first time he’s striked by his beauty. Jeb is deaf not by birth but by cruelty. Freddie his parents are deaf by birth so he understands the difficulty. We can see the body language of both man and I mean not only the signs 🙂

Jeb has real issues with trust he has been hurt badly before. His experience is: after good there is always coming bad, really bad things. There is a lot of story. Jeb chased by his past. Having Nolan’s son Max (who escaped Nolan) under his wings. Freddie who is trying to earn his trust. Danger is following Jeb and Max while Freddie circling in the middle of it all. They are all young and have to deal with a lot of stress out situations. After the police put the three in a safe house it looks like everything will be alright only who knows the shit just starts right after then….

It’s a very elaborate and detailed story. In some ways to extended because by describing all the facial and body expressions and all the environments it becomes distracting and holding the attention away from the main core. Nevertheless this story was entertaining and with lots of exciting moments.

Trust is indeed the big issue in this story.

Star Rating: ★★★★

💕 Meet Ki Brightly

Ki grew up in small town nowhere pretending that meteor showers were aliens invading, turning wildflowers into magic potions, and reading more than was probably healthy. Ki had one amazing best friend, one endlessly out of grasp “true love”, and a personal vendetta against normalcy.

Now, as an adult, living in Erie, Pennsylvania, Ki enjoys the sandy beaches, frigid winters, and a wonderful fancy water addiction. Seriously, fancy waters…who knew there were so many different kinds? It’s just water…and yet…

Ki shares this life with a Muse, a Sugar Plum, and two wonderful children.
Where to find Ki

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