Hello my lovely readers.
Today I have a special guest on my blog today: Lissa Reed, author of The Sucre Coeur series is here today. 😀
To celebrate the recent release of the book set, including all three novels in the series which includes nice bonus content (recipes of the pastries from the book <3) I am thrilled to welcome them as a guest to my blog. 🙂
Lissa Reeds is speaking in a very personal post about how a style change affirmed their identity. Read the touching post below. ❤
I also participated in the Instragram blog tour for the book, so check out my Instagram account for the post in February. 🙂
Happy reading and I am really humbled to share this guest post with you and I hope you find it as inspiring as I did. ❤
Title: The Sucre Coeur Series
Series: The Sucre Coeur Series # 1-3 (boxed set)
Author: Lissa Reed
Genre: M/M, F/F Romance, LGBTQIAP+, Contemporary, Food Romance
Release Date: February 12, 2019 (box set)
Publisher: Interlude Press
Length: 201.000 words
Cover artist: C.B. Messer
Add to you bookshelf:
(click on the button or this link)
Fans of Craig, Alex, Sarita, and Maritza can savor their entire Sucre Coeur romance series in one sweet bundle with a special bonus curation of Craig’s favorite recipes. This boxed set includes the following full-length novels, plus a collection of confectionery recipes developed exclusively for this series set.
DEFINITELY, MAYBE, YOURS: Seattle-based baker Craig Oliver leads a life that is happily routine: baking cupcakes for an enormous family reunion, managing Sucre Coeur for its frequently absent owner and closing out his day with a pint at the local pub. He has a kind heart, a knack for pastry and a weakness for damaged people. Habitual playboy Alex Scheff is looking to drown his sorrows, but instead discovers that he may have a weakness for Englishmen who carry cookies in their pockets. Can a seemingly incompatible pair find the recipe for love in a relationship they claim is casual?
CERTAINLY, POSSIBLY, YOU: Sarita Sengupta is in her last semester of grad school and has finally realized she doesn’t have a career plan, a girlfriend, or a clear outlook on life. She works as a pastry shop’s head decorator, but is otherwise drifting without direction until a friend’s birthday party ends with her waking up in the unexpected company of Maritza Quiñones, a pretty ballroom dancer whose cheerful charm and laser focus sets Sarita on a path to making all of the choices she’s been avoiding.
ABSOLUTELY, ALMOST, PERFECT: Craig Oliver and Alex Scheff lead a charmed life. Craig is part owner of Sucre Coeur, the bakery he’s loved and managed for years. Alex is an up-and-coming Seattle photographer. Their relationship has been going strong for a year, and everything is absolutely perfect—right up until Craig receives a wedding invitation from his long-estranged brother. As Craig grows tense over seeing his brother for the first time in years, Alex can’t control his anxiety over meeting Craig’s family. At the wedding in an English hamlet, boisterous Scottish mothers, smirking teenage sisters, and awkward ex-boyfriends complicate the sweet life they lead.
IT STARTED WITH A HAIRCUT
How a style change affirmed my identity
By Lissa Reed (Author, Sucre Coeur series)
It started with a haircut. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that something ended with that haircut; that when I shaved half my hair off, I ended the suppression of gender conformity that had hung—heavy, confusing, and unidentified—over my entire life to that day.
It was meant to just be a haircut. I’d been toying with the idea of an undercut for a couple of years already, but hadn’t seen one that I liked. An undercut can be something of a marker in the queer female community, and I wanted that marker. I’d spent too many years going to singles events and having women look at me and say, “You’re a lesbian? Are you sure?”
Ironically—I think, I never know what’s ironic anymore, thank you Alanis – it was a man’s photo I brought with me to the salon for that first buzz. I had recently fallen back into a long-forgotten love affair with drag, courtesy of a Seattle queen named BenDeLaCreme, who was appearing on the third season RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars. The first time I’d seen DeLa out of drag, in the Werk Room as Ben, I gasped – his curly hair was styled into a fluffy ponytail with a really great pompadour and an undercut that wasn’t too short. Affirmation rang through me like a church bell: that was the hair I wanted. That is what I had been looking for.
So that is what I got.
“I’ve never seen someone so excited to shave off half their hair,” the stylist remarked as swathes of my long hair fell to the floor and I smiled, and smiled, and smiled.
I came home and eagerly started to experiment with my new hair. The ponytail I’d wanted was, of course, great. And I could wear my hair down and you couldn’t really see the undercut, which was good for work. And I could twist it and pin it or slick it and … and … and …
My hands slowed, paused … and stilled.
I hadn’t seen that person in the mirror for a while. Strong-jawed. Broad-shouldered. Heavy in the brows. All my life I’d plucked and groomed those brows, covered those shoulders with ruffles, distracted from that jaw with heavy eyeliner and mascara. All those efforts to hide the Other Me, the person I didn’t understand and society told me I wasn’t supposed to be, because I wore a 44DD bra and had an F on my birth certificate.
But there they were. Visible again, and for the first time, I liked it. Suddenly, I understood them, and knew that they were as much me as the fumbling femme I presented to the world. I’d only recently come to have the term “gender-non-conforming” explained to me in a way I finally somewhat grasped, and now I was looking in the mirror with my fresh undercut and for the first time, I not only fully got it, I understood that it applied to me. That it had applied to me for my entire life, but I’d never been able to work out how to accept that part of me and let them out to breathe, to play, to exist.
It wasn’t that I was butch—I knew that and always had, because when I’d try to “butch up” it had always felt weird and inauthentic. So no, that wasn’t it. And I wasn’t a man, I knew that, it was something I had really considered, but ultimately came to understand that wasn’t me, either.
No, all at once I knew that I was female presenting, but also had a part of myself that was very distinctly male, and that’s separate, it’s different from the identity of a woman as a butch lesbian, from the identity of a transgender man. Two labels I’d tried to make fit at one time or another, in one way or another, but they never had.
All at an overwhelming once, I suddenly saw who I was, understood why I’d always been exasperated to be called “ma’am,” why I didn’t like to explicitly gender myself as a woman in biographies, why every time I dolled myself up for special events as a very high femme, it had felt like play-acting, putting on a costume. The stiffening of my spine when I was introduced as a lady, the clench of my jaw when I marked F on doctor’s forms, but the confused certainty that I was not a man. It all fell into place, and then it all fell away, like my hair under the buzzing clippers at the salon, and I was left awash with wonder and relief.
I wasn’t female. I wasn’t male. I was just me, untethered to either end of the gender binary, and for the first time in the 41 years of my life, I knew that, deep in the core of myself.
It started—or, more accurately, ended— with a haircut.
Wow, this was a really personal and touching post. Thank you, Lissa, for sharing this with us. I really appreciate this. ❤ And I hope my readers can take something from it. 🙂
Readers, if you like, you can share your experiences (or perhaps questions) in the comments below. 🙂
Author bio – Lissa Reed
Lissa Reed is a queer, non-binary (she/they) writer of ﬁction, blogs, and bawdy Renaissance song parodies. She traces her early interest in writing back to elementary school, when a teacher gifted her with her ﬁrst composition book and told her to fill it with words. After experimenting with print journalism, Reed shifted her writing focus to romance and literary ﬁction and never looked back. She lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Instagram tour hosted by/through A Novel Take PR. Materials provided through them. Thank you.