Andrew Grey introducing Dumped in OZ!

I want to take a minute to thank Amy for having me as her
guest.  She’s a dear friend and I
love her to pieces.  I’m sending
her and all her friends a huge hug. 

I got the idea for Dumped in Oz while I was on a business
trip to Kansas.  I was feeling a little
dumped on and I used those feelings in the story.   I actually visited the town where I set Dumped in Oz,
Wamego Kansas.  And yes, I did go
to the Oz Museum and the Oz Winery. 
I also took a walk down their version of the yellow brick road.  It was a lot of fun.  The town was just as wonderful as I
described it in the story.  So with
this story I actually started with the setting.  Then I got the idea for my main characters, Lyle and Roger.
However I had a major decision to make as I was writing the
story.  See it’s a small town in
Kansas and I had the choice to make the people in town accepting or not.  The thing is that I have visited Kansas
twice and I was struck both times about how gracious and open the people
were.  And I very much wanted to
celebrate that.  So I decided to
make the people in town protective of each other and that protection extends to
Roger, who as a recovering alcoholic, needs that protection and support.  Not everyone and everything is perfect
in my version of Oz, or the story would be quite dull.  But I think of this story in part as a
hat tip to the people of a state most of us simply fly over. 
Because of an
opportunity he’d be a fool to turn down, Lyle Powers transfers to his company’s
warehouse in central Kansas. The last thing he expects is to meet another gay
man in the small town, let alone one who captures his interest.

Roger Kypers is a recovering alcoholic with a twelve-year-old daughter he only
gets to see for part of the summer. Neither Lyle nor Roger is looking for a
relationship, and they fumble at the start, yet emotions build as Roger shows
Lyle the landmarks of Oz.

But when Roger’s wicked witch of an ex-wife threatens to take his daughter away
for good if he doesn’t act “normally,” he’s faced with the challenge of letting
her get away with it, or fighting to accept himself and standing up for what he
knows is right.

Purchase Link: Dumped in Oz
“Yes. I do
almost all of our baking,” the man told him. “I’m Roger Kyper, the owner and
baker.” He extended his hand.
“Lyle,” he
said, shaking it. “I’m staying at the inn next door for a couple of weeks.” Roger
held his hand a few seconds longer than necessary and then released it, not
breaking eye contact. “I’ll be working at the Shoebox warehouse near the
highway,” Lyle continued. He figured being friendly was the way things were
done here, and he wanted to fit in. “Sorry I got here so close to closing.”
“It’s no
problem,” Roger said, moving out of the way when the server returned with
Lyle’s bierock. “I’ll let you finish your brunch.” He moved away, and Lyle
watched him go out of the corner of his eye. He didn’t want to be seen watching
another guy, not in a small town like this, but he couldn’t help it. Roger was
hot, and he moved like a dancer. Lyle swallowed hard as his mouth went dry. He
turned away and went back to his cinnamon roll. As he ate, the restaurant
employees wiped down the chairs, swept the floor, and gathered the flower vases
from the tables.
When he
finished the cinnamon roll, he ate the bierock, humming softly to himself at
the savory taste of bacon, sausage, egg, and ham all mixed together, combined
with the bread. Dang—it had to be a local delicacy, and it was amazing. Lyle
finished eating and sat back. He realized he was the only person in the room.
The servers had finished their work, and he now sat alone.
“I see you
liked it,” Roger said as he came back in.
“It was great,”
Lyle said with a smile. “Am I keeping you from going home?” He stood up and
looked for his check, then picked it up off the corner of the table.
“Not really.
It’s Sunday afternoon, so take your time.” Roger didn’t leave right away, and
Lyle stared at him for a few seconds. Then Lyle moved to the side and walked
toward the back of the house. He stepped into a tiny bakery with a single case,
now empty, but delicious scents lingered in the air. Roger went to stand at the
register, and Lyle handed him the check and money.
“Please give
the change to the server,” Lyle said.
appreciate that,” Roger told him.
Lyle said
good-bye and left by the back door, stepping out into the heat. He looked
around and walked up toward the street, deciding he’d take a walk through the
park. As he headed to the sidewalk, he saw Roger lock the door before jogging
down the stairs. Lyle waved and continued across the street into the park.
It was
gorgeous, with shade trees, paths, and playgrounds, like most parks. He also
passed a fountain, and a cannon set in concrete, continuing his stroll down a
footpath that led over to a bridge where a small pond narrowed. People fished
off the bank, and Lyle saw a small wooden model boat landing near shore where a
father and son operated a remote-controlled boat. Lyle stood on the bridge,
leaning against the rail, just watching.
“Nice, isn’t
it?” a familiar voice said.
Lyle turned as
Roger joined him on the bridge.
“It is,” Lyle
agreed. “What is it about this town?”
“What do you
mean?” Roger asked.
“It seems so
perfect,” Lyle said, and Roger chuckled lightly.
“Most folks who
live here grew up here. And we believe in taking care of what we have. Everyone
pitches in to take care of the park and keep the town clean. There isn’t a lot,
but we do okay. A lot of people in town work either at the feed mill or at
Caterpillar. Some work at the Shoebox warehouse too. And there are lots of
farmers and farm support.”
“It’s like
stepping back in time,” Lyle told him.
“That it is.
Since we don’t have a lot, we want to preserve what we have. Years ago, when
folks started tearing down the old buildings to create new, some folks got
together to try to rescue what was still around,” he explained, motioning
toward a cluster of small buildings. “So we started the Wamego museum. We moved
the old buildings to one location, just like we moved the windmill into the
park. Folks here are proud of their town.”
obvious,” Lyle said. “Do you get a lot of visitors?”
“The Oz stuff
brings in a few tourists and curiosity seekers, but mostly it’s just us. Except
for during Oztoberfest—then the town fills up with people wearing green
everything. It’s a real emerald city, and the characters come out all over the
place. People dress as their favorite characters from the movie. Basically,
everyone has a great time.”
“I’ll look
forward to it,” Lyle said.
“Then you’ll be
here a while,” Roger said.
Lyle nodded.
“About a year. They’ve put me up in the inn for a couple of weeks, but I need
to find a place to live. I figured I’d ask around at work to see if anyone
knows of anything. I understand a lot of them live in Manhattan.” Lyle looked
around. “But this is so nice.”
“It’s too quiet
for some folks,” Roger said, leaning on the railing next to him.
“I think quiet
is nice. Harrisburg isn’t big as cities go, but it’s noisy and fast.” His condo
building always had people coming and going. Lyle turned to look at Roger and
saw him looking back. Lyle’s belly did a little flip as he recognized the
interest in Roger’s eyes. Then it vanished and Roger turned. Lyle stifled a
sigh as he watched the remote-controlled boat glide under the bridge. He turned
and watched as it floated out the other side and made a lazy circle on the
water before starting its return trip. “I could use some quiet.”
Lyle heard the
kid laugh as the father handed the controls to the boat to him. From the
bridge, Lyle saw the kid smile as he took the controls. The boat glided back to
the center of the pond and then began making all kinds of circles and loops.
Lyle turned back toward Roger, and he could have sworn Roger turned away just
as Lyle began looking. Lyle opened his mouth to say something, but Roger pushed
away from the railing. “I’m sure I’ll see you around,” he said. Before Lyle could
open his mouth, Roger had turned and started striding back along the path
through the park.
Lyle watched
him go, wondering what had happened. He shrugged and pushed away from the rail
himself, continuing across the bridge and on closer to the stone windmill. Lyle
looked around the stone structure and saw Roger coming up the other way. He
watched him for a few moments and realized he was being watched in return. Lyle
walked over to where Roger stood. As he approached, Lyle once again saw a quick
flash of desire, and then, just like before, it was gone and Roger turned away.
This time Lyle watched him walk all the way across the park and back to the
restaurant. He had no idea what was going on, so he pushed it from his mind. He
wasn’t here to hook up, or even to meet anyone. He had a job to do, and he
planned on doing it to the best of his ability, and taking some time to think
and contemplate what he wanted. He certainly wouldn’t get caught up with a
small-town closet case too afraid of what the neighbors would say to even be
seen speaking to him in broad daylight.
He ambled back
through the park, then stopped by the community pool to listen to the kids as
they screamed with watery delight before continuing on and back to the hotel.

“Did you have a
nice walk?” the hotelier asked as Lyle approached the stairs.

0 thoughts on “Andrew Grey introducing Dumped in OZ!”

  1. Wicked says:

    I'm excited to read this one. I really enjoy books that the setting is like a character all in itself (i.e. NY in Hot Head).

  2. I love your books almost as much as I love Amy 's and cannot wait to read this one. Thanks for telling us a bit about your inspiration for it.

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