Welcome to author Nora Phoenix and the tour for her latest release, No Shame, book four in the series of the same name! Nora’s here today to discuss the subject of shame, and there’s also a giveaway, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget at the end for details.
The Power of No Shame
The dictionary describes shame as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior”. There’s a lot in that definition: pain and humiliation are two strong, negative experiences. But it’s the latter part that makes shame so debilitating: the consciousness of wrong behavior. Feeling ashamed means knowing that you did something wrong, that you messed up somehow, and it causes you pain or humiliation.
I’ve experienced shame many times in my life. I once sent an email about a coworker to our boss in a fit of anger, but forgot that she had access to his email as his secretary—so she read it. It hurt her deeply, and man, I felt so ashamed. The thing was: I knew I was in the wrong. There was never any doubt about who was at fault here, because that was all on me. The shame, in that case, was fully justified.
Levels of Shame
But there are levels of shame, so to speak. If the shame is justified, if you truly messed up, shame is close to regret. You regret something you did, you wish you could take it back, and now you have to live with the consequences of your actions. How you feel says something about what you did—but not necessarily about who you are.
People can also experience shame on a completely different level, much closer to their heart. When we feel ashamed not for what we do, but for who we are, shame becomes crippling, taking away joy and sometimes love in our lives.
In my No Shame series, I tried to show that we should never feel ashamed about who we are. By creating characters who wrestled with not just what they had done—though there’s plenty of regret going around as well—but with who they are, I wanted to show that shame robs us of too much.
In No Shame, the fourth book in this series that was recently released, we meet three men who all wrestle with shame in some way. Miles is ashamed for a medical condition, Charlie is ashamed for staying with his abusive boyfriend for so long, and Brad…Poor Brad is ashamed of who he is at the very core, of the needs he has and how he expresses these. Together, these three must come to accept who they are, and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
This theme runs through the entire series (previous book tackle characters wrestling with being a puppy, being polyamorous, the Dom/sub dynamic and more), and I’m incredibly happy and grateful to see it resonate with readers. One reader sent me a message that she had always struggled with who I was, but through my characters found hope and acceptance that she was okay just the way she was…even with a complicated gender and sexual identity.
Experiencing shame over what we do wrong is okay. It sucks, but that’s part of life. But we should never experience shame over who we are. What we do may be wrong, but who we are never is.
You and me, we’re okay—just the way we are.
P.S. If shame is a topic you’re interested in, I’d advise you to check out Brené Brown’s excellent TED talk on this topic. It was life-changing for me.
About the Book
Brad feels nothing but shame about himself. Shame about his sexual needs, about his reputation, about his medical problem no one knows about. No one, except his best friend Charlie, but no matter what feelings Brad may have for him, he’s not going there. Charlie deserves so much better, and Brad desperately needs something not even Charlie can provide.
Charlie has loved Brad forever, but he’s never acted on his feelings, unsure of where he stood. Plus, there was the complication of his boyfriend. But when his boyfriend’s abuse gets too much for Charlie, it’s Brad who helps him escape and recover.
Miles ends up severely wounded in the line of duty as an FBI agent. He’s floored when the man he was protecting, Indy, opens his home to him so he can recover. Indy also sets him up with Brad, who turns out to be a perfect solution for Miles’ sexual issues…until Miles wants more than sex from him, and a developing friendship between Miles and Charlie complicate things even more.
Bit by bit Charlie and Miles break through Brad’s defenses, until they come crumbling down. Miles will have to prove he can provide what Brad needs, and Charlie’s sweet love will be put to the test. But when Brad finally finds the courage to break free of his shame, will the fragile love that has blossomed between the three of them survive?
No Shame is a steamy M/M/M romance that ends with a happy ever after for all characters, including those from the previous books in the series. It’s the fourth book in the No Shame Series, and is NOT a stand alone novel, so make sure to read the first three books first (No Filter, No Limits, and No Fear). It contains hot sex, a ménage, a little daddy kink, more hot sex, and a poly-amorous relationship that transcends labels. Also: trigger warning for mentions of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and rape.
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Miles had not yet met Josh and Connor, but according to Noah and Indy, they were fully on board with him moving in temporarily, even though Brad and his friend, Charlie, were also still staying there.
Noah parked the car in the driveway, as close to the front door as possible. “I’ll get Connor to help,” he said. “I don’t fully trust my leg yet, so I can’t support you.”
Miles nodded. Noah had lost a leg in Afghanistan, he’d read in Indy’s file, and had recently needed surgery to amputate even higher up, due to complications. “Okay.”
The man who stepped outside with Noah a few minutes later was massive. Broad arms and chest in a tight Red Sox shirt, strong legs. Miles recognized him from the pictures in the file. Ignatius O’Connor, called Connor by everyone. The last Miles had heard, the guy had been balls deep in the Boston crime scene, so he had no idea what had happened there.
Connor’s cheeks were flushed, as if he’d been doing something physical, and he and Noah were arguing about something.
“I don’t believe this,” Indy muttered, threw open his door and left it open as he stepped out. “Seriously? You guys were fucking again? At the rate you’re going, poor Josh won’t be able to sit for a week.”
Connor shrugged. “At least he’ll know who he belongs to.”
Noah shook his head. “You’re a regular fucking caveman, O’Connor. You would have done great with the dinosaurs.”
“Now why would I want to fuck a dinosaur? You’re not making any sense,” Connor said, his Boston accent thick.
Indy opened the door on Miles’ side. “Let’s get this guy inside so he can rest.”
Another man stepped outside. Tall, lanky, with cute, boyish looks. That had to be Joshua Gordon. He walked carefully, as if something hurt. Miles’ eyes narrowed. Had Connor hurt him? Josh took another careful step, and the source became clear. His ass. Had Indy been right? Holy crap, what kind of people were they?
Connor turned to watch Josh, and a look of pure love painted his face. Damn, but this was way more than mere fucking. Like with Noah and Indy, the love was palpable.
“You okay, babe?” Connor asked.
Josh leaned in, kissed him. “Yes, Connor.” Connor’s face lit up with happiness and a deep satisfaction.
“Shit, guys, sometime today, please?” Indy said, tapping his foot.
About the Author
When she was a little tot, Nora’s mom got a library subscription for her. That, as they say, was that, and a lifelong love for books was born. Nora never stopped reading and doesn’t exaggerate when she says she devours books, rather than plain reads them. She started writing stories as soon as she could hold a pen, and wrote her first full book as a teen (on a typewriter!). It took her waaaay too long to follow her dream to become a romance author.
Nora writes M/M romance, because hello, sexy boys, and likes her men flawed, strong, and a tad broken. She appreciates a little kink, but insists on a happy ever after.
About the No Shame Series