Cranberry Boys: Scudder James Jr Guest Blog

Cranberry Boys, by Scudder James Jr

A farm was no place I’d spent time other than driving past the stables just outside the
neighborhood where I’d grown up. There still were a few beautiful farms in our town as it
slowly disappeared into subdivisions of bigger, newer houses. My sister took riding lessons
(boys didn’t), and we sometimes stopped for strawberries, corn or milk. To my family, farms
were nice to see in the background, but other people worked on them.

“You had everything, now you have nothing,” my mother said. I’d recently come out and a
month later announced I wouldn’t submit my law school applications and was moving to the
city with my college boyfriend.

A gay son earning very little as a counselor for refugees was not what my parents had hoped
for. I was supposed to be a money-guy with a girlfriend. I knew Dad was disappointed, too, but
he was quieter about it. Mom wasn’t. She wasn’t quiet about anything.

We were all surprised that my new life in the city away from my parents involved weekends
even further from Boston than the suburb where I’d grown up. Friends of my boyfriend wanted
a homestead with chickens, sheep, and a garden of esoteric vegetables. So, our first year living
together, we spent weekends knocking down walls with sledgehammers, building fences, and
renovating a barn. I shoveled sheep shit. With a boyfriend.

100% not what my parents had intended for me.

I was doing my own thing. I hadn’t gone corporate and instead enjoyed working in non-profits
that helped refugees, and later children with multiple disabilities, and later foster kids. And I
was still writing. In college I’d assured my father that being a writing major would be good for
business or law school. Um… Now I wrote for myself. My parents grew to accept my boyfriend
(my father spoke beautifully at our wedding), but they still think my expensive education of
boarding school and a private college was a waste of their money.

But to my parents, that time on my friends’ farm might have paid off because it became the
setting for of Cranberry Boys. I’d first placed my novel about a high school love triangle near my
college in the Midwest, but it hadn’t quite worked. Zeph, Connor and Bronson came to life in
Watermarsh.

Those first years after college were magic. I learned to be myself. Not that I became a farmer,
but I learned to value my choices. (I’ll also remember how amazing my sweaty boyfriend looked
while digging holes for sheep fences.) I’ll always be grateful for the window into fictitious
Watermarsh and Cranberry Boys.


Title: Cranberry Boys (Watermarsh Tales #1)
Author: Scudder James Jr
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Sept 3, 2019
Genre(s): Y/A Romance
Page Count: 172

Blurb:

Watermarsh Tales: Book One

Is it possible to have it all—even for a boy from a dying town of old cranberry bogs? Even for the son of religious zealots who will never accept his being gay? Even if his closeted boyfriend will never acknowledge their relationship and dates girls to distract people?

Sixteen-year-old cross-country runner Zeph hopes so, because he isn’t giving up on his happily ever after. He has big plans for life after high school and for his relationship with Connor… even if Connor insists they keep it secret.

Then Bronson, an old friend of Zeph’s, returns to Watermarsh after being kicked out of boarding school with secrets of his own in tow. But they keep their eyes on the prize and start a blog to impress colleges who often dismiss small-town students like them.

But not even Zeph can run from everything as his home life implodes and the love triangle he’s stuck in with Bronson and Connor begins to crumble. He’ll do whatever it takes to hold on to hope—even if it means a covert trip to Bronson’s old prep school.

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About Scudder


Scudder James Jr believes happily ever after begins today. Junior high was terrible, boarding school better, and college the place he met the boyfriend he married (despite a pit stop in a fraternity). He started in finance because he thought he had to, but instead became a counselor for refugees, a fundraiser, and a teacher of sex and spirituality classes. After Chicago, Seattle, London, and Japan, he’s back in Boston where it all started. His favorite place to write has a harbor view of two colonial ships.

Scudder loves telling stories in print and on film. He’s thrilled that his short LGBTQ films have shown around the world in places as unexpected as Alabama and East Africa. Twenty years ago, he was diagnosed with a neurological disease that doctors are bewildered has disappeared. Scudder is an avid meditator and passionate about appreciating every moment.

One of his favorite mornings has been waking up on a boat in Patagonia with his perfectly imperfect partner and hiking an island of 130,000 penguins.

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