Monthly Archives: May 2012

Rhys Ford: Babbling for Lou’s Pleasure.

This morning I woke up kind of late and ambled about. Made coffee. Let the dogs out to pee. The normal morning stuff. Booted up my laptop, Kai (all the best laptops have names), and read my email. And saw the alert that I owed a post on Lou’s blog. Swear to God, thought I had a day or so. I didn’t panic. I’m a writer! I can blog about anything!

I’d actually been kicking around a few ideas but none of them seemed to hold anything but a passing interest. Kind of like a dot of ink you find on your hand and you wonder… how did that get there?

So I promptly turned my laptop off and found a brush to clean the fans out with. Then I wiped down the keyboard with the brush to release any extra cat hair and cleaned the screen and keyboard with a damp paper towel.

I was THINKING! Damn it. It counts!

And I kept coming back to one thing… music. Which then jumped me over to styles of writing. Don’t judge me. My brain’s broken. I’m not wired right. Known that for years. Focus, focus, focus… *deep breath*… OOOOO SHINY! No judging! It’s a wonder I get anything done. But music!

Music plays a big part in my writing. I have entire playlists of songs to help me write and I’ll listen to them depending on the mood of what the chapter is or the scenes that are going to unfurl. Since I use an EXTREMELY loose plot, the music I’m listening to helps drive the scenes. Especially those scenes where I can throw everything in my brain at the page and see what sticks.

For the most part, I’ll find myself in something relatively mindless and driving. Kpop usually is where I’m at during the majority of the scenes. A driving beat helps me and it helps me focus on what I’m doing.

Something like this: Kim Junsu (Xia, Part of JYJ) Tarantellega

Sex scenes are different. God, they are different. They’re impossible at times because really, you want to make Tab A going into Slot B interesting. There are a lot of feet, tongues and fingers to keep track of and there’s always the question; did I have him on his back or stomach… goes back to reread.

So those kind of scenes require something different… something more mellow and melodic. Darker if you will. Like VAST’s Touched.

I was going to put Pretty When You Cry but it’s not my blog so I didn’t want to inflict that on Lou. Love the song. The video can be disturbing for people.

Action scenes? A HEAVY dose of AC/DC and Metallica. There are others… Classic Rock, a HUGE collection of Blues songs, Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughan and well, J-rock too. I use them to drive where I’m going. Because honestly, writers HATE writing.

Oh we start off loving it and then somewhere along the 40,000 word mark, it becomes a demon that suckles us dry and we are flailing about trying to scrape some sense of the scenes and dialogue and just everything. We become so immersed in the world and characters that we literally cannot see the forest for the trees.

Hello. I am here to nestle into your brain.

But you see, for me… music is a cue to dream. I can bathe in it. Let if flow over me. I can drink it in and let it wash away the dregs of the world that are clinging to me. It allows me to take that step into the forest where I’m a bit lost and cursing the darkness because I don’t have a single candle to light. Music is that candle. It’s that flash of starlight and moonshine to light up the way.

I know people who need absolute quiet when they write. I can’t imagine that. I can’t imagine the vacuum of melodic sound, the lack of auditory colour to help paint the scene. It helps me get through that last 40,000 words when I’m swearing at the minute specks of a storyline that seem to disappear when I reach out for them. Damned will o’ wisps.

So in all of that, a question emerges. What do YOU need in order to do certain things? A cup of tea while knitting? Television on while you eat? Silence while reading? Let me know. ::::grins:::

Oh, and I also need coffee. Trust me on that. Lots of coffee.

And a clean laptop.

 

 

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Filed under guest authors

And the blog hop winner is….

Treasure! Congratulations! Treasure has elected to wait for the summer release of Yes: A Vasquez and James Novella, because she’s already read the first two books, so that will be coming her way as soon as it’s available. Thanks to everyone for stopping by, standing up for what’s right, commenting, and playing. I feel it was a privelege to take part with so many worthy others. A success, I think, and fun, too!

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Filed under Lou Sylvre, M/M romance, Vasquez & James

(Blog) hop against homophobia…

I’m going to keep this short, because I know if you’re on the Hop Against Homophobia blog hop tour you probably have a lot of blogs you want to visit. Yes, May 17th has been dubbed the International Day Against Homophobia. Sad that we have to have such a day, but—reality being what it is—I’m glad we do. Just a few more words: The gay lovers and partners and spouses in M/M romance love profoundly, sweetly, and—most of the time—hotly. Just like their real world GLBTQ counterparts—they love and laugh and cry and succeed and fail and have children and have parents and grow old or become ill and gnerally make do, as does everyone. Really, what’s to fear, or hate?

I like to think my own characters, Luki Vasquez and Sonny James, have in different ways become people whose love for each other make the world a better place—though they seem to be on the brink of disaster in each book. The prize I’m offering for the blog hop is an ebook copy of the winner’s choice of the Vasquez and James books: Book one is Loving Luki Vasquez, book two is Delsyn’s Blues. These two are mystery/suspense/thriller romances, and both are out from Dreamspinner Press and available now. The next book coming out (this summer) is about a far more personal battle, because Luki Vasquez is fighting cancer. I’ll point out, though, that it is a romance, and it does therefore have a happy ending. It’s titled Yes: A Vasquez and James Novella. If you’ve read both the other books (thank you!), and you’re the winner and this is your choice, you’ll get an ebook as soon as it’s out.

All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment letting me know you’d like your name in the hat for the random pick. So come on! The more the merrier…

Go to Dreamspinner Press to find excerpts and blurbs for my books and hundreds of other great M/M romance titles.

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Filed under Dreamspinner Press, homophobia, M/M romance, Vasquez & James

From Elizabeth Noble: The Future is What We Make It (Plus an excerpt from upcoming release, *Chained Hearts*

I like the future. It can be a very cool and interesting place to hang out. Writing in the future means I can take that time and setting and make it whatever and however I’d like it to be.

The Sentries is a series that takes place three hundred years in the future. This is a future that hails back to the past. It’s not a high tech future. The culture and society in general have changed. The world of Sentries was created by a natural disaster occurring, for the characters Todd and Nick Ruger, three hundred years in their past. Things have changed between now and then.

I wanted a totally different society for my series, and since I stayed on planet Earth for this one, I needed to do something with the society we have now. Being basically lazy and wanting to take the easy route I did the only logical thing I could think of: I blew ours up.

Don’t you just hate it when some schmo comes along and blows up the modern world?

I suppose it was messy and scary and there was chaos for a while, but for the Ruger guys that was way, way in the past, so what the reader knows of those scary, messy, chaotic days are on par with what the Rugers know. I’m currently writing book four of the series, and the Rugers will know a whole lot more about those days by the end of it, which means so will the rest of us.

However, that’s in the future.

Let’s go back to the Sentries and the future.

Creating a different society wasn’t my only motivation for using the future. I needed a place and time where my characters, those delightful Ruger men, could be what I wanted them to be and here and now wasn’t that place, or time.

I’ve had more than one reader comment on the fact that the future in Sentries isn’t bleak and barren, people aren’t struggling to survive, and they’re not starving. My question is why does it have to be that way? Firstly, it’s not logical to think three hundred years after even a globally devastating natural disaster, that humans wouldn’t have at least partially gotten their act together and rebuilt something. Secondly, there is no reason good can’t evolve from horrible.

In Sentries there are cities, farms, politics, coffee and pancakes along with a few paranormal baddies to be dealt with. There is also something else, and that is what is more important, to me at least.

Ever since I started reading and writing in the M/M genre I’ve been seeing blog posts discussing the fact that women can’t write about gay men because women have no idea what it’s like to be a gay man. I’ve even heard tell there are gay men who will not read anything written by a woman concerning the relationships of gay men.

For me, personally the gender of the author isn’t important as long as they tell me a good story, but I’ll concede to the fact that not everyone feels the same way. Do I know what it’s like to be a gay man? Well, no. I’m not even sure I know what it’s like to be a straight woman.

What I do know and understand is what it’s like to be discriminated against for reasons that are just silly.

See, I was divorced when my oldest child was only seven, he has two younger siblings. Before that I was a child of a divorced couple and for some reason people seem to think untraditional families of any sort produce people (male or female, gay or straight) that are somehow damaged. I had friends in school whose parents blatantly refused to allow their children to interact socially with me since I was from “a broken home”. I had a very nice home and was given a good education.

Twenty plus years later my own children were told they weren’t welcome in this family’s home or that child’s birthday party because—go ahead, gasp in horror—yes, they came from a broken home! Our home wasn’t broken, I fixed it and I now have three successful adult children with decent jobs and their own homes.

I may not be a gay man, but I sure do understand what it’s like to be judged (falsely) by others simply because my life is different from theirs.

What does all this have to do with blowing up the world as we know it, two guys in love with one another who fight paranormal baddies, drink coffee, like pancakes, and the future in general?

Quite a bit, actually, in a roundabout sort of way.

I detest discrimination against anything for any reason. One method I try to fight it on a personal level is via the books I write. This is where we go back to the future (loved those movies by the way). In the Sentries version of the future things are different, they have changed. One of those changes is same sex unions are perfectly normal and acceptable.
My most favorite books, movies, stories of any sort are filled with action, adventure as well as a smattering of romance. Sentries is a series set in the future, with lots of action, tons of adventure and a smattering of romance between two main characters who happen to both be men. It’s sort of my own, little, personal way of protesting those that might discriminate against someone because they prefer a partner/spouse/soul mate who is not the opposite sex.

I purposely don’t make a big deal out of the fact that Todd and Nick are both men; I do make a big deal out of the fact they are very in love with one another. The Rugers are a family in their eyes and I hope in the eyes of the reader.

The words homosexual or gay are not used in the series because I like to imagine a future where those are not words used to describe people. A world where one is not judged by whom they are attracted to or lovFroe, where it doesn’t matter if your family isn’t what we today consider traditional and ‘right’.

My take on the future is best summed up by the words of Doc Brown in Back to the Future III “…It means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Our future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.”

There is no reason we, as a society, can’t make a future where tags such as gay aren’t what defines people. The future is what we make of it and I chose to try and make it a more tolerant place, unless of course, you’re some paranormal baddie that needs dispatching. In that case, watch out, because Todd and Nick will getcha!

Thank you Lou for allowing me to take up your blog and ramble on it.

From Chained Hearts, book 3 of the Sentries series:

Blurb:

Todd and Nick Ruger are alive and on the run in the Yellowknife Protectorate, but maybe not for long. After narrowly escaping New Colorado, where they were implicated in the assassination of Chancellor Shaffer, they’re running out of steam: Todd is gravely ill and Nick’s injured. Just when it seems like the harsh winter will get the best of them, they find refuge with a doctor in the isolated town of Elk’s Ridge.

On the surface, Elk’s Ridge seems the ideal place to rebuild their lives. Nick begins training as the doctor’s apprentice, and Todd works in a lumberyard until they’re recovered enough to return to their duties as Sentries. They make friends, forge a new life, and most importantly, there’s no sign of anyone from New Colorado.

They should have known it was too good to be true. Victor Raleigh, the new Vice Chancellor of New Colorado, knows all about Nick’s psychic abilities, and he wants them in his corner. When Nick is betrayed and captured, Todd sees no alternative but to head back to the war zone to rescue him. But will Nick be the same man Todd loves after Raleigh’s pet psychic vampire is through with him?

Excerpt:

Movement from the direction of Nick drew Todd’s attention. His mate rolled to his butt, sitting there leaning on one hand, legs half stretched in front of him and crossed just below his knees. Shaggy, dark hair was brushed away from his face and sleep-blurry eyes blinked at Todd making his young mate look even younger…more like a sleep tousled little boy.

There was no way Todd could, or would even try, to stop the smile from spreading over his face. Scooting closer to Nick, he combed his fingers through Nick’s hair, appreciating how soft it was. He pressed a gentle kiss to Nick’s forehead. “Morning.”

One side of Nick’s mouth twitched up for a second before he yawned.

“Christ, Nick, some days you make me feel like a pedophile.”

Nick yawned again, scratched at his chest and mumbled out, “huh?” Inching along the ground until he wedged himself between Todd’s legs and laid his head on Todd’s shoulder, face pressed against the side of his neck. Nick yawned again. His entire body relaxed as he nestled against Todd, ribcage expanding with yet another yawn.

“Lemme see this.” Todd lifted Nick’s shirt and inspected the bandaged wound as he had earlier. “According to the map there’s a town not too far from here, how about we check it out, see if there is somewhere we can get some supplies? We need more bandaging material and more medicine to put on this. I’m going to heat some water and get it cleaned out again.”

“I don’t think it’s ever going to heal.” Nick grumbled. “It’s been almost a month.”

“I wouldn’t mind finding a doctor to take a look at it either.” Todd smoothed Nick’s shirt back into place and took a deep breath. “Nick, you keep having those nightmares.”

“How are we going to explain this kind of wound?”

Tapping Nick’s nose with one finger, Todd warned, “No changing the subject.”

“I’m sorry. I can’t stop them, they keep coming.”

“Don’t be sorry, it’s not your fault. We need to work on stopping them.” Easing away from Nick, Todd stood up. Moving farther from the wagon he got a fire started and set a pot of water on to heat. Nick wandered off to the nearby river. Todd grabbed his clothes and headed after his mate. He’d considered the possibility Nick was right and the kelbit did have a mate who was somehow able to infiltrate Nick’s dreams. More likely it was trauma. Nick’s ability to sense evil entities also made him incredibly sensitive emotionally. That trait didn’t always work for them which strengthened his resolve to find them somewhere bigger than their wagon to stay.

Once they were done washing in the cool water, Nick quietly sat by the fire, naked from the waist up, while Todd scrubbed out the round bite wound, smeared some more of the antiseptic cream over it and applied a fresh bandage. The only sign of discomfort Nick let show was the occasional hissed in breath and a shifting of his shoulders forward. After the cream was smoothed over him, he turned and looked over his shoulder, rubbing at it with one hand. “That makes it feel better.”

“How about we get a real meal in town? It should be over that rise, it’s called Elk’s Ridge, and from the looks of it on the map it’s a decent sized town. Then we can hit a store if they have one. We’ll need somewhere for the winter, this area is as good as any I suppose. If we want we can head out again in the spring, but for now we have enough money to get us through.”

“We can always get work, Todd. There will be lots of our sort of problems kicked up by the war.”

“Not until that wound is healed we don’t. Besides, time to give it a break for a bit I think, and stay as far away from that war as we can. I hope if they have a store there is a post office so we can send our letter to Jimmy and maybe get a newspaper, see what we’re missing.”

Nick nodded and pulled his shirt over his head then the sweatshirt Todd had given him on their first day together and he still insisted on wearing. They dowsed the fire and packed their camp into the wagon before securing the team, choosing instead to ride the saddle horses into town.

“We can’t ride the same horse?” Nick stood beside Obi, looking up at Todd who was already sitting on the other horse. “What if it’s a problem, me on a horse?”

Motioning to Nick to mount up, Todd smiled softly. “It’ll be okay. No law says you can’t ride one as long as you’re with me. I know you like when we ride together better, but we’re going to need both horses and the packs to haul back supplies.”

“No law in New Colorado,” Nick grumbled and swung onto the horse.

“I doubt the laws in Yellowknife are much different, but if they are we’ll worry about it then.”

Nick didn’t say anything else, simply nodded and nudged Obi into motion, keeping close enough to Todd their legs brushed as the horses moved. The town, Todd discovered, was a pleasant one. There was maybe around a thousand inhabitants, smaller than the tens of thousands who lived in bigger cities like New Colorado City or Yellowknife City, but not so small that they were totally unaccustomed to people passing through.

Even as far north as it was, it was a hub for travelers which was immediately evident by the several number of inns. There were also a few cafes and restaurants, a larger sized livery, libraries and a fair amount of homes scattered around the outskirts and farther out in the countryside. Leaving their horses in the care of the livery, they decided to hike around and check the place out.

The buildings were mostly stone and wood with slate and shingle roofs. The streets were cobblestone or brick paved with wide, wooden sidewalks on either side. This was a little oasis of civilization in the rugged, mostly uninhabited far northern part of the Rocky Mountains.

Their first stop was a café a few blocks over from the livery. The letter to Jimmy started a few days ago was finished while they waited for their meal. Todd was pleased that people here had slaves, he’d seen several on their trip through and no one seemed much fussed over how he treated Nick. In fact this town reminded him of the New Colorado City neighborhood he’d chosen to live in, where more of the owners and slaves were a part of a family.

The fact Todd was a stranger and there with a slave drew little attention other than a few people greeting them on the street. As he’d always done, Nick’s tether was hooked to his collar and then tucked into his back pocket making it easy to grab if needed.

Todd got a good feeling from the town, people who minded their own business and were open to newcomers, not that he was ready to find a real estate office just yet, but this was definitely a place to check out more closely. They would probably be fine if they could find a small cabin or even a cave for the winter, keep an eye on the town and decide if this was where they wanted to live.

“The coffee here is good.” Nick had finally stopped shoveling food in and was leaning back in his chair, looking up and down the street. He looked content and was smiling, another good sign as far as Todd was concerned.

When they left the café there was a five-pound bag of coffee beans to add to their packs. The doctor, they discovered, lived just west of the town and outside of it on a small piece of property. If he didn’t find something for Nick’s shoulder in town then Todd decided a visit to the doctor was in order.

They wandered down the street to the next main intersecting street and took a right, walking along. There was a large store not far from the intersection; they’d gotten directions from a waiter at the café. It took up nearly half the block. It was several stories high, a store on the main floor, lodging on the second floor and whatever was on the third wasn’t open to the public, but Todd suspected it was storage. He could see houses behind the store that were attached to it. Probably whatever family owned it lived in those houses.

As they walked through Nick was all eyes, checking out everything, making Todd smile. It’d been a while since he’d truly seen Nick’s insatiable curiosity come bouncing to the forefront and it gave him hope his young mate would be on the mend if they stuck around this area for a while. Heading toward the back where there was a counter, and looking beyond it Todd did indeed see that there was someone’s home.

Two small children, a boy and girl, maybe about four years old came running from behind the counter. They were small, blond, cute, looked like twins and nearly ran Todd over.

“Whoa, whoa, easy there,” he laughed and scooped one kid—the girl—up, swung her around and set her on the counter all while deftly sidestepping away from the little boy plowing into his shins. Nick covered his mouth and snickered.

“Oh my gosh, I am so sorry. Karen, Kieron you’re both supposed to be in the house helping Nana not annoying our customers. Now go.” A woman about Todd’s age rushed after them. She was small, equally as blond as her children with crystal blue eyes and had long, wavy hair that fell to below her shoulders. She offered Todd a dazzling smile. “I am very sorry. What can I do for you?”

A quick glance back at Nick who was brushing his hair back from his face and looking a little grumpy and Todd stepped up to the counter after the little girl, Karen, vacated it for the house and her Nana. The woman’s gaze flashed to Nick for a brief instant before landing back on Todd. He hoped he really didn’t look like some kind of pedophile after all. His mate looked too damn young sometimes. Todd resisted the urge to blurt out Nick was twenty-three.

“Do you have any postal service here?” Todd fished the letter out of his coat pocket.

Nick stepped up behind him and dropped to one knee, arms crossed over his bent one, he looked around the store casually. Todd knew that for what it was, Nick’s little bouts of jealousy hadn’t bothered him since the night he’d chased after his mate. Nick behaved this way the most when he wanted reassurance from Todd, he understood that and found giving Nick his needed security and letting it ride was his best course of action. He let one hand drop casually to his side and moved it back far enough to skim across Nick’s hair for a few seconds before bring it back up to rest on the counter. Todd didn’t often demand Nick take a kneeling position behind him, but wanted Nick to know when he chose to do so on his own, Todd completely understood the reasoning behind Nick’s actions and that Nick would never be reprimanded.

“We do.” She held out her hand and Todd set the envelope with their letter to Jimmy in her palm. It took her a minute to weight it and figure the postage, she chatted away at him while she worked. “I’m Amelia Wilbourne and you’ve met my children. Are you new in town or passing through?”

He also found out in those few minutes she was a widow, her husband killed earlier the year before. She lived with her grandparents and children. Her brother and his family ran the local lumberyard about a mile down the road. It was way too much information, definitely way too much hair flipping and touching of Todd’s forearm while she was giving it out.

“Not sure yet.” Todd smiled at her and handed over payment for the postage then gave her a quick handshake when she offered her other hand. “We’re definitely here to pick up some supplies.” Reaching behind him, he slipped one finger under Nick’s collar and tugged lightly. Nick stood, stepped closer and waited placidly beside him. “I’m Todd Ruger, this is Nick, my mate.”

Amelia’s gaze barely flicked to Nick who smiled politely and nodded. “Hello.” His voice was soft and Todd was likely the only person who’d ever hear the note of insecurity in it.

“Well, Mr. Ruger, if you need anything at all let me know.” She had a sort of predatory sweet smile that made Todd want to shake his head. Nick more glared at her than anything. “I hope we see more of you in here. If there is anything you can’t find, let me know, I’ll have it ordered.”

“I bet you will,” Nick grumbled. If she heard him, she ignored him.

Giving Nick a slight bump on his arm, they grabbed a basket and walked up and down the aisles. Thankfully Todd found some medicated cream as well as the rest of the supplies they were getting low on. Nick finding a book that interested him made Todd happy and he made it a point to hand it back to Nick after paying for it. Amelia’s looks were making him nervous and he decided he really wanted her to understand Nick was his mate and Todd was not looking for any other sort of company.

It was early evening when they left the town and headed back to their wagon, Todd wasn’t comfortable enough to get a room at one of the inns for a few nights. He wanted to watch the town and the area for a few weeks first. That night a cold wind blew in heavy rains forcing them to sleep in the wagon. Todd spent the night shifting from one side to the other, trying to ease aches and cramps, never seeming to find a position that allowed him to relax and sleep all while trying to stifle a cough he figured came from the damp air and not wake up Nick. That turned out to be a non-issue since Nick didn’t really sleep much. If he wasn’t flinching awake from nightmares he was rousted from Todd’s tossing and coughing.

By early morning the two of them finally got to sleep. It rained most of that day, making Todd even more antsy. He’d decided he wanted to check the area, watch the town, and bad weather was thwarting his plans.

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Filed under Dreamspinner Press, guest authors, just a category, M/M romance, Writers on writing

Sci-fi/Fantasy: Anne Barwell talks about “What-ifs” and “whumping” (and shares a excerpt from *Slow Dreaming*!)

I’ve loved exploring ‘what ifs’ for as long as I remember. I blame my father, in a good way, for my fascination for science fiction, as he introduced it to me, being a fan of the genre himself. My own interest has since expanded to include fantasy, there being a fine line between the two, and often what I read, and write, has an interesting mix of both.

All fiction has an element of ‘what if’ to it, but science fiction and fantasy allows me, as a writer, to push the boundaries further, and to explore new worlds. One aspect I enjoy about doing this is discovering how my characters will react when thrown into a situation complicated by elements that are not the norm. It gives me an opportunity to explore this in ways I couldn’t if writing something set in another genre. I’m also a great fan of the ‘fish out of water’ scenario, and people finding themselves out of their depth, often needing to search within themselves for strength and abilities they didn’t know they possessed.

Besides, there’s more scope for hurt/comfort AKA whumping in these kinds of scenarios. My imagination is the limit, although I do sit down and work out the parameters of the world in which the science or magic operates. People and places need to be governed by rules, whether it be nature or something else, or there’s no challenge in the story. Where’s the fun of building up a cliffhanger if all the character has to do is snap their fingers and the threat is gone?

Obviously it’s not going to be as simple as that, but for every decision made, there’s a consequence. This theme is one which repeats often in both science fiction and fantasy. There are checks and balances in place, there has to be or everything would fall apart. In the same way if I give a character an ability, there has to be a limit to what he can do or there’s no ‘fun’ in it. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and I prefer to write characters with flaws, who aren’t always sure of themselves, rather than someone for whom everything comes easily.

Throwing my ‘hero’ into a world which isn’t his own works well in keeping him just a little off balance. What if there are worlds out there where its inhabitants follow different rules than we do? Where the scientific advancements in our world did not happen, but instead, magic is a valuable commodity, and those who possess the abilities to wield different aspects of it are the ones in power.

There are two aspects to the genre I enjoy reading and writing in particular. The first is psi powers, or a variation on that theme. It not only ups the ante, but allows the characters to explore a part of themselves they might not otherwise. It also complicates a plot somewhat if the bad ‘guy’ finds out that if they hurt one character, his partner is going to feel that pain, literally. Or if someone is keeping a secret, and he falls for someone who is a touch telepath, but his perspective partner is someone who cannot learn the truth. Makes things more than a little complicated, doesn’t it?

As does a character who can move objects with the power of his mind, but hasn’t got the control over his powers he’d like, so he spends a lot of time trying to hide his ability rather use it because subtle really isn’t an option.

And then of course, there’s the shadowy organisation just out of sight, watching him, who has other ideas of what that ability could be used for.

But I digress with spoilers for upcoming stories…and yes I have written/am working on stories containing the elements I’ve just mentioned.

The other aspect I love exploring is that of time travel. Occasionally I like to combine the two. Time travel combines the fish out of water scenario, and the idea of checks and balances. History has already happened so it can’t be changed, right? All the research in the world cannot prepare someone for the reality of the up close and personal. It’s the little things that are going to trap a time traveller, the details that don’t always make the history books, like having no clue about common pop culture references. Or when a file with a faded photograph in the future becomes a real person in the past, someone the time traveller realises he has to save, no matter what, because that assignment is now all about the person he’s fallen in love with and who he wants to be his future.

The story possibilities and potential for exploring relationships within these scenarios are endless. People still fall in love and have to work together to triumph above adversity – with plenty of angst, romance, and whumping along the way – wherever or whenever they find themselves. These stories are still about people, and to me that’s what makes the decision as to whether I want to read or write: characters I care about and want to spend time with.

This way I get to meet new and old friends, and explore new and interesting worlds and ideas with them. After all, it’s not every day that a guy finds out that his partner is a dragon, is it?

To finish I’d like to share the blurb and an excerpt from Slow Dreaming a short novella which will be available from Dreamspinner Press from 1st June as part of their time travel theme daily doses ‘Time is Eternity’ and also as a separate release.
Anne Barwell Slow Dreaming Dreamspinner Press The Blurb: As an agent for the Tempus Institute, Jason Adams’s task is to observe the past, not change it. But when he’s sent to 21st-century Wellington, New Zealand, during the last week of aspiring songwriter Sean Henderson’s life, Jason finds he can’t just watch from a distance. He and Sean quickly become friends and then lovers, and when the song that’s haunted Jason for years connects them in a way he never anticipated, he’ll risk changing history for the chance of sharing a future with Sean.

Jason smiled, trying to put Sean at ease. “Thanks for the compliment, by the way. It’s been a while since anyone’s made the effort or shown any interest.” No one since Rex, but that was history in every sense of the word. They hadn’t spoken to each other since they’d broken up three years ago, and the last he’d heard Rex was on assignment in the mid-1940s. Very hush hush.

“I’m usually a little more subtle.” Sean sighed. “For all the good it does me.”

“I’m surprised.” Jason leaned over and placed a hand on Sean’s arm. It was warm, fine dark hairs smooth under his fingers. He thanked the powers that be that it was warmer today so that Sean’s shirtsleeves were rolled up above his elbows. “You’re a good-looking guy.” More than good-looking. Jason made a point of looking Sean up and down. “I’d even go as far as to say hot.”

“Really?” Jason could almost see the steam coming out of Sean’s ears at the idea. Sean shook his head in disbelief. “Me?” He shook his head again. “Hell no. Now you….” His voice trailed off. “Um, can we change the subject onto something else? Are you from around here? I hadn’t seen you before the other day.”

“I’m from… overseas.” Jason nodded, running through what was left of his cover story in his mind. “I’m a journalist, travel, mostly. This looked like an interesting place, so I thought I’d look around for a few days, take notes, that kind of thing.”

“Where overseas?” Sean settled back into his chair, relaxing as the conversation moved onto a safer topic. “I’ve been to Aussie once, but apart from that I haven’t been out of New Zealand. It’s on my list of things I’d like to do one day.” He laughed, but there was a self-deprecating air to it. “Perhaps once I’m rich and famous. Can’t see it happening otherwise.”

Jason thought quickly, latching onto the first country that came to mind. “Canada.” He hoped Sean wouldn’t ask for anything more specific than that. Giving the truth wasn’t an option. He couldn’t very well explain that although he was a local, the Wellington he was used to was very different from how it was now. It was better this way; there was less chance of slipping up and referring to something that didn’t exist yet.

“It’s on the list.” Sean sipped his coffee, thoughtful. “I’m a mainlander myself. Christchurch. My parents are still down there, don’t want to leave. They reckon they’ve spent their whole life there, and it’s going to take more than a few earthquakes to make that change.” He shrugged. “They’re one of the lucky ones. Their house is still relatively intact.”

“Have you been to see them recently?” Jason hoped Sean had. Closure was important. He’d seen too many families who’d missed out on that. They couldn’t be there at the end, but at least having had some contact beforehand had helped.

“Yeah. I went down as soon as I could after the first big one and spent some time.” Sean wrapped his fingers around his cup, long fingers, slender. “I offered to move back, but they wouldn’t have anything of it. My life is here now, has been for a few years. I’ve got my music, and I work in the cafe part time. Never going to be rich, but it works for me.”

“You’re a musician?” A familiar not-quite tune whispered to him. He ignored it.

“Yeah, although more of a songwriter than a performer.” Sean shrugged. “I doubt you’ve heard of me, although a couple of local bands are willing to play my stuff. I play keyboards for them on the occasional gig, too, when the usual guy is off sick or whatever.” He glanced toward his pile of papers, his mouth twisting into a half grimace, half-shy smile. “I’m working on a new one but having trouble getting it quite right. That happens sometimes, then when it’s the right time, it all falls into place. It drives me crazy until it does, though. I swear I eat, drink, and sleep the thing.”

“I’d love to hear what you’ve got so far.” Jason could have kicked himself for not taking the time to listen to the sound files attached to Sean’s dossier. However, it was Sean’s role at the cafe that was the focus of the assignment, not his music.

“That settles it.” Sean grinned. “I knew you were crazy with all your talk of hotness. Now you want to hear music composed by a guy you’ve only just met.” He schooled his face into a solemn expression. “I think that’s about the fourth sign of madness isn’t it? After all, for all you know my music could be really bad. How do you know you won’t lose your hearing and good taste for the rest of eternity?”

“And here I was thinking the fourth sign was being a true believer of the sanctity and healing properties of coffee,” Jason deadpanned.

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