Tag Archives: community

Community 2018 — Author Kaje Harper on rainbow YA and more (and a giveaway!)

As promised, Kaje Harper visits the blog today! Read on for an interview both fun and thoughtful, and comment below for a chance to win an ebook of your choice from Kaje’s backlist—an opportunity you won’t want to pass up! Click for a post about Kaje’s book, The Family We Make.

Hello Kaje, and welcome to Romance Across the Rainbow on sylvre.com. I’m very pleased to feature you and your work as part of my 2018 series on community. It’s a tough road, these days, being involved in the community of rainbow-friendly “book people.” We’ve seen hard-won human rights erode, and it seems like books with LGBTQIAND (very long acronym, so from now forward I’ll just say “Q,”) characters and content are getting flagged and picked on by everyone from readers on Goodreads to major booksellers. It’s easy to get discouraged, and without support from one another some of us might easily unravel. For this series I’m looking for people who exemplify support among us, those who go out of their way to uphold us in our interwoven Q book community—the warp threads, if you will. I’ve seen you in that role, and I’ll want to talk some about that, but I visited your website and checked out your bio, and I’d like to start with a few questions about you as an author and a human (not necessarily in that order).

Kaje says: Thanks so much for inviting me to be on this bog. (And wow, for including me among the warp threads.)

Q: From these pairs, choose which make your happier: (Note Kaje’s choices are in bold type.

All of them?

Sunshine or Old trees
Wildflowers or Crystals
Sexy humans or Wild horses
Laughter or Sleep
Cat noses or Dog tails
Long books or Walks in the woods

Q: You’ve been writing a long time, but your first publication of a M/M story was 2011. Before being published, what were you writing? What was the theme of the first mature story you remember writing, and why did you choose that theme?

A: I wrote my first M/M novel in 1974, when I was 14. I’d read The Persian Boy by Mary Renault and was deeply affected by the love and loss, and the intrinsic unfairness of the way a gay love story was considered less valid and viable than a straight one. Although my family was quietly committed to equality and social justice, I wasn’t at that time aware of LGBTQ family members, or the specific issues they faced.

After the Renault story, I began reading both non-fiction and fiction with LGBTQ people in them (of which there was not much that didn’t end sadly.) I’d been writing novellas as a young teen, but I was driven to give two gay men a love story that had a deservedly sweet, secure, and happy ending. I wrote (but didn’t try to publish) all sorts of stories in many genres over the subsequent years, most with gay main characters.

Q: Are there authors within the community of Q writers who significantly influenced your own writing? Particular books? If so, who and why?

A: Besides The Persian Boy, I was inspired by Patricia Nell Warren’s The Front Runner. I read both books when I was a teenager. Both shone with their portrayal of love between two men that was human and deep and undeniable, set against a society that devalued, demeaned, denied, and destroyed it.

I read very little genre M/M for the first few decades I was writing it (and no slash fanfic, although I wrote some in those pre-Internet days.) I read other books with gay and bi characters (like Diane Duane’s The Door Into Fire or Tany Huff’s The Fire’s Stone, or Michael Nava’s Henry Rios mysteries.) Then when my husband began pushing me to publish, I had just read and loved James Buchanan’s M/M mystery Hard Fall. The characters and story felt like the kind of thing I was trying to write, and my first submission was to James’s publisher, MLR press.

Q: Ever since I started sylvre.com, I’ve asked every featured author this question. What are the hottest 50 words you’ve ever written. Feel free to fudge on the word count, and to define “hottest” according to your own lights.

A: Wow. Sex scenes are not my forte. I mainly want the heat to convey important things about the characters or story. Maybe this one, from Learning Curve, the 4th book in the “Life Lessons” series. (And I’m fudging a lot on the word count)

“Yeah, oh yeah!” Mac shook so hard he almost threw Tony off him, coming in hot, slick spurts over Tony’s hand. Tony fucked him through it, not slowing, until Mac’s gasps became whimpers. Then he moved his hands back to Mac’s hips, straightened to watch the force of his paler body driving against Mac’s big, dark frame in that mirror. And came, in uncontrolled, shaking pulses, deep inside Mac’s ass.

Afterward, they stood there, trembling, as the color ebbed from their foreheads and necks, and muscles twitched and relaxed. Mac’s back was sweaty and warm under Tony. Tony slipped free and Mac grunted, bringing his legs together stiffly. Tony planted a hand on his spine to keep him bent over, though.

“Look in that mirror,” he whispered. “There. That stunning, big, dark man, and that smaller guy. That’s you and that’s me. And that’s fucking hot and gorgeous and just about perfect. That’s as gay as an Easter parade, and still completely about two real men. Your family can throw insults, and they can shun us, but they can’t make that less than fucking perfect.”

He waited, his gaze boring into Mac’s in the mirror, until Mac nodded. Tony took his hand away.
Mac turned and hugged him, leaning over to bury his face in Tony’s neck. “You, um, undo me. Every time.”

Q: You live in Minnesota and you love it, I see. Are the people in your life—family and community—aware that you write rainbow-friendly books? If so, do you find people to be accepting and supportive? Is Minnesota in general a forward-looking state in terms of human rights and protections?

A: Minnesota’s a good state for LGBTQ rights and human rights, in the Midwest. We were the first state to reject a one-man-one-woman amendment by popular vote. Obviously it’s far from uniform across the state. We have a relatively liberal urban population, and more conservative outstate one. Some of our schools have significant issues with homophobia, but there is more access to LGBTQ support and resources here than in many states. Our Medicaid and ACA plans must cover trans health procedures, including surgery, which many states don’t.

Most people in my life know what I write, including my husband, kids, brothers, friends, employer, and coworkers, parents of kids’ friends, and random folk like bank tellers if they asked when I deposited my Amazon checks. If they don’t, it’s because the topic hasn’t come up. Part of my supporting the community is being out and visible about it, from the bumper stickers on my car to discussing the books I write.

But I’m also relatively safe in doing so. My family is liberal. I’m white, het, married, and middle class. If it had cost me my job, I have the skills to find another. I have occasionally had someone preach at me over my bumper stickers (and once threaten me, after Trump won the election), and I’ve disconcerted the occasional friend or acquaintance, but not more than that. I’d never pass judgment on someone who’s not in the same position, and chooses to keep it quiet. I’m lucky, and I know it.

Q: You have written a few YA books and are a moderator in the Goodreads YA LGBT books group. How did that role come about? Why did you decide that group was an important place to spend your time and effort? How important is it that we support and promote Q YA books, those (especially the youth) who read them, and the authors who write them? Is there anything you believe people can do to get these books into the hands of young people, and do you think it’s important to target only Q youth as potential readers, or should that target readership be broadened to include all young readers? Please explain your answer.

A: The group began as an M/M YA offshoot of the M/M Romance group, when an underage gay boy really wanted to join that one and couldn’t. The M/M mods ran it first, and I joined – I’ve always read YA. At a time when they were very short of help, I volunteered to co-moderate. Real-life demands for the others made me the most active moderator for the last few years (although Sammy does what she can, given family and health crises she’s had. May she finally have a good year to come!) We now have 7100 members.

I think YA LGBTQ books are vitally important. They give those teens and the people around them, including their peers, real, positive, and varied depictions of the lives of young people who identify as gender and sexual minorities. For many of our older members (and we have all ages from 13 to “older than dirt” as one guy said) books were their first view into a world where people like them were normal and accepted and could expect full lives. Many cite Mercedes Lackey’s Magic’s Pawn as the first time they saw a gay boy as a hero, and gay love shown as something good.

Even today, despite online images, and real life role models, books have an important place Some teens still tell us that reading a YA story was their first chance to see people like them celebrated (especially our small-town and international teens.) Some found their identity and words for the feelings they were confused by in the pages of a book, (particularly some of our gender-questioning teens.)

Another factor is that, while there are now quite a few out celebrities, and porn of all kinds is easy to find, neither of those address important issues of day to day life of an LGBTQ teen. Things like dating, coming out, relationships, the role of sex, family issues, school issues – all of those may be found more easily and relatably in fiction.

Sex ed in schools often does not cover non-hetro relationships. Porn says nothing about real sex beyond (often idealized) mechanics, and yet sadly, that’s the model for some of our teens on relationships. Group members say they turned to fiction for the parts beyond “insert tab A in slot B.” While YA should not have erotic sex on page, it can and does cover a lot of the important parts of emotions, joys, and consequences of LGBTQ relationships, including sex.

I think it’s important that straight, cisgender people have access to those stories too. I love the rising popularity of books like Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and its movie, Love, Simon, and fantasies like Carry On, or The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Those stories make readers more open to the rainbow of people around them. We’re seeing trans prom queens and kings, and out gay teen couples, and I think that real teens are benefiting from open representation everywhere, including books.

Getting more books into teen hands is a goal with many approaches. Reviewing, discussing, buying, and voting for these books helps. Last year in the open “Goodreads Choice” awards with millions of members, there were more than 15 YA nominees with either primary or secondary LGBTQ characters. Requesting them at libraries helps. My group has done book drives for teen libraries of several sorts, including school Gay-Straight Alliances. We also have free short stories posted monthly, and link free books, sales, and discounts.

I think we still need more diverse stories. We’re particularly short of stories that feature POC main characters. Minority teens are among those most short of role models and accurate pictures of lives like theirs. We also could use more stories of bisexual, transgender, non-binary, and asexual teens. Looking for and supporting own-voices authors is important.

But I’m heartened by the progress being made, including more stories for middle schoolers and even kids, and the ways they can bring change. One Wisconsin school class was planning to read “I Am Jazz” about a trans girl, and bigots forced them to cancel. Following the cancellation, organizers arranged a reading of the book at a library nearby. The lead organizer, said she was hoping for about 15 people to show up. The reading instead drew almost 600 from the local community in support. Books can make a difference.

Q: In your online presence, you often choose to speak up for accuracy when a misleading story (or “fake news”) is posted, even when (or perhaps especially when?) the stories would, if they were true, support the “left,” which is where we expect Q support to be strongest. Tell us, if you will, about why you do that.

A: We’ve all seen photoshops (like Emma Gonzales ripping the constitution,) and audio pasted on video (like Bernie Sanders entering to a homophobic song.) These techniques are getting more sophisticated all the time. It’s incumbent on us, if we want our kids to survive the next century, to do our very best to find facts, support fact-checking organizations, and to take down lies even if they appeal to us. It’s been shown that Russia, among others, has been working to divide opinion by formulating lies to appeal to both sides. Opinion manipulation is a fast-growing science and social media right now is our training ground, learning to fact-check and double-check and not let ourselves be suckered in.

I check progressive stories and memes more, because I know my own confirmation biases. I want those to be true, and with my friend base, I see far more of them. But I also fact-check my small number of conservative online friends. They are well-meaning people too, and it’s scary to realize how easy it is to convince people of lies, given enough authority behind the story, or enough appeal to how it’s written.

We must not condone or make important decisions based on lies. These days, with the line between satire and news razor thin, and so many news sources, it can be hard to tell. I’ve pulled down a few stories that I shared myself, that I later checked further and debunked, or found were shaded beyond truth.

I’m sure I sometimes come off as officious, fact checking others – people say “it could be true, what’s the harm, it’s typical anyway.” Some are grateful, but some are annoyed. But as a scientist, I think checking the facts and ethics of the views I support is part of being a responsible, ethical adult.

Q: What do you have coming up for readers?

A: I just rereleased a fantasy novella – Gift of the Goddess – about a man who’s determined to rescue his kidnapped lover, and as a last resort, petitions the Goddess on his lover’s behalf. He’s not expecting an answer, particularly the one he gets.

I’m editing an indie novel about a gay man with seven cats and Crohn’s Disease, and a bisexual veterinarian. I’m also in edits with Dreamspinner Press on a novella in their “States of Love” series about two small-town young men in the city, one a college student, the other a failed dairy farmer. And I’m really hoping to get the third Tracefinder book back on track soon.

(Kaje Harper May 2018)

Thank you Kaje, for visiting Romance Across the Rainbow, for your insightful answers, and for a pleasant chance to get to know you. I hope you’ll visit again! And readers, thank you for being here as always and don’t forget to comment below for a chance to win an e-book of your choice from Kaje’s backlist.

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Meredith King on Book Blogging with a Community Mindset

Hi readers! Romance Across the Rainbow is back with a second guest blog in the Community series for April. This short but insightful article is from blogger and reviewer Meredith King. Meredith is a writer too—pen name Davidson King. Read on down the page for a bit about those books! Welcome, Meredith!


The LGBTQA community is home to so many, including myself. Over four years ago I started a blog, Diverse Reader. It’s purpose was to promote and review LGBT books, and to have guests posts and spotlights that centered on authors, artists, and LGBTQA.

Through the years Diverse Reader grew and with it, so did the expectation and message. Each book reviewed helps this community flourish. In the four plus years I’ve been doing this I’ve seen the productivity grow and the once small span of people reading them expand.

Voices in this community are vital and so I opened the floor to all who wanted to speak about their work or themselves in my Saturday Author Spotlight. Interviewing authors in this community has taught me and so many a lot. With the bi-weekly feature TC Talks, author TC Orton talks about his writing, being a gay man in this community and the world, likes, dislikes, and being HIV positive in 2018. He has been remarkable, and I have seen people gravitate to his wise words.

When I published my own books, I was able to take all I’d learned and loved in this community and push it out there with a creative twirl.

Voices help this community and knowledge makes it grow. Diverse Reader, I feel, is a beacon that shines a light bringing people in and guiding them to safe shores.



Snow Falling

After running from a past destined to kill him, Snow has been hiding on the streets.

Tell nobody your name.
Tell nobody your secrets.
Trust nobody!
These are the rules of the streets.

His entire life changes when he saves an eight-year-old boy from a violent end. Christopher Manos is one of the most powerful crime bosses in the country.

Don’t ask anyone to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself.
Secrets can get you killed.
Trust nobody!
These are the rules he lives by.

When his eight-year-old nephew disappears, he never expects the boy’s savior to end up being his own. A man with a dangerous past and a man with a dangerous future find love amidst murder and mayhem. But with Snow’s life being threatened at every turn, will Christopher’s best be enough to prevent Snow Falling?

Released: November 28, 2017
Available on Amazon and KU
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2r32mm1


Hug It Out

Riordan Darcy has spent the last fourteen years building a name for himself as a notorious assassin. He travels the world taking the lives of some of the worst humanity has to offer, leaving his signature on every victim.

Riordan becomes unhappy and withdrawn from the world after a job goes horribly wrong and he makes the decision to get out of the life he was forced into, so long ago. When his meddling, older sister gives him a birthday gift that’s impossible to refuse, his plans to leave his life of crime take a backseat when he’s forced to protect the life of a veritable stranger.

When professional hugger and TLC provider, Teddy Harris, is offered a month-long companionship contract, he’s hard pressed to turn it down. Cuddler by day and a video game reviewer by night, Teddy’s need to make people feel loved and cared for is what drives him. When he meets Riordan Darcy, professional challenge and personal temptation collide, making it nearly impossible for him to endure a whole month with the gorgeous, enigmatic man without falling head over heels in love.

When a mole is discovered within Riordan’s organization, relationships are compromised, and people’s lives are in danger. Time isn’t on their side, and they discover answers can’t always be found by hugging it out when someone is hell-bent on eliminating each and every one of them. Can Riordan and Teddy survive long enough to fall in love, or will they die trying?

Released: March 28, 2018
Available on Amazon and KU:
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2HwZlVu


About Davidson King:

Davidson King, always had a hope that someday her daydreams would become real-life stories. As a child, you would often find her in her own world, thinking up the most insane situations. It may have taken her awhile, but she made her dream come true with her first published work, Snow Falling.

When she’s not writing you can find her blogging away on Diverse Reader, her review and promotional site. She managed to wrangle herself a husband who matched her crazy and they hatched three wonderful children.

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On Community: Author Pierce Smith writing emotions as shared human experience

Hello! Some of you know Dani (from Love Bytes) was going to be my feature this month, but that dear woman has a lot going on, so she’ll be with us at a future date. I’m pleased to present instead a guest post by author Pierce Smith. Pierce, thanks for being here, and welcome to sylvre.com’s Romance Across the Rainbow blog!

How Exploitation of Emotions Works in the LGBTQ & Straight Communities and Affects My Writing

Scientifically we evolved in a system which makes each and every human who ever existed in the past, is existing now, or will be in the future, a unique being. So how we can expect that we all are alike and can be framed in one narrow category: STRAIGHT. Yes! I call this ‘STRAIGHT’ community, which was never categorized or identified unique, to be narrow compared to the L G B T Q on this planet. Because S (for straight) represents only one category, and LGBTQ in the acronym represents five different communities which are all equal parts of our society.

We don’t need to, and never have needed to, name call them, categorize or distinguish between them, label them differently and make different laws for them. They are like us, the same as a few of us don’t like curd and others love eating curd! See the person sitting next to you is also different to you, perhaps only in their eating habits and not in sexual preferences.

If you date back in history you can find out oral and anal sex were forbidden too, and how slowly it went through each parliament gradually changing and relaxing the laws. The same with LGBTQ laws. We are witnessing history in making. Be proud and make people around you feel proud alongside you.
We need to understand that every human experiences the same range of emotions and so does anyone within the named groups. All my books are based on the same themes and the same sets of emotions which control the relationships.

In my Enrapture series (three books published so far with HFN combined together) When a third entity (I call it entity because it’s not human in the unlikely event you haven’t read the books yet) came between Noah and Ethan. The sensitive guy becomes jealous and became the overprotective, though too weak to fight with daddy figure, Noah. Ethan took other measures to show how much he loved Noah and what he could do to keep the relationship alive. The emotions outraged among demons and demon hunters, and among people traveling from the past.

Writing from the negative point, I had two devilishly handsome professors, in Bait, who were involved with a young teenage student Cody, for their own pleasure and amusement. The book doesn’t become negative until halfway through the book and thereafter leaves the reader upside down, cursing and abusing professors at whom they were previously throwing kisses. Life happens and so does the ending, too often.

Finally and the most exotically written was in Berlin to Bern where again, a young guy was entrapped during a mysterious train journey and unknown Masters took command over him, for the whole night.

Enrapture Series—Click to Buy Now

Enrapture: Noah Series (book 1)
#Free on #KindleUnlimited #KU

On their first Halloween eve, together things didn’t quite go as planned for two very passionate and horny men. Noah waits anxiously and impatiently for Ethan to get home from work to start their night of sexy fun. Noah discovers a man is watching him through the window across the street. When Ethan phones to let him know he’s caught in traffic, the fun starts with phone sex. Shortly after, a masked Ethan arrives for the Halloween night of fun. But a knock at the door later has left Noah wondering who he just made love to. They find themselves dealing with a few twists in this debut book of an erotic m/m series. It’s one-night tale with twist and turns, with lust wrapped in suspicion. A hot read will be having you beg for more!
GET YOUR COPY $2.99
Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EYZBC58
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36685110-enrapture
Enrapture: Noah’s Tryst
A sexy and spicy sequel to our sizzling saga ENRAPTURE the passionate story of Noah and Ethan. Someone has been suspiciously sinful, but who can blame him? A libertine of a spooky spirit leads our lusty lads, Noah and Ethan, into licentiousness by a libertine of a spooky spirit.
Driven by Noah’s desire to protect his partner, Ethan, from this depraved demon, Noah enlists the talents of a Paranormal professional to solve his elemental problems and we meet the mysterious Marvel but is he a Master or Masquerade? Friend or Foe? Or is he a specialist or spurious?
As they deal with despondency and despair, testosterone and tears in determining their destinies to be loyally loving and tenderly together. Resentment runs rampant and as the intensity increases, it adds fuel to the fire. Will the deceit be discovered before it destroys? Will they be rewarded with retribution or repercussions? Will the truth be triumphant and the visitor vanquished?
Amazon Link:
USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XH69N87
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34516883-enrapture

Enrapture: Noah’s fate
#Free on #KindleUnlimited #KU

Ian, the sinister shadow, has been haunting our heroes, Noah and Ethan. He reveals himself before Noah as an Angel trapped in Earth’s realm, after being banished from the Heavens with Lucifer aeons before. He tries his best to seduce, provoke, and manipulate Noah to bring him around to his side. He is desperate to return to his Heaven, but the cost is beyond anyone’s expectations! Noah eventually discovers Ian isn’t alone; there comes his entire gang of malicious monsters, devious devils and his merciless Master. Together they can induce nightmares and manipulate human minds. Noah understands their games and stands strong, but how long can he survive? Once again he stands at the indecisive point where he finds he may lose everything he values. On the other hand, Marvel is busy practicing his secret cult empowering himself with the Celestial Powers which can only be obtained once in a millennium. Thereafter he expands his Army and keeps many secrets from Noah and Ethan. On the final front, Monsters were able to scare and seduce Ethan to bring confusion into their relationship. Fighting alone on all fronts, Noah manages to make a deal with the Monsters. But what is the deal and who will be victorious? Can true love survive?

Amazon USA: a href=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0743L82J4
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36685124-enrapture

BAIT

Cody has had enough of living with his wealthy, controlling, and disapproving parents, so when the time comes to choose a university, he picks one as far away as possible from his hometown and arrives in New York. The naïve boy soon finds himself embroiled in a whirlwind affair with his tutors. Secrets abound. Will they be discovered? Will Cody ever find the happiness he is looking for or will it all end in tears?

This is a M/M story that contains some dark scenes, deals with #depression and #suicide.

Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078RLX5QV/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37779582-bait

Berlin to Bern
#Free on #KU #KindleUnlimited

What would you do if you were entrapped in a hidden unnamed cabin on a train from Berlin to Switzerland?

A closed lavishly decorated room which oozed sex and liquor from all over the world. What would Robin do if one after another, lecherous men entered in their official dress and made him kneel before them?

What could Robin have done?

Robin moaning, grunting, pleading, serving, and gratifying their dark hunger.

A short biographical story based on Robin – of course, his name has been changed – when once he hurriedly boarded the train to go to his first ever job interview. The sin he had no ticket. Rascal, the ticket inspector, offered, that instead of payment, he could spend the night in a hidden compartment.

Rascal came for him when the other passengers on the train were asleep and when finally Robin was sleeping in the embrace of Rascal, a shadow knocked at the door. Or was it shadows?

Robin had no idea this night would never end while learning the true art of submission.

This dark longing is buried in the deepest corner of all our hearts.

It is a contemporary gay (MM, M/M, queer) romance with strong BDSM (bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D&S), and sadism & masochism (S&M) ) themes, many explicit scenes and no cliffhanger.

Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B4CVWVP/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38821281-berlin-to-bern

About Pierce Smith:

Pierce Smith, aka PS, has been writing since his childhood. He is a young, single, sexy author who lives alone in the countryside; somewhere on the Planet Earth. He always gets lost in a fantasy/paranormal world of ghosts, shape-shifters, aliens and more. Most of the time his imagination, intuitions, dreams, and his love for them, drift him away. He is into paranormal mysteries and hot erotic scenes. PS is a lover of food, coffee, and hot people. PS discovered that fantasizing is addictive and once you have a taste of it, you can’t get rid of it. Thus, escaping from the reality, he writes few short stories. Sadly, most of them go unpublished. He is planning to include them on his blog and share them through his Newsletter. On the advice of his friends, PS started writing long epic novels and self-publishing. PS does his job seriously; does a hell lot of research before putting anything into his books, and interacts with the community around him, a lot. He enjoys his characters (in every possible ways) before putting any of them on the paper. He lusts after them so that his readers can experience the same intensity in the characters. He loves talking a lot and flirts openly, enjoying the company of others.

Stalking Sites:

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March “Community” feature: Sharita Lira (Here with two Michael Mandrake releases this month!)

I’m happy to feature Sharita Lira, an extraordinary author, in my “Community 2018” series here on sylvre.com Romance Across the Rainbow. Check the exclusive interview for her in-depth answers to questions about her writing and her active role as a proponent of true diversity in the community of LGBTQ+ writers and readers. Oh, and don’t miss an excerpt from new release, Caught in the Crossfire. First, though, here’s a little about her two recent releases, both under pen name Michael Mandrake. (About that, Sharita is a busy writer, and has four, count ’em, four pen names! See the interview to learn why and how…)


Caught in the Crossfire is book 3 of the PROTEKT series:

Musician Bastien Desmarais is thrust into danger, but he’ll have a chance at love—not once, but twice.

Tryst Olivares aka Domingo Macaya was hired by PROTEKT to guard superstar Bastien Desmarais because of threats he’d received. However, Domingo has an ulterior motive. Instead of following through on his PROTEKT assignment, he has other plans that don’t involve the popular entertainer.

Normally independent of security, Bastien sees this move to hire a bodyguard as a hindrance, but he’ll make the best of it. Why not have fun, especially since Tryst has the look Bastien appreciates?

In the midst of searching for a world-renowned felon, Claudius Peltier is very busy. But even this mission can’t deter his infatuation with Bastien. After years hiding his true self, Claudius won’t turn down the opportunity to be something more than the singer’s number one fan.

Three paths cross, leading them all down a very dangerous road. If they can survive this mission to catch a dangerous criminal, they can survive just about anything.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and homophobia.

Genre themes:
Erotic Romance, Gay, Menage and multiple partners, Multicultural
Buy the book:


Calisto’s Quest is coming March 31, book four in the Immortals series:

A battle between good and evil or does love conquer all?

For centuries Calisto and Valios had been frenemies, growing up in the ranks on two different sides. Over a mortal year ago, Most High granted Calisto one wish. A night with Valios, the Dark Lord’s son. By doing this, he thought Calisto would get over his fascination with the demon. However, Calisto developed feelings for the Soul Catcher that would never disappear.

Valios had lost out on true love in two instances, so he created a harem for himself to forget the pain. Though Valios has feelings for Calisto, his loyalty to his fathers Luci and Death must be upheld or he’ll face the wrath of both. Because of this, he’s kept his distance, ignoring his desire for one of High’s most prominent angels. Nothing, not even the commitment he seeks, is more imprtant than making his parents proud.

Once Calisto and Valios realize their emotions for one another run deep, they make plans to have children, which runs the risk of enraging their families and bringing punishment to both.

Calisto and Valios are long time rivals with a chance of gaining something more. Will they bypass it in order stay loyal to their respective sides?

Warning: Rough sex, violence, and MPreg. Relationships that others might find objectionable.

Click here for more info about Calisto’s Quest and a snippet!


Michael Mandrake’s author bio:

Michael Mandrake pens complex characters who are already comfortable in their sexuality. Thorough these characters, he builds worlds not centered on erotica but rather the mainstream plots we might encounter in everyday life through personal experiences or the media.

To find out more please visit Michael’s website.
(Michael Mandrake can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and Ello.)

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Filed under featured authors, just a category, New Release, Upcoming release

Interview with J. Scott Coatsworth—author of the M/M sci-fi series, the Oberon Cycle

Welcome Scott, and congratulations on the release of Lander. Having you on the blog has given me a reason to take a closer look at your work—something I confess I’ve wanted to do for a while, and I have to say I got drawn in—so much so that I read Skythane instead of doing a number of other things I had on my to do list. I’ve got a few questions that arose from my reading, but let’s start with a few more general facts.

Q: Please tell us three of your favorite things about being a writer. We all get discouraged from time to time—when that happens, what keeps you writing? ame three books, novels, that you could read over and over again—the books that make you want to be a writer, too.

A: So first off—Larque on the Wing—a fabulous magical realism tale about a housewife who wanders into the gay part of town and finds out she quite literally has a gay man inside of her. In this world, there’s a man who can bring to the outside who you really are on the inside. This book showed me what could be done with magical realism and a rainbow palette.

My second—Daughter of the Empire, by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts. OMG this book is good. It tells the story of a daughter of a powerful family who returns home after the rest of her kin are slaughtered, and is forced to take control of the family business. The world is a feudal society that mirrors Japanese culture, and the twists and turns are fantastic, as is the ending. Plus there are two more after this one. A master class in plot-driven sci fi/fantasy.

Finally, Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern. I am a huge fan of Anne McCaffrey generally and the Pern series in particular, and this one pulled all my heart strings – an epic tragedy that seamlessly combines sci fi and fantasy in a beautifully realized world.

Q: If you couldn’t be a writer, what profession would be your first choice, and why?

A: Hmmm… I always wanted to be an astronomer, until I found out how much math it required.

I’ve always loved space and sci fi, so astronaut would be my second choice. 🙂

Q: Among your characters, who is your favorite, and why?

A: My favorite character? But I love them all! But if I had to choose… probably Mael from “The Great North.” He’s so strong and sure of himself – he comes from a society where there’s no issue with folks who are gay or lesbian or any other part of the queer rainbow. Plus there’s the whole death and reincarnation thing (spoiler)…

Q: In a throwback to a question I used to ask authors for every feature—what are the fifty hottest, sexiest words you ever wrote? Okay, you have some leeway here. It can be less than fifty, but not many more, and “hot” and “sexy” can be defined any way you want.

A:From “A New Year”:

Finn pulled him down into a bed of moss, hungrily, and they kissed with a passion that unleashed Heath’s lust like an uncoiled spring. He pulled off his shirt and unbuttoned his jeans, and Finn shirked off his own clothing. Heath nuzzled Finn’s neck, and was soon lost to an animal passion that surpassed anything he had ever experienced in his bedroom with his own hand and a box of tissues in the dead of night.

I may have cheated and gone over. Just a bit.
(That’s perfectly all right, Scott.)


Q: You do have stories in other genres, but is sci-fi your favorite? If so, what in particular makes that true? Who are your sci-fi author heroes—the writers who made you fall in love with the genre? What new sci-fi favorite authors are on your current reading list?

A: I have three loves – sci fi, fantasy, and magical realism. Most of my stories fall under at least one of those categories, and sometimes several. Sci fi/fantasy has been a favorite of mine since I used to raid my mother’s sci fi bookshelf – McCaffrey, Asimov, Clarke, Anderson, Bova, Tolkien, and many more.

I love being a part of bold, amazing, fully realized worlds that are so different from this one, and others that seem like they might just be a heartbeat away. Give me starships, elf magic and planet-wide terraforming, and I’m in bliss. Put them all together successfully, and I’m in awe.

I have very little reading time these days, but I love me some Angel Martinez. And though he’s new, OMG, Peter Hamilton. If you are a hard-core sci fi butt and you haven’t read Hamilton… * shakes head *

Q: You are one of the administrators of the Queer Sci-fi website, an associated Facebook group, and a critique group. Can you give us a little history? Was this your brainchild? What do you most want people to know about QSF?

A: LOL… yeah it was. I started writing when I was in elementary school, and sent off my first book in my mid-twenties, but I didn’t write queer characters then. When I came back to writing in my mid-forties, I knew it had to be different this time. My new stories exploded with rainbows, and I wanted people to share my newfound freedom with. I found some good groups in Facebook, but none was quote what I wanted – a group that was truly inclusive of all kinds of speculative fiction and all kinds of people across the queer spectrum.

So Queer Sci Fi was born.

Not long after, I managed to convince Angel to come run it with me, and then we added Ben Brock, who has become our reviews guru.

The site’s watchwords are diversity, safety and fun – we work hard to foster an atmosphere where everyone can hang out together and rub elbows with others who are different, without feeling sidelined, disparaged, or made to feel invisible.

Q: The names and creatures in Skythane and Lander draw on Irish or Celtic mythology. What drew you in that direction? How extensively did the ancient figures of Oberon and the fey influence the worlds you created, or the stories you set within them?

A: LOL… it was an accident, actually.

I wrote the first three scenes of what eventually became Skythane in the mid-nineties, and then put it back on a shelf. It had no direction, no outline, no particular place it was going, and it joined a bunch of started stories that I’d never finished.

Around 2014, I pulled out the scenes to take a look at them. The image of the half world against the stark backdrop of space stuck with me. And the name – Oberon.

I did some research, and ran across Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’ Dream” – where King Oberon and Queen Titania are two of the many characters in a play that includes faeries, a magical forest and a love potion that makes people do crazy things. And Skythane was born.

I had gotten about halfway through, but then in November, 2015, I made it my NaNo project, and wrote the whole thing in one month. Of course, it took a few additional months to rework it and clean it up, and then Dreamspinner bought it and the rest was history.

Just for kicks, here’s the first scene I ever wrote of the story in all its misspelled glory. It still appears in the current book, with a few alterations:

Raindrops rolled off the plas screen in crazy patterns, the drops skidding across the slick surface in a wind-whipped frenzy. Xander lay on his back, head thrown back, watching them with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil. His chest heaved slowly up and down, his breath easing out of his lungs with silent ease, his whole posture and demeanor speaking of ease.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, seemingly relaxed muscles and redolent pose, his heart beat at a thunerous pace, and his mind raced for answers that seemed to just as quickly slip beyond his grasp.

The trick he’d brought home worked enthusiatically, his warm hands lain upon Xander’s thighs, his warm mouth evident elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep musk of him, slipped a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousseled hair, watching the rain increase to a thunder on the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimering light, combining and recombining and running quickly out of sight.

Despite himself, he felt himself rising quickly to climax; despite his detachment, his mind was drawn up like the tide in the swell that seemed to radiate from his cock and balls down through his toes, up along his spinal cord.

Lightning flared suddenly in the wet-black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed, and Xander came at the same time, his body crying out in joyous release. He shuddered, shivered and shuddered again, feeling for just a moment on the crest of the wave, in a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, white hot fire.

In the short moments afterward, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness, missing the pain that had taken up residence inside him these last few weeks.

When he opened his eyes, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant. Xander pushed himself up, off the bed, and took a fifty out opf his wallet, handing it to the trick with a dismissive gesture.

“I can do more…” the man said, but Xander shook his head.

“You’ve done enough. Now get out.”

The trick shot him a dirty look, but hurried out of the flat, slamming the door behind him. Xander looked after him in disgust. This was what he’d sunk to, bringing home tricks for a quick blow?

He stood against the long window, his lithe form silouhetted in the darkness of the plas, touching the cool surface with his hand, and tried to remember where things had gone so horribly wrong. The city spread out below him, thousands of amber lights in strings along the main causeways. In the distance, he could make out the Molokais, their peaks just a sharp-toothed wall of darkness at the edge of the world. Above them, the stars swam in the deepest night, thickest overhead, neither of Oberon’s two moons yet up to challenge their dominance of the night sky.

Turning his back on the night, he stared around the flat, glaring at the unmade bed as if it were to blame for his indiscretions. “Light,” he said, and the dim glow increased to something approaching daylight. “Candler, Deca Seven, Play.”

He eased himself down onto the center of the bed, and Candler Dalias’son was floating there before him, his beautiful gossamer wings extended on either side of him. Camber looked down at him, his amber eyes filled with concern. Xander drank in his beautiful face, the glow of his skin. “Xander, what’s wrong?” Candler reached out a hand toward him, and Xander reached out to touch his fingers, but his own hand closed in thin air.

“Candler, I miss you so…” he started, but his voice cracked. It was still so hard, even after all these weeks…

“Javier’s going out country next week,” Candler said, oblivious to him. “I’d like to go with him…”

“End play,” Xander said, and the thing that wasn’t Candler disappeared. Out country… he’d forgotten… “Oh Candler, why did you have to go?”

He sank down into the bed, exhausted with grief, and fell into a dark and dreamless sleep.

Q: The story descriptions tell us a little about the main characters in Lander. What secondary character do you think is most important to the story? What do they bring to the tale?

A: Hmmm. Depends on how you define secondary. Alix – the Lander the title refers to, starts as a secondary character in Skythane, but comes into his own in “Lander.” But I’d have to say Morgan. This little guy revealed himself to me in Skythane and I didn’t really know what or who he was, but he’s become central to the story. You learn a lot more about him in Lander, and he will be pivotal to “Ithani,” the last book in the trilogy.

Q: Let’s talk about themes. What would you say is the primary theme of the Oberon series? The theme of Skythane? Of Lander? I assume book three is at least well underway. What will be the theme of Ithani?

A: Change. On a macro scale, the change of the world and the species and breeds of people and aliens. And on a micro level, the way the characters themselves, especially our everyman Jameson change.

Q: To wrap up, Scott, what’s in store? Do you have a date (tentative or otherwise) for Ithani’s release? What other works do you have in progress? Any events you’d like your readers to know about? Anything else you’d like to say?

A: So many questions!

Yes – Ithani should be out in February 2019. 🙂 I am about 16k into it at the moment.

And yes, I has plans!

The sequel to “The Stark Divide” – “The Rising Tide” – is in edits, and will release in October, and the final book in that trilogy, as yet unnamed (but it might be “The Shoreless Sea”) will be out in October 2019.

This year, I also plan to get into self publishing with a vengeance, with my blog serial “The River City Chronicles” hitting the shelves in English and Italian in the spring, an anthology of some of my shorter works in the fall, and the fourth Queer Sci Fi flash fiction anthology, “Impact.”

Also, sometime this year, Mischief Corner Books should be coming out with the three volumes of the serial that appeared on their blog titled “Marionettes in the Mist” – I wrote it along with Angel Martinez, Toni Griffin and Freddy MacKay.

After that, who knows?

Thanks so much for having me!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You are very welcome, J. Scott Coatsworth, and I can’t thank you enough for allowing sylvre.com to host you on your tour for Lander. The exclusive excerpt was an unexpected gift, and I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to answer my nosy questions. I wish you all the best with Lander and with everything you’ve got sizzling. I hope you’ll visit again someday.

Readers, thanks for being here. Comments are welcome, and we’ll try to answer any questions.

Find out more about Lander in this post: Featured Author, J. Scott Coatsworth—New Release Lander, book 2 of the Oberon Cycle
And wet your appetite for Scott’s writing here: Exclusive excerpt from J. Scott Coatsworth’s *Lander*

And here’s where you can find a number of of J. Scott Coatsworth’s books.

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Filed under Book tour, featured authors, Interviews, just a category, M/M romance, Sci-fi

Today is International Day Against Homophobia, Bi-phobia, and Transphobia, and if there’s a blog hop, I can’t find it.

Scrolling through my Twitter feed today I saw some tweets related to IDAHOT—or IDAHOBIT, as some are calling it, events and news, and realized I missed the blog hop. I was shocked! How could that have happened? Admittedly, I’m not much good, these days, at calendaring, planning, or organizing. When I stopped working in social services, I stopped keeping any kind of day book, and now if I something doesn’t trigger my memory I either miss things or scramble to catch up to them.

But that’s just it. For the last several years, I’ve taken part in a huge blog hop for this international awareness event, and I’ve always gotten the reminders I needed it to get that all-important post up in time. This year—silence. Once I realized today was the day, I searched Google and visited the former organizers blogs, and the former event homepage for the hop—nothing.

So if there’s a hop, I missed it, but I’m blogging anyway.

It’s a bit of a mystery to me. I wonder if there’s been some huge black mark against the organizers of the “Day Against” queer phobias. It could be, and I could have missed it. I’m reminded that when I worked in an office environment I was always the last to know about office scandals—even when I was purportedly at the center of them. Maybe I’m somehow breaking ranks to commemorate the day at all.

I believe that “unity” is the key part of the word “community,” and if we don’t stand up together to celebrate our gains and commemorate our losses, to honor those who breathe our air, and remember those we’ve lost, then we cannot claim a right to the word. And make no mistake, we need community. We need it on a personal level, but now more than ever we also need it if we are to have any hope of undoing the untenable developments in governments around the world (and especially in the United States), which are driving us hell-bent for leather toward rule by the rich, for the rich, at the expense of our basic freedoms, our civil rights, and everything we hold dear and necessary to live as fully human.

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other? —George Eliot

This year’s theme for DAHAT is family. No matter how you define them, families are community in the early stages. They make a great beginning. I celebrate them and am more than thankful for my several differently defined families. I feel the need to pull those families together for strength, though. All of us are the center of such a star-cluster of families, and though we are the center only from our own viewpoint, from that position we can exert our personal gravity to pull others in, rather than insisting on standing stock still rooted in cemented opinions and letting community fall away unwelcomed. Common cause is always strengthened by numbers, so the greater the community we embrace, the greater our ability to create and protect change for good.

Maybe, there’s no divide in the community and I’m jumping to the wrong conclusions. Maybe there is a divide and it’s because “bi” is not officially part of the acronym. (Note: I am bisexual and am truly sick of being “erased.”) Either way, I’m glad for IDAHOBIT, as it should be called, because the world today is chockfull of hate (yes, even if for some reason they hurt my feelings and I don’t know it). Remember those achievements we celebrated? Like marriage equality, protection for trans students, recognition of same sex couples as adoptive parents, protection of our rights in the workplace, housing, and the marketplace? Consider those the curtain wall around our castle. Armed with unfathomable financial support, white supremacists, Leviticus quoters, and twisted, greedy orcs who believe they are Nietzsche’s Übermensch are beating at our gates. We are under siege. They’ve got the money and the tools, and all we have is each other—community.

IDAHOT, behind which stands people who may, like me, be imperfect, calls itself a “Worldwide Celebration of Sexual and Gender Diversities”—a pretty inclusive term. Read this BBC article about Chechnya, or this attack in Portsmouth, England (though The Sun‘s article is presented as sensationalism), or any honest reportage about the shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. You’ll see why I believe inclusivity, finding unity and community, standing together even if it means we must tolerate imperfections in our vision, in our line of locked shields.

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” —JK Rowling (Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire)

Thank you for reading. Here’s the link to DAHOT’s page, followed by the text portion of their media release about 2017. Visit their site for news about related events and social media links.

IDAHOT 2017 media release

MEDIA RELEASE – For immediate release
May 17, 2017 marks the 12th annual International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia*
The celebrations will span the coming week. All over the world, lights will shine on the situation of sexual and gender minorities.

Many actions will focus on the horrible situation in Chechnya this year, where dozens of LGBT people have been rounded up, tortured and killed by government forces. Around the world, rallies and protests are being organised to denounce the situation and put pressure on leaders to bring it to an end.

But while mobilisation grows in some parts, IDAHOT events have had to be cancelled in several places due to pressure from opponents, as in Lebanon or Bosnia. In the Caucasus country of Georgia, activists have been driven off the streets by violent attacks for several years now, as opponents “claim” May17 as the “day of traditional families”.

To denounce the frequent usurpation of family values by conservative movements, this year the IDAHOT has teamed up with the International Family Equality Day, which is being celebrated on May 7ththis year, to declare that “Love is what makes a family”. Rainbow families, parents of LGBT children, and all their allies have rallied around this motto to organise events in over 50 countries.

These, and all the other IDAHOT events, will underline the tragic situation faced by many LGBT people along with their families. But they will also, and surely foremost, be a celebration of the courage, the strength and most of all the LOVE, that drives the fight for the rights of sexual and gender minorities.
Throughout the week, we will circulate information on events, statements from prominent supporters and bring family stories from around the world, all of which will resonate against hatred and extremism.

Among the first trends to which we bear witness this year, we note the strong commitment from progressive movements within churches. Just as families don’t accept the hijacking of their values by extremists fostering hate and violence, people of all faiths don’t resign themselves to the manipulation of their religious values.

We also see that the Day is increasingly recognised at official levels. This trend is not new as in previous years many heads of State, UN agencies, EU institutions and local authorities have marked the Day. But the trend is increasingly visible. To name just some examples, May 17 has entered the formal curriculum in Chile’s schools and in France the public television hosts a thematic IDAHOT evening with debates, documentaries and dramas. The UN Free and Equal campaign will once more release a special video, celebrating family.

One sign of this growing recognition is the lighting up of official buildings in rainbow colours; this is an increasingly popular way to mark the Day. Last week-end, Vilnius City Hall in Lithuania joined the global illuminations for the first time, but many more official buildings are on this year’s list, including the now almost “traditional’ Melbourne city bridge.

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