Apparently Luki and Sonny have made a few people cry. Sorry. but not too sorry, because it got Yes: A Vasquez and Jams Novella nominated for the 2012 M/M Romance awards on Goodreads. Not surprisingly, in the best tear-jerking scene category. Thank you readers, for loving Luki Vasquez and Sonny James enough to make the nomination.
Here is the link to vote on all the categories, or click on the badge, above. Please vote, even if Luki and Sonny don’t get your vote, show your pride. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Now, I don’t know what scene from yes is the tear jerker the nominators had in mind, but I can just about guarantee this is not it! I’m offering it just for the fun of it, and a little warmth on a winter’s day. Hope you enjoy!
On New Year’s Eve, Sonny fell in love. With Luki, not for the first time. He used to fall in love with him regularly, but over the last months, it had happened rarely. Very. Not that he ever stopped loving him, but moments of heart-stopping I-love-him-so-much-I’m-gonna-die had fallen to the status of a vague hope for “someday.” But now, there Luki stood, breathing easily without oxygen, effects of chemo and prednisone dwindling—for the time being—radiation sickness beating a fast retreat. On New Year’s Eve, Sonny’s “someday” had come.
Across the living room—the only room in the rambling house still walled all the way around with the original, varnished logs—Luki held up his copy of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sonny—who rarely watched movies, or television for that matter—privately wondered how any movie, especially one starring a bunch of stuffy Brits trying to be funny, could be so fantastic. Luki’s anticipation seemed almost boyish—though even after months of sickness, even stripped of hair, his body most certainly was not.
“C’mon, baby, let’s watch it,” Luki said. I can’t believe you’ve never seen it.”
Sonny followed him to the living room, sat in the chair and waited while he put the DVD in the player.
“No,” Luki said, tucking himself into a corner of the couch with his bare feet drawn up. “Sit over here with me. Please?”
The “please” was unnecessary, as far as Sonny was concerned.
Still, he wanted to be sure. Not long ago, Luki’s skin had been so sensitive it burned to be touched, and a body close to his made him sweat with heat. Quietly and probably too seriously, he asked, “It won’t bother you?”
So Sonny took up his station, laying curled up half behind Luki with his head miraculously ending up in the crook of Luki’s arm, just as if they were made to be braided together in that fashion.
Luki had discovered the joys of reading after he moved into Sonny’s house, and he especially liked to read aloud to Sonny. At those times this was how they would lay. Now, as always before, Luki stroked Sonny’s bare skin absently while they watched. It felt so sweet, so much like coming home that at first Sonny couldn’t follow the movie. Instead, he listened to Luki laughing, to his heart beating, to his breathing, soft and even.
But Luki had told the truth. Knights riding stick horses
discussing how much weight an African Swallow could carry and throwing cows at each other made him laugh—so hard he had to sit up and wipe his eyes. At a quiet point, he felt Luki’s eyes on him, thought maybe he needed something. But when he turned his head, Luki was gazing at him, his face alight with one of his slight but soul-deep smiles. Sonny tilted his head, questioning.
“Sonny. It has been so long since I’ve seen you laugh. Really laugh, with your whole heart in it.” He ran his thumb across Sonny’s lower lip. “It’s medicine. It might save my life.”
Click on the cover image for the buy link at Dreamspinner Press! Senator Davis Hudson has a silver tongue that has so far kept the stress off those lesser political organs, the heart and the brain. But he’s just made a political speech that will transform him from a Senate back-bencher to a public figure and presidential contender—whether he’s ready or not—and suddenly he wants his words and actions to mean something. It’s a crucial time in his political career, and Davis needs all the publicity he can get. He just doesn’t expect the highlight of his first CNN interview to be the conversation he has with makeup artist Kurt Lamb.
Kurt is smart, politically savvy, and uninterested in being part of a congressional sex scandal, which is why he tolerates being Davis’s dirty little secret. Despite the poor timing, Davis falls for him hard.
But Kurt isn’t the only skeleton in Davis’s closet. Davis’s ex-wife isn’t happy that he’s pursuing the presidency now, after all her years of hard work, and he has at least one more enemy on the Hill. Between them, they have all the tools they need to ruin a presidential candidate—and maybe his shot at happiness too.
Ellen Holiday started writing at the age of five and never stopped. Her passion has always been for romance, for the magic moment when words are no longer needed, breath stops, and the whole world consists of two souls connecting. Writing that moment, and all the madness surrounding it in every situation, remains her passion every day of her life.
She works in Washington, D.C., where the mix of history, beauty, and politics keeps her constantly intrigued, and lives just west of the city with her husband, with whom she shares a love of science fiction, gaming, and all things geeky. They also share plenty of romantic moments of their own.
Ellen Holiday can be contacted at ellenholidayz(at>gmail(dot)com.
Q: How important are character names, to you, and how do you go about naming them? What about titles? A: Most of my character names come to me, I don’t go searching for them. I can go from a face to a name, or just listen to another character all my new character by name, and I know who they are. Occasionally I have to go in and tweak them, but I don’t do a lot o research into finding the appropriate character name. They are who they are; I just write their stories.
Titles are very, very tricky beasts! I have a terrible time with them, and sometimes I have an easier time writing a story to go with a title than vice versa. The short stories I’ve published for Dreamspinner — “Touched by the West Wind” (for the Cross Bones anthology) and “Rainy Days and Star Charts” (for Higher Learning) are my favorite titles; my least favorite right now is the working title for the novel I’m currently writing, as it doesn’t quite convey what I’m going for, but it’s close enough for now.
Q: In what locale is your most recent book set? How compelling was it to set a story there? Do you choose location the same way every time? How? A: “Inside the Beltway” is set in Washington, D.C., which is where I work; I was so happy to be able to write a political novel and to have it read realistically for the world I encounter every day. D.C. is like a different planet sometimes, but it’s such a fantastically layered and interesting place, and there’s so much going on here that I want to be able to convey. Both my current projects are also set in D.C., but I’d also really like to set a story or two in the Boston area, where I grew up and went to college. My other hope is to set a story in Japan, where I lived for a year. I’m fluent in the language and very interested in the society there, so I am hoping I can come up with a story that rings true to that country, as well. It’s incredibly important for me to be able to see the locales I’m writing about, and it’s also really fun for me to revisit places I’ve been with my stories. When I was a kid I did a lot of imagining love stories set in various places I visited and vacationed. So in a way I’ve been doing this my whole life.
Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line? A: They can do whatever they want, but I’ll go back and mess with them later if they’re not moving the story along. The most frustrating thing for me is how very much my characters want to be happy, and I just can’t let them be totally happy if I’m going to write a good story, no matter how much I may personally want to see them do well.
Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why? A: I absolutely adore writing the self-discovery aspect of relationships. Questions of identity — who am I, how much of myself is immutable, what of myself do I show the world, etc. — hold enormous fascination for me, and for a person to fall in love requires a leap of faith, to show to another person his secret heart and hope that the feelings are returned. As each of my characters falls in love, he discovers something about himself that he didn’t know. Sometimes that’s “I can fall in love with a man,” sometimes it’s “I see myself as belonging to this or that group,” or “the boundary between my public and private selves lies in a different place than I thought.” These questions are ones all of us, not just gay people, struggles with, but I think writing gay relationships gives me a framework as a writer to deal with them directly and overtly. So that’s what I find satisfying. That, and all the inherent hotness of gorgeous men together — which contains elements of power dynamics and gender roles, which are also questions of identity, but they become more accessible because they’re, ahem, packaged in such an appealing way.
Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction–do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read? A: I absolutely love hearing from readers! I’m relatively new on the scene, so I have yet to build up a lot of fans, but absolutely everything I hear from readers is taken to heart. I’m not one of those people who shuns reviews (though perhaps I should) — reviews have taught me a lot about what readers are looking for, what aspects of my writing they find appealing and what they don’t. And I learn from them, above and beyond the boost or injury to my ego.
As for more direct suggestions, one of the ways I’ve been able to draw some people to my blog is by asking for direct writing challenges. I encourage anyone and everyone reading this to visit ellenholiday.wordpress.com and look for my writing challenge posts!
Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers. A: I don’t know that I can speak to an ideal, but I can certainly say that I’m so delighted when readers take the time to leave a review or a rating or drop me a line or a tweet (@ellen_holiday!). I’m always so glad to hear from folks and have had some wonderful conversations with readers. There was a gentleman from England who emailed me, saying he wished he could vote for a politician like Davis Hudson (the protagonist of “Inside the Beltway”) – that was a great compliment! So readers, if you like what an author has to say, don’t hesitate to drop them a line. They may not all respond — they might be too busy writing the next book you’ll love — but it will give them great validation and motivation to keep writing.
Q: What do you find useful about reviews? A: Oh, everything! As I mentioned above, I am happy to read both good and bad reviews of my work. Among other things, it gives me a snapshot of what people are looking for in their stories. And sometimes that’s different things. I have had reviews that have said Davis was a truly good politician and good man, and those that said he was smarmy and unlikeable. So sometimes it’s a wash, but when there is a trend among reviews, it’s definitely something to keep in mind for next time. Do I want to craft a story absolutely everyone will love? Of course. Am I likely to do that in this life or the next? Probably not. So I take reviews as a general idea of what at least part of the reading public is thinking. And it’s good stuff to know when I’m crafting plots.
Q: I’m well known for demanding to know an author’s opinion about which of their characters is the sexiest, and I’m making no exception for this group. Who, how, and why?
A: Oh, it’s so hard for me to decide! I have a thing about writing “real” men, not underwear model types, so for each of my characters I can tell you at least one of their physical “flaws.” If I have to choose a character that’s already been published, I will say Kurt Lamb, Davis’s love interest in “Inside the Beltway.” He’s tremendously smart and self-assured, but he has this dry wit and this way of smiling that is just brain-meltingly hot. I describe it as “wolflike” in the book. He’s like this lean, sexy wolfman who keeps making Davis’ heart skip a beat, and he does the same for me.
For the stories I’m currently working on, the hero of my next novel, Ryan Ryder, is a bit of a challenge for me. He holds opposite political views to my own, which makes him annoy me no end, but he’s incredibly funny and sarcastic and a joy to write. So I have a bit of a crush on him too, despite the fact that if he were real, I think I would want to smack him silly. Well. I’d want to do something to him.
Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation). A: Oh, dear lord! I’m sure I haven’t the slightest. Every time I write a love scene it’s the hottest thing I’ve ever written. The sex you’re having now is always the hottest sex ever. (LBS shakes her head sadly and responds to Ellen’s last sentence, “‘taint necessarily so.”)
Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next? A: I’ve just completed the manuscript to a novella called “Small Miracles” that I’ve sent to my beta and am hoping to submit soon. It’s about a runaway who is living on the streets. He has a chance encounter with a man at a bar that turns into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but after what he’s been through, he has trouble believing something good could ever happen to him. It’s a bit of a fairy tale, but a very romantic one.
My next novel is about a talk radio host whose political and personal views are thrown upside down when one of his callers challenges him to meet face-to-face. It’s a really intimate love story with a bit of a political edge, which is one of my favorite things to write (as you might have guessed!) It’s about two-thirds done and I’ll probably finish it early next year.
An Excerpt from Inside the Beltway
Kurt laid his bag on the kitchen table and strode into the kitchen area. Leaning backward against the rim of the sink, he raised his eyes to meet Davis’s. “Look,” he said, “I didn’t want to say anything in front of your driver, but I thought that I ought to apologize.”
Thrown for a loop, Davis frowned. “Apologize? You don’t have anything to be sorry for.”
“Yeah, I do.” Kurt sighed. “I shouldn’t have sent that text. I shouldn’t have told you I thought about you. It was a stupid thing to do. I got the feeling I made you uncomfortable, and that wasn’t my intention.”
Davis kept watching the flex of his elbows, the way his wrists wrapped neatly around the edge of the counter and extended into those long, nimble hands.
Kurt was still talking. “I honestly like you, Davis. You’re just an amazing man, and I do have to admit that if things were different I might not hesitate to be a little more forward.”
The way those hands had felt, familiar and warm, against Davis’s face….
“But I’m aware that things are the way they are, and I don’t want you to think that I’d do anything to jeopardize our friendship or to make you feel like I was making a move that wasn’t welcome—”
Davis strode across the kitchen. Kurt’s breath, mid inhalation, became a quick gasp. Davis tipped his chin up quickly and brought Kurt’s still open mouth to his.
His lips on Kurt’s were a revelation, and Davis was hungry all of a sudden, drowning all of a sudden. He couldn’t breathe, didn’t ever want to break the surface. Kurt’s eyes closed sometime before Davis’s did, because Davis remembered seeing his eyelashes bob and droop. But then the world was dark, and all he knew was that there was a chest against his, strong hands on his arms, the counter a cold bite against his own hands. And Kurt was opening up to him, lips sliding apart beneath his, a small sound slipping out from his throat in the sudden devastating quiet of the small kitchen.
Kurt had been the one to gasp, but now Davis couldn’t breathe. He was taking in little sniffs of air through his nose, but they weren’t enough to fill up his lungs. Nothing was. Kurt’s lips were drawing out every inch of breath and life from him.
I’m going to die, he thought wildly. This man is going to kill me.
His fingers scrabbled hard for a place to hang on and found it in the collar of Kurt’s shirt, green and still damp and smelling of makeup. Kurt’s lips were warm and giving, utterly selfless. They didn’t demand a single thing of Davis, just gave and gave, and Davis was sure no one had ever been so generous to him in his life.
He broke off, staring at Kurt, lips swollen, eyes wide. “Oh my God,” he heard himself say briefly before his lips found Kurt’s again.
Kurt lifted his hands to Davis’s hair, brushed fingernails over his scalp. “It’s okay,” he whispered, words breaking against the assault of Davis’s mouth. “It’s okay. I’m right here.”
“Why—” Davis fought for breath. “Why are you saying that? Why—” He couldn’t stop kissing him, couldn’t stop taking in those lips, the lips that always gave.
“Shh.” Kurt’s hands tightened, held him still. He brushed his mouth against Davis’s once more. “You’re kissing me like I’m going to disappear. I’m not. I’m staying right here. Relax.”
“You don’t understand.” Deprived of the oxygen of Kurt’s touch, Davis wheezed. “You don’t. Once this stops, it can never happen again.”
“Sure it can.” Kurt was grinning, redness painting his cheekbones. He ran his hands across Davis’s neck to his jaw, dancing them across the subtle fuzz of his five o’clock shadow.
It felt good, too good. Davis shuddered head to toe. A sick feeling lurched in his stomach, and reality broke over him like a wave. He pushed away. “No, it can’t,” he said loudly, very nearly shouting. “This is a one-time mistake, and that’s all it can ever be.”
Click on the cover image for the buy link at Amazon. A lonely stretch of beach becomes a hiding place for two men who, when their paths cross, are determined not to be ships just passing in the night.
Purlman “Purly” Gates—dark, brooding, mysterious, hiding from his past and the hefty price on his head—is hopelessly attracted to the young man who strolls the beach every morning. At the risk of his own exposure and its deadly consequences, Purly succumbs to his desire and sets out to lure the beautiful enigma into his lair.
Lucky Cleary wants the swarthy stranger who watches him from the shadows of the cottage deck, and his morning promenades finally pay off when the man steps out onto the beach and into Lucky’s life in a move to bring their paths together.
But Lucky has a secret as well—a past mistake following close behind him, promising certain death if it catches up with him.
LS: Here is where you might ordinarily see a bio of the featured author. Vastine Bondurant, however, shall remain cloaked in tantalizing mystery–a bit like her sexy characters… No bio…
Q: How important are character names, to you, and how do you go about naming them? What about titles? A: Names, to me, are very important, almost as important as plot, because a name can say a lot about the character. Almost all my characters are name after real people, and I love listening to stories of the past from family and friends, and using names I hear. Titles? Oh, yes, crucial. That one little handful of words that have to CATCH a reader’s eyes. Oddly, so far, my titles on published works have been the characters’ names.
Q: In what locale is your most recent book set? How compelling was it to set a story there? Do you choose location the same way every time? How? A: A secluded beach was my most recent locale for Purly Gates. And I chose it because I patterned my character Lucky after Rudolph Valentino who used to walk his dogs on the same beach every day. Other locales? Very compelling, for me. The scenery, the setting, are characters themselves.
Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line? A: Oh, heck. I never intend to give them very much power, but they always take over.
Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why? A: I’ve tried for a long time to answer that for myself. Something about it is so highly sensual, the chemistry between two men. I cannot put my finger on what satisfies me so about it, it just feels right. Maybe simply the mystery of it all, the NOT knowing why, is the beauty for me.
Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read? A: I’ve never been asked that before, but what an interesting question! To date, I don’t recall a reader suggesting anything for me to write. But, honestly, I think I’d enjoy that.
Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers. A: Oh, wow. What a cool question. I suppose the ideal is for the readers to feel as if they know the author. For them to be comfortable, to feel free to do as the question above stated—to feel free to suggest what they’d like to see in my stories. But, above all—respect, both ways.
Q: What do you find useful about reviews? A: I’m one of those oddballs who loves reviews, good and bad. Who does not love a good review, a bit of praise, feedback to let the author know what a reader liked and why. But, just the same, a respectful not-so-good review can be valuable. I love using them as meters when I doubt elements in a story. If readers doubt the same things, I give credence to that. And I use it to make the next story better.
Q: I’m well known for demanding to know an author’s opinion about which of their characters is the sexiest, and I’m making no exception for this group. Who, how, and why? A: Oh, heck, no fair. I only have one book under the Vastine name. (LS: And that book has at least two sexy characters from whom to choose, Vastine. Jus’ Sayin’.)
Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation). A: Oh, no. Thinking, thinking. Have I ever written any hot words? Honestly, the hottest words I ever wrote were under another pen name, and Vastine is the guest today. LOL. And, to date, I’ve not reached a heat level in my writing. (LS: Ahem. I direct the reader’s attention to the excerpt below from Purly Gates. Steamy. Yes, hot and sweet. Right?)
Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next? A: Right now, working between two WIPS (one C. Zampa and one Vastine), and I don’t spill too much about my works-in-progress. I won’t allow myself to think of ‘next’ because my attention span is so short, I’m afraid I’ll just sort of wonder away and not finish the current works if I think very far ahead. Lol…
Excerpt from Purly Gates
Purly’s body felt so right. Warm. Strong. But it was a strength that couldn’t, even if it wanted to, hide its gentle core.
At first Purly stiffened with Lucky’s sudden move to lay against him but, after only a moment, he sighed and wrapped both arms about Lucky and pulled him closer.
Melted so comfortably, so safe, with the surprisingly smooth lines of the man’s body, Lucky realized he wanted—really wanted—this man. Oddly, not only to fuck but to…love? That seemed impossible, yet no other emotion fit the perfect light spreading through his veins at the sound of the even breathing and the steady, robust heartbeat. At the peace in being circled by the man’s embrace.
And, although a very hard-to-ignore erection rested just beneath Lucky’s arm, it touched him that Purly hadn’t made an advance to relieve it. The gentlemanly abstinence did touch Lucky, but it didn’t curb his own desire.
Purposely he pressed his arm a bit more firmly into the tempting hard-on and murmured, “Your music has stopped.”
A delicate chuckle rumbled from Purly’s chest to Lucky’s cheek. “It stopped a long time ago.”
“Hmm.” Shifting in Purly’s arms to intentionally touch his lips to the pulse at the man’s neck, Lucky sighed. “Will you play it again for me?”
The pulse accelerated beneath his lips, the strength of it—so virile, so primal—aroused Lucky.
He unwrapped his arms about Purly’s waist to allow him to rise from the divan and hungrily followed his stride to the phonograph.
Damn, those muscles—the arms, the thighs, the back, the ass—captured in the subtle glow from the lamp.
Lucky stared, devouring every detail of Purly’s body as the man wound the crank on the phonograph and lovingly placed the needle on the shiny black disk.
Purly ambled to the kitchen table, pulled a Chesterfield from its pack and lit it.
His muscles showcased in the pale light teased Lucky’s desire to an unbearable level.
He would make the first move.
Just as Purly turned and made a step to cross the room, Lucky stood and shrugged out of his shirt, allowing it to drop to the floor.
Purly stopped, clearly surprised. Hesitance registered in the dark eyes, but only for a moment as though he’d merely resisted for want of an invitation.
That passionate, brooding piano melody filled the room, stroked Lucky’s senses, taunted him.
Cupping his cock, he fondled the increasing stiffness through the fabric of his trousers.
Purly said nothing, only watched while taking a long drag on the cigarette.
After slowly blowing the smoke into the air, he returned the cigarette to the ashtray. “Lucky, after what’s happened to you…”
A slight, almost indiscernible quaver in the soft, satiny voice was the first sign of any nervousness from Purly.
Lucky smiled. “This is what I came here for.” While his stare locked with the onyx one, Lucky unfastened the belt then the trousers and wriggled out of them. They slid to the floor in a cloud of soft white at his feet.
Under the black gaze, Lucky trembled and smoothed his palms over his chest, lingering over the sensitive flesh of his nipples, kneading the hard buds between his fingers. The exquisite pressure increased in his balls, and he slid his fingers along the line of his belly to his cock. Wrapping it in his fist, he slowly stroked the warm shaft and moaned almost under his breath, “Please.”
He shook, every inch of him—scared, excited, ready—when Purly approached with the purpose and sensual sway of a huge cat that, having found its prey, was going to consume it.
Lucky headed for the small bedroom, the glorious beast following close and quiet.
Sinking onto the bed and reposing on the cool, rumpled covers, Lucky spread his legs and arched his body while massaging his aching erection. “I…want to see you.”
Purly straightened and tugged at the hem of his undershirt, pulled it over his head and dropped it to the floor. Without shifting his gaze from Lucky, he slid the white shorts along his hips and down his legs then stepped out of them.
Glorious. The solid physique of a gladiator, a prizefighter with pride in his posture, pumped for the match. Compact yet perfect proportioning from the imposing chest and shoulders, the tightly chiseled abdomen to the narrow hips.
Purly rested his palm on Lucky’s belly, caressed the lines of it with the awed but unsure touch of one daring to graze a master’s painting. “You are so beautiful.” Yet the words were a kiss, not a condemnation or a curse as it had seemed with Lionel. “But, Lucky, after what you’ve been through—”
“Please.” Reveling in the tiny spears of fire teasing his skin and the wonderful heaviness in his groin, Lucky arched his body into the warm, exploring palms. “I told you. This is what I want.” What I need, what I need so badly. Clutching Purly’s hand and squeezing his fingers, Lucky pleaded. “Please. Oh, God, please don’t be afraid to touch me.” And, until that very moment, Lucky hadn’t realized just what he did seek from this man. “Please make Lionel go away.”
Click on the cover image for the buy link and Dreamspinner Press online store. From college and AA meetings to his job working in a coffee shop, ex-con Gavin Chandler has a lot going on in his life. All he wants is to leave his past far behind him, especially the father who forced him to run drugs and sell his body. Romance doesn’t even register on his radar.
Then Braxton Irving, a self-employed security guard, shows up at the coffee shop, and Gavin finds he can’t deny his interest. After some serious soul searching, he finally asks Braxton out, and the two embark on a whirlwind affair.
But Braxton hasn’t been completely honest with Gavin about his motivation for coming to the coffee shop that day. Braxton’s feelings for Gavin are real, but so is his commitment to his work. Can their relationship survive once Gavin learns it was founded on a lie?
A self-proclaimed chocolate addict, with an almost obsessive love for gay men, Lisa Marie Davis mostly writes at night (all insomniacs should have a hobby!). Happily child-free herself, she indulges in spoiling her nephews, Zachary and Isaiah. The lone liberal in a fairly conservative family, she is quite happy being the standout and hopes to open some of the closed minds around her, with her constant arguments supporting GLBT rights.
Q: How important are character names, to you, and how do you go about naming them? What about titles? A: I love naming characters. In fact, the first thing that happens is a character names themselves and the details sort of build from there. I have several baby name books I flip through when I need inspiration and of course, there are about a million websites out there that are great for finding names with specific meanings. As for titles, those can be tricky. I usually try and find something that captures the overall theme of the story, but it’s not always easy.
Q: In what locale is your most recent book set? How compelling was it to set a story there? Do you choose location the same way every time? How? A:Love Less Complicated is set in Boston. I like using cities like Boston, New York, and Chicago, because they are larger, well-known cities and it’s easier for readers to imagine the setting. I don’t have to spend pages giving a layout of the setting, because we can all conjure images of the cities I mentioned, whereas smaller towns or fictional communities require more detail. Sort of a cop out, but it’s one I’ll own up to.
Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line? A: They take total control. Total. On several occasions, I’ve had a layout in mind, for a story, but once the character starts calling the shots, things have changed completely. That’s part of the fun, taking the journey with a character that has very strong feelings about how their story should unfold.
Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why? A: There are a lot of misinformed people in our society who believe gays can’t have meaningful, loving, lasting relationships and I have to admit, that is an unfounded concept that annoys and offends me. I like portraying characters that are capable of loving, mature, nurturing relationships to kind of drive home the point that two men are perfectly capable and willing to commit themselves to a relationship. That’s the intellectual answer. From a purely superficial standpoint, I have to admit, I do enjoy the idea of two, strong, sexy men taking delight in one another.
Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read? A: Actually, Moving Forward, the sequel to Dreams Come True, came about because several readers said they wanted to know what happened next with James and Payne. Their interest in the characters prompted me to return to the characters and see what was going on with them, in their new life.
Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers. A: Writing (for me, at least) is a very emotional experience and I tend to become quite attached to my characters. They are real for me. I want to write them, share their story, in a way that makes them real for the reader as well. I want the reader to care about each character as much as I do, to feel for them, root for them, maybe even miss them when the story comes to an end.
Q: What do you find useful about reviews? A: I like the reviews where the reviewer points out what worked for them, and what didn’t. It’s nice to see the contrast and that style of review lets me know what areas really need work in future books.
Q: I’m well known for demanding to know an author’s opinion about which of their characters is the sexiest, and I’m making no exception for this group. Who, how, and why? A: Oh, that’s a hard question! Yikes! I’ve always loved Slate from Come Back To Me. He’s rough, sexy, a secret paranormal agent who fights like hell to get back to the great love of his life. Zander from Jasper’s Journey is another character that has always stayed with me. He’s a reporter who was wounded while working in Iraq and after returning home, he works with Jasper to find the person responsible for murdering Jasper’s sister years before; he’s the quietly strong sort, confident, and intensely protective as he and Jasper begin falling in love.
Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation). A: I think my favorite scene is from my latest release, Love Less Complicated.
“Need you, Braxton… please, I need you inside of me….” His plea ended on a whimper. He was too turned on, too needy and aroused, and Braxton seemed to understand how desperately their obviously mutual need craved satisfaction—he nearly toppled the nightstand in his scuttle to retrieve condoms and lube. His frantic search would have amused Gavin, but he was too lost in the moment, in the throbbing desire, to find anything remotely amusing, and Braxton cursed in relief when he finally found what he was looking for. He tossed the condom on the bed, and his hands shook as he popped open the lube and generously coated his fingers before claiming Gavin’s mouth once again in a kiss that could only be described as toe-curling. There was such fierce intensity to the kiss that Gavin felt utterly consumed by it, even as Braxton slipped a
clever hand between his thighs, where tender fingers began brushing gently over his puckered opening.
Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next? A: I have been dealing with the worst writer’s block, but I have several ideas bouncing around. I’d like to get more into paranormal and maybe something with sexy cowboys.
An Excerpt from Love Less Complicated
“Gavin?” The voice was rich and warm, unmistakable. There was a hint of an accent, just a slight drawl that always reminded him Braxton had spent his first fifteen years living in Atlanta, and sometimes he still sounded like a country boy. It was damn sexy. “I just got your message, and I called to say I’d love to get together.”
“Ah… really? I mean… I wasn’t sure if you would….” He stumbled over the words, cursing himself for being so damn flustered.
“Are you kidding? Gavin, I wanted you to call. Hell, if you hadn’t mentioned going out, believe me, I would have, and actually, I’m hoping you’re free tomorrow night.”
“Honestly, I’d ask you out tonight, but I have a late meeting with a client.”
“Ah, no. No, I mean, tomorrow would be wonderful. I’d like that.” Christ, could I be more of a freakin’ dork? Why is he interested in dating someone who can’t even handle a phone conversation? “I work until seven. Maybe I could meet you somewhere around eight?” An hour would give him ample time to shower, change, and possibly have a nervous breakdown—how else did one deal with first-date jitters?
“Tell ya what. I’ll pick you up at eight. How’s that?”
“You don’t have to go through any trouble….”
“Gavin, it’s a date. Okay? I want to do the whole nine yards.”
“And the whole nine yards includes… what?” He couldn’t help but smile, because damn, he was honestly excited.
“Let’s see….” Braxton sighed dramatically, and something about the sound made Gavin feel warm inside. He rolled his eyes at himself. “I pick you up. We go out. We have dinner at a nice restaurant. Maybe we follow that with a movie. Or maybe dancing, if you’re interested. I wouldn’t object to a lovely walk, and maybe, if I’m really lucky, when I walk you to your door at the end of the night, I get a kiss.”
“A small one. Maybe. If you’re interested in kissing me.”
“It’s something I will certainly consider.” Hell, it was something he had already considered on more than one occasion.
“In that case, darlin’, I will see you tomorrow night at eight o’clock, and I am really looking forward to it.”
“Me too,” Gavin whispered. “Tomorrow night. Eight o’clock.” It’s a date. He found himself smiling as he told Braxton where to pick him up, and long after the call ended, he continued smiling, humming to himself, feeling genuinely excited.
He was taking the risk, going for what he wanted, and hell yes, he was terrified, but he wouldn’t allow something as mundane as terror of the unknown stop him from exploring what Braxton made him feel. Baby steps. Right? Start with a date. Just go out and have a good time and then decide what happens next and what Braxton needs to know. If the date was indeed successful, he would decide how best to share his past with Braxton, and then… well, if it did come to that, the next move would certainly be Braxton’s to make, but Gavin figured that was a bridge he would either cross—or burn—when and if he reached that elusive point. For now, just relax and take a leap. You’ve earned the right to find some happiness, Gavin. Don’t allow Daddy Dearest and his cohorts to stand between you and what you want, because no matter what does or doesn’t happen with Braxton, your life is finally your own, and you have every right to live it and live it on your own terms.
With that firmly in mind, he went back to work, happy and excited and eager to take yet another step in learning to live.
Click on the cover image for the buy link at Dreamspinner Press online store. In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.
Until recently, Roan was ahead of the curve when it came to reining in the lion that lives inside him. Now his control is slipping at the worst possible times. A new drug has hit the streets—one that triggers unscheduled changes in infected users. Street hustler Holden Krause gets attacked by one of his clients, then is surprised to find himself involved in an unwanted, unexpected relationship. And a serial killer begins targeting infecteds in their cat form—something that’s 100 percent legal.
To stop the murders, Roan has to work outside the law. But his newfound thirst for violence makes him worry he might be more like the killer than he thought, and his reluctance to talk about it with his husband, Dylan, puts an extra strain on their relationship. So Roan isn’t just fighting the killer and struggling with his mutating virus… he’s trying to save himself.
Andrea Speed writes way too much. She is the Editor In Chief of CxPulp.com, where she reviews comics as well as movies and occasionally interviews comic creators. She also has a serial fiction blog where she writes even more, and she occasionally reviews books for Joe Bob Briggs’s site. She might be willing to review you, if you ask nicely enough, but really she should knock it off while she’s ahead.
Q: How important are character names, to you, and how do you go about naming them? What about titles? A: Usually names come to me when I’m writing, and I’m glad, as they’re very vital in telling you about your character. For instance, everyone in the Infected series has a very telling name: Roan is named after a rough approximation of his haircolor, and has a Scottish surname that nearly everyone pronounces incorrectly, so you know right away you’re dealing with a stubborn Scotsman who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, yet must suffer them a lot. Paris had a slightly exotic name, pointing towards his exotic (tiger) nature and appeal. Dylan has actually changed his name to his mother’s surname to escape his younger, more troubled self and his violent childhood. And Holden’s real name is known to a select few, while he’s mostly known by his street nickname, Fox, giving him a complex identity all based on what name a person calls him. So names are super important, and everyone has their name for a specific reason.
As for titles … wow, do I struggle with those. I don’t know why, but that’s usually the last thing I come up with. I’m really bad with them. This is probably why nearly all the Infected chapter titles are song titles.
Q: In what locale is your most recent book set? How compelling was it to set a story there? Do you choose location the same way every time? How? A: Since the latest book is Infected: Lesser Evils, that would be alternate universe Seattle, much like the real one, just with some places and street names swapped or invented, and cat virus infected people walking around. It seemed a natural to set Infected in Seattle (and Washington State as a whole) because I lived there, still live in Washington State, and I knew going in that the whole thing would have to be set in progressive city, where you got the good (an infected cop, for example) with the bad (a whole religious cult built around infecteds) of an open door policy. A city that was slow to embrace societal shifts would shut down about half of the plot points immediately, so the story had to be somewhere where people would try very hard to accomidate the different, but go overboard perhaps, in some circumstances, and trigger a backlash in other ways. Places where the different would have no choice but to go completely underground is a different story, and frankly, Roan wouldn’t stand for it. He’d have gotten the hell out of there first thing, and I would have to put the plot into pretzel like contortions to make him stay somewhere he didn’t want to be, because he’s an especially willful character.
And that speaks to locations in general. They can have a profound effect on a story and a character, depending on how close to reality you get with your tale. Now I enjoy writing science fiction – places that don’t exist, don’t exist now, or can’t exist – and horror – places that don’t exist, places that have taken a turn for the crazy – and those genres allow you to do whatever you want to whatever you want (same with fantasy). But if you want to try and stick to as much realism as possible, that’s hampering. Not in a bad way at all, though, because sometimes that forces you to be more deliberate in your choices, and to think through the repercussions. “If x happens, then y has to occur, and it’ll probably all become z”. That can spur new ideas.
Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line? A: They have a lot, whether I give it to them or not. So they might as well have it.
Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why? A: That they’re relationships like any other relationship. No matter the genders involved, they all have rythyms, peaks and valleys, and some work, and some never can. No different from anyone else’s relationships.
Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read? A: Sometimes I do get suggestions from readers on what they might like to see characters do, but I’m not sure I’ve ever used one.
Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers. A: Friendly, cordial. But not so friendly restraining orders are involved.
Q: What do you find useful about reviews? A: That they exist and can help spread word about your book. Sometimes there’s constructive criticism that works as well.
Q: I’m well known for demanding to know an author’s opinion about which of their characters is the sexiest, and I’m making no exception for this group. Who, how, and why? A: Sexiest? Well, that depends on a lot of factors. Paris was pretty much made to be the most attractive guy on the planet, and holy hell, is he ever, but I suppose for me personally, I’d have to pick Roan, for his sense of humor and his general refusal to let people hold him down. Also our taste in noisy music is similar. Which is a super boring answer, but there it is.
Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation). A: Eeee … this might qualify as a spoiler, since its in the new book, Infected: Lesser Evils. So can I just say read it, and hopefully you’ll know it when you read it? (Really, Andrea? I think you cheated, here, bigtime. But okay, I’ll read it and let you know.)
Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next? A: Right now I have some many irons in the fire I t’s crazy. I’m working on more Infected, of course, including a Paris prequel and a possible Holden solo story, and I have more coming up in my Josh of the Damned comedy-horror series. Oh, and there’s this fantasy novel in the works, and a science fiction one as well. So I hope I live long enough to write it all down.
Excerpt from Infected: Lesser Evils
Roan knew he should never have taken Nadia Rubin’s case the moment he took it.
She couldn’t afford him, she’d know he was taking pity on her and would probably resent it, and it wasn’t his usual thing anyways. She was asking him to be a bodyguard as much as a detective, and that really wasn’t his thing.
Still, how did you turn down a fellow infected? Especially when they were being threatened by another infected. It almost felt like a duty.
What she was, was a waitress who wasn’t wearing enough makeup to cover all the broken blood vessels beneath her eyes, indications of past beatings. She was a cougar strain, in the midst of a divorce from her abusive husband, Mike Oliver, who been threatening her. The problem was, the threats were obscure and personal—leaving dead flowers inside her car, leaving dead mice on her porch, flooding her e-mail with spam, putting dog shit in her mailbox, throwing red food coloring on her door—and to get him arrested she’d have to prove he did it. The cops had talked to him, but it had had no effect whatsoever, and she was sure he was going to ratchet things up, mainly because she’d finally got a restraining order. Right now she had no idea where he was living, as he’d been evicted from his last apartment, and all his family lived in Alabama or Virginia. What she wanted Roan to do was twofold: find where Mike was, and catch him in the act of vandalism. If she could prove something, she could get him arrested for harassment and violating the restraining order.
Oh, and he was cougar strain too. Apparently they’d met through the Church of the Divine Transformation. Sometimes Roan wondered if the universe took perverse pleasure in mocking him.
The Halloween Blog Hop, brought to you by The Blog Hop Spot, is a chance for some grown-up, arm chair trick-or-treating. Click the link above for the list of 200+ participating authors. I’m sure they have all come up with sweet or spicy ways to “treat” their visitors over the four days of the hop (10/26 thru 10/29). I plan to check out more than a few and have a little fun myself.
Thanks for knocking at my blog door. My treats are going to work like this:
Each of the four days, I’ve added something new to this post, and today is the last day. Because today’s post is late, I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Some of these daily bits are words (some sexy ones included), and some are images. Today’s ‘treat’ posted 10/29 is part of one of my favorite Vasquez and James scenes–Sonny’s marriage proposal, from Delsyn’s Blues For yesterday’s photos, Saturday’s smutty/sweet scene from the next Vasquez and James, Finding Jackie, and for the 10/26 photo, and for the contest stuff scroll down.
********* “Good Christ and all the saints! That wind came straight from hell!” Still standing braced against the door, [Luki] looked up at Sonny through wet curls falling over his eyes. “Make a run for the house?”
Sonny, who had stepped back out of the rain and who wasn’t having to fight the wind for possession of the door, said calmly, “No. It’s almost a quarter mile! I don’t want to get wet.” Ignoring the shocked look Luki gave him from under curls now dripping down his face as if he was in the shower, he added, “Let’s just sit in the Mustang.”
Accordingly, Luki let the door drive him inward and followed Sonny to the mean yellow machine, which he apparently had just been wrenching on. “Is there something wrong?”
“With the car, I mean.” Sonny gave him his brows-drawn-together confused look as they climbed in, so Luki elaborated. “You know, the tools, the greasy rag, the—oh God, the grease all over your hands. You weren’t planning to be intimate with me or anything, were you?” Sonny burst out into a loud and hearty laugh, which delighted Luki, though he tried to keep that secret behind a cool facade. Almost, he could forget his troubles. No, their troubles. But his fears.
Bringing him back to the more pleasant moment, Sonny stopped laughing long enough to say, “You’re going to be cold. You’re shivering already….”
He’s not supposed to notice stuff like that. Nobody’s supposed to notice stuff like that.
“…And your clothes are soaked; your hair too. We’ll have to get you warmed up.”
“Warmed up. I’ll turn the heater on for starters.” He cranked the engine and it purred, and in no time, the breath of air coming from below the dash turned warm. “And while you’re getting a start on warming up—honey, why don’t you take that wet jacket off? I’ve got a towel too.” He reached a long arm around the back of Luki’s bucket seat and fiddled with something that had a zipper. When he handed Luki the towel, he said, “It’s clean. For your hair, maybe? I’ll go clean my hands up.”
Before he opened the door, Luki, still shivering, quaked, “How?”
“Yeah, you know. Stuff that cleans off the grease. Goop is a brand name.”
“So then you’ll have ‘Goop’ on your hands.” Luki’s shivering had rattled to a stop, his hair no longer dripped, and he felt that he could manage ultra-cool again. Though he questioned the look of his wardrobe at the moment. Still…. “Like I said, I hope you weren’t planning to get intimate with me or anything.”
Sonny laughed again. “Well,” he said, “I wasn’t actually planning on it, but since you keep bringing it up, I guess it might be in the offing?”
“Then after the Goop, I’ll go stand right there where the water is running down off the roof, put my hands under the stream, and get the Goop off. ’Kay?”
“’Kay.” Luki had to fight off the urge to laugh at Sonny’s exaggerated tone, waiting until he was out of the car even to smile at him. Also, at the idea of getting intimate in the Mustang. Which didn’t have enough room in the backseat for two German Shepherds, much less two six-foot men. Which had narrow bucket seats in the front and a gear shift dead center between them. And a steering wheel and a wrap-around dash and a low roof. Yep. Unlikely intimacy environment. He thought cigarette, but remembering their earlier… conflict, he shooed the thought quickly away. You’re going to have to do something about that addiction, Luki. Even though that was his own thought, he did his best to ignore it.
When Sonny came back, he went to the trunk first and collected a blanket, which he tossed to Luki before he got back in the Mustang. “It’s pissin’ buckets out there. The whole yard is a mud wallow. If you want, I’ll drive us over to the house—seems stupid, I know, but I don’t want to walk it. I really don’t want to take the Mustang out there, though, because I just cleaned it up and, well, you know.”
“That little Honda?”
Sonny shook his head. “Even if we’d both fit at the same time, it’s not running. Truck’s out of the question too. You have to pop the clutch to start it.”
Luki nodded sagely. What the hell is “pop the clutch”? Sounds like porn. Such thoughts played havoc with the sage look, so he spoke up to change the subject. “So, how long will this last?”
“Could be minutes, could be days.”
There went Sonny’s wonderful laugh, bubbling again. “Well, not days. Hours, max.”
“I like it when you bubble, Sonny. Are you cold?”
“I’m going to ignore the bubbling comment—I hope it doesn’t mean you’re getting a fever. In answer to the meaningful question, yes, a little bit. Here, let’s spread out this blanket. Between that and the heater, we ought to be warm and dry in no time.”
“Just in time for us to fight the bluster and mud to get back to the house, for instance.”
“I’m turning the engine off. I smell exhaust. I love that you always have a positive attitude.”
“Just comes naturally. So weren’t you formulating plans for small-space intimacy? Kind of like gardening in pots?”
“I can think of some things that might sprout. Maybe even bloom.”
“That sounds so crude.”
“I agree, but before we get crude, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you—”
“Ask away. No time like the present.” What the hell has gotten hold of me. It’s like I’ve got two modes—smoking and stupid.
“Yes,” Sonny continued, “I’m trying to. Umm… why—”
“Do I keep smoking even though it’s stupid?”
Sonny took an exaggerated breath and blew it out. “No, no, that’s a very good question but—”
“You’re right. I’m quitting, Sonny, for real.”
“Good! But, damn it, that’s not what I was going to ask….” Suddenly wide-eyed, he turned and leaned to get a good look at Luki’s face. “Hey, maybe you really are getting a fever.” He put a hand on Luki’s forehead.
“Maybe. Doesn’t matter.”
“Matters to me.”
“Yes, if you’ll let me ask!”
“You are lucky I want to ask this so badly, or I’d be out of here.”
That sounded ominous to Luki. He didn’t know why it should, but he thought a lot more might be riding on that statement than a little half-serious afternoon spat. His head hurt, and he’d started shivering again. Maybe that made it seem more important. Maybe he did have a fever. Whatever.
“Luki, will you marry me?”
For the contest, answer one of these questions:
For you, what is the scariest kind of monster in the movies?
What is your favorite Halloween sweet?
In books what kind of evil (human) criminal is the most frightening?
If you could trick or treat with anyone in the world who would it be?
(Note, each question you answer is one entry, so you can enter up to four times.)
What can you win? Choose an ebook of any one of the Vasquez and James series books available at Dreamspinner Press.
What if you’ve read them all? When Finding Jackie, the sequel to Delsyn’s Blues, comes out in May or June 2013, I’ll reserve you a copy of that. That’s a long wait… So, email me at lou(dot)sylvre(at)gmail(dot)com. We’ll talk about it!
Here’s the visual treat posted 10/26
******** They walked back to the hotel after their business and pleasure at the market was done, and Sonny sighed.
Luki said, “What?”
“Nothing,” Sonny said, sounding like a martyr. “It’s just… interesting wallpaper.”
“Baby,” Luki said, not understanding at all but willing to go to any lengths to please his man, “If you hate it—”
“No, no, I don’t. I mean, it’s not bad—it’s probably even good, I just need to get used to it. The colors in here are gorgeous, truthfully. And you know what?”
Luki’s eyes followed his husband, who paced from side to side, peaked around curtains and walls, opened doors. He made a sound something like “Mm,” knowing Sonny wasn’t really looking for a response, but would appreciate knowing Luki was paying attention. He also smiled. Something about the quirky way Sonny settled himself into a space was too sweet for words.
“You know what I need to do, honey?”
Luki noted with glee that Sonny had begun to strip. This time when he said, “Mm,” he didn’t have to feign interest.
“I need to get in that bathtub—do you see that thing? It’s like a swimming pool. I need to get in there and soak, all nice and relaxed, and take in that wallpaper until it seems normal to me.”
The man is fucking crazy, Luki thought, both disappointed and surprised. Sonny was already in the bathroom, fine-tuning the water temperature at this juncture. Luki put his hands in his pockets—not a characteristic posture at all, but he was at a loss. He literally jumped when Sonny whooped, and yelled.
“Yes! There’s bubble bath in here!”
Luki was so nonplussed by this time that he sat down on the couch, rather hard. When he tried to think of something he might be doing the only two things that came to mind were jerking off—which he dismissed immediately—and eating a hamburger. He considered the hamburger carefully, decided against, and got up to wander into the strangely wall-papered, thoroughly lavender scented bathroom.
“This is a big tub, Luki.”
Luki stepped closer to Sonny so he could push a long strand of dark hair off his chest, letting it join it’s fellows falling down Sonny’s back.
Sonny grabbed Luki’s belt at the buckle, made as if to undo it. “Get in, Luki. There’s room. Look.” He lifted a foot out of the water. “See, my feet don’t even reach all the way to the other side. Not crowded at all.”
Luki stood silent, chewing his lip. He wasn’t one for shower play, which Sonny knew. It just reminded him too much of lonelier days. He never took baths—especially bubble baths. And, he really, really didn’t want to smell like flowers. But he loved his husband so much, and there the man was, asking for this simple little thing.
“Luki, take a bath with me. Come on.”
Luki started to strip, tossing his clothes back out onto the chair in the bedroom. He was, of course, hard by the time he was naked, which was something Sonny certainly didn’t fail to notice, even though he said nothing. Luki stood there, feeling confused, never before having realized that deciding how to get into a bathtub and situate oneself was so difficult.
“Luki, you can just sit on that side, face me, so I can look at your eyes and we can talk. Okay? That way you won’t feel so awkward.”
“I’m pretty sure there’s something in that statement I should scold you for, Sonny Bly, I just haven’t figured out what it is.” Luki said that while climbing in and turning around and sitting down as instructed. But once he settled, his hands found Sonny’s legs, and he couldn’t help but rub them. And then Sonny found his foot, and as Sonny well knew, Luki’s toes were really sensitive. And Sonny played with them. All the while they looked each other in the eyes.
“Luki,” Sonny said, finally, “you don’t play in the shower.”
“No. What’s your point?”
For answer, Sonny took Luki’s foot and laid it along his own erection, which was one of the sexiest things that had ever happened to Luki. Then Sonny took his size a-very-large-number foot, with its long, nearly prehensile toes, and not too gently stroked it up and down Luki’s cock, and Luki spent a few seconds catching his breath.
“This isn’t a shower,” Sonny said.
Luki nodded. “Right.”
Sonny let a little water out, added some hot to adjust the temperature. “We could fuck here, if we so desired, which I do.” Sonny actually looked hopeful, as if he was a little afraid Luki would say no, or maybe scoff.
Luki wasn’t about to do either one. Sonny was the most beautiful, lovable, eminently fuckable person on the planet, and Luki wasn’t about to fail him. As he’d explained to Sonny just the other day, fucking Sonny happy was his personal joy. He licked his lips. “Come here, baby.”
Sonny more or less slithered up Luki’s body, dragging his weight over Luki’s flesh until he’d brought his lips even with Luki’s. He stopped, offering his slightly open lips, but waiting for Luki to take them. Luki did, starting with a suck and nibble of Sonny’s lower lip, then licking with just the hard tip of his tongue along the underside of Sonny’s upper lip. He kept it up, nibbling, sucking, licking, lingering at the sensitive corners. Sonny made a move to kiss back, but Luki pulled away, and answered Sonny’s widened eyes by kissing them. He smiled, biting his own lip, made sure Sonny saw the expression, then whispered in his ear. “Just let me do whatever I want to you baby, okay? It’ll be good, I promise, and when I want you to kiss me back, I’ll tell you. Okay?”
“Oh!” Sonny’s breath puffed out, then he nodded. “Okay,” he said. “Yes, Luki. Okay.”
The water, hot and ever so slightly silky from the bubble bath, made touching—running his hands along Sonny’s back, over his ass, down his legs—a little bit different than touching had ever been before, for Luki. And by different he meant, damn, that’s nice! And Sonny, who was never, ever still unless specifically instructed, kept squirming and rocking, moving his body side to side over Luki’s. And the water lifted him just a little bit so Luki felt little weight on him, only a teasingly sweet, achingly light friction.
He pulled his lover tight against his chest. “Sonny, baby, you are so damn sweet!”
Sonny was not very coherent. “Mmm, mm…ooooh! Luki!”
Luki chuckled. He couldn’t help it. Then he took hold of Sonny’s forelock and tilted his head back until he was sure he had Sonny’s eyes, and he said, “Stick out your tongue.”
Sonny did so, a little, and said, “Aauuh?”
Luki smiled. “More.”
When Sonny obeyed, he said, “Yeah, like that.” Then he laid his own tongue alongside it, teased it, licking at its tip, and finally closed his lips around it and sucked it into his mouth, meanwhile invading Sonny’s mouth with his own tongue, and touching every part of Sonny he could reach with any limb, and rocking Sonny over him, cock to cock, chest to chest. At some point he said, “Okay, kiss me back, Sonny.” Finally, after a long interval of bliss, or else torture, Luki asked the question he almost always asked when they made love. “What do you want, baby?”
Unlike his earlier efforts at speech, Sonny answered clear and concise. “Fuck me.” Then he buried his face in Luki’s neck, where he commenced licking, sucking, and yes, even biting.
Luki gasped at the sensations that weren’t quite tickle, weren’t quite pain, “So you’re serious, you want to fuck here? In the bath?”
“Turn over baby, and turn around; get up on your knees. I want your ass right here, up close and personal.” Continue reading →
Click the cover image for the buy link at the Dreamspinner Press store.
Rimmon may be an eagle warrior, but he’s never known war, and he’s never known love—until his kingdom’s army is destroyed by Ekari, the demon of winds, and he is captured by Melkor, one of the Iron Horde that has been killing off the world’s gods. Although those gods have cursed Melkor and his brothers to be conquerors and to never be loved, Melkor hopes to overcome his fate and carries Rimmon off to his island. There, Melkor heals Rimmon’s wounds and teaches him about sexual pleasure, earning the young warrior’s trust and fanning the flames of an attraction both men yearn to embrace. But the curses of vengeful gods are difficult to break, especially when Rimmon discovers Melkor is the wind demon who destroyed his home.
Tali Spencer is fascinated by swords, mythology and everything ancient and magical. Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and her vagabond youth lives on in a tendency to travel whenever she can. She’s not afraid of planes, horses, trains, or camels. Her preference is for ships, however, and few things relax her like a week or two at sea. On land, her favorite destinations are castles, museums and cozy Italian restaurants. An irrepressible romantic, she and her true love reside in Pennsylvania, where she creates alternate worlds through which her characters can roam, brawl, and find themselves in each other’s arms.
Q: How important are character names, to you, and how do you go about naming them? What about titles? A: Character names are part of the character description. Because names contribute to how the reader envisions the person, I put thought into it. Because I write primarily fantasy, sometimes I make a name more Anglo-Saxon if I want the character to feel more familiar to my primarily English-speaking readers, or I make a character more exotic by giving them unusual names. I own a dozen name books and keep a legal pad on which I jot down possible names as I come across in my research. As for titles, I think they’re important, but I have no system at all for the darn things. I just hope something comes to mind before I submit the book!
Q: In what locale is your most recent book set? How compelling was it to set a story there? Do you choose location the same way every time? How? A: The Prince of Winds is a fantasy set in the world of the Known Sky. It’s an ancient world of gods and magic. I created a setting with vast landscapes ranging from desert to mountains to a tiny, isolated island. My settings are usually important to the story and I work to get them right. I may revisit a setting in a series—I have a series set in the medieval polytheistic empire of Uttor and am building another around the Known Sky—but my stand alone books each have a distinct world. I like to mix things up.
Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line? A: If a character comes to me with a distinctive voice and forceful personality, I give them lots of power. Characters are why readers invest in stories, so why not let those characters have a say? They’re functions of my subconscious anyway, so I just figure it’s another manifestation of my muse.
Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why? A: Nothing makes me happier than to present men in positive, life-affirming roles. I think all humans should strive for heroism. My books aren’t about being gay so as much as they are about characters who happen to be gay. The most satisfying thing is when they not only get to save each other, but make their world a better place for all who live there. I want to show that gay men have the same power as any other man or woman to make the world strong and safe.
Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read? A: My readers are more influential than they know. I value feedback tremendously and sometimes I will take a hint and run with it. I wrote my M/F novel Captive Heart after a reader of one of my gay male stories said she wanted a story about Gaspar. I think she wanted Gaspar to be gay, but he wasn’t. Readers clearly wanted a gay story in that world, so I wrote another novel, Dangerous Beauty, set there. Did I write it for any particular readers? Not really. I wrote it for all of them. But I’m definitely inspired by knowing what readers want.
Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers. A: Open. Respectful. Playful, even. I believe readers and authors should both be having fun. I’m so shy it’s crippling in some ways, so I am much more terrified of my readers than they are of me. I have wonderful readers so far and it makes me happy to know I’m writing stories they enjoy.
Q: What do you find useful about reviews? A: They tell me people are reading my books. They also tell me if readers are picking up on my themes and characters. That means a great deal to me. But I generally don’t find out about reviews unless someone else tells me about them. My husband reads them to me on Saturday mornings, if he finds any, and I listen when reviewers say I rushed things, or they didn’t quite buy something, or if they think I did something particularly well. I want to improve as a writer, but I’ve learned not to dwell on ratings and things outside of my control.
Q: I’m well known for demanding to know an author’s opinion about which of their characters is the sexiest, and I’m making no exception for this group. Who, how, and why? A: For me, Muir, the tragic sorcerer in Sorcerer’s Knot. He’s got that dark, haunted by his past vibe I find incredibly appealing. And a hot body. With scars. I don’t mind scars.
Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation). A: From a WIP to be published next year, “Victory Portrait”:
For a moment they locked eyes, true creature to true creature. Young stag to old wolf. Arrento’s blood rose to the hunt. It took nearly a minute before the slave looked away first, color rising to fill his cheeks. Pre-cum dripped from his cock like honey from a wand, begging for the artist’s brush—or a general’s hungry tongue.
Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next? A: I’m wrapping up a sword and sorcery romp of a book called Thick as Thieves, featuring a barbarian who takes a unicorn horn up his ass and becomes a sex-crazed adventurer. He hooks up with a thieving male witch who harbors a secret that can only mean trouble. So naturally they team up to run headlong right at it. It’s a M/M romance with laughs and bite. After that, I’m writing a M/F story for my Uttor series.
Excerpt from The Prince of Winds
“Please… I can’t stand this!”
“Just give me what I want,” said Melkor. He drew the tortured nipple into his mouth and began to suck. Each pull on the nipple sent bolts of pleasure directly to Rimmon’s cock. With skilled fingers, he gently toyed with his captive’s high, tight balls.
“Anything!” Rimmon gasped.
Melkor released the nipple then, though he continued to lick it. “I want… to watch you… change.”
“Change?” he gasped. He moaned as Melkor moved. His hand stayed on Melkor’s arm as it moved down his body. Just let the man touch his cock… suck it, swallow it, anything, so long as he gave him release!
“Yes, Akel. From a warrior… to a kadezh.”
“What’s… a kadezh?”
That firm Hordish hand wrapped tightly around his cock, claiming it. Releasing his balls, Melkor nudged his legs apart and knelt between them. A probing finger, slippery with something, spit or cock juice, slipped under his ass, into his crack.
“A kadezh is a male who offers up his body in a temple as a vessel through which to commune with the gods.”
A whore, then. Rimmon wondered how many Melkor had known, and tensed. “No, Melkor, please….” He thought his erection would surely balk at his being compared to a temple prostitute, but it didn’t. His tormentor worked his cock with one hand, tender, long strokes—squeezing droplets of pleasure from his engorged tip—while the other plied his asshole with knowing touches, making it wet with those same drops, teasing the sore rim.
“In time you will flower for me as a kadezh should,” Melkor growled, so low the sound was nearly a purr. “Let me into your chamber, beauty”—he pressed, his fingertip pushing into the throbbing circle of his anus—“open the gate, welcome me, and I will bring you with me into paradise.”
Blinking tears, Rimmon gulped deep breaths, his anus burning brightly to accommodate the invading digit. Melkor murmured with pleasure, “My beautiful eagle!” and pushed harder, deeper. Only inchoate sounds emerged from Rimmon’s throat as Melkor’s finger circled and explored his rectum, brushing something within him that left him gasping at the pleasure that shot through his cock and nipples. Sensation piled on sensation, building inside him. The fingers pumping his cock did so with fresh vigor.
“Feel it, beauty? This is just the smallest taste of the pleasure that awaits you—your body shall be my paradise, my temple, my world….”
Something happened then… pleasure expanded not just through his loins but his whole body, his entire being. Wave upon wave carried him up and up, and when he crashed down, carried him up again. Whatever Melkor’s finger was gently rubbing inside him cascaded along the canyons of his loins. Commanded by Melkor’s fist, Rimmon’s cock erupted, and he ejaculated in a hard, hot stream, again and again, coating the lord’s hand, his own belly, and possibly the ceiling. His asshole clenched about the finger that slowly continued to circle until it gradually eased from his body.
He was still gasping, ashamed and amazed, when Melkor lowered onto his elbows over him. “My warrior,” his dark lover said, kissing Rimmon’s lips softly, then deeper still. “My kadezh.”
Click on the cover to buy this book at the Dreamspinner store.
It’s the height of the Depression, and people are desperate for a distraction from their lives. Film director Church Chetwood wants to help them forget—and he manages it with his documentaries and travelogues. But when the saber-tooth tiger he captured escapes, Manhattan’s grave situation only worsens. Now Church is facing ten years up the river.
Black Tuesday left John Smith a homeless sixteen-year-old orphan, and in the past four years he’s survived as best he could. When his path crosses Church’s, Johnny’s looking for a meal, nothing more. Surely after all he’s done, no one could love him—especially not Church, who insists he isn’t “like that.” But Church does have a plan to get away. Maybe if Johnny’s lucky, Church will let him tag along.
Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn’t survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.
It was with the advent of the family’s second computer – the first intimidated everyone – that her writing took off, enhanced in part by fanfiction, but mostly by the wonder that is copy and paste.
While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters.
A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband and two computers.
Ernest Hemingway’s words reflect Tinnean’s devotion to her craft: Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.
The Interview Q: How important are character names, to you, and how do you go about naming them? What about titles? A: This is an interesting question. I just did a blog on this very topic. Names are just as important a part of the character as eye or hair color. Yes, a rose would smell as swell, but would we be inclined to take a sniff if it was called stinkweed? I have links to naming sites online as well as the book 20,001 Names for Baby, which is really helpful in that I can find both first names and surnames from the book. What’s difficult is when names need to be changed because they’re too similar and there’s a possibility of confusing the reader. (i.e. Emma/Elle, Hughes/Hayward/Humphrey) I’ve had to come up with something else, and it takes a while to get used to the new name. One of the things I enjoy the most is playing with names. In a story I’ll post online, a character’s parents are Elizabeth and Bernard—Betty and Barney. And in another story a young woman calls her future father-in-law “Father Marcus”. After I’d written that, I wanted to change his name to William in the worst way. *g*
Regarding titles, I’ve found that I can’t write comfortably unless I have one of some sort, even something as lame as Looking for a Title. I get titles from lines of poetry (“Ah, Me! Full Sorely is My Heart Forlorn”) or songs (“Blue Champagne”, “Blue Velvet”, and “Blue Moon” and yes, that was a trilogy), although sometimes the stories name themselves, (Call Me Church for instance.) No matter how they’re named, once I’ve titled them, the title generally stays. However… (You knew there’d be a however, didn’t you?) On occasion the story itself will change its mind. A novel that will be out in February/March started life as Here Comes the Groom. From there it went to The Wedding Vow, Brown-Eyed Handsome Man, and finally settled on Two Lips, Indifferent Red, which is from Twelfth Night.
Q: In what locale is your most recent book set? How compelling was it to set a story there? Do you choose location the same way every time? How?
A: Call Me Church is set in Manhattan in 1933. This was the only locale where it could take place. And that’s how it works for me: the story chooses its own location, which in some cases becomes a secondary character. Lately, though, I’ve found it’s easier to create a city (as in Two Lips) or towns where I can come up with malls, streets, schools, and even beaches.
Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line? A: Seriously? I’m just along for the ride. They’ll let me write until there’s something they object to, and then they’ll drag their heels. It can reach a point where I’m no longer enjoying what I’m doing, so I’ll have to stop and try something else until we’re all happy. It can be as simple as introducing another character, but it can be as complex as tossing out an entire chapter and starting from scratch. But you know what’s the best? It’s not written in stone that I have to continue that plot thread. I can change it as often as necessary. (And believe me, there are times when it’s really necessary!)
Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why? A: I read a lot of Harlequins back in the day, and what I find most satisfying about the gay relationships I write is: 1. There won’t be any unexpected pregnancies; 2. My characters are not simply gay, they’re people who just happen to love someone who’s the same sex; 3. I like to think that none of them are TSTL—too stupid to live; and finally 4. No unexpected pregnancies. *cough*
Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read? A: Yes, on occasion, although the decision as to whether to go their route or not remains mine. In one story, I mentioned Character A was going to take Character B home to meet his family, and because I was tired at that point, I left it at that. Sometime later, a reader wrote me and asked what happened, and since I’d had some time to recoup, I went back and fleshed out a whole ’nother chapter. I’ll also ask on LJ. I was giving a character ringtones for his phone for the people in his life, and I asked my flist what they thought of a selection of music. Their input is valuable in that it gives me something to consider.
Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers. A: For me it would be a matter of trust. I’d like my readers to trust me enough to know that I won’t lead them down the garden path, and as a result of that they’d be willing to give whatever I write—contemporary, sci-fi, historical, even f/f— a try.
Q: What do you find useful about reviews? A: I found a review for Fifty Shades of Grey very helpful, in that it included a list of words that were repeated ad nauseum. This led me to realize that in Two Lips, people did an awful lot of smiling: I smiled, he smiled, she smiled. I went back and reworked the majority of them, thereby fleshing out the sequences.
Q: I’m well known for demanding to know an author’s opinion about which of their characters is the sexiest, and I’m making no exception for this group. Who, how, and why? A: This is like asking a mom who her favorite child is. (Okay, okay, but if any of my characters ask, you have to promise you’ll tell them I think they’re all sexy.) I’d have to say Mark Vincent and Quinton Mann in my Spy vs. Spook series. These two men are adults in the prime of their lives, and being in the intelligence community, they’re both competent and willing to do whatever they have to in order to protect the other. There’s also the fact that while they haven’t said those three little words, (no, not “You’re a dope.” *g*) their actions more than show it.
Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation). A: Not sure if this is what you want, but in my own work I tend to prefer what’s hinted at, so I’d have to go with this, from Yours, Jason, a novella that will be out in December.
Ben looked so good in the black suit he’d chosen that Jason couldn’t help dropping to his knees, unzipping Ben’s fly, and blowing him there in the upper level hallway.
“Whoa!” Ben leaned back against the wall, trying to catch his breath.
Jason grinned up at him and caught a stray drop of come from the corner of his mouth.
Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next? A: Right now I’m working on the fourth book in the Spy vs. Spook series, called Complications. The first chapter picks up immediately after the events in the Black Coffee chapter of Not My Spook! The second chapter goes ahead seven months, and then the rest of the book should be two years down the road.
I have an idea for a western that takes place in 1870, (I’d love to name this Green Grow the Lilacs, but since that’s the play Oklahoma was based on, I’ll have to come up with something else.) and I’m giving some thought to the back story. Then there’s what I like to call my gay vampire story. *g*
There’s also the sequel to Call Me Church, which begins with them in the South Seas. This is another one that has no title as yet, but maybe something like Johnny and Church and the Search for the Treasure of the Hidden Temple? *falls down laughing*
Exerpt from Call Me Church
Life during the Depression was hard. There wasn’t much to be happy about, to entertain us, so when Church ‘Chet’ Chetwood, the renowned film director, returned from the South Seas with what he claimed was the most astounding find in ten thousand years… well, everyone wanted to see it.
No one expected a throwback to the Ice Age to suddenly appear on Manhattan Island, and people stormed the box office to buy tickets.
I’d wanted so badly to go see the creature that was supposed to be extinct, but I couldn’t afford it. Well, I could barely afford to eat.
For once God was on my side, although so many others weren’t as fortunate. I wasn’t there when “Chetwood’s Kitty” somehow managed to escape from the theater where it was being exhibited.
The buildings along 42nd Street still bore splatters of dried blood from the path the giant saber-toothed tiger had taken. It had torn apart dozens of homeward-bound workers. Bodies had been disemboweled, decapitated, literally torn limb from limb. Cars had swerved to get out of the path of the infuriated creature. They’d run over pedestrians and had crashed into buildings, into the beams of the el, into buses, into one another.
A few days later, while I was scrounging in an alley, I’d come across the torso of a woman that had been somehow overlooked in the cleanup. Razor-sharp claws had shredded the shirtwaist she’d worn and the flesh beneath it, and the expression on her face revealed her pain and terror. I’d wheeled around and thrown up, although there had been little in my stomach.
The sabertooth had escaped to Central Park, and for three days the city was under martial law. That hadn’t helped the people who lived in Hooverville, in the drained reservoir. Six of them had been slaughtered before the Army had tracked down the sabertooth and fired enough rounds into it to bring it down.
I followed the story whenever I came across a discarded newspaper. The Daily News, being just a step up from a scandal sheet, had the juiciest stories. Its reporters told in gory, minute detail all the carnage that had descended upon New York City in those three days.
The survivors, as well as those who had lost loved ones, were among the many suing Church Chetwood, along with the city, the state, and the federal government, which was out to get him for bringing an unlicensed animal onto American soil.
However, no one knew where Mr. Chetwood was.
A Click on the cover image takes you straight to the buy link at Dreamspinner. Book One of the Elementally Evolved series
Set in a world that closely resembles our own, Burn is a story of redemption and betrayal, of family and sacrifice, which leads to the greatest question of all: how far would you go to save the ones you love?
Fifteen years ago, Felix Paracel killed his mother with fire that shot from his hands. Since then, he has hidden from forces bent on exploiting him and his fire and wind Elemental abilities. But Felix’s world is about to change, because he is Findo Unum-the Split One-and his coming has been foretold for generations.
Though Felix’s arrival brings great joy to the Elemental world, it also heralds a coming darkness. No one knows this better than Seven, the mysterious man who rescued Felix from that horrible fire years ago and then disappeared; Seven, who has returned to claim what’s rightfully his: Felix’s heart. But even as Felix begins to trust Seven and his feelings about his place in the world, the darkness reveals itself, bringing consequences no one could have predicted.
When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.
He lives with a neurotic cat in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s hot there, but he doesn’t mind. He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.
Q: How important are character names, to you, and how do you go about naming them? What about titles? A: Character names are very important to me. The names, at least to me, tell part of a story themselves. Bear, Otter, and the Kid, while nicknames, showed a bond between these three given that they named each other. I try to keep the names from being to off the wall, because I do like the sense of realism in my stories (yes, yes, I know I have a character named Seven—but trust me, there’s a specific reason he’s named that. And yeah, that’s me being a teasing asshole yet again).
As far as titles are concerned, the title is something that usually comes to me even before I start writing the story. Titles are important because in all reality, they’re the identity of the story. The only time I’ve ever changed a title to a book of mine was to the upcoming Into This River I Drown, which was originally titled Blue Ford. The story changed in such a way as I was writing it that the Blue Ford title no longer fit.
Q: In what locale is your most recent book set? How compelling was it to set a story there? Do you choose location the same way every time? How? A: My most recently completed book is Just The Way You Are, which is set where I live, in Tucson Arizona. As much as BOATK was based upon my earlier life in Oregon, Just The Way You Are is based upon how my life is now, with some obvious creative changes. As much as I like to bitch and moan when it’s July and 110 degrees outside, there’s really no place like the desert. Tucson is such a quirky town. There are a million people here, but it’s still got a small town vibe, which I really dig. It’s a little more liberal than the rest of Arizona (which is a good thing, seeing as how the state seems to be bent on showing the rest of the country what it looks like to take one step forward and sixteen steps backward).
I choose the locations for my books based upon the scope of the story. Into This River I Drown is set in the fictional Oregon town of Rosedale, which, geographically (at least in my head) is only a couple hours’ drive from another small town: Seafare, from the BOATK stories. They don’t exist in the same universe, but I couldn’t help but to reference Seafare in ITRID. BOATK and ITRID are set in small towns because they’re meant to be small town stories, though the boys from ITRID will travel a lot further than Bear and Otter ever did.
Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line? A: As much as they want or need. I go into the majority of my works with an outline as to where I want the story to go beginning, middle and end. But more often than not, there are detours into places that I never thought about when I started. The best example of this is Into This River I Drown. The book started as an ode to my father but turned into something so much more, specifically because of the characters and the direction they wanted to go versus the direction I wanted them to go (and, it should probably be mentioned, that I can’t ignore the fact that I’m apparently a sadistic bastard who has no problem putting people through the ringer; ITRID is going to be nuts).
What a lot of people don’t realize is that the majority of authors are probably certifiable with the amount of voices we hear in our heads. I have no shame in admitting that I have conversations with my characters. I laugh with them, I argue with them. Sometimes they piss me off, other times they make me cry. But I know what each and every one of them sound like (especially the Kid—I’m pretty sure I’m stuck with him for the rest of my life, given how he never seems to go too far away. But what’s funny about him is that I hear him as being older now, knowing that his story will be coming up soon. He’s no longer nine years old to me, but almost a man; I almost feel like a parent).
Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why? A: The most satisfying part for me is that relationships happen like those we write about every day. Yeah, some of the plots can be far-fetched and may not be the most realistic thing in the world, but it always boils down to boy meets boy, boy and other boy make sex face at each other, boy and other boy then fall in love and live happily ever after forever and ever. For too long, it seemed as if GLBTQ portrayal in books and other media were all about the tragedies of being gay, either because of violence, hatred, or illness. It’s nice to be able to write and read about the realities of being gay in the 21st century. Even though there still is violence and hatred and illness, that does not have to define who we are, given that we are more than that.
Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read? A: While I appreciate my readers more than anything, I really try to write what I want to write and not necessarily cater to others. If my readers had their way BOATK3 would be written, Burn wouldn’t have ended like it did, and Julie McKenna would have been run over by a herd of rampaging buffalo, only to survive, stand up, and then get mauled by fourteen rabid raccoons. You know you’ve done your job when you’ve written a despicable character this is universally reviled (I could try to argue here that maybe she’s just misunderstood, but that’d be a bunch of bullshit. I hate her face).
That being said, I always like to hear from readers about what they like or dislike (and you’d be surprised how many emails I get from both sides—I seem to have one of those faces where people seem to think they can tell me whatever they want, which I think is awesome…for the most part. I don’t think I ever received a higher volume of mail then when after Who We Are came out and people read about Mrs. Paquinn. I was pretty sure I was headed toward a Misery type situation right then, especially when I received an email that contained a single line: “You shouldn’t have done what you did to Mrs. P.”
Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers. A: In an ideal world: readers would read and writers would write, though I don’t know how practical that would be. There has to be a fair amount of interaction between the two groups. After all, books won’t sell themselves.
There’s always going to be a fine line between reader/author contact, and unfortunately, that line gets crossed on both sides more often than it should, and it seems to be happening more and more. In the days of people paying for reviews, the so-called GR bullies and people who make websites about so-called GR bullies, to authors behaving badly and the snipe and snark and viciousness on both sides, it’s a wonder the world hasn’t exploded, or at least collapsed in on itself. Maybe that’s the price (upside? downside?) of social media, that everyone is entitled to share (and can and will share) their opinion about anything or everything.
I like talking to my readers, and I do so through Facebook and GR quite often. I don’t typically comment on reviews of my books (either good or bad), because again, I don’t think the review is for me. This is knocking any other author that does that, just my personal preference. But, of course, I’d be nowhere at all without the people that have bought my books, so I love ‘em to pieces and would have all of their babies had God seen fit to give me ovaries; alas, I am but a man.
Q: What do you find useful about reviews? A: Aside from the day a book comes out, I don’t really focus on reviews, to be honest. Reviews, at least to me, are for other readers, and not necessarily for the authors. When BOATK first came out, I obsessed about reviews for a few weeks until I realized there really was no point in it. I am eternally grateful when someone takes the time to write a review for something I wrote, no matter if it’s good or bad. I don’t think reviews are the best place to look for critique when it comes to writing. That’s what my Beta readers are for, and they kick my ass enough, and I know them well enough to know they won’t sugar coat anything.
However, I am also an avid reader and it’s an interesting position to be in, being both a published author and someone who writes reviews for books. On one hand, I am very well aware of the time and energy that goes into writing a book, and how scary it can be to let that book out into the world. On the other hand, I am very opinionated about what I read. It can be a difficult position to be in, but I like to think I’ve found a bit of middle ground with it. I won’t write reviews to books I didn’t enjoy, or even rate them, because I don’t want it to be seen as an attack on another author, but I will praise a book to high heaven if I think it awesome.
Q: I’m well known for demanding to know an author’s opinion about which of their characters is the sexiest, and I’m making no exception for this group. Who, how, and why? A: Seven, from Burn. He’s a hardcore badass, extraordinarily possessive, and a man who is not afraid to lead his people or protect what is his. He has so many layers, the depths of which readers haven’t even seen yet. I’m starting to think that the Elementally Evolved Trilogy is about him more than anyone else, even Felix. (I know, I know: I keep teasing. But I promise, it’ll be worth the wait when Book II is finally finished.)
Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation). A: From the upcoming Just The Way You Are:
Sweat formed between us, my cock trapped against his stomach as he slid into me, creating a delicious friction that I didn’t want to push away. I felt fluid and slippery, and he growled against my neck, his breath light and quick as his hips snapped back and forth.
“I’m going,” I whispered.
“Go,” he panted.
Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next? A: Now, is all about Elementally Evolved Book II: Break. I’ve got to finish that story before I can start anything else. After that, I plan on heading back to Seafare for BOATK3 (of which I’ve got a pretty good amount of the story thought up in my head—oh man, the angst that’s going to happen in Ty and Dom’s story is going to be something else, that’s for damn sure. I’m excited and dreading it all at the same time). My next release will be the previously discussed Into This River I Drown, followed pretty quickly by Just The Way You Are. I’m also working on another project, though I think I’ll keep it under wraps for now.
An Excerpt from Burn:
I turned to face the crowd behind me and was unsurprised when my stalker
smiled at me from the front of my audience. Funny, I hadn’t seen him standing there
“I’m going to my home,” I called to him.
“I know where you live,” he reminded me, his voice highly amused. The people
around him suddenly looked at him with newfound respect. They hadn’t expected a
second act to this farce.
“I know, but could you just stay away?” I pleaded.
“Do you really want that?” he asked me sharply.
I thought for a moment. “Yes, I do.” My heart hammered in my chest.
“For how long?” he asked.
“You’re not giving up, are you?” I asked him, suddenly feeling very tired. Or
resigned. I didn’t know which.
“Never in your life,” he said, his deep voice rough and wonderful. “You belong
“I don’t belong to anyone,” I told him. The heads of our audience swiveled back
and forth like they were watching a tennis match.
He cocked his head. “Oh, you most definitely do. It’ll be easier for both of us if
you just stop fighting me on it.” He flexed his arms against his massive body.
Bastard was cheating.
I grinned at him. “Where’s the fun in that?”
“Come over here,” he ordered. “Now.”
I didn’t dare disobey. As I walked up to him, our audience turned their heads,
watching every step I took. I saw them only out of the corners of my eyes because I
was focused on him. I reached him and put my hands on his chest as his arms folded
around me, the top of my head barely reaching his chin. His body was hard as a rock,
and it felt like hugging human granite. He reached down and rubbed the back of my
head through the hood of my sweatshirt. I stared up at him, and he watched me back,
and I knew I couldn’t (wouldn’t) fight this again. His face lowered to mine, and his
lips brushed against my lips, and I could feel the flash inside me, the flare threatening to rise. But still, our eyes remained open, the ocean looking back at me. I gasped at a thought, a memory—the giant—but it was lost as he brushed his lips against mine again, never fully pressing, only promising. Nothing in my life had ever been more erotic than that moment: the ghosting of his mouth over mine, the feel of his body under my hands, the way he held the back of my neck. I shivered in his grip. I wanted to climb up him like the mountain he was and wrap my legs around his waist and let him rub against me in the alley. That’s why I stepped back; it’s why I stepped away.
He looked down at me, a knowing smile on his face.
“You said I was your Iuratum Cor,” I breathed at him. “And you were mine in return.”
“What does that mean?”
His eyes flashed. “It’s Latin. It means ‘heart sworn’. You belong to me. And I am
I turned and ran.
“Soon, Felix,” he called after me. “I’ll see you soon.” His voice was sure,
On August 15th, Author Raine Delight featured some sensuous smut from Delysyn’s Blues for Wicked Wednesday on her website. Now I’m very late sharing, an I hope Raine and you will forgive me. You can still catch the guys in the act if you click this link.
I hope you enjoy it. (Luki and Sonny do.)
(And while you’re at Raine’s blog, you might want to check out some of the smut from other authors, other Wednesdays. Probably NSFW.)
This blog is not pornography, however it will from time to time include material suitable for adults. If you are not of legal age in the country where you live, please leave the site. Thank you. Others, proceed at your own discretion, and please enjoy!
Donations to date: $500 to Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center!Thank you, readers! I hope Yes touched your hearts. I know our donation will touch peoples lives--in a small way perhaps, but every little bit helps.