Tag Archives: m/m

MD Grimm on *Ruby: Lost and Found* and the hotness of love and devotion

Click the cover image for the buy link at Torguere Books
(Stones of Power – Book 1)

Morgorth is a mage on the planet Karishian. There is little else he hates more than the Stones of Power – gemstones which were infused with magick by the first seven mages ever born. So when a sorcerer gets ahold of a major stone – a ruby – Morgorth has no other choice but to go after him. But, to his irritation, he is not alone. Aishe is a dialen whose tribe was massacred by the sorcerer and now he is on a mission of vengeance. The attraction is instant between them but Morgorth keeps his distance. Because of a traumatic childhood and a deadly destiny, he has no desire for emotional complications. But Aishe’s very presence challenges Morgorth’s resolve.

Not only does Morgorth begin to admire Aishe’s strength and mind, but he begins to see him as a friend. As their hunt continues and their time together lengthens, their bond deepens as does Morgorth’s fear. If he becomes the monster that destiny claims he will, would he hurt Aishe? Would he harm the one person who saw right through him? Who accepted him wholeheartedly? Determined to not let that happen, Morgorth keeps Aishe at a distance but when Aishe is kidnapped by the sorcerer, what will Morgorth do to get him back?

M.D. Grimm lives in the wet state of Oregon, and when Grimm is not reading, writing, or watching movies, Grimm dreams of owning a pet dragon. Grimm wanted to become an author since second grade and feels that those dreams are finally coming true. Grimm was fortunate to have supporting parents who never said “get your head out of the clouds.” While not liking to write in only one set genre, Grimm feels romance is at the core of most of their stories. Grimm earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Oregon and hopes to put that degree to good use in the literature world as well as the “real” world.

I’m at Facebook, Goodreads, and Livejournal. (no website yet)

The Interview

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. For me, names must tell something about the personality of the character. Either by the way the name sounds, what the name means, or both. Sometimes the names just come with the character when I create them, but other times I have to pull out my baby book of 35,000 names and look up what would fit the character best.

Titles are probably my favorite and most headache-inducing part of creating a story. Sometimes, I know the title before I even write the book, other times I have a tentative title and I can only finalize it after I’ve finished the story. I like creating titles that either play on words or connect wittily with what’s in my story. My Shifter series with Dreamspinner Press is one such example. My most recent release of that series was Blind Devotion. One of the main characters is blind but I also use that title to describe followers of a sect that desire the eradication of shifters. Titles are very important. If they’re clever, they capture readers’ attention and you potentially make a sale! And a new fan.

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: I had two releases in August, so I will talk a little bit about both. Blind Devotion is set in Montana. Ruby: Lost and Found with Torquere Press, is set on another planet, but it is a fantasy, not a sci-fi. Both settings were compelling and offered up their own challenges. With Blind Devotion, I let the criteria of the story help me determine where the story would be placed. I needed an isolated place where a small town of shifters could live in relative peace and secrecy. Montana fit the bill because it was far north and covered with national forests – a perfect places for shifters to run around on four legs. I had to do a lot of research on Montana, however, before I could start writing. I think that’s what makes me choose settings in places I have never been – so I can discover and travel, if only in my mind. It lets me learn and I love to learn.

Ruby: Lost and Found is, as I said, a fantasy, so that meant I was starting from scratch. I had to create flora/fauna, geology, continents, etc. I really had to create everything but, since it is the first book of a series as well, I have time to gradually evolve the world and present it to readers. This series doesn’t allow me to take anything for granted – the reader would know nothing of my world as they would most places on Earth. I want to make it as real to them as it is to me.

Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line?
A:I’m a big fan of allowing the character to steer the story, instead of just reacting to what happens to them. But I do try to keep a good balance between outside events influencing my characters’ actions and my characters’ actions influencing the events. I do try to have an overall plot that is a guide for the character, but I make sure they have agency.

Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why?
A: I like to think love conquers all. Naïve, perhaps, but reality is a bitter pill sometimes, and I read and write to take me out of that reality and into a world where, despite everything, you do end up with your soul mate (or soul mates). Unfortunately in our society, there is a sort of “built-in” conflict with gay relationships and that makes me even more devoted into making sure, at least in my stories, the men (or women) end up together.

Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read?
A: I haven’t had that situation yet. I’m still pretty new at publishing and I’m still building my fan base.

Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers.
A: Respect. For the author to respect the readers, and for the readers to respect the author. For the author: they need to respect the fact that readers might not like all their stories, or how they write, and that’s okay. You can’t please everyone. You shouldn’t try. For the reader: they need to respect the author and their craft. If they don’t like the story, okay, fine, but there is no need to attack or disrespect the author or their story. They need to remember that others might enjoy that story, and that their opinion is just that: an opinion. A preference. They have a right to that preference, but also a responsibility to give it respectfully.

I am a reader and an author, so I see both sides. If I don’t like a story, I don’t see a need to attack the author, or the story. It’s not my preference. There have been certain popular stories coming out recently (I’m sure you could guess what they are) that I have no interest it. But others love and adore those stories. Okay, fine. To each their own.

As an author, I love my readers. I really do. And it does hurt when a negative/hateful review comes out. But it would hurt less if it was respectful. I’ve read several of those reviews that don’t tear down the story or me but inform other readers why they didn’t like the story. I almost want to thank them for that review – even if it was negative – because I didn’t feel attacked.

Q: What do you find useful about reviews?
A: Well… it’s nice to see when my book is positively accepted. And sometimes it can help if the review is more critique then attack. I can see where the reviewer thought the story had issues and if I agree, I can make sure not to do it again. I don’t depend on them to tell me how to write – I write because I want to and because I need to. I don’t allow reviews to affect my confidence in my writing.

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 goddess!! Now all my characters are glaring at me – daring me to choose favorites!

To make things easier, I will only choose from those stories that have been published (I have several written but not ready for publishing yet). Right now I’m partial to Morgorth, the protagonist in my Stones of Power series with Torquere Press, of which Ruby: Lost and Found is the first book. He might not be gorgeous or traditionally handsome but he’s a mage which means he can use magick like most warriors use swords. He’s sexy because he doesn’t think he is – he’s grumpy, angry, and often broods. I think he’s sexy because of how he changes during the course of the series and his growth as a character – mostly due to his relationship with Aishe, his mate. Sometimes the sexiest characters are those who aren’t traditionally sexy.

Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation).
A: Now that is a hard one – I have too many, but I’ll choose some that I’ve written very recently. (50 words really cramps my style…) This little sample comes from Ruby: Lost and Found, published by Torquere Press:

“I love you,” [Aishe] said in a pained whisper that slammed me […]. I believed him […]

“We were meant for each other,” he continued […]”I’m staying with you; […] You don’t have to be alone anymore. I trust you, Morgorth. […] “You don’t think much of yourself, but I think the world of you. You’re beautiful.”

(Yes, I cheated with the […]) And why didn’t I use a sex scene? Well, this precludes a sex scene AND all of my sex scenes were certainly more than 50 words and… well, what is hotter than a declaration of love and devotion?)

Q: What are you doing now, what do you plan to write next?
A:Right now I’m working on the second and third book of my Stones of Power series as well as finishing book five and six of my Shifters series. I’m also working on outlines of a couple of other books that have nothing to do with these stories. I’m always keeping myself busy.

An Excerpt from Ruby: Lost and Found

Someone roared and the weight lifted. The stars before my eyes faded and I looked over to see Aishe actually straddling the revenai’s wrist, stabbing it with a short sword, causing black viscous blood to gush. I sucked in a breath and struggled to my feet just as Aishe leapt off of the revenai. Another hand came to grab him. He ducked away and rolled and I kept on the opposite side of him, trying to divide the demon’s attention. Five heads were enough to deal with.

Aishe and I couldn’t keep this up and I tore through my brain, trying to find a way that would end this conflict as fast and as bloodless as possible.
Before I’d found a satisfying idea, the demon got a hold of Aishe and proceeded to squeeze the life from his body. Fury so intense I wondered why I didn’t explode whirled through me and I created a blade of pure force and flung it at the revenai’s arm, cutting it cleanly in half. The monster roared, Aishe fell, and more blood gushed.

The dialen didn’t move.

“Hey! Demon shit!” I bellowed, my magick amplifying my voice. The revenai turned to me, the lust for death in its eyes.

“Follow me if you have the guts!” I ran deeper into the forest, hearing the lumbering beast close behind me. Fury gave me power and focus and I used it. I gasped for breath, my muscles burning, as I emerged at the river where only minutes before I had seen Aishe naked. I ran along the bank, the revenai emerging seconds later, lumbering awkwardly, ripping up trees as it went. I swung around and churned the water, lifting it into the air and flinging it at the charging revenai. I continued to lash the monster with water and it swung its hands around uselessly, becoming more enraged. When I had enough water whirling around the revenai, I took a deep breath and blew it out, causing the water to freeze.

The revenai’s thrashing ceased and the drool froze on its lips. I knew it wouldn’t hold but maybe it would contain the thing long enough for me to find out what to do with it. And to find out if Aishe was even still alive. I ran around the large frozen demon and nearly collided with the dialen as he emerged, whole, from the trashed forest.

I skidded to a halt and my heart was drumming in my chest, relief making me dizzy.

“Thank the Mother,” I gasped and before I could think better of it, I flung my arms around the dialen and hugged him hard. It lasted for about a second before I jerked back as if electrocuted. I grimaced and Aishe looked shocked.
I took several steps back. “Sorry, I… you all right?”

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Tali Spencer on the Prince of Winds with a super sexy excerpt

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.

Tali blogs at http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com

The Interview

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.”

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Tia Fielding on *Technically Dead* and how shifters belong in Finland

Click on the cover image to buy the book at the Dreamspinner store.

When Brandon Roland’s parents kicked him out for being gay, he turned to prostitution to get by—something that almost cost him his life when he was attacked by strangers. Bran was saved by a vampire named Heath, and during their year together, Bran’s life was good—but then Heath sent him packing for reasons unknown.

That was twelve years ago, and Bran’s come a long way since then. He has an education, a job as a social worker at a vampire/human youth shelter, friends, and a tattoo he adds to annually to commemorate another year without the love of his life.

The trouble with being a very old vampire is that the older you are, the less you feel. Heath is over nine hundred—he was sure he’d never experience emotion again, but he never counted on Bran. When Heath accidentally stumbles back into Bran’s life, it changes more than either man thought possible—and then history literally catches up with them and turns their lives inside out.

Tia Fielding is a Finnish M/M-author, published by Dreamspinner Press. She hails from a middle-of-nowhere town surrounded by nature and dislikes cities with vigor. Because of this, she’s writing a shifter-series with the forests of eastern Finland as the backdrop. While she hasn’t picked one sub-genre within the genre, it will always be vampires that have her heart. When she’s not writing, Tia likes to read, watch her shows (but no soaps, please!) and she’s always ready to try out a new computer game.

Website and blog: http://www.tiafielding.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tiafielding
Twitter: @tiafielding

The Interview
Q: How important are character names, to you, and how do you go about naming them? What about titles?
A: Character names are important, I tend to name characters after people or based on meanings. Sometimes I pick a name at random, oftentimes the characters pop up in my head with “Hi I’m X.” It sounds crazy, but a lot of characters do that for a lot of writers. Story titles are different. Sometimes there’s a name that just pops up while I write, other times I ask the editors if they have ideas. For example “Technically Dead” was purely my title, while Tiglon By The Tail was a collaboration between myself and the editing team.

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: I’ve been writing my shifter series lately, so the locale is dear to my heart in so many ways. The series takes place in eastern Finland, which is basically where I live myself. I know the place, I have special insight to it, and it was clear that if I ever wrote shifters I’d want to have them live here. Now, writing book 3, it’s pretty much obvious readers are enjoying the setting as much as I do.

Locations just click. Occasionally I write about places I want to know more about and research to satisfy my curiosity, but mostly I grab hold of settings I see online or have been to. That said, I’ve never been to the US, so I do have to research a lot!

Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line?
A: Pretty much all the power is theirs. It won’t work if I try to pressure or steer them. They keep surprising me quite often. For example, recently I was writing something and suddenly one of the main characters blurted out he had a son. I hadn’t known about that and it totally added a new element to the plot! Sometimes I have to say things like “You’re so not having sex yet!” or stomp my foot when they try to cut corners, but yeah, I have to admit 95% of the story comes from the characters.

Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why?
A: Probably the fact that I’m GLBTQ myself and since I don’t care about writing M/F or F/F, it still gives me a way to write something that’s close to my heart, stuff I’ve at least partially lived through at some point or have seen friends go through around me. It also gives me a way to set things straight with the universe if I think something that was “done wrong” to me just because who I am can be used in a good way in a story. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it does to me! ^^

Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read?
A:Sometimes. I love reader feedback so much that I try to listen to it. If it’s constructive in any way, I try and remember what they said and while I don’t write to meet people’s expectations, I do think it’s always important to listen.

Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers.
A: As an author I’d love to get more emails from people who enjoy my stories. They give me a boost to write much more than the random positive review does. I would also like to add that readers should always rate the books they like either on Amazon or Goodreads (or wherever they bought the book) just because it adds to visibility. Oh and readers actually buying (and not pirating) the books makes us authors happy.

Q: What do you find useful about reviews?
A: Constructive criticism. If the critique is made in a way that doesn’t seem mean or petty or just outright bullying, then it’s useful.

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 no… this is a bad, bad question…. I’d have to say Heath first, my vampire in Technically Dead. He’s hot because I know him so well in my head. I also think Thom in By Any Other Name is a total sweetheart and sexy as hell. But I tend to find all my characters hot one way or another so this is a tricky question!

Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation).
A: This is the beginning of my favorite scene (which is later mirrored in the book as well, so it has a lot of meaning) from Technically Dead. It starts from page 33 in the book. As such, this isn’t much as I tried to keep it short, but what happens after this bit… 😉

An hour later, Bran was pleasantly buzzed, very turned on, and he had a twink rubbing his ass against Bran’s crotch on the dance floor. So maybe Bran was a bit older at thirty-two, but this guy didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, if there hadn’t been layers of leather and denim between them, Bran would have been inside the kid by now.

Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next?
A: I’m struggling through the third Finnshifters book at the moment. It’s been something I’ve worked on for a while now and my depression likes to mess with my creativity. The next hurdle will be NaNoWriMo, and I’m going to write outside my element (although still M/M) and that should be fun! We’ll see if anything publishable comes out of it this year, but at least I’ve tried. 🙂

An Excerpt from Technically Dead

An hour later, Bran was pleasantly buzzed, very turned on, and he had a twink rubbing his ass against Bran’s crotch on the dance floor. So maybe Bran was a bit older at thirty-two, but this guy didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, if there hadn’t been layers of leather and denim between them, Bran would have been inside the kid by now.

“Shit,” he hissed, feeling the leisurely roll of the firm bubble butt against his cock.

The kid tossed him a cheeky look over his shoulder, then stepped away and headed for the back rooms. Okay, then…. He didn’t bother adjusting himself—the leather was tight enough not to be comfortable before he actually got rid of the boner, and he had no intention of letting it wait for much longer.

Bran followed the twink into the back room and saw him leaning on a wall near the back. It was a spot surrounded by mixed couples, vampires and humans. Well, if the twink got his rocks off by seeing some bloodsucking happen, who was Bran to deny him?

In less than thirty seconds, he found his back pressed against the wall, his leather pants opened, and his cock being sucked very enthusiastically by the kid. A male vampire sucking a guy’s neck only an arm’s length away from Bran finished his feeding just as the human came almost violently all over the vampire’s fingers.
Bran knew why the guy looked so dazed. He knew so well…. The rush you got from the bite was what led people into trouble. It had led Bran to trouble and heartache.
The boy moaned around his cock and made Bran’s thoughts snap back to the action happening below his waist.

The vampire and the human turned to look at them, smiling just a little. The human looked like he was having the time of his life, while the vampire licked his lips, the tips of his fangs still showing. There was a bulge in the vampire’s jeans, and for a moment Bran thought he was going to approach him. Instead, the vampire stepped closer and took a whiff of his scent, and the invisible barrier formed between them.

Bran sighed, turned his gaze away, and tried to concentrate on the warm mouth instead of wishing that the cool fingers and cock were at his disposal. Fucking hell….

“I wish I could,” the vampire suddenly whispered into his ear, his cool breath, although warmed by the blood he had just been drinking, sending sudden chills through Bran’s system. Maybe he wasn’t that good at hiding his true emotions, like the fucking omnipresent pain he felt that he couldn’t have a vampire when he craved one’s touch more than air. Bran looked at the vampire, trying to keep the pleading from his gaze; he wasn’t going to beg. Not again. He’d never sink that low again….
With a pointed look, the vampire blew cool air against Bran’s neck, and suddenly Bran came so hard only the vampire’s cold palm pressing him to the wall held him upright.

“Wow….” The man at Bran’s feet blinked up at him. “Damn, I’m good.”

Bran opened his eyes, noticed that the vampire and his human were gone, and forced a smile at the twink. “Sure, thanks…. Eh, did you…?” He was a gentleman, after all.
“Oh, yeah, man, you’re hot when you come.” The boy grinned, digging a tissue from his pocket and then wiping his hands clean.

Bran thanked him again as he did his fly up, and then headed back to the club. He didn’t have heart to tell the boy that despite his skills in cocksucking, the best orgasm Bran had had in years wasn’t due to him but the vampire whose whisper reminded him of another cool breath on his neck.

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Tinnean on *Call Me Church*, creative titling, and the lack of unexpected pregnancies in gay fiction

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.

She can be contacted at tinneantoo@gmail.com, and can be found on Live Journal and on Facebook. If you’d like to sample her earlier works, they can be found at http://www.angelfire.com/fl5/tinnssinns/Welcome1.html.

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

Chapter 1

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.

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TJ Klune on *Burn* and the voices in our heads…

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.

TJ’s Blog: A Fistful of Awesome.

The Interview

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.”

Yikes.

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
before.

“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
to me.”

“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.”

He nodded.

“What does that mean?”

His eyes flashed. “It’s Latin. It means ‘heart sworn’. You belong to me. And I am
yours.”

I turned and ran.

“Soon, Felix,” he called after me. “I’ll see you soon.” His voice was sure,
confident.

I ran faster.

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Filed under featured authors, M/M romance, Writers on writing

T. A. Webb (aka the Mean Old Bear That Could)–on *Second Chances* and “pantser” style writing

Click the cover image to go to the buy/preorder page at Dreamspinner.

Mark Jennings is at a crossroads. His finance job in the Atlanta nonprofit scene stresses him out, his mother is dying, and his relationship with Brian Jacobs has crashed and burned. He needs a distraction, some way to relax, and a massage seems like just the thing. He never expected his massage therapist, Antonio Roberto, to become his best friend.
Despite their differences—Antonio is a divorced single father—the two men forge a firm friendship that weathers Mark’s reconciliation with Brian and Antonio’s questionable taste in women. Over the years, Antonio remains constant in his support, though others in Mark’s life come and go through a revolving door.
When a young boy runs away from the group home where he works, Mark finds another door opening. Through it all he holds on to the things his loved ones taught him—about family, about friends and lovers, about life and death. Most importantly, he realizes that sometimes the greatest gift of all is a second chance. Second Chances” will be out on October 17th from Dreamspinner.

T. A. Webb is the writing name for the Mean Old Bear That Could. By day, he’s the director of finance for a non-profit agency. He’s worked with people living with HIV/AIDS and with children in the foster care system for over twenty years, and takes the smaller pay for the chance to make a difference for those who can’t help themselves. After hours, he’s the proud single papa of four rescue dogs, was born and raised in Atlanta, where he still lives, and is a pretty darned good country cook.

His sister taught him to read when he was four, and he tore his way through the local library over the next few years. Always wanting more, he snuck a copy of The Exorcist under his parents’ house to read when he was eleven and scared the bejesus out of himself. Thus began a love affair with books that skirt the edge, and when he discovered gay literature, he was hooked for life.

T. A. can be found at Facebook under AuthorTAWebb, tweeted at #TomBearAtl, or if you really want to, you can email him at AuthorTAWebb@aol.com.

The Interview

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. Once I get in my head who they are, then they start talking to me and the story is off and running! I fill in the blanks of their personalities, and the names just kind of come to me. Same with titles – I start with something generic until the story really cooks, then the name comes to me kind of organically.

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 recent book, Deep Blues Goodbye, is set in New Orleans. It’s an erotic urban fantasy, vampires and werewolves set on an unaware world. And what better place than New Orleans with the voodoo that we do so well? I like to set stories close to home – Atlanta for me – or where they make most sense. Second Chances is set in Atlanta, as is the short I have in the IRM Winter Anthology, His Name was Harley Manfield.

Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line?
A: All the power. I’m a “pantser” – I write by the seat of my pants. The characters talk to me and set the action. They live and laugh and love and sometimes die and I have no idea what’s gonna happen until it does.

Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why?
Q: Hmmm. I like to tell the history, how the characters got to the place in their lives where they are today. And then how that history led them to interact with each other and fall in love or whatever they do. It’s all about the build-up for me.

Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read?
A: Not yet. So far I’m still a newbie, so nobody cares yet!

Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers.
A: Wow. Should there be a relationship? Other than that the author writes for readers, and readers read. I’ve been a reviewer for a couple of years and a reader all my life, and have always thought that authors don’t owe me anything except a well-written work. Today, though, it seems with the internet everyone thinks they own a piece of each other. Well, I disagree. Read me or not. Like me or not. But it’s my work that you should [be] worried about.

Q: What do you find useful about reviews?
A: They can tell a writer if they are on track with their stories. I write reviews, and my goal is always to tell other readers the good about a book, and what I think might be improved. But I refuse to write bad reviews or talk about the author. So the feedback – as a writer – it tells me if I am doing a good job communicating my story. If I am, great, but if I’m not, I need to get better. And even with a good review, I need to get 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: In Deep Blues Goodbye, we have a boatload of sexy men. My personal favorite is Travis. He’s tall, dark and handsome, and just now getting that he can have a life after being turned into a vampire. But Sam is a special guy too. He’s always willing to look inside himself and learn something new. In Second Chances, it’s Brian. He’s loving, knows he fucked up, and still comes back for more.

Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation).

He pushed up into my hand and I shoved a hand inside his jeans. “Think you can come in the next two minutes?” He groaned and nodded. This was my new favorite game. Giving him a time limit, and if he didn’t get off within that time, he didn’t get to. ’Til the next day. He’d gotten very good at this game.

From Second Chances

Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next?
A: I have *gulps* six things going on at once now. I have two shorts for a new YA anthology to finish, the new book in the Altered States series, a novella about two porn guys and the man who brings them together in love, a 1940’s story called Buzz and Tommy’s Summer, and a book with another writer that’s a fun semi-paranormal piece. Then another book in the series and a follow-up to Second Chances that tells Robbie and Jason’s story. Then…another Altered States book and a paranormal book I woke up with already all plotted and told in my head!

I wondered if praying that she wouldn’t pull out of this episode made me a terrible son. I didn’t dare breathe a word of that to anybody, but fuck it, I could stand here and by God take a minute to suffer and let my heart bleed in private. Pull all the jagged pieces of my soul together and cobble them into something resembling the man everybody knew as Mark Jennings before I had to go in and be him.

But after a few minutes and a few more deep breaths, I pulled it together. Took the piece of me that was the good son, attached it to the responsible work Mark, the peacemaker brother, the single gay man pieces. Looked at all the parts tiredly, and once they fit into something that approached a whole man, I slipped back into my skin. I took a deep breath and opened the door to Mom’s room.

Dad was there. It may have been too early for any of my brothers and sisters, but that was almost a relief. Today it would be nice just to have some time with him while I still felt so tired and raw.

“It’s good to see you, son.” He hugged me and eyed the sack I brought in from Huey’s. He loved the beignets and the muffaletta sandwiches I’d gotten into the habit of picking up for our dinner.

I handed him the bag. “You too, Dad. Looks like everything’s about the same here, huh? Thought I’d come and keep you company.”

“But I know you’re tired. I told you to go home after work and I’d call you if anything changed,” he fussed as he dug around in the bag.

“Just hush and eat. Where is everybody?” I plopped down in a chair and kicked my shoes off. I’d been at this damn hospital enough to know how to make myself comfortable.

“You’re it right now.” He plowed into the food like a hungry bear, and I knew he’d probably skipped lunch to sit with her. Again. “Patty was here earlier, and Robert. Said he and Jennifer’d be back tonight. The doctor was in today, said she may wake up tomorrow some time.”

I didn’t want to talk about that right now. More than anything, that subject threatened the fragile internal balance I’d forged, so we talked about little crap. What my day’d been like. What had to be done around the house when he made it back there.

But we also slid in some of the more important things, too. How was he holding up. Was I okay. Had I heard from Brian. Things he would share with me, the responsible son. My brothers and sisters, while I loved them, always made everything such fucking drama, and found reasons to let me handle the hard things. You know, since I didn’t have kids and a wife, or a husband, or a boyfriend. At least that’s what Brenda and Sam and Linda thought. Robert and Patti, at least, pitched in as best they could.

But it was also our way to ignore the big things without telling each other to fuck off.

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Filed under featured authors, just a category, M/M romance, Writers on writing

Ooops! I forgot to post this! There’s Smut to be Read!

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.)

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Filed under Delsyn's Blues, Lou Sylvre, M/M romance, Vasquez & James

Excerpt from the new Vasquez and James Novella, *Yes*–after the diagnosis

They had driven to Seattle from the Olympic Peninsula that morning
before the birds were awake—or so Luki had complained. Even after years
of Sonny’s influence, he hadn’t become a morning person, had no desire
to do so, knew he never would. They had taken Luki’s ice-blue Mercedes,
aged by now, but still in good shape, because it helped Luki maintain the
chilly facade that used to be his trademark when he was a full-time
working detective. Now he only detected occasionally and ran his security
business mostly en absentia. Usually he could still call up the chill factor
when needed, but this morning it had been elusive at best.

They stood in the bow of the ferry while they crossed the Puget
Sound, then drove south over the familiar stretch from Edmonds and
arrived at the Cancer Center in Seattle twenty-five minutes before Luki’s
appointment time. It took twenty of those minutes for Sonny to convince
Luki to go in—mostly using a technique Luki had come to think of as
meaningful silence. Sonny was very good at it.

Now, in the car again after leaving the doctor’s office in discord…
utter discord, Luki felt the significance of Sonny’s silence aimed at him
like a drawn and loaded bow. It felt ugly, but he couldn’t give Sonny what
he wanted. Not yet. In an effort to ignore the facts, he asked, “Are you
hungry, Sonny?”

“No, I’m not hungry! I’m flabbergasted that you didn’t answer that
doctor. I’m too upset to be thinking about food.”

“Well, Sonny, I’m fucking hungry!” It felt kind of good to lash out,
but that wasn’t enough to quell his own fear, his own anger, or his guilt for
not acknowledging that Sonny felt those things too. He looked around,
taking in the lay of the land to figure out where they were in relation to the
places in Seattle he knew. “Let’s go to the Metro. It’s right around the
corner.”

A mostly gay club, The Metro served classy beer and good food—
ordinary things like hamburgers and steaks, but quality that justified the
upscale prices. Still early in the day, the dim interior was sparsely
populated, which was part of the appeal for Luki at that moment. Luki was
recognized as soon as he walked in. As did everyone but a select few in
his life, the staff at the Metro referred to him by his last name.

“Mr. Vasquez,” the bearded man at the door said. “We haven’t seen
you for a while.”

He didn’t say a word to Sonny. This happened regularly, at the
Metro, and though it didn’t bother Sonny at all, it ruffled Luki’s feathers.
Seriously. Every time in the last six years that he’d been to the Metro,
Sonny had been with him. They knew his name, knew he and Luki were
married, that they lived together, loved together. And anyone with their
eyelids halfway past their pupils could see that Luki and Sonny needed
each other like clouds need sun—to exist. He supposed Sonny was
probably right when he said it was because he blended, purposely, into the
background, but Luki didn’t care about that. Although he’d never been the
kind of person to use his martial skills if not necessary for survival, his or
someone else’s, at that moment in the Metro’s entryway, it was only to
spare Sonny from mortification that he resisted the temptation to split the
cheeky man’s lip.

All that aside, the Metro was as good a place as any, and if by some
miracle he and Sonny stopped their mostly silent fight and wanted to
touch, no one would get ugly about it.

They ordered burgers and fries—or rather Luki did, because Sonny
sat in silence… meaningful silence, except for slamming down his
silverware and glaring loudly. That should have at least got him noticed by
the waiter, a man young enough for Luki to think of him as a boy and
swishy enough for Luki to think Sonny was watching his ass. Which was
completely stupid, but it gave Luki another reason to seethe.

Their food came, and brown bottles of Full Sail Amber Ale, which
Luki had ordered, when Sonny refused to speak, because it was Sonny’s
favorite. But Sonny didn’t eat or drink, and after two bites of burger and
the foam off the top of the ale, Luki couldn’t either. His stomach felt like
there was a hot stone in it, growing with Sonny’s every movement and
look.

Suddenly—or so it seemed—he could take no more. “Fuck, Sonny!
Fuck!” His outburst turned every eye in the place toward him. Except
Sonny’s. Defeated, but only a little quieter, he said, “Stop, please. Of
course I’m going to do the fucking treatment. I just wanted an hour, just a
little time to pretend it wasn’t happening. Why couldn’t you let me have
that?”

Sonny blushed the color of fresh-dug beets and stormed back toward
the restrooms. Really stormed… righteously stormed. Like he’s pulling
thunder and lightning along behind him. Luki’s humor always bubbled up
at the most inappropriate times, and this was no different. He struggled not
to laugh. Or not to cry. He wasn’t sure which, but he refused to do either
because all eyes remained tuned to him, like they didn’t even notice
Sonny, who was six-two and beautiful and right in front of their faces.
Luki wanted to throw his beer glass at them, but instead he tried to drink.
He couldn’t. He coughed. He couldn’t stop.

People rushed him, wanting to help or wanting to get in on the
action. He tried to swing at them, and he was eminently qualified to kick
every ass in the place at one time. But he couldn’t even blindly bat them
away. With Sonny’s long legs, he made it back across the room in maybe
five strides, and then he did the batting away for Luki—not at all gently.

“Luki. Here, honey.” He dug a bottle out of his coat pocket, the cough
medicine Luki’s doctor had given him at that first appointment, that day—
not even a week ago?—when Luki admitted he was sick. Sonny had been
thinking ahead, preparing for Luki’s needs, while Luki himself hadn’t
given it a thought. Now, he sat down next to Luki and gathered him in
close to his body. Distantly, Luki felt grateful for the comfort and the
protection from selfish eyes. Not so distantly, he felt fiercely enraged with
all of them—with Sonny, too, but mostly with his own diseased,
dangerous, treasonous lung.

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Filed under Contests, Lou Sylvre, Vasquez & James, Yes

Release Party Tomorrow, for the new Vasquez and James Novella, Yes


Yes (A Vasquez and James Novella), is a Dreamspinner Press release. Starting 7/18 it’s available at the Dreamspinner Press online store.

Here’s where to find the party: Dreamspinner Press Blog
Wel’ll kick it off at 1pm Pacific, and stay through 7pm–that’s 4-10pm Eastern.

We’ll have a contest, excerpts, some bits and pieces of back story, maybe some talk about what the author (that’s me) is doing next. I know Wednesday is a busy day for most, but I’m hoping at least a few can attend, and we’ll see where the conversation takes us.

Another contest on Thursday and Friday–I believe there may be an early review available, and the characters and I will have something to say here, then we’ll guest post on a few friendly blogs with character interviews, and such.
The posts will be here at sylvre.com, and at:

More contest details available soon.

Saturday, I’m chatting on Goodreads at the Dreamspinner Press Discussion Board. And we’ll have more of the same, but different!

So… It’s going to be busy, but I hope at least one of these events will work for you, because I’d really love to have your company.

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Filed under Contests, Dreamspinner Press, Lou Sylvre, M/M romance, Vasquez & James, Yes

Need some hard questions! Will you help me find them?

Yes is coming, as you know, and I’ve made no secret of the subject matter. Cancer. Luki has it, and he and Sonny have to figure out how to live with it, and love through it. A tough assigment.

On Thursday and Friday, July 19th and 20th, I will make a blog tour visiting a few of the characters in Yes on short a blog tour of sorts. I plan a mini-interview with each. Here are the four characters I want to talk to:

Luki Vasquez (the badass, the star as usual)
Sonny James (Luki’s lover, the artist, the reason the star shines, metaphorically speaking)
Kaholo (Luki’s sweet and dependable uncle)
Ruthie (the wife of Luki’s nephew, and more importantly the mother of a very important infant)

What should I ask? I don’t want to cause any one of these characters more pain or sorrow, but… well, maybe there are some things we want to know.

If you have a question for a character, leave a comment, or email me at lou(dot)sylvre(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thanks!

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Filed under Dreamspinner Press, Lou Sylvre, M/M romance, Vasquez & James, Yes