Tag Archives: Rhys Ford

Fish and Ghosts! (by Rhys Ford)


Rhys Ford’s latest has been in the world two days, and it’s already near the top of the publisher (Dreamspinner) best seller list.

The book’s a mystery, but not it’s success–the reason for that is this: Rhys Ford is rockin’ this author thing. I’ve got to read this book soon.

The Blurb:
When his Uncle Mortimer died and left him Hoxne Grange, the family’s Gilded Age mansion, Tristan Pryce became the second generation of Pryces to serve as a caretaker for the estate, a way station for spirits on their final steps to the afterlife. Tristan is prepared for challenges, though not necessarily from the ghosts he’s seen since childhood. Determined to establish Tristan’s insanity and gain access to his trust fund, his loving relatives hire Dr. Wolf Kincaid and his paranormal researchers, Hellsinger Investigations, to prove the Grange is not haunted.

Skeptic Wolf Kincaid has made it his life’s work to debunk the supernatural. After years of cons and fakes, he can’t wait to reveal the Grange’s ghostly activity is just badly leveled floorboards and a drafty old house. More than a few surprises await him at the Grange, including its prickly, reclusive owner. Tristan Pryce is much less insane and much more attractive than Wolf wants to admit, and when his team releases a ghostly serial killer on the Grange, Wolf is torn between his skepticism and protecting the man he’s been sent to discredit.

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Rhys Ford on *Dirty Secret* and the flavor of sound

Click on the cover image for the buy link at Dreamspinner Press store.
Loving Kim Jae-Min isn’t always easy: Jae is gun-shy about being openly homosexual. Ex-cop turned private investigator Cole McGinnis doesn’t know any other way to be. Still, he understands where Jae is coming from. Traditional Korean men aren’t gay—at least not usually where people can see them.

But Cole can’t spend too much time unraveling his boyfriend’s issues. He has a job to do. When a singer named Scarlet asks him to help find Park Dae-Hoon, a gay Korean man who disappeared nearly two decades ago, Cole finds himself submerged in the tangled world of rich Korean families, where obligation and politics mean sacrificing happiness to preserve corporate empires. Soon the bodies start piling up without rhyme or reason. With every step Cole takes toward locating Park Dae-Hoon, another person meets their demise—and someone Cole loves could be next on the murderer’s list

Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats, a black Pomeranian puffball, a bonsai wolfhound, and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a red Hamilton Beach coffee maker.

Rhys blogs at http://www.rhysford.com.

The Interview

Q: How important are character names, to you, and how do you go about naming them? What about titles?
A: Damn, so very important. It sets the tone for the character. There’s a certain flavour to a sound and even while it’s written word, that sound still resonates. In Sinner’s Gin, my upcoming series, I went back and forth on the lead character’s name until I finally decided on Kane. It said solid and protector. Cole from the Dirty Mysteries wouldn’t have the same feel if I named him Irwin. Not that there isn’t a place for an Irwin, it just didn’t lend itself to the “feel” I needed the character to have.

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 Cole McGinnis mysteries are set in Los Angeles. The setting is important because it boasts a large Korean population and much of the series’ complications come from the cultural conflicts Cole and his lover, Jae, experience. Also, Koreatown, and Los Angeles as a whole, has a rich history of triumph and tragedy which makes for a fascinating backdrop when I’m busy killing people off.

Sinner’s Gin, the first of four books in the SG series, is set in San Francisco. It has a slightly different feel, less about the cultural aspects of my characters and more about the familial strengths and weaknesses they have. Still, more murders but personal demons really drive the story for Miki and Kane.

Q: How much power do you give your characters in steering the story line?
A: I wouldn’t say they have power but there’s definitely a “truth” in how each character would behave. Consistency in characterization provides a stronger story. If a character isn’t tolerant of tomatoes to have him suddenly become a master lasagne maker mid paragraph doesn’t make any sense. So I think I’d prefer to say, once a character has been established, it’s up to the writer to feel their way through the circumstances and have the character(s) react true to their nature.

The cat however always will puke in the most hard to reach places. That’s just how it goes. To write it any other way would be silly.

Q: What is the most satisfying element for you in writing gay relationships, and why?
A: Aish, hard question. I think there’s an enchantment in seeing two men… men who are traditionally the “strong and solid” half of a couple… being made more vulnerable because both have to open up. Not to harp on the word traditionally but a woman with a man allows a softness to be explored, an accepted avenue if you will. By both partners being male, I think it shows a deeper break from the masculine archetype. There is no typical hetero conduit for the reader to have the character’s heart and vulnerability exposed. This is probably not making any sense and really for a writer, I’m probably botching the shit out of this but I think writing masculine characters exploring their love and vulnerability without the option of a feminine outlet is a challenge and satisfying.

If I’ve botched this, then I’m going to claim moon madness and possibly a lack of coffee. Yes, lack of coffee. I’m going with that.

Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read?
A: Nope, haven’t really had a lot of input in that regard, mostly probably because I’m usually head down and writing. I’ve written pieces that were reader-driven and it’s more difficult because it creates walls in my mind. It also makes me grumpy and I start to rail at my word choices. There has been interest in Bobby’s story and I can honestly say we’ll explore that. *grins* I haven’t made up my mind yet if I’m going to say why Ben shot Cole. I do know why. I just haven’t decided if I’m going to share it. I probably will. Maybe.

Q: Describe the ideal relationship between author and readers.
A: The ideal relationship? Oh God, such a loaded question. Basically what it comes down to is, I, as a writer, have an obligation to entertain and provoke thought. I am asking people who go to work every day to GIVE me one to two hours they’ve spent earning their money for a few hours of reading. That is a lot to ask. I have to caretake that work they’ve done by producing the best product I can. They buy my words. I might share some personal things on my blog but the bottom line is, they are purchasing a story from my imagination. I can’t think of a greater responsibility than to exchange someone’s hard work for my words.

As an author, be nice. Don’t say bad things about other people and for God’s sake, be courteous. Remember to be polite and say thank you. Okay pretty much how you should treat people in general but pull up your socks, make sure your hair is combed and smile pleasantly even when someone is stepping on your book. Nothing good can come of foul discourse.

Q: What do you find useful about reviews?
A: Reviews are great to build up an ego and shatter your heart. People are either going to like to hate a book or perhaps even not care enough to have an opinion but either way, they’ve spent the time and money on your book and then expressed their opinion. Not every book is going to make everyone happy. And if one reads a thoughtful review, an author might learn what works and didn’t work in the story. Take everything with a grain of salt however, remember that salt also makes the meat tastier. Use reviews to make your books tastier but only use a little bit. Decide what is valid and isn’t. Or you’ll oversalt your book and no one will like it.

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: Wow, um… I’d have to say Miki. I like his belligerence and unconscious strength. I kicked the shit out of him and he emerged stronger for it. I liked his street rat-ness.

Q: What are the fifty hottest words (approximate the word count) you’ve ever written, in your opinion. (Be sure to include citation).
A: Damn, I’ve written so many words. I’d have to say right now what I’m happiest with is a piece of Dirty Secret. A part of a love scene between Cole and Jae.

I licked him.

And held an explosion of stars on my tongue.

I didn’t want to swallow. Ever. But I did, knowing there’d be more. If I had my way, I’d die with Jae’s taste in my mouth. It was scary, how fast I was falling…how quickly I’d fallen.

Fuck, it was going to hurt when I hit the ground. And fuck me if I didn’t care.

Q: What are you doing now, what do plan to write next?
A: Right now I’m at the front end of Dirty Laundry, book three in the Cole McGinnis mysteries and following that, I’ll be working on Whiskey and Wry, book two in the Sinner’s Gin series. I’m also thinking of doing a short story for an anthology. I’ll be at Yaoi Con and GayRomLit so look for a round, exhausted and possibly whiskey drunk hapa girl wearing a Dorthi Ki Seu t-shirt.

Thanks for letting me playing in your sand box and you owe me these questions from you on my blog!

An Excerpt from Dirty Secret

“No, let me look at you,” I murmured. “Let me…taste you.”

Jae’s pale skin shone under the soft light. He was a contrast of cream and pearl against the dark green sheets with splashes of darker rose on his chest, his nipples hardening as I watched. His slender cock glistened at its wet slit, already damp from need. I was torn between smearing his seed over the bulb and watching him writhe or licking him clean so I could have him in my mouth as I kissed his body.

I licked him.

And held an explosion of stars on my tongue.

I didn’t want to swallow. Ever. But I did, knowing there’d be more. If I had my way, I’d die with Jae’s taste in my mouth. It was scary, how fast I was falling…how quickly I’d fallen.

Fuck, it was going to hurt when I hit the ground. And fuck me if I didn’t care.
I started at his thighs, hooking my thumbs under his knees so I could pull his legs apart. He resisted, briefly, then let me in with as his shyness turning his face nearly as pink as his lips. There were times when he couldn’t watch me love him then there were moments when he was bold and needy. Tonight, he looked away, closing his eyes so his dark lashes shadowed his cheekbones.

I knew this side of Jae. Vulnerable, a little scared to trust and trembling under my questing mouth and fingers. Stroking his thighs as they parted, I laid a gentle kiss on the tender skin above both his knees. He squirmed and I nipped him, growling softly to keep him still.

Then he giggled.

It was definitely a giggle. Hardly a manly chuckle or a hearty guffaw. No, it was a bubbling pop of laughter he cut off by biting his lip and staring down at me with a barely repressed smirk. The honey gold his eyes flashed and Jae dropped his head back onto the pillows, his body shaking with mirth.

My tongue on his balls ended that quickly.

“Yeah, laugh while you can, monkey boy.” I played with them, rolling one to the side with the tip of my tongue. My hands remained on his thighs, stilling his quivering with a firm touch. I teased him, never touching his cock until I crawled up to his belly. Then I only brushed my fingertips along his shaft before grabbing at his hips. Biting at the skin around his belly button, I murmured, “Stay still, damn it.”

The rough and soft of a man’s body was an erotic thing. I loved the heady scent of Jae’s warm skin and the rasp of his sparse body hair on my hands and mouth. Plum-coloured nipples were a delectable treat, hardened to tight tips with a flick of my fingers. The muscles of his stomach jumped with every kiss I ghosted over his ribs and the dark hollow of navel was a thing of beauty, flat with a slight dip to it and a lip of skin begging to be gnawed on.

He was also slightly ticklish so my mouth on his belly button made him squirm, even more so when I cupped him and squeezed lightly. I nibbled, taking my time with the taste of him, fondling him slowly. His hands drifted down to my shoulders and I bit harder, loving the feel of his fingers digging into the meat of arms.

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Dirty Secret released! Rhys Ford’s Cole MacGinnis is back

Okay, I love Rhys Ford’s characters Cole and Jae, and I love the way she writes them. I’ve been waiting for this book, and you can bet I’ve already got my copy. Recommended read! (Click on the huge and beautiful cover image to go right to the buy link at Dreamspinner Press.)

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Ford, Noble, Barwell, Klune, Sylvre get together for a cluster… interview

We five authors had a lot of fun doing this, and we hope you’ll enjoy the results. Each of us came up with a question for the interview, and all of us answered every question. So let the games begin!

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As both a writer and a reader, what ingredients do you consider indispensable for a romance novel?

Anne:Interesting three dimensional characters and a ‘real’ relationship or building of one between them. I want to be able to care about the characters, even if it takes me a while to grow to like them. There also needs to be some conflict they need to work through whether it’s their history, a situation outside of their relationship or whatnot so that their HEA or HEA feels as though it’s deserved and worked for.

Lou:
Attraction
A common enemy or opposing force
Conflict between the parties to the romance
Resolution of that conflict
United victory over the external opposition
A final consummation or sealing of the new love.

Elizabeth: A solid plot and a good story with characters I have some sort of emotional reaction to, even if that means the character is a jerk.

I’m a huge fan of the happy ending, in some manner, and I’m not a fan of the tragedy. I read because I want to feel good, so the characters and the plot need to come to some logical end that is at least nice. I don’t mean they have to be ooey-gooey, just not in tears and emotionally wrecked at the end.

No matter the setting and world the characters must be believable and solid in their development and the development and progress of their relationship. I particularly need characters who can communicate and have a sense of humor.

T.J.: Believable characters. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been pulled out of a story when a character suddenly just does something that makes me go WTF!?!? It’s a bummer when that happens because it can definitely effect how I read and view the rest of the story. When I write, I have a long thought process for most scenes, where I will sit back when it’s finished and think “Okay, would (fill in the blank) REALLY do/say what whatever they just did/said?”

Rhys: A romance? Whoosh. Um. Keep track of the dead bodies. Never ever write about a ferret. And most importantly, I would say a sense of realism. I love happy ever afters as much as the rest but there’s something satisfying about seeing a relationship build over a series of books. And hot sex. Okay, that just helps.

Plot or character, which comes first?

Anne: A bit of both, depending on what I’m working on. I work a lot on what-ifs either with specific characters in mind or those characters show up and become a part of whatever happens or is going to happen. Once I have the basic plot, how the rest of the story develops is very much down to the characters and where they want it to go, often leading in directions I hadn’t thought of or where I hadn’t planned to go.

Lou: For me, character almost always come first. The characters demand my attention until I make them a story, but then they change the story as we go along until, in the end, it rarely resembles the story we started with.

Elizabeth: Ah, the old chicken or egg question…LOL For me it’s the plot and generally not even the entire plot. I’ll often come up with an entire plot idea based on some small scene or even a line in a scene or dialog. I’ll often imagine a character physically along with that little kernel of a plot idea, but I’ll develop the characters to suit the story.

T.J.: Characters, all the way. I have weirdness going on in my head where my characters “talk” to me and are born as such. Plot follows, but it’s usually only after I’ve already thought up how character will look/sound/act. But obviously, there have been moments where a set piece has come into my head and I love to find out how my characters will fall into it.

Rhys: I’d say the main characters. Mainly I write series so I need characters that can hold up over a few books. If they aren’t complex enough, then the plot of the book falls apart. For me, there are two sets of plots; the book’s plot which will be resolved at the end and the arc plot which should span over the series. There could be smaller sub-plots accompanying the main arc plot but they must supplement the overall story, not overwhelm the characters.

How do you name your characters, or do they already show up with their own names or ‘correct’ the names you’ve chosen?

Anne: Some characters turn up already named, others I have to hunt for. One of my favourite websites is ‘behind the name’ as it gives the meanings of the names and their origins which I like to keep in mind when I am naming characters. Others though, as I’ve said, just turn up with all of that in place and don’t care about what their names mean. I’ve also named characters, started writing and been told, in no uncertain terms, that no my name isn’t this, it’s this. I don’t tend to argue with them on that.

Lou: Naming my characters is almost a ritual with me. I struggle (though I enjoy it) to find a name that is right — representing ethnic origin and character traits, having the right sound, and interacting with other character names the right way. My first resource is a baby name book that I’ve had for years, but sometimes I use other sources, too. In the process, I almost always learn more about my character (by knowing what does and doesn’t fit), or at the very least solidify the character in my mind. Sometimes, a lesser character comes with a name: Margie, Jim Ladd, and (believe it or not) Mack Money. For the dog in Delsyn’s Blues, a reader named him in a contest. That was fun.

Elizabeth: I don’t have any specific ritual I go through to name characters and often the names just pop into my head. If I have the wrong name I know it and keep searching until the correct one shows up. Sometimes I use online name sites if I want a certain meaning or nationality.

Another trick I’ll do is go through the data base of names of at work and pick a first and last name that appeals to me. I’ll sometimes read movie or TV show credits for names. I keep a list of names to peruse when I’m naming characters.

T.J.: As a writer who has somewhat…different names of characters, I’ve been asked how I get the names that I do. (I anticipate that won’t change when This Is How We Burn The World comes out and people get to meet Seven, and the Clock Twins, Tick and Tock.) They generally show up in my head already named, but sometimes some tweaking is in order. For some reason, I’m drawn to “A” names for secondary characters and I have yet to figure out why.

Rhys: I usually “taste” a character’s name. It’s rare that I change something once I start writing. It has to fit the person before I start. I know the character. Then I name him or her.

Lion and Unicorn battling over the Crown

What is a “classic tale (fairy or otherwise)” that you’d like to retell. And how?

Anne: St George and the Dragon. I’d rework the story a bit though so that the so called dragon slayer really isn’t one and the dragon is a shifter and so naturally there’s a HFN in there for both of them. After all fairy stories and the like are only based on the truth and the actual story behind it can be quite different. *sigh* I’m going to have to write this one now at some point. Thanks, Rhys 😛

Lou: I don’t have anything specific, but I really love TH White’s The Once and Future King. Let’s face it, it’s chock full of little tales that could be—should be—gay.

Also, on a completely different note, there is a beautiful Iroquois tale that has at least a couple of versions for each of the nations about a young man who falls in love with a salmon wife. He sees that beneath the lake is a mirror-image world (and here we all thought it was reflection), and he goes to live with her there. No, he doesn’t drown! Why would you think that? ;-)Anyway, I think it would be very fine if the mirror-world lovers were both fine young men.

Elizabeth: The Three Musketeers. Well, I think instead of bromance there’d be more actual romance between the Musketeers. It sort of screams for it. I’m not sure who I’d pair with whom yet, but, yeah, that would be cool. My second choice would be the Atlantis legends.

T.J.: Sleepy Hollow, hands down. The original scared the crap out of me when I was a child and I recently read an M/M take on it that I though could have been so much more than it was. I’ve stewed on the idea for quite some time, even having gone as far to write a general outline, but I’ve stopped time and time again, just because I don’t think it’d be right to mess with what is obviously a classic.

Rhys: Damn it, I came up with this question and I don’t have an answer. What a fricking fail! Um… I would say a more current tale that I would love to re-tell is The Treasure is the Rose by Julia Cunningham. Fantastic book. Perhaps the Wizard of Oz. Less… psychotropic drugs but still, that would be fun. I would love to take a stab (no pun intended) at the Ninja Circus, an old Japanese drama about a group of assassins traveling from town to town as an entertaining troupe.

Is there a particular genre or sub-genre that you’ve always wanted to write in but have not done so yet? What would it be?

Anne: Gothic. I’d love to write a ghost story, but give it a bit of a twist and throw some romance into the mix.

Lou: Space opera!

Elizabeth: Space opera! I’ll have to second that.

T.J: Horror. Man, would I give my left arm to be able to write in horror. I’ve read every Stephen King book countless times and I always wished I could write a good horror story. I think that horror can definitely be effective in the long story/novella format i.e. Edgar Allen Poe, and I still hope to one day sit down and write something that’ll scare the bejesus out of everyone, myself included.

Rhys: Wow, I have no answer for this one either. I’ve written in a lot of genres. I would say I’d love to Regency romance (in the style of Loretta Chase). So much discipline and knowledge needed for those. And the language shifts. Totally daunting. And of course, as a male-male romance.

Anne Barwell is the author of Cat’s Quill, Tj Klune is the author of Bear, Otter, and the Kid, Rhys Ford is the author of Dirty Kiss, Elizabeth Noble penned Marked Yours, Together Bound, and Strays, and I wrote Loving Luki Vasquez.

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Of Dirty Kisses and Things by Rhys Ford

I am not an activist.

I don’t march in parades. I don’t wave signs in protest. I don’t stand on a street corner and shout from a soap box.

What I do do is write.

I really didn’t start writing to make a point. Mostly I wrote because I had stories piling up on the rocks in my head and figured if I didn’t scrape them out, I’d soon go crazy. It’s not a calling. It was never meant to be a higher purpose. They were just stories.

Then something happened on the way to the pixels.

I found I wanted to write about things I felt and knew. Of feeling like an outsider. Of straddling the line of different cultures and having to not talk about how I act in some instances because I know the people I’m speaking to wouldn’t understand. Of the process of exploring who I was and where I needed to be. Of not liking who I’d become and changing it — one behaviour, one word at a time.

I never meant to do anything other than write about the world as I saw it and how it affected the people around me.

I am not an activist.

But at the same time, I wish I had a larger voice. Continue reading

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