Tag Archives: S. A. Garcia

S.A. Garcia’s *Divine Devine’s Love Song* (Dreamspinner Press)

Featured this week, S.A. Garcia and her latest novel, Divine Devine’s Love Song. Here’s a little about the author and the book, scroll down for an interview and intriguing excerpts from her work. As usual, on this blog, the cover images are buy links—click on one and it’ll take you straight to the publisher’s store.

In a world destroyed by nuclear mismanagement, a deformed young man named Trill finds an intact Netpad. Once he secures a working battery, he discovers a story penned by Sam Devine, a hacker who led a rebellion against the insane corporation BCM thirty years previously.

Sam works for BCM out of necessity rather than choice. He despises the company for its lack of ethics and knows the best way to destroy it is from within. When a meeting opens with the torture of BCM’s captive enemies, Sam receives his chance: he lies to convince his bosses he wants to further degrade one of the warriors, a man named Pokatawer. Once Pokatawer is released to Sam, he finds they share common goals and lusts.

But Sam and Pokatawer are up against a hugely powerful corporation, and they’ll have to bring BCM to its knees to escape nuclear wrath and make a life for themselves somewhere outside the company’s grasp.

S.A. Garcia can never decide between red or white. Nor can she decide between creating visual art or word art, so over the decades a career in visual design, music journalism, and technical writing blossomed. Ten years of running an indie music magazine certainly provided plenty of wild characters and curious situations for fiction.

Even when traveling to interview bands, writing fiction always percolated in the background, and writing male romantic fiction ruled above all. Reading Gordon Merrick at age nineteen sounded a wonderful wake-up call. There’s thirty years of male/male romance hidden away in her notebooks and on the computer. Now it is time to release the stories into the free air.

When not obsessing over different ways to describe romantic encounters, S.A. enjoys cooking for her beloved of twenty-five years; she endures the endless experiments with grace. Gardening, traveling, arguing politics, and teaching the house bunnies new tricks provide more fun. Unfortunately the furry furies refuse to learn how to type.

S.A. invites you to find her at her blog, S.A. Garcia’s World of Words.

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S.A. Garcia Author Interview (Fantasy? Sci-fi? Macabre? She writes it all!)

LS: Welcome to the blog, S. A. I’m glad for the opportunity to hear you talk about your work and your unique approach to M/M Romance.

SG:Thanks for this opportunity to come toot my own horn. Sigh, I do realize I don’t write normal m/m tales. My joke is I need to write a modern day tale set in Kansas about a fireman rescuing a kid from a tree and then being attracted to the kid’s policeman stepfather who thinks he might be gay but is still married to his high school sweetheart. That is never going to happen. I’m more concerned about whether a secluded doctor in a remote Scottish castle will hook up with the unstable descendent of H.P. Lovecraft and… you get the picture. As writers we all have different approaches and my stories tend to sneak in through the crooked back door.

Q: Before we start talking about your work, I’d like to ask a few questions about your background and life as an author. To begin, I’m curious about where you’re from. Your bio leaves that information out! Are you willing to tell where you’re from? Other places you’ve lived, and where you live now? Most authors I’ve asked say that their hometown, so to speak, greatly influences their writing in one way or another. Is that true for you? Please elaborate.
A:Nothing too exciting there! I was born in a blizzard in Racine, WI. My father was stationed there as a Marine Corps recruiter. When he retired in 1963, the family moved back to the Philadelphia suburbs. Both parents were from Philadelphia and they wanted their kids to be near the grandparents. Like I said, I’m pretty dull. I spent the first 29 years in Pensylvania and the last 22 years in New Jersey in the small, battered riverside city of Burlington.

Where I live really has no impact on what I write, although I really want to set a scary story in the Pine Barrens. No, it will not involve the Jersey Devil, but the story will involve how lost one can become in that eerie wilderness. When darkness falls there, it falls like black wool, thick and dense.

In my case where I have traveled has had a huge impact on my writing.

Q: You used to run an Indie music magazine! That’s something not everyone can say. You mentioned that the people you met in the process allowed you to accumulate potential characters. Have you found a way to use them? There’s a lot more involved in running a magazine, small or large, than meeting people, travel, deadlines, and of course writing. Besides finding characters, are there other ways in which that experience helped you become an author, or define yourself as an author?
A: The traveling really has greatest impact on my writing. What a great perk. For instance, we had planned to do a cover story on the Cranberries. Whoops, no one had contacted us when the band was in the States doing publicity. The publicity person asked, “want to travel to Dublin over the weekend to do the interview?” I countered with, “Fly us in and arrange for us to stay the week and it’s a deal.” The record company covered the air fare and we paid for everything else. Boom, instant vacation and the chance to travel around Ireland. Ireland is the star of a story I’m not quite ready to speak about yet.

A story I’m working on has a scene set in Paris. I was lucky enough to stay in Paris for a week, so I have a great sense of what I describe.

As far as characters, Amando from Temptation of the Incubus is roughly based on a singer I was good friends with who adored himself. This singer was a deliciously androgynous dude, long red hair, leather and eyeliner, and he fell into a pout if he wasn’t the center of attention. I’m not finished mining his character.

The amusing thing is we were terrible business people because we trusted people. That sounds harsh, but it is true. For example, we discovered that a print broker who we considered a friend wasn’t finding the cheapest printing for us. At one point we nearly went bankrupt because he had us paying $25,000 for one issue’s print run. I started investigating and discovered that we could have the magazine printed in full color for $9,000 at another press house. Something like that hurt on a financial and, even worse, a trust level. I put a little of that trauma into the character Mads from Temptation of the Incubus. He had a business partner screw him over, which tainted his trust in people.

We also sucked at self promotion. It always seemed rude to toot one’s own horn. I’m still getting over that problem.

A rock and roll character driven story still lurks inside of me. I wrote a short story touching on characters from that time frame but ahh, there is so much more to explore. I’ve read a few m/m novels set in the sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll realm, and shook my head in despair. I’ll be nice and clam up.

Q: Your work—content, style, and prose—is unusual, and probably even more so in the M/M genre. To me, Divine Devine’s Love Song has a certain “Cyber Punk” feel to it. Are you familiar with that term, and if so, do you feel it describes your work? If a potential reader asked you to describe this novel other than content, how would you describe it?
A: I never in a million years thought I’d ever write anything vaguely “cyber punk,” but then Divine Devine came along and bit me in the ass. I’m a devoted reader of sci-fi and fantasy. When a teen, I devoured sci-and fantasy as an escape mechanism just like every other closeted geek. Never had a problem writing fantasy, in fact many of my abysmally written m/m tales from 30 years ago are fantasy-driven, but sci-fi? Ouch. I gave it a shot and aside from the length, I’m happy with Divine Devine’s Love Song. The story should have been longer. Tren and Shatter needed more time to develop their relationship.

Many of the political demons which bother me in this time frame haunt this novel. Corporate greed, disregard for the environment, disenfranchising of dissenting voices, yes, they all were stirred into the novella.

How would I describe the novel? An anti-hero hacker meets the alpha male warrior of his dreams and discovers his own inner hero. Okay, lame-o!

Q: Getting down to the nitty gritty about your novel, Divine Devine’s Love Song—Where did this complex story have its origins (an event, a dream, a conversation, or…)? Perhaps you’ll share a little about how you go about taking a kernel of an idea and turning it into a work of fiction.
A: A few years ago there seemed to be a huge interest in the post-apocalyptic in the m/f world. I also saw submission calls for m/m post-apocalyptic stories. I thought what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. I wanted to write a story using more intrigue than slam-bam action. I didn’t want to create a world where danger via the threat of cyborgs or the like lurked around every corner. I wanted an amplified version of our current world but gone to completely hell. People are still the worst predators. They make machines look puny. Human cruelty trumps other power.
No wonder I like bunnies as pets.

Q: Divine Devine’s Love Song is post-apocalyptic, and not mutated human life seems to be hanging by a thread. Yet, when I read this material I have a feeling of lush, almost jungle-like density of life—in whatever form. I’m also taken by the apparent beauty of things that are perverted from their natural forms, like the Howlers. I realize those feelings may be my experience alone, but in any case, can you talk a bit about how and why you created the atmosphere in this sci-fi?
A: You are not alone. Despite my fear of hurricanes and tornadoes, I love the Sea Howlers. In the novella, the Native Americans regard them as earth spirits seeking revenge against what damage has been done to the ocean. The Howlers own an elegant beauty poised to destroy humanity. If we’re going to be snuffed out, let it be by nature’s cruel grace.
Yes, certain types of greenery such as kudzu has taken over areas to the point of lethal suffocation. I will say watching shows that described what will happen when humans are gone influenced my thinking. I loved thinking about tidy garden herbs growing into proud bushes. I saw that in Italy in a 1600’s mountain top ghost town. The rosemary bushes had developed into tall hedges. Lovely. I hugged them.

Actually if nature rebels against us, so be it. We’re only guests on this planet.

Q: Temptation of the Incubus seems to be really a bird of a different color from Divine Devine’s Love Song. Supernatural, macabre, and humorous, if the excerpt is anything to judge by. Although your writing is certainly your own, there are a couple of author’s that spring to mind when I consider this piece. Rather than guess, though, I’ll ask! Were there any particular authors that influenced you in this particular style of writing? Perhaps you can share some things about the origin of this story, and what you most enjoyed about writing it.

(Readers, here’s the blurb for Temptation of the Incubus: Hybrid incubus Amando Renato is a true man-eater. Consuming life force to exist makes committing to romance a difficult task. The ancient Amando fears he is destined to be lonely, until he meets electrician Mads Massimo, a human who innocently bites back. Is their love a match made in Heaven or Hell?)

A: Anne Rice. The Vampire Lestat is one of my favorite books, and I have always dreamed of writing a an outrageous character along the lines of her Brat Prince. Hello Amando.
The story’s origins started in a fan fic group. There was a call to write a story with one of the heroes being “working class.” An early, unfinished version of Mads was born in that short story, but I realized even back then that Amando felt determined to be the star. Over time I realized that I loved the characters. They deserved something beyond a short story which led me to grow their story into a novel. Odd thing is as the novel developed so did the morbid comedy. I quite enjoy how the black humor turned out although Amando’s back story is one of the most violent things I’ve ever written.
I keep saying this, but writing Amando gave me true pleasure. He wrote himself. Writing him involved throwing aside any self censoring and taking off at light speed. He’s one of those vivid characters a reader needs to click with or the story fails even if Mads is the story’s true hero. Wait, that’s not fair , at the end they both are heroes, only as usual Amando wants everyone to know about his status.
Amando and Mads will return.
Q: So sorry, S. A., but I have this question that I ask everyone, and you cannot be granted an exception. You have to answer this even if it seems like you are not the right person to ask. Keep in mind here that there are rules. (1)These are essay questions, so one word answers are not allowed. (2)Fudging is allowed, cheating is not. In other words, you can’t say “both.” Here’s the question(s). Between Sam Devine and Pokatawer who is the sexiest, and why? Between Mads Massimo and Amando Renato, who has the greater sex appeal, and why?
A: Oh you cruel interrogator! Sam, Pokatawer, Mads and Amando stare at me in horror. Wait, Sam and Mads just shrugged and went off to have a drink. They know what I plan to say.
Pokatawer is sexier than Sam, and Sam would be the first one to shout the news.
Humble, sweet Mads doesn’t regard himself as sexy, although he’s wrong. Amando is walking, breathing sex. As an incubus, for him it’s all about sex. If I say differently, he’ll pout at me.
Oh no, now Pokatawer and Amando are sizing each other up. Time to leave them work out their little battle. If they plan a Zoolander-style walk-off I’m not cleaning up the mess.
Q: Is there any other work that’s out and available you’d like readers to know about? (If so please tell what it is and where to find it.)
A: My first novella Canes and Scales is quite popular with readers. That was my venture into a romantic fantasy world detailing the relationship between a heroic serpent prince and a half Elf, half human bed slave descended from nobility on both sides who owns major issues with life. I battled to keep Linden from turning into a heroic cliche. The conflicted Alasdaire never failed to supply intrigue and drama. He owned no chance of turning into a cliche. And whoo-hoo, they loved to make love.

I definitely plan to revisit Linden and Alasdaire. Let’s see, Prince Linden is now the King but he has many enemies. Alasdaire is the half human heir to an Elven throne. Everything sounds poised for messy political intrigue.

To Save A Shining Soul is a romantic fantasy set in hell. It’s also a comedy. I think the story confuses people. The sales on Amazon look like the stock market, up and down, up and down, lately more up than down which is pleasing. Part of me wants to team up Amando and ex demon Marius for a wild supernatural adventure set in the jungle. That will probably happen when I’m 60.

Q: What’s on the horizon, S.A.? Can readers look forward to some more releases in the coming months? Any new projects just getting off the ground that you feel comfortable sharing?
A: I hope they can! I am in the dreaded waiting and crossing my fingers mode about one novel, and two others are in the intensive editing stage. I hope to send them off before the year’s end. It seems when I talk about specifics, karma bites me in the ass. Therefore I am not revealing any more details except that the two in editing mode are, gasp, contemporaries. No kids in trees.
What me superstitious? Damned skippy I am.

I can talk about the other numerous WIPs stamping their feet in heated irritation. One embraces a haunting H.P. Lovecraftian romance set in Scotland. At 50,000 words it’s damned close to a finish but it needs one crucial missing backstory chapter and ouch, a solid ending. Hello, I need to write the ending to know if I have discovered the correct resolution.

Another involves a noble painter in Victorian London saddled with a muse whom the painter fears is driving him insane (36,000 words and wandering badly). Then there’s the vampire trilogy that I have worked on for years (280,000 words). These are nasty, violent vampires, so I wonder who will accept the tale. Wait, there’s another demon story pouting in the corner (150,000 words). I wrote that during a lurid purple prose phase which means heavy editing is required. Time to call in Adverbs Be Gone squad.
This past summer a m/m romance/horror novel which I love to pieces was rejected three times. I spent too much time fussing over the story. I am putting that on hold because one editor’s suggestions were great but basically they point to a complete restructuring. My head can’t handle the stress.

I also spent entirely too much time writing a 25,000 word free novella. Readers loved it, but ding, ding, ding, free is the important word in the mix. With regard to writing, the summer of 2011 wasn’t managed in a smart manner.
And then there are the planned sequels and screaming plot bunnies ripping at my ankles. One story, The 3:05 Solution, is trying to push in front of my other WIPs. Bratty thing! The story might win. The story is a determined bugger and I love the premise. The idea sprang directly from a dream. I got up, wrote it down and now the first chapter percolates in my brain’s basement.

Sorry, folks, like it or not, I don’t plan on vanishing anytime soon. I need to hunker down and finished my WIPs. I figure I’m 51, and have been writing for years. I need to keep going. Writing has always been a part of me, and I love it for being there when I need to escape. I just wish I’d discovered the nerve to start pushing the stories out the door a little sooner in life.

LS: It’s been a pleasure to have you here on sylvre.com, S.A. I hope you enjoyed it as well, and I hope you’ll come back and visit again.

SG: I enjoyed this opportunity to blather away! You asked me excellent questions which made me really examine my work. Hope I didn’t ramble too much. Of course I am more than pleased to visit again. Wish me luck in 2012! Damn, sounds like Pokatawer and Amando are conducting that pesky walk-off. Sam’s, “Youse go like a pro, Po!” is unmistakable. Better break it up. Bye!

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Excerpt: Divine Devine’s Love Song (wherein he meets the Bourbon-loving warrior)

Dan dropped onto the chair next to us. “Fine. Make me act like a parrot. What are you doing?”

“Passing justice to another abused human.” I gently touched the swarthy, stubbled cheek. What a proud, distinctive face. His strong features looked like something from a misty legend. What did I know about Pamavirgins? “Do you like the ocean? You probably haven’t seen the ocean since BCM destroyed the coast right down to the Carolinas. They built ugly steel walls. They ruined the beach. Not where I am. The sea is ruined, but at least I see it—bad pun—but I see the waves.”

There. The closed eyelids trembled. I continued whispering. “You want to see the ocean again, right? BCM stole the ocean away from you. I live on the ocean, and I want to take you there to stay with me. I live right on the ocean’s edge. I live in a house that survives the Howlers. Imagine watching a Howler with me. Imagine the ocean roaring in full might.”

Dan moaned in confused agony. He sprang to his feet and poured out a tumbler full of soothing bourbon. Today’s wanton drinking turned expensive for him.

My fingers stroked the massacred hair. Soft bristles teased my flesh. “Listen, I’ll take you away from here. One time someone rescued me, and it thrills me to do the same for another human. Let me rescue you. Give me an ingredient. Talk, and we can watch the ocean together. Imagine watching the mighty water trying to wash the filth away from the sorry shores. The ocean tries to make everything clean. Someday it will win.”

The thick black eyelashes trembled again. I relaxed against the wall. “I’ll wait.”

Moments ticked past. Instead of barking at me, my overwhelmed Dan slumped back and shut his eyes. His glass barely remained in his fingers. His defeated posture told me how far I traveled here, but his defeated posture also told me he supported me. Bless his determined-to-clutch-comfort heart.

My trembling fingers continued stroking warm flesh. Wrong of me to admire this man, but his impressive physique told me he performed manual labor. He certainly wasn’t like the silly ManH men who played in the one remaining status gym. His hard, solid arm and chest muscles understood grueling work. I must be insane to want to be alone with someone who looked like cracking my back with one firm hug came naturally to him. My naughty gaze examined his thick, potent cock. What a lulu.

Intuition told me if I released this proud, tough man, he’d adhere to his word and not harm me. My intuition told me to trust Dan, and here I sat, alive.

My warrior’s body squirmed in silent struggle. I stiffened in anticipation. Please don’t let him overreact. Please. Eyelids slid open. Green eyes surrounded by appalling dark circles peered up at me in consideration. His cracked lips opened. He swallowed. A word rasped free. “Kudzu.”

Wonder filled my soul. “Kudzu.”

“The base is kudzu.” This time I heard the soft Southern burr spice his raspy voice. He twitched in pain. His eyes rolled up and saw Dan sipping at the bourbon. His gaze focused in amazement. “Care to share, ManH man?”

What did he mean? Right. “Of course.” I wagged my hand at Dan, who pressed my glass into my grasp. “Small sips, dude.”

“Why?” My bold Pamavirgin gulped down the remaining amber inch and sighed in bliss. A man after my own heart. He took a stern licking and still wanted his drink.

I stared at Dan. “I want these fucking chains and cuffs off this man.”

One word choked free. “Hasty.”

What? I stared down at the bourbon-loving warrior. “Hasty?”

A faint smile appeared. “The chains are showy nonsense, but keep the cuffs on. Treat me like a dangerous savage. Why should they trust me?” His pained eyes examined me in supreme question. “Will you really take me away from this horrible place?”

“I will.”

“I want to see the ocean roaring in fury. I want to see freedom again.”

“So be it.”

By now Dan sputtered in dread. “Hello, Devine, how are you going to convince them to let you take him away from here?”

Those warm summer eyes gazing at me from the pained purple hollows told me the truth. They told me I still owned a soul. They told me someone trusted me. “The renegade loner needs to work with this special man in peace and quiet. I’m the only man he trusts here. We need peace and quiet to make any progress.” I swallowed in disgust. “Tell them I want him as a toy, as a reward. Let me have him, and I’ll make sure the intel flows.” My fingers touched the rough infected mark on his neck. “Damn to the depths, he’s been chipped and dipped in a sloppy manner.”

“It’s standard procedure for field captives. The bullyboys aren’t picky about the insert jet’s sterile conditions”

“Glad to hear you’re in the know about such nastiness, Dan.” I glared at my boss. I acted unfairly, but today everything irritated me. “Go ahead, man in the know. Work your special charms. Go play pocket ball. Tell them I need to take this man with me.”

“I hear and obey, you mouthy Brooks bastard. Fine. Only for you.” Dan slammed out the lab door.

I acted like an arrogant ass. That time I deserved Dan’s anger. Dan hated thinking he belonged to BCM, but why deny the truth? Bugger, I felt worse. I stared down at my battered new houseguest. “Don’t believe the toy nonsense. I tried to think what they’d believe, tried to think like them, which made me feel sick. What’s your name?”


I blinked in surprise. “Impressive. Native American?”

His eyelids crinkled in expressive glee. “Excellent, ManH man. Good to know someone in this decadent pit understands outside culture.

My name is Pamunkey for fire.”

“Pamunkey?” The strange word sounded like a children’s game.

“An ancient Native American tribe near RichM. We trace our roots far beyond the white man despoiling the land. When the BCM monsters war against the land, they fight us. Since we do not live in the cities, many tribe members survived the B-Rain. We are a tough breed.” A twisted little smile added grim punctuation.

I envisioned Dan’s cropped hair growing even shorter. Boss, guess what, I planned on harboring a radical Native American! Thud. I squirmed in delight. “Excellent. It’s time to make this fire burn free from this damned place. Trust me. Tell me you trust me.”
Pokatawer offered me a lopsided grin. “Why not?”

“I need your real trust.”

“Why is my trust vital to you?”

Why? “I mean my words. The man who just left the room rescued me from a death sentence. It’s time I passed the gift along to another human.”

Pokatawer shook his head. “Really? Yours is a tale for later. I do trust you.” He blinked and shuddered. “I ache. Keeping the body limp during torment is difficult on the muscles. I need food, but first I need to sleep if only for a few minutes. The monsters do not allow us sleep. They take pride in keeping us awake. Three days sans sleep is ugly.”

My hatred deepened to a darker shade. “Want a little more bourbon?”

“Yes indeed.”

I slid out from under my captive and poured out another glassful. He sipped from the glass held to his lips. Those brilliant green eyes grew glassy in bliss. “Who are you?”

“Sam Devine.”

Sputtery laughter sounded. “My divine Sam.”

Did he hear me wrong? “No, it’s Devine.”

“Divine to me.” A final smile formed before my battered guest succumbed to tortured exhaustion. His black lashes shut in gentle closure.

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Hackers, addicts, and howlers—another excerpt from Divine Devine’s Love Song

Seeing another human standing on the small terrace filled me with strange relief. I set the decorative old flower-power tray on the round pebbly glass-topped table rescued from a nearby dump. I loved decorating with trash-picked artifacts. They made me feel young.

I hugged my calm savage. “Here is the sea as I promised—well, more like the bay, but that’s the sea out there.”

“Can we swim in the sea?”

“Only on certain calm days. I always test before I enter. If the currents run counter to the shore, limited immersion is safe as long as you shower soon after. Never swallow the water. On most days the contaminate levels are too risky.”

“I want to experience the sea against my skin.”

“I want to see you frolic like a happy seal.”

“I am not sure I know how to frolic, but I shall try for you.”

My lips discovered a world of bliss. I submitted to Pokatawer’s simmering power. My hands teased down his back to clutch his

Michelangelo-worthy ass. He easily pushed me into my seat. “Later, my flirtatious ManH man.” He sat down and started consuming the leftovers in vigor.

I grinned. “How can you call me a ManH man, considering I live out here?”

“They accept you in their city. In reality you are one of them.” His strong teeth savaged an apple slice. “I am glad you are a ManH man, or else I would be dead.”

“When I heard what they intended to do, I wanted to strangle them. Lucky for them I’m a tech guy, not a killer. Did you hear their plans?”

“Yes. They are indeed soulless humans. At least we fight because we wish to defend our land.”

“When did they start attacking you? Their assault is a dirty little secret.”

The water glass’s upward movement halted. Pokatawer looked at me in scathing disbelief. “They lobbed a few powerful nail bombs at settlements in the Pamavirgins zone beyond the NoCrozz. Lo-tech but lethal enough to kill or maim innocent people. In the confusion troops defeated the few sentinels and broke the truce without remorse. Even after the strife BCM had created, if they asked to work with us, we might have considered it, but now, never.”

I groaned in disgust. “I tried to bring the bastards down.”

“I know you did.”

What? “How?”

Pokatawer shook his head. “Even in Pamavirgin we heard about Sam Devine, hacker extraordinaire. We thought you had been executed.”
Well, there we go; I was a legend beyond my own mind. “Pretty weird, dude. The bastards probably spread the word that they executed me.”

“While I sat in that cage waiting to die, I heard your name mentioned. It sounded like salvation. I was not wrong. Here we sit. I am a lucky captive.”

“It’s time for something stronger than water.”

“I agree.”

Today demanded a special treat. I stepped down into the small cool area I called my wine cellar. Dan supplied me great vintages from a massive BCM stockpile. A year ago he broke into enormous storage areas tucked beneath the MetM. He reasoned finders, keepers. There, that precious bottle of 2025 Shiraz looked promising. The tough old cork, real, not plastic, fought the manual corkscrew. At least the effort worked my arm muscles.

I poured out our libations. Pokatawer held the purple liquid to the light. “To my savior.” He thrust the glass toward me.

I raised my glass to his offering. “No, to my savior, who tells me it’s time to get the fuck out of here.”

The glasses clinked. We sipped.

My guest gasped in alarm. Wine drops splattered against the tray. One tense finger pointed eastward. “What approaches us?”

I shook my head. Nothing to spill the priceless purple over. “Don’t worry. That’s a small Sea Howler. Pretty, eh? They pop up, sprawl along, then dissipate. Predicting their curious patterns is impossible.” I cocked my head toward my guest. “Speaking of curious, I find it curious you’re from the RichM area. What hauled you into the north?”

“I volunteered for duty. I work building and repairing houses for the south settlements, but when those bastards started killing innocent people, a group of us traveled north to fight their evil.”

“Why did you agree to take the drug?”

A haunted expression filled Pokatawer’s black eyes. “When I lost Matt, I thought I lost everything. Our lives had been entwined for many years, since we were young men before the B-Rain. Our love seemed prehistoric; so much happened during our time together. We watched a nation rip itself apart over greed and social injustice. We watched the ill-advised city-states destroyed due to BCM treachery. Imagine a corporation dictating the nation’s rules. Heresy. Welcome to the vicious B-Rain solution.

“At hearing the fresh injustice, we agreed to fight together. We entered into battle four times. The fourth time Matt… died.” Pokatawer shook his head and gazed toward the horizon. “Since the BCM monsters seemed determined to hold the land they stole, we regrouped and reexamined the situation. When the battle drug was introduced, I agreed to use it. The first time I took the antidote and returned. This last time I was unlucky.” He sipped his wine. “Not completely unlucky. As I keep saying, I still breathe. Now my main question is how long will they allow me to remain with you?”

“Keep giving them nuggets, and they will ignore you.”

“Divine, you are naive to think they will shrink back and allow us to drift here by the sea. What reason do they have to leave us alone? Fine, you told them you wanted a toy. Is that reason enough? From what I understand, you are tolerated due to your skill and Dan’s protection. They bear no love for you.”

“Gee, chum, you know how to make an afternoon shimmer.” I saluted him with my wineglass and frowned. “You’re the new guy at the club, and you understand I’m merely tolerated. You make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.”

“Considering they were about to execute you, need I say more? Most of all I despise this chip they injected into my neck. You also suffer one of these devices? As do the Outer Brooks inhabitants? I confess we regard this entire area as corrupt, but from what I saw, the suffering in the Outer Brooks area is awful.”

“It’s awful since ManH lost control of it. Ever hear of Sud?”

My warrior’s nostrils flared in disgust. “That foul BCM drug. Use of that filth is not tolerated in the settlements. We despise acting like dictators, but Sud is dangerous.”

My smile felt brittle. “When the Brooks revolted due to the initial food shortages, BCM had the brilliant idea to try and use Sud as a control. Nothing like a tight-packed angry mob hallucinating together. Instead of keeping criminals in jail, now they chip them and toss them into Outer Brooks and beyond the North Harlem wall. They are the men the monsters want to bring against your brave volunteer troops. Killers, maniacs, and burned-out Sud addicts.”

A light breeze smelling of fresh air ruffled the fine tuffs on Pokatawer’s head. His silence grew uncomfortable. My new roommate excelled at making me feel squirmy. He made me feel unworthy to draw breath, which made little sense. I hated the sensation. He said nothing, but I sensed judgment flow from his pores. Worse yet, he owned every right to judge me. He owned every right to find me guilty.
I hoped my powerful warrior still desired me as his trusted battle brother.

Pokatawer’s impressive body slumped into the light stainless-steel chair. He looked smaller, vulnerable in his sadness. His right hand rose toward me. “I fear I feel less spry than I thought. The need to indulge in a lie-down conquers me. Excuse me, my gracious host. I need to use your bed.” He stood, hesitated, and slammed back into his chair. His expression of startled fury pained me.

My hands wanted to help. They found themselves blocked by stubborn arms. “No. I am not infirmed. Let me stand on my own.”

“No need for the me-so-strong-and-stern attitude here, dude.”

“I am not your dude. My name is Pokatawer.”

“Yes, absolutely, I acknowledge your name. Why don’t you drop the stubborn-ass attitude and let me help you into the bedroom?”

Impressive. Pokatawer’s pointed glare singed my auburn eyebrows into gray ashes. “I am not a stubborn ass.”

“Of course not. You’re an injured dude who refuses help to stand up. That’s not the definition of a stubborn ass, right? Stop acting mulish and let me help you.” My fingers grasped Pokatawer’s muscular forearms.

Whoa. One sharp frontal thrust tossed me back into my seat. I almost fell backward to the steel balcony. “I believe I said I need no help. I believe you are not deaf. Please heed my request. Do I have your permission to rest?”

“There’s one bed in my house, dude, and it’s mine, but since you are my guest now, it’s yours.”

“Thank you.” Pokatawer stood. He staggered until he held the doorframe and gained control over his balance. My warrior entered the house’s interior displaying more regal stiffness than an old king trying to prove his manliness.

I stared back into my house. What brought on Pokatawer’s unexpected snit fit? What the fuck? What did I do? Did discussing ManH’s vile plan turn me into the enemy?

Instead of charging in and demanding answers, I sat and finished my wine. I needed to calm my nerves down into sensible reason. Think about it—Pokatawer’s world shrank down to depending on me. No wonder he felt wretched. Hell, if my life depended on me, I’d feel extremely wretched. I was a turncoat slut, a major sellout. In the grand annals of history, I supposed I should have acted like a hero and accepted death instead of working for monsters. Too bad. Weak men littered history’s ugly path. Call me a practical man.

More like call me an asshole.

A few more elegant Sea Howlers danced across the horizon, their slim gray shapes twisting and swirling in their endless dance. Did the systems really end? Did one dissipate to be gathered into another’s creation? The curling Sea Howlers always looked the same. What separated them?

Worse yet, were they truly entities sent from the earth to destroy those who had perverted nature? BCM hated those new environmentalist rumblings. Rumors whispered the Pamavirgins encouraged those sweet fairy tales. The monsters at BCM and their decadent empire needed to pay for their crimes against the earth. The Howlers were Earth warriors, building in power until one last final crushing blow slammed into ManH. What an excellent fantasy.

Did my touchy houseguest believe the tale? Better not to ask.

Behind the Sea Howlers, the evening clouds gathered in predictable threat. Tonight a sub one Howler might hit, but those weak babies never passed beyond the shore.

My main worry circulated back into life. What did I do here? Could I trust this man?

Yes, I could.

Technology protected me.

Time to bring in the supplies before the evening storm created havoc.

Divine Devine’s Love Song

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Temptation of the Incubus (a PG excerpt about a sexy devil)

After I dressed, I hovered in the now deserted hallway, trying to act casual, not needy. This early in the new semester students rarely stayed late; there was no need to abuse their free time. Twenty-five tense minutes passed by in relentless boredom. Somewhere in the offices a clock chimed 6:00PM. Hmm, did the handsome handyman stand me up? Did he gain mental revenge against someone else by using me?

No. I refused to accept the damaged notion. Someone else might display such pettiness but not Mads. My senses told me the truth. I patiently leaned against a wall. I fidgeted. I nodded greetings at two professors who glanced at me in question but merely nodded in return. Rita bustled past and halted. “Amando? Is something wrong?”

“I’m waiting for someone who is running late.”

She winked. “I hope you’re going to enjoy the beautiful evening.”

“If he doesn’t arrive soon we’ll enjoy full night.” I pouted in high style.

“Naughty boy. See you next week.”

What a cheerful soul. Three kids and a lawyer husband, eh? I wished Rita well.

Silence. 6:30 chimed at me.

Quickly moving footsteps approached me. Mads rounded the far corner and walked toward me, he now dressed in a snug aquamarine T-shirt which truly matched his eyes and well-worn tight jeans that left little to my happy imagination. I sighed in relief. It took considerable will not to drop and worship his thigh muscles.

His capable hands fluttered toward his shoulders in quick apology. “Amando, sorry for arriving late; the kiln turned into quite a stubborn old cranker. At least I managed to cram in lunch.” He cocked his head in query. “Do we stroll right to your place? No wooing each other over fancy drinks and dinner in some clever little café I can’t afford? I admit since I ate late I’m not hungry.”

More subtle sarcasm. Instead of reacting to his arch words I shrugged, smiled and artfully shook my hair. “There’s no need for such nonsense. If you wish, woo me as we walk.”

Mads’s piercing sea-soaked gaze drilled into me. He slowly shook his head and smiled in true confusion. “What is it about you, Mr. Amando Renato? I don’t believe I’ve ever met someone like you before and that confuses me. Hey, since we’re alone, may I kiss you right now? I always like to check if a beautiful guy appreciates the fine art of kissing. I am damned fond of the act.”

Kissing thrilled me. During the past centuries I leaned numerous special lip tricks designed to conquer a man. I smiled and pursed my lips. “Come here, big boy, and pucker up.” As he leaned close, Mads pressed his lips to mine. I opened in slight need, opened to capture his true spirit. Curiosity washed over me. Mint and maturity spiced his tongue. Sweet of him to eat a breath mint before we met. My lips parted further, there, glorious. My sparked allure refused to stand down, the force wiggling up like a curious puppy. No. Careful, don’t…

My body convulsed in abject confusion.

Angels on High! I jerked back and slammed into the beige wall. Alarmed gasps ripped from my lips. My watery knees barely held me upright. A startled Mads stepped back, sucked in his breath and dazedly shook his head in slow disbelief. His silky hair haloed in slow-motion.

Fear rattled through my flesh.

I gave.

I GAVE my life energy to a human without even trying.

Why? Heaven Above, why? Who authorized that unhappy event? What the fuck happened to me here?

A chorus of startled male gasps flooded the moment. Mads blinked at me in further confusion until words stammered free. “A-A-Amando, wow… did you experience that weird zap? I-I felt like something… wow. Did we step on a faulty wire? No, that’s completely impossible. There’s nothing on the floor that would cause such a stupid short. But… shit… I don’t understand what happened to us.” Of course thinking he consumed my life force floated beyond Mads’s comprehension; hey, anyone order a slice of my life force with a side of fries?
Seconds roared past. Poor practical Mads anxiously peered down at the floor as if seeking a dangerous, spark-spitting wire waiting to strike at us again. His thick blonde hair almost swayed in fresh vitality.

My shaking fingers drifted and touched my slack lips. Nothing abnormal happened. Crazy shock invaded every last cell. I gave my life force to Mads!

Why? How? Click tape loop: why, how, why, how…

Mads looked up from frantically examining the floor and shrugged in fresh confusion. He stared at me. His high forehead displayed worried webbing. “I don’t know what… my God, Amando, are you sick? Do you need to sit down? You look real shaky and pale.” His hands reached toward me.

No. I defensively held up my hands. My back pressed against the wall. Touching me was not a wise option, no, not until I learned what the fuck mondo weirdness happened to me. An instinctive lie tripped free. “Mads, I am fine, it’s…you also suffered that strange, erm… surge.”

Mads smiled in sincere wonderment. “I sure as hell experienced the surge. Damn, I kissed you and I swear a little zap entered me. Kissing your lips makes me tingly inside. I gotta say if that’s what kissing you feels like, let’s run to your place right now and resume the fun.”

My normal kissing style did not involve passing out life force in gay mad abandon. Glad Mads enjoyed the unique sensation. I enjoyed our sincere kiss until I released life to this unknown human without logical reason. What in Belail’s Flaming Chariot happened to me? Why? As my frantic thoughts tripped over each other, I offered Mads a tight smile. My right hand stiffly gestured toward the empty hall. “We can walk there now. It’s not far, over at A and 11th.”

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