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Archive for the ‘Guests’ Category

comfy chairMy guest today is an author that I first met at this years UK Meet, and I most most intrigued to hear about his first release, The Necessary Deaths, which came out on the first of November and which I, for one, am gagging to read.

Please join me in welcoming David Dawson.

~~~

Hello, David. Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?

I work as a documentary film maker. I was with the BBC for about twenty years, firstly as a trainee journalist then in television making documentaries, before going freelance. I’ve filmed all over the world, as a director and a producer, most recently making educational and charity videos.

I’m still producing videos, but my son is steadily taking that over from me, although I do some camera operating for him sometimes; it’s great being directed by your son!

When you aren’t writing, is there any other creative activity you enjoy? Have you ever written about it?

I sing bass with the London Gay Men’s Chorus. They’re a great bunch of guys and they’ve been my strength and support over the last few years. We’ve sung in all sorts of places including: at Sandi Toksvig’s wedding to Debbie, at the West London Synagogue for World Aids Day, in St Paul’s Cathedral for Age UK and outside the House of Lords when the House debated the Equal Marriage Bill. Next year we’re off to New York and Chicago to sing alongside the Gay Men’s Choruses there. No, I’ve not written about the Chorus – yet. Look out for their appearance in a future mystery!

What are you reading? Can you recommend something that you wished you’d written yourself?

I’m re-reading Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave. I’d read it a few years ago, and when I saw they’d made a film of the book, I worried they’d spoil it. Not at all. If you see the film, or read the book, be ready to weep buckets!
I aspire to the beautiful prose style of Armistead Maupin. He just gets better and better. His more recent books surpass the early Tales of the City books. Those early books were great fun, but it’s clear that with maturity, comes reflection and insight.

In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?

Oh that’s a tricky one, because they’re like Siamese triplets. They’re inseparable. I suppose for me the plot and core characters are born pretty well simultaneously. That is, I know who’s going on what journey and where they’re going to end up. Once I’ve fleshed out the characters in my head and on paper, I invent situations for them to deal with, on the journey through the book. Then the supplementary characters evolve, as the plot evolves. Sometimes I’ll experience a situation with someone in real life, then I’ll work out how to write it into a book.

Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them? Do you have a crisp mental picture of them or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?

I like to spend time on developing histories for all my characters, I use pictures a lot for that, and names are very important. Once I set those, I’ll go for a ride on my motorbike, or cycle somewhere, and think about the character and about what has already happened to them. It helps so much in creating their motivation for doing things, or explaining why they react in a certain way to new situations. Once I’m writing the story, I’ll add to that back-story as events unfold. I have a spreadsheet full of character descriptions and images, to remind me when I forget what colour their hair is!

Is there any genre you would love to write, ditto one you would avoid like a rattlesnake?

I’ve got an idea for a series in the science-fiction/supernatural genre, which I’m developing at the moment. There was a BBC drama series many years ago called “Out of the Unknown” which had a huge influence on me.

It took ordinary everyday circumstances, and then twisted them slightly, creating daytime nightmares. I think they’re far spookier than the usual night-time stuff.
I don’t think I’m cut out for historical drama/romance. My son’s the historian, not me! That said, I’ve been thinking about a thriller series set around The Chilterns during the Second World War. The Ministry of War had some very interesting places tucked away in this countryside, including what was called “Churchill’s Toyshop”, where boffins invented all sorts of amazing devices to defeat the enemy.

Do you find there to be a lot of structural differences between a relationship driven story and one where the romance is a sub plot?
Pretty well all decent novels are relationship driven. Even Tom Hanks, the lone survivor in Castaway, had the inanimate volleyball Mr Wilson to talk to!

The Necessary Deaths has a strong romantic plotline in the developing relationship between Dominic and Jonathan. The extraordinary circumstances that they’re plunged into test their relationship and develop it further, in a way that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I give the romantic story plenty of room to breathe, because it’s integral to the thriller. The romance between Dominic and Jonathan is what motivates them to react in the way they do.

When writing series, what measures do you take to keep track of those annoying little details – eye colour, car type, name of ex-spouse’s dog – that are so easy to drop into text and so easy to forget about?

Yes, I have acute OCD on this! I have a spreadsheet full of detail and photographs about every character, even the minor ones. As soon as I write a new piece of description in the story, I add it to the spreadsheet. Photographs of people also help me imagine their back-stories, and how they might react to situations. One of my favourite tasks is to spend an evening scouring the internet for photographs of gorgeous men who might fit certain characters! It can be very distracting…

Put together your ideal team of men/women – drawing from all and any walks of life, fictional or non-fictional – who you would want to come to your rescue if menaced by muggers/alligators/fundamentalists?

George Clooney can come to my rescue! Every time. He’s been a hero of mine ever since he rescued the boy from the storm drain in episode seven, season 2 of ER. In fact, I’m such a big fan, he’s a major character in a short story of mine that Dreamspinner Press is publishing in its Love Wins Anthology for Orlando this December.

But you want a team? Well, I think Dame Maggie Smith would stand up to any mugger, any day! She and George would make a fabulous team. In fact, I wonder why they haven’t been paired on screen already!

clooney-smith

Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?

Villains have got to be credible, so they need reasons for being bad. No one is all good, or all bad.

In The Necessary Deaths, the principal villain is motivated by ideology, and is very bad. But they still have a seductive side, which makes them intriguing and even appealing. Everyone has the capacity to be a villain, circumstances and back-story dictate whether the transformation to the dark side happens or not. In the second Dominic Delingpole Mystery I’m tackling this whole issue, which I think is fascinating.

What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.

The Dominic Delingpole Mysteries will unfold over five books. I’ve plotted the overarching story, and I’m just finishing the second book in the series. I’m also working up the World War Two science fiction tale in the background, it’s quite a juggling act I can tell you!

Could we please have an excerpt of something?

From The Necessary Deaths:

“Mrs. Gregory,” said Dominic. “I would be very happy to have you as a client, but I’m not sure in what way I can act for you.”

Samantha smiled. “And neither am I just at the moment. Let’s call you a professional friend. I have no one else who I can turn to, and your legal mind will help me to see things a little more clearly. As you can tell, I’m a little emotional just now.” She turned away to wipe a tear from the corner of her eye. Then she looked at him steadily.

“Simon and I are very close. Ever since Richard, his father, died in a climbing accident, we have been a very tight family unit. I’d like to think Simon and I can tell each other everything.”

Dominic wondered if she was keeping up a brave front, or whether she really believed Simon told her everything. Her comments clearly contradicted what Simon’s housemate Jay had said an hour ago. Dominic decided that, as she was his client, he owed her the duty of honesty, and he should tell her about what he had learned in the last few hours.

“Samantha, I’m afraid I believe Simon may not have confided everything in you in recent times. I went to see John this morning before coming here. He told me about their relationship and how Simon was not yet ready to tell you.”

Samantha smiled.

“Dominic, I’m his mother. Do you think that I didn’t know?” She sighed. “I knew he was finding it difficult to tell me, and I was waiting for him to pick the right time. I didn’t want to rush him.” She paused. “But yes, you’re right, and I am wrong. Simon hasn’t confided everything to me; I merely know and am waiting for him to tell me. John is a lovely boy, and I was just pleased to know that Simon is happy.”

Samantha narrowed her eyes slightly as she asked, “But why do you think that means he must have kept other secrets from me? Surely you of all people must know how difficult it is to come out?”
Dominic blushed briefly. “Everyone’s circumstances are different, of course, and for young people it really is much easier….”

“Oh nonsense! Can I just say that I think it’s a bit rich for you to judge Simon when you’re so secretive about yourself? We spent nearly three hours in the car together last night, and I still don’t know whether or not you have a boyfriend!”
This time Dominic’s face turned crimson.
“Samantha, could we just get back to—”

“Well, do you?”

Dominic sighed. “I think it’s my turn to acknowledge that I am wrong. Yes, I do have a partner, and no, I am not very open about it. In this day and age, it probably is unnecessary for me to be quite so discreet. But after a while, it gets to be almost a habit.”

Samantha giggled. “Oh, Dominic, how delightfully bashful you are! I imagine that it’s rare you have a conversation like this with your clients.”

Dominic smiled. “Samantha, I can tell you truthfully that I have never had a conversation like this with my clients. You must meet Jonathan some time. I think you two would get on like a house on fire.”


A young journalism student lies unconscious in a hospital bed in Brighton, England. His life hangs in the balance after a drug overdose. But was it attempted suicide or attempted murder? The student’s mother persuades British lawyer Dominic Delingpole to investigate, and Dominic enlists the aid of his outspoken opera singer partner, Jonathan McFadden.

The student’s boyfriend discovers compromising photographs hidden in his lover’s room. The photographs not only feature senior politicians and business chiefs, but the young journalist himself. Is he being blackmailed, or is he the blackmailer?

As Dominic and Jonathan investigate further, their lives are threatened and three people are murdered. They uncover a conspiracy that reaches into the highest levels of government and powerful corporations. The people behind it are ruthless, and no one can be trusted. The bond between Dominic and Jonathan deepens as they struggle not only for answers, but for their very survival.

Buy Links:
Dreamspinner | Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N | iTunes

BIOG:

David C. Dawson is an author, award-winning journalist and documentary maker, living near Oxford in the UK.
He has travelled extensively, filming in nearly every continent of the world. He has lived in London, Geneva and San Francisco, but now prefers the tranquillity of the Oxfordshire countryside.
David is a Mathematics graduate from Southampton University in England. After graduating, he joined the BBC in London as a trainee journalist. He worked in radio newsrooms for several years before moving to television as a documentary director. During the growing AIDS crisis in the late eighties, he is proud to say that he directed the first demonstration of putting on a condom on British television.
After more than twenty years with the BBC, he left to go freelance. He has produced videos for several charities, including Ethiopiaid; which works to end poverty in Ethiopia, and Hestia; a London-based mental health charity.

David has one son, who is also a successful filmmaker.

In his spare time, David tours Europe on his ageing Triumph motorbike and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus. He has sung with the Chorus at St Paul’s Cathedral, The Roundhouse and the Royal Festival Hall, but David is most proud of the time they sang at the House of Lords, campaigning for equal marriage to be legalized in the UK.

You can follow David at the following sites:
Facebook | Twitter | Website | Blog

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comfy chairMy guest today is a man I have known for over a decade – I even used to beta read for him way back in the dim and distant past before his first runaway successes in M/M romance.

Welcome B.G.

Elin: Can you tell your readers a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?

BG: I have an Evil Day Job! OMG! I’ll write a novel about the place someday. Let’s leave it at that and talk good stuff. I live in Kansas City—that’s Missouri and not Kansas—with my husband. We’ve been together over fifteen years, two of them legally married. I have a grown daughter and two wonderful little dogs (my daughter is pretty darned wonderful as well).

I love to read, just about every genre you can name, including fantasy, horror, science fiction, adventure, mysteries and of course, romance! I came to the last late though. My Mom read Harlequin and Silhouette Romances all my life, but I never read them. It was as an adult that a friend introduced me to a wonderful book called A Knight in Shining Armor—a time travel romance novel—by Jude Deveraux, and boy, I was hooked!

Growing up and reading all those genres, especially literature, had a heavy influence on my romance writing. I am a pure romantic, believe me. But I come to romance as the natural life of the novel rather than the Harlequin angle. Not that there is a darn thing wrong with those romances. They give so much hope. But I’m ignorant of the formula. It means some people love my stories, and some wish for a little less…angst! LOL!
I also write about gay men. I write what I know. My gay men do the things that gay men do. And again, sometimes people love that, and some wish for a little bit more…Harlequinism! LOL!

Elin: You’ll have to define Harlequinism for me some time. I’ve always assumed that gay men do things like pay their taxes, walk the dog and do laundry, in between, in the stories I read, being incredibly heroic under trying circumstances. Maybe we read different types of book? What are you reading? Can you recommend something that you wished you’d written yourself?

BG: Two books actually (I do that a lot). Janet Evanovich’s Plum Spooky, a very fun mystery, and John Inman’s most recent Belladonna Arm’s novel, Ben and Shiloh. Delightful! Loving it! I don’t have a lot of time to read between writing and working all the hours I do at my Evil Day Job, but I have discovered Stephen King’s advice is absolutely true. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” So I find time to read. Reading has made me the writer I am today.

Elin: When writing series, what measures do you take to keep track of those annoying little details – eye colour, car type, name of ex-spouse’s dog – that are so easy to drop into text and so easy to forget about?

BG: With each book I write, I make what I called a “concordance.” As I write, I jot down the car and its color, the dog’s name, etc. I learned a long time ago I had to do that. Otherwise I made all kinds of mistakes. Once a character was an only child in the first chapter and had a sister in chapter nineteen. We caught in the galley weeks before it went to print! Learned my lesson there.

And with Winter Heart being a part of a four book series—Seasons of Love—and with each book being quite thick, I had to keep extensive notes. There was a lot to keep track of. And I still forgot stuff. I am thankful for beta readers with minds like steel traps!

Elin: Did you find it hard to maintain character voice and keep it true over the whole series. Especially bearing in mind that it’s several years since book one came out?

BG: You know it really didn’t. I mean, they are all pretty distinctive. I forgot a few of their little quibbles or gestures (who was it that waggled his eyebrows and who was it that could raise only one) but I would often go and read the first chapter of the preceding books and that is all it took. Each book of the series begins with what the four best friends call “Porch Night.” It is the night that no matter how busy they are, they promise to never miss getting together. They carry on and camp it up and have a general good time. Reading that would always toss me right into character with a snap. And the more I wrote about them, even though it has been over two years since I wrote that first book, the books are thick. I really came to know them. It was a pleasure to keep going back to them. And I hope it is for the reader too!

Elin: Heroes are great, and they ar what the majority of readers are reading for, but I have to admit to a great fondness for secondary characters. You can tell a lot about a hero from how he treats people he isn’t hot for! Which of the secondary characters in your series is your favourite?

BG: That’s a hard one. Because quite a few of those secondary characters later wind up being the love interest of a main character’s, making them main characters as well. For instance, the young Samoan named Peni who is a friend of Scott’s in the first book, Spring Affair, winds up becoming the love interest of Asher in the third book, Autumn Changes.

Then there are characters that I create originally more as tertiary (or do they create themselves?) that really do take on a life all their own. For instance, Blue—one of the “bad dates” in my novella Bianca’s Plan—has wound up showing up over and over again. He insists! I’ve come to love the little guy, and I’ve gotten quite a few requests to write his story.

Oh! And I adore Peter Wagner. He first showed up in The Boy Who Came in from the Cold, and he’s popped up several times since. He has been in my head since I was about eighteen and it was wonderful when he finally found himself in print. God, he holds a special place in my heart. I can’t wait for him to show up again.

Elin: I think Peter was a strong and benign presence in the first story you showed me, way back in 2003!!
Villains are incredibly important in fiction, too, since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. But there are all kinds of villains besides the mainstays of M/M romance – evil exes or scheming, predatory women. Your heroes may have to contend with the cruel sea, a serial killer, society itself or your hero may have inner demons that threaten his happy ending. What sort of villains do you prize?

BG: When this question started, Howard leapt to my mind. He was certainly a villainous presence in Wyatt’s life through my Seasons of Love series. But by the time of my new novel, Winter Heart, he is mostly gone. But then you finished your question and it turned very interesting indeed. Yes! The villain doesn’t need to be a specific person, or even a human at all. In Winter Heart small town life is a villain. A crazy father. Religion, when it turns wrong. Fear. Sickness. And a blizzard. And in the long run, that’s the villains I prefer. Because most of the time, when the villain is human—they don’t perceive themselves that way. And they can change. And that is what I find very interesting indeed.

Elin: What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished?

BG: I don’t want to talk about something that I am actually writing, but I can tell you what you can expect to see from me next. For instance, a few years ago I wrote a novella called Trust Me. I love that story, but… It wasn’t what I wanted. I was limited by a word count on that book and there was a lot I wanted to do and say that I didn’t get to. When the publisher that bought that story from me went out of business—and that was a sad day—I was very pleased when Dreamspinner Press picked it up. But more than that, they gave me the word count I originally wanted. I didn’t think that story was bad, but I was very happy that I got to metamorphize it into the book I had always wanted to write. Now it’s called Do You Trust Me? and I am very proud of it!

Before that you will see my very first co-authored story which is coming out for Christmas. It’s called Mele Kalikimaka and I wrote it with an up and coming young author named Noah Willoughby. He’s going to be someone to watch out for. The whole process went surprisingly smoothly and I can’t wait to see what people think.

And then after that? Why don’t be surprised if you see a little novel called Blue!

Elin: I remember beta reading Trust Me. I’m glad you had the chance to expand it. Now, could we please have an excerpt of something?

BG: You sure can! In the following scene we see Wyatt get an unexpected call from his sister where he finds out his past is sneaking up behind him….

Wyatt wasn’t home a half hour when his cell phone rang. When he saw who was calling, he froze. It was one of his sister’s two annual phone calls. He took a deep breath before he answered it. “Feliz Navidad,” he said cheerfully.
“Merry Christmas to you too, big brother.”
“Thank you, little sister.” He closed his eyes. The familiar conglomerate of emotions were swirling through him: love, hurt, loyalty, shame…. It was always this way.
“And how are you doing today?” she asked. Her voice was cheerful-as usual. Seemingly genuine. And despite everything, he believed she was being authentic. They’d been nearly inseparable as kids, and surely that was what really mattered. Not what came later.
“I’m pretty good,” he answered, deciding to tell her how he felt in this moment, and not the general feelings that had ruled over him the last few months. “Just got back from Sloan’s house. He and Max had me over for Christmas dinner. You should see the T-shirts they got me.”
Which she wouldn’t approve of, but what the shit.
“You mean your… Howard didn’t make his big dinner this year?”
There it was. Already. But at least she’d said his name. It was more than his parents had done-when they still spoke to him. They. Meaning her. His mother. His father hadn’t spoken to him in, what? Ten years? When his old man had said he’d been right all along. That Wyatt’s evil ways had led him to hellfire. To homosexuality. And worse. Thinking that he could find love with another man.
Might as well get it over with. Get it done.
“I’m-” His throat locked up.
Shit.
It wasn’t going to be that easy.
Deep breath.
“I’m… I’m not with Howard anymore,” he managed and found himself once more wrestling his grief back down into its place deep inside that room he’d made for it.
Wyatt heard a small intake of breath from the other end of the phone. He didn’t know if he really heard it or if it was just his imagination.
“I…. Wyatt, I….” Then a moment of quiet. Because what was she supposed to say? She was sorry? Because she wouldn’t be, would she? She wouldn’t be allowed to be. But then she surprised him. “Wyatt, I’m so sorry. Are you okay? How long has it been?”
“A couple of months,” he said, his voice miraculously not trembling. “He left me.” Kicked me out is what he did.
“Why didn’t you call?”
Why hadn’t he called? Really? “And hear you say, ‘Well maybe now you can find a nice lady and settle down and have a family’?”
“Oh, Wyatt.” She sighed. “Like that’s ever going to happen.” Long pause while Wyatt tried to figure out what to say to that. Then just before he could: “Although nothing’s impossible through our Lord.”
“Oh really, Wendy?” Wyatt laughed. It wasn’t a feel-good laugh. How many nights had he cried himself to sleep begging God to make him straight? Hundreds? And when He hadn’t done what Wyatt had prayed for, it was the final straw. It was what made him finished with his family’s religion forever. “Don’t even think it.” After all, you knew I was gay before I did. Which wasn’t entirely true. She was just the first to say it out loud.
Another sigh. Then she asked, “So is Sloan your new b-boyfriend?”
B-boyfriend? She could hardly say it. And she was the one who had thought it was so cool to have a gay brother. And could she be his best “person” if he got married? And wouldn’t it be hil-arious when their parents found out? “You’re supposed to carry on the family name,” she had said.
As it turned out, it hadn’t been hil-arious at all. Wyatt had always known that. It was part of why it had taken him as long as it had to admit to himself he was gay.
“Sloan is just a friend.” Well, hardly just a friend. “He’s my best friend in the world.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” she said. “We all need best friends. What did that movie say that Mom liked so much? In a cold world, you need your friends to keep you warm? Or something like that?”
The Big Chill. Except his mother only watched it when his father was out of town and couldn’t walk in on her. She wasn’t quite old enough to have been a teenager in the sixties. But her older sisters were, and they had played the music on their record players when she was little. She’d lived the sixties vicariously through them.”
“The Big Chill,” he said aloud. Then asked about her husband—the bastard—and her kids.
“Oh, goodness, Mary! She just got straight As. Can you believe it? A child of mine? Miss C Average Wendy Dolan? And my kid is making straight As?”
“That’s nice, Wendy.”
She sighed. “And then there’s Norman Jr. He’s in and out of trouble. Second grade and a terror. Sometimes I don’t know what we’re going to do with him.”
“You’ll think of something.” She was born to be a mom, if not a wife. And why wasn’t she mentioning her husband? “And Norman Sr?”
“Ummm… Norman is Norman, you know? His job at the dam is stressful. There was so much rain last year, and the lake was higher than it had been in years. It’s calmed down a little with winter, but you know….”
Wyatt didn’t know. Didn’t have a clue. He’d toured the dam, of course. What with Mountain Home, where he went to school, being so close to one of the biggest lakes in the country, there was no way to avoid school field trips there. Plus the fact that the little town where he grew up was so close he could walk to it. But what the workers actually did there had always been sort of a mystery to him. So no, he didn’t know what Norman did. Then there was the fact that he’d never met the man. He hadn’t met her kids either. And he figured he probably never would.
“He’s leading the men’s prayer group on Thursdays, and he’s applied to be a deacon. I’m sure he’ll get it. I can’t imagine them turning him down.”
“That’s nice,” Wyatt said, not thinking so in the least. The only thing he could think of that sounded worse than being a deacon in the Baptist church he was raised in was maybe being the guy who drove that truck that vacuum-sucked the shit out of the porta potties at Camp.
“He really likes it, Wyatt. He says it gives his life purpose. Oh, and now he’s doing outreach at the prison in Calico Rock. He goes once a week and leads a prayer group there too. He says it’s a wonderful thing to help those men turn from their criminal ways and seek the Lord.”
Wyatt shifted from one foot to the other and found himself thinking about eggnog and whiskey. Was he tipsy enough to listen to any more of this? He went to the kitchen to see what he had to drink. “I….” Wyatt coughed. “I would imagine that adds to his stress, though.” He looked around the kitchen. Oh, thank the gods. Some tequila was on the floor next to the stove. But what did he have to drink it with?
“I think it relieves his stress actually,” Wendy said.
“All that soul-saving,” Wyatt managed without choking. He didn’t have anything in the refrigerator that would go with tequila. Certainly not milk or the eggnog. Did the eggnog have whiskey? He didn’t think so. Did he have any Country Time lemonade?
“Yes,” Wendy said, and then there was a long pause.
Yes? Yes, what? He couldn’t remember what he’d asked her. Wyatt found a couple of single packets of Crystal Light pink lemonade. It would have to do. In the meantime he opened the bottle and took a slug of the tequila. He winced, shuddered. Gods! Blech! He coughed. Shuddered again. Cleared his throat. Began to make a glass of the Crystal Light. Tried to build up the courage to ask the question.
Thankfully Wendy took that out of his hands. “Momma and Daddy came over for Christmas dinner.”
“Wow,” Wyatt said. “You guys didn’t go over there?”
“Ahh…. No, Wyatt. Not this year. Mom helped, but Daddy…. Well….”
Well what? Wyatt wondered.
“Daddy’s been a little… funny lately.”
“Funny?” Wyatt asked. The last thing he had ever considered his father to be was funny.
“Well, they think he had a little stroke.”
Wyatt jerked. Almost knocked his glass over. “Wh-what?”
“A little one,” Wendy said quickly.
Wyatt’s heart was rushing. “A little one?”
“Yeah. He…. Well, the other day he got up and almost fell over. He said everything was… tilted. He was having trouble walking. And he was having a little trouble talking. Slurring his words, you know? Mom wanted to take him to the hospital, but he wasn’t having any truck with that. Until he did fall, that is, and we insisted. They couldn’t find anything at first, but then they thought he might have had a very minor stroke.”
Wyatt found he could hardly move. Strokes. Were they ever minor?
“His doctor said he should have gone to the hospital right away because there are drugs they can give you to help, but it’s got to be in the first three or four hours. But as Daddy said, I don’t know what good that would have done since they weren’t even sure he had one.”
Wyatt shook himself. “Is-is he okay now?” He reached for the tequila and added a good bit to his glass, put the bottle down and took a hefty drink before stirring. It was a mistake and he began to cough. Whoa! Strong!
“Anyway, that’s why they came to our place. Norman was a little mad at first. Until Momma said she’d already bought the turkey and everything so he didn’t need to buy anything. I just ran to Damview and picked up everything from her place. We didn’t have to buy anything except some Stove Top. You know Norman likes that better than the homemade stuff.”
Wyatt didn’t know that either and thought it sounded crazy. How could anyone like that boxed shit when they could have his momma’s stuffing?
He quite suddenly found himself missing that stuffing, even though he did a fairly good knock-off. He’d even made a change or two through the years: sage from Sloan’s mother’s garden and a can of black olives, chopped up real fine. Howard had loved it, anyway. And what the fuck was he doing thinking about black olives?
“H-how did he act?” Wyatt asked her suddenly. Gods. Why was his heart doing that little dance?
Unbidden he saw his father-clearly, as if he were right there—standing over him. Tall. Hair and thick mustache going gray. Those intense blue eyes-like they were chipped from a glacier. And how that mouth could smile… or frown. You didn’t want to see the frown.
“He seemed fine, though he got tired fast. He wanted to help drain the turkey-you know he always does that for Mamma—but with Norman here, there was no sense in that.”
“No. Of course not.” Wyatt took another drink of his pseudo cocktail-drank it slower this time. But it was a big drink.
“I think we can all breathe a deep sigh of relief,” Wendy said in seeming conclusion. “God is taking care of things. He always does.” But why didn’t she sound like she believed what she was saying? “At least now Daddy will pay attention. Dr. Shelvy insisted that he get to the hospital immediately if any symptoms reoccur. Counseled us all on what to watch for. Gave us literature and everything.”
“That….” Wyatt’s voice caught. Dammit! “Th-that’s good.”
“He’ll be fine, Wyatt. I’m sure he will be. Trust in Jesus.”
Trust in Jesus? Had she really said that? She wanted him to trust in Jesus? Wendy was blind and deaf and who knew what else. She would never learn. Never. Never see him for who he was. Chose not to.
And now the tears wanted to come. Fuck that!
Wyatt picked up the bottle again and took a swallow. He shuddered but didn’t cough. It didn’t stop the tears, though. At least these were caused by the booze, he told himself.
“What?” Wendy called out.
What?
“Yes. I’m on the phone. Yes.”
Wait. She wasn’t talking to him.
And then she was. “Look, Wyatt. I need to go.” And, “Yes, it’s my brother.”
Wyatt closed his eyes and leaned heavily against the kitchen counter.
“Wyatt, I’m sorry. I have to cut this short. Merry Christmas, big brother.”
Wyatt sighed, forced back his body’s traitorous desire to cry. “And a Happy New Year, little sister.”
“Yes, Wyatt. And that too.” Then, with no preamble, she hung up.
Wyatt stood there a long time without moving. Then he made a second cocktail with the last of the Crystal Light and took the full glass and the one he’d already drunk half of and went back to the living room.
He watched Friends. The episode called, “The One with Phoebe’s Dad,” and let the six people he was getting to know sweep him away. Who knew? Maybe Chandler and Joey would finally get it on. That would be hot!
That night he didn’t dream about Howard.

Wyatt wound up staying up just past midnight, having watched eight episodes that first night. They made him laugh. He needed to laugh. It was strangely better than beating off, and didn’t make him feel lonely when he was done.
Tonight he had just started watching a Christmas episode, “The One with Phoebe’s Dad”—second season, third?—when the doorbell rang. He looked at the front door in surprise—Phoebe was just commenting about the size of Ugly Naked Guy’s Christmas balls—then shrugged and got up to see who it was.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Winter Heart

Seasons of Love: Book Four

For over ten years, Wyatt Dolan defined himself as the lover of Howard Wallace. Howard made sure Wyatt’s self-worth depended on that role. So when Howard dumps him, he is lost at sea in a storm without a rudder. If it wasn’t for his supportive friends, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Finally, after a series of disasters, he escapes to Camp Sanctuary—a sacred place to him—where he can be alone, try to put his past behind him, and find a new direction for his life.

Kevin Owens is a lonely man. He is very intelligent—several apps he created have gone on to make him a comfortable living—but he is also quite shy and is uncomfortable making conversation. The death of his dear friend and former lover after a long illness leaves him grieving, confused, and adrift. Then a dream guides him to Camp Sanctuary, only to find that the one cabin with a wood-burning stove has already been reserved. And worse, by a man he’s had a secret crush on for years—Wyatt Dolan.

When a snowstorm knocks out power at the Camp, Wyatt and Kevin must share the same cabin to stay warm, and very soon, magickal things begin to happen.

BUY LINKS:

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/winter-heart-by-bg-thomas-7662-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Winter-Heart-Seasons-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B01LZ1A97Q/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Winter-Heart-Seasons-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B01LZ1A97Q/

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/winter-heart-6

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-winterheart-2140782-149.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ben-whB.G. is a novelist and blogger. Every day last year he made an entry in his blog, “365 Days of Silver,” where he found something every day to be grateful for. You can find it right here: https://365daysofsilver.wordpress.com/

B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to conventions since he was fourteen years old and has been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was child; it is where he finds his joy.

In the nineties, he wrote for gay magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. Gay men are what he knows best, after all. He submitted his first story in years and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days.

“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”

Visit his website and his author blog at http://bthomaswriter.wordpress.com/ where you can contact him. He loves to hear from readers and is always quick to respond. You can also find his Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bgthomaswriter

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comfy chairHappy Thursday!
Today I have a brand new-to-me author in my Comfy Chair. Alyson Pearce is an American transplant currently living in London, where she works full time in publishing and as an author of M/M romances. She fell in love with romances after discovering her grandmother’s library and hasn’t looked back. As a member of the LGBT community, she believes that everyone deserves their chance at a happily ever after.

She has recently released a new series set in the Regency period that follows the adventures and misadventures of a group of gentlemen who are artistically inclined.

Welcome Alyson

Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?

I’m an American by birth, currently living in London while I finish up a masters in Publishing. My passion is romance, of course, but I also love crime, fantasy, and historical fiction. I came to the M/M romance genre through a mix of M/F romance and M/M fanfiction. I found the subgenres of romance I enjoyed (mainly historical, with some paranormal as well) and the tropes I enjoyed in fanfiction. Then I decided to combine the two, both in reading and in writing, which opened up a whole new, exciting world. After reading Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon’s Seducing Stephen and The Gentleman and the Rogue, I tried writing my own novel, and that became The Viscount and the Artist.

In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?

Normally I’ll get a glimpse of characters in a situation. For Andrew and Jeremy, it was “what if this peer who didn’t want to be a peer fell in love with an artist?” I had the roughest picture of who Andrew and Jeremy were as characters—kind of like looking at one of those pixilated Classical art works. You know more or less who they are, but not the specifics. Before I write a single word, though, I flesh them out and get to know them as well as possible, that way I know how they would react to a certain situation.

The Viscount and the Artist is the first of what will surely be a long series. When writing series, what measures do you take to keep track of those annoying little details – eye/hair/skin colour, preferred mode of transport, rank or profession, quirks or mannerisms – that are so easy to drop into text and so easy to forget about but will be needed in the next book?

I keep a story bible with all of the series information in it. All of my characters have multiple pages of character sheets, down to the smallest quirk. I also include setting details, historical details, timelines, family trees, and so on to try and keep everything organised. With each book, I add to the story bible.

Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?

I love sympathetic villains. In The Viscount and the Artist, the main villain is absolutely society, but that leads to two physical villains—one you see coming and one that’s a bit of a surprise, so I won’t give too much away. With each of those villains, I did my best to make them more than just the ‘bad guy.’ Lady Dersingham isn’t just the woman who’s trying to wed Andrew. She’s also a widow who’s trying to find some source of stability in a world that doesn’t cater to women. And the mystery villain I won’t spoil also battles with their own inner demons, although I have to admit this villain is far less sympathetic. Writing villains you can identify with and sympathise with is just more fun for me, and I think it adds another great element to the story.

Could we please have an excerpt of something?

Instead of remaining in the library, Jeremy explored the house. He hadn’t had much of a chance to the day before, and since this was to be his home for the next two weeks, he wanted to be able to find his way around. When he had accompanied his father on the many dinners Richard had invited them to, he only saw the ground level. There was much left to explore. Making his way through the drawing room and past Andrew’s study, he paused outside the parlour. The door was partially closed, but he could hear voices from inside.
“…can’t ask that of me yet. I’ve only just come into the inheritance.” The voice was unmistakably Andrew’s.
“Even so, as it stands, there is no heir. What if something happens to you?” Phoebe asked.
Andrew scoffed. “Nothing is going to happen to me.”
“We thought nothing would happen to Nathaniel. We thought nothing would happen to Papa. You need to be married, and soon. I suggest by the end of the Season.”
Married? Jeremy couldn’t see Andrew as the marrying kind. Even if he preferred the company of women to that of men, he didn’t seem like the type to settle down.
“And I suppose you already have a candidate in mind?” Andrew asked.
“Lady Dersingham.”
“Lady Dersingham?” Andrew’s voice was sharp. “You would have me—your own cousin—marry that harpy?”
“That harpy happens to be one of my closest friends. I see nothing wrong with her,” came Phoebe’s haughty tone. “It’s common knowledge that she fancies you. She’s already invited you to her ball. It would be the perfect chance for you to get to know her.”
“I don’t want to get to know her! Besides, she’s only just come out of mourning.”
“Which makes this the perfect time for her to seek another marriage.”
“And what of the fact that she’s a scheming, self-centred excuse for a woman?”
“Again, I will remind you that she is a dear friend. If you really feel that way about her, I suggest the two of you go your own way after your marriage is consummated. As long as you produce an heir, I see no problem.”

###

The Viscount and the Artist

Andrew Cardwell is a man driven by duty to his country and to his family. After the death of his uncle, he’s determined to provide security and stability for his family as the new Viscount Cardwell—even if that means marrying and producing an heir. Surprising himself, Andrew decides to sponsor a young artist named Jeremy for the season, to help him find a patron. What he doesn’t anticipate is how well Jeremy fits in his bed…and his life.

Jeremy Leighton knows what it’s like to be a disappointment. The only son of a vicar, he’s refused to follow the path his father set for him, choosing his passion for art, instead. He accepts Andrew’s proposal, hoping to prove to his father—and himself—that he can succeed as an artist. After spending time with Andrew in and out of bed, Jeremy struggles not to fall for the damaged viscount, knowing the season will likely end in Andrew’s engagement.

Between a meddling cousin, a widow on the hunt for a new husband, and their own doubts about the relationship, how can Andrew and Jeremy shed the expectations of others to find true happiness?

Buy Links:
Amazon – http://bit.ly/ViscountandtheArtist
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1535207388
Are – http://bit.ly/TVATAARE
B&N – http://bit.ly/TVATABN

About Alyson

Dear reader,

Allow me to tell you a bit about myself. I fell in love with stories at the tender age of five. With a librarian for a grandmother and an English and History teacher for a grandfather, I suppose it was fated. My first stories were records of my time spent at their house, embellished here and there when I felt the need. I soon moved on to re-writing pop culture classics like Star Wars. Unsurprisingly, those were abandoned as soon as I learned what copyright was.

Over the next few years, I developed a love of fantasy and historical fiction, and tried my hand at writing both. During that time I also picked up my first romance in the basement of my grandmother’s house. It wasn’t until I started writing fanfiction, though, that I actually started writing romance. That was also where I discovered slash fiction. I quickly added in m/m fiction to my reading, and eventually decided to give writing it a go.

The Viscount and the Artist is my first novel.

Links:
Website – http://www.alysonpearce.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AlysonPearceAuthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/pearce_alyson

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Elin’s Qs [notes in brackets won’t appear in the post]My guest today is J L Merrow, a favourite author and a favourite person so I’m delighted to be playing host.

Welcome JL, and thanks for answering my questions.

What led you to pick your source material for your story?

This isn’t the first time I’ve done a Shakespeare based story – my novel Played! is heavily based on/around an amateur production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But for this anthology I wanted to do something a little different—and that’s just what Sonnet 130 is: different. Starting with the famous words, My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun. It’s a love poem that parodies love poems, lampooning the usual flights of purple prose praising the writer’s beloved. But the turn in the last two lines switches the sentiment from satire to sweetness. In essence the writer is saying he sees his mistress clearly, rather than through the rose-tinted spectacles of love: she is a real woman to him, not some remote goddess possessing superlative beauty. And he loves her as she is.
That’s what I think true love really is: loving the person who exists, warts and all, rather than some idealised fantasy of them. In Nothing Like the Sun, both Jerome and Sam have their flaws, both in looks and personality—some more glaring than others. And neither of them is blind to the other’s faults. But true love transcends imperfections.

Shakespeare definitely has a way with words. What is your favourite insult/endearment/inspiring passage/? Which bit do you wish you had written?

picture: Ferdinand Lured by Ariel, by John Everett Millais, 1852

Gawd, where to start? There are just so many choice turns of phrase in Shakespeare’s works.

One passage that’s stuck with me is Ariel’s song to Ferdinand in The Tempest. Background information: Ferdinand has just been shipwrecked and his father drowned. Ariel’s taunts show a grisly inventiveness that is breathtakingly creepy:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

I love the rhythm of this short passage, as well as its (horribly) intense visual qualities.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently dividing my time between promoting my recent release Blow Down, the fourth in my Plumber’s Mate Mysteries featuring Phil the private investigator and Tom the slightly psychic plumber, and writing the second of my forthcoming Porthkennack novels for Riptide. One Under (provisional title) is a contemporary m/m romance set in Cornwall, between two men who have very different backgrounds, but turn out to have more in common than they at first realise.

Could we please have an excerpt?

Here’s a short excerpt from Nothing Like the Sun:

I’d been ignoring my laptop all morning. Well, I had so little to look forward to these days; why not build a little anticipation for one of my few remaining pleasures?
There was a message in my inbox. Dead_Pool_Ringer, you have a new message from BoyNextDoor. It was time stamped only three minutes ago.
Heart thumping in ridiculously clichéd fashion, I clicked. How are you? I read.
I typed, Still hideous. Just before hitting send I hesitated. Deleted it. Typed in Okay, I guess, and sent that instead.
He knew what I looked like. Not that I’d posted a photo, but I’d been entirely upfront about my appearance in my profile when I set up the account on the dating site. I’d also been upfront about the fact that a meeting was out of the question.
Why bother, then?
Because this was the reason I could manage without therapy.
Bad morning? BoyNextDoor typed.
Had a friend visit, I typed. Because Sam was a friend, as well as an employee. We’d been at school together from the age of seven—enough history to keep us together despite very different career paths.
I’d had the caretaking role, back in those early days. Short and tubby, with National Health Service spectacles and a stutter, Sam had been every bully’s dream. I was never entirely sure why I’d taken his side over theirs. Perhaps something about him had meshed with a part of me I hadn’t yet learned to recognise. Or perhaps it was simply that even then, I yearned for the role of hero. At any rate, I fought his battles and waited for him to worship me for it.
In a shocking twist—at least to my seven-year-old self—he rounded on me angrily and insisted he didn’t need my help.
It was my first failed audition: the role of Sam’s friend.
What did I do then? I cheated, of course.

Bio:

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards finalists.
JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: http://www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

A-Summers-Day-Customdesign-JayAheer2016-finalcover

 

Release Date: 12th of August

Cover Art: Jay Aheer Simply Defined Art

Genre: MM Mixed*

We have modern retelling of some plays, interpretations of others and one of the sonnets, and delightful referencing of anything Shakespeare.

There is gentle YA romance next to very hot 18+ stories and all kinds of relationships – first love, May/December, interracial, second chances, happy endings and even a tragic one.

We’re travelling from Ancient Rome through Renaissance England to modern day UK, Venice Beach and other places in USA, Vancouver and Havana.

There’s fun, drama, tears, angst, joy and, above all, lots of true love.

Note: All proceeds of this collection go to the It Gets Better Project™.

Buy Links:
amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.co.uk:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-English-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.com.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/655310
A-Summers-Day-Customdesign-JayAheer2016-banner2

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My guest today is one of the driving forces behind the Summer’s Day anthology, Rian Durant.

Welcome, Rian, and thank you for answering my questions.

What led you to pick your source material for your story?

The idea to write an MM version of a Shakespeare play has been nagging me for a long time and when the idea of an Anthology struck me I already knew which would be the play. I can’t say it’s my favorite per se but there are lot of things which fascinate me in there. Like the character of Iago.. 😉 Also it explores many intriguing topics. Jealousy for example. It’s a weird thing, Jealousy. We want want it and yet we don’t, some perceive it as a sign of love, some as the opposite, it can be a driving but also a destructive force. There’s also exploration if the attitude to the foreign, provoking appeal for some and repulsion to others.
By the way, my Othello (Olvin) is Cuban. I’m crazy about Cuban music so it just clicked.

Shakespeare definitely has a way with words. What is your favourite insult/endearment/inspiring passage/? Which bit do you wish you had written?

Insult? Hmm It’s “vile owl”. 😀 Old Will has much more imaginative insults but I laughed so much the first time I saw it and it stuck with me. As a matter of fact everything that comes out of Thersites mouth in “Troilus and Cressida” is a favorite insult of mine.
As far as endearments go, I’m not much into them but everything in the “Fair youth” sonnets kind of makes me melt. That’s why I chose the title of the Anthology from there.

What are you working on now?

I have a lot of passion for writing but not as much discipline as I would’ve liked. Consequently I have a heap if WIPs that I’m working on.
The main one is a novel that might be contemporary or paranormal and it has something to do with dragons that might or might not be real. I know the truth but as things are at 60 k, it’s still a guessing game for anyone who reads it.
There’s another one completely outlined in my head and in my pretty notebook. I can’t bring myself to start it yet but the guys are getting really insistent.
However, In the coming month or so I’ll have to concentrate mainly on the promo work for “A Summer’s Day”.I’d like to use this opportunity to tell you a big thank you for the wonderful interview idea and for helping us promote this Anthology.

Could we please have an excerpt?

“Hey, was that Michael talking to Des in the garden?”
Ian had managed to take Olvin right on time to a spot where he could see the two talking, but it seemed Michael had seen them as well and promptly took his leave. Which, of course, made him look even more guilty.
“Yes, I think it was but why would he steal away like that? “Hm!”
The sound made the Cuban turn around and stare at him.
“What was about?”
He paused dramatically, and gazed again at Desmond who had taken his book and looked as innocent as new fallen snow.
“Tell me, did Michael know you had an affair with Des before the… you know, before everybody found out?”
Clearly, the man didn’t like being reminded of this and winced before replying.
“Yes, he knew. I even asked Michael to give him a present and chocolates from me once or twice as he lives closer to their house and could see him more often while we were hiding.”
“Really?”
“Yes, really. Why?”
He looked at the Cuban who seemed utterly confused. He’d never seen him like this with the meanest experts in negotiations, with those who were capable of convincing you to sell yourself by the small print in their contracts and make you tie a ribbon around your head for their pleasure. He was swift and efficient in curbing their desires to trick him, but now he was lost.
“Why, think for a minute.”
“I can’t think, damn it!” He slammed his fist in the nearby wall. “I don’t have an assistant now, some fuck made a video of the fight last night and we are again on YouTube. Branson shouted at me for half an hour this morning, which is something he’d never done before. And now you and your riddles!”
Ian waited for him to take a few deep breaths and tried his best to look a tad offended. Which, by the reaction of the Cuban, he had done quite well.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shout at you. If you’re my friend, you’ll tell me without torturing me further.”
“I am your friend but maybe I’m overreacting. Just in case, watch how they behave when they are together. Like last night.”
Olvin’s expression changed, only for a second, but it was enough for Ian to see he’d fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
“I hope you are overreacting, my friend, otherwise he’d wish he’d never been born.”
The Cuban turned around and walked in the direction of his lover.

Bio:

RIAN DURANT is one of those who are both blessed and cursed by the insatiable desire to write
stories. Short stories, sometimes longer stories, and yeah, primarily M/M (you can insert more Ms if you like) romance stories.
Always having a plot in mind sometimes proves being hard when having a daytime job but Rian manages
them both for the time being assisted by the priceless support of her soul mate, large amounts of coffee,
and pure obstinacy.
What makes Rian smile is a sunny day, a beautiful flower, a piece of chocolate, a nice song, a good book
and anything that could be the reason for that spark in the eyes, accompanied by the exclamation “Oh my,
I just saw something!“

Website: https://riandurants.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rian.Durant
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rian_durant

A-Summers-Day-Customdesign-JayAheer2016-finalcover

 

Release Date: 12th of August

Cover Art: Jay Aheer Simply Defined Art

Genre: MM Mixed*

We have modern retelling of some plays, interpretations of others and one of the sonnets, and delightful referencing of anything Shakespeare.

There is gentle YA romance next to very hot 18+ stories and all kinds of relationships – first love, May/December, interracial, second chances, happy endings and even a tragic one.

We’re travelling from Ancient Rome through Renaissance England to modern day UK, Venice Beach and other places in USA, Vancouver and Havana.

There’s fun, drama, tears, angst, joy and, above all, lots of true love.

Note: All proceeds of this collection go to the It Gets Better Project™.

Buy Links:
amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.co.uk:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-English-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.com.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/655310
A-Summers-Day-Customdesign-JayAheer2016-banner2

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Today, I’m delighted to welcome the next author to be featured in the A Summer’s Day anthology – Nephy Heart who is not only a fantastic writer but also a lovely person.

Welcome, Nephy, and thanks for answering my questions.

What led you to pick your source material for your story?

I chose to write about The Taming of the Shrew. Why? Because I have a bee in my bonnet about the way Petruchio treats Katherine. When this anthology was suggested, I first thought about my three favourites – Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest, but I kept coming back to Taming of the Shrew and wondering how Petruchio’s actions would translate to today’s society. At first I was intending to make Petruchio (Pete) the bad guy by exploring his actions in a modern context but the more I wrote, the more the story and characters took over and the story went in a different direction. This often happens to me as my stories are character led and they lead me in all kinds of unexpected directions. The title comes from the 1950’s Hollywood version of the story (With Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson) Kiss me Kate

Shakespeare definitely has a way with words. What is your favourite insult/endearment/inspiring passage/? Which bit do you wish you had written?

I have a particular liking for Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. I love his banter and how rude he is. Of course, we’ve lost a lot of meaning now of some of his lewd comments because we don’t recognize them in the language. This is one of my favourites when he and Benvolio are looking for Romeo when he’s gone lusting after Juliet. Mercutio is not impressed with Romeo’s posturing over his love for Rosaline and teases him mercilessly. He is even less impressed with the speed Romeo switches from Rosaline to Juliet.

I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes,
By her high forehead and her scarlet lip,
By her fine foot, straight leg and quivering thigh
And the demesnes that there adjacent lie,
That in thy likeness thou appear to us!

Sticking with Mercutio, the bit I wish I had written was his Queen Mab speech which is so imaginative and rich in language, and also innuendo 😀

What are you working on now?

This year I have two books out with Wayward Ink (at least I hope so as the second one is only tentatively accepted). I am also trying to promote my back catalogue. I am terrible at promotion which is reflected in sales figures I’m afraid. Still, my publishers seem to be putting up with me 😀

My writing is extremely diverse and is suffering, I think, because it isn’t romance. Although there are romantic pairings in my stories there is very little (or no) sex and they are pretty much all YA/NA. My latest, “Lab Rat”, is about a young man who, at fourteen, was forcibly experimented on in a government experiment to release latent psychic talent. The experiment was a failure and Gabriel finds himself let loose without ceremony (dumped on his parents’ doorstep)

Angry and bitter, with bad memories, disastrous and deadly relationships behind him and increasing intrusive voices in his head Gabriel really doesn’t want a relationship. When he meets a sexy stranger in a bar Laurie has other ideas and relentlessly pursues Gabriel until he relents.

When he becomes aware the government are trying to track him down he first tries to run from Laurie then runs with Laurie but he can’t escape what’s inside his head.

When the scientist catch him what ensues is dangerous and deadly but with Laurie and Elena, one of the scientists) at his side he struggles the come to terms with what has been unlocked inside his head also his growing feelings for Laurie which prevent him from doing what he really wants to do – walk into the lake and let the water close over his head.

When he’s taken again he finds out the true extent of what the scientists are trying to achieve and blows the whole thing apart with shattering consequences.

That’s quite a lengthy summary but it’s quite a complex book. It’s also angsty, inspirational and tugs at the heartstrings.

Ohe two books coming out this year

One is about a rent boy with heart troubles on the run from a murderer being protected by a cop with an attitude who seems to hate him.

The other is about the coming together of two boys, one from an ultra conservative background, one from a very unconventional one (four children with four fathers all of whom share each other and the mother in a curious relationship that transcends the norm) and what happens when a third is added to the mix, against a background of rock stardom, mental health issues and a madman who will stop at nothing to protect his political career

Could we please have an excerpt?

From Kiss me Kade, my Summer’s Day story

Before he could say a word, Pete had sunk into the chair next to him and started eating his chips.
“Hey. Those are mine.”
Pete grinned. “Don’t get your knickers in a twist. You can share mine when they get here.”
“I don’t want to share yours,” Kade growled.
Pete shrugged and helped himself to another handful of chips. “Suit yourself. Go hungry if you want.”
A yell tore Kade’s eyes away from Pete, and his thieving hands. His heart fell when he spotted the rest of the crowd from the play. Bea was already surrounded by boys. Kade was torn. Should he get up and go to her? Should they leave? But she seemed so happy, practically glowing under all the attention.
“Chill,” Pete said, around a mouthful of Kade’s burger. “It’s not as if they’re going to get up to anything here.”
“What the hell are you doing?” Kade snatched the burger from Pete, and drew the remainder of the chips protectively close to his body.
“I’m doing you a favour. I’m stopping you getting fat.”
“I’m not going to get fat. I’m hungry. Why are you here? Go away and leave me alone.”
“News flash! I don’t spend my time following you around. Some lunatic stopped the rehearsal early so the boys decided to grab a Maccy D. Nothing to do with me.”
Kade’s cheeks warmed, and he turned his face away, leaving Pete an opening to snatch more chips.
“Stop it,” Kade snapped, slapping Pete’s hand. Half his meal had gone already and that in itself was enough to bring tears to his eyes.

Bio

Nephy Hart was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
Nephy has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.
Later in life, Nephy became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.
It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.
In present times, Nephy lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon (called Smaug of course) and three cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art

A-Summers-Day-Customdesign-JayAheer2016-finalcover

 

Release Date: 12th of August

Cover Art: Jay Aheer Simply Defined Art

Genre: MM Mixed*

We have modern retelling of some plays, interpretations of others and one of the sonnets, and delightful referencing of anything Shakespeare.

There is gentle YA romance next to very hot 18+ stories and all kinds of relationships – first love, May/December, interracial, second chances, happy endings and even a tragic one.

We’re travelling from Ancient Rome through Renaissance England to modern day UK, Venice Beach and other places in USA, Vancouver and Havana.

There’s fun, drama, tears, angst, joy and, above all, lots of true love.

Note: All proceeds of this collection go to the It Gets Better Project™.

Buy Links:
amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.co.uk:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-English-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.com.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/655310
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Here is the second of my author interviews with authors who have contributed to the fantastic anthology, A Summer’s Day – Shakespearean stories with a twist.

My guest today is Louise Lyons, a fellow Brits whose previous works I have really enjoyed.

Welcome Louise.

What led you to pick your source material for your story?

The first Shakespeare play I studied in school was Romeo & Juliet, which I loved, and I also love the movie, Letters To Juliet, so this was the first idea to pop into my head when I heard about the anthology. Why not write a modern-day Romeo and “Julian” story? I’m usually a pantser when it comes to writing, although I make a timeline as I write to try and avoid continuity errors. I had the idea of the two young men having parents who hated each other, with a bit of a twist as to the reason. But when Romeo is forced to rescue Julian from drowning, the pair consider why they’ve been conditioned to hate each other, and realise actually, they find each other very attractive indeed! I threw in a few vague events from the original storyline – parents trying to keep them apart, etc, but of course my star-crossed lovers don’t die. They do get their happy ending eventually.

Shakespeare definitely has a way with words. What is your favourite insult/endearment/inspiring passage? Which bit do you wish you had written?

Well, that would have to be Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. I studied Hamlet at school as well, and my class went to see the play at the theatre. I memorised the soliloquy from beginning to end, but the only part I can remember now is: “To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…” Actually, I’m amazed I can remember that much after 25 years, haha.

What are you working on now?

A couple of things. I’m working on a new novel, of which I’ve written about 10,000 words so far. It’s called The Power of Will and is a paranormal love story, about a young guy called Tyler Marsden, newly broken up from a three-year relationship, who moves to a new town to escape the memories of his ex. In the ancient tumble-down cottage he moves to, he finds a journal written a century earlier, by a young gay man, William Bartlett, who was shunned by everyone, including his lover, when his secret was discovered. The last year of William’s life is detailed in the journal and as Tyler reads his story, strange things happen and he becomes convinced William is more than just a memory.

I’m also writing a light-hearted rock band story called Thirteen Black Cats, which I’m publishing weekly in the Wednesday Briefs group. It’s written from the point of view of singer, Ash, who reluctantly admits to his band mates that he’s gay, which does not surprise them at all. However, sleazy manager Jackson is less than impressed that his efforts to get Ash to “entertain” groupies to sell records won’t work. Ash and drummer Billy pretend to be in a relationship together to lend authenticity to Ash’s claims that he’s seeing someone, but he fights his growing attraction to Billy the whole time, not realising that Billy actually thinks he’s bisexual and wants to use the opportunity to test this out with a friend he trusts. You can read the short chapters on my blog each week.

Can we have an excerpt?

This little teaser is from my latest novel, Cervena, released July 22nd. Main character Joel Jones joint-owns a Prague nightclub with business partner Karel. When homeless Russian Sasha stumbles across his doorstep, soft-hearted Joel offers him a job as a dancer and home, and falls for him along the way. But their budding relationship is fraught with problems when Joel returns to London because of a death in his family, and later has to deal with his business partner gambling away the clubs profits, leaving him in a precarious position and in danger when the men Karel gambles with come after Joel for the debt. The excerpt is from Chapter 3, when Joel blurts out what he’s thinking and is surprised by the response.

I wondered what his answer would be if I asked him on a date the way I’d thought of doing a hundred times. I imagined trying to sound casual as I blurted out what was in my head: “Would you like to have dinner with me tomorrow?” Would it really be so bad if I tried dating him? My excuses about the age difference, Sasha perhaps feeling obligated to say yes, and my previous failed relationship with a dancer had worn thin. Sasha wasn’t a child. He’d be twenty-one in a few weeks and was perfectly capable of making his own decisions. As long as I could control my jealousy when he was on the podium, it could all be fine. Then again, it was more likely he wasn’t interested in me in the slightest and would say no. Too long on my own had made me think I wasn’t much of a catch.
“Yes. That would be great. Thank you for asking.”
“Huh?” My mouth dropped open and I snapped it shut.
“I said yes, thank you. I’d like to go to dinner.”
Fuck, I said it out loud. It took me a moment to register that he’d accepted my invitation. I blinked and pulled myself together. “Good. What type of food do you like?”
“Anything is fine. Why don’t you choose what you like?”
“All right. Italian, then. We’ll go to my favorite restaurant. Do you have something smart but casual to wear? A shirt and pants?”
“Yes.” Sasha nodded and smiled.
“I’ll meet you here at seven.” I shouldn’t have been so excited over a dinner date. Although I’d known him a month, I knew very little about him. But the evening would be an opportunity to learn and I couldn’t wait.

AUTHOR BIO

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favorite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

LINKS

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/louiselyonsauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/louiselyons013
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/louiselyons013
Website: http://www.louiselyonsauthor.com

A-Summers-Day-Customdesign-JayAheer2016-finalcover

 

Release Date: 12th of August

Cover Art: Jay Aheer Simply Defined Art

Genre: MM Mixed*

We have modern retelling of some plays, interpretations of others and one of the sonnets, and delightful referencing of anything Shakespeare.

There is gentle YA romance next to very hot 18+ stories and all kinds of relationships – first love, May/December, interracial, second chances, happy endings and even a tragic one.

We’re travelling from Ancient Rome through Renaissance England to modern day UK, Venice Beach and other places in USA, Vancouver and Havana.

There’s fun, drama, tears, angst, joy and, above all, lots of true love.

Note: All proceeds of this collection go to the It Gets Better Project™.

Buy Links:
amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.co.uk:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-English-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.com.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/655310

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I absolutely love Shakespeare and am always pleased when his work is taken as a starting point for other fiction. So this week and next I’m delighted to be hosting th authors who contributed stories to A Summer’s Day, an anthology of Shakespearean stories with a bit of a twist. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, all the profits from sales of this book will go to the It Gets Better project!

I’ll be taking the authors in the order in which their stories appear in the book so today I’m pleased to welcome Rory Ni Coileain who penned “Deeper Than Did Ever Plummet Sound”

Good morning, Rory. Can you tell me what led you to pick your source material for your story?

I have always loved The Tempest. Apart from being a fascinating glimpse into a magickal mythos created entirely by Shakespeare (as opposed to, say, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which borrows a number of characters), it’s an incredibly malleable story. I’m in love with a two-novel set by Dan Simmons (one of the most literate authors out there), Ilium and Olympos; the main story is based on the Iliad and the Odyssey, but there’s a major subplot based on The Tempest. And I’ve never tried a May/December romance, but Prospero and Ariel were a natural combination!

Shakespeare definitely has a way with words. What is your favourite insult/endearment/inspiring passage/? Which bit do you wish you had written?

I lifted my favorite tirade and gave it to Clarence in “Deeper” – it’s from King Lear. And Clarence is based on Sir Ian McKellen, and oh, can I ever hear it in his voice: “Thou’rt a knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.”

What are you working on now?

UNDERTOW, number seven in my SoulShares series, just came out on July 19th, so I’m still doing publicity for that, and working on STONE COLD, number eight in the series. The SoulShares are urban fantasy – or paranormal, depending on your definition, I suppose – the world of the Fae split off from the human world more than 2,300 years ago, but every once in a while a Fae leaves the Realm voluntarily (rare) or involuntarily (much more common). And his soul is split in half, with half going through the Pattern and out into the human world, scattered at random through space and time to be reborn in a human. So if the Fae ever wants to be whole again, he has to find his SoulShare and join with him. Trouble is, Fae don’t believe in love… oh, and there’s a world-killing monster that was exiled from the Realm when the worlds split, and it’s ever so eager to get back and finish what it started…

Could we please have an excerpt?

Here’s a bit of a conversation between Clarence and his old school chum Jeremy, the director of the story’s production of The Tempest, the subject of which conversation is Troy, an actor who is doing his best to ruin the production out of sheer jealousy:

“Clarence.” Jeremy set down his bottle and extended his hands, palms down, patting the air as if he were trying to calm a possibly-but-maybe-not-harmless lunatic. “Are you saying you’re… not happy? With the production?”
Clarence snorted. He couldn’t help it. “Jeremy. My dear. Old. Friend.” He shook his head, setting the glass down and pushing it aside, hoping the bartender would notice and send over a replacement. “I cannot recall the last time I was happy with any production. I would be delighted to simply be not unhappy.”
“Would you give me a hint, at least?”
“Oh, for God’s sake. Troy sodding Miller.” That sounded marginally better than admitting he was pining after Jaymes.
Jeremy made a sound that reminded Clarence of a wet bladder being stepped on. “You would have to notice, damn it. My hands are tied.”
Clarence rested his chin on the heel of his hand with a sigh. “Let me guess. He’s connected.”
“How did you know?”
“There were three possibilities, dear boy. One was that he was outrageously talented and you simply couldn’t mount the production without him. Having been in a position to observe him over the last several weeks, I was able to rule out that option the moment you opened your mouth.”
Jeremy’s eyeroll was highly enjoyable. Clarence picked up his glass and shook it gently, setting the ice cubes clattering. Unfortunately, the bartender appeared to be preoccupied.
“The second possibility was that he was sleeping with the director.”
Perhaps it had been wicked of him to wait to deliver option number two until Jeremy had started to drain the last of his Guinness. However, wickedness was one of the perquisites of age he quite enjoyed.

Author Bio

Rory Ni Coileain majored in creative writing, back when Respectable Colleges didn’t offer such a major, so she had to design it herself, at a university which boasted one professor willing to teach creative writing, he being a British surrealist who went nuts over students writing dancing bananas in the snow but did not take well to the sort of high fantasy she wanted to write. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa at the age of nineteen, sent off her first short story to an anthology being assembled by an author she idolized, received one of those rejection letters that puts therapists’ kids through college (Ivy League), and found other things to do, such as going to law school, ballet dancing (at more or less the same time), and nightclub singing, for the next thirty years or so, until her stories started whispering to her. Now she’s a lawyer and a legal editor, and the proud mother of an about-to-graduate filmmaker, and is busily wedding her love of myth and legend to her passion for m/m romance.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Soulshares/
Twitter: @RoryNi
Blog: http://www.rorynicoileain.com

A-Summers-Day-Customdesign-JayAheer2016-finalcover

 

Release Date: 12th of August

Cover Art: Jay Aheer Simply Defined Art

Genre: MM Mixed*

We have modern retelling of some plays, interpretations of others and one of the sonnets, and delightful referencing of anything Shakespeare.

There is gentle YA romance next to very hot 18+ stories and all kinds of relationships – first love, May/December, interracial, second chances, happy endings and even a tragic one.

We’re travelling from Ancient Rome through Renaissance England to modern day UK, Venice Beach and other places in USA, Vancouver and Havana.

There’s fun, drama, tears, angst, joy and, above all, lots of true love.

Note: All proceeds of this collection go to the It Gets Better Project™.

Buy Links
amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.co.uk:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-English-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.com.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/655310

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collateral damage banner

Synopsis

Fleeing the questions and horrific memories in Miami-Dade, Trevor Garrett accepts a deputy position in the small town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Plagued by anxiety attacks and an abhorrence to being touched, Trevor rebuffs his best friend’s attempts to set him up. He has no desire for any type of relationship; until the local golden boy strolls into his line of sight at the neighborhood dive…

Logan Andrews just wants to take care of his mama. After years of serving his country in the Army Special Forces, Logan resigns when he learns his mother is suffering from advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease. A night out with old friends turns heated when the newest deputy in town catches his attention…

When a sexually deviant killer sets his sights on the gay men in the area, Trevor is assigned the case. In a wicked twist, all evidence points to Logan. Can Trevor’s past be repeating itself? In a race against a killer, Trevor struggles to overcome his own insecurities and clear the man whose touch sets him on fire. Will he succeed or will their budding relationship become Collateral Damage?

Excerpt

Excerpt
Spray painted names decorated the walls, but none of the gang type graffiti he was used to seeing back home. Footprints tracked the dusty floor. Most of them overlapped heading for the short hallway. A few stray ones meandered off to either side indicating three, possibly four different shoe types.
“Careful where you walk, we don’t want to disturb the unmarred prints,” he said, indicating the intact ones to the left and right. Will huffed in annoyance. “Right, you already knew that. I’ll stop sticking my shoe in my mouth; it tastes like shit.” Will laughed and clapped a friendly hand on Trevor’s back.
“When you’re being an ass, believe me I’ll let ya know. Let’s just get this done so we can get back to the air conditioning,” Will said.
“Gotcha,” Trevor answered and realized as he moved toward the hall, he’d made his first new friend in Rolling Fork. Well except for Logan, and he wasn’t sure if friend was the right word for the man. Fuck buddy? Certainly not a lover; that implied too much intimacy. Trevor hastily shoved his thoughts aside when his cock took notice. He cleared his throat. “How did we catch this?”
“Couple of kids hunting a make out spot came in this morning, maybe an hour ago. While the boy was laying out a blanket and pillows, girlfriend went investigating. When she went to screaming, he thought she’d found a rat or spider. He called 9-1-1 when he finally got her to shut up and moved her outside,” the deputy answered from behind them.
“And, you got their names and statements, right?” Trevor left the question hanging and looked over at the younger man.
“Yes, names and statements. Contact information too, though Krissy wasn’t keen on daddy knowing she was out with Beau. She was supposed to be at Laney’s with her best friend.” Mike answered.
Trevor took several photographs of the hall and then walked carefully down the middle. In a room to the right, Trevor spied the abandoned love nest. The blanket lay stretched across a cleared expanse of bare wooden floor. The pillows lay scattered where the boy had dropped them. A few snaps, including several of the wide array of footprints and he moved deeper into the structure.
A postage stamp bathroom with peeling tile opened on the left. Mold and God only knew what else grew in the bathtub. The toilet had been completely smashed and the sink hung drunkenly from the wall.
At the last door, he found the corpse. He paused in the doorway and winced. Flies buzzed around the bloated body. The smell stole his breath for several seconds. Behind him, Mike again struggled to keep his breakfast down, but he didn’t bolt that time. Will waited for Trevor to survey the scene.
Male, mid to late thirties, dark brown hair, possibly well built beneath the distended, gaseous flesh. Maybe six foot, sprawled on his stomach and naked. Trevor lifted the camera and took a few dozen shots before moving into the room.
“No blood.” Will murmured as he came around Trevor’s left shoulder. “Interesting.” The man circled the body mumbling quietly, but was careful to avoid any clear footprints.
Trevor did his own look-see. The medical examiner was right. No blood marred the scene, but that wouldn’t have been the case if left for another day. The skin was dangerously close to rupture. Breathing through his mouth, Trevor took more pictures and then donned gloves to start the collection of evidence. Will Davis went to his knees beside the body.
Trevor found jeans, a Polo pullover, underwear and socks folded and stacked neatly by the door. He assumed, they belonged to the vic. Wallet, including seventy-five dollars in cash, and cell phone were both tucked neatly into the back pockets of the jeans.
The front pockets disgorged loose change and keys. With his finds, Trevor easily ruled out robbery as a motive. The young deputy bagged each item separately as Trevor handed them to him. Before the wallet was sealed, Trevor checked the I.D.
“Joseph S. Rutledge.” He read aloud.
“Scottie?” From the doorway, Deputy Vann spoke up. Trevor glanced up at him. The kid held the evidence bags against his chest like a shield. Disbelief wreathed his youthful features.
“You know him?” Trevor asked.
“Yeah, he went to school with my cousin, David. He owns the flower shop down on Main. Who the hell would want to kill him?”
“That’s what we have to find out,” Trevor said and rose to his full height. “He have any arguments with anyone in town? Unhappy customers? Old girlfriends?” Trevor paced away from the body and bent to pick up a flash of silver in the corner. Some type of coin, he bagged it and carried to Vann.
“Nah, he’s a homo,” Vann blurted and turned scarlet. His fair complexion lit him up like a Christmas tree. Trevor bristled at the slur.
“He was a man who didn’t deserve to die,” Trevor bit out. “It’s clear he wasn’t here alone.”

Collateral Damage Cover

Buy Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FRM38RW
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01FRM38RW
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01FRM38RW
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01FRM38RW

Giveaway

Prize: 5 ecopies of Collateral Damage by J.T. Cheyanne

 

About the author

#1 Best Selling Author of Grand Slam, J.T. Cheyanne is a genre crosser who writes romance and paranormal in the m/m and m/f genres. J.T. Cheyanne resides in the beautiful state of Alabama. J.T. lives with her two sons and daughter. An avid reader since fourth grade, she has only just started writing her own stories. She also has several works published with her co-author, V.L. Moon.

Social Links:

Website: http://www.lazandlachi.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jtcheyannestories
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JTCheyanne
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6534660.J_T_Cheyanne

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On Being British

I am ridiculously British. To the point where even in my writing, it is glaringly apparent that I have spent the vast majority of my life on this damp cluster of rocks in the middle of a not especially welcoming sea. I even have, when I’m being all posh and shit, a BBC accent.

 

No prizes for guessing my writing’s like that too.

I am also bred from northern slum stock: my father remembers being moved out of the tenements after his four-year-old sister jumped out of bed and landed in the flat downstairs. Having more than two types of vegetable in a meal is ‘fancy’ and any meal without meat is a disappointing snack. And the only acceptable foreign food is curry.

The majority of me, including my author voice, stems from this upbringing. I don’t write the millionaire-meets-the-hooker trope, because a romance between the local drug dealer and a copper’s son is infinitely more interesting to me, especially the characters that would have to be involved. I love every minute of Red Dwarf, because the hero is a Scouser space bum who spends his existence playing the guitar (badly), riding around the ship on a dirty space bike (badly), and point-blank refusing to admit that his crewmates are his friends (badly). Because, you know, blokes. Not good at this emotional stuff.

Being British, I would never say ‘I love you.’ The nearest might be, ‘Yeah, well, you’re alright, I suppose.’ I would also never say ‘I hate you’ – that is measured on the scale from ‘he’s a bit of a knob’ to ‘he’s an absolute fucking cunt.’ The sentiment is there, but the words aren’t.

And that makes writing in a British voice both very difficult, and very fun. You’re massively open to misinterpretation of what you and your characters mean. What is affectionate between two British lads can often be viewed as rude, aggressive, hostile or even violent by outsiders. Show and not tell becomes not just a writing tip, but a writing necessity if you want your readers to follow the story, like the right characters, or even recognise subplots for what they are. It’s bloody hard, old bean.

But if you are like those lads, it can be very funny to watch the outsider struggling with what in the hell to do when they can’t read the situation. I’ve seen plenty of people on my Facebook struggling when I and another Brit – or even I and some of the most awesome non-Brits who really get this shit – start sounding off at each other. One of my oldest friends is a lad from Iowa with an intensely British sense of humour, and I’ve lost count of the number of times people have been thrown by our rude, aggressive, and very friendly and entertaining slanging matches. It’s hilarious, in a vicious little way, and something I do enjoy triggering on boring Sunday evenings.

It might not look like it but everyone’s having so much fun!

With Spy Stuff, I had an opportunity you might not expect out of a transgender character: I got to channel that entertainment.

Sure, Anton is firm in his identity as a boy. He knows what he is. But he’s also very new to other people identifying him as a boy. Because social transition isn’t just a transition in how a person presents themselves but, as a natural consequence, how others treat them. And as we all remember from being kids ourselves, boys and girls often act very differently in the presence of the other. So Anton’s a bit lost when it comes to the other boys for a while – is this friendly? Is this okay to join in with? Is he going to react in a way a girl might, and be teased or even found out for it?

And as the writer, I have to say, I enjoyed the shit out of those scenes: Anton watching warily from the sidelines while a personality smorgasbord of madcap British kids went for each other for…well, no real reason. From the habitual book-throwing at each other in morning registration to the technique of expressing happiness at the football results by jumping on each other, Anton is initially hesitant to join in for fear of reading the situation wrong, and being caught out.

In doing so, I found I’d managed to show one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my own experience in transitioning: sometimes, acceptance won’t be found in the crowd with rainbow flags on their profile pictures and who can recite the entire alphabet soup…but rather in the daft, insulting, aggressive, volatile clusters of idiots who don’t damn well care what you are, as long as you don’t support Manchester United.

About the Book

Anton never thought anyone would ever want to date him. Everyone knows nobody wants a transgender boyfriend, right? So he’s as shocked as anyone when seemingly-straight Jude Kalinowski asks him out, and doesn’t appear to be joking.

The only problem is … well, Jude doesn’t actually know.

Anton can see how this will play out: Jude is a nice guy, and nice guys finish last. And Anton is transgender, and transgender people don’t get happy endings. If he tells Jude, it might destroy everything.

And if Jude tells anyone else … it will.

 

Buy Links: ebook and print

 

About the Author

 Matthew is an asexual, transgender author dragged up in the wet and windy British Isles. He currently lives and works in West Yorkshire, and has a special fondness for writing the rough-edged British working class society in which he grew up — warts and all.

He roams mainly on Twitter and Facebook, has a free fiction page, runs a blog chronicling his own transition from female to male, and has a website. His young adult backlist can be found on his JMS Books author page. And as a last resort, he can also be contacted at mattmetzger@hotmail.co.uk.

An Excerpt from Spy Stuff

Anton slowly relaxed as Jude started to brighten up and just … talk. Jude chattering, Anton was starting to realise, was a sign that everything was alright. And Anton desperately wanted it to be, so he simply clung on to Jude’s hand — even though it was raining outside, and really too cold to not be wearing gloves — and let the noise wash over him all the way home.

Which meant, when he let them into the house and the smell of Aunt Kerry’s drunk spag bol invaded their clothes, Anton was … actually in kind of a good mood. Maybe he could do this. Maybe Jude would listen, even if in the end he still decided dating a trans guy wasn’t for him? There was a chance, right?

So when Lily appeared in the doorway, took one look at Jude, and screamed, Anton laughed.

“What the hell!” Jude yelped as she tore back into the kitchen.

“She’s –”

“Mummy, Anton’s friend’s on fire in the hall!”

“– kinda weird.”

“No shi — er, hell?”

“Just ignore her,” Anton advised, hanging up their coats. A nervous swoop made itself known when Jude grinned and kissed his ear, but he laughed it off and pushed him in the direction of the kitchen. “Go get us drinks or something.”

“It’s your house,” Jude said, but wandered off obediently. Anton took a moment to simply breathe before following him.

Lily had firmly decided — despite having seen Jude before and not having really clocked his hair — that Jude was on fire, and Anton had to wrestle a cup of water away from her before it ended up on Jude’s head.

“Nooo, give it back!” she wailed, stretching up to grab his belt as he put the cup in the sink and rummaged in the fridge for Cokes.

“Yeah, Anton, give it back. I might start melting the counter,” Jude said, sliding onto one of the stools at the island counters. Aunt Kerry, busy with dinner, simply chuckled at the both of them.

“You’re being mean!” Lily yelled, stamping her foot, then turned on Jude, skidding across the tiles to grab at his trousers. “You need a fireman!”

“It’s always that colour,” Jude said in a serious voice, but he was wearing an ear-splitting grin, and Anton’s heart clenched hard at the sheer beauty of him, despite the battered face.

“No, it’s on fire!”

“No it’s not,” Jude said. “It’s ginger.”

“That’s not ginger, ginger biscuits are ginger!”

“They’re brown.”

“If they’re brown,” Lily said seriously, “then why are they called ginger biscuits, huh?”

“Because they have ginger in them.”

“Which makes them ginger and that’s not ginger and you’re on fire!”

“Lily, leave Jude alone,” Aunt Kerry interjected.

“Jew?”

Jude dropped his head onto the counter with a muffled cackle into both hands, and Anton couldn’t help but laugh at sight of him. “Oh God,” he said. “Come on, let’s go into the living room, and –”

“Noooo, you can’t, he’ll put the living room on fire!”

“Lily, seriously, stop it with the fire, he’s not on fire.”

“Jew!” she screeched, and Jude did a full body twitch like he was trying not to curl in on himself. “Jew!”

“Jude!” Anton corrected.

Jude,” she echoed scornfully, throwing Anton a fabulously dirty look for a kid who wasn’t even six yet. “Jude!”

“What?” Jude managed, coughing and rubbing at his eyes, still grinning.

“Tell Tasha to stop it!”

Anton froze. Like a bucket of ice water being dumped on his head, every muscle seized up, and the Coke in the cans started rattling in his shaking hands. “Lily! Stop it!” Aunt Kerry barked, but Jude — oh God, Jude, totally oblivious Jude —

“Okay,” he said. “Who’s Tasha?”

Lily blinked, then flung her arm out, and pointed right at Anton. “Anton’s Tasha,” she said, like it was so obvious.

“Lily, that’s eno –”

“Anton was Natasha only then she became Anton and Mummy says I have to say he but I forget sometimes,” Lily continued in a loud, inescapable voice. It bounced off the walls and tiles, and one of the cans slipped through Anton’s hands and burst open on the floor. Coke was flung everywhere in long, fizzy bursts, soaking his socks and trousers, and through Lily’s indignant shriek and Aunt Kerry’s yell, all he could see was — was —

Jude.

The wide-eyed, confused stare that Jude was giving him. And the single word, that word, the word Anton hated.

“Natasha?”

Anton opened his mouth, found nothing coming up to save him, and did the only thing possible.

He bolted.

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