Category Archives: Romance

Polyamory Is About Love

I’ve read a number of MMM books over the years, and many were excellent—Us Three by Mia Kerick (this one is YA), The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles, Polar Reaction by Claire Thompson, and Dark Horse by Kate Sherwood are all great—but I was surprised to discover how strong the connection appeared to be between MMM and BDSM. Don’t get me wrong. BDSM is fine. It’s just not something I’m into, and I wouldn’t classify the poly relationships I know of in real life as having much to do with BDSM—certainly not all of them. (None of this is meant to imply anything about the content of the novels I listed—some have BDSM, some don’t.)

As I was developing the blurb for my novel, The Rules, it was mentioned more than once that I should emphasize that the book was hot, hot, HOT! and kinky… except that it isn’t, by my definition. Oh, sure, there’s plenty of sex and those scenes are hot. But the novel isn’t specifically meant to be kinky or about a hot menage or threesome (both of which terms imply a temporary, sexual circumstance to me, rather than a permanent relationship).

It’s about three men with emotional holes in their lives coming together to form a loving, polyamorous family. (The search engine on Goodreads tells me “polyamory” is mostly used for nonfiction. Seriously?)

Hans feels alienated from his family. After his parents divorced, his father drifted away, and his mother and sister grew close, more or less excluding him. Thomas was thrown out of his family and cut off from his inheritance for being gay, and Boris… Boris is a mess. He survived bullying and worse at the hands of his country, Russia, and has a dark secret he’s afraid to reveal to anyone. But they come together to heal and love one another. The sex (and there is a lot of sex for a Jamie Fessenden novel) begins as kind of a kinky situation, but quickly becomes more than that.

My point is simply that a polyamorous relationship should be viewed as an alternate type of relationship. Polyamorous families are families. They involve more than two people, but they are still families. They aren’t about sex (exclusively)—they’re about love.

Family is how you define it.

BLURB

WHEN HANS BAUER, a college student in New Hampshire, accepts a job as a housekeeper for an older gay couple, he soon learns the reason they’ve hired someone with no experience is that professional agencies won’t work there. Thomas is a successful businessman whose biggest goal in life appears to be giving his husband anything he wants. Boris is a writer who immigrated to this country from Russia, and suffers from depression and PTSD because of the things he endured in his native country.

He also refuses to wear clothes—ever.

While Hans is working alone in the house with Naked Boris all day, things start getting a little weird. Boris gets flirtatious and Hans backs away, not wanting to come between him and his husband. So Boris calls Thomas at work and asks permission.

At that moment, The Rules are born—rules about touching and kissing and pet names that the three men use to keep jealousies at bay, as they explore the possibilities in a new type of relationship….

WARNING: This story deals with themes of sexual assault and past abuse.

BUY LINK

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rules-Jamie-Fessenden-ebook/dp/B075FPT1VF/

EXCERPT

[Hans comes to the house to ask Boris to pose nude for his art project.]

The house was wonderfully cool. They must have been running the air-conditioner, though Hans couldn’t hear anything. The place was absolutely silent, as if nobody was home. Hans closed the door and called Boris’s name, but there was no response. From the front hall, he could see the sofa, and it was bare. Hans did a quick check of the downstairs rooms. The study door was open, and the room was empty. It also smelled kind of like a men’s locker room. Hans wondered if Boris would let him in again to clean on Tuesday.

At the end of the hall, Hans looked out the French doors and spotted his quarry. Boris was lying on the lawn, sunbathing face down on a large blue-and-white beach towel. Hans opened one of the doors and stepped outside.

Boris heard him and raised his head. “Hans! I did not expect you today.”

“No.” Hans crossed the patio to where he was stretched out. “I’m not normally… Boris Ivanich, do you have sunblock on?” The Russian’s back was getting a little red.

“It did not occur to me.”

Hans set his backpack on the grass. “Do you have some in the house?”

“Thomas might. I do not know.”

Hans frowned at him. “Hold on.” He went back inside. I swear, it’s like looking after a kid. He wasn’t sure where to search for sunblock, but the bathroom seemed a good possibility. He checked the downstairs half-bath first. There was nothing in the medicine cabinet, but he found an old plastic tube of sunscreen under the sink. It was nearly empty, but there was a little left.

He went back outside and knelt in the grass beside Boris. “You really should put some on. You’re getting burned.”

Boris took the tube and opened it. He scrunched up his nose. “It smells like coconut.”

“I got this out of your bathroom. You must have used it at some point.”

Boris waved dismissively. “Not me. Maybe Thomas.”

“Well, it’s the only one I could find, so stop being difficult.”

Boris grinned, and Hans’s heart did a little flutter. That wasn’t good.

“Okay,” Boris said, handing the tube back to him. He put his head down and wiggled his butt like an excited puppy. “You may put some on me.”

“Oh, may I, your majesty?” Hans was using sarcasm to disguise his sudden discomfort. It really didn’t seem like a good idea for him to rub lotion on Boris’s… anything.

Boris snickered. “Please put some on me?”

“I’m not sure I should do that, Boris Ivanich.”

“Why not?”

“Well, because you’re naked.”

“I am always naked.”

“Yes,” Hans explained patiently, “but I’m not always touching you.”

Boris lifted his head again and cocked an eyebrow at him. Then he grunted and nodded. “You are worried about Thomas.”

“I don’t want to do anything that would upset him,” Hans said. Then he quickly added, “Or that we’d have to hide from him.”

Boris held out his hand. “Do you have your phone?”

Hans hesitated, but Boris made an impatient gesture with his fingers, so he dug his cell out of his pocket and handed it over. He watched nervously while Boris dialed. Boris put it on speaker while it rang, placing it on the towel between them.

“Hans?” Thomas asked. “You still can’t find him?”

“I am here,” Boris said.

“Oh. Why do you have Hans’s phone?”

“He gave it to me in exchange for a blow job.”

Hans gasped. “I did not!”

Thomas laughed. “What’s going on?”

“Hans tells me I will get sunburned,” Boris said, “so I should put on this nasty-smelling coconut shit. But I cannot reach my back—I am not a comic book character—and he will not put it on me.”

“You’re sunbathing? Since when do you sunbathe?”

Boris made a rude noise. “That is beside the point. I need you to tell Hans you won’t divorce me and come after him with a butcher knife if he rubs coconut shit on my back.”

“You two will be the death of me,” Thomas muttered, but there was a note of affection in his voice. Hans assumed that was for Boris, but the way Thomas had said “you two” sounded as if they were all somehow together. Hans was surprised by how much he liked that. “Hans, I won’t divorce Boris and come after you with a butcher knife if you rub coconut shit on his back.”

“Thank you,” Boris told him.

“But Boris? You behave.”

“Me?” Boris sounded scandalized.

“Don’t think I can’t see what’s happening.”

“What is happening?”

“You’re attracted to Hans,” Thomas said calmly.

Hans was suddenly dizzy. This is not normal. People don’t have conversations like this! He wanted to run away, but he was riveted.

Boris looked at Hans for a moment, as if he were evaluating the truth of Thomas’s statement. At last he said, “That is true.”

“And I think Hans is attracted to you.”

Hans tried to answer but couldn’t speak. Boris smirked and said, “He might answer that, after he stops pissing himself.”

“Shut up,” Hans said, finally finding his voice. Boris grinned.

“I’m not going to flip out over it,” Thomas went on, “but I think we should all sit down and talk about this, especially if Hans decides to move in for the summer. For today, I need you both to understand what my boundaries are. I’m fine with you rubbing lotion on each other’s backs, chests, arms, and legs. I guess butts are reasonable. But don’t be rubbing lotion on each other’s dicks—your crotch is not a hard-to-reach spot.” Then he dropped the bombshell. “If you get so turned on you absolutely can’t stand it, jerk off in front of each other, but don’t jerk each other off. Are we clear?”

“Yes, yes,” Boris said, clearly enjoying this. “We’ll fondle each other’s asses and jerk off, but no touching of dicks.” He glanced at Hans, who was sure his face had turned bone white. “Or maybe Hans will run screaming in terror and never come to our house again. I will keep you informed.”

“Buck up, Hans. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Be nice to him, Boris.”

“I will be very nice to him.”

Thomas groaned, but he said goodbye and hung up.

Hans wasn’t sure what to make of the exchange, and he was pretty wigged out. “What just happened?”

“You were worried about how Thomas would feel,” Boris said matter-of-factly, “so I asked him.”

“Did he just tell us to jerk off together?”

“No,” Boris replied. “He explained what would bother him and what would not. Jerking off together would not bother him. That does not mean we have to do it.”

“All I wanted was for you to put on some suntan lotion!”

 

Advertisements

8 Comments

Filed under College, Contemporary, Drama, Excerpt, gay, Gay Marriage, Jamie Fessenden, New Release, Nudity, Rape, Romance, Russian

Excerpt from Roe Horvat’s new novel “Dirty Mind”

Alexander Popescu is a university lecturer in a quiet German town. He’s a respectable man in his thirties who stays fit, has a decent career, travels alone—his only vice is an occasional greasy meal. And beer. And violent computer games. Nobody has to know about the other Alex—the acclaimed porn writer. His ingenious erotic fantasies earn him good money and keep his capricious mind harmlessly entertained.

When his young friend and protégé Christian transfers to Freiburg for medical school, Alex is overjoyed…and terrified that Christian will find out about Alex’s indecent alter ego. The time they spend together, as lovely as it is, could overturn Alex’s carefully balanced life. Suddenly, the writing is not good enough, his hair seems to be thinning, his careful hookups leave him unfulfilled, and his dreams are haunted by the innocent young man he’s vowed to protect.

However, Christian is not a boy anymore. He’s a grown man of twenty-one, clever and deadly attractive. And he’s hiding some secrets of his own.

Excerpt

I was just waving down the bartender when a tension-charged silence fell on us. It was like in a spaghetti western when the hero walks into the saloon, and everyone turns their heads. Christian entered the bar, and every guy within a ten-meter radius looked his way. I could swear there were gasps.

He wasn’t too tall, maybe one seventy-five, and he had the shiniest blond hair. The sun-bleached mop of golden strands surrounded his head like a halo as if he’d descended directly from heaven to save our lost, dirty souls. But angels probably wouldn’t come down to earth dressed in faded cut-off jeans and purple flip-flops.

Christian had some insignificant friend or two with him, but I didn’t notice their gender let alone their faces. His bright-blue eyes were all I could see, almost turquoise in the colorful night lights. His nose and cheeks were covered with summer freckles, and he glowed. He was so young.

I admit I was one of those who gasped. Just before I got genuinely scared for him.

He looked a little dazed, like a newborn foal looking around the barn for the first time, big eyes, gangly limbs and all. The innocence and naiveté drifted with him like a glittering mist.

The couple who had come with him hit the dance floor as soon as they got their hands on two beer bottles. Alone, Christian sat on a barstool a mere few meters away from me, facing the crowd, faint wonder on his angelic face.

He wasn’t going to last. I could see the mob forming already.

It took thirty seconds for the first man to hit on him. I watched Christian’s face as his eyes widened, and his mouth formed a perfect O. Whatever the guy said to him, it was not the right thing. The boy turned bright red and leaned back, trying to get as far away from the man as the bar counter allowed. He mumbled something; the other man shrugged and took off, leaving Christian stunned.

It was like some sick, speed-dating reality show, the guys coming and going, the bewildered boy rejecting them all. He laughed from astonishment several times. Until it wasn’t funny anymore.

The last candidate was probably my age, fake tan, extravagantly dyed hair, beefy arms, colorful designer clothes. Sleazy, with a fucking gold chain and a geometrical black goatee that was so perfect it looked glued on. And he didn’t leave, he leaned closer and closer, ignoring the boy’s protests. Then one big paw landed on Christian’s thigh, a thick thumb massaging along the inner seam of the boy’s jeans, and for the first time, I saw genuine fear in those bright-blue eyes. It was sobering to watch.

In hindsight, it wasn’t the smartest thing I’d ever done, but I acted quickly. I slid off my stool and closed the distance between us in five strides. I cast my arm around the boy’s shoulders careful not to add weight, trying to signal him subtly that it was all for show. He flinched anyway.

Quickly, I offered the most cliché phrase there was.

“Sorry I’m late,” I said. I hoped the douchebag hadn’t noticed me on the other side of the bar, sitting there for an hour straight. “Been having trouble without me, Squirrel?” I looked the fake-tanned sleazeball in the eyes as I said that. Was he wearing tinted contacts? Close up, the guy looked like an oiled, airbrushed spawn of Steven Seagal and a Ken doll. Bleh.

There was a second when Christian seemed to weigh his options, in the end deciding that I was going to be the lesser of two evils.

“A bit,” he quipped next to me, playing along at last. “You were supposed to be here an hour ago.” He was clever. His voice shook, though. He had a heavy German accent.

“My apologies, gentlemen. I am intruding, obviously. Have a nice evening.” The sleazy guy, Scottish apparently, nodded my way and left. Not drunk, then, but that only made it worse. I despised those pushy, slimy daddy-types who wouldn’t accept a simple “no” without puffing their chest.

I turned towards Christian and dropped my arm, taking a step back, giving him much-needed space. “Are you OK?” I switched to German, and his head snapped at that.

“Yeah,” he said uncertainly.

“I’m not going to hit on you, I swear.”

He chuckled nervously. “That is a relief.”

“Where are your friends?” I looked around, but the couple was nowhere in sight.

“Hooking up on the beach, I imagine,” he answered, frowning.

“You need better friends. You shouldn’t be here alone. Not the smartest thing for your first time in a gay bar, abroad, and without backup.” Seriously, someone should have been looking out for this kid.

He scowled. It only made him more adorable. “How do you know it’s my first time?”

I pointed my finger at his sunny hair. “It says so right here, in big neon capital letters. Do you have someone to call to pick you up?”

His shoulders slumped, and he shook his head. “God, no! My mom would freak. We said we were going to a pizza place two blocks away from the hotel. She can’t know I’m here.”

“Which hotel?” I asked and immediately regretted it. His eyes narrowed. “Forget it, don’t tell me. How about I put you in a cab?”

“I should wait for Mischa and Gustav. I’m sure they’ll be back in half an hour tops.”

“Want me to keep you company until they arrive, to chase away the hyenas and such?”

He smiled nervously and shrugged.

“Like I said, I’m not going to hit on you. I like my men legal, thank you very much.”

He scowled again, making my smile broader. “I’m eighteen.”

“Do you want me to hit on you, Squirrel?”

“No!” he squealed, and I had to laugh out loud.

“There you go. You look sixteen, by the way. I’m buying you a drink but no alcohol. And watch it! I could easily slip some shit into your glass.”

“You are worse than my mother,” he grumbled, but his smile was warm.

“Thank you for the compliment. So, small talk, where are you from?”

“Berlin. We’re here for two weeks, with my mom and my uncle’s family.”

“Family holiday, huh?”

“Yeah. And you?”

“I was born in Berlin. The last few years, I’ve been living in Freiburg.”

“And your English? You have an American accent.”

“Observant,” I nodded, impressed with his quickness. My accent was faint, blotched with German, and I’d said what, two sentences in English earlier? “My mom is American and my dad Romanian. They met in West Berlin in the seventies and stayed.”

“So you speak Romanian, too?”

“Sadly, no. I don’t have any fascinating language skills. Only a weird name.”

“How weird?” he prompted.

“Alexander Popescu. Alex for you.”

“Christian König.” He offered me a hand, like the nice-mannered boy he was. He was lovable all around. And skinny.

“Are you hungry? I might order patatas bravas.”

Book Buy Links:

Amazon: http://a.co/eTpgqfi

Publisher: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/dirtymind

Paperback: http://beatentrackpublishing.com/shop/proddetail.php?prod=dirtymind

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36086082-dirty-mind

Author bio

Roe was born in former Czechoslovakia and endured a miserable adolescence in the post-communist wasteland. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, they left for Germany and later, Spain.
Finally, they settled in Sweden, where the weather is nasty but the freedom great. Roe works as a motion graphics artist, loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams and everything in between, preferably by the fireplace with a strawberry daiquiri in hand. Roe writes contemporary romantic fiction—it conveniently balances out their real-life pragmatism.
When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

Get in touch with the Roe:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roe.horvat.98

Website: https://www.roehorvat.com

Twitter: @roehorvat

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Tour, Contemporary, Drama, Excerpt, gay, New Release, Romance

Excerpt from “When Heaven Strikes” by F.E. Feeley, Jr.

Can love survive heaven’s wrath?

Artist Ted Armstrong lives a solitary and eccentric life. The survivor of child abuse disguised as religion, Ted has cut himself off from the world.

Then Ted meets Anderson Taylor, and it’s like being struck by lightning.

Anderson is a cardiac surgeon whose passion for his work has consumed him. He fears he’ll never find a partner—until he sets eyes on Ted. It’s happening fast, but both men know what they feel is right.

Confronted with an angry preacher, a scandal, and an act of God that threatens to destroy everything, their relationship will face it’s first true test.

EXCERPT:

The wind chimes danced in the gentle sigh of the night, but for some reason Ted jerked awake. He wasn’t sure why at first but he was alert. Slowly, he sat up and took in his surroundings. Anderson who had rolled onto his back was unusually tense. His eyes shifted hard behind closed lids, and a light sweat had broken out on his head. His body jerked once, twice, three times.

            “Ted… get…way….”

            “– ooooooove!”

            Ted moved to touch his shoulder but hesitated when Anderson shouted.

            “Teddy!”

            Anderson started thrashing in his sleep.  Not wanting to startle him, Ted reached out and rubbed his face.

            “It’s okay, Anderson. It’s just a dream.”

            “Oh…Teddy….”

            Ted smiled to himself. Anderson was calming down. His lips were pursed, and his hair was sweaty against his forehead, but his breathing had slowed.

            “It’s just a nightmare. I’m right here,” Ted whispered gently.

            Anderson was caught in the twilight, halfway between wakefulness and dreams.

            “… the storm….”

            “There is no storm, Anderson. It’s a nightmare. Okay?”

            “…kay….”

            Anderson rolled over in bed toward the reassuring voice and placed a hand on Ted’s chest. Ted took the hand and kissed his knuckles, then his fingers, the open palm and then put it on his own face as if he could absorb the talent and know-how, the brilliance that it took to do what Anderson did.  Ted marveled at the softness of it, the warmth and tenderness, and was moved. Carefully, he got out of bed and disappeared through the door, only to return carrying his sketchpad.  Anderson stirred again, and the blankets slid down Anderson’s body to where they just covered his hips. He was on his side, snuggled deep into a pillow, his mouth partly open.  Ted sat in the wingback chair opposite the bed. Moonlight streamed through the window bathing the scene in silver light. He turned on the dim side table lamp to add shadows and definition to Anderson’s sleeping form. With one eye—his right eye now completely swollen shut– with a bruised hand, he sketched the sleeping form furiously. He worked, inhaling deeply over and over again as adrenaline rushed through his body and down his arm to his fingers.

            He paid attention to the curve of Anderson’s shoulder, the slope of his arm resting on the mattress where Ted had lain just moments before, the gentle slope of his side as it dipped down toward his hips, and the cleft of his buttocks. He painstakingly captured the slight openness of his mouth, the tender eyelashes, his chin jutted out defiantly in his sleep, and the curls spilling over his pillow.

            When he was done, he wiped sweat from his forehead with the back of his aching drawing hand and smiled softly at the man who was in his bed.

 Outside, the wind picked up and the night called out its lonesome song of crickets and the rustle of trees. He had the window open and watched as the curtains sucked to the screen, suddenly billowed outward as the breeze shifted direction, and assailed the room with the fragrance of coming rain.  With that change of direction in the wind, Ted had a realization that made his heart hammer slowly and deliberate.  As his body relaxed, cooled by the breeze and lonesome for the comforting warmth of another person, and the bed became more and more attractive to him, he said aloud something only he and the night heard.

            “I’m falling in love with you.”

            Anderson murmured in his sleep and rolled over on his back, throwing his hand above him before settling down. His chest was bare, and Ted reached out to stroke it.  He knew his drawing was good. Yet he lamented silently that no matter how good a work of art could be, it was a mere reflection of the realness of the man. His silky skin.  The way he smelled. The observer would not understand the tone of voice nor the mind that lay dormant beneath closed eyelids.  In a way that made Ted sad, but then again, it also made him happy in the place where he kept his jealousy bone. That place that was always tender to the touch, easily made sore.

His eyes—or rather, his eye—was getting droopy and he wrote a title above the drawing before setting it on the floor next to his bed.  He crawled underneath the covers once more and reached for the light to turn it off.  The rain clouds rolled in, and darkness washed over the room. He wrapped an arm around Anderson, who turned turn his back to him.  Easy, as not to disturb him too much, he pulled, and Anderson scooted back until his ass was flush to Ted’s groin, which twitched its appreciation. The night sang, and the rain began to fall. Mr. Jefferson leaped onto the bed. As Ted closed his eyes, he felt the cat curl up at his feet, and with a slight smile tugging at his lips, he bid farewell to the day.

Amazon eBook: https://www.amazon.com/When-Heaven-Strikes-F-E-Feeley-ebook/dp/B07452W7HK/

Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/When-Heaven-Strikes-F-E-Feeley/dp/1521910529/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

F.E. Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and lived there for twenty years before joining the military. He is a veteran of the US Armed Services; having done a tour in support of Operation Iraq Freedom in 2002-2003, he turned college student, pursuing a degree in political science. He now lives in Southeast Texas where he is married to the love of his life, John, and where they raise their 1½ year old German shepherd, Kaiser.

As a young man, reading took center stage in his life, especially those novels about ghosts, witches, goblins, and all the other things that went bump in the night. His favorite authors include such writers as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice, whose work allowed him to travel to far off places and meet fascinating and scary characters. As a gay man, he wishes to be able to write good fictional literature for those who love the genre and to write characters that readers can relate to. All in all, he is a cigarette smokin’, whiskey drinkin’, rock and roll lovin’, tattoo wearin’ dreamer of a man with a wonderful husband who puts up with his crap and lets him write his stories.

F. E. Feeley Jr

Author of The Memoirs of the Human Wraiths
Web Coordinator for The Paranormal Romance Guild
‘Where the pursuit of extraordinary love, romance, and passion is first and foremost.’

4 Comments

Filed under Contemporary, Drama, Excerpt, gay, New Release, Occult/Paranormal, Religion, Romance

I just finished my first MMM Romance!

I’ve just finished a novel that explores some themes I’ve been toying with for a while now. I’m doing a final polish before sending it off for editing, and I’ll be working with the cover artist soon. Despite what the title might suggest, there is no BDSM in this novel. It’s a MMM romance, and it should be released this fall.

“The Rules” is about Hans Bauer, a college student in New Hampshire who accepts a job as a housekeeper for an older gay couple, Thomas and Boris. He soon learns that the reason they’ve hired someone with no experience is that professional agencies won’t work there. Boris is a writer who immigrated to this country from Russia, and suffers from depression and PTSD because of some of the things he endured in his native country.

He also refuses to wear clothes — ever.

While Hans is working alone in the house with Naked Boris all day, things start getting a little weird. When Boris gets flirtatious, Hans backs away, not wanting to come between him and his husband. So Boris calls Thomas at work and asks permission.

And at that moment, The Rules are born — rules about touching and kissing and pet names that the three men use to keep jealousies at bay, as they explore the possibilities in a new type of relationship….

 

4 Comments

Filed under Christmas, College, Contemporary, Drama, gay, Gay Marriage, Jamie Fessenden, Nudity, Rape, Romance, Russian, Writing

Guest Blog: J. Scott Coatsworth on “The Great North”

Where to Tell the Story

They say write what you know, but that’s always seemed like dubious advice to me.

As a writer of sci fi and fantasy, I often write tales set in distant or unknown locations – to date, these have included London; Althos; Avalon; Purgatory; Oberon and Titania; Forever; a half-drowned San Francisco; faery; Thompson Falls, Montana; and some imaginary village in northern Quebec, to name a few. More about that village in a moment.

Most of these places are imaginary, and the ones that aren’t are either places I’ve never been or real places that are far separated from our own time.

So when I planned to write a retelling of a Welsh myth, reset to a few hundred years in the future, I knew I needed to find the right place to tell the story, even if it was a place I’d never seen.

With climate change and warming a virtual certainty in our future, I decided it had to be somewhere in the North. I decided to try Canada, and pulled up Apple Maps to scan the terrain for someplace currently out in the wilds that might make a good setting for a future agrarian village. I started out near Vancouver and worked my way east.

When I saw this lake in Quebec, I knew I’d found my story’s setting:

That’s Lake Manicouga, formed in an ancient asteroid crater by a dam that sits at the far southern tip of the lake. It met all my criteria – In the far north, the site of something ancient and mysterious, and just a really cool place.

Turns out there’s a little highway that runs along the eastern side of the lake, which provided the perfect setting for my village of Manicougan (see what I did there?). And with a little more imagination (and research), I moved some of the plants and animals from farther south up to central and Northern Quebec, where the climate should be quite a bit warmer than it is now.

So it’s not really “write what you know.” It should really be “write what you can research. And then throw in a bit of fantasy to keep it interesting.” 🙂

—Scott

Blurb:

Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, who is betrothed to marry Kessa in a few weeks’ time.

Mael is shepherding the remains of his own village from the north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed Land’s End.

Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When the two meet, their love and attraction may change the course of history.

—————

The Great North was inspired by St. Dwynwen’s Day, also known as Welsh Valentines Day:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwynwen

Excerpt:

“We celebrate Dwyn’s Day as a testament to true love and sacrifice. It’s a remembrance of the way things were and the way they’ve come to be. In the end, let it be a reminder that every one of us has the power to change the course of events through love.”

—Dillon Cooper, New Gods and Monsters, Twenty years After Dwyn

The gray clouds scudded by overhead, blowing in quickly from the east.

Dwyn shivered and pulled on his woolen cap. It was cold out, unusual for so early in the fall. The rains had been heavy this season, the wettest in a generation, and Circle Lake was close to overflowing its banks. If he stretched to look over the rows of corn plants, he could see the waters lapping at the shore far below, as if hungry to consume his village of Manicouga.

His father had consulted the elders, some of whom had seen more than fifty summers, and everyone agreed things were changing. Whether that augured good or ill was anyone’s guess.

He shrugged and moved along the row of plants, breaking off ears of corn and throwing them into the jute sack that hung from his shoulder.

Ahead of him, two of his age-mates, Declan and Baia, were working their way down the next two rows.

Dwyn frowned. He got distracted easily, and he’d let the two of them get a jump on him. That wouldn’t do.

He redoubled his pace. He moved with focus and purpose, and soon he was closing the gap with his friends.

“Someone’s being chased by a lion,” Baia said with a laugh.

“Or a tiger.” Declan grinned, his nice smile only missing one tooth, lost to a fight with one of the Beckham brothers the year before.

Dwyn grinned. “Or a bear?” Dwyn only knew lions and tigers from the fairy tale his mother used to tell them, “The Girl and the Aus.” He had no idea what an Aus was, either.

Bears he knew. The hunters occasionally brought one home, and old Alesser had a five-line scar across his wrinkled face that he claimed came from one of the beasts.

A shout went up from ahead of them. Dwyn craned his neck to see what the ruckus was, but he couldn’t make out anything. “What’s going on?”

Declan, who was half a head taller, looked toward the commotion. “Hard to tell. Something down by the road.”

Dwyn laid down his sack carefully and ran up the hill to one of the old elms that dotted the field. He climbed into the tree, scurrying up through the leaves and branches until he had a clear view of the Old Road. It ran from up north to somewhere down south, maybe near the ruins of old Quebec if the merchant tales held any truth. Hardly anyone from Manicouga ever followed it, but occasionally traders would follow it to town, bringing exotic wares and news from the other villages that were scattered up and down its length.

They swore it went all the way down to the Heat, the great desert that had consumed much of the world after the Reckoning.

“What’s going on down there?” Baia called from below.

Dwyn tried to make sense of it. “There are three wagons coming down the pass. They’re loaded up with all sorts of things. They don’t look like traders though.”

The first of the horse-drawn wagons had just reached the field above the main township. It stopped, and someone hopped off to talk with the villagers who had gathered from the fields.

“We need to get down there,” Dwyn said, scrambling down the tree trunk. “Something’s happening.” Nothing new ever happened in Manicouga, and he wasn’t going to miss it.

He grabbed his sack and sprinted toward the Old Road, not waiting to see if Declan and Baia followed.

 

Buy Links Etc:

Mischief Corner Books: http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/store/p121/The_Great_North.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07172TL6H?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-great-north-j-scott-coatsworth/1126572845?ean=2940157258634

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-great-north

Smashwords: Coming Soon

iBooks: https://itun.es/us/ec62jb.l

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35182345-the-great-north

Author Bio:

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook (personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook (author page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Blog Tour, Excerpt, Fantasy, gay, Guest Blogger, New Release, Romance, Young Adult

Guest Blog: “Welcome to my writer cave” by J. Scott Coatsworth

skythane8-1The writer cave.

Every writer has one.

Mine is one corner of the office I share with my husband Mark, and doubles as my work desk for the EDJ, although it’s probably less evil than most, since we work for ourselves. Still, it’s not writing, so I guess it qualifies.

Look around, and, you’ll find my little collection of desk things Mark has given me. Chief among these is my Buddah Board, this little stone board that came with a bamboo brush. You paint with water, and your works fade away in moments, as ephemeral as the wind. It’s a very Zen thing, learning to let go of your art. I use it every day.

There’s “the eye”, as Mark calls it, my round, color-changing clock that always seems to be set to the wrong time.

There’s the magnetic hourglass Mark gave me for our anniversary, and of course, my little Marvin the Martian flash drive.

I love my desk toys.

On the walls, you’ll find my mounted posters for Guy Gavriel Kay’s “Tigana” and for “The Lord of the Rings”, as well as a painting by a local author called “View From Mars” that I look at when I need a little inspiration.

Last but not least, my music – the collection of a lifetime, on a phone the size of my hand. We truly do live in wondrous (if scary) times.

Stop by sometime and I’ll give you the grand tour.

Unless I’m busy writing, in which case you’ll have to settle for Marvin the Martian tour guide. 😉

——————

My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Authors: J. Scott Coatsworth

Cover Artist: Anne Caine

Blurb:

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

skythane8-1Excerpt:

Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

 I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

 Buy Links Etc:

Dreamspinner – eBook: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/skythane-by-j-scott-coatsworth-8154-b

Dreamspinner – paperback: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/skythane-by-j-scott-coatsworth-8155-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Skythane-J-Scott-Coatsworth-ebook/dp/B01MUF8D9G/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/skythane-j-scott-coatsworth/1125557133?ean=9781635334036

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/skythane

iBooks: https://linkmaker.itunes.apple.com/en-us/details/1195468498?country=us&mediaType=books&term=Skythane

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33899235-skythane?from_search=true 

j-scott-coatsworthAuthor Bio:

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Tour, Fantasy, gay, New Release, Occult/Paranormal, Romance, SciFi

The Jomsvikings

jomsvikingsI’ve been working on a novel for a while now—an adaptation of The Saga of the Jomsvikings, which was written in Old Icelandic in the 13th century. It tells of an elite band of viking warriors residing in the fortress of Jomsborg on the island of Jom. They were theoretically real, though it’s hard to say how much truth there is to the story. They appear in other sagas, including the ones I based my first YA novel Seidman on. But by then, they were in decline. They appear briefly at the battle of Svoldr, when King Olaf Tryggvason was defeated, but they quickly decided to sit the battle out.

This novel will be an adult MM romance, because, frankly, the story begs to be a MM romance. It’s a fortress full of young men, and no women are allowed. The Norse were a very homophobic society, but I can’t imagine a context like this in which absolutely no sexual activity occurred. Conveniently, the saga has a gap of three years between the initial founding and selection of warriors and the death of their leader, which led to their decline. I’ve written up to that point, and now I’ve begun to fill in those three years. That’s where the romance will really take place.

I decided to tell the story from the POV of two characters not actually in the saga: Bragi and Asleif.

ragnarBragi is older than most of the men in the fortress, and he’s seen a lot of combat. He’s weary of the death he sees on the battlefield, but he’s a survivor and he takes pride in his skill with a blade. At Jomsborg, he’s given the opportunity to pass some of his knowledge of fighting techniques along to others and help keep them alive. The actor who most closely resembles him is Travis Fimmel from Vikings.

tumblr_mub3o5naae1qa2ovmo1_500Asleif is young, and he has endured a lot of teasing over the years because of his feminine features, even after he grew to stand over his comrades. He’s skilled and cocky, and sees Bragi as a challenge. But he also senses a strong sexual undercurrent between them. Bragi is hesitant to pursue it, but Asleif gleefully chases after him, despite the danger of discovery. I found this picture online, which I believe is of Alexander Skarsgard, and despite the modern clothes and background, it perfectly represents the image I have of Asleif in my head.

The novel has been coming along slowly, in part because the saga is very short and sparse. I’m having to flesh out a lot of scenes. It also requires a lot of research into Viking fighting styles, locations (Jomsborg was most likely on the island of Wolin in modern-day Poland), and what life would be like in that environment. But it’s coming along.

Here’s an excerpt from when Asleif is being tested in mock combat to see if he can be accepted into Jomsborg. He’s part of Vagn’s crew — Vagn being a 12-year-old boy with his own raiding fleet, and no I didn’t make that up — and the entire crew is fighting against the men already residing in Jomsborg.

Excerpt:

Asleif parried a thrust to his midsection, and then bashed his attacker in the face with his shield. The Jomsviking staggered back. He seemed to be readying himself for another charge, but Bragi came up behind him and forcefully shoved him aside. “Leave him! He’s mine!”

The warriors swarming Asleif suddenly drew back, forming a circle around him and Bragi. Asleif was so startled, he almost failed to parry Bragi’s attack—almost. He deflected Bragi’s sword with the head of his axe in a quick upward and outward motion.

“Good!” Bragi shouted delightedly.

Asleif knew then that Bragi wanted him to test him, rather than kill him. Not that it was going to be easy. Bragi’s next cut was swift and powerful, looping around Asleif’s arm and coming up inside. Asleif barely managed to jump back in time to prevent a nasty cut to his abdomen. As it was, the tip of Bragi’s sword cut through his tunic, before he slammed down upon it with the edge of his shield.

It was a hasty move, and it opened his upper body up for an attack. Bragi lost no time in crashing down upon Asleif’s head with his own shield. Asleif had a thick head—he’d be the first to admit it. And he was wearing a helmet. So the blow didn’t knock him unconscious, but it rattled him. He staggered back.

“You went easy on me,” he grumbled. “You could have easily hit my eyes or my throat.”

Bragi grinned. “Now, what would be the fun in that?”

It pissed Asleif off to be treated like a child. But he’d also seen in just the few blows they’d exchanged that Bragi’s skill was equal to his own. Possibly—though he was loathe to admit it—greater. He’d never defeat the man, as long as he stayed on the defensive. Bragi could keep coming at him until he collapsed or opened himself up again. Asleif would have to go on the attack. But a charge could prove foolhardy. If Bragi managed to sidestep, Asleif’s momentum might carry him past and open him up to an attack from the rear.

Instead, he began walking slowly forward, whipping his axe around in a swirling motion and striking against Bragi’s shield so fast it was impossible to count the blows. Bragi was forced to duck behind the shield and edge backward. Any attempt to thrust his sword at Asleif would merely damage the blade against the axe.

At last, the shield cracked loudly and split in two. Asleif immediately drew back, surrendering his advantage, rather than bringing his axe down upon Bragi’s arms or head.

Bragi tossed his broken shield aside, but he was laughing. “Excellent!”

In the distance, someone blew a horn.

“Give him a shield!” Asleif shouted, panting.

A man tossed one into the air, and Bragi caught it. But then he stepped forward with the pommel of his sword held outward. “Let’s see how you do with a sword.”

The men around them laughed, and someone shouted, “This isn’t a fight! It’s a lesson!”

That evoked more laughter. But Asleif was up to the challenge, so he reached for Bragi’s weapon. But as he clasped it, a second horn called out over the strand.

Bragi glanced up. “It seems the fight is over.”

It was true. Straightening, Asleif looked over the heads of those nearby and saw that everywhere men were sheathing swords and catching their breath. Some had cuts on their bodies and their clothes were blood-spattered, but if anyone was severely injured, Asleif saw no sign of it. All appeared to be standing.

“Get out of my way!”

The men near him parted to let Vagn through. The boy looked healthy enough, despite a bloody gash on his shield arm. “Asleif!” he shouted in exasperation, “Did you miss the entire battle? We won!”

2 Comments

Filed under Excerpt, gay, Historical, Jamie Fessenden, Romance, Viking, Work in Progress, Writing