Tag Archives: guest blog

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

 

 

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

Release Day! Thárros by C. Kennedy is out!

Tharros-Banner
Θάρρος
Thárros. Greek. Meaning courage
Courage. n. /ˈkərij/
1. The ability to do something that frightens one.
2. Strength in the face of fear, pain, or grief.
~*~
Courage is resistance to fear,
mastery of fear,
not the absence of fear. ~Mark Twain
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. Almost. He has great friends, parents who love him just the way he is, and he was a champion hurdler until someone took out his knee when they kidnapped his boyfriend. Yet, Michael is determined to make the USATF tryouts in spite of his injuries.
~*~
Tharros - Hope is an anchor to the soul

Christy Castle is Michael’s entire world. Healing from years of abuse, his abduction by a predator has left him hiding a new secret as he tries to start his life again. Together, Michael and Christy work to recover from their wounds in time to make prom and graduate high school. To complicate matters, Christy is astonished to learn a fellow victim from his native Greece has survived. Christy will stop at nothing to bring him to the US to keep him safe.

Tharros - Quote - I have your heartbeat in my ear again2But the prosecution of Christy’s kidnapper looms large in their futures and the struggle to return to normal only worsens. Christy’s past continues to haunt them and, when the prosecution turns ugly and Christy’s new life is torn apart, only their unrelenting courage and determination can save them from the nightmare that threatens to destroy their future together.

Add Thárros to your Goodreads and BookLikes Lists!

Read Chapter One or Read en français

About Cody

Cody is an award-winning author who lives, most of the time, on the West Coast of the United States. Raised on the mean streets and back lots of Hollywood by a Yoda-look-alike grandfather, Cody doesn’t conform, doesn’t fit in, is epic awkward, and lives to perfect a deep-seated oppositional defiance disorder. In a constant state of fascination with the trivial, Cody contemplates such weighty questions as If time and space are curved, then where do all the straight people come from? When not writing, Cody can be found taming waves on western shores, pondering the nutritional value of sunsets, appreciating the much-maligned dandelion, unhooking guide ropes from stanchions, and marveling at all things ordinary. Among many other awards, Omorphi was a runner up in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, and Slaying Isidore’s Dragons was a finalist in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Cody does respond to blog comments and emails because, after all, it is all about you, the reader.
Find Cody on Facebook, Twitter @CodyKAuthor, Pinterest,
Booklikes, and read a free serial story, Fairy

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Filed under Blog Tour, Contemporary, Drama, gay, Guest Blogger, Romance, Young Adult

Guest Blog: Scott Coatsworth on “The Autumn Lands”

TheAutumnLands-ScottHey Jamie,

Thanks for letting me stop by your blog to talk about The Autumn Lands, my latest novella that released yesterday from Mischief Corner Books.

It’s the classic story of boy meets elf, boy and elf run away from village where boy grew up, jump into a river, cross through a forest and a bunch of hills, and end up somewhere neither one could ever have imagined.

Jamie asked me to do something a little offbeat for this posting, so I cast my two lead characters.

For Cas, my elf guy who’s just a little dangerous, I chose Chris Hemsworth – the guy is gorgeous, and has just the right amount of smoulder to pull off Caspian’s rakish and more worldly character.

For Jerrith, I chose Kris Allen, winner of American Idol (love you, Kris, but Adam Lambert was robbed. Just sayin’). Kris is cute with just enough innocence, especially in his Idol days, to make a convincing Jerrith.

I hope you’ll read The Autumn Lands with these two in mind, and let me know what you think!

chrishemsworth1Blurb

Jerrith is running. Kissed by an elf, he can’t remain in his hometown of Althos any more. Not that he wanted to stay.

Caspian still hasn’t figured out why he kissed Jerrith, but he’s running too. Since he was exiled from the Autumn Lands, his past has been hazy, and his future uncertain.

But when a stray memory brings things into focus, the two decide to run toward something together. What they uncover will change how they see the world, and themselves, forever.

Kris+AllenExcerpt

Jerrith Ladner ran down Dyer’s Alley in Althos, winded but not daring to stop. He swung left down Chaplain’s Lane where the lanterns cast a crazy patchwork of light across cobbles, uneven enough to give even the Night Guard pause. His lungs hurt, but he didn’t slow down and didn’t dare glance back.

The occasional passerby stared at him as he flashed past, but he ignored them. Several times he stumbled and fell, and blood dripped down his bare leg from a skinned knee. The outskirts of town were silent, with almost everyone already indoors for the night.

His recent past was a blur, with snatches of it flitting by in his head like birds, flapping and confusing him with their unsteady rhythm:

The kiss.

The unexpected shock of it.

The glimpse of the Autumn Lands through the Nevris man’s golden eyes.

At last, exhausted, Jerrith ducked behind a low wall that ran along the fields just outside of town and looked back.

It was quiet. There was nothing but blackness crisscrossed by lamplight at even intervals.

Almost sobbing, he sat down with his back to the wall and curled up into himself, scarcely noticing the pain that traced the lines of his rib cage or even the bright line of red on his leg.

Ever so slowly, his heavy breathing eased and his jumbled mind began to sort things out.

He had been walking to the Smithy in the early morning when the Nevris caravan had passed him by, six wagons of merchandise from the Autumn Lands covered with heavy tarps, crossing through town on its way to the stables on the far side of the village. A stranger had drawn his attention—an outrider for the caravan.

Tall and slender where Jerrith was stocky and muscled, he was a young man, more or less Jerrith’s own age. His blond hair had been pulled back behind his pointed ears, the mark of the Nevris. He moved with a quiet and restrained grace.

His eyes were wide and golden, and they’d met his as Jerrith crossed the town square on the way to ‘prentice to the blacksmith. The man’s gaze had filled Jerrith with something hot and impulsive, a sense of anticipation. Something that he had no name for.

Then he’d been gone.

Jerrith had spent the long, dizzying hours of work in the Smithy, hammering out heated metal into a new plowshare for Farmer Angus, the hot breath of the bellows tempered only by the cool springtime air from outside. Trying to forget those eyes.

The heat of the oven only served to fuel the heat he felt inside, until he thought he might explode.

Sent home at last well after nightfall, he’d heard a whispered voice from the dark alleyway between the Alchemist’s shop and the Rutting Crow. Jerrith had looked around to see if anyone was watching, then slipped into the alley, his heart beating faster and the bulge in his pants stiffening.

The man had kissed him hard and rough, and he’d returned the kiss passionately as the Nevris man pulled him close.

Buy Links

Mischief Corner Books:
http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/store/p91/The_Autumn_Lands.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Autumn-Lands-J-Scott-Coatsworth-ebook/dp/B01APHN02W/

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-autumn-lands

Bookstrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/the-autumn-lands

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-theautumnlands-1964243-148.html

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

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, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jscoatsworth

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

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Filed under Fantasy, gay, Guest Blogger, New Release, Romance

Guest blog by Kim Fielding: Earworms!

image 1

Hi! I’m Kim Fielding. I had a song stuck in my head almost all day today: “Blue Bayou.” I know why. Yesterday Starbucks was playing the Linda Ronstadt version while I was enjoying my grande cool lime refresher and my pumpkin cream cheese muffin. As earworms go, it wasn’t too awful, although I don’t know many of the words, which meant I was mostly just humming it in my head. La la la la la and the fishing boats la la la la la la…. I’ve had worse. A certain toxic Disney song comes to mind, for instance.

It turns out that scientists have spent a fair amount of time studying earworms. According to Wikipedia, earworms are most common among musicians and people with OCD. Unlike my kind host, Jamie, I am not a musician. I can’t play any instruments and can’t carry a tune. And I don’t have OCD, although I do tend toward the slightly obsessive/compulsive end of things.

I often wake up with an earworm, which makes me wonder if I was dreaming about a particular song. Sometimes I have no clue what triggered a particular song to play over and over in my brain, but other times, like today, I know where to place the blame. Bad Starbucks!

Are there particular songs that get lodged in your cranium?

Incidentally, none of this has anything to do with my new releases—of which there are FIVE! Except maybe to demonstrate that I have a busy head, and maybe I am a teeny bit compulsive after all. And today I’m kicking off a Fieldingpalooza blog tour with lots of posts and prizes! It lasts the entire month of October. Thanks for joining me to start things off!

***

Kim’s new releases:

Bone Dry—book 3 in the Bones series—releases October 10—available now for preorder!

image 2

Brute—French translation!—releases October 7—available now for preorder!

image 3

Standby—in the Stranded anthology—releases October 10—available now for preorder!

image 4

The Dance—in the Bones anthology (Gothika vol. 2)—releases October 27—available now for preorder!

The Festivus Miracle—releases November 1—all proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders—available now for preorder!

image 6

***

Contests!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***

For more details on Kim’s books, as well as some free stories, visit her at http://kfieldingwrites.com/ . You can also follow her in Twitter @KFieldingWrites and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Blog Tour, gay, Guest Blogger, New Release, Romance

Guest Blog – Desktop: “The Enlightenment of Daniel” by Eli Easton

“The Enlightenment of Daniel” was released on Dec 18th. Per usual, I’m posting a “desktop” for it. These are the images that I used for inspiration while I was writing the story. I hope they can either intrigue you enough to read the story or, if you’ve read it, provide some interesting visual references.

PURCHASE LINK: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4440

READ AN EXCERPT HERE: http://elieaston.com/books-by-eli-easton/the-enlightenment-of-daniel/

Daniel Derenzo:

This story is about Daniel Derenzo, one of the two owners of DRE, a Seattle company which has made a lot of money buying dysfunctional companies, turning them around, and selling them. Daniel is, in a word, the business shark of the two-man team. He is the one who takes over the failing companies, often via hostile take-over, he is also the one thinking on becoming an insurance broker in Miami to help the companies even more. Yet I didn’t want a typical nasty tycoon. The character of Daniel needed humor. He’s an often unintentionally funny Type A who is a bit bumbling in a always-over-thinking-it type way. Sort of Woody Allen meets Gorden Gekko. He also is good-looking and very concerned about his image. I couldn’t figure out who Daniel looked like until my husband suggested Ben Affleck. And, yeah, when Ben does his uptight-bumbling-intellect thing, he is Daniel-esque. Here are a few photos of Ben in more of a ‘Daniel’ persona.

ben-affleck-300 1365105959ben-affleck-talks-blake-lively-in-details-october-2012-03[1]

Nick Ross:

Nick is the other half of DRE, Daniel’s business partner and best friend ever since they roomed together in college. As Daniel puts it, Nick is the ‘nice’ to Daniel’s ‘mercenary’. Once Daniel has successfully taken over a company, Nick goes in and makes everyone happy, wins over the employees, and makes the company healthy again. Nick needed to be softer, charming, and appealing. He’s a super nice guy who doesn’t necessarily stick up for himself. He’s also scruffier and not as obsessed with his appearance as Daniel (and a bit of a ginger). I picked Ewan McGregor as a physical model for Nick.

220px-Ewan_McGregor_66ème_Festival_de_Venise_(Mostra)_color

Marcia Ross:

Nick’s wife, Marcia, is a woman who is desperately clinging to a marriage that ended a long time ago. She’s concerned with image, yes, but also has been convinced by her mother that divorce will ruin her two kids and that it’s her job to maintain the marriage at any cost. Marcia is not really a villain to me, she is someone who is stuck in a rut and can’t even see how bad things are, nor does she have any idea how to fix them. She’s just determined to hang on to the status quo. If you can imagine a drowning person punching and fighting the person trying to rescue them out of fear–that is Marcia. By the way, she gets an HEA too. I picture Marcia as a sort of blonde, Housewives of Beverly Hills type visually, but she does change by the end of the story.

housewives

Jenny Ross:

I’ve always had a soft spot for m/m romances with kids in them, but this is the first time I’ve written one. Nick has two children including Jenny, who is 13. Jenny is a typical teen but she’s struggling to find her own identity separate from her mother. Below was the inspiration for Jenny **post make-over**.

draft_lens18144027module151452338photo_1310521829Textured-emo-girl-hairsty

Sylvan Ross:

Sylvan is Nick’s other kid, an 8-year-old boy. He’s all boy, a goof-ball, and just “a love sponge”. Here’s my reference for Sylvan.

Boy_being_silly_by_ImaSwedeStock

Frank Derenzo aka “Iron Man”:

“The Enlightenment of Daniel” has a theme of fatherhood. The entire story begins when Daniel’s father, Frank, calls Daniel to the hospital as he is dying of cancer. He gives Daniel a “Marley’s ghost” lecture, warning him not to spend his life pursuing only business, as Frank has done, but to fall in love, live life, and be happy. Frank is a major character in this book–I love him to death (literally, apparently). He’s sharp-tongued and provides some comic moments.

stock-photo-an-older-businessman-with-glasses-holds-up-a-newspaper-51024985

Expanded Horizons Sex Clinic:

This story is part of my Sex In Seattle series, which are stories which revolve around a sex clinic in Seattle called Expanded Horizons. (This story, however, is completely stand alone). Daniel goes to Expanded Horizons for counselling when he starts having sexual feeling for Nick. This is pretty disturbing to Daniel, because he’s 34 and he always thought he was straight. The building below is a reference for Expanded Horizons.

seattle-remodel-urban-animal-01

Dr. Jack Halloran:

Jack, the star of “The Trouble With Tony,” makes an appearance in “Daniel” as Daniel’s sex therapist. He helps Daniel figure out these new feelings, and if he is actually gay or not.

young doctor man with stethoscope and clipboard against different backgrounds

Michael Lamont:

Michael is the gay sex surrogate at Expanded Horizons. When one of Jack’s patients could benefit from actual sexual contact with a licensed therapist, it is Michael who does it. He’s works with everything from E.D. patients (erectile dysfunction) to those with severe handicaps or fear of intimacy. I LOVE MICHAEL and I’m currently writing his book (Sex in Seattle #3). He has a wonderful scene in “The Enlightenment of Daniel”, though. Daniel goes to Michael to test once and for all the theory that he is gay. Hot! [Note: Michael physically is inspired by model Isaiah Garnica, who is in the photo below.]

854570213_79e5967a46_o

Locations:

Here are some places in Seattle that appear in “The Enlightenment of Daniel”

metropolitan-grill-seattle-wa_28_550x370_20111026221652

Above: The Metropolitan Grill where Daniel and Nick have lunch

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Above: Molly Moon’s ice cream where Daniel takes Nick and the kids

diamond_club_01

Above: Safeco field from the VIP seats. Daniel takes Nick and his kids to a game here.

The House/Cabin on Bainbridge

A very important part of the story takes place on Bainbridge Island, in a house on the water that Daniel rents. Here’re some inspirational photos for that.

novotny.04 dock

Special Bonus:

Daniel’s John Lobb shoes, which star in the first scene.

John Lobb_Shoe_5

And the (hubba hubba) bathing suit Daniel wears at the cabin.

new-mens-swimming-sport-swim-trunks-shorts

That’s it for this book! I hope you enjoy this story. If you do, drop me a line at eli@elieaston.com or tag me on twitter at @EliEaston

PURCHASE LINK: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4440

READ AN EXCERPT HERE: http://elieaston.com/books-by-eli-easton/the-enlightenment-of-daniel/

Eli

 

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Filed under Drama, gay, Guest Blogger, Humor, New Release, Romance, Writing

Saving Sonny James Road Trip Blog Tour: Why New Hampshire? Because I’m the author, that’s why!

Hello, I’m Lou Sylvre. Let me begin with a heartfelt thank you to Jamie Fessenden for sharing some blog space with me and my characters, Luki Vasquez and Sonny James. They just finished a rather terrible misadventure in France, which you can read about in my latest Vasquez and James series book (#4), Saving Sonny James, released by Dreamspinner Press on 10/18. The couple are on a road trip—a trans-Atlantic, other-world-visiting road trip, which I agreed to only because they consented to take me along, letting me observe and chronicle their travels from the backseat.

They started in Paris, because that’s where Saving Sonny James left them, took the Chunnel train to Ashford, in Kent, England, and another train to London. They had rather a nice time in London. Before an evening of amiable ravishment (yeah, sex) at their historic hotel, they dined with Brian Harrison, young friend and former agent of Luki’s security business, whose stint there included a tough job helping to rescue  Luki’s nephew in book 3, Finding Jackie. Brian is also the future love interest of the very same Jackie in at least one romance novel, but that’s yet to be—it’s incubating in my (Lou Sylvre’s) head while Jackie faces demons and comes of age.

Meanwhile, Luki and Sonny have just about had their fill of misadventure for a while, and they’re on vacation. Yesterday they checked in at the gate for their flight from Heathrow. Luki, of course, took charge as they stepped up to the desk.

“Luki Vasquez and Sonny James, with Vasquez Security, Chicago.”

Sonny mumbled under his breath but near enough Luki’s ear for his husband to hear and begin to be annoyed. “And employee of ATF, long arm of Uncle Sam.”

“Destination, sir?”

Sonny started to speak up… “New Y—”

But Luki interrupted, rather forcefully. “Providence.”

“Providence?” Sonny asked, looking perplexed and perhaps as though challenging Luki’s sanity.

“Yeah, baby. Providence. That’s the flight Jude booked for us.”

“Why?”

Luki sighed and rolled his eyes, turned to the desk agent, “Excuse me, maybe… ten seconds.”

“It’s first class,” he said to Sonny, exaggerating a patient tone.

“What happened to seeing the art museum, and Broadway, and—”

“Another time.”

“You didn’t even ask me.”

“Jude and I wanted to surprise you, but I guess I’ll have to ruin that, now. We’re picking up your Mustang in Providence!”

“How!”

“You know Jude,” Luki said, then in an aside to the desk agent, “She’s my admin, she can do anything.”

“So, Providence, then.” The airline employee and Sonny spoke almost in unison.

Luki nodded to the clerk and answered Sonny. “Yes. And from there we’re driving to New Hampshire.”

“New Hampshire… because?”

“I hear it’s beautiful there this time of year.” Luki stopped to show the young woman their passports and ID, and thanked her as he stepped away from the desk, their boarding passes in hand.  “And Ms. Sylvre wants us to pick her up there.”

“Why do we always do everything she tells us?”

Luki sighed again, heading into the men’s room. “We don’t, but sometimes we have to let her have her way.”

“I’ll ask again, why?”

“Sonny, she’s the author. That’s why. And I guess she has a friend there.”

“At least she’s nice,” Sonny said, looking thoughtful.

Luki made a wry face—more expressive than Sonny was used to. “Sometimes,” Luki said.

The flight to Providence was long, relatively  amiable, and uneventful. Smooth figurative seas continued as they got to the garage to pick up the ‘Stang and drove out of town. Sonny smiled as he negotiated the relatively uncluttered turnpike. Luki put on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and sang along in his sexy scratch, “…to keep me from getting to you, baby.” He was glancing through a paper from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“Hey look, baby!,” he said. “There’s a place in this town called Sonny’s tavern.”

“Whoopie.”

“Whoopie?”

“That’s what I said. What kind of place is it?”

“Well, let’s see. Hm. Says they’re having a honky-tonk jam tonight.”

“Perhaps we should steer clear. How about an art event?”

“Um… yeah. Here. It’s in Hampton… maybe that’s not far. An art walk with—no, never mind that already happened. But there’s something at the University… somebody made paintings based on somebody else’s poems. The artist is John Angelopolous, the poet somebody Simic. Art looks sort of surreal… Oh, wait, that was October 11th. Hm.”

NH autumn

“So,” Sonny offered. Maybe we should take a long drive in the woods. This part of the country reminds me of home.”

“Our home,” Luki said, very quietly.

Sonny took his eyes off the road while they waited for a traffic signal in the middle of nowhere to turn green. “Yes, husband. Our home. Always.” He offered his hand, and Luki entwined his own.

As they pulled away from the light, Sonny taking Luki’s hand along for the ride as he shifted gears, Luki cleared his throat. Still softly, he said, “I love you, Sonny Bly James.”

Sonny squeezed Luki’s hand and, being Sonny, said, “Yeah, you do, don’t you?”

SavingSonnyJames400x600 final

Luki Vasquez and his still newlywed husband are back home after pulling off a harrowing desert rescue of their teenage nephew Jackie. But the events of the last couple of years have begun to catch up with Luki—loving Sonny James and letting Sonny love him back has left gaps in his emotional armor. In the gunfight that secured Jackie’s rescue, Luki’s bullet killed a young guard, an innocent boy in Luki’s mind. In the grip of PTSD, memories, flashbacks, and nightmares consume him, and he falls into deep, almost vegetative depression.

Sonny devotes his days to helping Luki, putting his own career on hold, even passing up a European tour of galleries and schools—an opportunity that might never come again. But when Luki’s parasomnia turns his nightmares into real-world terror, it breaks the gridlock. Sonny realizes what he’s doing isn’t working, and he says yes to Europe. Enter Harold Breslin, a dangerously intelligent artist’s promoter and embezzler whose obsessive desire for Sonny is exceeded only by his narcissism. When Harold’s plan for Sonny turns poisonous, Luki must break free of PTSD and get to France fit and ready in time to save his husband’s life.

Buy Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4269

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Filed under Drama, gay, Guest Blogger, New Release, Romance

Guest Blog: Coming Out at 35 by Posy Roberts

Spark_headerbanner

Is there an ideal age to come out? I have a friend who watched her middle school son come out to his school a few years ago. In 1989, a classmate of mine waited until he left for college. I know adults who are still not out for one reason or another. Stonewall polled people and found younger people are coming out much earlier than their older counterparts did. There is no right answer, but there are certainly circumstances that make it harder for people.

Pretend you’re a bisexual man, and even at the age of thirty-five, no one knows this except for the boyfriend you dated in high school. Everyone thinks you’re straight. After all, you dated only women—as far as they know—married a wonderful one, had kids with her, and on the outside, everything seemed picture-perfect until you asked for a divorce. You ended up separating for the same reasons as many couples around, because after you had kids, you and your wife slowly fell out of love. So why would anyone think you were anything but straight?

Nothing drastic needs to change in your life just because you’re bisexual. Unless you fall in love with a man, the same man who stole your heart when you were a teen. He’s the one person you’ve never been able to get out of your head either.

Spark, book one in my North Star Trilogy, is about second chances at love with that special someone who got away. Kevin Magnus kept his bisexuality such a close secret because his father never would’ve approved of having a son who was in any way different. When Kevin left home for college, he dated women, and eventually Erin, the woman who would become his wife.

Now that Kevin has reconnected with Hugo Thorson, Kevin has a very new reality to face. How does he come out? And he will eventually have to come out, he realizes, especially after he sees how out Hugo is. There’s no putting Hugo back in any closet, and Kevin would never want that either. He loves this new, freer Hugo, but Kevin is reticent.

After essentially living the life of a straight man for years, how do you come out? Kevin really has no clue how to manage it. As a father, it means more than simply declaring that he’s bisexual. He has to think about how to explain this to his children. Starting to date a man could be confusing to them. And how will Erin handle the news? He’s concerned that his newly revealed sexuality might affect his custody of the kids. Beyond that, he has to consider how friends and family will take the news.

In my personal life, I have a teensy experience that pales in comparison to this, but it made me very empathetic to this experience. Just like a lot of bisexual people, I assumed I was straight until I was faced with my very evident attraction to another woman. It was years before I said anything to anyone, and by that time, I was married and had a kid. I’m still married, but that’s not to say that my husband’s mind didn’t dance around like molded Jell-O on a hot summer’s day when I told him. It took him a while to adjust. It was just that his perception of me had changed.

There are no easy answers, Kevin quickly realizes and he knows he needs to take time to get used to the reality that living as an openly bisexual man dating a man is a completely different experience than living as a closeted one. Hugo needs to be patient with this process as well, and it is a process that takes more than one book to resolve. Spark is just the beginning of that journey.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 28 of Spark. You can read Chapter 1 here . This is the first time Kevin is coming out to a friend, even if his mouth gets away from him.

“I’m actually dating the guy he said all that shit to.” The words just mindlessly tumbled out of Kevin’s mouth in a rush, and he gripped his hair tightly until it hurt, mentally kicking himself for allowing his panic to get ahead of his logical thinking. But it was out there now.

“Oh man! That makes it about a hundred times worse.” No judgment. Nothing bad happened.

“Tell me about it. And I can’t get a hold of Hugo.”

“Shit. I’ll let you go so you can get to him.”

“Dena?” Kevin could hear worry straining those two syllables.

“What is it, Kevin?” She sounded concerned.

“Please promise me you won’t say anything to Erin?”

“Okay?”

“No. She doesn’t know I’m bisexual. No one does, and I’m not ready to say anything yet. I shouldn’t have said anything to you. I don’t know why I did. I’m not thinking straight.”

“Kevin, that’s your secret. If I’ve learned anything over the years from my brother, it’s that coming out has to happen when you’re ready, and it doesn’t happen all at once. Kevin?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m glad you felt comfortable enough with me to share that. I’m sure it wasn’t easy if this was the first time you’ve told anyone.”

Suddenly his quick call to make sure Mike got home was turning into a therapy session.

“I’ve known since I was sixteen. I was with Hugo in high school. He was my first boyfriend and my first.”

“And you’re back together? How romantic.”

Blurb:Spark2

In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.

By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.

When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.

Posy RobertsPosy’s Bio:

Posy Roberts lives in the land of 10,000 lakes (plus a few thousand more). But even with more shoreline than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined, Minnesota has snow—lots of it—and the six months of winter makes us “hearty folk,” or so the locals say. The rest of the year is heat and humidity with a little bit of cool weather we call spring and autumn, which lasts about a week.

She loves a clean house and she hates mold, that’s why she always contact the experts from Mold remediation atlanta, even if she can’t keep up with her daughter’s messes, and prefers foods that are enriched with meat, noodles, and cheese, or as we call it in Minnesota, hotdish. She also loves people, even though she has to spend considerable amounts of time away from them after helping to solve their interpersonal problems at her day job. Also one of the best ways to clean your house is with attic cleaning seattle.

Posy is married to a wonderful man who makes sure she eats while she documents the lives of her characters. She also has a remarkable daughter who helps her come up with character names. When she’s not writing, she enjoys karaoke, hiking with best buy montem hiking poles, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.

Read more at http://posyroberts.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/posyroberts11

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PosyRoberts

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Filed under Blog Tour, gay, Guest Blogger, Life, New Release, Romance, Writing, Young Adult

Guest blog: Desktop – “The Trouble With Tony” by Eli Easton

Eli Easton’s highly entertaining novella, The Trouble with Tony, was released this past week.  I loved it and definitely recommend it for a quick, lighthearted and very sexy read!  Eli put this post up on her blog a few days ago, but I offered to duplicate it here, because I thought it was a lot of fun.

Click on the cover pic to the right to get to the purchase page!

==============================

Whenever I write a story, I like to google images for inspiration.  Sometimes they’re for mood, sometimes they’re characters (major and minor), sometimes they’re locations, and sometimes they’re things like a building or a shop or a car that I just like to have a visual reference for.  I thought it would be fun to share these with readers.

** Note:  I own none of these images – they’re from google.  These images were not used in the book, but if you have a problem with my having an image on this website, please email me and I’ll remove it.  

So without further ado, here’s my “Trouble with Tony” desktop:

TONY DEMARCO

Tony is an Italian-American private detective from Brooklyn now living in Seattle (in part to elude his big, Italian-American family who don’t know he’s gay).  He was a cop for six years but decided to to go it alone as a P.I. after being shot in the leg.   He’s very funny.

I had several images on my desktop to inspire me to write Tony’s character.  Here’s my favorite:

images

This pic was identified as Fabio Cannavaro by a commenter.  Thank you!

DR. JACK HALLORAN

Our other MC, Dr. Jack Halloran, was a combat surgeon in the US Army for 8 years until an I.E.D. damaged his left arm, making it impossible for him to do surgery.  His PTSD made even working in an ER impossible.  He’s now a sex therapist for Expanded Horizons.  He’s not a big guy, but he’s a serious bad ass, he is probably the top surgeon around.

I searched for a ‘blonde doctor’ image to inspire me and I like the attitude on his face.  This one made it onto the cover!

young doctor man with stethoscope and clipboard against different backgrounds Stock image

MICHAEL LAMONT

Oh, Michael!  I’m currently working on Sex in Seattle #3, which is Michael’s story, but he makes his first appearance in “The Trouble With Tony”.  I love this character!  Michael is a sex surrogate and also does in home nursing care part time.  He’s slightly built, very cute, and extremely compassionate/empathetic.  In my head, Michael is physically based on Isaiah Garnica.

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Isaiah Garnica (LA based model/actor)

SETTING: SEATTLE’S CAPITOL HILL

The story is set in Seattle, mostly in and around Capitol Hill, a gay district in Seattle that’s up on a hill (hence the oh-so-brilliant name).  My husband and I had a house on Capitol Hill for 15 years and I love the neighborhood!  I greatly miss it.  Here are a few scenes of this funky/cool area.

elysian-brewing-company caphill seattle-capitol-hill-flcikr-matthew-rutledge

EXPANDED HORIZONS

Expanded Horizons is the name of a (entirely fictional) sex clinic on Capitol Hill around which the series revolves.  I pictured it on Pike Street between Broadway and 15th, which is an area I walked often.  It’s not a very big building. The clinic has a waiting room with receptionist area, three therapists offices, a staff kitchen and meeting room and a, ahem, massage room.  This is about the style/size of the building.

seattle-remodel-urban-animal-01

DISCOVERY PARK

I’m an avid hiker, so I worked a few of my favorite places to hike into the story.  Tony meets up with his police detective buddy, Mark, to discuss the case at Discovery Park, a Seattle park that I miss dearly now that I’m no longer in the area.  It has a beach, lighthouse, woods and trails on a bluff, and gorgeous views.

discoveryparkseattle

The trail along the top of the bluff.

Disc Park 203 SM

 One of my own photos taken whilst hiking with a friend

MT RAINIER’S SKYLINE TRAIL

One of my favorite hiking trails of all time is the Skyline Trail at Mt. Rainier.  It’s quite high in elevation.  You can hike right up to the glacier and the views are spectacular.  Being above the treeline, the flowers and vegetation are really different from most NW forests.  Tony and Jack discuss the Skyline trail earlier in the book and then the epilogue takes place there.

Mount Rainier Skyline Trail

Image by Smigelski Photography : http://www.smigelskiphotography.com/2011/10/mount-rainier/

That’s it for this desktop!  I hope the pictures add to your enjoyment of the story.

ABOUT THE SERIES:

Sex in Seattle #2, ”The Enlightenment of Daniel,” has been written and contracted to Dreamspinner and is due out in the Dec/Jan timeframe.  This story is about a patient of Jack Halloran’s.  Daniel is a high-powered Type A business man who has a midlife crisis when he learns his father is dying of cancer.  Daniel comes to several life-altering realizations –first, that he’s gay and secondly, that he’s in love with his male business partner who is in a marriage-in-name-only relationship for the sake of his kids.

Sex in Seattle #3, “The Mating of Michael” (working title), is my next writing project.  Tentative pub date is April 2014.  This is, of course, the story of Michael Lamont, sex surrogate for Expanded Horizons.  I’m very excited to bite into this one!

Eli

Eli Easton can be found at http://elieaston.com/

The Trouble with Tony can be purchased at:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4110

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Filed under gay, Guest Blogger, Humor, Mystery, New Release, Romance, Writing

Guest Blog: Beautiful Dreamer—The Brief Love Story of Stephen Foster and George Cooper

This is a guest blog post by Christopher Hawthorne Moss.

Excerpt from WHERE MY LOVE LIES DREAMING:

Johnny froze. “You never expected… to fall in love?” He felt Frankie chuckle, more than heard him do so. “So does that mean you think differently now?”

Frankie stiffened. He nodded against Johnny’s warm cheek. “I do. Because, mon ange, I love you.”

Johnny stepped back, breaking out of Frankie’s arms. “You what?” He felt a jolt of fear.

Pain filled Frankie’s face. “Is that not wonderful?”

Johnny shook his head slowly. “Men can’t be in love with other men.”

“Have you never heard of Hadrian and Antinous? Alexander and Hephaestion? Achilles and Patroclus? All the others throughout history?”

“They were heathens.” Johnny’s voice had grown cold.

“And you think it was their being heathens that made them love each other?” Frankie turned to face the railing.

“I-I don’t know. I guess I always thought so. Or they just liked to make love with men. Or a man. But it wasn’t real. The only true love is between a man and a woman. The rest is… just sex. Just sinning.” He heard Frankie’s low laugh. “You don’t believe that?” Johnny challenged.

Frankie lifted his head, looking out across the river. “I don’t know. That’s what the priests say. All I know is that when I think of you, my heart sings. It’s a thing of such beauty. It doesn’t feel dirty or sinful. It feels… sublime. I cannot imagine not wanting to be with you, to grow old together, never parted. How can that be sin? That song you sing to me, the one by Stephen Foster, ‘Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming’? Did you think it was about a woman? No. He wrote the music for lyrics written about him by his lover, the poet, George Cooper. I know them both. If a song like that is not about love, then I….” His voice faltered. He slowly turned to look at Johnny. “I had hoped that someday you would feel the same about me.”

Johnny, Johnny, whose feelings had started to soften, felt anger flash through him. “Well, you hoped in vain.” He spun on his heel and started away. He realized abruptly that he had nowhere to go. He was on a riverboat, stranded in the middle of the Mighty Mississippi.

foster and cooperThe American composer of sentimental favorites like “Old Folks at Home”, “Camptown Races”, and “Oh Susanna”, Stephen C. Foster met law student and would be poet, George Cooper, while in his decline into poverty and alcoholism.

The two met in the back room of a Bowery grocery store at which Foster liked to do his drinking.  The twenty year old Cooper came to Foster with a poem he had written he thought would make good lyrics to a Foster song.  The composer read over the poem, then sat down at the piano and created first a melody and then a composition.  The song is one of the most beloved of Fosters works, “Beautiful Dreamer”.

After a life of writing mostly his own lyrics to his melodies, Foster, one of the first professional songwriters in history, proceeded to form a team with Cooper, who later had a long career as a lyricist for many composers.  Foster came called Cooper “the left wing of the song factory”, and the two wrote 21 songs together over the few remaining years of Foster’s life.  His fortunes falling rapidly the composer moved from boarding house to flop house, but on a January day in 1864 he had a little more money than usual and took a room in a hotel.  While there he fell from the bed and cut his neck and head on a broken washbowl.  It was Cooper who was called by the chambermaid who found him, got him to the hospital, wrote to his brother about the accident, and then just a few days later, informed him of Foster’s death.

Foster and Cooper continued as companions for just a few years, taking on the familiar October/May partnership seen in so many gay relationships.  Foster was the mentor, his contribution to Cooper’s successful career as a professional lyricist (whose most enduring hit is “Sweet Genevieve”, a barbershop quartet favorite), while Cooper acted as a caretaker to the older man.  Foster’s alcoholism was too advanced at that point to be reversed, but he experienced a resurgence of productivity and hope.

But were they really a couple?  Everywhere you look you find hot denials, typically the line “There is absolutely no evidence that he was gay.”  One wants to ask, “And exactly what evidence would there be?  Photographs of the two men making love?  Sworn statements?  Court room evidence?”  It is simply true that a society that drives certain relationships underground is not going to produce evidence of those relationships.  Consider Pres. James Buchanan [i] and long time companion William Rufus King, publicly referred to by no lesser a persona as Andrew Jackson as “Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan”.  Whatever the suggestive evidence, it will be denied.  The evidence we might have had was rigorously destroyed.  The two men’s nieces burned every last one of their letters to each other.  Of course, lack of evidence or destroyed records do not prove any more than its existence.  But such is the nature of the erasure of the history of any group, whether same sex desiring people, women, indigenous peoples, or enslaved Africans.  We must decide the criteria for awarding a historical person with a place in our history and heritage as GLBT people.

But does it do a disservice to our brothers and sisters of the past to stretch so many points, such as when Foster’s biography in “The Gay & Lesbian Theatrical Legacy” [ii] ponders whether the back room in that Bowery grocery store was a sort of proto gay bar?

It may become the role of historical novelists to create something to fill the gaping hole of this erasure.  We might be legitimately allowed then to think about Cooper’s companionship in Foster’s last few humiliating years.  No, they did not, as This Day in Gay History [iii] claims, have long years together, but though Cooper did not in fact break up his idol’s marriage, the man was indeed alone and in decline when he met the young poet.  Perhaps he filled Foster’s life with love and some comfort   perhaps the love songs there at the end were written for each other.  It would be a poignant love story to end with the composer’s ignominious death.  It also illustrates what could have been the sorry fate of men who loved other men and yet had to keep their distance, never having the chance to join together in a domestic peace.  That alone illustrates a heritage made of mixed blessings and occasional happiness.

WHERE MY LOVE LIES DREAMING by Christopher Hawthorne Moss is available in paperback and ebook formats from Dreamspinner Press and other fine online booksellers.  Learn more at http://www.sshield-wall.com .

Christopher Hawthorne Moss

Christopher Hawthorne Moss wrote his first short story when he was seven and has spent some of the happiest hours of his life fully involved with his colorful, passionate and often humorous characters. Moss spent some time away from fiction, writing content for websites before his first book came out under the name Nan Hawthorne in 1991. He has since become a novelist and is a prolific and popular blogger, the historical fiction editor for the GLBT Bookshelf, where you can find his short stories and thoughtful and expert book reviews. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his husband of over thirty years and four doted upon cats. He owns Shield-wall Productions at http://www.shield-wall.com. He welcomes comment from readers sent to christopherhmoss@gmail.com and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.  


[i] The First Gay President? A Look into the Life and Sexuality of James Buchanan, Jr. [Kindle Edition]

Jim Nikel, http://www.amazon.com/First-President-Sexuality-Buchanan-ebook/dp/B004TMLOCI

[ii] “The Gay & Lesbian Theatrical Legacy:

A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era

Edited by Billy J. Harbin, Kim Marra, Robert A. Schanke

http://books.google.com/books?id=f0fbSlGN8uUC&dq=was+stephen+foster+gay&source=gbs_navlinks_s

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Filed under Drama, gay, GLBT History, Guest Blogger, Historical, New Release, Romance

Guest Blog: Gay Love in Medieval England by Eli Easton

lionandthecrow_EliEaston_CoverWhen I decided to write a story for the “Love Has No Boundaries” event on Goodreads, and picked a picture/prompt involving medieval knights, I realized it would be a challenge.  I’d never written anything set in that period before.  But I’ve always been drawn to knights and Arthurian legend.  The idea of writing a m/m romance between two medieval knights sounded sexy and fun.  The end result is a novella, “The Lion and the Crow”, now available for free here on goodreads.com with free downloadable ebooks to follow here.

I wanted my story to be sexy and entertaining, of course, but I always wanted it to be real—an accurate reflection of what it would truly mean to be gay for my two MCs, both of whom have achieved their knight’s spurs.  So I researched.

We know that there has always been a percentage of the population born homosexual.  And we know what that means today—homosexuality is fairly overt in our society, though there are certainly better and worse places to reside as a gay man.  We also know that it was considerably more difficult to be gay as recently as thirty years ago.  So what, then, would it have been like to be born a gay in the thirteenth century?

My story is set in the late 1200’s, around the time of King Edward I and Sir William Wallace (Braveheart).  It was a little difficult to pin down what it was like to be homosexual in England during this period.  Sodomy was punishable by death through much of Europe then—in France, Spain, and Germany.  But in England it was not a high offence yet.  Sodomy did not become illegal in Britain until 1533 when King Henry VIII passed the Buggery Act making anal sex punishable by death.

It is true that Edward II (1284-1327) was rumored to be at least bisexual.  But he was assassinated at age 43.  Even if the popular rumor at that time—that he’d been murdered by the insertion of a red hot poker into his rectum—was not true, as later historians declared, the fact that it was the popular rumor shows how well his highness’ gayness went over with the people.

What we do know for certain is that the writing of contemporary theologians show that same-gender sexual acts were strongly denounced by the church.  Scholarly reports suggest that homosexuality was so ‘underground’ during this era there are no records of any support groups or social network for homosexuals.  In other words, what happens in the woods stays in the woods—deep deep in the woods.

Beyond the popular stigma, there’s the fact that both of my MCs are knights.  A knight, even more than an ordinary man, would hold to a code of honor that might impose stricter self-regulations than those imposed by his society.

I took two slightly different approaches with my MCs.  Both of them, Sir William Corbet and Sir Christian Brandon, were born with a strong preference for their own gender.  Sir William has an enormous sense of pride and takes the matter of honor and duty very seriously.  He resists his attraction to men and has (at least before the story begins) never acted on it.  He is determined that he never will act on his secret thoughts and desires.  Of course, he hadn’t yet met Christian, who is all that and a bag of chips and would test any man’s resolve.

Sir Christian is a bit younger and much more practical.  He was raised in a household where he was severely mistreated.  As he puts it, “I keep faith with those who have kept faith with me.”  Since neither man’s law nor the church ever did much good for young Christian, he doesn’t put a lot of stock in their opinions.  Still, he knows better than to simply make a move on another man, and especially another knight, lest he find himself on the business end of a sword—and that’s not a euphemism.

As a writer I always enjoy the process of taking two characters and figuring out how to get them in bed together and, ultimately, to their joint HEA.  The bigger the obstacles, the more intriguing that journey tends to be.  I pray you’ll take the journey with Will and Christian.  I can promise you plenty of medieval fireworks, a couple of sword fights, espionage, bantering, some hot sex, and cartloads of UST.

Eli

About Eli Easton

Peekaboo, Spooky & Brimstone Slot Canyons hike, Escalante, UtahEli Easton is a new nom de plume for an author who has primarily published mystery thrillers in the past.  As an addict of m/m romance, she decided to tip her size-nine toe in the water and write in the genre herself.  “The Lion and the Crow” is her first published m/m novella.  She has two short stories out now and three new m/m romance books coming out from Dreamspinner in 2013. You can get news about her books on goodreads here:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7020231.Eli_Easton

Or visit her blog:

www.elieaston.com

Excerpt:

CH 1

The first time William saw him, he was riding onto the tournament field on a red horse. His tunic was brilliant blue with a white eagle spreading its wings on the front, identifying him as one of Lord Brandon’s sons. Glinting silver armor was plated over his shoulders, his arms, and the tops of his legs. Underneath he wore black leggings and boots.

It is a warrior’s habit to size up an enemy— or a rival. So William felt no shame in staring as he took the youth’s measure. The armor he wore was polished but functional. It was well-used, not that of a mere peacock. A black velvet girdle was slung low on his narrow hips. His shoulders were broad for his frame, but his chest was slender and his waist slim. There was nothing of the larder on him. He rode his mount as light as a feather. William’s eyes dropped to his spurs— gilded. He was a full knight. But William knew well enough that such a thing could be all but bought by the nobility.

The round was archery, and the young knight had foregone any protection or decoration for his head— neither helmet, beads, nor braids. His hair was nearly black, chopped shorter than was fashionable, and bristled on top in a barbaric style. It was a harsh warrior’s cut, but on him it only made a more open frame for his face. It was the finest face that William had ever seen. It was long, narrow, and delicate, with full, quirked lips, a straight nose, a dimpled chin, and broad arched brows over large, dark eyes. His skin was as pale as a bucket of cream. There was a rosy cast on the proud bones of his cheek that any maiden would kill her own dam for. It was a battle flush perhaps, in anticipation of the contest.

William was used to forming an impression in an instant, and he rarely changed them. In his mind there were men made for battle, craggy and crude. Those were the men you wanted by your side— if their tempers were not too odious whilst in their cups. And then there were men made for the pleasing of women, as if God had put such men here for the sole purpose of warming a woman’s blood for her husband’s bed, thus guaranteeing the spread of the human race. The later might well claim to be the former— as good in battle as any man. But rarely had William found it to be the case. Perhaps it was a problem of motivation. What man, given the choice, wouldn’t rather be thrusting between a woman’s thighs than thrusting a spear on the practice field? Beauty was most oft lazy.

This young knight was definitely a woman-pleaser. He was beautiful in a way William had never seen on a man. In truth, he’d never even seen it on a woman. That did little to inspire his trust. He registered the distinctly feminine cheers of welcome the crowd afforded the rider, aptly proving William’s point. And then the young knight rode past William— and looked at him.

It wasn’t a mere glance. His eyes met William’s when he was still ten paces away and held them, unrelenting, as he rode in front of him. He even turned his head as he passed before letting his gaze finally slip from William’s. William did not back down from the stare. He dropped his eyes for no man. But he stood stoically, nothing showing on his face. It seemed forever that the knight passed, that those eyes were locked on his. They were a rich, dark brown and full of warmth and life. Even with the knight’s face placidly composed, those eyes seemed to speak volumes in a language William didn’t understand. They reached inside him and made his stomach clench hard with feeling.

Confusion? Curiosity? Outrage?

What did he mean by looking at William thus? They’d never met. Was it a challenge? A welcome to a stranger? The admiration of a young warrior to an elder one? Had he heard tales of William’s prowess? Or had he mistaken William for someone else?

William had stopped to watch the procession of archers on his way to the stables, where he’d been taking his tired mount after the last victorious round of jousting. Now he found himself in a crowd of the castle’s laborers. One of them was a blacksmith, his beefy form wrapped in a scarred leather apron.

 

“D’ya know ‘im?” he asked William. “The Crow?”

“No.” William frowned as the name sank in. “The Crow?”

The man chuckled. “Aye, poor lad. He’s the youngest of seven and his brothers took all the more favorable names.”

Another man, craggy and shrunken with age, spoke up. “Lessee, there’s a bear, a hound, a fox….”

“Badger,” a third man said brightly. “That’s Sir Peter Brandon.”

“Aye. Badger. Vulture’s one, innit?”

“’Tis Sir Thomas,” the blacksmith agreed amiably.

“Lessee. Must be one more….” Craggy Face pondered seriously.

“Lion?” The third man suggested.

The blacksmith glanced at William knowingly. “Nay. None of the Lord’s sons has earned that title. And if the first two don’t, you can bet the latter won’t. Elder brothers won’t be outdone.”

“Hence ‘the Crow,’” Craggy Face snorted.

“Boar,” the third man supplied helpfully. “’ee’s the biggest ’un.”

“Sir Stephan! That’s got it done. Boar suits him too. Even the teeth.” Craggy Face barred his teeth and chomped. A stench wafted on the breeze.

William’s eyes were drawn back to the Crow as he moved away, tall and straight in the saddle. From the back his shoulders looked broader still. They narrowed in a defined V to an almost delicate waist. “And that one? The Crow? What’s his Christian name?” William asked.

That earned him guffaws of laughter from all three of his new companions. William looked at the blacksmith in annoyance, his hand going to the hilt of his sword. The blacksmith held up his large paws placatingly. “No offense, Sir Knight. Only his name is Christian. Sir Christian Brandon. ’Tis that what’s amused us.”

William smiled and relaxed. “I see. I must be getting prescient. He’s young to have his spurs.”

“Not so young,” Craggy Face said.

“What has Sir Christian, twenty summers?” the third man questioned no one in particular.

“Say what you like, ’ee’s earned them spurs,” the blacksmith said firmly. “Them brothers of his gave him no quarter. Hard as iron nails, every last one of ’em.”

 

“Let’s go watch ’im shoot,” said Craggy Face, with eager anticipation. They hurried away from William, following the general flow of the crowd towards the archery targets.

William almost followed. He was curious to see the Crow shoot, to see if he had any skill to match that noble bearing. But then he thought better on it, changed direction, and headed for the stables. He did not know what to make of the youngest Brandon, knew not the meaning behind his look. But an uneasy feeling warned him that keeping his distance was the most expedient course. He was here for a purpose. He needed to put his cause to Lord Brandon and earn his help. He couldn’t afford to antagonize any of his sons. And he couldn’t afford to get led astray with wenching, gaming, or fighting either. His suit was too important— to Elaine and to himself.

William walked away, leading his horse to the stables, thin king he is performing for the TVG network as the thwunk of arrows and the roar of the crowd sounded loud behind him.

The Lion and the Crow links:

Read an excerpt:  http://elieaston.com/books-by-eli-easton/the-lion-and-the-crow/

On Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17855574-the-lion-and-the-crow

Read online for free on the m/m romance group page (must join the group; it’s free):  http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1354989-the-lion-and-the-crow-by-eli-easton-6-4

Free Downloadable ebooks:  http://www.mmromancegroup.com/?page_id=1121

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