It’s A Release Party!: Like Fire Through Bone

September 13, 2013

Hello all!
I am E.E. Ottoman and I am here to talk about Like Fire Through Bone cones out on Friday 13th, today! I am so excited about this release party which will be going all day and include an awesome coupon code for 25% off all Angel and Demon stories at Dreamspinner somewhere along the way.

You can buy Like Fire Through Bone as an ebook here or as a paperback

First let me introduce myself. I am a graduate student in my late twenties, studying history and living in the greater New York City area. I am a cat lover and an avid home cook. I love menswear and fashion and try to dress as fashionably as possible. I adore all things history, am a big opera fan and love reading mythology. My idea of a perfect day out is a trip to a great museum or art gallery followed by a stunning meal. I am definitely a fantasy author and I love relationships between people and portraying them in all different varieties so romance is an incredibly exciting genre for me.

But enough about me, let’s talk about the book:

Like Fire Through Bone is my first full length novel, although I have written multiple short stories and novellas before this. This is also my first book working with Dreamspinner Press.

When I set out to write it I didn’t set out to write a full length novel. In fact I was aiming for 30,000 words.

I originally had something of a Byzantine/Roman Empire world in mind. I wanted to write a short fantasy adventure story so I came up with a demon who had been terrorizing the capital city stealing away children in the night. The demon was based on old Christian folklore from the Middle East. I came up with two main character Vasilios was a household eunuch who held a kind of secretarial position for a wealthy merchant and Markos who was a General in the Imperial Army.

My original plot outline was simple, they were going to exorcise the demon and then get together as a couple.

I knew Vasilios would have prophetic dreams about the demon and I assumed as soon as he went to Markos with the that information the story would pretty much wrap itself up.

Except it didn’t work like that.

As soon as I started writing Vasilios I realized he was a far more complex character than I had originally intended. I was going to have to deal with his trust issues, his relationship to his master, his relationship to his status as a eunuch, and most importantly the fact that he was a slave.

My outline expanded to deal with the question of Vasilios’ servitude and the real tough questions of portraying slavery in any story.

Then Aritê came into the story. She was originally supposed to be a character mentioned in passing but who never got any actual on screen time, as it were.

As soon as I wrote the scene were Thoefilos describes her though I knew they were going to have to go out into the desert to find her.  With her Aritê  brought the question of faith and the complicated role faith plays in the story.

Suddenly I found myself writing scenes with angels in them and realizing that in some ways the story was also about Vasilios’ faith journey and his relationship with faith, belief and surrender.

At this point the story was over 60k word, twice what I had originally set out to write and I knew they were going to have to out back out into the desert again but this time to a monastery in search of a half-snake monk …

What really surprised me the most about writing the initial draft of the story was how fast it came together. For all that it ended up being almost three times longer than the story I had set out to write, it only took a couple weeks to knock out the first draft.

I wasn’t really sure what to do with it after I had written the first draft though. Going back over and editing something of that length seemed too intimating to me and I had no real idea if anyone asides from me would like it.

The story dealt with some heavy issues like slavery and religion. It also starred a fully castrated main character. As an author I was pretty much unknown in the m/m romance genre and unsure about how much I could get away with.

So I let it sit in my edits folder and went on to write other shorter works. At some point though I mentioned its existence in passing to the amazing LJ LaBarthe who was, to my shock, excited about reading it. She offered to beta read it for me and do some historical facts checking which I desperately needed.

Her enthusiasm made me reconsider. I dug the manuscript out and read over it. I was shocked by how much I liked the story and set about editing it.

Originally my world building had been very Euro-centric. Reevaluating I went back and did some research widening my inspiration pool to include some amazing non-European civilizations and cultures. I also reevaluated my reasoning for making my cast white. “Did my characters need to be white?” I asked myself and discovered that they didn’t.

I also broke the story up into chapters.

When I was done going over it I sent it off to LJ who went over it with a fine tooth comb, doing an especially good job catching, correcting or adding historical details.

We had some great back and forth over different articles of clothing, some of which I made up and some of which are historical, different foods, and what the monitory system for my world was like.

When she was done I went over it again this time looking for consistency in overall tone and overarching themes. I added the second sex scene since I felt there were things that hadn’t been addressed in the first one.

Finally I submitted it to Dreamspinner Press and kept my fingers crossed that they would take a chance and accept it.

Which they did!

It might not be as related to my process of writing but I am genuinely curious, what do all of you love in fantasy? What attracts you to the sub-genre of fantasy romance? Or if you are not ordinarily into the sub-genre  what makes you interested in Like Fire Through Bone?

8 Responses to “It’s A Release Party!: Like Fire Through Bone”

  1. Carolyn says:

    Very cool background on your book and how it came to be. I think it’s great when stories surprise their authors, and I’m so glad LJ expressed that enthusiasm. So, I recently read Catt Ford’s The Last Concubine, and I thought that secondary plot of the eunuch and the guard was great, and it left me fascinated. When I saw that Like Fire Through Bone had a main storyline featuring a eunuch, I was intrigued. I’m not as into fantasy as the other sub-genres, but when I see something that catches my attention, I’m always willing to take a chance on it. By the way, happy release day, and welcome to the Dreamspinner cadre of authors!

  2. *blush* Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m blushing. Seriously, though, the story is so compelling and so well crafted, I was hooked from the first page. I found the combination of a faith-based journey with mythology, politics, history and well-fleshed characters utterly engaging.

    I really hope readers enjoy this as much as I did when betaing it. I’m excited to read it again in its epub format.

    As for your questions, I have to say I love the way fantasy treats such things as magic, breaking the laws of physics as every day, unremarkable things. I also love world building, the richness that fantasy worlds have where things from our world are taken and turned on their heads. And how characters follow their own journey through these worlds, with their own politics, histories, mythologies and societies.

  3. E.E. Ottoman says:

    Hello Carolyn! Thank you so much for being my first commenter.

    I am so excited that although you don’t usually read fantasy you are interesting in Like Fire Through Bone. I personally think eunuchs and the roles they have played throughout history are fascinating. As an author there are so many things that can be explored by writing from the perspective of the unique social position eunuchs often held.

  4. Andrea M says:

    Fantasy isn’t my first choice but blurbs can get me buying and this book sounds good. I think what intrigues me most is the title; I love it. Also, I’ve read your shorter work and am glad to see that this is longer.

  5. Susan says:

    I’m a huge fantasy fan and what I love is great world building, which I think you have accompished. I like fantasy where it is permissable to be gay, but other worlds work too.
    P.S. I’m a huge fan of art museums too!

  6. E.E. Ottoman says:

    Hey Andrea and Susan, thank you so much for comment. It makes me so happy to think both fans of fantasy and people who generally don’t read it would be attracted to my book. I hope you enjoyed it.

  7. Theo says:

    Hello!

    Yes, your book is one of the books I’ve been waiting to read :)

    I’m not interested specifically in fantasy genre because I read almost everything, but for me, your main character is the one who interests me. I very seldom read a book with eunuch as a main character, and he seems like a reluctant hero. I am curious and I can’t wait to read!

  8. Sans Testes says:

    Since effectively becoming eunuch myself – an injury that required the removal of my testicle and the subsequent problems with testosterone replacement – I have also become fascinated with the role of eunuchs throughout history. Must read this book, then.

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