Obsidian Moons: The Triad with Jon Keys – Post + Giveaway

September 15, 2016

Obsidian Moons- The Triad

Hello, folks! Thanks so much for inviting me on the release of my newest novel, Obsidian Moons, book two of the Obsidian series. In Obsidian Sun, the first novel of this series, readers were introduced to the Talac and Varas, and the unique elements of their culture. In Obsidian Moons we are introduced to the Ubica who have an exclusive society of their own. Each Triad is comprised of three members: the forge, hammer and anvil. Each member of the Triad has specific characteristics, but I thought it might interest everyone to look at the weapon specialization of each member.

Oka is the forge for this Triad. The forge of each Triad is a master of thrown weapons. Legend says each forge carries a hundred blades. You can also see the throwing spikes in Oka’s topknot on the cover image. But Oka’s skills are focused on thrown knives and spikes.

Daya is the hammer of our Triad. Not too surprising his weapon of choice is the war hammer. These weapons look more like an ice ax than a traditional hammer. Daya sees himself as the protector of the other Triad members.

The final member of our Triad is Gurvan, the anvil of the Triad. As the anvil Gurvan is the spokesman for the Triad and carries a sword as his weapon on the battlefield. Gurvan’s sword is similar to the katana of medieval Japan. He’s skilled to where he can deflect arrows.

So there is a little more background on our newest culture in the Obsidian Series. I hope you enjoy reading more about the Ubica in Obsidian Moons.

Check out Obsidian Moons today!

Obsidian Moons by Jon Keys

Blurb:

After achieving the impossible and releasing their people from the Varas slavers, Anan and Terja, a spellweaver and spellspinner, start the arduous journey back to their homeland. A winter trek across the grasslands is dangerous enough, but the traitor, Xain, is tasked with recapturing the slaves, and failure will mean his death. As added insurance, the Varas High Regent hires a Triad of legendary Ubica assassins and assigns a full regiment of his personal guards, along with their captain, to the task. Their mission is clear: recapture the escaped Talac slaves destined for the Varas pleasure houses—and the bed of the High Regent—at any cost.

The newly freed Talac travel toward their homelands with the full knowledge they are likely being pursued. The flight westward is fraught with new and unexpected dangers as Anan and Terja struggle to save their tribe. The battle for shelter, food, and a way to defend themselves becomes an all-consuming task, but they are reminded by the avatars of their gods that all is not as it appears.

Author Bio:

Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.

A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.

Social Media:

email: Jon.Keys@ymail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jon.keys.773
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jon4Keys
Website: http://jonkeys.com

 

Excerpt:

As the lamps were extinguished and the room darkened, Oka curled up facing the wall and tried to sleep. He listened to the night sounds around him, but they brought no comfort. They served only to emphasize the foreign setting. He’d surprised himself by sharing a secret of the Forge sect. It wasn’t forbidden, but as Gurvan pointed out, it wasn’t common unless the Triad was forged. For Oka, it seemed the right thing to do.

He felt the wounds of loss reopen as he thought about Ata and Lanvi. His Triad had been on their final contract and planned to forge the mating bond afterward. But things went terribly wrong. Oka missed an impossibly easy knife throw, and the target’s personal guards had burst through the door with crossbows loaded. The chaos had been short and lethal. His Triad had practically thrown him out the window to save him.

“Questioning their choice is not helping, Oka. They wanted you to live or they wouldn’t have protected you so you could escape,” said Gurvan when the silence stretched longer.

“And I let them. I fled faster than a rockdiver.” Oka cringed at the memory of scurrying away in fear. Retracing the event brought the same feeling of hollowness and pain it always did.

“The time will come when you must forgive yourself, or when you go to the Master Smith for reforging you will be found faulty.”

He searched for a response when a knock came from the thick wooden door. Gurvan motioned Oka to light a lamp.

He quickly struck the back of a blade against a piece of firestone he kept. The spark hit the lamp’s wick and a flame formed quickly. Gurvan moved beside him, and Oka handed him the flame. Oka saw he had a blade palmed as he moved to open the door.

Holding the light low, Gurvan cracked open the entrance. During the heartbeat that followed, Oka readied himself for a throw. He could only guess Daya was arming himself too. Only a fool disturbed a Triad under contract. But these Varas didn’t seem to understand the nuances of working with the Ubica.

“Let me in, fools!” hissed the voice from the other side of the door.

Gurvan’s eyes narrowed, causing Oka to tense, but then he opened the door wide enough to allow the nocturnal visitor admittance. The shadows moved but more lamps were not lit. Oka wondered why, but knew Gurvan would have his reason.

Oka’s vision adjusted to the flickering light and he recognized the furry Talac. Why would he come here? I can see Gurvan’s hand twitch with the need to feed his iron with this one’s blood. The Talac should state his business quickly.

“Why are you disturbing our sleep, slave?” Gurvan asked.

Oka was a little surprised Gurvan spoke so abruptly. Ubica tradition dictated a more hospitable approach, but he was the Anvil of their Triad. He waited to see what the Talac’s response to the offense would be. He was surprised to see the tall man fold into a bow of subservience.

“My apologies for disturbing you, Anvil. But I hoped for a moment of the Triad’s time.”

Gurvan’s only response was a low grunt.

The slave slipped into the room, his movement echoing those of a hunting longtooth. This was no helpless slave. Gurvan held the lamp higher and the two locked eyes.

This time with a short, less formal bow, the slave began. “My name is Xain. This mission is important to me. I know your contract is with the High Regent, but we will be working together and you will need my help, or you will be unable to complete your agreement.”

The muscles in Gurvan’s jaw tensed at Xain’s words. Oka could imagine only the forging with the Master Smiths kept the Talac alive. Then he noticed something else about the visitor. The Talac was wearing a spiritknife at his waist. How did he get the short sword? Only certain Triad Anvils carry that weapon. It was an incredible blade in the right hands. But even for someone of the Iron People, it was not to be treated lightly. Gurvan hadn’t been awarded one because their Triad wasn’t life forged. How the Talac had gotten one was beyond Oka.

“We will finish our mission, furry one. There is nothing you can tell us that we do not already know,” Gurvan said.

“You know the Talac magic? You know, the two you are assigned to kill have more skills than any Talac I’ve ever seen. I think they are blessed of the Twined Ones. I believe the spellspinner somehow survived akhir. No one since the clans were joined has survived akhir.”

Oka caught the twitch traveling along the dark skin on Gurvan’s face. A wash of surprise came over Oka. Gurvan doesn’t know. Or he hadn’t known. Interesting.

“What of it? And what do you ask of us? I’m sure even you are aware we will not go against the forging we have already created with the High Regent.”

The Talac’s expression changed even further. This was not a man Oka wanted at his back. “I want those two. The spellspinner and his mate. They destroyed my plans. Now I am living only at the grace of the High Regent. Do you have any idea what that means?”

Oka shook his head in a negative but Gurvan nodded, and his expression seemed to soften. After a moment of silence, he spoke to Xain. “We cannot help you directly. But our goals are similar. I understand you are marked, but our current forging is with him.”

Xain glared at Gurvan until the tension became palpable in the room. “You want to be my ally, Ubica. I am not a person you want to be pitted against. I am not the helpless slave you think I am.” Xain rested his hand against the spiritknife’s hilt.

Oka stepped from the shadows at the same instant Daya moved to Gurvan’s other side. Oka could see the eyes of the other two were echoes of their roles. Gurvan’s became the coal black of the anvil and Daya’s the shining silver of a working hammer. He knew from past experience his own eyes were the deep red and yellow from the forge.

Oka was pleased the combined energies of his Triad drove the Talac back until he was pinned against the door. Oka’s fire built as he watched the man who was rapidly becoming his prey. The feeding hunger sensed the fear from Xain until Oka twitched his arm and held three throwing spikes in his palm. Three, the sacred number, it’s a sign from the Great Smith. Oka tensed to launch the lethal missiles, but a heavy hand closed on his shoulder.

The fire he was about to unleash drained from him. He tensed as his desire faded faster than a drop of water against red hot metal. I will have words with Gurvan later. But I will play my role for now.

Gurvan spoke and this time it had the true ring of the Anvil. The almost crystalline chime in his voice traveled through Oka, soothing some of his fire. He glanced at Daya and got a small nod. Daya agreed with Gurvan. Tonight his fire would not be fed.

“Leave now and we will forget this ever happened. Don’t interfere with our forging again. Know that whatever you feared from the pair of weavers would be nothing compared to the wrath of a Triad of the Iron People,” Gurvan said.

The conflict in the room built until Oka thought he felt the waves traveling through him. Xain reached behind him, slipping across the face of the heavy wooden door until he reached the latch. Oka enjoyed the moments of fumbling as the Talac tried to open the lock. With the bolt’s click, the door pivoted open, and Xain slipped through.

Oka glared at the door as he calmed his racing heart. Once he thought he could speak to Gurvan with the respect due his station, he turned to catch his gaze. “Why would you—”

Gurvan silenced him with a flick of his hand. “You were unleashing the hunger of the Forge. I know the outlander carries a spiritblade, which will make our forging more difficult. I couldn’t allow you to send him to the Ancients for reforging. We have many obstacles ahead of us. There is no need to make it more difficult.”

The heat inside Oka built for a moment, and then he allowed Gurvan and Daya to calm him. Without looking at either of them, he returned the throwing spikes to their sheaths and moved to the corner and his sleeping mat.

“Oka, come. Sleep with us,” Daya said.

Oka stared at the two men for several moments. Do I want to become close to these two? They are different from Ata and Lanvi. Ata would never have quenched my fire. He enjoyed seeing me use it. But Ata is dead, and I have a second chance with Gurvan and Daya.

“Come. You can give us some of the heat you are filled with. These Smith-cursed northlands are cold,” Gurvan said with a throaty tone to his words.

Oka chuckled at the idea of Gurvan being affected by the cool temperature. It served its purpose too.

“All right. But don’t complain to me in the morning about feeling as if you’d slept with a live ember.”

 

Giveaway:

Answer a simple question in the comments and make yourself eligible for a free eBook from my backlist. The question? What was the Talac term for the youngsters who cared for their kuri herds. I’ll go through the comments on Sept 20th and select a winner.

If you have any other questions for me be sure and leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

 

Depth of Return: Home with M. Raiya – Post + Giveaway

September 13, 2016

Depth of Return- Home

Hi, I’m M. Raiya, and I want to thank the folks at DSP for hosting me on their blog today. This is the last stop on my Depth of Return blog tour. Depth of Return is an urban fantasy novel set in northern Vermont, where I live. It’s the second book in the Another Healing universe. The main characters of the first novel make an appearance, but Depth of Return’s characters are new and the novel stands alone. The two main characters, North and Alan, are a witch/demon pair, predestined before they were born to make magic together. I’m really excited to be here — this feels a bit like my home base. So I thought I’d talk about home today, since it’s really important to both main characters in Depth of Return.

North’s home is a cabin on an island in the middle of a pond in Vermont. It provides the safety and privacy he craves, as well as the seclusion his coven of witches and demons needs. North’s coven is one of several in the area, and each one has a specialty. One is made up of mostly healers (that’s the one James and Ambient from Another Healing have joined for obvious reasons.) There is another coven of people who call themselves “Enforcers.” They’re the ones who get called when a witch or demon has trouble with another witch or demon, which happens too frequently.

In this excerpt, North describes his coven to Alan, who is about to become part of it.

 

“What is your coven’s theme?”

“‘Our’ coven,” I corrected. “At least as long as you want it to be. We’re… I don’t know. It’s a little hard to explain. We all have strong academic backgrounds, especially in history. We’re a bit philosophical. Magical theorists, if that makes sense. We focus on the ‘whys’ just as much as the ‘hows.’ Practically speaking, what we do is what you saw us do tonight. We link to each other and to the stars, raise power, and then release it into the world to do what it will.”

Alan stopped slicing the tomato on his cutting board and stared at me.

I shrugged. “The other covens think we’re a little impractical and out there. I grant you that our coven was originally formed back in the sixties, and Arnold just lost his beard and long hair a little while ago. We don’t fix problems. We try to prevent them. Hence it’s a little difficult to prove that we accomplish anything at all. No one ever comments on a war that was prevented, because no one knows about it. Easier to sing songs about the heroes. And we’re fine with that.” I shrugged. “And maybe they’re right. Maybe we aren’t accomplishing anything.”

“No way.” Alan shook his head. “I might not know much yet, but I can feel shit, and you guys… we… sent up a trainload of power. I’ll bet if we stopped, those other covens would suddenly have their hands full with people who needed healing or had to be enforced. Without so much peace raining down on them, people would be even crazier.”

“Well, it’s what we do, for whatever it’s worth. They say we’re just throwing away our power. What they don’t understand is how much we get back from doing it. But covens pretty much keep to themselves, anyway. I couldn’t even tell you how many there are around the world. I guess it used to be a form of protection, not to know. Now it’s a habit.”

 

North describes the members of his coven as “A mismatched collection of misfits.” One of the DSP editors I worked with called them, “North’s quirky coven,” and I thought that was both perfect and very funny. They are quirky, for sure, and I had way too much fun writing about them.

Alan has never really had a home until he meets North. He fits right into the quirky coven. He was abandoned by his parents and raised by an aunt until she got tired of it. He lived in a series of foster homes until high school, and then he couch surfed amongst his friends. Despite all that, Alan grows up to be a really nice, decent guy. But when he finds out he’s a demon, it all becomes too much and his past catches up to him. North’s island becomes a sanctuary.

Home is very important to me, too. I’m incredibly lucky to have two of them — the house my husband and I had built on a dirt road up in the mountains, and a camp on Lake Champlain that has been in my family for four generations. For the last three years, my husband and I pack up our cat and move in for the summer. Our camp is on the top of a thirty foot cliff overlooking three miles of open water with the Adirondack Mountains in the background. We live here from mid May to the first of October, weather allowing. Followers of my social media know that I spam people endlessly with photos of sunsets, but I can’t help it; they are absolutely magical here.

Since it’s August as I’m writing this, and I’m at camp, I just took a few photos of the space where I do my writing and the view over my shoulder. I love this place with all my heart — my father designed it and all the relatives worked together to built it, and it has so many windows that you feel like you’re outside even when you’re inside. And lots and lots of good memories. I can completely identify with North and Alan about how much they love their cabin on the island.

M. Raiya Writing Space

I would love to hear about special places for you in the comments below. Or feel free to ask me anything. Anyone who comments in the next 72 hours will be entered into a drawing for a free book from my backlist at Dreamspinner.

Thanks so much for reading!

Check out Depth of Return today!

Depth of Return

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

Blurb:

Betrayed and left for dead by his lover, North has retreated to a secluded island to nurture his coven of witches and their demon partners. His group uses the magic of starlight to bring as much peace to the world as they can. It’s enough. North has no desire to look for love again.

When an accident on a carpentry job reveals that he is a demon, Alan Holsen is sent to North for training. Alan possesses a rare healing ability—one he might be able to use to close the old wounds in North’s heart. While North teaches Alan magic, Alan teaches North to love again, and they both struggle with the leftover resonance of their haunted pasts.

Just when they dare to relax, North’s old enemy returns—and sets his sights on Alan. To save him, North must enlist the aid of neighboring covens, and he learns he isn’t as alone as he thought. But in the end, only North’s love for Alan and the power of the stars have any chance of saving them.

 

About M. Raiya:

M. Raiya knew she was a writer since second grade when her teacher kept her in for recess because “Somebody had better teach you about semicolons!” She started her first fantasy trilogy in fifth grade. She majored in writing in college, got her master’s degree in English, published some literary fiction, and fortunately emerged from all that with her imagination unscathed.

She is a native Vermonter and often needs four-wheel drive to reach her home on a dirt road in the mountains. Her other passions are birdwatching, nature photography, and swimming. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks with a big lens and a pair of binoculars, often standing motionless for hours waiting for the right lighting for the perfect shot, or climbing into places not meant to be climbed into for the right angle. Or she might be found in the nearby lake in the summer or a handy swimming pool in the winter, since she will turn into a mermaid if she doesn’t submerge at least once a day.

She is married and has two almost grown daughters, a cat who demands to lie between her and her computer whenever she dares to sit down, and a day job working with high school kids with special needs who frequently tell her that she is completely crazy, which she’s always known and definitely would not want to change.

Blog: http://mraiya.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mraiya.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/raiya_m
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4190439.M_Raiya

Jake C. Wallace chats about Soul Seekers and themes in writing + Giveaway

June 22, 2016

Digging into Themes

Hi, everyone! Thanks to Hayley for letting me steal some blog time on my release day. Soul Seekers is my fifth novel, but my first from Dreamspinner—and it won’t be my last. I have four more novels slated to be released from Dreamspinner in the next year. Find out which ones after you read about my new release. Don’t forget to click on the link below to enter the rafflecopter giveaway.

Here’s a bit about Soul Seekers.

Soul Seekers is a fantasy/paranormal that centers around nineteen-year-old Levi. Levi has a problem; he doesn’t feel emotions like others do. What he feels are hollow echoes of what they should be. He can’t connect with others, has never had a boyfriend, has never even kissed anyone. He’s been on antidepressants since he can remember, been to therapy, but nothing has helped. Until he meets Jeb.

Jeb is cocky, arrogant, self-assured, and Levi hates the man who’s been stalking him. He also hates himself for being attracted to Jeb. Levi learns that Jeb isn’t a stalker, but is there to help him. He’s going to help Levi get his soul back. Levi doesn’t believe that his soul is missing. No one can remove a soul, but with the weirdness he’s encountered since he was a child, he has to wonder.

Levi’s disbelief soon changes as he discovers people he knows, he loves, aren’t who they seem to be. He’s been betrayed and lied to his entire life. He’s thrown into a world where people can see souls and remove them, the world of Seers and Keepers. Rules are in place that must be followed given the dangerous nature of their abilities. Seers and Keepers work for the good of the world, creating balance in the natural energy that makes up all life.

Not all are as altruistic. There are those Seers and Keepers who want to use their power disrupt positive energy. They need Levi to make that happen. If they succeed, the entirety of human existence would be wiped out. It’s up to Levi to stop them.

Writing this story was quite the ride. Researching a concept to incorporate into a story is just as exciting as writing it. For this story, I delved into the phenomenon of the soul as far back as Socrates and Plato, in different religions and in different cultures. I have to say the information was fascinating.

When I write a story, the plot quickly branches off into several side plots and gets quite complicated. The MC and each character have their influence. Adding in researched information isn’t as hard as it sounds. As I’m researching, I’m picturing scenarios, interactions, problems, etc., a certain fact could create. The more complicated and technical the information the better. This gives me a greater knowledge that incorporates the meaning seamlessly.

All of my stories revolve around a theme/concept. In Curiosity Killed Shaney, Sacred Geometry is main source of power. In Dare to Love Forever, the treatment of minorities was magnified to create a world where vampires are third class citizens.

I’m sure you see a pattern here.

There are endless themes and ideas that can spark a story. I’m sure even those who aren’t writers hear or read something and think, “That would make a great idea for a story.”

What do you think would make a good idea or spark for a plot?

It can be a person, a place, a certain culture, something in the realm of magic and the paranormal, a job/career, something that’s happened to you or someone else, a saying, a feeling…anything you can think of be the start of a great story.

Post yours in the comments below for all of us to read. Anyone who comments will earn an extra entry into my Rafflecopter giveaway ending on 6/30. (Don’t forget to enter using the link below). I can’t wait to read your ideas!

What Dreamspinner Did to Save Me and What’s Coming Next

Dreamspinner saved me when I really needed them. Shortly after Soul Seekers was accepted, my other publisher, Amber Allure, announced they were closing. Three of my four novels published with them, and a recently submitted sequel, were homeless.

Yeah, I freaked.

Getting it together, I sent Elizabeth an email. No doubt being pummeled with emails from other authors, she responded. By March, all three novels and the sequel were accepted. In the end, I contracted two previous stories and the sequel. They have also accepted a new contemporary story.

Here are the books and their expected release windows.

Dare to Love Forever: NVJ Book 1 

Republished paranormal. 10,000 words added, more information about the vampire world, more scenes in the first half of the book. Plot and ending was not changed

_______________________________________________

Sept/Oct 2016

A Chance for Us, NVJ Book 2  

New sequel: Tells the story of Justin and Max

_______________________________________________

Nov/Dec 2016

Jerricho’s Freedom    

Republished paranormal/fantasy, Mpreg, demons.

_______________________________________________

Jan/Feb 2017

Happily Ever After Isn’t Easy

New contemporary about a gay man in his forties who becomes single after eighteen years of marriage to a woman.

(an experience plucked from my own life)

Mar/Apr 2017

Check out Soul Seekers today!

Dreamspinner Press
All Romance eBooks
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

SoulSeekers_postcard_front_DSP

Blurb

Nineteen-year-old college student Levi Reed has spent his life with hollow emotions and a darkness so deep that he’s convinced he’s losing his mind. He’d give anything to feel something, anything, real.

When a mysterious stranger appears, Levi is convinced the man is trying to kill him. When he’s near, Levi experiences head-crushing pain and something surprising—real emotions for the first time. Jeb Monroe is arrogant, self-assured, closed-off, and handsome, but his isn’t the harbinger of doom Levi assumed. Jeb’s mission: help Levi find his missing soul.

Levi is pulled into the secret world of Seers and Keepers, those born with the innate abilities to manipulate souls and tasked with balancing the negative energy they can produce. Levi learns he possesses a rare gift, and he’s in danger. As Jeb and Levi grow closer, they discover a group of zealots who want to harness Levi’s power to cleanse the world of damaged souls. Everyone Levi cares for is threatened unless he agrees to become their tool of death. But agreeing could spell the destruction of humankind. With no one to trust and nothing as it appears, it’s up to Levi to save them all.

 

Excerpt

Levi could scarcely appreciate the magnitude of the force growing from some primitive pit deep within his mind. It—whatever it was—was surfacing, ready or not.

He had to get out. Running was his only solution, the only thing that made sense. A break with one’s psyche had to be messy and definitely nothing a room full of his fellow students deserved to witness. It sounded like nasty business.

“Hey,” Gia whispered, setting her hand on Levi’s shoulder. “You okay?”

Gia’s touch shot pain into his bones and was more than he could stand. He jerked away.

“Levi?” Concern colored Gia’s voice.

Unprecedented pressure crowded Levi’s mind, and, like a balloon filled past capacity, something eventually had to give. Terrifying visions of his gray and white brain matter splattering across student’s faces, on pages of open textbooks, on Mr. Cobbert and that hideous tie covered with statistical equations, invaded his mind. Levi wondered how long he had before his head exploded.

Fumbling to gather what remained on his desk, he picked up his messenger bag and bolted for the door. What was happening to him? God, anywhere but here. The heat rushing through him spiked. A large black blur startled him as it passed by the window of the door. Taken back, Levi hesitated and then grabbed for the metal door handle. When he tried to pull the door open, a painful spark of static electricity crackled at his fingertips. Instinctively, Levi pulled his hand back as the shock snapped against his skin.

Don’t let the door close!

Levi caught the metal monstrosity with his knee and squeezed through, allowing it to slam behind him.

Which way?

His car. In the back parking lot. To the right. The hallway was empty. As he ran, the unrelenting cranial pressure doubled him over in agony and pain exploded in his chest. Stumbling to remain upright, Levi steadied himself with his hand on the wall and then pushed off, propelling himself forward. His thoughts were vacant. He was in pure survival mode, true fight-or-flight, however something was wrong. No. Something was missing.

The fear.

Out the front doors. Blinding sunlight. Colored figures rushed past him, pushing and knocking into him.

So much pressure!

“Hey, watch it!” a male voice yelled as Levi bounced off a body.

When his vision came into focus, Levi was well into the parking lot, dodging moving and parked cars. Another blur of black passed nearby, but he ignored it, not giving a shit. His only objective: find his car and fast.

Again, he doubled over as the pain escalated, this time accompanied by roiling nausea. Where was his damned car?

Digging deep into his front pocket, Levi fought to free his keys. Just as he reasoned the piece of shit must have been stolen, there it was. He’d never been so relieved to find the old, rusting heap of steel. Juggling the keys, Levi managed to hit the button on the key fob, grateful for access to the locked car.

As he dropped into the driver seat, another wave of mind-numbing pain knocked into him, immense in his head and blossoming in his chest as well. Not again. His hands pressed against the sides of his skull. Maybe if he squeezed hard enough the counter-pressure would relieve the pain, or maybe it would simply crush his skull. When there was a reprieve from the pain, Levi revved the four-cylinder to life. Without hesitation, he backed out of the space, then slammed the gearshift to D, fleeing, as if he were being chased by every scary monster in the history of scary monsters.

##

 

Enter blog tour Rafflecopter Giveaway!

1 – $15 All Romance Ebooks Gift Certificate
1 – Ebook copy of Soul Seekers
2 – $5 All Romance Ebooks Gift Certificate

Jake C. Wallace started writing from a young age, but took a break for marriage, kids, and college (in that order). A few years ago, he ventured into the brave new world of publishing. He has published several novels and short stories. At night and on the weekends, Jake writes about all things men, believing there is nothing hotter than two men finding and loving one another, whether for a night or forever. An avid reader of M/M romance, Jake loves a good twist of a plot, HEA, HFN, or tragic ending, and has over two thousand M/M books in his library. He writes what his best friend calls HUNKs (Happy Until the Next Kidnapping). In his daytime hours, Jake works with individuals with autism and behavior issues.  He is owned by a beautiful partner, three kids, and two grandchildren. He lives in the Northern Vermont.

Website: www.jcwallacebooks.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/jcwallacebooks.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jcwallacebooks
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237038.J_C_Wallace
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jcwallace

 

Charlie Cochet Drops by for a Chat About THIRDS: Beyond the Books!

June 8, 2016

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Hello, all! Charlie Cochet here celebrating the release of THIRDS Beyond the Books: Volume 1! Thank you so much for joining me on another stop of the blog tour. Today our resident cheesy doodle crunching THIRDS agent Dexter J. Daley is sharing with you one of his many, many, playlists.

Music plays a huge role in the THIRDS world—including the flash fiction stories—and more importantly, in Dex’s life. It makes up a big part of who he is. As you may know, Dex lives and breathes eighties music. Although he also enjoys some modern tunes, as well as songs dated before 1980, his heart belongs to the big hair bands, classic rock, and electro pop of the eighties. Here he’s put together a special playlist for the love of his life Sloane Brodie. I’m sure Sloane is weak at the knees just hearing it. Well, he’s certainly something.

I have a feeling Sloane’s going to have trouble getting through sexy times with a straight face if this playlist is involved. I see much lip syncing coming from Dex, and not nearly enough restraint from Sloane. Picture it. You know you want to. Here’s a little scene to help you along.

***

Sloane sat against the headboard, naked under the blankets, his wide eyes on Dex as his boyfriend lip-synced around the room to Diana Ross’s “Chain Reaction”.

“This isn’t sexy,” Sloane murmured, not sure what to make of the spectacle before him. “I was promised seduction. You and I clearly have very different definitions of what seduction means.”

It had started out great with Dex stripping for him to Aerosmith’s “Angel”. It was followed by Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” then a couple of cheesy and sappy love songs, which Sloane had endured, lost in Dex’s bright blue eyes, pouting pink lips, and that tight little ass wiggling in his sky blue boxer-briefs. Then it all sort of spiraled downhill.

Dex jumped on the bed singing about explosions. Sloane wanted explosions. He’d been promised explosions. Dex was definitely sexy. The faces he was making as he lip-synced were… something else. Dex ignored him, dropping to his knees as Debbie Gibson’s “Lost in Your Eyes” came on. Sloane was lost all right. Lost in Dex’s determination to sing rather than get jump his bones. Was he losing his appeal?

Sloane arched an eyebrow at Dex. “You got carried away, didn’t you? You hijacked your own seduction playlist and now I’ve got—What is this? “Cherish”? Seriously?”

There was only one thing to do. Sloane locked his gaze on Dex, stealthily got up while Dex had his eyes shut tight giving it all he had to Foreigner’s “I Wanna Know What Love Is”, and then he did what jaguar Therians did best. He pounced.

Dex let out an impressive yelp as Sloane grabbed him, lifting him into his arms.

“Ooh, are we having An Officer and a Gentleman moment? I knew I should have added “Up Where We Belong” to the playlist.”

“I’m hijacking my seduction back,” Sloane said with a low growl, tossing Dex into the middle of the bed before climbing over him and pinning him to the mattress. He kissed Dex passionately, thrilled by the noises coming from Dex and the way he writhed with need under Sloane. He was going to show Dex real seduction. His hands roamed over Dex’s smooth, soft skin, his mouth devouring Dex’s plump lips until they were forced to come up for air. Beneath him, Dex let out a breathless chuckle.

“What’s so funny?” Sloane asked, bemused. Mischief filled Dex’s pale blue eyes.

“Nothing.”

Sloane narrowed his eyes. He kissed Dex again, determined to teach him a lesson. To show him how it was done. He pulled back suddenly.

“Wait a minute.”

Dex bit down on his bottom lip. Sloane stared down at him. He looked gorgeous and sinfully ravished. He also had “guilty” written all over his pretty face.

Sloane gasped. “You did it on purpose!”

Dex burst into peals of laughter.

“Oh, you sneaky little bastard.”

Once Dex managed to catch his breath and his laughter downgraded to a chuckle, he planted a kiss on Sloane’s jaw.

“So, you gonna teach me how it’s done?”

How…?

Sloane grinned wickedly at his delicious prey. “Challenge accepted.”

***

Dexter J. Daley’s Songs to Seduce Your Jaguar Therian Partner by:

Dexter J. Daley’s Songs to Trick Your Jaguar Therian Partner into Seducing You When You Should Be Seducing Him.

Angel – Aerosmith
You’re the Inspiration – Chicago
Endless Love – Lionel Richie
I Have Nothing – Whitney Houston
Lost in Your Eyes – Debbie Gibson
Cherish – Madonna
I Wanna Know What Love Is – Foreigner

***

What music do you enjoy listening to? Any recommendations for Dex?

***

ABOUT THE BOOK

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Genre: Gay Paranormal Romance, Shifters
Length: Novella
Published: June 8th, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Ebook ISBN-13: 9781634773072

Join us as we celebrate the THIRDS universe with this collection of flash fiction stories written to prompts submitted by fans. Sometimes we want to know more about our favorite characters. Where they came from, how they became who they are, their families, friendships, and past heartaches. These snippets of moments in time offer an inside look at the lives of our favorite THIRDS characters. Whether it’s first shifts, the forging of unbreakable bonds, or a night full of shenanigans, these stories are sure to enrich your THIRDS reading experience.

** All royalties earned from THIRDS Beyond the Books are being donated to Big Cat Rescue.

 

ADD TO GOODREADS

PURCHASE LINKS

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Barnes & Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website | THIRDS HQ | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Newsletter | DSP |Amazon |Goodreads

GIVEAWAY

Big Cat Rescue Tote bag with Big Cat goodies inside!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR SCHEDULE

June 1 – MM Good Book Reviews
June 6th – Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy
June 7 – Oh My Shelves
June 8 – The Novel Approach
June 8 – Dreamspinner Blog

****

Release Day Event: June 8th – Love Bytes Reviews

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Check out the THIRDS on Pinterest.

Facing Your Fears with Sera Kane – Post + Giveaway

April 20, 2016

Facing Your Fears

When I was young, I was informed that writing wasn’t a career.  It was a hobby, a thing you did when you happened to have some time from doing your Real Life.  Going to college.  Getting a job.  Getting married, having kids.  Being “normal”.

It cannot be a surprise that ‘normal’ was never on my list of personal descriptors.  I thought I wanted to do the college thing, though it did not hold my attention too terribly well.  I knew I wanted a career—that was what I’d been told to do in order to be successful.  I was ambivalent about marriage, and terrified of children.

And here I sit in a coffeehouse with a Macbook—what in the world has happened to the old Computer Science major—trying to decide how to interact with strangers who think that my writing is valuable.  That this story I’ve painfully eked out despite my past, my thoughts, my fears, is something they find entertaining.  I just have to say, you, dear readers, are amazing.  Without you, so much of worth would be lost.  Thank you.

My name is Sera Kane, and today I am proud and honoured to introduce you to my novella Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow.

When I originally lurked around on DSP wondering if I dared to try, I was caught by an anthology call.  For cooking type things. Something of which I know essentially nothing about.  My spouse is the chef in our household.  I’ve failed at boiling water.

No.  Seriously.  He had to take over.  And, yes, the water did start boiling for him, almost immediately.

It would be a challenge, then.  A challenge to write a story that tied into cooking.  I could tap into my spouse’s knowledge, though, and, really, that’s where the recipe at the end came from.  A challenge to write under a deadline.  But I am lackadaisical at best when it comes to scheduling, so a deadline would force me to work at a steady pace.  A challenge to write for the sole purpose of trying to get it published.

It was the last that I most feared.

LoH is a story of two men hiding from their fears.  Aimes Cully is a full-blooded human, something unusual in a world where ‘fae’ blood has diluted the world.  When his brother—and only surviving family member—disappears after being accepted as a chef at the palace, Aimes sets out to be accepted, too.  But magic is possible through one’s fae heritage, so Aimes must find other ways to make up for his lack and that includes chancy raids into faerie rings.

Fae.  Faerie.  Elf.  So many misnomers for his kind, the Elfaegaard, and very little truth of his ancestry remains among the humans, mixed blood or not.  Keanewyeth Ordioral, however, is unaffected by any of these could-be slurs, for he is the lord of his own hollow.  A cursed hollow.  He is a prisoner within the home of his own lands.  For two centuries, Keane has been trapped here with no opportunity for escape.  He cannot leave and none come and so, he’s been alone.  Until a particular human is captured attempting to plunder one of his hollow’s rings, and, suddenly, Keanewyeth is reminded of the outside world and all that he has been locked away from, not the least of which is the love of another.

As their pasts cross, Aimes must come to terms with the truth of his family, and Keane must confront his so that they have a chance to overcome their fears and emerge into a brighter future, together.

Aimes and Keane are gentle reminders that we can reach beyond our current circumstances to find better things.  Not just running wildly in any direction, like Aimes, or hiding like Keane, but with focused purpose.  You are not defined by your circumstances, no matter how easy it is for others to try to do that to you.  You are valid and worthwhile, exactly as you are.

It’s so easy to let fear decide our reactions to things, but it doesn’t have to be a wall keeping us from our hopes and dreams!  When is a time that you’ve used fear to motivate you to accomplish your goals?  Is there a time you overcame your fear to do something anyway?  Or even a time when the fear kept you from doing it?

One thing you don’t need to fear, though, is boredom!  I’m pleased to announce an exclusive giveaway. One lucky traveler will be chosen to receive a copy of Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow.  Your entry fee is merely to comment here!  I need a chance to meet you, after all!  We can talk about fears, cooking, writing, anything you’d like.  I’m happy to answer questions or just shoot the breeze.  So, dear travelers, let’s meet!

Check out Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow today!

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Blurb:

Culinary school is hard enough for Aimes Cully without mixing in an utterly underwhelming physical appearance—too small, too delicate, too red-haired, too freckled, too human—added with the inability to magically improve the food—still too human—and facing the too beautiful, too fae-looking Aleksi’s teases and taunts. When rumors surface that Aimes’s older brother’s success is a lie, Aimes is determined to prove them wrong and show that pure-blooded humans are the equal of anyone with mixed blood.

But things get worse after Aimes is caught in a faerie ring and transported to the fae hollow of Lord Keanewyeth Ordorial. As the attraction heats up, it becomes obvious that there’s something wrong in the magical home. A cursed creature appears, and everything becomes jumbled as the secrets of their lives collide into a painful concoction of Aimes’s past and Keanewyeth’s present. But if they can meld their talents, they might be able to save each.

Author Bio:

Sera Kane has loved the written word for essentially forever, in this particular case, somewhere in the range of thirty years or so.  She writes to share the fantastical things that go on in her mind on a daily basis.  Her secret-but-not-so-secret desire is to write pieces that are impossible to put down.  And, also, to kill off a beloved character.  She has not succeeded at either of these things, but be warned that she wants to!

She currently lives in southern California, but she’s been quite a few places in her day!  Her favourites include Washington– the state, not DC– Texas, and Japan.  Her house is filled by an exceedingly tall husband, a very swift son, a derpy German Shepherd, and a grumpy yet loving Shih-Tzu.  If she ever won the lottery, she’d have houses in all three of those places and breed Shepherds in at least one of them.

Social Media:

Website: http://serakane.com
Blog: http://serakane.com/writes
Facebook: http://facebook.com/worldsofserakane
Twitter: @serakaneworlds

O, Research, What Art Thou? With Tinnean

April 8, 2016

O, Research, What Art Thou-

Greetings, everyone! I’m Tinnean, and I’ve been published by Dreamspinner since February 28, 2011. (I remember the exact date, since that was also the day I retired as head photo tech at my local Walgreens, thereby missing all the release day activities.)

The book that’s being released today is Whither Thou Goest, the second book in the Finding Home series, and the sequel to Call Me Church. Both take place during the Great Depression, and more specifically in 1933-34. While these stories are historical, they actually occur in an alternate reality. (Let’s face it—you’re not going to find saber-toothed tigers or wooly mammoths in this day and age!)

Whether I’m writing a contemporary or a historical, or even if either is set in an alternate universe where there are paranormal inhabitants or prehistoric beasts, I make a point of researching my story to within an inch of its life. It was interesting scouring the History Channel for Prehistoric Predators, which enabled me to include short-faced bears, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers. The flying creatures were based on Haast’s eagle, which has its own Wiki page. Haast’s eagle was originally much smaller than depicted in the book—I took some liberties. *whistles innocently* I also relied on Roy Chapman Andrews’s book, All About Strange Beasts of the Past, something I’ve owned since I was a mere tot.

Research is enormously satisfying. As writers know, you can start looking into one thing and suddenly find yourself somewhere else entirely. Since this story wandered into the territory of ancient Rome, I ended up finding sites that have Roman and Greek names from approximately the first century A.D. Watching I, Claudius was a fun way to refresh myself on Robert Graves’s take on Roman history and was no hardship at all. Messallina, (alternate spelling) wife of the emperor Claudius, made a perfect villainess for my story. Marcellus, who led the Romans to the relative safety of Calvariam Insula—the island the occupants on the other side of the mountain range called Iwi Po’o—had a post in Pompeii, which was still thriving in 43 A.D. At that time, the eruption of Vesuvius was still thirty-six years in the future.

I remember my mother taking me to an automat similar to the one Church took Johnny to, (I refused to finish my cheese sandwich because someone was looking at me) and reading up about it was fascinating.

Horn_&_Hardart_automat
From: Wikipedia

It also helps for me to have a visual. Every once in a while, family or friends will send me emails that contain pictures, and I’ll say, “This is perfect as Iwi Po’o.” Although, of course, the island would have to be a good deal larger.

Aogasima

Credit: Wikipedia

Iwi Po’o is beautiful, but it’s also deadly. Would you be willing to travel with Johnny and Church and visit this island?

Or, “This is what Johnny’s Island of Many Waterfalls looks like!”

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Credit: By Forest Wander from Cross Lanes, USA – Elakala Waterfalls Swirling Pool Mossy Rocks, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8025248

In Call Me Church, the first book of Finding Home, people had taken shelter in Central Park’s “Hooverville” so named after the president who’d been in office when the stock market crash signaled the start of the Great Depression. These people also suffered the attack by Chetwood’s Kitty, the sabertooth he brought back from Iwi Po’o. This is what Central Park looked like in 1930, when a shanty town was set up there.
(enter picture labeled Central Park 1930)

Right now I’m working on Book 3 of Mann of My Dreams. My characters pay a visit to Savannah, where they meet the family introduced in Best Laid Plans. And let me tell you: just because the action is set in 2003, that doesn’t mean there’s any less research. ;-)
Louis L’Amour once said something that has always stayed with me: When I write about a spring, that spring is there, and the water is good to drink. I’d like my readers to be able to trust that have my facts straight. (no pun)

Check out Whither Thou Goest today!

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Blurb:

Johnny Smith meets Church Chetwood during the dark days of the Great Depression. He knows Mr. Chetwood can’t be his forever. Why would the handsome and charming director want to stay with a young man who has nothing but his body and skills in bed to offer? His Mr. Chetwood can have any women—or man—he wants, but Johnny is going to keep him as long as he can.
When they have to leave suddenly on the SS August Moon to evade the process servers trying to find Church, Johnny is glad they’ll have more time together. But the crew rises up against the good Captain Johansen, urged on by a stowaway who wants the August Moon for himself. Johnny and Church, together with the captain, the cook, a wireless operator, and the little girl Johnny saved from prostitution, are cast off into a small lifeboat—and doomed to the open sea. Their other option is to try to land on the island where Church once discovered a saber-toothed tiger. The problem is, the last time Church was on this island, twelve men paid the price with their lives. Will Johnny, Church, and their friends make it out alive this time?

Bio:

Tinnean has been writing since the 3rd grade, where she was inspired to try her hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn’t survive the passage of time; however, her love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school she became a member of the magazine staff, where she contributed a number of stories.

It was with the advent of the family’s second computer – the first intimidated everyone – that her writing took off, enhanced in part by fanfiction, but mostly by the wonder that is copy and paste.

While involved in fandom, she was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now she concentrates on her original characters. Recent novels have received honorable mention in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Rainbow Awards, and two of the 2014 submissions were finalists.

A New Yorker at heart, she resides in SW Florida with her husband and two computers.

Ernest Hemingway’s words reflect Tinnean’s devotion to her craft: Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.

She can be contacted at:
Email: tinneantoo@gmail.com
Live Journal: http://tinnean.livejournal.com/
Twitter: @tinneantoo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Tinnean
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Tinnean/e/B004QS65KQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1391469662&sr=1-2-ent

Once Upon a Time… with Rowan Speedwell

March 10, 2016

ONCE UPON A TIME...

Hi, I’m Rowan Speedwell, and I’m delighted to announce that my novella Night and Day is being re-released by Dreamspinner. I hope that y’all are as happy as me, because I love yez and want you to be happy! So sit back and I’ll tell you a little story….

 

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who looooved fairy tales, and started studying history so she could find out where and when those beautiful castles were… only to find out that the only fairy castles in the world were built by a crazy man named Ludwig of Bavaria barely more than two hundred years ago. But that was okay, because by then the little girl had discovered that the stories history told were much more interesting than fairy tales.

In her pursuit – she was literally the only person who received a Master’s degree in the Department of Humanities, Division of History from the University of Chicago in 1981 (everyone else was in the Social Studies department, blech) – she learned about culture and art and science and philosophy and music and literature and all the good stuff, not just dates and places and names. And she learned about mythology, and how the true stories of mythology – particularly Greek mythology – told you more about the people and places and times as any dull ol’ Social Studies book (blech).

Particularly when she graduated from Edith Hamilton’s Mythology to Bulfinch’s Mythology, and then stuff got really good. The things those gods got up to!

Night and Day plays with the gods, although the names have been changed to protect the innocent – assuming we can find any. It’s based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I don’t know if you know that story, but basically it’s this: Orpheus was a brilliant musician, who Apollo and Dionysus, both gods of music, fought over because each wanted him to be their worshipper. Apollo won out, but Dionysus (or Bacchus, if you know that one better) wasn’t going to let the insult go. Ain’t that just like a god? Sheesh. Anyway, the only thing Orpheus loved more than music was his wife Eurydice. Sadly, she died, and was taken away to Hades. Orpheus went after her, because you apparently can do that sort of thing in mythology, and was brought before Hades himself and his own wife Persephone. He played for them and the music was so beautiful the two promised him anything he wanted, so of course he asked for Eurydice back.

But there was a catch. (Usually is with these god guys.) He had to lead her out of Hades (Hades being both the place and the god, as anyone who’s seen Disney’s Hercules would know) but couldn’t look at her. So he did, and just as he stepped out of the tunnel from Hades, she stumbled and cried out, and he looked at her instinctively – but she was still in the tunnel, still in Hades, and so she faded back into the darkness.

Poor Orpheus went mad with grief, wandering the wild places. And Dionysus’s groupies, a bunch of crazy women called Maenads, who ran around drunk on Dionysus’s grapes (he was also the god of wine) wearing animal skins and eating raw bunnies, came upon him and tore him apart. There may have been cannibalism involved. So Dionysus got his revenge.

Of course Nate Pederowski is a tougher character. He’s survived the First World War and the loss of his lover, and the loss of his career and family and pretty much all illusions he might have still had. But unlike Orpheus, the music keeps him going. And just because there’s some strange stuff going on in the Starlight Lounge, it doesn’t mean he’s going to give up. Even if his new lover has a tendency to catch fire in sunlight, and a local gangster is trying to lure him away, and the clubfooted chef has a volcanic temper, and people around Nate are just a little bit weird. But he gets by and even starts to see a future…

Until he meets the Maenads…

(Insert evil laugh here.)

And maybe, maybe, we might find ourselves at the Starlight again someday. Because I love me some myths and magic.

What’s your favorite myth? And why?

Email: rowan.speedwell@gmail.com
Twitter: @rowanspeedwell
Facebook: Rowan Speedwell
Website: www.rowanspeedwell.com

Check out Night and Day here!

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Blurb: 

Nate Pederowski is about as far down as he can go when he’s tipped to a job as a singer in a speakeasy. Dishonorably discharged for being queer, broke and homeless during the Great Depression, Nate is embittered and lonely. The club’s handsome owner, Rick Bellevue, and his sister Corinna are wowed by Nate’s voice and offer him the job.

But the Starlight Lounge is much more than an ordinary supper club, and Rick and his sister much more than just the owners. It’s not ’til Nate gets caught up in a gangster’s plot that he discovers just what secrets they’re hiding. Nate’s life is going to change in ways he can scarcely imagine, let alone believe.

 

Ancient Greek Mythology Meets Hot Gay Sex with Arthur Griffin

March 9, 2016

Ancient Greek Mythology

What up, fellow fans of all things M/M!

My name’s Arthur Griffin, and I’m taking over the Dreamspinner Press Blog today for a totally boss reason: my erotic novella, The Lusty Adventures of Theseus, is being released today!

As an ardent fan of two dudes doing the ol’ bone dance (especially when I’m one of said dudes), I guess it seems only fitting I would eventually try my hand at writing erotica. That plus the fact that I’m, like, a HUGE nerd means it’s no real surprise that the story is set in the magical world of Greek mythology.

Ever since I was a little kid, I loved Greek mythology. For one thing, it always seemed pretty naughty to me. Everyone was hooking up and no one was wearing a lot of clothing. I know, sign me up, right?

But the other real reason was all the fantasy-esque tropes. Gods! Witches! Magic weapons! Studly heroes riding winged horses! That stuff is SO my jam. I was all about it as a little kid, and I’m all about it as a grown-ass man.

For you hardcore Greek myth fans out there, rest assured that Lusty Adventures sticks very close to the script of the original legend, just with, you know, a lot more descriptions of male genitalia. I mean, I take some artistic license with the story, like making King Minos of Crete an orgy-happy psycho, but most of it is pretty true to its source.

The biggest change I made to the story is the addition of male nymphs. Why male nymphs? Well, I wanted there to be a race that was basically the elves from Lord of the Rings, and nymphs, which are always kind of ambiguously described, seemed like a good fit.

All right, look, the truth is I wanted to explore my erotic fascination with Legolas, all right? Congratulations, you got me. Blame young Orlando Bloom. It’s his fault.

If you enjoy The Lusty Adventures of Theseus, guess what? There’ll be more where that came from! After all, there’s a whole lot of source material to tap into. Next on the horizon is The Lusty Journey of Perseus, aka the horniest, randiest, penis-full-iest version of Clash of the Titans you’ll ever read.

And that, my friends, is a solemn vow.

Now, for those of you who prefer romance over erotica, I do try to endow my stories with some actual emotional stuff. Any story that makes you laugh, cry, and get turned on is a win in my book, so that’s what I’m hoping you’ll get from mine.

There’s actually two love stories in Lusty Adventures, and I’m pretty proud of the emotional payoff for both of them. One is between Theseus and his lover, Pirithous (which is a legit mythological relationship), and the other features Iphitrion, a slave boy who I made up. Like I said, I stick mostly to the original myth, but it was a little shy on supporting characters, so I didn’t think padding it with some original creations would be too much of a crime.

One last thing, and I know this is maybe unusual for a M/M erotica piece, but it also actually passes the Bechdel test. For those not in the know, the Bechdel test measures how a work of fiction treats female characters by asking if there are at least two female characters who speak to each other about something other than a man. Though it’s an admittedly brief exchange, it happens in Lusty Adventures.

So, bottom line: if you like funny, sexy stories with hot naked guys, gods, satyrs, minotaurs, swordfighting, magic, and… um… I mentioned hot naked guys, right?… then you’ll love The Lusty Adventures of Theseus.

Now, as I said, I’ve always been a fan of Greek myth, and Theseus and the Minotaur has always been a special one to me. What’s your favorite myth? Let me know in the comments! It can be from anywhere and any time in the world—it doesn’t have to be Greek myth, specifically. And bonus points for mentioning how it can be turned into a hot guy-on-guy sausage fest! I’d love to hear all about it.

 

For more Arthur Griffin-y goodness, you can follow me on the interwebs!

Twitter – www.twitter.com/MrArthurGriffin

Facebook - www.facebook.com/MrArthurGriffin

Email - MrArthurGriffin@gmail.com

Check out The Lusty Adventures of Theseus today!

LustyAdventuresofTheseus[The]FS

Blurb:

The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur has never been quite this steamy!

Handsome Theseus journeys to Athens to claim his birthright as heir to the throne, and along the way he meets the roguish Pirithous, who teaches him all about matters of the heart—and body. When they reach the city, Theseus is shocked to discover that his father, the king, has a tradition of sacrificing young people to the Minotaur, the monster that inhabits the island nation of Crete.

Theseus and Pirithous, along with Iphitrion, a slave boy they befriend, set out to slay the Minotaur. After learning Crete is ruled by a mad tyrant with a fetish for orgies, Theseus puts his new skills to the test, fighting, flirting, and fornicating his way through the ranks, working his way past soldiers, satyrs, and gods alike as he attempts to accomplish his goal and save his city.

It’s a Kind of Magic with Tam MacNeil – Post + Giveaway

March 8, 2016

It's a Kind of Magic

Ever knocked on wood? Ever thrown a little salt over your shoulder? Maybe it’s because you secretly believe in magic. I grew up in a family that carefully saved the wishbones from fowl and hung horseshoes over doors (tips facing up, if you please). Grandma read tea leaves, and kept the clock that stopped the day Grandpa died. When I was growing up, as far as I was concerned, the world was full of unseen powers and the occasional charm or spell during the day was only to be expected.

The question I always asked myself (and never got answered) was who you’d call if the supernatural world got rowdy and out of control. I figured there had to be some kind of supernatural police force. Some folks who knew about monsters and gods and modern magic, who could break bad luck curses no matter where they came from, and who could prosecute the criminal elements of the unseen world.

Salt and Iron is the story of one of those families. You’ve heard of them, the same way you know about knocking on wood. They’re the van Helsing family.  Sure, they have an old Dutch name, but this branch of the family settled in the US a hundred years ago and they’re thoroughly American these days. Now it’s not just vampires, now whether it’s sidhe, Loa, or fay, a god or a monster, they hunt them all. It’s a family tradition. And they’ve got a big ol’ family secret too.

Lucky for James van Helsing, youngest son and total screw up, he doesn’t have to deal with monsters and magic alone. He’s got his best friend Gabe to lean on. So what if James is maybe super ultra in love with Gabe and can’t bear to tell him? It’s enough to have Gabe in his life, even at a distance. That is, until the monsters make Gabe one of their own.

 

Giveaway: We live in pretty rational times, but let’s face it, from horoscopes to playoff beards to lucky socks, we still believe in magic. Tell me about a magical practice you learned as a kid and where you grew up to enter to win a copy of my short story Four Alternative Christmas Presents.

 

Contact info: I write all kinds of stories, from contemporary romance (as T Neilson) to superhero stories and urban fantasy (as Tam MacNeil). If you want to keep up with my latest releases, get reading recs, read musings on plot and story structure, and if you want to know the best chocolate I’ve tasted lately, you can find me at TwitterFacebookTumblr, or, even better (because, hey, inside scoop and book giveaways!) you can sign up for my newsletter at Mailchimp. 

Check out Salt and Iron today!

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Blurb:

James van Helsing is the youngest son of the famous monster-hunting family—and the family’s big disappointment. He’s falling in love with Gabe Marquez, his oldest friend and son of the family the van Helsings have worked alongside for years. Things get even harder for James when he becomes what he and everyone else despises most—a magic user.

He didn’t mean to evolve into such a despicable person, and he knows using magic is illegal, but there’s nothing James can do about it, no more than he can stop himself from loving Gabe. Just when things can’t seem to get worse, he and Gabe are called to help nab a network of magicians who are changing destiny. Not just any destiny, but the destinies of the van Helsing and Marquez families. James foresees a terrible fate, one in which monsters emerge from the cracks, along with his dark secret. And that’s when people start to die.

Early Beginnings to the World of Fantasy with Rory Ni Coileain – Post + Giveaway

February 24, 2016

Early beginnings to the world of fantasy

Hi! – my name is Rory Ni Coileain, and today is release day for Wolf, Becoming, my very Russian shape-shifter story.

I’ve been invited to tell you all a little bit about myself and my writing. Which is surprisingly hard! I write what I call “mythic and legendary fantasy” – my logo (shout out to A.J. Corza!) is a blend of urban fantasy on the left, which his piercings and tattoos, and more “traditional” fantasy on the right. And if you’ve ever seen my banner at a convention, you’ve seen my tag line – “The end of the myth is where the story begins.”

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I grew up reading mostly fantasy and science fiction. But even before I found Doctor Doolittle (fourth grade) and Dune (eighth grade), my very first love was mythology. The first book I checked out of my school library in kindergarten (after I convinced the librarian that I’d already read everything in the kiddie section, by reading aloud from a book on meteorology and pronouncing “cumulonimbus” correctly) was Gods and Heroes of the Greeks. I loved Norse mythology, too, and by the time I was seven The Egyptian Book of the Dead was on my birthday list. (I was kind of precocious…) And I’ve been reading them ever since. Devouring them. Chinese, Travelling People, Irish, Native American, Russian. I really need an English translation of those 500 German fairy tales collected by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth…

Myths and legends are an incredibly powerful tool for the storyteller. They’re shortcuts into the subconscious, both collective and individual. If you’re telling a story and a character drops a glass slipper, your reader is instantly going to conjure a whole subtext, atmosphere, perspective. Your story is right there, in that simple phrase.

And then you get to mess with that story. Which is more fun than kittens. (“Well, almost,” she added in response to a glare from Captain Jack Harkness, her one-eyed polydactyl kitten.) You get to say “Why can’t Cinderella be a boy?” or “Maybe the dragon is only using the princess as bait to attract himself a handsome knight!” or “How can it be fair if the only ‘happily ever after’ your society is prepared to allow this character isn’t ‘happy’ at all?”

When you rewrite a myth, or a legend, you’re playing with the archetypes that form the foundation of a society, and of a mind. Which is how real change happens: you get right down to the root and change the primal stories we tell each other and build our culture on. Subversive as hell, really.

(If this sort of thing interests you, I highly recommend the work, both fictional and scholarly, of Jane Yolen. She is, as far as I’m concerned, the Grand Master of my self-defined subgenre. Her Sister Light, Sister Dark is a story told from three perspectives: What Really Happened, a very long time ago; the legend that grew out of what really happened; and the myth that grew out of the legend. And the whole thing is bracketed by the dyspeptic rantings of a “modern-day” academic, complaining that one of his colleagues, who is so ignorant that he actually believes there was a truth underlying the myths, is getting all the popular and academic attention, and people are ignoring his own carefully crafted (and, of course, totally wrong) interpretations. Hysterically funny and well worth a read. I also highly recommend Briar Rose. Highly. And Tam Lin. And…well, just Google Jane Yolen.)

Wolf, Becoming is taken from several Russian folk tale archetypes. Russian tales often involve a third son of a king or a rich merchant, usually named Ivan (I used Ilya as an homage to Illya Kuryakin, from Man from U.N.C.L.E., my first crush); the third son is usually portrayed as “simple,” but is usually just less ruthless than his older brothers. In my story, that’s a good description of Ilya, but Ilya is also gay – which, in modern Russian society, is all too often a very dangerous thing to be. This is an archetype just begging to be messed with…

And in Russian folk tales, there’s a tradition of shapeshifters, but it’s quite different from the Western tradition. In Russian legends, shapeshifters are animals, first and foremost; they only become human for a limited time, under very restrictive conditions. It was interesting writing a romance under those restrictions – challenging, to make the characters real as wolves, yet human enough for their romance to be believable.

I’d like to give away a copy of Wolf, Becoming – if you’d like a chance to win, comment below with a favorite folk or fairy tale. And if you have some ideas about how you’d like to see it changed, feel free to include that in the comment, too!

Check out Wolf, Becoming today!

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Blurb:

Volyk learns very young that he has to hide what he is—oboroten’, shape-shifter—after his father is killed and skinned by a hunter, and the pack that takes in his pregnant mother is hostile to his kind. When Volyk is ordered to fight the pack’s beta to prove his fitness, but instead obeys his hormones and tries to mount him, he’s declared an abomination and forced to flee.

Ilya, too, hides a secret. Being young and gay in modern Russia is dangerous, and he knows it. But the truth eventually gets out, and his brothers lure him into the forest to kill him. They’re stopped by Volyk, who hides the mortally wounded Ilya in his den. The only way to heal the human is to turn him into an oboroten’.

Unfortunately, Ilya’s gentle nature is ill-suited to the life of a wolf. But when Volyk’s old pack returns, seeking to take away Volyk’s magickal den, Ilya will have to embrace—truly become—the wolf Volyk made him to save both his mate’s life and his own.

Rory Ni Coileain:

www. rorynicoileain.com

www.facebook.com/Soulshares/

Twitter: @RoryNi