Messages from the Unseen World

June 25, 2012

#2

As you’ve probably gathered by now, the book is in a large part an homage to Alan Turing – the Prologue to The Prince and The Program is a short introduction to his life and works.

Shortly before he died, Alan sent postcards, entitled “Messages from the Unseen World” to his graduate student and friend, Robin Gandy. One of these messages forms the core of my novel:

There’s a QR code on the cover art of the book – slightly hard to make out on the digital version’s thumbnail, so I’ve included a version below. Why don’t you scan it in?

Another of Alan Turing’s messages, the one that adorns his Epitaph, is part of a more convoluted Easter Egg:

If you take all the SPT (Sunless Planes Timezone Times) HH:MM in order, convert them to their binary equivalent, then convert that to ASCII, you get a message.

13:01, 28:23, 00:25 –> 01101, 00001, 11100, 10111…

=

Hyperbolids of wondrous Light
Rolling for aye through Space and Time
Harbour there Waves which somehow Might
Play out God’s holy pantomime.

There are other postcards, of course, and other Messages. I’ll leave the task of finding them up to the interested reader…

The scanned images of the postcards are courtesy of the Turing Digital Archive.

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This post is part of the blogLaunch for The Prince and The Program, a Science-Fiction/Fantasy Romance featuring Prince Mordred and Alan Turing.

The first post in the series can be found here.

A downloadable Excerpt and information about the $1000 Easter Egg Hunt can be found at www.technomance.com.

The Prince and The Program Cover
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The Prince and The Program Launch Party

June 25, 2012

The Prince and The Program Cover

Hiya folks!

Welcome to the blogLaunch of The Prince and The Program. The book contains a number of Easter Eggs, codes, and hidden messages, and I thought this would be a great time and place to reveal some of them. But first, a little bit about the book:

——————————

Mordred Pendragon, the Bastard Prince, has done a Bad Thing–again. Exiled to Canada for seven years, he has to find a job to pay his bills. Mordred decides that “Software Engineer” has a nice ring to it. And though experience with “killing the Once and Future King, my father”, and “that time in feudal Japan” makes for a poor resume, he is hired by a startup in Toronto.

In the midst of dealing with a crippling caffeine addiction and learning C++, Mordred thinks he has finally found someone to anchor him to the world of the living: Alan, the company’s off-site lead developer. Except that Alan might not be a “living” entity at all…he may, in fact, be the world’s first strong Aritifical Intelligence. Or a demon that mistook a Windows install for the highway to Hell. Or, just maybe, the ghost of Alan Turing, currently inhabiting a laptop.

Mordred’s attempts to figure out his love life are hampered by interference from Inquisitors, corporate espionage, real espionage, a sysadmin bent on enslaving the world, and Marketing’s demands that Mordred ship software to the Russians. Then Alan gets himself kidnapped.

To save him, Mordred must ally himself with the company’s CEO, who will stop at nothing to rescue her lead developer so he can get back to work. But the Prince doesn’t just want to rescue Alan, he wants a Happily Ever After–and he will travel beyond Death itself to get one.

Too bad Alan is perfectly happy as a computer.

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You can download the Prologue and Chapter 1 on my website at www.technomance.com or, if you feel like it, order directly from Dreamspinner :)

I should also mention that there’s a $1000 Codebreaking Challenge – a cash award for the first person that cracks the Golden Egg that spans the entire length of the novel. There’s no time limit, the prize will be awarded whenever the Egg is cracked, now or ten years from now. Join me through the day as I reveal some of the Eggs (helping you rule out some leads), play a little bit of music for you, and talk about The Prince and The Program.

Release Party: “The Trust” – Ebook Giveaway

June 18, 2012

We hope you’ve enjoyed the posts and excerpts throughout the day here on the Dreamspinner Press blog!  And, of course, we hope you enjoy reading more about Jake and Trace in “The Trust.”  Don’t forget to leave a comment here to be entered to win a free ebook copy in the format of your choice!  We’ll be picking a winner and announcing it tomorrow, June 19th, so stay tuned. – Shira and Venona

Release Party: “The Trust” – Excerpt Two (18+ excerpt, NSFW!)

June 18, 2012

This excerpt is a bit hotter than the last, so warning to all of you at work:  this one probably should be read at home!  Hope you like it.  -Shira

Blurb:   Eight years ago, Jake Anders was a college kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Then Trace Michelson recruited him into The Trust, a CIA-backed agency whose “executives” eliminate rogue biotechnology operations. Trace was everything Jake ever wanted in a man: powerful, brilliant, and gorgeous. But Jake never admitted his attraction to his mentor, and Trace always kept Jake at arm’s length.

Now Trace is dead and Jake is one of The Trust’s best operatives, highly skilled and loyal to the organization. But the secret agent has his own secret: six years ago, before he was assassinated, Trace designed a Sim chip containing his memories and experiences—and now that chip is part of Jake. It’s just data, designed to augment Jake’s knowledge, but when Sim becomes reality, Jake wonders if Trace is still alive or if Jake really is going crazy like everyone claims. He doesn’t know if he can trust himself, let alone anyone else.

To learn the truth about Trace and the chip, Jake embarks on a dangerous mission—except he’s not the only one looking for the information. Some of the answers are locked in his head, and unless he finds the key, he’ll be killed for the technology that’s become a part of him.

Now, more than ever, Jake wishes Trace were here to guide him. Too bad he’s dead… right?

*****************

Pre-publication Excerpt, final version may change!

Excerpt from Chapter Eleven:

He closed his eyes and imagined himself on a beach overlooking blue-green water. He could hear the sound of the surf hitting the sand; he felt the spray on his face and the warmth of the sun. He took a deep breath and followed the Sim’s instructions.

He felt a strong pair of hands on his shoulders, digging into the tense muscles there from above him, kneading at the stiffness. The surf pounded the shore, and a drop of salt water hit his cheek. For the first time during a meditation, he realized he could smell—the tangy scent of seaweed washed up on the sand, the salt on the breeze, and something else—the citrus aftershave he remembered from years before. Trace’s aftershave. It was deeply unnerving. It was as though Trace were there with him, beside him. The real Trace and not a simulation. He fought the urge to stand up and start pacing again.

“Relax.” Trace Michelson’s resonant voice was a surprising balm for the stress Jake could not seem to release. The voice was also different than before: warmer, perhaps. No longer in his mind, but right there, next to him. Real. Much like the difference between a painting of a beautiful sunset and the sunset as it paints the world with vibrant color, because you are there to experience it.

“You’ve never touched me before.” Jake marveled at the strength in those long, graceful fingers. He could almost hear the other man’s breath in his ear as he imagined Trace’s face above his own, looking down. He didn’t open his eyes for fear that the scene would disappear and he’d be back in his own apartment once more, alone.

“You’ve never let me touch you, not in this way,” the Sim responded. “Until now, you haven’t been comfortable letting me get this close to you.”

“Hell.” Jake sighed and gave in to the need to believe that it was Trace Michelson touching him, and not just a simulation. “It’s all in my head, anyhow. Why should I care what you do?” He began to relax into the warm sand, and all thoughts of what Grey might say if he told him his Sim massaged his shoulders on a Caribbean beach vanished.

“You will find the answers.” Trace began to work his way down Jake’s arm, kneading the muscles. “But you must be patient.”

“Easy for you to say,” said Jake with a laugh. Trace worked his fingers up Jake’s arms and lingered briefly at his shoulders, working through the tension, reaching around his neck to work the muscles of his upper back. Painful bliss.

“Relax,” Trace commanded after a few more minutes. Jake obliged as his head sank back further into the soft sand.

“God, that feels so good.”

“You’re fighting it,” Trace said, his face again close to Jake’s.

“Hell no. It’s just that I’m starting to feel like Jell-O.”

“I’m not talking about your body,” the Sim replied. “I’m talking about your mind, your spirit.”

“My mind?”

“You must open your mind, Jake, and see the infinite possibilities.”

A flash of color hovered on the periphery of Jake’s consciousness: the mandala. “What am I supposed to see in it?” he asked as Trace caressed his chest. “What am I missing?”

“The future. Your future is there.”

“Right now, I’m just seein’ myself dead,” Jake answered acerbically. “And that’s what I see, no matter which way I look.”

“You’re better than that—stronger. You’re capable of so much more than you’re willing to admit. This is no different from any mission you’ve been sent on in the past. Only perhaps there is more to be gained in the end.”

“Will you be waiting there?” Jake asked.

There was no answer. Trace followed a line to the sensitive skin under Jake’s ear, and he felt gooseflesh rise on his body.

“God, Trace,” he whispered, “what are you doing?”

“I’m merely responding to your wishes, to your desires.” Jake imagined Trace’s lips close to his ear. “It’s what I’m programmed to do.”

“My… desires?” Jake wondered aloud. “Trace… he programmed you to…?”

“My programming has never been completely static,” Trace replied as he ghosted a pair of silken palms over the muscles of Jake’s chest, and Jake’s body arched instinctively upward. “I’m only responding to your needs, your desires.”

“Have I desired this?” Jake mused. He was a sexual being, although he’d never found a man who could completely satisfy him. And yet, this man whom he’d worshipped from afar….

“You hesitate because you do not know what to believe of your unspoken need,” Trace explained calmly.

“I….”

“It’s your desire that guides me. And it’s your fear that holds you back.”

“I’m afraid,” Jake admitted.

“You’re afraid of being with me.” Jake knew Trace was right. Was it so unreasonable to be afraid of Trace? He was nothing more than a ghost.

“How did you know,” Jake asked, uncomprehending, “when I didn’t understand it myself?”

“I’m a part of you. I can’t be separated from you, nor can I fail to hear what’s in your heart.”

Jake moaned again. The feel of Trace’s fingers on his scalp made him want to….

“Open your eyes, Jake Anders,” that glorious voice now commanded. “Open your eyes.”

Jake obeyed, looking into the most stunning eyes he’d ever known, their deep blue now appearing almost gray in the bright sunlight. It was as if he were seeing those eyes for the first time—they were no longer the cold, controlled eyes of the man who had mentored him but the eyes of a lover, warm and deep. Trace was naked, his hair wet from the water. Jake realized that he was naked, as well.

“Trace,” he whispered as their lips met. He ran his fingers over the well-defined chest, the smooth pale skin that seemed to glow in the sunlight. “You’re so goddamn beautiful. I never knew….” His voice trailed off as he felt Trace run his hands through his hair with its ends now painted in sand. Trace licked his ear, and Jake gasped. Why did this all seem so real? And how hadn’t he understood what he’d felt all along? He smiled for a moment at the realization that Grey had correctly guessed at his heart, then silently cursed the man for it.

“Do you understand, now, what you’ve denied yourself all these years?” Trace whispered, biting the lobe of Jake’s ear and sucking it for a moment. “Do you understand why I always kept you at arm’s length?”

“You didn’t want to hurt me.” Jake was momentarily stricken by the thought that the real man behind the Sim might not have desired him in the same way. To Trace, he’d been just a kid, eager, willing, and yet unable to comprehend the adult whispers of his soul.

Jake couldn’t deny it any longer: after years spent with the Sim as his constant companion, he’d grown to love Trace. It was utterly absurd. But as he lay on the beach with the water lapping at his toes, the absurdity of falling in love with the ghost who inhabited his mind didn’t matter. Here, in this place, that love felt real.

“I wanted you to make your own choices.”

I want this now. I want him.

Jake pulled Trace on top of him, raking his back with his nails until he heard a low groan in response. Then, roughly, he drew Trace’s face back to his and found his lips once again, probing Trace’s mouth with an insistent and demanding tongue, relishing the warmth as it opened to him. He had never tasted anything as sinfully sweet.

“Jake, what do you want?” Trace wrapped his arms around Jake and pulled him closer.

“I want you,” moaned Jake, his hands grasping at the tensed muscles of Trace’s shoulders, feeling the power there.

Trace pushed Jake back onto the sand, his eyes hooded with lust. He sucked hard at the base of Jake’s neck, then moved lower, biting a nipple and laving the outline of it with his tongue. Jake growled as Trace took the pebbled flesh between his teeth and rolled it there, biting it again, just enough to sting.

“Oh, fuck… Trace!” he cried out. Where did a Sim chip learn to do that? The thought was quickly replaced by thrumming need. He went to push Trace over, to dominate him as he was being dominated, but Trace was far stronger than he remembered, and he remained pinned beneath the smaller man.

Trace’s eyes grew darker still as he pushed Jake’s wrists into the sand at his sides. Jake ceased his struggle, surrendering to his companion until he felt Trace’s hard cock against his. But the blissful pressure of that contact was quickly gone as Trace leaned down, then drew lazy circles on his abdomen with his pink tongue, making his way slowly downward to the point that Jake thought he might lose his sanity in the pleasure of the other man’s touch.

“God, Trace.” The sun-heated water lapped at Jake’s feet as Trace’s lips parted and he felt the warmth of Trace’s mouth, exploring the length of him, tasting and sucking there.

Now I’ve really lost my mind.

“Hardly,” murmured Trace, circling his tongue around the sensitive tip before swallowing it down until his mouth met the reddish curls at the base of Jake’s cock. “You’ve just found it.”

He could barely breathe to feel that warm heat. And that tongue! God, that tongue was at once both heavenly and sinful. Trace sucked in his cheeks, increasing the pressure—that incredible, perfect pressure that made Jake forget everything. Teeth, lips, and tongue combined in the most exquisite way.

Jake realized his lover no longer held his wrists when he felt lithe fingers scrape the sensitive skin of his perineum and a firm hand cup his balls, then roll them about. “Shit!” he cried out, the sound of his voice lost on the crashing waves. “Shit, shit, shit!” A finger pressed against his tight opening, and it was just too much for him. He came hard in Trace’s mouth, shuddering and clutching Trace’s hair in his hands.

The cell phone alarm buzzed, and Jake awoke with a start, panting. He was still on the couch, wearing the same pair of pants as before. The apartment was dark. He was soaked in sweat. He felt the sticky warmth of his release on his abdomen. He was half-hard just remembering.

“Helluva dream,” he muttered to himself. He got up and headed for the shower, stripped off his pants, and set the temperature as cold as he could stand it. “You are one fucked-up SOB,” he added, shaking his head and grabbing the shampoo.

That was a dream, wasn’t it? he wondered as he rinsed the shampoo from his long hair.

Release Party: “The Trust” – Artificial Romance?

June 18, 2012

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the subject of three of my favorite sci fi movies of all time:  “2001, A Space Odyssey,” “Blade Runner” and “The Terminator.”  All three movies involve self-aware computer “beings.”  Wherever you look, whether it’s in the toy store, on line communities, or science, AI is the big new thing.  My daughter just got a new iPhone that talks back to her (Siri).  So when my co-author, Venona Keyes, suggested a gay spy thriller featuring a microchip that is like a virtual hero, I said, “Way cool!”

The Trust” is the story of Jake Anders, who was recruited into a CIA-backed agency, The Michelson Trust, by Trace Michelson, the grandson of the agency’s creator and the agency’s current director.  The flesh and blood Trace trains Jake and ultimately asks Jake to participate in “Project Resurrection.”  Jake receives one of two prototype Sim chips, the “Trace Sim,” created using the life experiences and personality of Trace himself.  But when Trace is assassinated, all that remains of Trace is embodied in the microchip Jake now shares his mind with.   Or so it seems, until the Sim chip becomes Jake’s reality.

So what happens when you fall in love with the artificial recreation of a man?  And what happens when that artificial man becomes real?  For Jake, he begins to doubt that Trace is really dead, and he goes on a dangerous journey across continents to uncover the truth behind the legacy of Trace Michelson and, perhaps find Trace himself.  Along the way, Jake discovers that the Trace Sim is capable of far more than anyone ever realized.

Is there a happily ever after for Jake?  Yes.  Definitely.  It’s a romance!  How do we get there?  That’s the fun part.  You’ll have to read the book to find out! Interested?  Enter to win an ebook copy by commenting here.  Good luck! -Shira

Release Party: “The Trust” – Read an Excerpt (PG-13 Excerpt)

June 18, 2012

Hey y’all!  Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from my third release from Dreamspinner Press, “The Trust” which I co-authored with the lovely Venona Keyes.  It’s a sci fi romance/suspense thriller about a secret agent who races against time to learn the truth about the technology implanted in his body and the man he fell in love with ten years before. Not sure what that’s all about?  Think “gay James Bond with lots of cool gadgets.”  Oh, and a sweet HEA, of course!  Enjoy, and don’t forget to comment to be entered to win an ebook copy! -Shira

Blurb:   Eight years ago, Jake Anders was a college kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Then Trace Michelson recruited him into The Trust, a CIA-backed agency whose “executives” eliminate rogue biotechnology operations. Trace was everything Jake ever wanted in a man: powerful, brilliant, and gorgeous. But Jake never admitted his attraction to his mentor, and Trace always kept Jake at arm’s length.

Now Trace is dead and Jake is one of The Trust’s best operatives, highly skilled and loyal to the organization. But the secret agent has his own secret: six years ago, before he was assassinated, Trace designed a Sim chip containing his memories and experiences—and now that chip is part of Jake. It’s just data, designed to augment Jake’s knowledge, but when Sim becomes reality, Jake wonders if Trace is still alive or if Jake really is going crazy like everyone claims. He doesn’t know if he can trust himself, let alone anyone else.

To learn the truth about Trace and the chip, Jake embarks on a dangerous mission—except he’s not the only one looking for the information. Some of the answers are locked in his head, and unless he finds the key, he’ll be killed for the technology that’s become a part of him.

Now, more than ever, Jake wishes Trace were here to guide him. Too bad he’s dead… right?

*****************

Pre-publication Excerpt, final version may change!

Chapter One: The Hitman is Hit

Shit. Shit, shit, shit!

Blood gushed from his leg, and for just an instant, he watched it with growing anger. Watched it, that was, until the adrenaline kick-started his brain and he realized he would die if he kept bleeding like this.

Gotta stop the bleeding, he thought with desperation.

He dragged himself to the women’s bathroom, pushed hard on the door, and stumbled in. Between the sound of the door slamming against the wall and the sight of all the blood, the startled women inside screamed and ran out.

Blood coated everything he touched. He leaned against a stall door, and it swung open under his weight. One hand applying pressure to the gunshot wound, he elbowed the toilet-paper holder. He fell to the floor and the roll sprang free. He placed the cheap one-ply paper over the wound and pressed down hard—it only took a minute before the roll was a deep crimson.

He tapped the microphone on his chest and shouted, “Agent down! I need an extraction, now!”

“Who’s down?” came the calm, even voice in his earpiece.

“I am. Sandoval fucking ambushed me. Caught me in the leg. Hit an artery.”

“Anders, where are you?”

“I—” He broke off, looking up to see a slender man leaning casually against the stall door, grinning at him. The Silver Fox, Jason Sandoval. Sandoval wasn’t Jake’s target, but it seemed as though Jake was his. Jake had always detested Sandoval. Now he knew why.

“So… there you are. Thanks for leaving me a trail of bloody breadcrumbs to follow.”

“Agent Anders, where are you?” the voice in his ear persisted. He ignored it.

“Looks like ya got a bleeder there, Anders.”

They had never been friends, but they had been colleagues. Now, Jake wanted nothing more than to blow the smirk off the other man’s face.

Fucking traitor.

“I’ve had worse,” Jake lied. If Sandoval wanted him dead, he’d probably only have to wait a few minutes for him to bleed out. But that wasn’t Sandoval’s style—he had never been a patient man, and Jake knew it.

“Not sure that’s true, but I admire your bravado.”

Again, the voice in his ear. “Agent Anders, who’s there with you?”

“What do you want, Sandoval?” Jake asked. He’d pretty much always suspected Jason Sandoval was insane. Now he was sure of it.

Who the hell is he working for? Foreign government? Private concern?

They had come here as a team, their mission to intercept a scientist who was in town for a conference. But things had gone horribly wrong. It had been a setup, the entire scenario. Three of their own agents had turned their guns against him and his backup team. But why?

Fucking traitors. All of them.

“Well, I could watch you bleed to death. Or I suppose I could just end it for you now. Seems a shame, though. You really were a first-class ops guy, Jake. Now your life is fading away, and I get to witness it.”

Jake slowly reached inside his pants.

“Now, now, Jake,” drawled Sandoval, “no cheatin’. Take that hand out of your pocket.”

“I’m trying to stem the bleeding at the pressure point.”

“Like hell.”

Jake withdrew his hand and flicked his wrist faster than the other man could follow, impaling him in the right eye with a knife. Sandoval staggered backward and out of the stall without uttering a word. Jake reached for his gun, but it was missing. When had he lost it? He needed to finish Sandoval off before he was the one lying on the floor with his brains blown out.

He heard the distinctive muffled “pflnk” of a silencer. With the last scrap of his energy, Jake pushed the stall door open in time to see Sandoval fall backward, hitting the tile wall and sliding onto the floor. He was dead.

“Jake,” came a familiar baritone voice. “Reduce your heart rate, just as I taught you. It will slow the bleeding.”

Jake closed his eyes, and in spite of the ice that flowed through his veins and the drowsiness that threatened to pull him under, he forced himself to meditate. He envisioned the frantic beating of his heart slowing down, imagined the damaged artery closing, the blood clotting, and the wound beginning to heal. The thundering rush of blood in his ears began to ebb, and the dizziness subsided. He slowed his breathing, and his heart steadied.

“Good work, Jake,” he heard the soothing voice say. “It isn’t your time to be with me. Not yet.”

“Agent Anders! Agent Anders!” He wanted to swat the microphone away, but he didn’t have the strength.

He blinked, trying to focus his uncooperative eyes on the figure that stood before him. “Trace?” he whispered as he passed out.

“Fucking traitor Sandoval,” Ryan Roberts growled from nearby.

“If Jake hadn’t killed him, I’d’ve gladly done it myself.” John Carson—Jake recognized the voice.

“He’s a damn lucky bastard.” Ryan’s voice again.

“Un-fucking-believable. Got that tourniquet on and still had the presence of mind to write the time on his leg,” added Carson.

“I gotta hand it to ’im—got Sandoval once in the eye, then turned around and shot ’im to make sure he was dead—all while he’s fuckin’ bleeding to death.”

“Gentleman, Agent Anders needs to rest.” A woman’s voice this time: soothing, no-nonsense, and familiar.

“Sorry, Dr. Carroll.” Carson sounded embarrassed, but Jake could hear the note of concern in his gruff voice. “We just wanted to be here when Jake wakes up.”

“He will regain consciousness when his body’s ready. He’s lost a lot of blood, and he’s been in surgery.”

“We’ll wait,” Ryan replied. Jake almost smiled to hear the stubbornness in Ryan’s voice.

“Agent Roberts, Agent Carson, the director has called a meeting, and you both need to be in attendance.” Stephanie Carroll’s voice was now commanding.

Jake felt a strong hand squeeze his shoulder. “You better get your lazy ass outta here, Anders, or I’m gonna have to beat the crap outta ya.” The sounds of chairs scraping the floor and fading footsteps followed Ryan’s words.

“It’s all right, Agent Anders. They’re gone,” Jake heard a few minutes later.

The dim light of the room was too bright. Jake squinted, blinked several times, and slowly opened his eyes. He had a splitting headache.

“Welcome back to the world of the living, Jake.”

Jake attempted to smile back at the gentle-voiced doctor, but it came out more like a grimace.

“Are you in pain?”

“My head feels like it’s gonna explode.”

“I’ll give you something.”

Jake watched as the tiny woman took a syringe and injected it into the IV in his arm. He felt warmth radiate from the site of the line as his muscles relaxed and the pounding in his head began to lessen.

“Thanks. I think I feel less ‘vincible’ now,” he said, managing a lopsided grin.

She smiled at him. “Jake, I really can’t tell you how impressed I am with the skills you exhibited under the extreme pressure of the situation.”

“I had help.”

“Oh?”

“The Trace Sim. He told me to slow down my breathing and meditate. I imagined my artery knitting itself back together.”

“Impressive. I didn’t think the simulation microchips were so detailed in their programming.”

Jake shrugged. “Neither did I. It’s like he was right there in front of me.”

“When our bodies are under acute stress, we often imagine things,” she replied in a kind but patronizing tone.

Jake guessed that she’d heard the recording of his call for help and had wondered why he’d spoken Trace Michelson’s name.

“He seemed so real. Not like the usual Sim.”

Her answer was what he’d expected and hoped for: reassuring and kind. “The brain is an amazing organ. In times of severe stress, it can be a powerful tool to ensure survival.”

The tension in his shoulders abated with her words.

She’s right. It was probably a combination of the Sim and my own imagination. Either way, it worked, right?

She offered him a sympathetic smile. “You need to rest.” She checked the IV and made a notation on the chart at the foot of his bed.

She turned to leave, then paused as if considering something. “You know, Jake,” she said with a contemplative hand to her chin, “applying a tourniquet made from the toilet roll spindle and your torn shirt was quite remarkable, given the extent of your injury. But you didn’t really need it—the artery had already begun to heal on its own. It appears Dr. Michelson’s techniques are more effective than we originally thought. Quite fascinating.”

“Tourniquet?” It was the second time someone had mentioned it since he’d regained consciousness. But he didn’t remember a tourniquet, let alone applying one to himself in the heat of the moment.

“The one you placed on your leg before you lost consciousness.”

“I don’t remember that. The last thing I remember is Trace.”

“Writing the time you placed the tourniquet on your leg required true presence of mind, Jake,” she continued, undaunted. “We were able to quickly ascertain how long the circulation had been compromised.”

“I don’t remember that either.” He frowned.

She gave him another reassuring smile. “You really must get some rest now. I’ll be back to check on you later. Would you like something to drink?”

“Something more than ice chips?” he asked with a hopeful expression.

“I’ll see that you get some water.”

“Thanks.” He closed his eyes. He heard her walk out of the room and close the door behind her.

Tourniquet? Writing the time on my leg? And who killed Sandoval? I couldn’t have shot him; I didn’t have my gun….

It made no sense. An image of the man with dark hair and slate-blue eyes filled Jake’s mind. He’d seen that face many times while training with his Sim. He had known the real man himself years before—Trace Michelson had recruited Jake into the Trust. But for years, it had been only a virtual Trace who had inhabited his mind, training him, sharing his knowledge with his host as all Sims did.

This was different. He was so… real.

He forced his eyes open again and stared up at the ceiling. The gray acoustic tiles provided him with no answers.

“Idiot,” he muttered as he fought the overwhelming urge to sleep. “Of course he wasn’t there. He’s been dead for nearly five years.”

Release party: “The Trust”

June 18, 2012

Welcome to release day for “The Trust,” by Dreamspinner Press authors Shira Anthony and Venona Keyes.  Please join us today for excerpts and an ebook giveaway contest, and read a little about the inspiration for this gay spy thriller/romance.

Throughout the day, Shira and Venona will be talking about their book and posting excerpts.  Enter to win a free ebook copy (format of your choice) by commenting here or on Shira’s website, www.shiraanthony.com A winner will be drawn at midnight on June 18th.

From Ambush to Payback to Switch

May 23, 2012

Follow Zeke and Miles through the three stories. Feel free to tell me which one speaks to YOUR inner desire :)
xxxx

In AMBUSH, Zeke is planning his provocative new exhibition on Bondage, when he decides to push Miles a step further than before. Miles is used to being in control … but tonight, Zeke is calling the shots. And Miles finds himself trapped and unable to do a damned thing about it.

In PAYBACK, Miles plots his revenge in his typically determined and strategic way. It’s about time that Zeke learned to surrender control as well, but not necessarily in a physical way. Miles decides it’s time to turn the tables and make Zeke follow *his* wishes – and they’re both in for a surprise, sexually and emotionally. 


SWITCH (short story)

 

Available today at Dreamspinner Press

Sequel #3 to True Colors

Miles Winter and Zeke Roswell have excited and enthralled each other since the day they met. Zeke’s uninhibited lovemaking has allowed Miles to grow in confidence and their relationship to deepen. Back from a business trip, Miles knows he should take care of his backlog of work, but the delight of being reunited with Zeke makes him realize he has other, more important needs—including the one sexual step he hasn’t yet taken. Business can wait in favor of a commitment far more primal and more permanent.

EXCERPT from Switch:

Miles had arrived late for Bondage, after a succession of airport delays, and the show was already in full swing. The room was full of laughter and loud commentary and more than a few glasses of champagne being raised in salute to Zeke Roswell. Miles had pushed through the door behind a group of Japanese collectors and barely found a space to settle his case and coat. Malia had spotted him first, rushing over to make him more comfortable. But it had only been another few seconds before Zeke’s gaze found his, over the heads of the visitors milling around him. It was eerie, the way Zeke always knew he was there within moments of arriving. Eerie, and very exciting. Miles had recognized the look of welcome in Zeke’s eyes—shortly followed by weariness and the onset of frustration in the face of so many people’s clamor for attention.

He’d taken Malia to one side, and they’d managed to extract Zeke from the crowd shortly afterward. Zeke had already spoken to everyone who wanted to meet him; given soundbites galore for the press. Miles reminded him that the gallery had staff to cover the remaining hours of the event, and hustled him out to the limo and off to dinner at an undisclosed location.

Now they were at last in Miles’s bed, Zeke’s body stretched out underneath him, his comfort and passion in easy and willing reach. Tonight, the gentle touches made Miles shudder with excitement and impatience, even though he was usually the one who took a little longer to relax and surrender. Whereas Zeke knew exactly what he wanted and pursued it with hunger and mischief as swiftly as he could.

Usually.

But tonight… tonight was different. Miles rolled over again and spooned back up against Zeke. This time he didn’t flinch when Zeke ran his hand over his ass; this time he pushed back into the caress, inviting more.

“Talk to me,” Zeke murmured. He continued to stroke Miles, his strong hand running the length of Miles’s back, over his buttocks, down his thighs as far as Zeke could reach, then back up again. “Tell me what you saw at the show.”

Miles pursed his lips. “Not sure I can do you justice. My color blindness, remember? I don’t always get the full benefit ….”

Zeke gave a dismissive grunt and slid one of his hands around to Miles’s belly, playing with the trail of dark hair down to his groin. Miles’s cock thickened and stretched, the need starting an ache in his gut. “Not just the colors. Tell me what you saw.”

Miles frowned. He wished he could see the expression in Zeke’s eyes, try to guess what Zeke wanted. But Zeke had always told him to speak his mind. To speak his feelings. “Well, there was the usual dramatic combination of art and sculpture, all sizes, all mediums.” He smiled at the memory. There’d been a ladder effect of exhibits—paintings and other creations, stepping up beside each other, behind each other, making the visitor crane his head to be able to see it all. There were pictures of seducers and the seduced; those in bondage and those dominating; those who flushed with pleasure and the pure contentment of finding their sexual place in life and those who fought against it, anguished both physically and emotionally. The sexual bondage scenes had been playful, exciting and stimulating. But there’d been other, different views of bondage— photos of couples arm in arm but with body language that cried for separation, of workers miserable at their desk, of people of all ages who looked nothing but painfully uncomfortable in their clothes and home setting. The leaflets and placards Zeke had showed him in the office some weeks ago were there, evidence of protests against discrimination and repression. And in amongst the pictures were structures and tokens illustrating the locations where these things happened. In back streets, in public forums, in the comfort of a man’s living room. Everything in together, a riot of activity, a challenge to anyone’s critique. A jumble, like the box of exciting goods Zeke had spilled on Miles’s office carpet. Seemingly a mess, yet brought together by Zeke’s talent into an experience like no other. It was what people had come to expect of a Zeke Roswell show.
Miles’s smile caught on a gasp as Zeke bit mischievously at the skin stretched tight over Miles’s hip.

“Turn over,” Zeke muttered. “On to your belly. Keep talking.”

Miles rolled slowly over, resting his head on his hands. His heart beat more rapidly again. Zeke had a way of demanding things of him that reached into Miles’s equally assertive soul and invited total surrender. He wished they’d spent more time on familiar foreplay tonight, kissing and nipping gently at skin until one or the other of them laughed or begged to move on. He wanted to taste Zeke’s cock on his tongue, wanted to suck and lick it, a better taste by far than the champagne at the show. He wanted time to—
No, he didn’t. There’d be time for all that, another night.

“What did you feel?” Zeke murmured in his ear, breaking into his thoughts. “Tell me.”

“I felt excitement, suspense, anticipation.” Miles’s mind drifted back to all he’d seen. “There were curtains over the corners of the room, half-hiding the displays underneath. There were corners I turned and came face to face with shocking images. Sometimes it inspired anger or distress, sometimes titillation. There were explicit scenes of erotica, of both pain and ecstasy. Scenes of platonic but deeply felt love. It was… tantalizing.”

Zeke nodded. Miles felt the brush of Zeke’s hair on his shoulders as Zeke shifted down the bed. His tongue lapped gently at the small of Miles’s back, making him gasp again. Zeke stretched his leg over the back of Miles’s calf, momentarily holding Miles down on the bed. Miles felt the cheeks of his ass tighten with something between thrill and trepidation.

“I said, keep talking.”
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Clare London … Writing Man to Man

           

Website        Blog     Facebook    Twitter

True Colors by Clare London

May 23, 2012

Hi again, from my release day celebrations for SWITCH and its fellow short stories.

It’ll be great to hear from you today, and remember – all comments will be entered into a draw for a free copy of ALL THREE shorts.


If you wanted to catch up with the original novel that brought the two apparently mis-matched guys together, in a confused, passionate and ultimately steamy way … HERE it is :) .

BLURB: From the very first, Zeke Roswell and Miles Winter are like oil and water. After a tragic fire claimed his brother’s life, Zeke’s personal and professional life spiraled out of control, and now he has no choice but to sell his gallery to cover his debts. Enter successful entrepreneur Miles, who buys it and plans to make a commercial success out of Zeke’s failure.

Their initial hostility stands no chance against the strong passion that ambushes them. Zeke’s talent and lust for life intoxicate Miles, and Zeke finds Miles’s self-assurance and determination equally fascinating. But it’s not until an unsolved mystery of violence and stolen sketches threatens to sabotage any chance at happiness that Miles and Zeke realize they have a chance at all.

EXCERPT from True Colors:

Miles didn’t know what made him start on up the stairs without calling or knocking.

When he reached the top, he looked across the landing, searching for Zeke. The door to the studio was wide open and he could see inside. There was a table set up in there now, and a couple of display stands, though there were no pictures or plans in view. The overhead light was off, and the only light in the room was from a thick church candle, anchored on a china plate and balanced rather precariously on the edge of the table. There were two coffee mugs there as well, and another empty plate.

Miles took a tentative step forward and peered further in. Over by the window, he saw Zeke with his back to him, one arm braced against the wall, facing out toward the city view. His body was silhouetted against the darkening sky outside by the single, flickering flame of the candle. His hair was tied back this evening, a short but vivid trail of dark curls against a white T-shirt that was too short, as usual; it rode up around his midriff. He wore those damned sweat shorts, though probably another pair, but the same style. Miles stared at the gap of fresh skin between shirt and shorts; followed the lines of muscles down the back of Zeke’s thighs; gazed at the slight glimmer of sweat in the hollow behind his knees, as it caught what little light there was.

His heartbeat stuttered and re-settled to its regular rhythm.

Almost immediately afterward, he noticed the other pair of legs. Another person stood in front of Zeke, largely hidden by him. The four limbs were closely pressed together and there was the shadow of fingertips at Zeke’s waist. Miles realized the other person must be extremely close, because he couldn’t see a separate face, couldn’t see easily which arm might be which.
With a wash of cold shock, he also realized how stupid he was, for the pair of them were obviously kissing. Zeke’s head dipped against the girl’s and her other hand gripped softly behind his neck, tangling into his hair, tugging him further against her. Miles saw the muscles of Zeke’s shoulders tensing as he pressed her body up against the wall more tightly, pushing his chest against her, his mouth so obviously working on hers.

Miles heard a soft gasp; a moan swallowed by another eager mouth.

Zeke’s free arm was hugged in front of his body, the hand hidden from view. The girl’s legs were parted against his hips. Miles imagined him flipping open the button of her jeans; he had visions of Zeke sliding his long, supple fingers down into her clothes; of touching her curls; of stroking parts that were hot and sweaty, and sensitive to every finger’s touch….
His shock became even colder as he watched the hand on Zeke’s waist slip down to his ass, and squeeze him confidently through the sweat fabric. Miles saw the muscles of Zeke’s shoulders shiver with pleasure, and his back arch under the touch. But there was something about the darkly tanned skin of the companion’s bare arm, seen clearly for the first time—something that jarred. There were strong tendons stretching to grasp at Zeke’s body, and soft hairs glinting in the evening glow.

It was a masculine hand; a young man’s hand. Miles had assumed it was a girl, but it was male.

He knew he had to leave. He had invaded Zeke’s privacy. Carter had tried to tell him Zeke was busy; he just hadn’t realized with what. He felt sick, and wondered briefly why a genuine error should make him feel so unstable. He wasn’t aware of making any noise as he turned to go back downstairs, but out of the corner of his eye he saw the figures straighten up and turn in his direction.

“Miles?” It was Zeke’s voice. Miles cursed every God he’d ever read about, and paused, his hand on the doorframe.

“Hold up, Miles. We’re just finished here, you know? Marco’s just going. Aren’t you, man?”

Miles stood, transfixed, staring at somewhere between the stairwell and the floor, as he heard the disgruntled mumbles from Zeke’s companion, and Zeke’s own careless laugh. “Not now, Marc baby. Yeah, I know. But first it was Carter calling, and now it’s my boss. I don’t have the time tonight. I’ll call you. Come on, man….”

Some rustling clothes; Miles heard a zipper being wrenched up. There was a jolt to his elbow, and a young, dark-haired man pushed past him, none too gently. Miles had the brief impression of a scowling, Mediterranean-cast face, and a body that obviously worked out; then Marco was gone, lumbering down the stairs in a rather unattractive sulk.

“Christ, don’t you ever knock?” growled Zeke. He came to stand next to Miles with a wry smile on his face. His cheeks were flushed; his lips plump and moist. “Guess that was useful for me, though. He’s a little too clingy for my liking.”

“I interrupted you… both. I’m sorry. I thought with Carter gone, you were free.”

“You met Carter?” Zeke looked at Miles with interest. “Good. I told him some stuff about you. Probably best he sees you for real, or I may be blackening your name needlessly, eh?” He laughed, easily enough.

Miles leaned a little away from him. He hated him, briefly, suddenly, and had never known such a reaction in himself. How could Zeke be so cool after such embarrassment? How could he just abandon the sensual anticipation of that make-out session, and dismiss his lover so swiftly? How could he chat so calmly to Miles about other people entirely; how could he laugh as if nothing had happened there? Miles wished he could wipe his own embarrassment from his mind—the strange, churning feelings inside his stomach that he was sure were showing on his face. He’d never known such discomfort.

Nor had he ever felt such desire. A desire that wracked his gut, demanding that he be where that young man had been, just moments before: wrapped around Zeke Roswell, with Zeke’s tongue in his mouth, and Zeke’s hand down the front of his pants.
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Clare London … Writing Man to Man

           

Website        Blog     Facebook    Twitter

Greetings from London – three times the charm?!

May 23, 2012


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Hi from Clare London and welcome to the Dreamspinner blog today, where I’m celebrating the release of #3 of my sexy shorts, featuring the tall, dark ‘n deep entrepreneur Miles Winter and the fey, passionate, talented artist Zeke Roswell. A match made in hell, people might think – but as we all know, you can’t fight Love :)

Miles and Zeke met in TRUE COLORS, which I’ll introduce you to later on – unless you’ve already met them there *g*.

These are a further three steps to heaven – for Miles and Zeke, at least! Join me today for excerpts from all the stories, and further developments in their lively but loving relationship.

NOTE: WIN a copy of ALL THREE shorts today- just comment on any post today and I’ll draw a winner tomorrow. :)

Before meeting Zeke Roswell, Miles Winter’s priorities were clear: business, then pleasure. Before Zeke, he wouldn’t have cleared his desk earlier than usual, waiting for his artist lover to share his preparations for his latest gallery exhibit—on bondage. And he certainly wouldn’t have let Zeke try out some of the pieces on him, right there in the middle of his office. If he’d had any choice, that is.

Available HERE.
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Zeke Roswell and Miles Winter met as business enemies, when Miles acquired Zeke’s precious but neglected art gallery. And then things changed. Over time, they were thrown together as mismatched—and very reluctant—partners, until their attraction grew stronger than any argument. Even if Miles did protest the other night when Zeke cuffed him to his office filing cabinet and had his way with him. In fact, Miles promised there’d be payback… and Zeke doesn’t know it yet, but Miles is about to collect.

Available  HERE.
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Miles Winter and Zeke Roswell have excited and enthralled each other since the day they met. Zeke’s uninhibited lovemaking has allowed Miles to grow in confidence, and their relationship to deepen. Back from a business trip, Miles knows he should take care of his backlog of work, but the delight of being back with Zeke makes him realise he has more important needs–including the one sexual step he hasn’t yet taken. Business can wait in favor of a commitment far more primal and more permanent.

Available TODAY At Dreamspinner Press.
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Covers by the very talented Anne Cain.