BREAKFALL Release Party – Reluctant Author Interview

June 27, 2014

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So, Kate Pavelle, even though you don’t like prying questions – when did you decide to become a writer?

When I was in sixth grade, I think. Back in Czechoslovakia, they had us decide on a professional direction rather early. My family talked me out of it, because under the Communist regime, I’d have to either stick to the party line and spew propaganda, or I’d have to become a dissident and sit it jail. They knew kind of early on how stubborn I am, and they didn’t want me to rot in a cell.

So what did you do?

I followed my dad and grandpa into the sciences. I figured I’d become a chemist like them. Then we escaped from behind the Iron Curtain, and I entered 9th grade in Princeton, New Jersey. I couldn’t become a writer, because I didn’t speak English.

But you’re a writer now. What happened?

When my first daughter was born, I realized I didn’t want to spend 60 hours a week in the lab. Keeping her in daycare for that long just wasn’t going to happen. The former Eastern Bloc countries were trading with the US heavily, though, and US companies kept fighting the language barrier. I became a translator and an interpreter, and got into business consulting. Turns out, it’s easy to consult. Running your own business is a lot harder.

Translation is a lot like writing. Years later, I discovered fan fiction, which is like writing with training wheels. Then a friend suggested I rework a fan fiction story and submit it to Dreamspinner Press’ “Animal Magnetism” anthology, and I realized writing is actually kind of easy.

Easy?

Well… yes. You just have to sit and DO it. Over the years, I had to catch up on a whole bunch of grammar rules. My beta readers and editors are my invaluable allies, because they not only point out when I make a mistake, they also tell me what rule I have violated.

So you don’t speak English so well?

Speaking is different from writing. I do oral storytelling for both adults and kids, and that’s okay. In that setting, having an accent makes some stories more exotic. I’m just not allowed to write in an accent. My editors don’t like it when I do. Which means, I can’t drink when I write.

You mean you can’t DRIVE when you drink.

No, I mean I can’t drink without my accent getting heavier and my grammar slipping. It’s a curious little phenomenon, and it translates into written word as well as when I’m at a party, and suddenly, whoa! I’m mixing up my V’s and W’s like I used to back in high school. People try to slip rum into my coke to see if they can make me do it. It’s not a nice thing to pick on the linguistically challenged.

Surely not. How many languages do you speak?

Depends. I grew up with Czech and with Slovak, and the two are pretty close, so I understand Slovak and can translate out of it professionally. I speak English. Then there is Russian and German, and those are just tourist-level. Then there is Japanese. That’s like a Holy Grail. Honestly, I do it the way my husband plays Sudoku. It’s just a mental exercise. The only time I got to use Japanese was when I was waiting in line for the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and had a “conversation” with two Japanese women. It took us fifteen minutes to run out of words – their English was about as bad as my Japanese, but we all had a lot of fun trying!

How about writing? Is that all self-taught?

Not anymore. I’ve been taking professional writer’s seminars online, and traveled to one in person. It’s the sort of grueling fun that makes you look at everything you’ve written up to date and decide it’s total crap. But, I’m not allowed to do that. I am to write, finish, publish, and move to the next story. Always do better on the next story. That’s the goal. However…

Yes?

However, my current writing mentor, who happens to be a best-selling author and all that, is after me to break grammar rules. While sober. I’m not quite sure about that part – and neither are my editors. But I have to go now. Thank you for having me.

Thank you for having you, too! And to you, the readers, remember that all Dreamspinner Press books are still on sale. Even pre-orders and new releases!

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5119

 

 

 

 

 

BREAKFALL Release Party – Character interview

June 27, 2014

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Kate Pavelle here again – and, this I’ll dip into the fun-bucket and pull out Sean and Asbjorn. I will interview them, and they will, very graciously, answer my questions. Let’s see how this turns out, shall we?

KATE: So, guys, you’re the stars of Breakfall. How does it feel to be in a book?

SEAN: Uh… You’re one crazy lady, you know that? I’m not in a  book – you are in a book. I’m completely real.

ASBJORN: Don’t provoke her, sunshine. She’s clearly deranged.

SEAN: How many times do I have to tell you not to call me sunshine in public, Bjorn?

ASBJORN: Don’t call me that. I can’t stand nicknames.

KATE: Gentlemen, gentlemen… Okay. You are real, as real as that cat sitting on my desk. Now, let me approach this from a different angle. Asbjorn, you really can’t stand being taken care of, can you? I mean, your reactions in Chapter 6…

ASBJORN: (Glowers. His nostrils widened and his lips are pressed thin.)

SEAN: Oh he’s okay. He’s getting used to it. As long as I don’t “mother-hen” him, as he calls it, and as long as he retains the illusion that he’s in control, we’re good!

ASBJORN: Hey! It’s not like I’m some dysfunctional control freak.

KATE: Sean, would you elaborate on the “mother-henning” part?

ASBJORN: Don’t. Just, don’t.

SEAN: Well, I come from a family of five. My mother died having my sister, so once she was gone, we sort of looked out for each other. If somebody got sick or hurt, everyone would make them a card, all colored in crayons, and bring them popsicles and toast and stuff. We just knew we had to pick up the slack. She would have liked it that way. The thing with Asbjorn, well… he’s just not used to that. He can’t stand being fussed over.

ASBJORN: But I’m getting better. There was that one time I had a bad cold, and we were okay. (pause) Weren’t we? I mean, I ate the food and stuff, right?

SEAN: You sort of tried to. And as soon as you felt better, you got all testy and I had to go out and hang out with Adrian.

ASBJORN: You saw that? That I needed space?

SEAN: Yeah, it was that, or have you self-combust.

KATE: Guys, I still have a whole bunch of questions, so if we could just move on…

ASBJORN: (Gazing at Sean) Oh, sunshine!

KATE: Hey, hey, HEY!!! GUYS!!!

SEAN: (Straddling Asbjorn and leaning in for a kiss) Yeah, hon?

KATE: Get a room! Oh… nevermind. I’m going to Starbucks.

And that’s how they are. Sort of focused on one another. I think they might have boundary issues, and not with just each other.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5119

 

 

BREAKFALL Release Party – Building bridges – GIVEAWAY!!

June 27, 2014

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Kate Pavelle here, talking about “Breakfall.” I’ll share a secret with you: a long time ago, this book was a fan fiction story! Yep. I committed many fan fictions in my day, and although I occasionally write a short piece for my loyal cheerleaders on ff.net, I no longer feel the draw to participate in fandoms. It takes too much time and my dance card is full. When I do it, I do it because the community was encouraging to me when I needed a good push. They begged for new chapters. They wrote nice reviews. They were awesome, and this book wouldn’t be here without them.

I’ve heard it say that admitting to writing fan fiction is a kiss of death to an author. I don’t believe this to be true. Mercedes Lackey, as well as many other authors, came from fan fiction roots, and it would be ungrateful if I denied their positive influence in my writing life. I would like to build bridges between the readers who know me as a “regular writer,” and those who know me under a fan fiction pen name. And you all know who you are!

I never wanted to write this story, because in order to do it justice, I had to revisit old experiences. Bad times, painful places. Yet I felt compelled to do so, because I noticed an unfortunate trend of “dub-con” stories in fan fiction,  essentially rape fantasies which resulted in true love. This pushed all kinds of bad buttons, and after two weeks of seething, I resolved to write a piece that would show certain, blessedly ignorant people, the true feelings that occur in a situation like that. And after it – sometimes, for many years to come.

The rash of “dub-con” stories was quickly replaced by “hurt/comfort” stories, where one character was sexually victimized and the other rushed to his rescue. I count that as a win… kind of. Even though it failed to address the whole “rush to rescue” part, at least people no longer glorified sexual violence.

For now, though, let me point out that when people fight dirty, no-one is exempt from being a target. There is always someone bigger and meaner out there, or better skilled. Big, tough people can be drugged. Yet, Sean did the right thing. He refused to be a victim, and he fought back. And so should we.

QUESTION: Have you ever read fan fiction? If so, in which fandom(s)? A random draw will receive a free copy of “Breakfall!”

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5119

 

BREAKFALL Release Party – a soft evasion, and a give-away

June 27, 2014

Kate Pavelle reporting here, chatting about research for Breakfall, and we also have a book give-away!

I take my research seriously – so it should be no surprise to you that I’ve been practicing martial arts longer than some of you have been alive. Aikido was my first love. I was new in the country and didn’t speak English and got bullied some. A bit of training went a long way. It had to do with posture and confidence rather than fights – but it worked. Back in the 1980′s, rivalries between styles and schools ran strong. Ki Aikido split away from Aikikai, and my teachers thought very poorly of all other martial arts. Which was, frankly, a mistake.

When I travel somewhere new, I search for a dojo to visit. I am always welcome, either as a visiting black belt of a related style, or as a brand-new beginner who seeks cross-over knowledge. Years ago, I was sent out on a job to Prague, interpreting for several US businessmen at a trade show. There was a Goju Ryu Karate dojo two blocks away from our hotel. I was welcomed with open arms, and got to work out for free.

They did so many things differently! Different fist formation, cross-body blocks, different stances. The katas looked vaguely familiar – but only for the first few moves. First we worked hard, then we partied hard. On my last night there, my hosts invited me to lead a class and teach them all something from the Shorin Ryu style.I tried, they tried. Teaching karate in Czech was  difficult. I decided to end the class on something EVERYBODY knows: kata San Shin. “Three Breaths,” it is called. Short, slow, meditative. What could go wrong? I announced the kata and we bowed. Yet, to my shock, they all started to disrobe! I stood there, fully dressed in my gi, as a long row of men stripped to do this one kata bare-chested. The lone woman karateka wore her jog bra.

We did the form. Our movements were identical for the first three steps – and the we marched to the beat of our own drummers.

When we were done, we bowed to one another, suppressing laughter. My host instructor thanked me. Then he turned to his class, and said: “We all study different styles. We do different punches and different blocks, but despite all our differences, one thing is very important. We do it all in the same spirit.”

I miss those guys, and I  hope they’re doing well. I wrote up a magazine article about my experience, and Black Belt Magazine paid me $75 for it. It was the first time ever I got paid or a piece of writing.

QUESTION: How many of you out there practice, or have ever practiced, a martial art? Include your email address. The most colorful answer wins a free copy 0f “Breakfall!”

Link to my old “Karate in the Czech Republic” article:

http://www.karate-kampa.cz/index.php?zobraz=clanek&id=65

“BREAKFALL” link:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5119

BREAKFALL Release Party – a timing throw

June 27, 2014

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And now for something fun – an excerpt.!  I used to live in Boston, and I’ve practiced Aikido both under the late Kanai Sensei, and under the instructors of competing Kokikai Aikido in New Jersey. Writing about my first martial art, and my favorite post-college city, is a lot of fun.ge

Sean is pretty kickass, don’t you think? And cute, too. Even though I study something else now, Aikido was the right thing for me during my high school and college years. I, too, used to lead my own aikido club in college. I bless my old training every time I fall off a bike, or slip on ice come winter! If you need to learn how to fall safely, look up a class in your area.

***

He stopped at the sound of soft thuds and muffled cries. Unconsciously, he shifted his weight forward and took a few cautious steps into the deep shade. What he saw shocked him.

“Hey! Stop that right now!” The words ripped out of his throat like a kiai at the sight of three guys ganging up on one. The intended victim was short, his face red with tears and bruises, and his arms were hunched around his middle as he huddled into the corner between a dumpster and the rough brick wall.

The three stopped to look up. The one who seemed in charge wore a scarf tied around his head and a down vest. He looked Sean up and down and gave a bellow of laughter that bounced off the alley walls.

“Whatcha gonna do ’bout it?” Sean straightened himself.

Keep one point.
Extend ki.

Relax completely.
Just like in practice.
“It’s not right for the three of you to beat up on one small guy like

that. Leave him be.”

The leader nodded at his friend—a tall, lanky fellow in a red plaid shirt and construction boots. “Just shut ’im up, Jack, why don’tcha.”

Jack nodded and sauntered over to Sean. With sudden speed, his hands shot out to grab Sean’s shoulders.

Just like in practice.

Sean stepped back. Jack overreached, but Sean caught his grasping hand and shoved the guy’s elbow into his ill-shaven face. Sean spun, but instead of gently letting his uke down, he allowed him to gather speed. The man’s sandy blond head hit the dumpster with a sickening thud. Sean let go of Jack, allowing his body to slide down the rusty surface. A glistening trail of something wet and dark smeared against the remnants of bright blue paint.

Tsuki kokyu nage. A timing throw.

***

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5119

 

BREAKFALL Release Party – a sidekick

June 27, 2014

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How’s your Friday? The coffee’s good? Work’s about to go well?

Well, good! Same here!

Now if you’ve read the blurb, you know that “Breakfall” will have all kinds of explicit content. There will be both sex and violence, as this is a book about two martial artists in love.  The younger one, Sean, becomes subject to sexual assault.

Note that I didn’t use the word “victim.” Sean refuses to be a victim – he’s eager to play bait and catch the perp. Let’s see how Asbjorn deals with his role of lending quiet support from the sidelines! He so wishes he could just go and kick some ass on Sean’s behalf – he truly does – but this is Sean’s fight. Asbjorn’s the side-kick in the first volume of the Fall Trilogy.

Before you turn your nose and say, “Oh, this is not my  favorite cup of morning roast,” rest assured that I researched the whole thing in person. Popular statistics would have us believe that almost one third of women and almost one tenth of men will be subject to sexual violence at some point in their lives. This is not a downer book. This is not a life is horrible and unfair kind of a story. Quite on the contrary! Nothing will please Sean more than getting out there and getting even. And when it’s all over, he will fight his way through the aftershocks of such a life-altering event, and move on. He will be stronger for it – just you wait.

So buckle your seat belts and get ready for action!

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5119

BREAKFALL Release Party Kickoff!

June 27, 2014

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Good morning! My name is Kate Pavelle and I’ll be posting from DSP’s site today. It’s my pleasure to have you lovely people pop in and out for the release party of “Breakfall.” This book is the first of the “Fall Trilogy”. Check out the blurb below, and the link!
Now, this is a very high-tech release party, because I happen to be on the road, and will be working off a mobile hotspot. I’ll do my best to post and check in throughout the day, but I might get to some of you a bit later than usual. Make sure to leave your email addresses when you answer questions, so that I can catch up with you later.

BREAKFALL blurb:

Sexual assault doesn’t discriminate. Aikido instructor Sean Gallaway learns that when he falls prey to a violent stalker. Asbjorn Lund, a karate sensei on campus and a Navy vet, yearns to teach Sean how to survive. How to overcome. How to recover. Sean feels hunted and alone as the stalker escalates, testing his boundaries. With the entire dojo at his back, Sean resolves to play bait. He will catch the predator stalking him and reclaim his sense of self if it’s the last thing he does. Yet Sean’s hunger for justice clashes with Asbjorn’s protective streak, and their budding romance might not survive their war of wills.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5119

 

Soul of a Merman character interview: Introducing Phil

June 25, 2014

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AA: Hi, Phil. So sorry for holding you up like this. Are you sure you’re okay?

PD: Yes. Accidentally got caught into that net. My own fault. Thanks for letting me out, though. I’ll be fine. (pause) So, while I’m here, you said you had some questions?

AA: Well, yes, if you want… Tell me about your best friend.

PD: Oh, yes, Caspian. (PD blows a jet of water throw blow hole.) He’s great. You know, what with being a merman, you’d think he might be more arrogant. Some mermen are, and I was a little worried when I was a calf, because I didn’t know what merman I’d be assigned to. Of course, that turned out to be stupid. He’s really kind and sweet, and he loves the ocean a lot. We’re very close.

AA: He sounds nice. So you watch out for him?

PD: Yes. Every merman has a dolphin companion. We’re always a perfect match, and I knew from the moment I met Caspian that it would be my duty to help him.

AA: Why do I have the feeling you don’t mean that in a casual way?

PD: Probably because you’re a clever authoress. (His voice turns sad, and he seems to be frowning despite the perpetual smile on his face.) It’s true. Caspian has a lot of responsibilities. He’s always been a romantic soul, and he wanted to find true love, and instead, he was stuck with trying to force a relationship with a human he didn’t know. To top it off, he had to give up his tail!

AA: That sounds awful.

PD: It is. I mean, Caspian’s tail is really a thing of beauty, but it’s not just that. It’s a part of him. He shouldn’t have to change for someone he loves.

AA: So he did meet someone, I take it?

PD: Sort of. He met a human, but… It’s complicated. Humans are stubborn. I worry about Caspian sometimes, worry that he’ll do something stupid. His great-aunt died because of a human. I don’t want the story to repeat itself.

AA: I’m sure it won’t.

PD perks up visibly: You’re probably right. If there’s anyone who can bridge the gap between humans and mermans, it’s Caspian. And Stefan isn’t so bad either.

AA: Stefan is Caspian’s human?

PD: Yes. He’s an oceanographer, so he’s very respectful of our ways, and he’s respectful of Caspian too. I mean, he’s not handsy with Caspian’s tail like other humans I know. The only problem is that I don’t think he understands exactly how he feels.

AA: They’ll find a way. If they love each other, they’ll find a way.

PD: Truer words never spoken. And now, I’m sorry, but I really have to go.

AA: Thanks for answering my questions, Phil. It isn’t every day that a dolphin speaks to me.

PD whistles and clicks in a final greeting, then swims away. In the distance, a green tail disappears into the water.

Soul of a Merman excerpt

June 25, 2014

So you can’t have a release party without a story excerpt. Or at least that’s what I think. Anyway, the excerpt on the DS website doesn’t show the meeting between my main characters so I decided to post it her. Enjoy and tell me what you think!

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STEFAN LEANED against of the bulwark of the boat and idly watched his brother diving again and again into the depths of the ocean. Just like Rick had wanted, they’d come here to attempt to find the nonexistent Little Mermaid doppelganger.

It was a waste of Stefan’s time, but since he’d agreed to it, he allowed himself to relax and enjoy the pleasant sea breeze.

The ocean had become silent and peaceful after the storm. Stefan loved these quiet times, when he could take in the smell of salt and freedom, when he could look out into the distance and see only water. From the corner of his eye, he caught sight of motion next to the boat, but it was only a dolphin, performing one of its amusing but highly intelligent dances.

Hey there, guy,” Stefan greeted the dolphin with a chuckle.

It said “hi” back by shooting a stream of water through its blowhole and making a few whistling noises. As the dolphin approached him, Stefan leaned slightly over the rail. He knew all too well that dolphins were wild predators, but this particular one had come to him of its own accord. It seemed friendly, and if Stefan had to guess, it must be accustomed to humans, at least to some extent.

Stefan petted the dolphin’s snout, and the sea creature released a sound that Stefan could have sworn was laughter. Unfortunately Rick chose this exact moment to interrupt them and emerged from the water.

What are you doing, Stefan?” he asked as he removed his scuba mask. “Help me look.”

The dolphin whistled in protest and dove back into the water, splashing Rick’s face. As Rick spluttered and gave the sea mammal the finger—and wasn’t that an interesting gesture to make toward a dolphin—Stefan shook his head.

I said I’d come with you, but I never agreed to playing along with your ridiculous game.”

You’re just being stubborn,” Rick pointed out, disregarding the dolphin that was now porpoising in the distance. “You know as well as I do that I can’t go too deep, even with the scuba gear. We need the diving suit.”

Stefan resigned himself to the inevitable. The sooner he proved to Rick his idiotic merman didn’t exist, the faster they could go back home. He was loath to use the Newtsuit for such purposes, since he couldn’t afford making repairs to it if something broke. However, Rick wouldn’t have asked him along at all if he hadn’t anticipated the possibility of needing it, and he wouldn’t give up even if Stefan refused.

Fine. One hour. After that we’re going home, and in the morning, we’ll get you scheduled for a psychiatrist visit.”

He was about to retrieve his atmospheric diving suit from the depths of his boat when the unlikeliest thing happened. A head covered in moist, blue-green curls emerged from the water. Stefan froze, simply staring, his world going a little fuzzy around the edges. It couldn’t be…. Could it? The blue-eyed beauty had to be some unlucky swimmer, one with a very interesting hairstylist, yes, but definitely not a merman.

His knees kind of went weak when the body attached to the head emerged as well. The new arrival lifted himself up to the deck of the boat using just the strength of his arms. Even if he simply leaned against the protective railing of the deck without actually progressing past it, his actions still revealed an emerald green fish tail. Stefan had the urge to take off his glasses and wipe them clean—because he really couldn’t be seeing this.

At first no one spoke. The strange creature looked from Rick—who remained in the water—to Stefan, holding on tightly to the railing of the boat like he was trying to keep himself anchored there. Stefan had no idea what had prompted the beautiful being to come to them, but God, he wished…. He really wished he could touch him. No. He needed to get a grip. This was not the time for Stefan’s neglected libido to nudge him, especially not toward someone of a different species. This was the discovery of a lifetime. And really, given that the merman had just propped what would have been his ass against the deck, he could slide back into the water at any moment, at which point Stefan would lose him.

If another civilization existed in the depths, they might have a solution to the problems Stefan had been fighting for three quarters of his adult life. Toxic waste pollution, oil spills, garbage dumping—the oceans were suffering, and Stefan knew it. As an oceanographer, he’d tried to do his part in controlling it, but he wasn’t the Captain Planet his brother accused him of being, and his insistent efforts had proven to be uncomfortable for his bosses—who had their own, more “practical” interests.

He had to be careful so as not to startle this marvel of nature. Obviously his brother didn’t have such qualms, because he exploded at Stefan. “See, I told you I saw a merman.” He glowered at Stefan, then swam back toward the boat, approaching the merman—shit, the merman!

Hello. I’m Rick.” When the creature just watched him warily, Rick brought his hand to his chest and repeated his name more slowly. “Rick. Me. That’s. My. Name. Rick.”

Stefan had the distant thought that his brother looked like an idiot while trying to talk to the quiet merman. The creature didn’t seem very impressed, either, and didn’t mimic Rick’s words like Rick undoubtedly wanted.

With a tremulous smile, Rick insisted, “Me. Rick.” Pointing to the merman, he asked, “You? What’s your name?”

The merman didn’t display any interest in communicating with them. At last Rick appeared to lose his patience and reached for the merman’s tail—that lay dangling over the edge of the deck, within Rick’s reach. Rick seemed fascinated with it, as his gaze had gone to the shining green scales more than once.

Before Rick could reach his goal, Stefan’s dolphin friend appeared out of nowhere, slamming straight into Rick and keeping him from touching the merman. Rick fell back, and Stefan cursed, more than aware that angry dolphins could and had killed people before. The dolphin released threatening clicking noises, no longer seeming all that friendly.

It’s okay, guy,” Stefan tried to say as he leaned over the edge to help his brother. “I’m just going to get this idiot out of your hair. All right?”

A soft whistle came, not from the dolphin, but rather from the merman. The dolphin backed away, taking position next to the still watchful merman. The interaction fascinated Stefan, and it made him want to ask a million questions, which would probably be ignored.

For the moment what mattered was that he managed to retrieve Rick from the water successfully. His brother spouted curses and insults—vicious ones directed at the dolphin and its mother. Stefan guided him to sit down and peeled off his scuba suit to look him over. “I’m fine,” Rick grumbled at him, wincing. “Dolphin didn’t hit me all that hard.”

Stefan palmed his brother’s ribs, watching his face closely as the man took a couple of deep, shuddering breaths. He found no protruding bones, so his brother’s injury was unlikely to be life threatening. Nevertheless, cracked or bruised ribs were still something that needed to be dealt with carefully, lest it grow into a more serious affliction. “Be that as it may, you might want to lie down for a while. I’ll get you some painkillers and ice, and you can go below deck for a while.”

Are you kidding me?” Rick glowered at Stefan and shot to his feet. “I always knew you blamed me for your own failure to hold on to the best thing that happened to your ungrateful ass. But I don’t care about that. I’m not going to allow you to—”

A soft melody filled the air, more beautiful than any symphony that had graced human halls. Rick’s eyes rolled in his head, and he swayed on his feet. He’d have undoubtedly fallen, but Stefan managed to catch him at the last moment. Stefan grunted, making a mental note to tell his brother to lose some weight if he planned to swoon a lot in the future. Not that he could blame him. The song…. That beautiful song. It was simply spellbinding. Stefan wanted nothing more than to lose himself to it forever. Maybe he’d have done exactly that, but it would have been unpleasant and embarrassing if he’d dropped his already unconscious brother.

Slowly, carefully, Stefan set Rick down on the deck chaise longue. He took a couple of deep breaths and removed his glasses, then wiped them clean with his shirt. When he put them back on, he looked back at the spot where the merman had been. Still there. Thank fuck.

All right, Stefan needed to find something, anything he could tell the creature. Any moment now the beautiful being would leave, and Stefan would lose his chance. First of all he had to learn if the merman’s voice had something to do with Rick fainting. After all, he couldn’t risk Rick’s dizzy spell meaning he had internal bleeding.

You have my apologies,” Stefan began, “for my brother’s idiotic behavior. I gather it’s rude for someone to try to touch your tail? Did you knock him out with your voice?”

The merman didn’t answer, simply looking at Stefan with eyes so blue Stefan could easily get lost in them.

I appreciate you calling off your dolphin,” Stefan continued. Still faced with silence, he asked, “Can you give me a sign if you can understand? I feel like an idiot, rambling here without knowing if I’m even getting through to you.”

When the reply came, Stefan almost thought he’d imagined it.

Phil,” the merman said softly.

His speaking voice was like the whisper of the waves on a particularly calm evening, the mating call of the whales, and the laughter of the wind put together in a package that would be understandable for the human mind. By some miracle, Stefan managed to suppress a moan at the sound. Focus, Stefan. This is important. You have to give this beautiful creature a good impression of the human race. Rick’s rant had obviously upset the merman, so Stefan needed to fix it. Of course, that would have been easier if Stefan had actually understood what the merman meant.

 

Merfolk in erotic romance

June 25, 2014

So leaving aside the fairytale content of my new release, my story is simply put, about merfolk. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the concept. It appeared in legends all over the world, from the well-known Greek ones, to Slavic, Chinese or Carribean tales (and many others). In Greece, the stories of the fish-tailed maidens were assimilated to the concept of ‘siren’ – that of the winged women who drew unfortunate sailors to their deaths.

I love merfolk, and since I’m especially devoted to m/m, I love mermen even more. They’re one of the most fascinating creatures in mythology, and for me, they are extremely beautiful. There’s just something about them that strikes me as very magical, an aloof, mysterious charm.

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Now, I’ve heard a lot of people wonder – wait, what? Mermaids/mermen in erotic romance? How exactly does that work? Isn’t the fish tail… uh… icky?

I don’t think mermaid tails would be icky like that of a regular fish. The other day, someone posted an anatomy sketch of a mermaid on a Facebook group, and it was very interesting because it makes you wonder… Would a mermaid/merman be hot-blooded or cold-blooded? How does their reproductive system work? How do they ‘couple’?

The beauty of fantasy/paranormal is that each individual author can have their own answer and interpretation for the same questions. I decided on them having a more fish-like reproductive system, largely because of the content of the story – the very clear barrier between humans and merfolk as depicted both in the original fairytale and in my sequel/adaptation. And of course, this barrier can only be crossed through true love. But I know other authors have had different approaches.

So what do you think about mermen? What do you like or dislike them? Do you have favorite stories about them? Authors, how have you approached the above-mentioned issues?