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.”


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!



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


Twitter: @RoryNi


The Real World of Fairy Tales with R. Cooper

February 23, 2016

The Real World of Fairy Tales

Hello, I’m R. Cooper, mostly known for the Being(s) In Love series, although today I’m talking about a different version of fairy tales than my fairies and werewolves and trolls in the modern world. The Winter Prince is decidedly not modern. It’s the kind of story you’d expect when you hear the term ‘fairy tale’—if your ideal fairy tale includes gay romance, and why wouldn’t it? This is a prince under a curse, and the clever wizard determined to save him, and beasts and dragons and the magical interference of a powerful and mysterious creature.

I kind of have a thing for fairy tales, as you might have noticed if you’ve read the Beings stories. Even when I’m not trying to write fairy tales, I end up writing them. My novella, Dancing Lessons, which is entirely contemporary and non-magical, contains a fairy tale I made up to be the basis of a ballet. Well, to be honest, that entire novella has references to fairy tales in it, from magic mirrors to a red hoodie to big bad wolves. Why? Because the main character, Chico, doesn’t think he could have a fairy tale romance. But of course he can, and his prince is right in front of him. Silly Chico.

A lot of the time, people, like Chico, use the term “fairy tale” as short hand for romance. Which always makes me think of the A Softer World comic, which sort of darkly comments on asking for a fairy tale romance without having read any actual fairy tales. Real fairy tales don’t always end happily, and some are rather grisly. But fairy tales, and fantastical stories from around the world, are so much more than that. And the heroes aren’t always handsome princes—although those are nice.

They aren’t especially rich in detail on their character’s personal struggles. They can range from somewhat risqué early versions of Red Riding Hood with Red stripteasing for the crossdressing wolf in her grandma’s bed (no, really), to dark and cannibalistic tales of starving peasants and murdering stepmothers, to folklore of girls who married lions (or beasts, or Bluebeards), to the melancholy stories of Hans Christian Anderson. Some are clearly allegorical, some are meant to impart a lesson, and some are just fun stories. They get reimagined all the time, and I bet there are countless grad students out there writing papers on them.

Like many people, I grew up with them. Disney gets everyone sooner or later, but it’s when you crack open a volume by the Brothers Grimm that things really start to get interesting. Then again, I devoured the bloodiest of Greek myths as a kid too. Any collection of fantastical stories was a book of fairy tales to me. Including this really, really, really censored version of the Arabian Nights for kids that I still own, and a book of Shakespeare plays with these fascinating illustrations of Titania and a fiercely frowning Oberon, and spooky European folklore full of tricky magical beings who live in shadowy places and may or may not intend to harm you, and poems about jealous, vengeful fairy queens intent on trapping beautiful humans in their courts. I read them all like the nerd that I am. Stories where peasants can marry princes, and kings can be heartless monsters. Where wolves talk and hunt humans, but are also sometimes kind princes in disguise.

Which raises the question, how do you tell a good wolf from a bad wolf? And does that matter in a world where your own parents might lead you into the woods to die, proving that humans can be as wonderful, or as vicious, as anything magical? The fairy tale world is as uncertain as our world, but with magic as a real, tangible thing.

I suspect that’s where the Beings came from. At first the Beings stories were just a fun, silly story written to amuse my friends. Then they became a little more, once I really thought about what it might mean to be a werewolf in a world that teaches us that werewolves lie in wait to mindlessly devour victims, or how it would feel to be a fairy when most depictions of fairies are hardly flattering. In fact, exploring how the stereotype about fairies is that they are beautiful but empty-headed and slutty is part of the next Beings story, involving Tulip the fairy. I love that. Fairy tales in the real world. Or is that, the real world in the fairy tales?

Maybe there was a foolish prince who met a firebird, but what did the firebird think about it? If there was a princess who sewed stinging nettles to save her brothers and kept silent for seven years, I bet she had some things to say when it was all over. Anyone could become a rich and powerful sultan if they stumbled into the right cave of treasures, or find themselves penniless and desperate for angering the wrong pari. The creatures themselves manage to operate under otherworldly rules and yet still have human foibles. Perhaps if the humans who told those stories weren’t so self-centered, those magical beings might even have been the heroes of their own tales.

Of course, The Winter Prince is not a story about the Beings. It’s a fairy tale. A handsome and noble prince falls under a curse—or so the world thinks—and must go on a quest. But it’s also not a fairy tale, because Kişin is more than just a prince in a storybook. He’s stubborn, and entirely too devoted to duty, and sort of blind to something that should be really obvious, but as the story goes on you begin to see why he is the way he is. And that was what was really interesting to me. How does it feel to be the person in the tale? What are the real reasons a fairy tale character would choose to do these incredible things? To be the prince who, if it was just a story, would be “handsome and noble” and nothing more, while literally having no heart in his chest?

The story was born a night on my Tumblr, when I decided I wanted to write a tale with all these fairy tale tropes and elements that I love. What if we had a prince without a heart, a prince who gave away his heart? Symbolic, yes, because it’s a fairy tale and that’s how they work. But then I wondered, what does that mean in the real world, if your real world has magic? A prince with no heart would be unable to feel anything, not love, but also not fear, or rage, or passion. Can he survive like that?

The answer is no, he can’t. Without a heart to warm him, he is slowly freezing to death and will not survive another winter. Without a heart to make him care, he is willing for that to happen. The only thing he does feel is terror at the idea of his heart being returned. To Kişin, a heart means pain. Fairy gifts—and curses—always have such specific meanings and I love it. He’s kind of… stupidly stubborn about not wanting his heart back, in fact, as well ridiculously self-sacrificing, which is what you’d expected from someone raised to be an ideal prince.

Thank goodness there is someone a little less noble around to give him the proverbial kick in the rear. Someone like a crafty and clever wizard. He’s not the sort you’d expect in a fairy tale, except maybe to give advice or cause trouble, and Razin is fully aware that he has no place in the story of a prince looking for his heart—but he isn’t going to let something like that stop him from saving Kişin’s life.

So the two of them go on a quest for Kişin’s missing heart. The best thing about quests is, the object you’re looking for is always with you the whole time. But of course, people on the quest don’t know that. Where would be the fun in that? So they argue and worry and fret and slowly reveal how they got to this place, as the days grow colder and the stakes get higher and the tension between them rises. They are characters in a fairy tale, acting decidedly un-fairytalelike.

I fully admit to loving that. Tension between two characters, and pining, and magic are some of my favorite things. Throw in an actual fairy—or a pari, as the case may be, and I am in nerdy romance heaven.

What’s your nerdy romance heaven? Let’s talk books of stories and fables and wondrous tales. Let’s pretend we are sitting in a dragon’s carefully curated library and all those amazing titles are on display. Any fairy tales you’ve always wondered about? Have you ever wanted to see, or found, a version of a beloved story that you adored beyond all reason?

Check out The Winter Prince!




His heart stolen by a powerful pari’s magic, a young prince’s veins slowly fill with ice. That is what the stories say. Three years have passed since, and all efforts to save Kisin have failed. He won’t survive another winter. To save the prince’s life, Razin, the court wizard and Kisin’s childhood friend, plans to seek out the pari. But unbeknownst to Razin, Kisin’s heart was never stolen; he gave it freely to escape the pain of impossible love—his love for Razin.

Razin won’t accept Kisin’s fate, for reasons obvious to anyone who knows anything of love. Kisin agrees to the desperate quest, out of duty and a need to protect Razin. But it isn’t long before Razin realizes saving his prince will require more than simply retrieving his heart. Razin will have to convince him to want it.


About R. Cooper:

R. Cooper lives among the redwoods of Northern California in a tiny house she refers to as her Writer’s Retreat. She has two cats, overthinks almost everything, and has more books than bookshelves. Someone once said her stories stick up for the damaged ones, and that is the greatest compliment she’s ever gotten. She loves mutual pining, fairy tales, and slightly broken everyday heroes with lonely hearts. If you want to contact her or to merely observe a shy nerd in her natural habitat, feel free to visit her Livejournal or Tumblr.
E-mail: RisCoops@gmail.com
Website: r-cooper.livejournal.com
Tumblr: sweetfirebird.tumblr.com


Finding the Fairy in Fairytales with Joe Cosentino

January 27, 2016

Finding the Fairy in Fairytale

Hi, fairytale lovers, this is Joe Cosentino taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog. Don’t worry, they let me do it. You might have read my three novellas from Dreamspinner Press, AN INFATUATION (winner of Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll Award for 2nd Place for Favorite MM Novel of the Year!), A SHOOTING STAR, and A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. I’m here with you to talk about my current novella releasing today (Happy Release Day!), THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND.

The Naked Prince cover

I had terrible insomnia as a kid, and my older (sorry, sis) sister read fairytales to me at night so I would finally go to sleep. It worked! And it still works today! Except I read them to myself now to fall asleep. I know what you’re thinking. How can those sometimes violent, sexist, dark stories relax you to sleep? I was and still am totally transported by those magical tales of common people defying the odds, struggling through misfortune, surviving abuse, and ending up with their one true love—often a prince or princess in a palace! The likeable characters, witty dialogue, creative plot twists and turns, stunning illustrations, sense of wonderment, high drama, and of course happily ever after endings still make me cheer (and obviously konk out at night). I wanted (and still do) to live in those quaint mountain villages, rub elbows (and other things) with those charming princes, outsmart the witches and top 1%ers, and live happily ever after in those palaces. So my sister and I wrote, directed, choreographed, and costumes elaborate musical fairytales for our very patient family and neighbors. No ten million-dollar Broadway budget for us. Our parents’ card-table, bedsheets, blankets, robes, coats, serving bowls, and wooden spoons were all we needed for our audience to enter fairyland.

After college I continued playing make believe as a professional actor including acting in fairytale-like productions such as Roar of the Greasepaint on stage with Nathan Lane, A Midsummer Night’s Dream onstage with Bruce Willis, and the ABC-TV Afterschool Special My Mother Was Never a Kid with Holland Taylor. I also wrote and directed musical plays for professional touring theatre companies, many based on fairytales like The Princess and the Pea, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Aladdin, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

As such a lover of fairytales I often wondered why there are no gay characters in them! Okay, Prince Charming does seem a little gay. Peter Pan may have a thing for the captain’s hook. And I have my suspicions about what the seven dwarves really did with the Woodsman in the woods. Yet there are no openly gay characters or same-sex romances in fairytales. I had my hopes up when Disney and other companies produced Broadway musicals and movies based on fairytales. But no luck. When openly gay celebrities like Chris Coffer wrote fairytale books, again I assumed the breakthrough would come. Alas, that wasn’t the case. Surely there are some gay people in fairyland! Why don’t we read about them?

As a writer, my imagination kicked into gear, and I started thinking about my favorite fairytales. Why couldn’t a poor boy living with his stepmother and stepsisters fall in love with a handsome prince? Couldn’t a blond boy who was thrown out of his home for being gay seek shelter with three bears? What was Pinocchio’s growing appendage really about? Did Jack and the Giant do more up there on the beanstalk than they let on? And could the Snow Queen be a tantalizing, smooth-faced prince with a cold heart?

So I wrote four humorous, romantic, adventurous, touching, and definitely gay tales from Fairyland for THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND. “The Naked Prince” is a different take on the Cinderella story. Cinder, a poor and beautiful young man who designs clothing, makeup, and hair for his stepmother and stepsisters, offers his clothing and slippers to a naked stranger in the woods who turns out to be none other than Prince Charming. Will Cinder and Prince Charming confront their manipulative mothers, bring equality to the kingdom, find themselves, and find one another? In “The Golden Rule,” when he is caught with nimble Jack, eighteen-year-old Gideon Golden is thrown out of his home in Fairyland by his homophobic parents. With nowhere else to go, he breaks into the home of three men living on Bear Mountain. Bo and Butch enjoy having a young roommate, but Ben isn’t convinced. Will Gideon and Ben make vinegar or honey? “Whatever Happened To … ?” takes place on Christmas Eve. A reporter living on Andersen Lane interviews a celebrity for the Queen Newspaper series, “What Ever Happened To … .” Friction ensues between the celebrity with the growing appendage who can’t tell fact from fiction, and the reporter who has a thing for giants. Eventually a romantic spark is lit between the two as Christmas Day arrives, and they realize they have more in common than living in Fairyland. Finally in “Ice Cold,” after losing their families during the great ice storm in the northernmost kingdom of Fairyland, young Gaelen and Kieran pledged their love for one another. When Isidore rides into Frost Village on his elaborate sleigh, Kieran follows the handsome prince to his castle in the Arctic Kingdom, where Kieran becomes Isidore’s bewitched slave. This leads Gaelen on an amazing adventure to find his true love and melt his frozen heart.

So if you’re a fairytale lover like me, or even if you aren’t, I think you will enjoy these very gay fairytales. Maybe movie studios will finally take notice, and realize the most entertaining inhabitants of fairyland are the fairies.


I hope you enjoyed my blog post. Now it’s YOUR turn. Write a comment about your favorite fairytale. Why do you love it? What’s gay about it? After seventy-two hours I will choose the comment that tickles my Fairyland dust the most and the winner will receive a gift e-book of my hit novella from Dreamspinner Press, AN INFATUATION (soon to be partnered with A SHOOTING STAR for a paperback version releasing March 21!). Thanks for reading my blog post. I’m looking forward to reading your comments!




As was his custom, Cinder sat at the fireplace, lit a candle, and placed his pet mouse from the jar onto his lap. He closed his eyes and asked his fathers to help him get to the ball to give his stepsister her missing apparel for her dance with the prince. Suddenly the flame of the candle flickered, and Cinder heard his fathers’ voices. Cinder’s father Maxwell, told him how much he missed him. Cinder’s other father, Mortimer, reminded Maxwell that he missed Cinder too. Maxwell explained to Cinder that he was safe and happy in the other world. Mortimer interjected that Maxwell should not forget that Mortimer was safe and happy in the other world with Maxwell. It was the most comforting moment of Cinder’s life, except for meeting the young man in the meadow.

Maxwell then said, “Cinder, my son, whom I love more than anything in all creation, your fathers have been granted one night, and one night only, with the power to help you. And we have chosen this night.”

“Tell our boy what we are going to do for him,” said Cinder’s other father Mortimer.

Maxwell explained that Cinder would attend the prince’s ball.

Cinder could not believe what he was hearing. At first he thought it was a dream, but no dream could ever be so wonderful. Knowing his stepsister must be heartbroken without her hat and bag, Cinder hoped he could get them to her before she danced with the prince.

“Tell Cinder the stipulation, Maxwell.”

“I was just about to do that, Mortimer.” Then Maxwell said to Cinder with tenderness in his voice, “My son—”

“He’s my son too, Maxwell,” added Cinder’s other father.

After taking a calming breath, Maxwell continued. “Our son, the great force has granted me—”

Mortimer cleared his throat.

“Has granted us the special power to send you to the prince’s ball, but the power will last for one night only. At the stroke of midnight, everything will return back to the way it was.”

Cinder was incredibly grateful to his fathers. He wanted more than anything to tell them how much he loved them and to ask them so many questions, including whether they could help him see the young man from the meadow again. But before Cinder could speak, a slight breeze grazed his cheek. The breeze grew slowly and steadily in intensity and finally became a gust of wind as Cinder’s burlap clothing magically transformed into an exquisite powder blue suit, ruffled shirt, and handkerchief. Cinder looked down at his feet and noticed the mouse’s pickling jar had been transformed into handsome glass slippers. The wind continued to grow until it threw open the cottage door, carrying a pumpkin from the root vegetable bin and Cinder’s pet mouse with it. Cinder hurried outside and marveled as the pumpkin turned into a stunning gold coach and the pet mouse expanded into a handsome coachman. The squirrel, chipmunk, rabbit, and blue jay frolicked in the wind until they became four striking white horses.


Purchase Links:

Dreamspinner Press




Links to Joe Cosentino:

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino


A Darker Holiday Tradition with Dianne Hartsock – Post + Giveaway

December 18, 2015

A Darker Holiday Tradition

Hello! I’m Dianne Hartsock, one of the new authors here at Dreamspinner Press. I’m so excited to say my novel, NICOLAS, releases today. Yay! Just in time for Christmas, though I can’t promise this is your traditional Christmas story.

Christmas, two years ago, we were sitting around the tree talking idly while waiting for dinner to be ready, when my cousin’s husband made a comment about Krampus taking all the gifts away before we got a chance to open them. Krampus? What was he talking about?

His family is Dutch, and he told us a very condensed version of the legend of St. Nicolas and the Krampus, the dark goblin that follows Santa around, punishing the naughty children while St. Nicolas leaves the gifts. I needed to know more! I’d never heard of the Krampus before and was intrigued.

So, I do what I always do, and headed to Google for answers. First, I read everything I could on the Krampus. What a creepy little troll! He leaves coal for the naughty children, switching them if they’ve been very bad. And for the very worst, he simply snatches them up and takes them to his home in Italy, never to be heard from again. Yikes!

St. Nicolas, on the other hand, is everything good, spreading the word of peace and goodwill. He was a man born in the third century in a small town in Greece, who used his family’s wealth to help the poor in his community. After his death, it is said he raised three children from the dead after they’d been murdered by a butcher during a famine.

Aha! There was my story. I took this good man, the one behind our modern Santa Claus, and paired him with this terrible creature who wants to do nothing more than destroy all the good Nicolas does in the world. The death and resurrection of those children brought them together, and now Nico can’t be rid of the monster.

What would it be like to be chased through the centuries by a terrible presence, never allowed to form meaningful friendships, your lovers torn away or seduced from your arms? Yes, I said seduced. I write romances, after all! It took me about three seconds to decide that the Krampus could take the form of a beautiful, sensual man when he chooses.

And Nico needed a love interest, someone sweet and lovely who would believe in him no matter how preposterous his story sounded. I gave him Jamie, a sensitive artist with a core of steel under the gentleness.

NICOLAS is a contemporary romance wrapped up in the old legends of St. Nicolas and the Krampus with just a taste of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale thrown in. Just the thing for the holidays!

For a chance to win an e-book copy of NICOLAS, in a comment below, please tell me what your favorite holiday story is, whether it’s a childhood book or one you read now, or even a movie you watch every year.

Merry Christmas!

You can find me here:





Amazon Author Page

Facebook Author Page


Kristi Lee’s Irish Surprise

April 29, 2015


Hey there! My name is Kristi Lee. It’s not a pseudonym, that’s really my name. I’m thrilled to announce the release of my first completed original fiction work, Surprised at Nothing, published today by Dreamspinner Press. I started writing it a year and a half ago intending for it to be a Harry Potter/Secret of Kells crossover story of all things, but then I realized that essentially all of the characters were original characters, so I challenged myself to do my own world-building and here we are. :) I knew from the beginning I wanted the story to be set primarily in Ireland, a country I haven’t yet visited but have been somewhat obsessed by since I was a child. I also have an obsession with red-haired men, so the protagonist in Surprised at Nothing has a head of beautiful red hair.

This is a ‘how they get together’ story, introducing Reggie (the protagonist) and ’Kelp’, whose real name is Ian, and the small cast of characters around them. Reggie is a magus archeologist, and Kelp is ostensibly a historian and lecturer, though he drifts rather like seaweed on the tide in this story. There’s also a dragon egg, or perhaps it’s just a fossilized rock- you’ll have to read to find out. ;) I had a very interesting moment while writing it— I was driving to a workout and had a sudden vision of a climactic, dramatic incident that needed to happen. The image and scene was so vivid in my mind that I nearly turned left on a red arrow into oncoming traffic! Thankfully I didn’t suffer a car crash while writing this story. :)

I wrote slash (m/m) fanfiction for over a decade, and am most comfortable writing male/male stories, exploring male relationships in their myriad forms. I’m also used to immediate feedback, so while writing this, I sent sections to a couple of fandom friends to hear what they thought since this was my first time relying on my own world-building. Like me, and Reggie, they all fell for Kelp pretty hard. Since Surprised at Nothing is from Reggie’s point of view, we get to learn a lot about him, including a particularly challenging handicap Kelp has: he’s an Unfortunate. That means that while he’s born of magus parents and lives primarily in the magus world, he can’t perform any spellcastings or other magic himself. He copes remarkably well despite that, but Reggie is witness to some comments and an emotional storm that indicate Kelp has had to deal with a lot in the past— and still does.

As I was writing this, I had sequels in mind already, and that’s what I’m working on now: sequel #1, as of yet untitled. The editing process for Surprised at Nothing really helped me hone in on Reggie and Kelp’s motivations, to flesh out their backstories in my mind, and to let my imagination run wild in what they could get up to next. I love to do research, and did a lot of searching to decide where to set the next story. The small town of Letterfrack features in Surprised at Nothing, selected both because it’s by the water, but also because I loved the name. The sequel-in-process is primarily in the Boyne Valley, featuring the Neolithic passage tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. Irish legend and the power of myth are prominent in these stories as I’m personally drawn to Celtic mythology— and it’s a perfect backdrop for these two young men to begin to fall for each other.


Symbolic tattoos make an appearance in Surprised at Nothing, and that thread continues on in the sequel I’m writing now. As a reader, do you find yourself visualizing tattoos described in the stories you love, perhaps even drawing them yourself? Where on the male body do you think they are potentially the sexiest? And so near and dear to my heart: who here thinks that red haired men are particularly compelling? ;)

Please reach out to me— I’d love to hear from you!






Harmony Ink New Release: September 11, 2014

September 11, 2014

Key of Behliseth by Lou Hoffmann

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

When homeless gay teen Lucky steps through a wizard’s door, he must remember his true name and master his extraordinary abilities. Key of Behliseth by Lou Hoffmann, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.











2nd Edition

On his way to meet a fate he’d rather avoid, homeless gay teen Lucky steps through a wizard’s door and is caught up in a whirlwind quest and an ancient war. He tries to convince himself that his involvement with sword fights, magic, and interworld travel is a fluke, and that ice-breathing dragons and fire-breathing eagles don’t really exist. But with each passing hour, he remembers more about who he is and where he’s from, and with help, he begins to claim his power.

Lucky might someday rule a nation, but before he can do that, he must remember his true name, accept his destiny, and master his extraordinary abilities. Only then can he help to banish the evil that has invaded earth and find his way home—through a gateway to another world.

Length: Novel (296p.) | Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: September 11, 2014, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-248-9) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-246-5)

Harmony Ink New Release: June 5, 2014

June 5, 2014

Pretty Peg by Skye Allen

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Josy follows Nicky into the Faerie Realm to hunt the Woodcutter before he strikes again. Along the way, she discovers Fey gifts of her own. Pretty Peg by Skye Allen, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.











High school senior Josy Grant already had plenty on her plate before she found the magic puppet theater her murdered sister left behind. Despite Josy’s grief, the responsibility of taking care of her family falls to her, and being queer doesn’t make dealing with school any easier. Things only get worse when sexy new girl Nicky tells Josy her sister died at the hands of a mysterious figure from the Faerie Realm called the Woodcutter, and if they can’t stop him, Josy and her remaining sister will be next.

They have just days before the Woodcutter strikes again on the autumn equinox, so Josy follows Nicky into the Faerie Realm to hunt him. Along the way, she discovers Fey gifts of her own and answers to the questions that have driven the Grant family apart. Nothing comes for free when dealing with Fey, though, and those gifts and answers might come at a terrible price.

Length: Novel (266p.) | Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult, Lesbian | Release Date: June 5, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-056-0  | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-054-6)

Harmony Ink New Release: April 24, 2014

April 24, 2014

Hunters by A.M. Burns

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Thom is a small Bigfoot who gets to attend school, though he’s not expected to do much. That changes when he finds Ben in the forest. Hunters by A.M. Burns, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.











Bigfoot hunters prowl the forests of Cripple Creek, Colorado. That doesn’t sit well with Thom Woodmen—a Bigfoot—albeit the runt of his family. Being the smallest has advantages; Thom, in disguise, gets to attend high school, and he’s not expected to accomplish much in life. All that changes when he comes across a distressed human in the forest.

Ben Steele is new to Cripple Creek High School, and after a harrowing experience in the woods near his new home, he quickly falls in with Thom Woodmen and his circle of friends. So what if they like to hang out with nature? Ben’s got nothing better to do. Trouble is, Ben can’t seem to stay out of it—trouble, that is.

However, in saving young Ben’s life, Thom inadvertently kick-starts a bonding process that’ll change both their lives forever. With the support of family and friends, Thom learns to accept bonding with the human boy. But with the danger overrunning Cripple Creek lately, Thom may be cut down before he can confess his secret and his love.

Length: Novel (180p.) | Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Other Paranormal, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: April 24, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62798-943-5) | Buy as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-62798-942-8)

Harmony Ink New Release: March 27, 2013

March 27, 2014

Triane’s Son Reigning (Bitter Moon Saga: Book Four) by Amy Lane

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Torrant must use his healer/poet and predator sides to save his people. If he and his loved ones fail, Rath will remove joy from the land. Triane’s Son Reigning (Bitter Moon Saga: Book Four) by Amy Lane, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.











2nd Edition

Sequel to Triane’s Son Fighting
Bitter Moon Saga: Book Four

From the moment Torrant Shadow realized Consort Rath murdered his family, he’s lived a dual identity: a healer and poet by nature, a predator out of necessity. It’s not just exhausting, it’s perilous.

In the deadly city of Dueance, Torrant must succeed in both lives, because while the predator may save the Goddess’s folk from Rath’s brutal policies, it is the poet who will sway the minds of the people to revolt against the oppressive government. As his cause falters, Torrant finds his worst nightmares come to pass as the people he loves most—his family from Eiran, his former lovers, and his moon-destined, Yarri—all come to his aid, despite the danger.

They must succeed—there is no other option. If they fail, Rath will eliminate joy from the heart of the lands of the three moons, and all that Torrant and his family cherish will be lost. But success could exact a devastating cost, one Triane’s Son was never prepared to pay.

1st Edition published as Bitter Moon II: Triane’s Son Reigning by iUniverse, 2009

Length: Novel (320p.) | Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult, Gay, Bisexual | Release Date: March 27, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62798-344-0) | Buy as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-62798-343-3)

Harmony Ink New Release: March 6, 2014

March 6, 2014

If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Jordan was born female, but wants to live the last year of high school as a boy. He discovers being true to himself isn’t so simple. If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.











Born female, all Jordan wants is to slip under the radar and live the last year of high school as a boy. His parents and siblings support him, but he’d rather be recognized for his acting and musical talents than his gender issues.

When Shakespeare’s Puck gives him three magical potions—true sight, true seeming, and true love—Jordan discovers being true to himself isn’t as simple as he thought.

Jordan must navigate the confusion of first love, a controversial role in the fall musical, and his transgender identity, while fairy magic creates a net of complications over everything he does. In order to unweave the spells laid over his friends—his supportive older brother, James, his playwright friend, Pepper, and Maria, another transgender student—Jordan needs to understand exactly how far he’ll go to reach his goals of finding true love, true sight, and true seeming.

Length: Novel (240p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult, Transgender | Release Date: March 6, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62798-821-6 ) | Buy as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-62798-820-9)