Collared -- The Story Behind the Story
I was raised in central West Virginia and I still go back several times each year to visit my family. Although my parents now live in the next county over (light years and entire universes away from my old stomping grounds), I still run into and hear from/about old friends occasionally. Collared came to be after I bumped into one of those friends. We'll call him Jack. That isn't his real name, but close enough.
Back in high school, Jack was brilliant. He was funny and fun to be around. A much heavier partier than I was (and I was no lightweight). We were bored kids stuck out in the country. We had to drive half an hour to get to a restaurant chain and another hour beyond that to see a movie. Of course we were going to get into trouble. And Jack was excellent at it. So good, in fact, that (like me) he managed to put his party on and maintain the high GPA that was his ticket out of the county and into civilization.
For Jack, though, the train derailed. Never use something that will end up using YOU, compadres. Jack got a powerful monkey on his back in college, dropped out, blew around the party-fest communes back home and finally settled in a shack deep in the woods -- deep enough to dissuade the cops from looking for his crops, if you see what I'm saying.
So anyway, I run into Jack many years (and several lifetimes later) and he's still the fun guy he always was, but wow, does he have a whole treasure trove of conspiracy theories. Really crazy stuff. I love the guy to death, though, and you know what? He's still brilliant. Nuckin futs, yeah, but brilliant. One of the many theories he'd cooked up was an elaborate scenario in which the government was doping the masses (that'd be you and me, pal) with hormones injected into our meat and bio-engineered crops. Whoa. Awesome.
But it got me to thinking...What if behavior could be modified by altering the food supply? What might that look like? How would we, as a society, respond? I thought about an old grade B horror flick in which animals went super-aggressive for some bizarre reason (scared the shit out of me as a 10yo) so I had an idea for what direction I'd go in (though dominance instead, not aggression of the homicidal bent). Then, weirdly enough, I thought about 911, how the horror and grief of that event provoked us (individually and nationally) to act impulsively and at times irrationally -- sometimes for the good and sometimes for the very, very bad.
From that soup of what if's, Collared was born. Everyone's brain chemistry is changing and that's causing us to act in extreme and (sometimes) irrational ways, both individually (for my characters) and as a nation (the political/legal environment). My heroes struggle with who they were, who they want to be and who they are becoming -- juxtaposed against the setting of a world in flux. Nothing makes sense, not how they feel, not how the new environment is coming into shape...It doesn't work. The world they live, breathe and move in does not work. It needs fixing and so do my characters. They're trying. They're fighting to adapt to the changes, to accept their new normal and to make that new normal better. They make mistakes. We, as a society, make mistakes too. But we never stop fighting to make life better. This is Connor's, Emmett's and David's story -- their struggle to find their balance, each other and a way to make a world gone mad work.
Here's the blurb:
Trans-Global IT director Connor Witt is a rare and prized anomaly: the aggression centers in his brain have been suppressed rather than stimulated by the mutated crops that so recently took over the world’s food supply. Bewildered by his physical changes and terrified of a world growing more and more predatory, Connor risks harassment and worse until Trans-Global CEO David Martin collars Connor to protect him against men like security consultant Emmett Drake. Men who stalk Connor as sweet, sexy prey. Men to whom the newly submissive Connor feels irresistibly drawn.
But David can’t be Connor’s master; David’s straight. He promises to find a worthy man, though. One willing to court and appreciate Connor as more than just some rich man’s toy.
While the world adapts to the biological disaster and new laws strip away Connor’s rights, David’s resolve to protect his boy slowly grows into something more. But can his new desires keep pace with Emmett’s determination to claim Connor?
One man offers safety; the other is a safer bet. Problem is, Connor’s never sure which is which. The one thing he know? He wants them both.
Click the title to read an excerpt and purchase Collared.
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