Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CJ Black Souls Inflamed - Win Desktop Artwork - Leave a comment!!

I know writers aren’t supposed to play favorites but Souls Inflamed is special to me.  It was the first work I sold on proposal.  It also provided a challenge for my skill.  I was working with a deadline for the first time so I didn’t have the luxury – well I suppose you can’t look at it as a ‘luxury’ we all know writing is hard work!  Perhaps I’ll say the opportunity to take my time and arm wrestle my muse so she’ll do her job.

For the proposal I submitted the first three chapters of my work and a synopsis.  I already had the story itself planned out.  This was also my first try at a paranormal.  I actually hadn’t considered paranormal in the past but Myles and Demetrius were demanding that I tell their story (as characters often do) and I was happy to oblige.  I didn’t want to rush things, however.  Even when you’re on a deadline you’re still expected of course to turn in a well-written work.  You have to balance the amount of time you have with the writing you do.  And above all, don’t count the days and worry, I only have a week left!

I envisioned the two characters.  I wanted one to be the type of character that was somewhat shy and studious, I wanted a book lover, someone who appreciated delicate things but could kick ass when the need arose.  Myles fits that character.  Demetrius on the other hand is the strong and stubborn type, the true male lead but he has that gentle side that makes him want to take care of Myles, even though Myles is quite capable of taking care of himself.  Demetrius starts out as not so much a bad guy but when he first meets Myles he’s only there to get back a prized possession but after a while he sees past his own wants and needs and sees who Myles truly is instead.

I didn’t want one to be completely dependent on the other.  I was looking to create an equal partnership.  Both men have their own paranormal skin, although Myles looks at his as more of a curse.  He had a bad experience using his  power once and is somewhat wary of using it again.  Demetrius on the other hand is old-school, a long lived paranormal who is comfortable with his power and has no problem using them.  I believe this makes them the perfect couple.

I hope my readers enjoy Souls Inflamed.  If you would like to be notified of the publication date, the best way is to join my newsletter which is specifically for new releases, so you won’t have to worry about getting additional mailings from me.  Please go to my blog at to sign up.  Peace!

Title: Souls Inflamed
Author: CJ Black
Publisher: Cobblestone Press
Publication Date: TBA
Genre: Gay Paranormal Contemporary


When Myles Bryce encounters Demetrius Jordan, the attraction is immediate and frightening.  The man exudes an arcane power even Myles can't fathom.  Myles himself is not quite normal, having the ability to manipulate the emotions of others, a skill Myles calls his insight.  Demetrius Jordan is an incubus in search of a prized item stolen from him.  When his investigation leads him to Myles, he’s shocked when Myles refuses to return his property. Demetrius senses Myles is different but he isn’t as much interested in that as he is in possessing Myles.  And Myles wants to be possessed by Demetrius.


I'm a multi-published author of erotic fiction novels and short stories,
usually M/M, in the contemporary, fantasy and paranormal genres.  I’ve been an
author for almost thirty years and got my start on an old typewriter at the age
of five and wrote my first novel at fourteen.  Starting with the mystery genre,
then fantasy, I wanted to expand my writing horizons and found erotica an intriguing
subject.  Probably the world’s biggest bibliophile I own three-hundred plus books. 
I’m an avid RPG gamer.  My other favorite thing to do is work in my garden (when weather permits) and am an amateur chef. Feel free to contact me to discuss writing anytime!

CJ Black
Author site:
Black Satin: My Official Blog
Purchase my novel - Illusion of Night by Liquid Silver Books:


Monday, November 28, 2011

JS Wayne and Dancing On Flames

First, I’d like to thank Jadette for having me here today! This should be an adventure. I’ll try to keep the spork-flinging to a minimum!

When the idea for “Dancing On Flames” first occurred to me, I wanted no part of it. Didn’t want to think about it, hear about, and I damn sure didn’t want to try writing it! As a het male, I couldn’t imagine what I could possibly bring to gay romance that hasn’t been done a hell of a lot better by Jadette Paige, Amber Green, KevaD, H.C. Brown, Margie Church . . . .

You get the idea. So I buried myself in other projects. Lesbian, ménage, straight, I wrote (and am still writing, in some cases) all of them. I even managed to publish most of what I wrote!

And the whole time, I had two werewolves prowling around my desk, eyeing me meaningfully. “When are you going to tell our story? Aren’t we good enough for you, Mr. ‘Manuscript Mage who can write any damn thing?’ Hmm?”

It was hard to argue with the logic, the ego stroking, or the none-too-subtle dare implicit in what they said. Not to mention that we’re talking about two werewolves. Not Twilight werewolves. These guys would look at that bunch and say, “Aw. Aren’t you precious,” with withering sarcasm. These are the kind of werewolves who top seven feet in their battle forms and are basically fangs, fur, and carefully directed fury. 

When two of those are glowering at you and tapping their feet none too patiently, you do what you gotta do. So I sat down and kicked my brain in the gut until it threw up an idea I felt had merit.

Since I already knew who my heroes were, I needed a villain. But why stop at one? Why not throw up a whole bunch of red shirts and make it a party? It didn’t take me long to figure out exactly what I wanted from my bad guys. Pure, no-holds-barred, evil SOBs that the reader wouldn’t have any sympathy for. So I wrote some of the vilest bastards I’ve ever put to paper.

Now that I had the villains, I needed an insurmountable problem for my heroes to face. It seemed pretty apparent to me that werewolves, as a very small subset of the population, would have to be concerned about inbreeding and other genetic issues if they bred too closely with their own kind. For this reason, a practical taboo became law. The law became tradition. And to violate it became a death sentence.
But the two werewolves were awfully cozy. And that’s where things got . . . interesting.

Because I’m a married, het male, there was an awful lot I had to learn about the ins and outs (pardon the expression) of a gay relationship. I wanted to get the tone and the dynamics of the story and the characters’ relationship right, without intentionally or otherwise offering any disrespect or slight to my readers. So I had to ask questions. Lots of questions. Some of them painfully embarrassing and difficult to broach, especially over email.

An aside: Some things just don’t lend themselves well to text communication of any sort. It’s easy to say too little and come off abrupt or even offensive, or to say too much and stick your foot in your mouth while you’re trying to avoid exactly that.

So I asked around among some people I knew would be receptive to my questions and get where I was coming from. I got some great advice, but two of the real gems I mined out of this exercise came from Margie Church and Bryl Tyne.

Margie said, “Put your brain in a box. Don’t worry about what turns you on. Write what will attract your characters.”

Bryl said, “Love is love. Worry about the emotions, not the physical aspect.”

I took their advice and finished the story. Then I sent off copies to my beta readers with a pointed request that they skewer me when and where necessary. It wasn’t long before I had all their opinions together, and I blasted out a rewrite, incorporating most of the suggestions I got.

Now came the real test: submission.

I took a deep breath and sent it off to Bryl. I had gotten a pretty good cross-section of what was wrong, and right, with my story, but this was the sweaty-palmed, honest to God moment of truth. If it didn’t pass muster with Bryl, I wouldn’t have gone all crazy melodramatic and deleted all my writing or anything equally silly. But I sure would have been disappointed for a minute. Bryl’s not an ogre by any means; in fact, he’s about as far from the stereotypical editor as I can imagine. So his opinion means a lot to me when it comes to my work, and I started getting the shakes about fifteen seconds after I sent off the manuscript.

To counter the jitters, I threw myself into other stories, pointedly trying not to think about it. See how these things move in cycles? A couple of weeks after I sent it, he sent me back an email. He was going to recommend it for publication!

With a huge sigh of relief, I signed the contract and stopped stressing. And now, I’m proud to report that “Dancing On Flames” is available from Noble Romance Publishing! To celebrate the release, I’m giving away a copy of “Dancing On Flames” to one commentator today. Just leave a comment for your chance to win!

Thank you again to Jadette for having me here today. It’s been a lot of fun! I hope I’ll back here again soon!
Until next time,

Best, J.S. Wayne


In the aftermath of a raid on a band of child slavers, Russell and Ion of the Chosen of Fenrir find themselves baring their hearts and souls—and their bodies—to one another. In doing so, they violate one of their clan's most sacred laws: Look not to your own kind for love.

Now, one will lay his life on the line on the Path of the Flame Dance, where the Earth Mother will judge whether the love they have is worthy—or a betrayal of their own blood. The other must watch as his lover walks the fire or perishes in the attempt.                             

Stand or fall, the two warriors will never be the same . . . .


Ion slipped silently over to the large, smooth log Russell sat on and folded onto it with a small huff of relief; his feet and back ached from the exertions of the night, and it felt sinfully good to finally be able to relax for a while. He would rather have had his chest gouged open with a dull, silver spoon than admit it, but he was privately very glad Russell had insisted on letting the children sleep and getting an early start in the morning.

He studied Russell's profile in the firelight. Russell gave no sign he was aware of Ion's presence; his jaw was set firmly and his eyes seemed to shimmer with moisture. It had to be a trick of the light; Russell's seemingly inexhaustible good humor made the possibility that he could be on the verge of tears about as likely in Ion's mind as the chance that he might suddenly turn into a vampire.

Maybe it was the smoke stinging his eyes. Sure. That had to be the answer.

"We did good tonight."

Russell didn't say a word. He didn't react in any way; his gaze was locked on something far beyond the camp, somewhere Ion couldn't follow, seeing a terror that Ion couldn't ward.

After a long while, Ion placed his hand on Russell's shoulder. The hard muscle he encountered surprised him. While he hadn't thought Russell was soft, exactly, he hadn't expected the wiry muscle he found. To his astonishment, he realized that the other man felt good to his touch.

Russell reached up and laid his hand over Ion's, eyes locked on the blaze before him. His throat worked and he spat into the fire. “Those kids have a long way to go before they come back from this," he said heavily, turning his dark blue eyes toward Ion.

The pain in those eyes blistered through Ion as keenly as a dagger slice, even though they were not in wolf form and Russell’s mind was therefore closed to him. He would not have wished what he knew Russell had to be feeling on anyone; he carried a similar, if heavier, burden and knew better than he'd ever wanted to how that load weighed on his shoulders. To try to bolster Russell's spirits, he pointed out, "You were very good with them. A lot better than I could ever hope to be."

Russell didn't reply, but a tear ran down his face, gleaming in the firelight. Ion foundered for a moment and pressed on. "Those kids are going to get the best night's sleep they've had since they were taken, because of you. They trust you."

"Is that enough?" he asked. "There are still so many things that could go wrong between here and the nearest town. What if we lose one? Or all of them?"

Ion nodded heavily. "Remember what I told you earlier, about how I hoped you'd never understand how I feel?"


"This is how it starts. You care about someone enough to be afraid of losing them." Ion felt a memory surfacing, and spoke quickly to quash it before it could take over, as it usually did. "You do your best, but it's not always enough. That's when you have to remember, you can't control everything."

Russell's voice was low and cold. "I will not let anything happen to these kids. They've already been through something horrible." His hand clenched Ion's as if trying to draw Ion's strength into him. Ion felt his heart stutter and skip at the gesture of trust. "Those kids will make it home."

Ion leaned close. "Russell . . . ."

He turned around. Their lips brushed, firing a pulse of electricity to every part of Ion's body. This close to Russell, he could smell the aroma of blood overlain by wood smoke that clung to the Chosen's skin. Under that lingered a scent like musk and clove that was uniquely his own. His clean breath felt hot on Ion's chin, and Ion's heart began to pound as a perplexing array of mutually incompatible emotions warred inside him.

Russell pulled back slightly and his eyes narrowed for a second as he stared deep into Ion's own, as if searching them for a signal that Ion couldn't be certain he was giving. Then he seemed to come to a decision, leaned forward again, and pressed his mouth to Ion's, opening to offer Ion his tongue. The taste of him was like nothing Ion had ever known; he tasted of spice, wild mint, and the smoked venison they had eaten before they left the caverns earlier tonight. But there was something else, something there Ion couldn't define in Russell's unique flavor that stirred the embers of Ion's uncertain emotions into a roaring blaze of need.

His own reaction came as a shock. He would have expected to be utterly repulsed; instead, he found he rather enjoyed Russell's expert kisses. The sensation felt astonishingly good, in a way that shook Ion to his core. He couldn't think of anything except the brilliant shimmers of desire that Russell's tongue was sending through his body.

Find me on Twitter: @jswayne702
Catch up with me on Facebook: Author.JSWayne
Check out my blog:
And see my available work at


Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Story behind The Birches - Xavier Axelson

I love evolution.  I love the idea of watching things evolve, being part of things evolving, and most importantly being able to reflect and make notes on the evolution of a project.  I wrote a guest post a while back about the story behind my latest novella The Birches and focused mainly on my inspiration for the story, not thinking I would have the opportunity to explore the backdrop again.  When I discovered the title of Jadette’s Blog was The Story Behind The Story I saw it as an opportunity to explore another major theme of The Birches with the added benefit of time and readers input to help me along.

While The Birches is about food and cooking at its core it is a story about the obsessive journey towards personal and professional perfection.  I don’t believe in “effortless.”  Behind every great event, there is a ton of unseen work.  Effortless does not come easily, there is plenty of struggle and sweat behind making something appear easy or perfect.  The one thing I learned while working as an event coordinator was to accept that something would always go wrong.  It was just the way it was.  The sushi truck would show up late, the tablecloths weren’t the right size or most memorably the gold rim on the dinner plates was the incorrect width.  The last nearly sent the hostess into a tailspin and her shrieking the entire party was ruined.

Leo, the main character of The Birches is the type of high-strung person who was on the verge of turning into someone who would lose their minds over the rim of a plate.  He is angry and frustrated by people who manage to make things look effortless.  He doesn’t understand passion, only precision.  I have had readers tell me how he is angry at everything, and it’s true.  Leo wants the impossible.  He wants to be perfect.  Perfect meringues, a perfect family, a perfect career, and he foolishly believe being perfect means being the best.  I think those of us who believe these theories are in for a big surprise and many disappointments.  I illustrate this in the story with a scene between Leo and his father Graham.  They have ordered pizza from a greasy pizza parlor they’ve been ordered from for years.  When the pizza arrives Leo immediately reaches for any number of additives to heighten what is already a great slice of pizza, but he can’t accept it.  How can it be so good if it came from a local dive?  It must need more to make it perfect.  The thing he doesn’t realize until later is he is unsatisfied with himself.  He struggles against his own fear in admitting who he is and what he truly wants.

I went to junior college at a school known for culinary arts.  I met and am still friends with many chefs from school.  I know they are passionate about their craft and I remember more than once many students leaving class in tears and exhausted.  I remember many of them struggling to perfect a recipe and a technique and the agony over defeats and the crazed joy of success.  With The Birches I wanted to capture that obsessive need to be perfect that I experienced with the culinary students I went to school with and knew intimately.  I wanted to share my love of cooking and the kitchen but also the release that comes with accepting mistakes and admitting how good things really taste when you are loved.

Love The Birches and come spread some Love at my website.  Look for my new release Lily in January and all sorts of good things next month on my column over at



Perfection isn’t everything, although it’s everything Leo wants. His desire to become the perfect chef may keep him at the top of his class, but it drives his friends and family crazy while keeping love and passion on the back burner. That is until he meets Dock, owner and chef of the new and popular restaurant, The Birches. Although Dock isn’t a trained chef, Leo finds the food he cooks delectable and the man behind the food irresistible. The lessons taught at the hands of an untrained cook may be just what this uptight chef needs to let go. 


the birches

He pulled into the parking lot of The Birches and sat on his bike a minute. He felt nervous, like he was about to meet a celebrity and the self-doubt that plagued him made him queasy.   

“You gonna sit outside or come in?”

Leo jumped at the sound of the man’s voice. He pulled his helmet off and looked around, but didn’t see anyone.

“Over here.” 

Leo looked just past his left shoulder and saw a man emerging from the nearby woods that surrounded the little restaurant.

“Oh, hey,” Leo called out, his voice cracking.

“You looking for something to eat?” the man asked, coming closer.

Leo was shocked to find himself riveted to the spot, staring at the man who came towards him. 

The man offered Leo a rough, calloused hand. “I’m Dock,”

“Hey,” Leo managed weakly.

“I was out back, picking blackberries, they grow wild around here.  I thought they’d make a great dessert. Don’t know what kind of dessert, but how can you go wrong when you have stuff like this?” He said as he offered up a large, wooden bucket half-full of dark, purple black berries.

There were purple smears across Dock’s white tank top that seemed barely able to contain Dock’s impressive chest. There were several brown freckles on Dock’s shoulders, next to where the strap of tank top clung to his body.

“Lucky berries,” Leo said under his breath.


Sweat ran down Leo’s back, he felt so nervous. For a brief moment, he thought of hopping on his bike and taking off.  Instead he said, “Um, nothing, sorry, I just wanted to come by and--” 

“You want to come inside and have an iced tea or something?” Dock asked, “It’s hot as hell out here and I know I need to cool off.” He swiped a hand across his face and left a smudge of blackberry juice across his cheek.

Leo’s heart was pounding, what was it about this place, this man?

“You coming?” Dock asked.


Dock laughed, “You coming inside or you just gonna stare at the ground the rest of the day?”

Leo was still staring at the spot where Dock had been standing.  Something was happening inside his head.  He felt spellbound and excited.  He didn’t know where this sensation came from, all he knew was he wanted more of what he was feeling.  He followed Dock, who was still talking about black berries, the sun and something else that sounded perfect, into the restaurant.  When Dock stopped suddenly by a booth at the back of the restaurant, Leo almost crashed into him.

“Take a seat. I’ll be right back with some tea.” Dock said, a smile lingered on his lips.

He knows he makes me uncomfortable, Leo thought once Dock left and was sitting down. It was this realization that held him glued to the seat.  He wouldn’t give this man the satisfaction of getting the better of him.  

“So, what’s your name?” Dock asked when he reappeared and set a jam jar full of iced tea in front of Leo, there were several blackberries floating in it along with some ice and a sprig of mint.

“Leo,” he replied, taking a sip of the tea.

“You know we’re closed, right?” A woman’s voice called from behind Dock’s perfect shoulders. Leo decided right then and there he would trade his ability to beat an egg for a chance to touch those shoulders and kiss the freckles that lived there.

What was he thinking? 

He wasn’t thinking, that was just it, there was something about the place and, more noticeably, about this man that seemed to block Leo’s ability to think rationally. Where there was once thought, there was now an incredible amount of feeling. He was stunned into a stupor by this realization.

Where to find Xavier Axelson:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lissa Kasey - Inheritance

I've always believed the most relatable characters are the flawed ones. When I began the book that is now Inheritance it was five years ago and I worked in a call center with another girl who claimed she was a writer. We'd take short breaks and do fast writing, never taking much stock in what we began. I never thought that a lot of my flaws would wind up in that book, and that it'd be my first published novella.

One of those work-break writing sessions, I wrote four pages about a character in a bar who flirted with her boss. Yeah, Sei was female at one point. My co-worker liked the story and tried to add to it, but never got more than a paragraph further. Being stuck myself, I put it aside and there it sat for years.

Last year, everyone was talking about Nano, and though I didn't want to officially join, I did vow to write something. So I pulled out the old piece, cut out the bits my co-worker had wrote, stripped out the characters and re-profiled them, and out came Seiran.

Those who know me pretty well are aware of my anxiety issues, but even then, most don't understand it. So as I wrote the bits about Sei at lot of my issues became his. The idea wasn't really to show people what it's like to be a person with a severe anxiety disorder, that's just too different for everyone. The thought behind the story was really just to lay out the life of a kid who, just like each one of us, has issues. Sure he's good looking, has a hot boyfriend, and a rich mother, none of which I have by the way, but he's conflicted by the past that has shaped him. He's afraid to move into the future of the unknown.

The hardest part of this story for me to write really ended up being the romance angle of it. Since everything is through Seiran's point of view and he's so tainted, it's something he had a hard time recognizing. Sure the relationship was semi pre-established, but in the m/m genre people want the roots as well as seeing the relationship change and grow. In order to make that happen, Seiran had to recognize those feelings. Even now he only begrudgingly acknowledges them.

Once I'd finished the first book I put it aside and began writing a book about Kelly, who is a side character in Inheritance. Seiran, however, loudly kept coming through in that book. He said I'd made him say and feel stuff he wasn't comfortable with and then just cut off his time to work it all out. Which is how Reclamation, the sequel, came into existence.

The third in the series is about Kelly, and was much harder to write because he's just not as flawed as Sei is. Kelly had a good upbringing, sure he had some crap too, but nothing nearly as substantial as Sei. No matter our level of flaws, however, we all deserve to find that special someone who can put up with our crap. And as long as the boys keep talking to me I'm going to keep torturing them a little bit at a time. I guess being a sadistic witch is just another of my flaws.


As the only male studying magic in a female-dominant society, Seiran Rou’s life is already on a precarious perch. Then he finds a dead co-worker on his doorstep, and Sei realizes someone is trying to set him up for the fall. It could be anyone—including his own mother, a powerful witch and leader of the Dominion, the ruling body of elemental magic.

Sei’s only saving graces are his on-again, off-again vampire boyfriend, Gabe, and the mysterious Jamie, who wants to help him for reasons Sei doesn’t understand. They may be all that stand between Sei and the Dominion’s demands to control his magic. One man’s devotion could be the key to save Sei’s life and pull him back from the brink of losing his humanity to the magic he possesses.

Snippet from Inheritance:

I took a sip of the beer, but it tasted like minerals. All things did at that time of the month. Damn. I spit it out and poured the rest down the sink. A vent opening to the upper left side of the bar gave me an idea. The cover came off with patience and slow movement to keep it from clanking. Yanking off my clothes in a hurry, I piled the power of the absent moon into my veins and let the change come. Less
than a minute later I shook out my fur and leapt from the floor to the counter to the open vent. Thankfully, since my change was all magic, my size was that of a normal lynx, and not some man-sized mockery of one. Otherwise I would not have fit in the tiny opening and ductwork.

“I don't see the connection. Roman's been here for years.” Jamie was saying as I arrived at the other side.

“It's obvious. The papers have been merciless.” Gabe was pacing, something I'd only seen him do once or twice before. “Any other reason Frank might be dead?” He glared pointedly at Jamie.

“You think I did it?”

Gabe's raised brow asked the question. “Frank was hitting on Sei last night. I know how much anyone flirting with him irritates you.”

“I don't know what Frank's deal was last night, but he wouldn't have dared. Not with your claim. Besides, if it'd been me, you'd have never found the body. I certainly wouldn't have left it on Seiran's doorstep. It sounds more like something his mother would do.”

The thought made me shudder, which resounded like a loud thump in the vent. Turning to dash away, I prayed I'd get enough of a chance to break free of the metal cave and scurry away to avoid Gabe's wrath. However, he waited for me on the other side. Damn vampire speed.

He bravely held out his arms. “Come here, Sei.”

I backed further into the vent, cursing the dust bunnies that clung to my fur. I'd so need another shower. Jamie's smell came from the other side of the tunnel, like he was waiting for me to try going that way.

Come here.” This time the tone was undeniable. And it made me angry as my body moved without my consent. Leaping into his arms, I turned out my claws at that last moment, digging in deep. He grunted in reply.

Jamie stepped out of the office. “Got him?”

Had me, he did. Gabe's grip hurt probably as much as my claws in his arms and shoulders did. “Stop fighting me, and I'll let you change back.” Gabe dropped me to the floor. “Don't spy on me.”

I took a heavy swipe at Jamie, who held out his hands like he was innocent, before disappearing behind the bar to change back. The fur receded like water into my skin, smooth, easy, and mostly painless because of the new moon. I pulled on the borrowed clothes before rising from my hiding place. The shirt and sweats felt rough against my skin. The boots would not be going back on tonight. I raised a fist to punch Gabe for his trouble.

Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she's not writing about boy romance.


Monday, November 21, 2011

K.C. Burn and Cop Out!

Thanks for letting me ramble a bit on how Cop Out came to be.  As the title suggests, it’s about a cop (Kurt) and his coming out, prompted by an unexpected friendship with a gay man (Davy) as they both work through their grief after Ben, Kurt’s partner on the force and Davy’s life partner, dies. 

This book was a departure for me in many ways.  First off, it’s a contemporary.  Not only is this the first contemporary I’ve sold, it’s also the first one I’ve written.  Although I enjoy contemporaries, I’m generally happier if there’s something else going on as well – mystery, paranormal, aliens – and that’s true of my writing as well.

Secondly, it’s rather angsty and emotional.  Although I write relationship-focused books with appealing characters – or so I hope – high emotions are not characteristic of my writing (I don’t think).

Also, no part of this novel was inspired by a dream.  Not that all of mine are, but there a number of scenes in my books that have been. 

And finally, I usually like to write about guys who, whether they’d closeted or not, have no doubts that they’re gay.   

So… where did this idea come from?  Unlike all my other stories, I have NO CLUE.  I was procrastinating on another project (one with girlie bits) and the scene at the funeral smacked me in the face.  I took a break from the project I was working on to write that scene, although Kurt and Davy hadn’t told me their names yet.  That scene set the whole tone of the book because not only does Kurt meet Davy for the first time, but this is where Kurt realizes Ben was gay.  This was such a radical departure from my other stories that I sat on that scene for months before I wrote the book, even though Kurt begged me for his happy ending almost daily.  

But he was telling me to write an angsty, gay for you/out for you contemporary that I’d have to make up entirely without any dreamtime inspiration.  Uh-huh.  No problem.  I never thought I’d enjoy putting my characters through that self-doubt, the potential recriminations, the agonizing.  But I loved putting Kurt through his paces, ripping him out of the closet he hadn’t even realized he was in.

The other reason for my delay in writing the book was that I’d originally intended to give both Davy’s and Kurt’s perspectives, but it just didn’t work.  Once I realized that the story was Kurt’s (however much I adore Davy) it all went much smoother.  I love all my stories, but this one has a special place in my heart, for sure.  Writing this story made me realize maybe contemporaries weren’t so scary after all, so I wrote another one, which will be coming out in spring. 

KC’s website:


Detective Kurt O’Donnell is used to digging up other people’s secrets, but when he discovers his slain partner was married to another man, it shakes him. Determined to do the right thing, Kurt offers the mourning Davy his assistance. Helping Davy through his grief helps Kurt deal with the guilt that his partner didn’t trust him enough to tell him the truth, and somewhere along the way Davy stops being an obligation and becomes a friend, the closest friend Kurt has ever had.

His growing attraction to Davy complicates matters, leaving Kurt struggling to reevaluate his sexuality. Then a sensual encounter neither man is ready for confuses them further. To be with Davy, Kurt must face the prospect of coming out, but his job and his relationship with his Catholic family are on the line. Can he risk destroying his life for the uncertain possibility of a relationship with a newly widowed man?

“Hi, I’m Kurt O’Donnell. Ben’s partner, remember?” Davy inhaled sharply, a near-gasp, like he’d done at the funeral. Was it hearing Ben’s name that distressed him? “May I come in? My leg is starting to hurt.” It wasn’t, but it was a good excuse. He sensed Davy wanted to slam the door in his face, but he was determined to prevent that. There were questions that he needed answered, but more important was his sense of obligation as Ben’s partner.

“Oh, sure.” Politeness overrode Davy’s first inclination, and Kurt didn’t give him a chance to change his mind as he pushed his way into the house.

“Where’s the kitchen?”

“Why?” Davy pointed to the back of the house—mechanically, instead of a true willingness to have Kurt in his kitchen.

“Because I brought food.”


Kurt shook his head. As he walked to the back of the house, he couldn’t see anything but generic décor applied with military precision. Nothing personal, vibrant, or alive, except for the jumble of shoes and newspapers by the front door.

The kitchen was the whitest room he’d seen in his life, and that included the hospital room he’d recently spent three days in. The only speck of non-white came from the black burners on the stove and the chrome taps at the sink. After heaving the Crock-Pot onto the counter, he grimaced slightly. It was his mother’s old one, with a dark green ceramic liner and a garish line drawing of a red rooster on the front. And it looked almost obscene sitting on the white counter in the whiteout conditions of the kitchen. Was this what Davy liked? This… nothingness? Even Kurt’s shitty apartment had a blue sofa and colored dishtowels, for God’s sake.

He shrugged. He was here, he’d have to make the best of it. Hope Davy at least appreciated the sentiment. By rights, he should have been here much sooner, but his lack of mobility affected his decision as much as the fact that Davy didn’t know him any better than Kurt knew Davy.

After he’d fiddled with the pot and got everything set up, he turned around. Davy sat slumped at the kitchen table, chin propped up by a hand, eyelids at half-mast. Bags under his eyes and hollows in his cheeks spoke loudly of how difficult the past couple of weeks had been. Even more startling was how Davy, with his pale-blue pajamas and his dark brown hair, somehow managed to fade away to nothing in this painter’s blank canvas of a room. Kurt expected him to stand out like a rose among the weeds, but the whiteness camouflaged him.

“Are you okay?”

Davy nodded with his eyes, like he was too tired to move his whole head. “Sandra’s not here, you know.”

What? “Um. I know?” A light flickered on in his mind. The conclusion he’d drawn at the funeral, that Sandra was Ben’s wife or girlfriend, had been an intentional misdirection on Davy’s part. Maybe Ben and Davy lied to everyone about their relationship, not just Kurt.

“Why are you here, then?” Davy asked.

“I’m sorry, I should have been here earlier.”

A puzzled look crossed Davy’s face, and he peered at the clock on the wall. “Today? I’m sorry, did we have an appointment?”

Kurt’s cheeks heated. He’d barged in here, without an invitation, and Davy didn’t seem to know what the hell to make of him or the situation. Maybe if the poor guy had slept since Ben’s death—which didn’t look likely—his coping skills would be better.

“I’m here because you’re here, not Sandra.”

The words made Davy’s eyes open fully, and he sat straight in his chair. “What do you mean?” His chest fluttered rapidly like a frightened bird… or a man about to faint from hyperventilation.

Kurt scooted to his knees in front of Davy, pain screaming through his injured joint, which he ignored. “Breathe, man, breathe. Slowly. In. Out. There’s no reason to be afraid of me, I promise.”

He lightly gripped Davy’s knees as he spoke, getting Davy to focus on him, on breathing.
A few minutes later, Davy was no longer in danger of fainting, and Kurt levered himself into another chair. He’d just reacted, but those reactions would have his physiotherapist yelling at him for sure. He might even need to dig out the prescription painkillers he still had half a bottle of, when he got back to his mom’s. But he had more pressing concerns.

“Okay, now?”

Davy nodded, a full nod this time, his eyes full of questions.

“I know this is where Ben lived. I know… or at least, I’ve deduced you lived here with Ben.”

A slightly fearful look returned, and Davy fidgeted with fingers that looked bloodless and cold, he but didn’t reply.

Another light went on his brain. Ben’s partner. He’d introduced himself as Ben’s partner. The term had a much different meaning for Davy. “You were Ben’s partner. Life partner, right?” He didn’t see a ring on Davy’s finger, so he didn’t think they were married.

Pale pink lips compressed, as though Davy were afraid of what would fall out. Kurt had seen the action before, in guilty people who weren’t hardened criminals. The urge to tell the truth warred with fear of the consequences.

Davy’s lips parted, but instead of the confirmation he expected, Davy repeated his previous question. “Why are you here?”

“Because I wanted to apologize. Because I wanted to offer my help, with anything.”

“I don’t understand. Apologize for what?”

Kurt’s eyes began burning again. More memories had returned from that day, but not all. “I should have done more. Maybe if I had, Ben would still be alive.”

Davy cleared his throat. “Inspector Nadar explained it to me. I don’t think you’re to blame. You didn’t need to bring me food.”

Kurt raised a brow as he inspected Davy from forehead to toe. He’d only seen Davy for a few moments at the funeral, but he’d lost ten pounds or more in the intervening days and was as pale as the paint on the wall. His mom would have a fit if he left Davy in this condition. He wasn’t about to let Ben’s partner kill himself through neglect.

“I wasn’t kidding about helping you out. Ben was my friend.” Even if he hadn’t felt the same about Kurt. “Wife, life partner, kids… I would offer help to anyone Ben left behind. Now, it’ll be thirty minutes or so before the stew’s heated through. Is there anything you need me to do?”

Davy’s breath hitched, once. Again. Then he startled them both by bursting into tears.

© 2011 KC Burn