Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Want to win a copy of Breathe? Comment, please!

Thanks for inviting me by the blog today, Jadette! I love reading the behind-the-story details from other authors and am excited to share about my latest release, Breathe, an m/m erotic romantic suspense.

I am often inspired by the world around me. An overheard conversation. A couple walking by my house on a stormy afternoon. Or something I see on television or while dining out. The smallest detail can have me asking all sorts of questions in my mind, and before long I have the basis for a new set of characters and a journey that I must follow them on.

Several years ago there was a tragic car accident a few miles from where I live. A young woman was killed in the crash as well as her unborn child. Her young son and husband who were also in the car were both injured but survived. It was such a sad story, and my heart broke for this family that was left in pieces.

Sometime later I was working on my laptop when I looked up at the TV and saw footage on the local news of the man who had accidentally caused the crash. He was in the courtroom for his hearing and was apologizing to the woman’s family. I only caught a bit of what he was saying, but the look of misery and despair on his face was genuine and something I’ll never forget. He was going to have to live with that guilt and despair for the rest of his life.

Naturally I felt horrible for the family that had lost so much, but I also couldn’t get the other man out of my mind. Would he ever be happy again? Ever smile? Laugh? Love? Ever be able to forgive himself?

Tragedy can define a single moment and change a life--can change a person for ever. But maybe it doesn’t have to mean the end of happiness and joy--the end of really living.

Not long after that night, I had several pages of notes about Lincoln McCaw and Jacob Miller from Breathe.

I wanted to create two characters who were decent, caring guys stuck in an impossible situation. I wanted them to learn to accept that forgiveness and love were powerful forces and could make a difference in their lives. I wanted them to learn to love again.

The more I wrote about Jay and Lincoln, the more I had to follow them to their happy ending.

Book Link:   http://www.loose-id.com/Breathe.aspx

Website Link:   http://www.sloanparker.com/


Lincoln McCaw lost everything -- his home, his job, his partner -- after he caused a fatal accident. A year later, he's drowning the guilt and despair in whiskey, but he needs to move on. His sister and her kids are counting on him. Then he meets a man who ignites a passion Lincoln thought he’d never find. Too bad one night is all they can have together. Now he needs to figure out how to turn away from the only person who makes him feel alive…before whoever is sending him threats decides Lincoln needs to suffer more than he already has.

Jay Miller is surrounded by grief and misery until he finally gives in to all those years of sexual fantasies about being with another guy. Realizing he’s ended up in the arms of the man who caused his wife’s accident, he tries to pull away. But how can he give up a friendship he needs more than anything -- a friendship and a love that could save him? He may not have time to make the choice before someone else destroys it all.


“You watching the game? Who do you think’s going to win?"
Lincoln lit a smoke and ignored the questions. The kid had sat one stool away from him twenty minutes earlier and ordered a beer he’d downed in two gulps. Same guy Lincoln had seen outside the other night. Young. Gorgeous. With a sadness in his eyes a little too familiar. Probably a regular who had started coming in while he was at the jail. Lincoln had readied himself to find another seat if the kid talked too much. Damn regulars always felt the need to talk even when no one was listening.

Instead, the kid had ordered another beer and stared at the television set hanging over the bar, not even glancing away at the commercials, until he asked about the game. Lincoln didn’t offer an opinion. It wasn’t like he even knew who was playing.

The bartender stopped by, and Lincoln gestured for another beer. He gathered the new bottle in his hands and stared down the mouth at the liquid. He wanted a whiskey, but the beers would let him get his ass to Nancy’s. He’d start in on the pint of Jack there.

The kid reached for a bowl of nuts in front of Lincoln, picked up a peanut, and took his time smashing it between his fingers, freeing the nuts from their shell. Lincoln silently cursed himself out as he watched the kid chew the nuts and lick the salt off his lips.

Damn. Maybe he should make a trip to the Forge sooner rather than later, find himself a nameless blowjob. If assholes like the ones from earlier caught him staring at good-looking straight guys in Sonny’s, he’d get a pounding on the walk back.

Laughter erupted from the table of bowlers behind him, and they belted out a chorus of “We Are the Champions.”

“Must have won the league championship.”

Lincoln rolled his eyes and took another drink. Great. The kid was a talker after all. Lincoln grunted. There. He wasn’t ignoring the man.

The bartender brought the kid a new beer and said, “Nope. Five years in a row they came in last place. Not this year. They were second to last.”

“Oh.” The kid turned on the stool and glanced at the men in bowling shirts. “Should I tell them champions doesn’t mean ‘we suck, but hey, at least we don’t suck the most’?”

Lincoln huffed out a short laugh, almost choking on a mouthful of beer. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

“Don’t laugh while you’re drinking,” the kid said. “Beer up the nose burns like hell.”

Good-looking and funny. At any other time in his life, Lincoln would have been seriously interested.

The kid slid onto the empty stool between them. “Can I bum a smoke?”

With the back of his hand Lincoln slid over his pack of Marlboros.

“Thanks.” The kid picked up the smokes. He dug one out and placed the pack next to Lincoln’s beer. “Uh, you got a light?”

The guy was really killing his buzz. Lincoln fished the lighter from his pocket and tossed it to the kid, who fumbled the catch but saved the lighter from hitting the wood floor. Good thing. Lincoln’s grandpa had given it to him. He didn’t need it scuffed up.

He also didn’t need the kid sitting so damn close. He smelled clean, refreshing after time spent with the jailhouse inmates who weren’t sure how to work the showers or the sinks. The kid held out the lighter, his eyes wide, his lips parted, his chest rising with each shallow breath as he stared at Lincoln.

Lincoln accepted the lighter, as well as the slight press of the kid’s thumb to his palm.

Oh, hell. He’d never had someone come on to him in Sonny’s, not in any local establishment for that matter. Public propositions for gay sex didn’t go over well in a town the size of Edgefield.

Had the kid heard those fuckers from earlier?

Maybe he was toying with him. Maybe he was friends with those guys, and Lincoln was about to get his ass kicked out behind the bar. But it didn’t feel like the kid was fooling. It felt good. To be touched. To be wanted again. His hand clenched as he set the lighter with his smokes.

The kid was staring at the TV again and made no attempt to move back to his previous stool. He played along the length of the cigarette with his fingers before he took another drag. His hands were a bit beat-up, rough, the hands of a man who worked for a living. Yet the kid treated the cigarette as if it were made of delicate tissue paper until his last puff. Only then did he crush the butt into the ashtray with the push of his thumb.

Would fucking the kid involve the same mix of tenderness and roughness?

Lincoln’s dick had hardened more with each play of the long fingers over the roll of tobacco, with each drag between the kid’s lips. Damn. He hadn’t gotten hard that fast in a long time. Not from one look and a touch of hands. This twentysomething kid brought to life needs he’d learned to bury. Would it be so bad to just give in? To feel again?

He wanted a fuck, but could he let himself have even that much of a release?

No. Too soon to feel good. To feel anything.

At the next commercial, the kid said, “Did you know those guys from earlier?”

The man’s low whisper had Lincoln’s dick begging for a hand, a mouth, anything. Why couldn’t his body listen to his head…or his heart? “If you came in here to talk, I suspect you sat by the wrong person.”

Before the kid said anything more, Lincoln downed the last of his beer, grabbed his smokes, and headed for the door.

It didn’t mean anything that the kid watched him go. Did it?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dear Friend Ash Penn and Passing Time

Passing Time began life as a short story I wrote way back in 2008. It was a May to December romance but the lack of conflict in the story made me set it aside in my stalled story folder  until 2010 when I finally found it again while browsing through past work. When I reread the story I found that although it had potential, it needed a little something extra to bring it to life. The extra something turned out to be a new character by the name of Carter. Carter was the love of Louis’s life and sadly died ten years into their relationship.  He’s a little bit different from the characters I usually write, mostly because he’s dead. He’s also completely invisible to anyone but my MC, Louis, the older man of the story. I can’t decide, and I don’t know if I ever will decide, if Carter is actually a ghost or just a figment of Louis’s imagination. 

The actual love story is between Louis, a man closing in on middle age who’s let himself go a bit in the two years since his lover passed away, and Jake, the younger man who gives him a reason to live again. I guess that makes the story sound as though it’s full of angst and grieving but it’s a more light-hearted than that. It’s more of a gentle romance detailing how Jake manages to coax Louis back into the realm of the living rather than loitering in the shadows with the dead.   


When world-weary Louis Duncan returns to the English town where he grew up, the last thing on his mind is finding love. He's come home to be at his estranged mother's side as she lies comatose in a hospital bed.

The always-sunny barman Jake Harvey yearns to offer Louis much more than a willing ear. After an evening of too much wine, too much Indian take-out, and too much of Jake's soft lips, Louis succumbs to the young man's charms. Jake proves to be a passionate lover as well as a loyal friend.

When his mother’s condition deteriorates, Louis leans on Jake to help him through the difficulty of another loss. The love of his life died two years before, but to Louis he remains every bit alive as Jake. He and Carter continue to chat, smoke together, even argue over whether Louis is living or merely existing. They do everything as they always did, except have sex. Now, despite Carter urging him to take the risk, can Louis give up his first real love and take his chances with the living?


Toward the end of yet another tedious day, Louis Duncan found himself wandering streets he’d not trekked in twenty years. Since his unexpected return to his hometown, he’d tried a variety of the pubs and bars that had sprung up along the High Street in his absence, but only one managed to draw his attention night after night.

The Prince of Wales public house had undergone a total transformation since the dark and dingy days of his youth. It was now a classy-looking modern bar called Harvey’s. Wood paneling and floor-to-ceiling windows had taken the place of the traditional beer-and-nicotine-stained walls Louis recalled as being off-limits to a teenager looking younger than his years.

The usual hum of voices permeated the low-level music as he entered the bar and approached the array of bottles. He took a moment to scan the various spirits, although he never ordered anything other than a large bourbon.

“Hey, Lou.” The barman, Jake, greeted him as though Louis had been a regular for years. “How’s your mum?”

Louis had spent most of the day at her side, the rhythmic chug and beep of the complicated machinery keeping him company. Occasionally a nurse would rustle up a coffee, and a doctor might pop in to update him on her progress, but apart from that the only conversation he’d shared these past couple of weeks was with a fresh-faced, eternally cheerful barman.

“No change,” he said, catching the faint nasal vowels of his own adopted New York accent.

Already the longed-for bourbon, a drink he had yet to order, sat before him. For all his youth, this guy knew how to keep his customers happy. Louis lifted the glass and swallowed the contents, savoring the thin heat flaming down into his belly.

“Another?” Jake asked, already reaching for the drained glass.

Louis smiled. For reasons unknown to himself, he always tried to arrange his features into an expression that might pass for pleasant with this particular guy. “Thanks, Jake.”

Jake returned the smile and then turned away to fetch the bourbon, affording Louis a prime view of plump ass. He wasn’t totally desensitized to the allure of a well-presented body.

“Cute,” Carter said softly, taking a perch on the stool next to Louis’s.

“I’m a little long in the tooth for cute.” Louis glanced at his lover, a handsome, smartly dressed man with a shock of sandy hair. Carter grinned, his gray eyes bright and mischievous, exactly like the man he was before the illness had yellowed his skin and ravaged his body to a wispy husk.

“You’re a little long in the tooth for spending yet another evening alone in a bar, but that doesn’t seem to bother you so much.”

Louis hunched forward on his stool. “Every day I get to sit by and watch the mother I haven’t spoken to in twenty years slip closer to death. I think I’ve earned myself a few lousy drinks, don’t you?”

“You don’t think you might have earned yourself more? A shot of that, perhaps?” Carter gestured to the barman on his return.

“Only you, my love,” Louis muttered as Jake set a fresh bourbon in front of him.


Louis glanced up to meet Jake’s curious gaze. “Nothing. Just talking to myself.”

“Is that something you do a lot?”

“More than I should.” Louis was long past caring whether he looked like a fool or a loon.

“Do you answer yourself too?”

Louis shook his head. “Now that would make me insane.” He tried another of his smiles, but his lips refused to tilt.

“Well, I’m here,” Jake leaned his arms on the bar, all traces of humor gone. “If you feel like talking to someone.”

Louis laughed. “Haven’t I bent your ear enough these past couple of weeks?”

“With that accent you can bend my ear any time you like.” Jake gazed at him, although to Louis it felt more like a stare. Did he expect an answer? A few more bourbons, and perhaps Louis might have one for him, but not tonight.

He downed his drink and reached for the wallet in his jacket pocket. “How much do I owe?” he asked in his best business voice.

Jake waved a hand. “On the house.”

“You think that’s a good idea?” Louis took out a note anyway. “I wouldn’t want you getting yourself fired because of me.”

“That’s not likely to happen. I have a very understanding boss.”

Louis set the note on the bar. “No boss is that understanding.”

“Mine is.” Jake slid the note right back. “Did I never tell you my last name?” He grinned. “It’s Harvey. My dad owns the place.”

He’d not mentioned it, but then Louis had no cause to ask. “Still, I’d rather pay what I owe.”

“I’ve got a better idea.” Jake took the ten pounds, folded it neatly, and leaned over to slot it into Louis’s shirt pocket. “Why don’t you repay my hospitality by taking me out sometime?”

He stroked a thumb across Louis’s nipple through the cotton. Louis pulled back as a jolt of pleasure tingled down his body.

What was this? Flirting? No. No, it was part of the job to amuse the sad fucks who visited bars alone in order to drink themselves senseless before bedtime.

“I don’t think that’s… Uh, actually, I’ve been thinking about heading back to New York in a week or so.” It was the best—the only—excuse he could come up with on such short notice. “That’s if nothing improves with my mom.”

“A week’s a long time.” Jake leaned closer, a flirty sparkle lighting the depths of his eyes. “Besides, I’ll be heading back to uni myself soon.”

What was he after? A quick fumble with an older man? Something to joke about in the lecture halls to entertain the crowds on a wet Wednesday afternoon?

“If you’re not busy later tonight,” Jake said, casting a lazy gaze down Louis’s chest, “I know of an incredible Indian takeaway up the road.”

“To take away where?” As soon as the words were out, Louis winced. He’d lumbered straight into that one.

A faint blush rose to Jake’s cheeks. “Well, I’m staying with my parents for the summer, but, I mean, you’ve got your apartment and…” He obviously hoped Louis would fill in the blanks.

Louis forced a laugh. “And with that, I think I’ll be going.” He gripped the bar top as he made to slip off the stool. A hand closed over his own. It surprised him, the only body contact he’d had lately, not counting his holding mother’s withered hand, or Carter’s feathery yet imagined caresses. Jake’s hand sat on his, warm and weighty. Louis studied the fine blond hairs, the short, trimmed nails. He raised his head to find Jake staring back with something like lust smoldering behind those blue eyes.

“Red or white?” Jake flicked out the tip of his tongue to wet his bottom lip.

“Huh?” What would that silky scrap of tongue feel like lapping at his balls?

“Wine. Which do you prefer?”

“Neither.” Louis pulled his hand away and took a step back. “I don’t touch the stuff.”

“You only drink bourbon?”

“Pretty much.”

“Your liver must love you,” Jake said, collecting up the empty glass.

“My liver and I get along great. Catch you later.”

“Here’s hoping.” Jake grinned.

Louis hurried for the exit.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jade Archer's Treachous Sun -- Comment to win a copy!

Look who popped in today!  Hi Jade!  She's kind enough to give a copy to one lucky commentor.  So come on peeps, let's see who's going to have this wonderful book to take home.  BTW, Jade, I absolutely love the cover!  Awesome!


Hi all! Well, today’s the day. ‘Treacherous Sun’, book one of my new sci-fi series ‘The Nu Hayven Chronicles’, is finally out and about. It was a hard write for me to be honest, but one I’m very glad I persevered with. There’s space battles, fight scenes, poisonings, guys with wings and men with naughty, wandering tails! And while I won’t lie and say there wasn't a time or two when this one very nearly wasn't completed, I'm so glad I persisted. In the end, it was a challenge, but definitely one worth the trials and tribulations, because there’s a little bit of the story behind this story. One I’d love to share it with you.

It all began towards the end of last winter, which is August here in Oz. True to form, I’d been pushing myself too hard and ended up sick as a dog with a heavy cold that quickly developed into laryngitis. As some of you may know, I have five children all under the age of ten. Needless to say they thought it was brilliant and an absolute hoot watching mum trying to co-ordinate the troops with no voice. But, after a really long day, my five gorgeous, clever, wonderful children gave me a very special gift.

With mum in no condition to tell bedtime stories one night, they took it upon themselves to tell me some. I’d mentioned previously I wanted to write a story about angels and demons, and as I listened to my kids take the idea and run with it, adding their own unique vision and interesting twist I realized not only how lucky I am to have such special, imaginative little people in my life, but also that I really needed to listen to and maybe brainstorm with them more often!

From that one night, I ended up knowing that the demons live in the molten core of their home planet, but the angels live on the surface and look after all the plants and animals. I found out that angels don’t like the demons because they’re afraid of what they look like. I also learnt that the angel’s and demon’s home world is going to blow up and they have to leave, but there’s only one space ship so they have to learn to share. The whole session was truly amazing.

All my kids played a part in getting this series started for me, but I decided to dedicate this particular book to my son, who we call Pumpkin (a long story for another time). It was Pumpkin who supplied me with the idea for the fireflowers (and he was very insistent that’s what they be called!), which will be playing a pivotal role in this series. I have plans and plots for four books altogether. Which is slightly problematic as I have five children. Still, they’re good kids—I’m hoping they won’t mind having to share a dedication or two along the way. 

If you choose to read ‘Treacherous Sun’, I truly hope you enjoy it.

Happy Reading All!




P.S. Here’s a little excerpt from ‘Treacherous Sun’ to whet your appetite ;)

Mykel stared out into the cold, empty expanse of space at the bright glow that was his home system’s final burst of brilliance. The supernova that had claimed their world was stunning, despite the soul-searing tragedy it represented.

Such a beautiful end for such a beautiful world.

Mykel wiped away the single, silvery tear that slid down his cheek. He repositioned his wings to wrap around his shoulders—unconsciously seeking comfort in their soft embrace.

Placing a hand against the portal, he let the icy chill seep into his palm as he sent out a mourning and peace prayer for those that had been lost. So many had decided to stay with the world they loved, including his mother and father. Stubborn damn pair.

A hurt, cynical part of his heart suspected it had all ended up being just too hard for them. The pain of losing their world. The thought of having to pick themselves up and start again. The inevitable changes that would need to be made.

Mykel lowered his head, no longer able to watch their sun’s final decay. No matter how hard he had begged, pleaded or cajoled, his parents had refused to leave Orison. They had simply trained him up as quickly as possible to assume leadership and settled in to die. Mykel felt the pain like a fresh slash to his heart.

Why weren’t we more important than a dead lump of rock? Why wasn’t I?

Nothing survived on the surface of the planet by the end. The only way life had managed to struggle on was in specially constructed bio-pods, most of which had been brought with them. It was just dirt and rocks and death everywhere else by the end. And now, not even that.

When the Intergalactic Council had offered the Nu Hayven, he thought everyone would jump at the chance to survive and carry on. But no. Many had refused to leave—preferring to die with their world. As nature intended, they said.

Mykel snorted angrily as another tear tracked down his cheek. There was nothing natural about what had happened to their world.

A hundred years ago, when he’d been barely old enough to leave his home nest, something catastrophic had happened. Something Mykel didn’t believe for one moment was a natural process. Some even blamed the Intergalactic Council—the sun had been fine before they began sending diplomatic envoys to negotiate peace treaties between Aenjels and Deamonds. But if they were a part of the problem, which Mykel seriously doubted, they had ultimately proven to be their salvation as well. After all, the Intergalactic Council had built them a habitat ark, the Nu Hayven—their last refuge.

Mykel still couldn’t understand how it had ended up being necessary though. By all rights it shouldn’t have been. Two hundred years ago, their solar system was young and vibrant and strong. Their sun had been countless millennia away from burning out. It had never even crossed anyone’s mind that it would die. Then everything changed. The sun began to decay more rapidly than anyone had ever documented in recorded intergalactic history.

No one understood it. No one could explain it. It just happened. Like a cancer, taking over the fiery body at the centre of their lives and slowly eating away at it until one final explosion claimed its heart.


Mykel spun around to face the military aide at the door. He hoped the man hadn’t seen the tears. The last thing he needed was for the Intergalactic Council to get word that the Aenjel’s leader was weak and weepy. He had to present a strong front if he was going to make sure his people were well cared for. They were orphans now in a cold universe. And the neighbours were anything but friendly.

“Yes,” Mykel answered as steadily as he could manage.

“Your comm link appears to have malfunctioned again, sir.”

Mykel fought down the sense of chagrin at being caught with his comm link turned off. He hated the little device that kept him tethered to this floating hunk of flexisteel.

“Admiral Jaynous would like a word, if you please,” the aide continued when Mykel made no reply to his subtle censure.

Mykel stifled the sigh that threatened to escape his lips. What is it this time? He resettled his wings in irritation. The last few weeks on board the transport vessels had been…difficult. He’d found himself in front of the stern rescue fleet’s commander on more occasions than he cared to recall. Jaynous had little patience for Aenjels in mourning apparently.

Inclining his head, even though it wasn’t truly necessary—they both knew he really didn’t have a choice in the matter—Mykel followed the aide out of the room and down the sleek, sterile corridor to the Admiral’s office.

Why are all the cruisers so lifeless and cold? he wondered as they walked. Was this what they had to look forward to on the Nu Hayven? Mykel could see many long hours spent in the bio-pods if it was. And he knew he wouldn’t be alone. No Aenjel could live like this for long. Feeling more and more depressed with every step, Mykel entered the Admiral’s large, austere office…and froze.

He needed to continue into the room. He should look away and acknowledge the rest of the executive officers he could sense scattered around the room. He should be focusing on Admiral Jaynous, wherever he was. But he couldn’t. His eyes simply would not cooperate as they drank in the tall, dark-haired Deamond standing in the shadowy lee of the view portal on the far wall.

Damn! Every line and inch of the man was caught in perfect relief against the star-spattered background of black. Tall and well-muscled, with broad shoulders and a trim waist, the Deamond was all hard, hot warrior. Which, of course shouldn’t have turned Mykel on, but did. In a big way. Every damn time he laid eyes on the man.

Even though the shadows hid his face, Mykel knew every nuance and expression well enough to imagine Lusaffar’s wicked grin. The fact that Mykel was standing frozen in the doorway would amuse Lusaffar to no end. The tiny points of his fangs would be just peeking out over his bottom lip and his black eyes would be filled with derision.

As he watched, Lusaffar tilted his head in a mocking bow. Light glinted off the two tiny black horns that grew from the top of his head and his thin, mobile tail snaked out in a lazy undulation behind him. It was enough to snap Mykel back to reality. He hurried into the room, trying desperately to avoid eye contact and ignore the gorgeous Deamond that haunted his thoughts—night and day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Win a Copy of Bear With Me!

Hi everyone!  Today the very talented Jade Buchanan is here.  I absolutely love her cover.  Thanks Jade for coming here today to talk about your book, Bear With Me!!  Be sure and comment for a chance to win a copy of this fantastic book.  Put your contact info in the post so Jade can send you a copy.  Happy Reading!!

Thank you for the invitation to post, Jadette! I’d like to talk about a release that came out before Christmas, called Bear with Me.

Bear with Me is the tale of two pizzly bear shapeshifters who travel to the northern reaches of Canada and just happen to find their polar bear mate along the way. The story was inspired by a recent business trip I made up to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories, and I knew I had to feature the town in a story somehow. This wasn’t the first time I used a work experience to jump start a story, as the Horsfall series was created in a very similar fashion.

My stories tend to be grounded much more in fantasy in reality at times, but I love being able to mix real experiences into my tales. The town of Inuvik is an amazing place, and I had a fantastic experience driving around the town and perusing the awe-inspiring Inuvialuit artwork. I wanted to find a way to take a little piece of that experience and share it with others.

Of course, me being me, I knew I also had to have a bit of fun with it and that’s when I thought up my boys. Christopher and Robin are your typical hyper, sexy, smartass men. Theo, in contrast, is methodical, quiet and a tiny bit possessive. I thrust them together in a confined space on an airplane and they took over from there ;)

Luckily, they’ve already demanded more stories about themselves and so a second tale in the Northern Bears will be out in May. It’s called Unbearable and will pick up where Bear with Me left off. I’m hoping that people will have as much pleasure reading both stories as I did writing them J

Blurb: When pizzly bears Christopher and Robin travel to the Northwest Territories for work the last thing they expected was to fall for the same man. Luckily, polar bear Theo -- Teddy to his friends -- has plans in mind for both.

Happy reading,
Jade Buchanan

Come Play with Jade…

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Professor's Assistant - Bren Christopher

Thanks so much for the invitation to post, Jadette. I’ve enjoyed reading the stories behind the stories here on your blog for quite some time, so it’s great to be here. 

I’d like to talk a little bit about my new novella, The Professor’s Assistant, a male/male sci-fi / fantasy romance just released from Liquid Silver Books.

I had just submitted my first book and I was waiting to hear whether it was accepted. But I knew that I couldn’t just sit around biting my nails. I had to get started on the next piece, especially since I’d discovered how much I enjoy writing. It can be a bit addictive once you get started. 

Although I had a lot of ideas of my own, I wondered if I would have more luck getting a manuscript accepted if I wrote in answer to a call for submissions. Not just any call, though. It had to be something fun to write, or what would be the point? I’m a reader and a fan first, and I have to write the kind of story I would like to read.

So I read a lot of these calls for submissions on various publishers’ websites, but not many of them appealed to me until I saw a call for steampunk novellas. Now that hit home. I’ve been a big science fiction fan since I was a kid and read my first Andre Norton and Robert Heinlein juveniles, but I didn’t discover the male/male romance genre until I got my iPhone in 2009. 

I got the Kindle app for my iPhone, and that was the first time I’d ever read more than a chapter or two of an eBook. I had read some slash fiction on the internet (Jack/Daniel from Stargate *sigh* - anyone else? Just me?), but I had no idea there were so many actual m/m romance novels out there. I got completely addicted and ended up going to the doctor for eye strain. I wanted to blame it on the iPhone screen but he said no, I needed reading glasses anyway because of my…ahem…age. Can you believe that? 

There were also a lot of steampunk romances available in eBook format, and I had just finished reading several of those, so I had a pretty good idea of the type of story I wanted to write: something with a lot of science fiction elements, but in a setting of Victorian London. 

Even though I had read many books set in that age, I still did some research into 1885 London and Paris, and into how steam-powered vehicles work. Researching and reading the detailed descriptions of that era was a lot of fun for me. Of course, The Professor’s Assistant is set in an alternate universe, so not everything is supposed to match exactly with our timeline. But I realized I would have to know the history in order to be able to depart from it as the story required. 

So now you have the recipe: one call for steampunk submissions as inspiration, plus one lifetime of science fiction fandom. Combine it with a newly discovered love of m/m romance, and add a dash of steampunk fun. Throw it all in a pot and you have The Professor’s Assistant

Just don’t forget that, at its core, it is a romance. Two people meet, fall in love, and overcome many obstacles to finally reach their Happily Ever After. Oh, and have lots of really hot man sex along the way. I did say I write what I like to read…

And that’s probably a good place to stop. Below is the blurb for the story, along with a link that will take you right to the full excerpt of Chapter One. If anyone has any comments or questions, I’ll be around the rest of the day. I look forward to chatting with you here, or come visit me at brenchristopher.com.

The Professor’s Assistant by Bren Christopher

Lured by rumors of a momentous invention, Agent Julian Blake steps into the New York Gate and emerges outside London.  

It is the same year, 1885, but an earth parallel to his own. The two timelines are almost identical, but the slight variation is enough to threaten his mission as it includes an attitude toward same-sex attraction that is less than accepting. 

He never expected that difference to pose a problem. Julian has an important mission to complete; a mission with far-reaching consequences not only across the alternate earths, but into their pasts. For the momentous invention is a working time machine. 

And the inventor’s assistant is a beautiful, auburn-haired young man named Daniel who causes Julian to disregard the Department rules he has lived by for so long. 

But there are others interested in the professor’s new invention, and when tragedy strikes, the professor’s lovely assistant might just be the only person left with the knowledge to recreate the device.

Now Daniel is a target, and Julian is in a race to protect him and retrieve the knowledge of the time machine from those who would misuse it.
Read Chapter One

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kate Roman - Firebug's Creation

Like so many things do, it all started at a party where there were a lot of well-read people and way too much white wine for anyone to emerge unscathed.

My neighbor Lydia throws fantastic parties and this one, with its steampunk theme, was no exception. Ink-stained mad bombers rubbed elbows with scientists clad in long white coats and el-wire, and everyone ogled the Victorian dancehall entertainers with goggles resting coyly atop their bustiers. And as his was an LGBT-friendly party, the genders of those groups were mixed and fluid. :) My kind of gathering.

Anyway, my friend Stephen came dressed as a chimney sweep, complete with blackened hair and cheeks and a broom that lit up and chirped at intervals. It was perfect. Except -- the thing you should know about Stephen is that he has no less than four history degrees. Four! This makes him fantastic company on roadtrips, but it also means that at a steampunk-themed happy hour, when someone makes an offhand comment about the viability of creating believable steampunk stories in a Revolutionary War setting, it is *on*.

I forget the exact details of the conversation (did I mention the wine? I should mention the wine), but there was something about restructuring the government (somehow this always comes up at the parties I go to) and Elizabeth Bear and Cherie Priest and the fine line between alternate history and steampunk, and why does New Hampshire have all the best historical hotspots. Things went swiftly downhill from there, but I do remember confiscating Stephen's broom and retiring to a quiet corner to drink and light up and chirp.

So the next morning, after attempting to sleep off too much chardonnay, I took the dog for a walk, hoping some exercise would do what sleep did not. For me, exercise frees the little lizard portion of my brain in charge of story ideas, so as I walked along the tule-fogged back roads of the Central Valley (for it is here our story is set), I kept chewing on the night before, and the longer I chewed, the more the tule fog looked a bit like smoke hovering over a battlefield, and the furrows of the sleeping green fields resembled trenches where terrified young men prayed for a cease-fire. Between that misty morning and Lydia's party, the idea for Firebug was conceived.

Firebug is, as you might expect given its conception, a steampunk novel. Crimean war veteran turned newspaper editor Gareth Charles finds himself embroiled in the blackest side of the new Reform government when he investigates a string of arsons in the snowbound colonial outpost of New Eddington. After saving Firewalker Thomas Cole from the latest blaze, the two men find themselves in possession of a deadly secret -- and falling in love. Fugitives from justice, they must unravel the terrifying mystery before there's no New Eddington left to save. As the firebug's evil plan comes to fruition, the two veterans realize the only things worth saving might just be each other.


Crimean war veteran turned newspaper editor Gareth Charles finds himself embroiled in the blackest side of the new Reform government when he investigates a string of arsons in the snowbound colonial outpost of New Eddington. After saving Firewalker Thomas Cole from the latest blaze, the two men find themselves in possession of a deadly secret -- and falling in love. Fugitives from justice, they must unravel the terrifying mystery before there's no New Eddington left to save. As the firebug's evil plan comes to fruition, the two veterans realize the only things worth saving might just be each other.



By the time Gareth made it back out through the Pourhouse kitchen, the streets were thronged with people surging toward the fire. Gareth swore. The infernal curiosity of the average bystander tended to get them killed. And he knew all too well the world was dangerous enough without seeking more out. Moving quickly, he searched the faces of those he passed.

Cole was not among them.

As soon as Cole had mentioned “mounting up,” Gareth had realized he was a firewalker, one of the brave, foolhardy men who strapped themselves into the insectoid firefighting machines, risking life and

limb getting close enough to the flames to cover them with the newly invented extinguishing foam. More often than not, they proved to be brave, foolhardy men with short life spans: the bugs had a tendency to

jam up at the worst possible times, stranding the occupants too close to the blaze, leaving them trapped, roasting alive inside the rigid metal shells. Other times the strange, cog-driven innards that gave the firebugs life turned on their riders, seemingly bent on taking life. Steel springs and levers shoved through soft skin, whiplike gear cables sliced limbs to the bone. It took a special type of man to become a firewalker. Usually one with a death wish.

Gareth thought again of Cole’s wide, vulnerable blue eyes and broke into a run.

By the time he reached the corner of Cherry and Bank Streets, the heat pressed against him like a blanket, smothering him with its hunger. Flames extended from every window of the old stone library, grasping at the orange, gas-lit clouds. A citizens’ bucket brigade was throwing dirty snow along a line toward the blaze, but each handful disappeared in midair with an angry hiss. This fire was far beyond buckets.

Nearby, a horse neighed in alarm before its hansom cab was pulled down the hill toward the lake and safety. Alarm bells mounted at the corner of each building and strung with wires rang urgently, a cacophony of tongues warning the night of a traitor in their midst.

Gareth spun, searching the assembled throng for Cole. The fire raged, and sparks jumped from the lost library to nearby roofs. People were already perched there, waiting with carpets and beaters to suffocate
the invaders, but the crowd’s mood was fearful, anticipating the spread of disaster.

And then a hydraulic gust rent the air, an unearthly blue cloud mingling with the thick black smoke. The crowd turned as one, and a huge, shining black bug crested the top of the street, antennae waving. It was shortly joined by two companions, surveying the scene with unblinking glass eyes.

The firewalkers had arrived.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Day - My Book Blue Heaven

Today is my day to post!
Why? Just because. Don't you love to be able to give that excuse? Just because...

Do you ever wonder why an author writes the books they do? I have. Especially if the book is awesome and one I want to read over and over again.

So, today, I'm going to tell you a little bit of the story behind Blue Heaven, my debut male/male fantasy romance from Siren Publishing.


I love challenges. You know, the ones where you feel dared to complete a certain goal in a limited amount of time.  I guess you could say I am very competitive, especially where my writing is concerned.  I used to belong to a critique group that loved to issue writing challenges.  My favorite was the one was where Blue Heaven, my debut novel, was born. We were told to write a 1500 word piece using a song (our choice) and a picture assigned to us. I was given a painting of a knight kneeling before a lady. The piece started with a mercenary entering a holy center to kidnap the province’s holiest of men, the Godchild. It was natural for the characters to both be male. I found their love story—yes, that is exactly what their story is all about—was enduring and enchanting.  The more I wrote about them, the more their characteristics came to life until I had ended up with a finished novel. 
With this particular challenge, I learned one important aspect about my writing. I love writing in the male point of view. For some reason it feels natural.  It makes me wonder if in a distant past I wasn’t a man. You never know.  All this makes me think about how challenges bring out the truth of one’s abilities.  For me, it opened the door to an entirely new genre, one I’d never considered writing in. Several of my old critique partners were surprised at the path I decided to travel on. I normally wrote sweet romances. I still consider my romances sweet only they are gay romances and (grins) they are a bit hotter. So now with each day, I compose pages in my works in progress with an ease that surprises me, and it’s all because of a simple challenge issued in the past.

If you take the time to check Blue Heaven out, please let me know. I would love to hear if I succeeded with their love story. Stryver and Blue would greatly appreciate it!

How do challenges affect you and your life? Share some of the moments which led you to a realization about you and/or some part of your life.


Take him from Heaven’s Seat. Bring him to me. We will protect his sacred head. 

Stryver Zorti’s mission appears simple. Kidnap the Godchild and deliver him to his master. But with the first meeting of the holy man’s azure gaze, desire surges in him to strip bare the God and touch the man within.

Worshiped all his life, the Godchild is shocked by the stranger who dares lay hands on him, even if it is to save him from assassins. With a different name given by his new ally, Blue is freed from the constraints of the holy order for the first time. He revels in the extraordinary experiences opening to him, then in the passion that sparks between him and the hard-edged, oddly gentle Stryver.

But a god does not love, and if discovered, their precarious utopia will shatter, destroying any chance for a future together--that is, if the assassins don’t kill them first.

Click Here to see the Blue Heaven Book Trailer

A Siren Erotic Romance

Excerpt - Chapter One

Chapter One
On strong winds from Heaven, Fate arrives to play with empty hearts.

Take him from Heaven’s Seat. Bring him to me. We will protect his sacred head. Master Aidal’s instructions ran through Stryver Zorti’s mind as he entered the main gate of the religious city. They helped him to remain focused on his goal.

Two Raegemon soldiers brushed past him. He stiffened, lowered his head, and glanced back. The two armored men disappeared into a cluster of people. They hadn’t paid attention to his rough, leather attire worn by most mercenaries. And why would they? Even mercenaries attended the annual festival.

He wished his old friend, comrade, and lover, Rance, was alive to help watch his back. But no, the protection, the connection they had shared on and off missions had ended a year prior after a poison dart pierced his lover’s spine.

He clenched his fists, shaking off the depressing memories. Once this mission was done, he’d have his freedom to live alone. Once free from his servitude to his master, he’d find a nice little farm, nothing too large, and grow fruit trees. He’d never seek another relationship. Rance’s loss hurt too much.

If all went the way he planned, he’d hide in the cathedral, and when night fell, he’d have the prize. He needn’t worry about the guard discovering his purpose here. He’d slip unnoticed by the warriors to steal their most precious person.

The Godchild.

He found his target, the holiest of men, on Sanctuary Avenue, the road leading to the Cathedral of Heaven’s Seat. Revelers flowed about him, celebrating the Leirinto Festival in honor of another flourishing year in the Raegemon region of upper Jomin Provence.

Stryver moved along the avenue, even with the dais carried by four shaved-head monks dressed in flowing, golden robes. Curiosity drove him forward. One look up close at the revered man wouldn’t hurt. A simple glance to measure what challenge his target might offer when Stryver kidnapped him.

He swung his gaze toward the human instilled with a god’s soul.

The wind gusted, ruffling Stryver’s hair and swaying the long linen bands streaming from the Godchild’s hat. 

Decorative pennants snapped.

Fathomless, clear azure eyes, purity radiating from them, glanced his way. They snagged and held Stryver’s eyes, burning into his mind, branding his soul.

The Godchild’s eyes widened with surprise, recognition, or fear. Stryver couldn’t tell.

A light flickered deep within Stryver’s chest. It grew warmer, the heat increasing with each heartbeat. He stumbled closer. He lifted a hand. Desire to touch the holy man overrode his normal caution. Uncontrollable need to discover what lay hidden beneath the white linen robes, the intricate folded hat, and the silken veil dominated his actions. He had to view the Godchild’s features, his body, naked to his gaze.

Heartbeats slowed.

Breaths lasted an eternity.

The light in Stryver’s chest brightened, spreading warmth, anticipation. The holy man looked away.
The connection between them broke. The Godchild’s attention moved to the next person lining the crowded streets.

Gasping for air, trembling, Stryver stopped, his arm still raised.

He stared at nothing, his senses dulled.

One of the monks mingling in the crush of people placed something in his hand, said a quiet, mumbled blessing before disappearing in the crowds.

Someone bumped him.

Bright clothes streaked by. Pennants waved. The long poles they were attached to tilted. Painted masks leered. The noise, the smells converged on him. Celebrants dressed in home-spun clothes, alongside dark-robed, hooded pilgrims, slipped past him in a human array of textures, noises, and odors, jostling him out of the way. The procession moved forward.

The mind-numbing innocence, the purity of the holy man’s gaze sent chills through Stryver. His body shook from the aftershocks. Weakened, vulnerable, he staggered into the nearest alley. He slumped against the dingy brick wall. He drew in deep gulps of air tinged with smoky incense to calm his racing heart, barely managing to gain control of his senses.

What the fuck had he gotten himself into? He couldn’t go through with this mission. The man’s power was overwhelming.