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INTERVIEW: Thom Collins, author of Gods of Vengeance

 Thom Collins stops by as he celebrates the release of his new book, Gods of Vengeance.

Tell us about Gods of Vengeance

This is a contemporary romantic thriller. Following the murder of his best friend Owen, Riley joins forces with his brother Mark, a Naval Captain, to seek revenge on the men who killed him. It’s set in a small rural community with problems of its own. Mark hates the place and has avoided it for years until personal tragedy brings him home. It’s a quick, exciting read. I saw it in my head as one-off BBC drama, a hard-hitting story for a cold night.

So, what else have you written?

I’ve written under a couple of different pen names since my early 20s. My first publishing credits were for gay porn mags in the 1990s. It seems strange now, but that was a big market back then and pretty good money. $200 for a 2,000 word story. No one offers those kinds of fees anymore. My first romance novel was Closer by Morning, another contemporary thriller, published last summer by Pride Publishing. It was a great start to a new era in my career. My next release after Gods of Vengeance, is a novella called Silent Voices, due out in May.

What are you working on at the minute?

I’m currently writing the Anthem Trilogy. The first novel Anthem of the Sea, is scheduled for a June release from Pride Publishing. I’ve just finished writing the second book in the series and am about to start the third. The Anthem Trilogy is about a couple, Daniel and Elijah, who meet under difficult circumstances. We follow the development of their relationship across three books, each set about a year apart. Readers can look forward to danger, intrigue, revenge, romance and lots of hot sex. All my favourite things.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I think I was around 12 or 13 when I attempted my first book. It was a Jackie Collins inspired saga, using people from school as the basis for my characters. I can’t remember much about it but it was very bitchy and OTT. I wrote in a hardback note book with a wrap around jacket I designed myself.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m quite a geek, so when I’m not writing I love watching TV and movies. I love horror films, especially from the 70s and 80s. I love binge watching TV series on Netflix. I’m currently hooked on Teen Wolf, mainly because of a massive crush I’ve developed on Tyler Heochlin. I also like collecting vinyl records, both new and old. The more outlandish the sleeve art, the better. I also love to cook and try new recipes. I’m a nightmare when it comes to eating out and usually moan “I cook better stuff than this at home.” I don’t know how my husband puts up with me but thank God he does.

Thanks for visiting us today and happy release day!

Blurb

United in passion. Driven by vengeance.

Owen Hazard, a young farmer is dead. Murdered while he tried to prevent a robbery on his land. His older brother, Captain Mark Hazard, returns home for the funeral. Owen’s best friend, Riley runs the local pub. He has information about the night Owen was killed – he knows who was responsible. The police are doing nothing. Vengeance is their only option.

United in their passion for each other and a thirst for revenge, Riley and Mark must take the law into their own hands if there’s to be any justice for Owen.

General Release: 21st March 2017

BUY LINKS

Pride Publishing

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

About the author

Thom Collins is the author of the novel Closer by Morning, with Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

His novella Silent Voices will be published by Pride in May, followed by the novel Anthem of the Sea, the first book in the Anthem Trilogy. He has recently finished writing the second book in a series and is making plans for the third.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age. Since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

Social Media Links:

Blog: www. thomcollinsauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter:   @thomwolf     and  @realthomcollins

Email: thomcollinsauthor@aol.com

 

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GUEST POST: Patience by Helena Stone

Meeting the Challenge – aka The Trouble our Friends get us into

Did you ever do anything that, in retrospect, was utterly foolish and possibly irresponsible? And if so, why did you do it? Was it a spur of the moment thing or did somebody else push your buttons?

Challenges and bets, can be both tempting and dangerous. Of course it is exciting to do something that’s outside the norm or even not entirely allowed, but on the other hand, there’s always the risk of being found out and having to face consequences if things don’t go according to plan. I know because I speak from experience.

I think I was only ten when my best friend challenged me to scale the roof of the local primary school in the hope that we’d find lost tennis balls there. The school had several levels and the lowest roof was fairly easy to reach, as was the second. The third and highest roof however, was two floors higher.

My best friend was both more adventurous and more athletic than me. She had to help me get up onto the lower roofs because on my own I wouldn’t have made it. Both of us were very disappointed when we didn’t find a single ball on those levels. “But”, my ever optimistic friend said, “we’ll just climb to the next roof. There’s bound to be lots of balls there.”

In theory this was a great idea. In practice however, there was no way I was climbing any higher. This school was one of those buildings made mostly of glass, which meant there was very little to hang on to while climbing. Never one to be denied, my friend scaled the glass wall and reached the top ceiling only to discover two things; there were no tennis balls to be found there either, and a police car was on its way to our location.

In retrospect everything would have been fine if she’d just stayed where she was. But youthful enthusiasm (or mindless optimism) took over and my friend tried to get back down to me as fast as she possibly could. About half way down she lost her grip and fell….

I don’t think I’ll ever forget those few seconds. I watched her in shocked horror as she came down and fell through the glass roof into what I knew to be the auditorium of the school. With tears streaming down my cheeks and sick with worry I shouted her name through the hole in the glass, not expecting an answer. When she responded I almost collapsed in relief.

By this time the police car had pulled up at the school. One of the policemen had to climb on the roof to lower me down to the ground, because I couldn’t make myself move after the shock I’d been through. I can’t remember how they got into the school, but the officers found my friend and put the two of us in the back of their car before driving us home. Needless to say both our parents were horrified when their daughters were delivered home by the police. Their anger and punishments didn’t bother me though. I was shocked when my friend, days later, told me that if only I’d jumped into the school after her, the police would never have found us. To this day I’m glad I wasn’t quite foolish enough to do something like that. Just because she was lucky enough to land in a large box filled with knitting projects didn’t mean I would have done so too.

The whole experience did teach me one very important life lesson; be careful before you agree to a bet or accept a challenge.

Let’s hope that Xander has more luck when he accepts the challenge set by his friend Eric in Patience.

Buy Link

Buy Patience from Pride Publishing

Blurb for Patience:

Patience is a virtue. But what if you wait too long?

While Xander Ekman’s dream of becoming a successful artist has come true, his love life has gone from bad to worse. Sick of the endless string of one-night stands, he accepts the challenge when his best friend, Erik, bets him that he can’t be celibate for a month. Now all he needs is a reminder to keep his distance in the heat of the moment.

Troy Moriarty doesn’t have time for love. He’s too busy trying to keep his recently opened tattoo parlor afloat. Besides, ever since the man who was supposed to be his business partner abandoned him to run the shop on his own, he has a hard time trusting others.

When Xander turns to Troy for a tattoo that will remind him to be patient, the attraction is instant. But faced with Xander’s month of celibacy, Troy’s trust issues, and a nemesis lurking in the background, their relationship may be doomed before it has a chance to begin.

Author Bio

Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.

 

 

 

 

 

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GUEST POST: An Interesting Find by Lucy Felthouse

Mixing the Familiar and the Unfamiliar by Lucy Felthouse

An Interesting Find is the first M/M/M (male/male/male) story I’ve written. Up until then, I’d written threesomes and M/M, but not threesomes which are all men. No particular reason for it, just that I’d not gotten around to it yet. But when the anthology call came up from Pride Publishing, it piqued my interest. I’m a sucker for a military story, but I wanted to do something a bit different to what I’d done before, which is why I decided that, rather than having two men in my story, I’d have three. I knew it’d be a challenge—writing sex scenes in ménage stories can be a real challenge when it comes to making sure you know whose body part is whose, and if there’s no ‘she’ in there to help differentiate, it’s extra tough. But I was determined to give it a go, so I let my brain wander down a path of how to get three hot guys together at once, and with a military slant.

Having all three of them be in the military seemed a little too obvious to me, so I decided to have an established couple somehow end up in a situation with a soldier. A situation that would somehow turn sexy. And that’s where I started to throw some familiar in with the unfamiliar. So I sent two of the men—an established couple—off on a summer holiday in the English countryside. From memory (it’s been a while since I wrote the story!) it’s not specified exactly where they are, but in my mind they’re in the Peak District, staying in a property which is close to a military training area. The property and the training area are real—I was out showing a friend the nearby pond (which also features in the story – more on that in a moment) one day and suddenly saw a bunch of uniformed soldiers appear from the area and start heading out towards the road! My friend and I immediately stopped admiring the scenery and had a good look at the marching men as they headed along the track above us and on their way.

The above event was a good few years ago now, but it obviously got stuck in my mind for me to end up using it in a story years later. The pond my friend and I were checking out has myths and legends associated with it, which is why we were there—my buddy, like me, is interested in stuff like that. But, because it’s in quite a big hollow in the ground and is fairly sheltered (especially compared to the surrounding area, which is largely exposed moorland), when it came to my story, I thought it’d be a good place for my soldier character to end up. He’s unwell and has wandered away from where he should be on exercise, and when he collapses, he’s hidden from the road, which is why he’s lucky that the other two characters find him.

So that’s how and why my story blends the familiar and the unfamiliar. And it’s part of the reason I enjoy my job so much! I can take real places and have exciting and sexy things happen there!

I hope you’ll check out the book and let me know what you think to my first foray into M/M/M!

Happy Reading,

Lucy x

*****

Blurb:

Nathan and Lee are on a relaxing summer holiday in the UK. They plan to do lots of walking and exploring in the beautiful English countryside. Naturally, typical British weather derails their plans on their first day, leaving them cooped up indoors with little to do but read.

When the weather clears, the men eagerly put on their hiking boots and head out for a walk. However, when they reach their destination—a pond a little distance from their holiday cottage—they make a shocking discovery. An odd-looking bundle of rags turns out to be an unconscious man. With no one else around, and no mobile phone signal to call for help, they manage to get the stranger back to their cottage to get him warm and dry, and figure out what to do next.

When their unexpected house guest regains consciousness, however, things just get more complicated. The stranger—a British soldier called Jonny—doesn’t want the authorities to be notified of his presence. As the three men try to come to some agreement, the sexual tension in the air becomes apparent, and suddenly the last thing on any of their minds is leaving the cottage…

Buy links:

Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/an-interesting-find

Amazon (universal link): http://mybook.to/aninterestingfind

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2mstDwW

Google Books: http://bit.ly/2mdFPAS

iBooks: http://apple.co/2maAqt0

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2lRWHuJ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34096543-an-interesting-find

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller) and The Persecution of the Wolves. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 150 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

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GUEST POST: Coming Out Twice by Sydney Presley

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Coming Out Twice is a mixture of a few things that have been sitting in my brain for a long time. Vampires—I kind of dig them quite a bit, no idea why. It’s not the blood, because that gives me the creeps, but just the whole living-throughout-the-night thing and being alive for a really long time. The idea of seeing several centuries firsthand and how the world has evolved over that many years must be fascinating to experience. And it brings a whole new level when a vampire says, “Back in my day, lad…”

The other thing is not crossdressing per se but being able to go onto the stage of life dressed in whatever you want and feeling comfortable doing so. I’ve always struggled with the way I look, and there are times when I see something in a shop and wish I had the guts to wear it. With Ruby in the story…there’s a bit of me in him, where I live through him in order to get on that stage and wear a lovely dress. There are quite a few echoes of me in Ruby, actually, but we won’t go there…

Of course, I had to have my baddies in the story, people I can thwart—ahem, I mean, people my characters can thwart—and know that the day was saved in the end. I do so like a happy ever after, don’t you? And being able to get the naughty folks caught and dealt with is immensely satisfying. Besides, who doesn’t like to see Beastly Bob or Repugnant Rita getting their just desserts? Plus, the sigh at the end when the characters have come out tops and go off into the sunset together—or in a vampire’s case, into the darkness, muhahaha—is one of the best things about writing romance.

I have a different story involving vampires coming out soon with Pride. That’s a novel, and it swept me away. I dealt with another issue close to my heart in that book, but that’s a separate article altogether. But the vampires…I like to give them a break, you know? They’re seen as bad sometimes, but I like to think everyone can redeem themselves if they really want to—and those who don’t or can’t, well, I just kill them off in my books, as you do. So, yeah, I like to create a good vampire, and along with them always comes my descriptions of the moon—for some reason they go hand in hand for me. Mist, fog, murky shadows, they all feature in my head alongside a vampire. And to have vampire-wolves like I have in Coming Out Twice was just Heaven for me, because I do love a shifter. They’re my main focus, my wolfies, and I love them.

Last but not least, we have love. I’m a massive supporter of people loving who they want. Life is too short not to fall for someone who knocks your socks off, and for those who feel they can’t do that, my heart breaks for them. So I create worlds where love always wins the day no matter what. Oh. Crafty. Did you see what I did there? I said No Matter What. Just happens to be another new story of mine coming out with Pride soon. The other one involving vampires is called No More Pocket Change. Dear me, would you look at that? I just did it again. I’ll just sidle off now for name dropping titles. Gosh, I’m so bad… Wink!

Have a great day! 🙂

Blurb:

Trapped in their closets, the only thing to do is come out twice.

Salford and Ruby, vampire-wolves, have been born into The Clan, into the Level where killing is expected. Hating their jobs eliminating humans who have discovered vampire-wolves exist, they long for better times, where bloodshed isn’t the order of the day. But that isn’t about to happen any time soon—not while Albert, one of The Clan’s twelve Leaders, oversees everything they do.

Ruby, a cross-dresser, has spent many of his previous centuries trapped in the closet. Lately, though, he’s been able to wear what he wants and can express his love for Salford in public. Knowing how freeing that has been, he wishes The Clan laws were different and that he and Salford didn’t have to kill, freeing them from that dreadful closet, too. But it would take a strong person to ask The Clan to consider a vote that would allow Ruby and Salford to be exempt from having to kill, and Ruby isn’t sure he’s the right man for the job.

With a London gang discovering vampire-wolves exist, and Salford having dreams that tell him what they must face next, Salford and Ruby must eliminate the men who are after them. But someone else is also a danger—someone closer to home. Someone who should have vampire-wolves’ best interests at heart, but doesn’t…

Link:

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/coming-out-twice

About the author:

Sydney has always enjoyed writing. “There’s something about losing yourself in another world, where the real one ceases to exist and all your dreams and wishes can be placed on the page—dreams for a better planet where love isn’t questioned but accepted by all.”

When Sydney isn’t writing, there’s plenty of reading to be done. “I can’t imagine not reading every day. It would be weird not to have a book to hand because I’ve always had one nearby. Life without reading isn’t something I’d like to contemplate. The thought brings me out in hives.”

Sydney lives in a peaceful area where the hustle and bustle of the city doesn’t figure. “I left city life years ago. Too stressful for me. I prefer listening to the swish of leaves on the trees instead of tyres on tarmac. The twittering of birds instead of the chatter of people. Alone time to reflect and ponder is a must. A small portion of every day spent by myself is vital to my sanity and soul.”

 

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GUEST POST: Coming Back Home by Megan Linden

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You can never go back home, they say. I think about it from time to time—both in my personal life and while I’m writing. Is it really impossible to go back?

In literal sense it isn’t, of course. If you traveled one way, you can turn around and take the same way back. Connor, one of the main characters in Coming Back Home, left Harrington Hills and then came back. That’s the starting point of the story—his return.

But I would argue—and I’m pretty sure that’s what the author of the saying at the start of this post meant—that you can never go back home the same. We can never go back to the same “home” we remember, either. We change, and the people we left behind change, as well.

Most of us have experienced this at least once—I know I’ve had. I left home to study in another city, half the country away. And the changes weren’t easy to spot as they were happening, but after a year or so, I realized that they were there. They happened. I remember in my second or third year at the Uni, my grandfather said something about how he couldn’t wait for me to go back home after I got my diploma, and that’s when I realized that I wouldn’t be going back. Home had become something else for me at some point along the way. These days I still live in the city I’d come to study in, and my hometown is a place where I go to visit my family. I left, and I stayed away.

But some people do go back, more or less willingly, more or less according to their previous plans. Connor had never intended to come back to Harrington Hills. As a young boy, he couldn’t wait to leave, and once he’d left it behind, he’d thought it was for good.

Circumstances lead him back to his hometown, but he’s not the same person he once was. His life isn’t the same it once was. And Jack—the person Connor hadn’t let himself think about too much when he was away—had changed, too.

We can never go back home, but it’s on us to decide what that means. And that’s what Coming Back Home is about. Who are these young men now? What’s home to them? Can they find their way to each other—or, perhaps, find another path?

What I’ve come to realize is that, in a way, coming back home is at least partially building a home once again (that title was taken by the previous book in the series, though, heh). It’s building on the existing fundaments, but what we build after we’ve come back can vary from what it once was. Or it can be pretty similar to the original. There’s no wrong answer here.

Coming Back Home

Harrington Hills #3

Jack Harrington told everyone who asked that he got over Connor long time ago. And while he still hasn’t managed to convince himself, he moves on with his life. He doesn’t have a choice. Connor is gone for good.

Or is he?

Connor Warden didn’t plan to ever come back to Harrington Hills, but with an infant in tow, that is exactly what he does. His daughter needs a pack and he is going to give it to her.

When Jack and Connor’s lives literally collide again, will they be able to go back to what have been and find their connection once more? Or is the divide between them too deep to ever fully get over?

Buy links:

Pride Publishing | Amazon

Find the author:

www.meganlinden.com

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GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Binding the Edges by L.M. Somerton

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Who do you think you are, writing this stuff?

As a female writing MM BDSM, I’m often asked what qualifies me to write in the genre. I think this is less to do with being a woman, after all any number of authors put themselves in the heads of characters that bear no resemblance to themselves, and more to do with implied knowledge of a lifestyle that isn’t exactly mainstream.

Over seventy years ago, an extraordinary pornographic novel appeared in Paris. Story of O is described by British journalist John de St Jorre as portraying “explicit scenes of bondage and violent penetration in spare, elegant prose, the purity of the writing making the novel seem reticent even as it dealt with demonic desire, with whips, masks and chains.”

I can only imagine the reaction back then to such work. Pauline Reage, the author, was a pseudonym, and was thought by many to have been a man. The writer’s true identity was only revealed in the 1990s when intellectual Dominique Aury (born Anne Desclos) acknowledged that the fantasies in the Story of O were hers.

I think this helps to illustrate that it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, however demure and academic you might appear, there is no such thing as being ‘qualified’.

Why should there be boundaries to anyone’s imagination? I’m fortunate to have friends in the BDSM lifestyle who I can call upon for advice. Since being published, I’ve met others (both male and female) who are generous with their insight and clarifications. Some of the idiosyncrasies of people I know have influenced the cast of characters that inhabit my BDSM series, Tales from The Edge and in particular Joe and Olly, the D/s pair who crop up in all the books. I would probably admit to leaning a bit more towards dominant tendencies than submissive (if you can be both bossy and introverted at the same time). I’m something of a control freak, though every now and again it’s nice to give that up and relax while someone else makes the decisions.

The dynamics of the lifestyle fascinate me. The level of trust required between partners is intense (we probably all know couples who could learn from that!) and it’s this trust that underpins the love between Olly and Joe. In the final book of the series, Binding the Edges, this is tested to the limit. I hope all the stories in the series also show the faith needed to give power over your body to another person and the strength of a dominant to accept that faith. My submissives are powerful men, not in any way weak. My dominant characters have their frailties. None of this is exclusive to BDSM relationships.

As Pauline Reage recognised long ago, the power of sexual relationship makes compelling reading and if I can get even a little of that power on to a page, I’ll be happy.

To celebrate the final book in the Tales from The Edge series, you can enter a Rafflecopter prize draw here. Five lucky winners will receive an ebook of their choice from my back list. (Draw open until Jan 31 2017)

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

 

Blurb

Never let go of the one you love.

After recent traumatic events, Olly is finding it hard to get his head around what happened. While he tries to deal with a maelstrom of emotions, renovations at The Edge are in full flow, alongside preparations for tenth anniversary celebrations. Joe, his Dom, recognizes Olly’s delicate state of mind and does his best to reassure him. A trip to the New Forest with their friends, Aiden and Heath, helps the healing process.

Returning home, Olly and Aiden focus on preparations for the party. When Aiden is called away, Olly takes a walk to clear his head, keeping his eye on a brewing storm. To his horror, he discovers Mark Vickery, an old enemy, has landed on the island by boat and is out for revenge.

With Olly missing and the storm raging, Joe, Heath and Aiden set out on a rescue mission that unfolds in a way none of them expected. Can the storm wash away the past or will Olly and Joe’s future be destroyed by a twist of fate?

Buy Links

Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/binding-the-edges

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2hOjlUS

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ivuE57

About the Author

LM lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.

She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.

LM is winner of the National Leather Association’s Pauline Reage Award for best novel and the 2016 Golden Flogger Award for best BDSM novel in the LGBT category. She has received multiple Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards and won the Action and Adventure category of Divine Magazine’s Book Awards in 2015. You can track her down online here:

Social Media links

Pride Publishing page: https://www.pride-publishing.com/author/lm-somerton

Website: http://www.lmsomerton.com

Blog: http://www.lmsomerton.com/blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lmsomertonwrites/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lmsomerton

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/lmsomerton/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/L.M.-Somerton/e/B00AV9XRW8

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GUEST POST: Wild Rose, Silent Snow by Angel Martinez

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Communicating with Animals in Fiction

Angel Martinez

Humans have communicated with animals in one way or another since before the last Ice Age. Most often, the exchange of information comes with repetition and practice, verbal or physical signals given to result in a specific behavior. We tell our dogs to sit. We communicate direction and speed to horses with our knees and hands. Our cats learn that they should come for food by associating feeding with certain sounds.

Sometimes, though, communication with non-humans is far more complicated. Animal behaviorists have proven over the last century that several species are capable not only of mimicry where human speech is concerned but of language acquisition. That is to say, these species understand words and can use them in unique patterns to communicate thoughts, both concrete and abstract. When a car struck and killed the kitten who had been Koko the gorilla’s companion, Koko conveyed not only sorrow in sign language but also an understanding that the kitten had died. Alex, the African gray parrot, had a vocabulary of over a hundred words and used them in a sort of code to communicate with humans. Beluga whales have been documented learning how to use their vestibular sacs to mimic human speech in what appears to be a genuine and spontaneous attempt to communicate with us.

In fiction we often get to use different rules—talking animals in Oz and Narnia, telepathic ones on Pern and so on—but the easy route isn’t always one that fits the story. In Wild Rose, Silent Snow, one of the questions I had to ask myself was if a human intelligence were trapped in an animal body, one without the proper larynx to make human sounds or opposable thumbs to make human letters, how would that person communicate? Beyond the most basic types of communication such as nodding or shaking the head, pushing toward or away from an object, leading or refusing to follow, how would such a person communicate ideas that are more complex?

Alex the parrot actually provided inspiration on that front. Dr. Pepperdine, who had been working with Alex in her avian language project, had decided to teach Alex to spell short words by using letter blocks. I’m uncertain whether any African gray might eventually be taught this with enough work and patience or if Alex was simply a linguistic genius, but he did understand the letters represented certain sounds. He was a bit of a contrary soul, though, and refused to show visitors this skill once, demanding a nut instead, and eventually sounded out the word nut (N-U-T) to emphasize his displeasure rather than using the spelling blocks. (You can read about Alex and Dr. Pepperdine in Alex and Me, if you’re so inclined.)

Which is all a rather long-winded way to say that I ended up using plastic letters, the magnetic backed sort, as a means for a character without hands to communicate. While I don’t want to give too much away, it seems to have worked.

 

About Wild Rose, Silent Snow

A huge bear at the door, a handsome, naked stranger in the snow, magic fish, enchanted beards—and Rowan thought his life was odd before.

Content with the quiet isolation of their lake house, Snowden and Rowan Hadley survive on summer jobs and winter hunting, unable to move on since their parents died. Their peace is shattered by a strange, human-acclimated bear who insists on following Rowan like a giant hunting dog and again by the discovery of a naked, surly stranger in the snow.

Both bear and man lead the Hadley brothers into a strange, surreal world where sorcery and RPG software intertwine. Curses and magical traps lie in wait around every turn. Rowan and Snowden will need to adjust their view of how the world works, and quickly, if they want to live through rescuing their enchanted princes.

 

About Angel Martinez

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

 

Wild Rose, Silent Snow Excerpt:

After the storm, their little island wood had taken on fairyland qualities, the sun sparking off frost jewels on stone and turning the trees’ icicle banners to cold fire. Rowan loved the winter, despite the hardships it brought now. He took a moment at the back door to pull in a deep, biting breath. A pristine blanket overlay the mud and detritus of the back of the property. Only the lonely beanpoles sticking up from Snowden’s garden plot gave any signs of domestication.

Snow’s garden… He hoped they’d be able to scrape together some money in early spring for seeds and a few little plants. When their parents had been alive, the vegetable garden had been a glorious achievement. Every plant Snow touched seemed eager to grow and produce for him. Each year his garden expanded in yield and sheer beauty, rosemary, marigolds, and geraniums blooming alongside the vegetable and fruit plants as guardians against pests.

This year… Something has to change. We can’t keep living like this.

But what? And how? Rowan trudged toward the woods in his snowshoes, mindful of hummocks in the snow that indicated downed branches.

He’d teased Snow once that if they went into a job interview as one person, someone might actually hire them with Rowan to speak for them and Snowden to fill out the application. If only they could somehow merge into one person and be whole again.

Familiar trees marked his route. He took his time, checking and resetting each empty snare. Anything would be welcome, of course—a squirrel, a pheasant—but with so much of the wildlife hunkered down for the winter, all the snares were empty.

With a disappointed huff, he reset the last one, turned back toward the house, and froze, his heart slamming against his ribs. Not more than ten feet away, his coat dusted in snow, stood a brown bear the size of a compact car.

How the hell does something that big make no sound?

Rowan backed a careful, slow step. The bear watched him silently, his only movement a shift of weight from one front paw to the other and the dragon steam of his breath on the morning air. He tried to remember everything he had heard about bears. Did you stand still and hope it went away? Did you run like hell and hope it wasn’t interested?

Running seemed foolish with the bear watching him so intently. Another step back…another…then his snowshoe caught on a log to send him flailing backward. The air rushed from his lungs as his back hit hard pack. The impact jarred his grip on his rifle, the weapon skittering across the clearing.

A heavy weight settled on his chest. The bear gazed down at him, pinning him with one huge paw. He lay as still as his trembling allowed, gulping for air that felt suddenly too thick to breathe.

I’m going to die. Snow, I’m so sorry… Oh, God, I don’t want to die like this…

Images of his poor twin coming out into the snow to find him and discovering only the blood and gore of his remains haunted him. He squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for the pain to start.

And waited. And waited.

He cracked an eye open, hoping the pressure on his chest was just anxiety and the bear had wandered off. No such luck. Bear. Still very much looming over him, head cocked to one side. Damn if he doesn’t look…puzzled.

“Mr. Bear,” he ventured softly, knowing it was just a hair shy of idiotic, but too nervous to keep quiet any longer. “Think you could let me up, maybe?”

The huge head lowered. Rowan’s heart lurched hard as if it recognized its last beat. Please make it quick. Tear the jugular. Still, no pain followed the bear’s movements. Even with all of Rowan’s personal proximity alarms screaming, his body urging him to kick out, yell, do something, he lay still, mesmerized as the bear snuffled at his hair and face.

A grunt in his ear sent shivers down his back, but the bear finished his inspection by nuzzling at his jaw. The heavy paw lifted and the bear sat with an odd, mournful moan.

Rowan sat up slowly, easing back to gain a few feet between them. Jump up, grab the rifle and run? But the bear sat squarely in his path to his Remington, staring at him solemnly.

That regard somehow struck him as alien intelligence rather than ursine, something both sad and curious in that steady gaze, if one could assign emotions to a bear’s strange, white-less eyes. The bear sat back, human-wise, on his butt, back legs stuck out in front. Definitely ‘he’ from that angle. The pose seemed an assurance of non-aggression.

“I’m getting up now,” Rowan said in that same soft, reasonable tone, uncertain of his sanity as he tried to negotiate with an ursine intellect who couldn’t possibly understand what he said.

The bear grunted and gave a resigned huff, but he didn’t move.

“Don’t have anything for you. And humans taste pretty awful…”

A snort from the bear.

“So I’m just going to go back home now if that’s all right with you.” He backed a step, risked turning when the bear still didn’t move, and started slowly through the ice-laden trees toward the house.

When he glanced back, his breath caught. The bear was following. He stopped. The bear stopped. He took another step. The bear echoed him, step for step, always keeping a few feet behind him.

 

Love the sound of Wild Rose, Silent Snow? Get your copy from Pride Publishing today!

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GUEST POST: Dangerous Waves by LM Brown

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Mythology by LM Brown

Mythology has always fascinated me. The only time I didn’t love it was when I sat my A Level General Studies exam and saw Roman Mythology on the paper, after being taught Greek Mythology by the teacher. But the less said about that, the better.

My favourite mythological beings to read about are the Greeks, Norse, and Egyptian. I have a tiny, relatively quiet, little plot bunny nudging me to write a story set in ancient Egypt, just so I can play about with their pantheon too.

Films like Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts (the originals) as well as the old Sinbad films, helped to foster my interest in mythology and fantastical creatures, as well as series such as Hercules and Xena, which I also enjoyed. Those series were worth watching just for the completely ditzy Aphrodite, who shares a few qualities with my version of the Atlantean Goddess of Love. I loved the way this series breathed new life and added interesting new twists to the old stories.

Most of the newer series like the modern version of Sinbad as well as Atlantis (which borrowed heavily from Greek mythology) didn’t last long enough to truly make their mark with me, though I enjoyed them while they lasted.

As soon as I started my Mermen & Magic series I knew the magic part of the series would stem from the Atlantean gods and goddesses. I see the merpeople as a race who are not so much magical as merely undiscovered in the vast unexplored oceans of the world.

Finding true accounts of the deities worshipped by the people of Atlantis is no easy task. After all, if the island and city ever did exist – I personally believe it did – then the records of their rulers and gods will be lost beneath the ocean, along with the land itself. That being the case, who but the inhabitants of the sea would ever know the truth?

Since I needed an Atlantean pantheon of immortals, I decided to take a leaf out of the book of Sherrilyn Kenyon and simply create my own. Thus the likes of Medina Goddess of Love, Cari Goddess of Prophecy, Caspian God of Justice, and many more came to life to help and hinder my mermen in their quests for love.

Creating an entire pantheon has been a lot of fun, and I have spent more hours than I care to admit scribbling down histories and tangled family trees for the various immortals, most of which will never make it into the final books.

The history of what happened to the gods and the Atlantean people who worshipped them will, however, be revealed throughout the course of the series, as a secondary story to the main romances that each book contains.

Thankfully for those readers who have taken a liking to the eternally moody and bad-tempered God of Justice, Caspian, will have his own story told in the final book of the series.

Dangerous Waves (Mermen and Magic #3) is now available to buy and download from all good eBook retailers.

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About LM Brown:

L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances.  She believes that there is nothing hotter or sweeter than two men in love with each other… unless it is three.

When L.M. Brown isn’t bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

Dangerous Waves blurb:

A blind merman fleeing the sunken city of Atlantis is torn between the family he left behind and the love he swims toward.

When Dax lost his family to a shark attack he swam away from everything he had ever known. Now he has come to Atlantis, hoping to reconnect with those he left behind. When he finds his birth clan torn apart, he realizes his journey is just beginning.

Kai is an Oracle, a blind merman, who only has sight when he has a vision. Atlantis, a sanctuary for so many merpeople, is his prison. Desperation drives him to beg the Atlantean Goddess of Love for help.

With the goddess’s promise of love to tempt him, Kai persuades Dax to take him along when he leaves the sunken city.

Although Dax has some reservations about traveling through the ocean with a blind merman in tow, he quickly discovers Kai isn’t as helpless as he appears. Attraction comes easy, but Kai doesn’t seem to feel the same way.

Kai knows he must seduce Dax if he hopes to win his heart, but his inexperience may be his downfall. With Dax’s former lover waiting at the end of their journey, he knows time is running out.

A goddess can only help so much, especially when another immortal would see them part. If the two stubborn mermen want a life together, they will have to learn to communicate and fight for their love.

Excerpt

Now the mating season was here, Kai remembered Medina’s warning to him. If he should give Dax his body before he was sure of his heart, he would lose him. Unfortunately, Kai had no doubt Dax’s heart was securely in his own keeping right now. Kai had no intention of risking losing him for a quick romp in the sand. As painful as the solstice would be, he couldn’t let Dax take him. But what was he supposed to tell Dax about his decision? The truth was out of the question, unless he wanted Dax to think him a fool, or even worse, a manipulator.

“We’ll go to the island until the solstice is over,” Dax stated firmly. “You and I will use each other to break the damn fevers, then we’ll be on our way again.”

“Use each other?” Kai knew what Dax meant, but he still couldn’t quite believe the merman could be so casual about sex. Didn’t sharing his body with a lover mean anything to him?

“I need to take another merman to break the fever. I’m hoping your fever recedes when you’re taken. You’ll forgive me for saying so, but you do rather look like someone who would enjoy being on the receiving end.”

Kai pulled his arm from Dax’s loose grasp. “You think to judge what I need by my appearance? What would you say if I told you I needed to ram my cock into your arse to break my fever? Would you be so eager for us to use each other then?”

Dax grabbed hold of him again, but Kai used his tail to smack him sharply and push him away. “You aren’t going to use me this solstice or any other.”

“You’d rather suffer through the fever just to be faithful to Delwyn?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I saw the way he kissed you right before we left. Do you think he’ll be moping around waiting for you to come back? No, he’ll be up on the island the colony uses, getting what he needs from another merman.”

“No, he won’t.”

“Of course he will. As soon as he realizes how bad the fever gets when he doesn’t find his release he’ll be begging another merman to take your place.”

Kai smacked Dax again, this time sending him spinning through the water. “You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“I’ve been through enough seasons without breaking the fever to know how bad it is,” Dax argued. “You have no idea of the pain.”

Kai swam away from Dax before he answered. “I know more than you do. How many seasons did you go through without release? Four or five, perhaps? Try going through more than twenty, then speak to me again about the pain.”

“What do you mean, more than twenty?”

“Oracles are not allowed to engage in sexual relations,” Kai explained. “I came into my powers just as I hit puberty. I’m twenty seven years of age and there are two mating seasons a year. You figure out how many times I’ve had to ride out the fever without release.”

“You’re a virgin?” Dax sounded stunned. Kai hadn’t anticipated he wouldn’t believe him. He guessed Dax must have thought he had lots of experience before becoming an Oracle, or he didn’t realize just how much of a prison the city had been for them. Kai supposed it was better he knew the truth now, rather than finding out when they were in the midst of a more intimate situation, assuming they ever were.

“As I said, sexual relations are forbidden for us. We aren’t allowed to leave the city, for any reason.”

“You’re really a virgin?”

Kai smacked Dax with his tail again.

“And would you stop doing that! You know for a blind merman, you’ve got a damn good aim with that thing.”

“I’m the Oracle of the present,” Kai reminded him.

“So?”

“So, I can see anything happening right now, including where you are.”

“You know, when you describe it like that, it sounds like you aren’t blind at all.”

“Of course I’m blind, but when I use my powers I can see what’s happening around me or anywhere else in the world. It’s draining to use them all the time, but a glimpse now and then is enough for me to get by.”

Dax snorted. “And you choose to use your powers to perfect your aim when you want to assault me. Charming!”

Kai swam away from Dax, and, after a quick glance to get his bearings, he swam for a nearby cave entrance. It didn’t look particularly welcoming, but it would do as a place to wait out the solstice.

Buy Link

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GUEST POST: Immortal Ink: Reclaiming by Sean Michael

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Biting and Fisting and Piercing, Oh My!

By Sean Michael

I do love to play with vampires. After all, here are characters who come predisposed to biting. So you have to expect there’s going to be biting involved when it comes to sex with them. I certainly enjoy writing a little biting with my sex scenes. Biting and more.

There’s something very primal about biting. It’s a marking of the other person, like a hickey, but more intense, deeper. A bite mark says this one is mine, keep your hands off. And there’s just something about that. Guh and yum and all those good three-letter semi-coherent words.

It is fun to write intense, extreme things now and then, too. Fisting. Piercings. Tattoos. Biting in especially sensitive areas. A little bloodplay. All these things fit so well into a book where both main characters are vampires. Let’s face it, vampires are immortal and heal up really well and usually quickly too, especially if they’ve got fresh blood in them.  What this means is that they can play pretty roughly and come out the other side just fine. So nothing is really off the table. These guys can explore all manner of rough play without any permanent damage.

So bring on the vampires, bring on the kink!

Immortal Ink: Reclaiming

Beau thought Aaron was dead to him… Imagine his surprise when his former lover slinks into his tattoo shop.

Eight months ago, vampire Beaudelaire Delacourte had it all. As a tattoo artist, he used his special ink and spells to permanently tattoo other immortals and spent countless hours feeding and indulging in BDSM with his human lover, Aaron. Then he asked to turn Aaron so his lover could join him permanently, but Aaron refused, not willing to give up his humanity. Since then, Beau has kept his head down and stayed in his shop, only interacting with his clients who all come for his special brand of ink.

When Aaron shows up on his doorstep, half-dead and apologizing, Beau is shocked to learn that his boy was turned at the local vampire club by Stephan, another vampire. Not only was Aaron turned, but his chest was torn open, his fangs were broken and he was left in an alley to die. Spurred by the need to see Beau one last time, Aaron has been hiding in an abandoned building until he found the strength to make it to Beau’s shop.

Beau takes his boy in again, promising that Aaron will earn his place back in Beau’s bed, and vowing that he will take revenge on Stephan. Unbeknownst to Beau, Aaron is only the first in a long line of humans who Stephan has created then turned out to fend for themselves. As Beau discovers that this is only one of the old rules that Stephan has broken, he and Aaron are drawn into a web of intrigue that can only end in someone’s death.

Reader Advisory: This books contains severe biting and bloodplay during sex between vampires. There is also a scene of fisting and some scenes of violence.

Buy link: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/reclaiming

Bio:

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Sean Michael on the web:

WEBSITE: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

BLOG: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/

TWITTER: seanmichael09

 

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GUEST POST: Angel Martinez

Where Does the Paranormal Start and the Urban Fantasy Begin?

I suppose we could subtitle this You Got Werewolves in My Urban Fantasy. Because of how booksellers shelve and publishers categorize books, there’s a lot of confusion regarding what’s paranormal and what’s urban fantasy. It’s not impossible to tell one from the other, but it can be a bit tricky and some authors insist on genre mashing just to make things interesting.

Paranormal refers to something outside normal human understanding. (Para meaning beside, so in this case a set of knowledge that runs alongside the normal.) These are, generally, things associated with humans that possibly could be explained by a body of knowledge we don’t yet understand. Or we once believed so – studying psychic and supernatural phenomena was once regarded as a science. Some people still treat it as such. Ghosts, demons, humans with extra abilities such as telekinesis or humans who have been enhanced through contact with paranormal beings such as vampires or werewolves.

Paranormal stories take place in our world, the setting recognizable as our world with events and beings operating outside the normal range of human experience or understanding.

Urban Fantasy, on the other hand, takes place in an Earth setting that is subtly changed. Originally, urban fantasy denoted a modern urban setting, often with grittier results than high fantasy. But the term has expanded so that it can include any real world urban setting in any time period and modern settings that are not necessarily urban. The key to urban fantasy is that it’s not quite the world as we know it. Magic is real and has laws of operation just as physics or chemistry. Creatures from legend and folklore may well walk the streets. Human society is somehow changed, in large part of small, by this setting.

Some substantial subset of humans in urban fantasy, or in some cases all humans, are aware of the magic and the magical creatures. They are part of society for good or ill and humans need to deal with them.

So are werewolves and vampires always paranormal? Not necessarily. Man walking the moors alone at night is attacked by a feral creature but survives and finds to his horror that he changes every full moon. Paranormal. You have a paranormal creature operating outside the normal byways of human society and a person who is changed by coming in contact with said creature. However, werewolf tribe living and working in Atlanta as an integral part of the community and requires magic to change? That’s urban fantasy.

Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters comes very close to straddling that line, but still falls within the Paranormal spectrum. The Offbeat Crimes stories take place in our world, in modern Philadelphia, with no overall system of magic in place. We have a small subset of the population, in the case police officers who are enhanced humans, who are aware of paranormal happenings and try to shield the general population from these happenings.

Never mind that their special powers are all jacked up. They do the best they can.

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Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters

Offbeat Crimes 1

Kyle Monroe, his irritating new partner and their fellow freaks at the 77th Precinct must learn to work together to stop a vicious murderer that might not even be human.

Kyle Monroe’s encounter with a strange, gelatinous creature in an alley leaves him scarred and forever changed, revealing odd abilities he wishes he didn’t have and earning him reassignment to a precinct where all the cops have defective paranormal abilities.

Just as he’s starting to adjust to his fellow misfit squad mates, Kyle’s new partner arrives. Tall, physically perfect, reserved and claiming he has no broken psychic talents, Vikash Soren irritates Kyle in every way. But as much as he’d like to hate Vikash, Kyle finds himself oddly drawn to him, their non-abilities meshing in unexpected ways. If they can learn to work together, they might be able to stop the mysterious killer who has been leaving mutilated bodies along the banks of the Schuylkill.

About Angel Martinez

Angel MartinezThe unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel’s cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You’ll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don’t expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

Website: http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amartinez2

Twitter: @AngelMartinezrr