February 14, 2014
I am sending my hunky waiters around to serve you all some drinks Please enjoy while I share an excerpt from my book – Holding on to Hope.
Leslie felt eyes on her, and she looked across their table. A pair of freakishly blue eyes stared in their direction. They belonged to a man, a bit older in age—probably in his fifties, she guessed—with long gray hair. His face was round and wrinkled, making him look very ugly. He wore a black trench coat over a white shirt and a striped tie. Leslie noticed the big rings on his finger and deduced that he must be some wealthy man. However, his stare was making him appear scary.
When he realized he was caught in the act, his lips curved into a cold smile.
She quickly looked away and tried to concentrate on what her boyfriend was saying. However, Leslie kept getting the weirdest feeling that nothing around her was safe anymore. The worrisome thoughts kept her occupied. An unmistakable panic was slowly settling in.
All because of an old man who was probably innocently looking at the college kids as they sat right across from him and reminiscing about his past!
Leslie shivered. “Guys,” her voice wavered. “I’ll be right back.”
Thankfully, none of the boys noticed the change in her tone, and she quickly made her way to the ladies room. Once she was in, the first thing she did was empty her bladder.
Somehow, the old man had freaked her out so much that she felt the need to pee. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was exactly that triggered such emotions in her. This had never happened to her before.
She splashed some cold water on her face, fixed her makeup once again, and exhaled, feeling a lot better than before. Hoping that the old man was gone, she slowly stepped out.
Her heart felt lighter when she saw his seat was empty, and the smile then came easy to her. At that moment, she even wanted to laugh at herself for having a stupid panic attack.
After all, he was a harmless old man.
She found her boyfriend standing by the counter, buying another coffee for himself. She walked over to him. “I thought you promised me that you’d cut down on your caffeine consumption for a day.” Leslie narrowed her eyes. He looked at her like a deer caught in the headlights and smiled very cutely.
“I told you too much coffee isn’t good for my Patty-pie’s health.”
“I promise this is the last one,” he said and leaned down to kiss her. He obviously wasn’t going to keep his promise. But she let it slip. Pushing the matter wasn’t going to help. Leslie believed that Patrick needed to decide to stop on his own.
However, she couldn’t help but worry too.
When he broke the kiss, she shook her head, giggling slightly, and looked in the direction of their booth. “Where’s Brad?”
Patrick turned to look. “I don’t know. He was sitting right there before you came back out.” They trailed back in the direction of their booth. “Maybe he went to the restroom.”
“Couldn’t have happened.” Leslie shook her head. “Or else I would have seen him when I came out.”
“I don’t understand.” Patrick gazed at her. “He was right here a minute ago, talking to the old dude, and I went to get….”
“Old dude?” Leslie’s heart skipped a beat. “Who?”
“I don’t know who he was, but I guess he was sitting in this booth.” He pointed to the space where the scary old man had once been. “He came over to Brad and was like, ‘Can I talk to you in private?’ So I just left the booth for them to talk.”
“Pat!” Her blood was running cold by then. “How could you leave him alone with a stranger?”
“Baby, overreact much?” Patrick looked around, and Leslie realized that everyone was looking in their direction. “Brad is not a little child.”
“Hey, what’s the matter?” Ian’s voice interrupted them, and Pat tightened his jaw.
Leslie tried to calm herself down before replying. “Brad is… I don’t know… he went somewhere. It’s probably nothing, but Pat says he was talking to this old man before and….”
“Shit, no!” Ian yelled. “Old man? What did he look like?”
There was panic in his eyes, and his voice and fright suddenly found a home in Leslie’s system. “Freakishly blue eyes, wrinkled face, Rings on his fingers.”
“Long gray hair?” Ian asked anxiously.
“Yes!” Leslie was certain something pretty awful had happened to Brad, and she couldn’t stop cursing herself for lack of better judgment. “Ian, do you know something?”
His lip quivered. “I do.” He stepped closer and looked between the two of them. “Brad is in big trouble right now, and there’s only one person who can get him out of it.”
February 14, 2014
I am Sid Love – the author of newly released DSP Book titled – “Holding on to Hope” and today I am here to celebrate this special moment of my life. After all, my dream of becoming a published author has finally come true!
What am I planning on doing here?
To spend some time with you guys and have a blast!
Let’s start, why don’t we have some music on, eh? Here’s my pick of song – “Applause” by Lady Gaga! I have bribed the DJ and he will be taking requests from all of you, so don’t be shy and let us know what song you think would set the party mood.
And since, it’s Valentine’s Day, it definitely calls for a double celebration. I love this day so much because I believe in it strongly So does my main character Bradley Parker and that belief strengthens when he meets his Mr. Right on the Valentine’s Day -
Bradley Parker has waited twenty years for Mr. Right, and on Valentine’s Day, he finally finds him. It’s love at first sight, and Brad even loses his virginity to the man of his dreams. But when he wakes up the next morning unable to remember anything—even what the man looked like—his best friend, Leslie, is convinced he imagined the whole thing. Brad knows he didn’t make up the best night of his life, but he has no idea of the danger he’s putting himself in as he struggles to recall the details of his perfect man. His search may lead him to parts of New York City he never dreamed existed and a war being waged in the shadows.
If you wish to ask me anything about me or the book or anything in general, please feel free to post your question in the comments below. I will try and make sure that it is answered.
Also, I will be giving away an e-copy of my book. Every commenter to my posts gets entered into the contest automatically so don’t forget to leave a comment!
January 2, 2014
Cold Moon (Insolita Luna: Book Three) by M.J. O’Shea
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Xan follows Charlie to Romania, where Charlie is almost killed. If the two can survive a political mess, they might find love together. Cold Moon (Insolita Luna: Book Three) by M.J. O’Shea, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
Insolita Luna: Book Three
Sequel to Hunter’s Moon
Charlie Fitzgerald is sick of being the kid nobody takes seriously. His older brother Colin is fighting vampires and other troublemakers in New York City, and Charlie wants in on the action—but no one will listen. Then he overhears the lycan council is looking for a human emissary to take a message of peace to a werewolf in the forests of Romania, and Charlie decides he’s the man for the job.
Xan is furious: his best friend, Charlie, one of the Fitzgeralds he’s vowed to protect, is walking into danger, and Xan chases him all the way to the freezing Romanian forest to save his stubborn butt. When Charlie is almost killed, Xan realizes he feels much more than friendship for his charge, and emotions that have been bubbling under the surface of his calm façade threaten to boil over and flood them both.
They end up in the middle of a political mess involving lycans, werewolves, and nosy vampires, and if they make it out alive, the friendship between the headstrong hunter and his bullheaded protector might turn into a love neither can live without.
1st edition published by M.J. O’Shea, April 2012
Length: Novel (180p.) | Genre: Paranormal-Other, Paranormal-Vampires, Paranormal-Werewoves, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: January 2, 2014
November 21, 2013
Triane’s Son Learning (Bitter Moon Saga: Book Two) by Amy Lane
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
The evil from Torrant’s homeland becomes too much to be ignored while he’s in school and he must choose: will he be a healer or a hero. Triane’s Son Learning (Bitter Moon Saga: Book Two) by Amy Lane, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
Bitter Moon Saga: Book Two
When Torrant Shadow fled his homeland of Clough, he hoped to leave its threats behind. He spent four years living with the Moons, making sure Yarri had a home; now it’s time for Torrant and his foster brother, Aldam, to leave for the University of Triannon, where Torrant hopes to create a new life enmeshed in healing arts and politics.
Torrant’s new school friends Trieste and Aylan want to teach him about love as he settles in, and at first, Trieste’s tenderness seems to make her the logical choice for an interim lover, while Torrant waits for Yarri to grow up. But Torrant has learned the hard way that nothing is simple when Clough still wields its influence over their lives. More and more, Torrant must call on the cold predator in himself, the part that Aylan most admires. The truth is, Torrant has certain gifts that give him an advantage of self-defense, but using them to protect the ones he cares for may destroy the part of him Trieste and Yarri love best.
As the four schoolmates progress to life beyond education and the evil from Torrant’s homeland becomes too pernicious to be ignored, Torrant must choose his destiny: Will he be a healer or a hero? Only Triane’s Son can be both.
Length: Novel (324p.) | Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: November 21, 2013
November 14, 2013
Not Broken, Just Bent by Mia Kerick
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Timmy feels betrayed when longtime friend Ben denies his feelings. If they can find forgiveness, they may be able to move forward together. Not Broken, Just Bent by Mia Kerick, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
Braving the start of high school, longtime childhood friends Benjamin Wells and Timmy Norton quickly realize they are entering a whole new world colored by their family responsibilities. Ben is trying to please his strict father; Timmy is taking care of his younger sisters. While their easy camaraderie is still comfortable, Ben notices Timmy growing distant and evasive, but Ben has his own problems. It’s easier to let concerns about Timmy’s home life slide, especially when Timmy changes directions and starts to get a little too close. Ben doesn’t know how to handle the new feelings Timmy’s desire for love inspires, and his continuing denial wounds Timmy deeply.
But what Timmy perceives as Ben’s greatest betrayal is yet to come, and the fallout threatens to break them apart forever. Over the next four years, the push and pull between them and the outside world twists and tears at Ben and Timmy, and they are haunted by fear and regret. However, sometimes what seems broken is just a little bent, and if they can find forgiveness within themselves, Ben and Timmy may be able to move forward together.
Length: Novel (180p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: November 14, 2013
October 17, 2013
Gods (Dreams of Fire and Gods: Book 3) by James Erich
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Sael’s lover, Koreh, died while the two rescued the Taaweh queen. Years later Sael must fight to save Dasak. If only Koreh were at his side. Gods (Dreams of Fire and Gods: Book 3) by James Erich, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
Dreams of Fire and Gods: Book 3
Long ago, two factions of gods, the Stronni and the Taaweh, nearly destroyed the Kingdom of Dasak in a great war. The Taaweh vanished when their queen was imprisoned, and the Stronni declared victory. A thousand years later, a young nobleman named Sael and his lover Koreh have rescued the Taaweh queen. In the process Koreh was killed, and now an injured Sael struggles to heal from both injuries and grief. Unknown to him, Koreh embarks on a journey across the land of the dead, trying to make his way back to Sael—and to life. But time moves differently in the underworld, and decades pass while Koreh travels.
In the living world, tensions between the emperor and Sael’s father, Vek Worlen, who is regent of the eastern kingdom, have soured beyond repair. Worlen conspires with the assassin Donegh to break into the imperial palace and challenge the emperor to a duel to the death. But the goddess Imen has chosen a young priest named Gonim as her champion. Through him she discovers the Taaweh have returned, and her enraged king threatens to destroy Dasak and all its human inhabitants. Sael must save his world, must confront the gods and persuade them not to destroy humankind. But it seems hopeless. If only Koreh were at his side…
Length: Novel (200p.) | Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: October 17, 2013
September 13, 2013
All right, one last post on a really tough issue before we call it a night.
In general I don’t go in much for non-con or rape fantasies.
I will admit though every once in a while I like indulging in the fantasy of sexual slavery. There is something about having total control over a person, being able to bend them to your will and take what you want without care for their feelings or their desires that can tap into the very darkest parts of my sexual appetite when played out in the safety of my mind or on the pages of a good piece of erotica.
As a historian though I am all too aware of the real world history and cost of slavery. Owning humans as chattels degrades not just the people who are held in bondage but also the ones who hold them. A society which allows slavery is a society which will allow for a certain level of cruelty to be normalized. For in a society where it is acceptable to buy and sell humans like cattle it also often becomes acceptable to abuse, maim and murder them as well.
As Ira Berlin states “In saves societies by contrast, slavery stood at the center of economic production, and the master-slave relationship provided the model for all social relations: husband and wife, parent and child, employer and employee, teacher and student.” This is a chilling world view but it does highlight the ways in which the mindset that allowed one man to own another outright affected everyone within that society.
During the editing process my editor mention that several of the characters are referred to as “good master” even though they do thing we would see as terrible or abuse. They have slaves beaten, solid off to people who will abuse them further and subject their slaves to a thousand tiny acts of degradation daily.
This was very intentional on my part because in the grand scheme of things these characters are “good masters” but they are still people who see nothing morally wrong with owning other human beings and treating them like objects.
It is easy to condemn the beating, mutilation and forced rape of slaves. I think though the fact that Vasilios has to go to his knees every time he enters a room and cannot make eye contact with his “betters” and this is seen as so normal that no one questions it, is more indicative of the kind of damage slavery does to a society at large.
The elephant in the room while writing about Vasilios’ time in captivity is rape. Slaves are not capable of consent. They can not say no especially to their masters but to any free person. For a slave to say know would be to risk severe punishment and would go totally disregarded anyway. A table does not consent, a horse does not consent and in a slave holding society slaves have no more right to consent than a table or a horse.
One of the things that was important to me while writing Like Fire Through Bone was to portray slavery as corrupting and degrading as it historically was and still is.
Vasilios has had sexual encounters with his master but I want to be clear that he in no way consented to them. He submitted to them out of a sense of self preservation and because he knew as owned property he could not say no to his master’s demands.
Further he and Markos can not further any kind of relationship with each other as long as Vasilios is held as a slave. As Markos points out if they were to become involved romantically or sexually before that neither could be completely sure that where wouldn’t be cohesion involved at some level. Markos is an extremely powerful man and business partner to Vasilios’ master. For Vasilios as a slave it would be almost impossible for him to say no to Markos if Markos where to make a pass at him and Markos knows this.
Stories that deal with slaves are a huge part of the romance genre but often these stories do not deal directly with issues like a slaves inability to consent. On the other hand the fantasy of sexual slavery is a potent one. Going into writing Like Fire Through Bone though I wanted to do something more realistic.
So what do you think? Do you prefer a more historically accurate portrayal of slavery? Or do you like like the fantasy better, where the pretty slave falls for his sexy master? Why or why not?
September 13, 2013
I was originally going to talk about music but I can’t figure out how to embed the media player so let’s talk about cover art first.
I’ll admit it, I totally judge books by their covers.
As a reader browsing through a brick and mortar bookstore I am far more likely to grab a book that has an exciting or beautiful cover. As a die hard fantasy and science fiction fan I’m going to be drawn to cover to portray something new and fresh from the genre. A cover with bulky space Marines isn’t going to attract my attention the same way a cover depicting a character walking the streets of a futuristic Delhi would.
When it comes to romance novels I’m just as picky. I’m not a fan of covers which show over developed pectoral muscles as their primarily attraction since they are a dime a dozen in the m/m romance genre. I am much more likely to be attracted to interesting covers even if they are not “sexy” per say. In fact a cover which doesn’t immediately scream “romance” to me is going to be more attractive because it will grab my attention and making me at least read the blurb.
Unless I know the author or have had the book recommended to me the cover art may indeed make or break my decision to buy the book. I know this about myself therefore I take the designing of the covers for my own book very seriously.
Working with a new publisher and new set of cover artists is always a little nerve wracking and the cover art is such an important part of the process that when I sent off my survey form for the cover art of Like Fire Through Bone I was mostly just anxious about how it was going to turn out.
I tried to give as much details about each of the characters as possible along with the over all feeling I was going for.
I really wanted to cover to emphasize the plot and tone of the book over the sex appeal of the characters.
It’s not that Like Fire Through Bone isn’t a sexy book because I think there is great chemistry between Vasilios and Markos and multiple hot sex scenes. On the other hand though the book is not all about the romance as much as it is about combining plot with romance I wanted a cover to reflect that.
What I got back from the talented Brooke Albrecht was four different but equally lovely covers. Two of them really jumped out at me though. In one I loved the cover model and felt like he was closest to my mental picture of Vasilios. The other I was totally in love with the color scene and lettering.
I asked if they could be combined and the cover that resulted was the one we went with. I love it. I think it is a beautiful cover.
That made me so happy for all sorts of reasons.
So what do people think? What role does the cover art play in your decision whether to buy a book? What kinds of things do you love or hate to see on covers of m/m romance book?
September 13, 2013
I am E.E. Ottoman and I am here to talk about Like Fire Through Bone cones out on Friday 13th, today! I am so excited about this release party which will be going all day and include an awesome coupon code for 25% off all Angel and Demon stories at Dreamspinner somewhere along the way.
First let me introduce myself. I am a graduate student in my late twenties, studying history and living in the greater New York City area. I am a cat lover and an avid home cook. I love menswear and fashion and try to dress as fashionably as possible. I adore all things history, am a big opera fan and love reading mythology. My idea of a perfect day out is a trip to a great museum or art gallery followed by a stunning meal. I am definitely a fantasy author and I love relationships between people and portraying them in all different varieties so romance is an incredibly exciting genre for me.
But enough about me, let’s talk about the book:
Like Fire Through Bone is my first full length novel, although I have written multiple short stories and novellas before this. This is also my first book working with Dreamspinner Press.
When I set out to write it I didn’t set out to write a full length novel. In fact I was aiming for 30,000 words.
I originally had something of a Byzantine/Roman Empire world in mind. I wanted to write a short fantasy adventure story so I came up with a demon who had been terrorizing the capital city stealing away children in the night. The demon was based on old Christian folklore from the Middle East. I came up with two main character Vasilios was a household eunuch who held a kind of secretarial position for a wealthy merchant and Markos who was a General in the Imperial Army.
My original plot outline was simple, they were going to exorcise the demon and then get together as a couple.
I knew Vasilios would have prophetic dreams about the demon and I assumed as soon as he went to Markos with the that information the story would pretty much wrap itself up.
Except it didn’t work like that.
As soon as I started writing Vasilios I realized he was a far more complex character than I had originally intended. I was going to have to deal with his trust issues, his relationship to his master, his relationship to his status as a eunuch, and most importantly the fact that he was a slave.
My outline expanded to deal with the question of Vasilios’ servitude and the real tough questions of portraying slavery in any story.
Then Aritê came into the story. She was originally supposed to be a character mentioned in passing but who never got any actual on screen time, as it were.
As soon as I wrote the scene were Thoefilos describes her though I knew they were going to have to go out into the desert to find her. With her Aritê brought the question of faith and the complicated role faith plays in the story.
Suddenly I found myself writing scenes with angels in them and realizing that in some ways the story was also about Vasilios’ faith journey and his relationship with faith, belief and surrender.
At this point the story was over 60k word, twice what I had originally set out to write and I knew they were going to have to out back out into the desert again but this time to a monastery in search of a half-snake monk …
What really surprised me the most about writing the initial draft of the story was how fast it came together. For all that it ended up being almost three times longer than the story I had set out to write, it only took a couple weeks to knock out the first draft.
I wasn’t really sure what to do with it after I had written the first draft though. Going back over and editing something of that length seemed too intimating to me and I had no real idea if anyone asides from me would like it.
The story dealt with some heavy issues like slavery and religion. It also starred a fully castrated main character. As an author I was pretty much unknown in the m/m romance genre and unsure about how much I could get away with.
So I let it sit in my edits folder and went on to write other shorter works. At some point though I mentioned its existence in passing to the amazing LJ LaBarthe who was, to my shock, excited about reading it. She offered to beta read it for me and do some historical facts checking which I desperately needed.
Her enthusiasm made me reconsider. I dug the manuscript out and read over it. I was shocked by how much I liked the story and set about editing it.
Originally my world building had been very Euro-centric. Reevaluating I went back and did some research widening my inspiration pool to include some amazing non-European civilizations and cultures. I also reevaluated my reasoning for making my cast white. “Did my characters need to be white?” I asked myself and discovered that they didn’t.
I also broke the story up into chapters.
When I was done going over it I sent it off to LJ who went over it with a fine tooth comb, doing an especially good job catching, correcting or adding historical details.
We had some great back and forth over different articles of clothing, some of which I made up and some of which are historical, different foods, and what the monitory system for my world was like.
When she was done I went over it again this time looking for consistency in overall tone and overarching themes. I added the second sex scene since I felt there were things that hadn’t been addressed in the first one.
Finally I submitted it to Dreamspinner Press and kept my fingers crossed that they would take a chance and accept it.
Which they did!
It might not be as related to my process of writing but I am genuinely curious, what do all of you love in fantasy? What attracts you to the sub-genre of fantasy romance? Or if you are not ordinarily into the sub-genre what makes you interested in Like Fire Through Bone?
June 14, 2013
Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed
Roan is locked in a coma as the struggle between his human and werecat sides reaches a new extreme. All Dylan can do is sit and wait. Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed, available from Dreamspinner Press.
In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.
Now Roan is locked in a coma as the struggle between his human and werecat sides reaches a new extreme. All Dylan can do is sit, wait, and think.
Meanwhile, Roan’s assistant, Holden, wants to shed his old street life and his relationship with Scott, but he can’t seem to do either. Holden doesn’t want a relationship with Scott but finds himself drawn to him all the same, even if he can never fully reveal his past.
With Roan out of commission, Holden looks into the murder of an old friend. At the same time, Fiona takes on a case about underground death matches between infecteds —one with connections to the Church of the Divine Transformation.
Finally Roan wakes only to discover that his shifts have new consequences. His lion’s strength is growing, and he can’t hide from it any longer….
Same Page by Lily Velden
How can Jaxon move his relationship with Liam from friends to lovers without destroying the trust he’s worked so hard for? Same Page by Lily Velden, available from Dreamspinner Press.
He was like the only splash of color in a black-and-white photograph.
The man was beautiful.
At an exhibition opening in Sydney, jaded Hollywood heartthrob Jaxon Moncrieff lays eyes on publicity-shy artist Liam Lassiter for the first time and is immediately captivated. But he doesn’t get far into their first conversation before he realizes what he’s feeling is attraction, which brings him up short. Jaxon has always been a womanizer.
Despite his reservations, Jaxon makes a play for Liam, but Liam has his own issues. Unlucky in love and orphaned at sixteen, he is reluctant to open his heart to anyone, and dismisses Jaxon out of hand.
Driven by a need he doesn’t understand, Jaxon organizes a return to Sydney to film his next project. If he can’t be with Liam, maybe they can be friends. Of course, that creates a whole new problem. Now Jaxon is falling in love for the first time. How can he move their relationship from friends to lovers without destroying the trust he’s worked so hard for?