Apr 21

True Love Conquers…

…some things. But definitely not all.

Many of my readers know I’m an abuse survivor. I don’t make any secret of it, nor of the issues I struggle with because of it. And in large part because of my own past, the characters who come to me to have their stories told are also often survivors.

I want to make something clear, in part because of a comment made in a recent review of one of my books. Survivors can love. They can develop trust, and they can go on to have healthy relationships if they do the work. IF. To some people, it seems unrealistic for a survivor to enter a relationship with someone where they’re able to have sex and be open with their partner.

To others, it seems unrealistic that someone *wouldn’t* be able to do that. In my own experience, I’ve had more than one person tell me to “just put the past aside and move on.”

Let me also make it clear that I am not speaking for all survivors. Everyone has their own experiences and their own ways of dealing with them. I’m speaking for myself as a survivor, an author, and a reader. And I’m speaking for my characters.

For me, the truth is somewhere between “can’t move on” and “it’s easy to move on.”

I’ve been with my husband for six years now, and we celebrated our fourth anniversary on Thursday. I will say that by the time I met him, I’d already been in counseling for several months and had begun the healing process. But I still had three and a half decades buried, with emotional landmines planted by experiences that in some cases, I didn’t even remember.

The moment I met my husband–literally the very moment–I recognized someone I could open to and trust. Someone I could be physically and emotionally open with. Despite the dents and dings on my soul, I knew I could have a relationship with this man, including sex.

That doesn’t mean it was easy. Happily ever after sometimes takes a while. Sometimes, even after all this time, I still have flashbacks when hubby and I are in bed together. Even after all this time (and counseling), I still have landmines that go off every now and then, triggered by something seemingly completely innocuous. I mean, who would think a crayon would give me a panic attack?

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In my novel I Should Tell You, both heroes are dealing with demons from past abuse. One is a recovering alcoholic; the other is addicted to prescription painkillers and ends up in inpatient rehab during the book. One is okay with sex; the other has to be high to have it, and has it because he likes it even though he isn’t sure he should. At their first meeting, and first real conversation, each of them recognizes in the other someone they *could* open up to, and with the help they’re given, they begin to do that.

I don’t consider the ending of I Should Tell You necessarily a happily-ever-after. It’s more a happy-for-now. Hunter and Mitch still have a lot of healing to do, but by the end of the book, when they’ve known each other for several weeks and Mitch has had a few weeks of rehab, they believe they can heal *together*.

That’s my experience as a survivor. My husband’s love doesn’t heal me. He doesn’t have a “magic wang,” as a couple of review sites have put it (and I put it in my novel Beta Block, which also involves a survivor learning to love and trust). True love doesn’t conquer all. But it can give someone enough hope to try to heal, and someone to help and support the healing.

Apr 18

Special Guest Evelyn Aster

Welcome guest Evelyn Aster today, here to talk about her contribution to the Spellbound Treasures universe created at Jupiter Gardens Press. Evelyn’s book takes place in one of my favorite cities, Albuquerque, New Mexico, which I got to visit in 2012 for GayRomLit. Thanks for stopping by!

Romantic Settings

            Hello lovely readers. I’m Evelyn Aster, the author of Through the Paintings. Many thanks to Karenna for welcoming me to her blog today.

When you plan a special date for you and your partner, I imagine where it will be is one of the first things on your mind. At home with romantic music and candle light? In the park with a picnic? Up in the mountains far away so no one sees what you’re doing with your partner out in the open under the afternoon sun?

Setting is just as important for the romance writer. We want the reader to be taken to a special place. Sometimes it’s a magical world dreamed up entirely by the author, or sometimes it’s a real place the author enchants with words. Either way, we want it to be unforgettable.

Traveling to the southwest is really unlike anywhere else in the US. The landscape is alternately cactus and tumbleweeds, red clay mesas and rivers that could use several days of rain showers to make them look like anything other than a stream. In Albuquerque, NM, where Through the Paintings is set, history mixes with modern life in the tourist place called Old Town Plaza. My main characters own a gallery and cafe next to each other, but they care much more about falling in love than running their businesses.

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Albuquerque is home of the mañana attitude: tomorrow, tomorrow. People who live by check lists and corporate or social ladders get frustrated if they move to Albuquerque, but there is no better place to let romance grow slowly and bloom like a desert flower. Of course, Through the Paintings is a Spellbound Treasure book, so it also goes some place magical—a place filled with pixies and an enchantress trying to split up the couple before they’ve gone much further than wistful good mornings over coffee.

Where is your favorite romantic getaway? Where do you take your partner when you want to be intimate? If you’re looking for someplace new or exotic, spend some time this afternoon lost in a story. I looked out of your office and your boss is busy in a meeting, and your baby will be asleep for another hour, and your partner will be home after buying you flowers. Enjoy :)

Evelyn Aster

http://evelynaster.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

Apr 17

Teaser Thursday- Vegan Werewolf

This was the scene that started it all. Spawned by a friend’s question “How could a werewolf be vegan,” I dashed off this short scene in May 2010. And it planted the seed that became my Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series. 

The Wolf

No! Oh, God, anything but this!

I tried to see my body. Fur, check. Pretty off-white color, or at least I would have thought it was pretty if it didn’t cover me. Snout protruding out far enough to see, check. Four paws with claws sticking out from the end of each… finger? Toe? Didn’t know what to call them. Check, anyway.

Shit. That fucking wolf-bitch had bitten me after all, even though I thought I’d dodged her teeth. No wonder I’d slept so long.

I lay on a patch of bare ground, surrounded by scattered leaves and evergreen needles. A few feet away, two humans crouched. One of them, I recognized. Tobias, my next-door neighbor and the object of the hottest man-crush I’d ever had. The fact that he was naked so close to me I could have reached out and touched him if I’d had the limbs I was supposed to have didn’t help that a bit.

The other human… After a second, I recognized her, too. The hair color gave it away, perfectly matching the color of the fur on the wolf that had bitten me.

I snarled and tried to stand, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to get those four legs under me. Tobias raised his hands and took a couple steps toward me. “Kyle, easy,” he said softly. “We aren’t going to hurt you.”

“I didn’t mean for this to happen,” the woman wailed. “Tobias, I didn’t mean—”

“Shut up, Melia,” Tobias ordered without taking his eyes off me. “You’re here to see the results of your poor control, not to make apologies. I know Kyle. I don’t think he’ll accept your apology easily.”

I managed to move my head in something resembling a nod. Fuck if I’d ever forgive the bitch! It hadn’t been my fault I’d wandered into the middle of a wolf kill. How the hell was I supposed to know every werewolf in the city would gather in a fucking vegetable garden? Let alone the one outside my apartment building.

Of course, given that several deer, rabbits, and other small creatures had been bothering the garden lately, it made sense the wolves would come to hunt. On the outskirts of the biggest city in the state, they probably didn’t find much wildlife, other than raccoons, skunks, and addicts.

I’d only gone out there to get some tomatoes for the vegan pasta sauce I was making. Sauce which would simmer overnight, so I’d have something special to share with Tobias. I’d invited him for dinner the next night, and since I knew he was an omnivore, I’d planned a menu that would take both his eating habits and my veganism into account.

The next night. Except I didn’t think it was “next” anymore. I’d gone into the garden like an idiot, ignoring the grunting, growling, snuffling noises until I’d seen the pack. Over a dozen wolves in the middle of my garden—“my” being a relative term meaning that although I hadn’t planted everything, I was the only one who gave a shit about it—muzzles covered in blood, and carcasses of dead animals scattered around, including a doe.

I’d puked before I started screaming at them to go away. Screaming at the top of my lungs, wondering why none of my neighbors came to help. Now I knew, of course.

Tobias was one of the wolves. And he’d probably made sure none of the other neighbors would ever see anything he didn’t want them to.

“You have to eat something, Kyle,” Tobias said. He crouched low to look me in the eye. “You’ve been unconscious for three days, since Melia attacked you. You don’t know how sorry I am about this. I wanted to protect you from it.”

Even in my current form, my heart and a couple other things responded to his words. When I’d first met Tobias, I hadn’t known whether he was gay, straight, or somewhere in between, so I’d made my moves very slowly. I knew I liked guys, and I knew I wanted him if it wouldn’t offend him too much. That pasta dinner would have been the time I finally told him how I felt, since I’d gotten all the signals from him indicating he had no objection to dating another man.

Melia had fucked that up but good. I growled at her again.

“Kyle, stop,” Tobias said. “She’s been punished, believe me. I don’t let my pack just randomly attack humans, especially a human I’d chosen to protect. Deal with her later. Right now, you’re weak. You have to eat something. Lots of something, or your body isn’t going to be able to cope with any of this. I have food for you.”

He whistled, and another man and woman walked through the trees carrying large platters. I didn’t know the man. The woman, Harriet, lived in the building beside the one where Tobias and I lived. Fuck, were all my neighbors werewolves?

They set down the platters and uncovered them. I gagged. Raw meat was piled high on both platters, still coated with blood and I didn’t know what else. No way could I eat that. Just seeing it made me want to puke.

I turned my head away, still gagging and coughing. “Kyle, you need protein,” Tobias said. “You’ll die if you don’t eat.” He lightly ruffled the fur on my head. “I don’t want that to happen.”

I shook my head. I didn’t want to die either, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to eat a stack of dead animals. I hadn’t eaten meat since age ten, and I wasn’t about to change my habits now just because some dumb bimbo had turned me into a wolf.

“Kyle, come on.” Harriet knelt beside me, holding a piece of meat. “It’s good. Fresh kill.”

To my horror, she nibbled on the meat, her face lighting up at the taste. God, that made me want to puke even more.

I forced myself to my feet and staggered a couple steps backward, then collapsed again. At least I had some distance between myself and that abomination they called food. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t care if others ate meat. But I sure as hell wasn’t about to, and I didn’t appreciate them trying to force it on me.

Tobias sighed. “He won’t eat it.”

“He needs it,” Harriet argued. “If he doesn’t eat it, we’ll lose him.” She glared at Melia, who cowered. “That would make her a murderer, in my book.”

“Mine, too,” Tobias agreed. “But we won’t lose him.”

“If he won’t eat what we’ve brought him…” The other man shivered. “I’ve seen a newly-changed wolf die of starvation. It isn’t pretty.”

“He won’t die.” Tobias shook his head. “Kyle, you stubborn bastard, you’re lucky I know you so well.” He stood, facing Harriet and the other man. “He’s vegan. That’s why I have those other platters ready. Bring him the veggie burgers and salad.”

The other man snorted. “A vegan werewolf? How the hell is that going to work?”

“I don’t know,” Tobias admitted. “But we’re going to find out.” He paused. “And make sure there’s blue cheese dressing on that salad. That’s his favorite.”

 

 

Apr 14

Publisher Drama… Again

Not one of my publishers, fortunately, but it is one that at one point talked to me about writing for them. And one that several of my writer friends have been published by.

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Silver Publishing started off pretty well, with good intentions and an apparent interest in doing the best for their authors.

Then royalty payments started showing up late, if they showed up at all.

Someone took over the company and used authors’ royalty money to cover his own expenses.

That same someone apparently set up more than one identity, which would have been fine if one was a pen name and one was a real name and that was all. But it appears that person used those names to cover his tracks in some cases.

I’m not going to go into all the issues that have arisen with Silver. As I said, they aren’t one of my publishers, for which I’m thankful. I spoke with one of their editors at a conference not long before all the negatives started being publicized, so the only reason they didn’t become one of my publishers was timing; I didn’t have time to write something for them when I had that conversation, and when my schedule cleared, I was starting to see the whispers that things at Silver weren’t good.

People who did their research about this publisher back in its early days, and up until a couple years ago, would have seen a company that seemed to have it together. But now things have deteriorated. You can never be too careful when it comes to checking out potential publishers, but even when you do all the research possible to make sure a company is legit, things can sometimes go sour fast, as I discovered in my own experience with Noble Romance.

A lot of authors have blogged recently about the issues with Silver and what is being done about them, so I won’t regurgitate what they’ve said. If you google “Silver Publishing problems”, you’ll find links to the posts that detail the situation.

Be careful when you’re looking for a publisher. Be careful when you sign contracts to make sure they have clauses about how you can get your rights back if things go bad. When new publishers crop up, as they frequently do, check them thoroughly before you submit, and better yet wait a couple of years to see how things go with them. (Though sometimes that doesn’t work, as evidenced by what happened with Noble and Silver.)

It’s sad that authors have to worry about things like this happening, but that’s the reality. So just be careful, and remember, it’s better to not be published at all than to be published badly. Or by a bad publisher.

Apr 11

Special Guest Rebekah Lewis

Welcoming back Breathless Press author Rebekah Lewis today. Thanks for stopping by!

Heroes are Stubborn Sometimes

Every so often authors tell you their stories came to them upon the spring breeze and then magic flowed through their fingertips thus creating this fantastical piece of awesome that transcends space and time. Okay, maybe that happens on occasion, and I do have characters that are easy to write as they are very vocal, but not all characters want to share their feelings. Sometimes they are just plain stubborn. Sometimes the hero of your story is nothing short of an A-hole that wants nothing more than to see you suffer as they have suffered in their fictional past.

The hero of Under the Satyr Moon was so stubborn that the entire series was created as a means to keep myself writing around his refusal to cooperate. Ariston’s book was going to be a standalone novel. And when he gave me trouble, I started digging into his back story and Pan’s book came to mind. When I got the bright idea to make Pan the Jersey Devil, I told Ariston to suck it and wrote Pan’s book first instead. And then when I finished, and it was time to return to Ariston, I was met with the same resistance.

“Why do you hate me?” I would ask my work in progress, staring at a bright, white, blank page with a blinking cursor. What do you do when your character doesn’t want to tell you his story?

Short answer: throw more obstacles at him until you get him so annoyed that he starts mouthing off and digging himself into a pit in front of his heroine. Let him get bit by animals/demigods. Let the gods smite him. And let other characters call him on everything he is refusing to do. Until he gets so fed up that he has no choice but to cooperate.

Miraculously, it worked. Once the character realized he was coming across as a dodo he got it together and did what he was supposed to, mostly.

Mind you, I love Ariston. He’s one of my most honest, and overall good, characters I have written. But he knows he was a pain in the rear from day one. A lot of his scenes had to be worked on in revisions because the first draft was not going to ever be finished if I waited on him to work with me. I am a plotter for the most part, but I only plot main actions and events and let the characters get there on their own to see how they react and play off of that. But it goes to show it won’t always be so easy. I had to come up with methods around it, and hopefully it will be helpful to other writers who read this post that have similar issues.

  1. Throw obstacles at him until he reacts and gives you something to work with (as stated above.) Proved the most effective in this case.
  2. Write from other character POVs more often in the first draft. This way the story still keeps its flow and you don’t get stumped. Upon revision, build on the hero’s POV. See if you can take some of the Heroine’s POV and rewrite it from the Hero’s. You have the scene there, but you are seeing it from a new perspective. It’s a little more work, but sometimes when you do this the scene is much stronger in the end as you are not trying to build the scene anymore, just the character.
  3. Jump to later parts of the book. If you are OCD like me, and like to write in a linear, beginning to end fashion, this is not an easy task. When I finally called Ariston some very ugly words, stopped a third of the way in, and wrote the last 60 pages of the book, it helped a lot. I understood where I needed to get Ariston in terms of character development by the end because I had it written out. I knew where he was going before he knew it himself, and was able to whip him into shape when writing the middle of the book.
  4. I didn’t do it for this book, but when having trouble with character voice in my creative writing class we would write scenes not in our story with characters they may or may not interact with. Kind of like deleted scenes or flashbacks, etc. Make him respond. Make him react. Get him to express himself until you can get the feel of him for the book. Don’t discard these, as you can make them into some fun blog posts or special material for readers at a later time if you want.

And there it is. Does anyone else have characters that don’t want to do as they are told, or have they experienced it before? Do you do anything different to get around it?

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Rebekah Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She is an award-winning cover artist for digital publishers, and enjoys every minute of it when not immersed in a world of satyrs and Greek gods. Always feeling the need to be productive, she can be found creating something whether with words or images, or with arts and crafts. She resides in Savannah, GA with her cat, Bagheera.

If you would like to follow Rebekah on social media or contact via email, use the following information:

Website: www.rebekah-lewis.com

Email: lewis.rebekah@rocketmail.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RebekahLewisAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6537317.Rebekah_Lewis

Twitter: @RebekahLLewis

 

UndertheSatyrMoon_200x300

BLURB:

Under the Satyr Moon a curse was wrought, and under the same moon shall it be reversed…

…if the Fates allow.

A freelance photography job goes downhill fast when Lily Anders’ boyfriend dumps her and disappears from the campsite, leaving her stranded in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Feeling lost, heartbroken, and afraid, Lily follows a mysterious melody through the wilderness. She never would have guessed the source of the music would reveal that legendary figures of Greek mythology really existed, and she could be one of them.

Ever since he was cursed, Ariston has only wanted one thing—to be human again. He has searched the globe for a nymph to free him, but over three thousand years of failure has pushed him into a life of solitude. Ariston believes he’s finally found the salvation he’s longed for when he catches Lily spying on him in the forest. Unfortunately, he has to convince her to like him first.

What seems to be the Fates bringing them together in time for the Satyr Moon proves to be an elaborate scheme with macabre intentions. Dionysus has sent Ariston’s estranged brother, Adonis, to ensure the curse cannot be broken, and nothing tosses cold water over the flame of seduction like a twin seeking vengeance.

http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=13&products_id=557&zenid=85df0ca4cfd6f30516560d706ac13ed2

EXCERPT:

“Oh God. Oh God. I’m hallucinating, probably have a fever, and I need to get out of here now.” She nodded as she said the last word as if it finalized her babbling, confirming an inner argument of some sort.

“I don’t think you’re suffering any ailments. You can keep gawking at me all you like. Although, I would prefer if you looked a little higher than my feet.” Much more impressive, that. At least, no one had ever complained before.

She made a derogatory noise in the back of her throat. “Please tell me you’re some D&D nerd in a really well-made costume and you mean me no harm. Also, if you have a cell phone, I would really appreciate it if you don’t take my previous comment personally and let me borrow it for a moment.” Ah, well, that solved one of his concerns; if she had no phone, she couldn’t have sent evidence or contacted anyone about what she’d seen. Unless, of course, she had a camera stashed somewhere. I should probably frisk her to find out.

He crossed his arms. “This is not a costume.” Ariston narrowed his eyes, a thought occurring to him. “I didn’t sense you being attracted by my song like I did the blonde. Are you a magical being? Who are you? A deity? A demigoddess?” He was on to something there, but wasn’t sure what. Had she brought the freak thunderstorm the night before? There had been no sign of rain, yet rained it had. And hailed on top of it.

“Right… Maybe you should let me hold that phone I mentioned before. I think it could bring help for both of us.”

“I don’t have a phone on me. Where would I put it? In my leg hair?” He lifted a hoof and waved it in a counterclockwise motion. Brunette’s eyes widened once more. Why did everyone get all worked up over the hooves, but not the horns? Those mostly received a pffft reaction followed by a series of retorts about his nature of “horniness.” It’s not like he would start making goat noises and chewing on buttons. The only part of his anatomy of any real importance hung heavily between his legs, and that was as human as any mortal man. Except he liked to think he was better endowed.

“In your, uh, gun holster?” Brunette pointed to his panpipes.

“What about it?” Ariston asked.

“You asked where you would put a cellphone. There is a large pocket on your strappy purse thingy.” She nibbled her full bottom lip, an act that shot fire to his groin.

“It’s not a purse. How could you even say that? It’s very manly.”

“Uh huh. Of course.”

“It is.” The twinge of lust faded out as he noticed the blood spotted bandage across the palm of her hand. “How were you injured?” Ariston took an unconscious step toward her. He had medical supplies at the cabin. Though he healed at phenomenal speeds, his blood still made a mess when it flowed on the wrong side of his skin. He could patch her up in no time.

She glanced at her palm, almost surprised to see the bandage there. Then she shook her head and said, “Yeah, this is the weirdest conversation ever. Sorry, but…gotta dash.” She darted off in the opposite direction. As she sprinted away, stinging drops of water began to bombard his skin. Brunette had to be the one manipulating the rain, but how? What was she? It must be linked to her emotions somehow, and it made him wonder what had happened to provoke the furious assault from the elements the night before.

Ariston snapped out of his stupor and chased after her. “Hey, not so fast!” A thought started taking root in his mind. He’d been excited about her before, but if he was right… Gods, he couldn’t let her escape. Not if there was a chance.

Brunette was magical in nature, affecting the elements. The timing was too good to be true. Ariston had sought one of her kind for as long as he’d been a satyr, and if she turned out being a nymph, she was also his savior. Unfortunately, his salvation continued putting distance between them. She may have the upper hand in the rain, but he knew the forest well. He’d capture her like the legends of old, and she’d be his. Mine!

She had revealed herself to him. Perhaps not intentionally, yet she had. All he needed was Brunette to desire him enough to take him as a lover under the Satyr Moon. He smiled. Ariston was rusty when it came to true seduction, without the use of magic, but he enjoyed a challenge. He could be free, mortal, could finally have a family, grow old, and live a normal human life.

Apr 10

Teaser Thursday- Tempeh for Two

To celebrate last week’s new release from MLR Press.

TempehforTwo_200

 

The metallic tang of silver filled my nose.

Silver bullets would kill me.

My heart pounded and a scream rose in my throat. I trembled, and my bladder nearly let go. A normal gun was no threat to me, but this gun was filled with silver. I’d been shot with a silver bullet once.

My throat closed, choking off the scream, and I wasn’t sure I could even speak.

Andrew didn’t pull the trigger. His hands shook. He wasn’t a violent man, and he didn’t want to hurt me. But the command planted in his brain overrode his usual thoughts and conscience.

“Andrew, put it down.” The words came from me in a voice I barely recognized. A voice which barely shook. I would have been proud of myself if I’d been able to spare the brain power. “You don’t want to do this.”

I put compulsion into the words, and ran into the same block I had with the wolf. Someone else had planted compulsion, or perhaps even a full geas, in Andrew’s mind.

“Put it down,” I said again, increasing the compulsion.

Kyle stood beside me, appearing to have no reaction at all to the presence of a silver-loaded gun pointed at his mate. But appearances could be deceiving. He trembled too, and his body was tensed and ready. He was waiting to see if I persuaded Andrew to lose the gun. If not, Kyle would act.

That would endanger him. Silver bullets would do just as much, if not more, damage to my lover than to me. But if I tried to physically disarm Andrew, I would definitely be shot. At point-blank range.

“Andrew, listen to me.” I lowered my voice to the calm, soothing tone which in the past had persuaded humans and werewolves alike to follow my commands. “You do not want to shoot me. You do not want to hurt me.”

His hands shook more and his gaze darted around the room. “Shut up.”

“Put down the gun,” I said.

“No!”

His shaking stopped and he leveled the gun directly at my heart.

Kyle leapt.

Andrew landed on the floor with a loud crack as his head hit the side of the desk. Kyle was on top of him, snarling.

I stood, and for a frantic moment I couldn’t find my voice.

Andrew raised the gun and pressed it to the side of Kyle’s head. Kyle slammed Andrew’s arm to the floor and knelt on it. Andrew screamed.

“Stop!” I shouted, and somehow made it to the floor beside Kyle, who had Andrew’s head in his hands. Squeezing. The man’s screams grew louder.

“Kyle, no!” I poured all the compulsion I could manage into the words.

But compulsion didn’t work on Kyle. Another crack filled the room as Kyle broke Andrew’s neck.

Kyle rocked back against the desk, breathing heavily, staring with wild eyes at the body on which he still knelt. He touched his tongue to his lips and howled.

No matter what else happened, I couldn’t let Kyle shift in my office. The best that would happen would be madness. Wolves couldn’t stand to be confined, and while the office was fairly large, it was still an enclosed room with no way out other than through the closed window behind the desk.

I grabbed Kyle’s shoulders roughly and stared into his eyes, forcing him to meet my gaze. “Kyle, you cannot shift here.”

My heart was about to pound a hole through my chest. I was clammy with sweat and shook so badly I could barely hold onto my lover. And yet my voice came out equally as calm and soothing as when I’d tried to compel Andrew.

Even though compulsion didn’t affect Kyle, my tone of voice did. This was how I spoke to him every time I helped him through a shift. Every time he needed comfort or reassurance. I could only hope it would work now.

“Kyle, stay with me,” I said in the same tone. “Deep breaths. You’re inside. I’ll take you out to run later, but right now I need you to stay with me.”

“Yeah.” The word was practically a growl. He closed his eyes and inhaled and exhaled a few times. I loosened my grip on him as his body relaxed.

When he opened his eyes again, they were Kyle’s normal eyes. Except for the tears.

Apr 07

Tempeh for Two

Friday marked the release of the final novel in my Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series. That series started back in 2011 with the novel Salad on the Side, which grew out of conversations with friends and a challenge from the MLR Press executive editor. At the time, I thought it would just be one novel, but my editor and readers persuaded me otherwise.

It’s been an interesting three years with Kyle Slidell, Tobias Rogan, and their other friends. In addition to the Real Werewolves series, the characters gave rise to the shorter Men of City Pack series of heterosexual romance stories, which run concurrently with the first three books of Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat. Tobias’s backstory of how he was changed into a werewolf at age fifteen became a young adult novel, Fresh Meat, which was published under my YA pen name Jo Ramsey. And back in the M/M romance side, a novella, Chance Met, was a tentative spin-off from RWDEM.

So I’ve gotten to know these characters and their world very, very well. But all good things must come to an end. It’s time for Kyle and Tobias to finally have their happily-ever-after, and for various reasons I’ve retired the characters and universe, which means there will be no additional stories even related to these.

I thank my readers, publisher, and editors for letting me play in this world for a while, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed the journey with me.

Salad moon

Apr 03

Teaser Thursday- With My Heart

WithMyHeart_100

 

“Forgot something when I left last night, so I came home to get ready for work.” She took a drink of her coffee. “Do you have a few minutes to talk?”

“Uh oh. I don’t like the sound of that.” Merit pulled a chair away from the table and plopped down. “Go ahead. I’ve braced myself.”

“I, um, well.” She took another drink followed by a deep breath. “Stefan asked me to move in with him. We should have done it months ago, but I promised you I would stay.”

“But you want to live with him.” He had known this would happen sooner or later. He had just hoped Erin would stick around longer. “Go for it, Rin. I don’t want to be in the way of your life.”

“You aren’t in the way. I was afraid you’d think that.” She bit her lip. “I don’t want to abandon you. When Stefan and I got together, I promised you—”

“Sweetheart, listen to me.” Merit’s chest ached. He didn’t want to lose his best friend, but she deserved happiness, and it wasn’t up to her to babysit him when he couldn’t get his own life together. Besides, he wouldn’t be losing the friendship, just the living arrangement. “I love you, Rin. You know that. So I want you to be happy. You’re right, you and Stefan should have moved in together a long time ago, and I blocked you. It was selfish of me. If it’s what you want to do, you should. I’ll be okay.”

Erin’s face brightened a bit, but, as was typical for her, she tried to argue. “This is an expensive apartment, and I know how much you earn. How are you going to stay here?”

“Maybe I won’t. I can find another place. Or another roommate.” If the previous night hadn’t ended the way it had, Merit would have said he would ask Cole to move in. Between the two of them, paying rent would be no problem at all.

But now he didn’t even know whether Cole would speak to him again, let alone be willing to share an apartment.

“Maybe one of the other dancers needs a place?” Erin said hopefully.

“You never know.” Merit forced a smile. “I’ll be fine, Rin. Don’t worry about me. You’ve been doing that since high school. It’s time for you to take care of your own happiness, and I can see how happy Stefan makes you. It took you guys way too long to get together, and I don’t want it to take any longer for you to move to the next step in your relationship.”

It sounded sincere enough. At least, he hoped it did. He honestly did want Erin to move on and be happy. He just didn’t know how he would manage without her.

“Are you sure?” She hesitated. “Maybe you can get Cole to move in. You guys have been doing pretty well, haven’t you?”

It was Merit’s turn to hesitate. Erin was so happy about Stefan’s invitation that she was glowing. Stefan was good for her, and Merit was pleased that Erin had decided to go to the next level with her lover. If Erin knew what had happened between him and Cole, she would be worried, and he didn’t want to do that to her.

On the other hand, he didn’t really have anyone else he could talk to. The other dancers in his troupe were friends, for the most part, but it was a more superficial friendship than what he had with Erin. She was the one who had talked him through pain and heartache since middle school, as well as celebrating the good times with him. She was the one he needed right then.

“Last night didn’t go so well,” he said slowly. “I don’t even know what happened. I think Cole and I broke up.”

“Oh, no.” She sat in the other chair and reached over to touch Merit’s leg. “What happened? Tell me about it.”

“We went back to his place after the event.” He closed his eyes for a second and swallowed hard. He had had such wonderful plans for Cole’s place. “He said it seems lately as if the only time he gets to see me is at those stupid things. He wouldn’t tell me how he’s feeling, which is part of the problem, I guess. But I think he’s feeling less important than my career.”

“It’s tough with the work you have.” Erin set her mug on the table. “The classes and rehearsals and everything, and then you have these parties on top of it.”

“Yeah, but I don’t really need to go to those.” He sighed. “Not all of them, anyway. I need to make more time for Cole, and right now I don’t even know whether he wants me to.”

“Then you’re going to have to find out.”

“Yeah.” He had no clue how to do that short of point-blank asking Cole what was on his mind. Asking hadn’t worked well the night before, but at this point, if Merit wanted to keep the relationship going he didn’t have much choice.

He had classes scheduled all morning, but as soon as he had a break for lunch he would give Cole a call. The worst that could happen would be an official break-up.

He just hoped that wouldn’t be the result.

Mar 31

Logic Vs. Love

Emotions are not always rational. That’s pretty much a given. When you’re acting out of emotion, you aren’t necessarily listening to your brain.

When you’re in love, sometimes thinking isn’t such a good idea to begin with. It’s far too easy to come up with all the reasons love shouldn’t be happening. To talk yourself out of what might be the best thing to ever happen to you.

On the other hand, when you’re in love, it’s also far too easy to do something unwise because you’re following your heart instead of your brain.

I Heart Pink

I’m in a place right now where I’m trying to decide whether to do something. Logically, I know all the reasons it would be a bad idea. Emotionally, since love is a factor, I believe everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

Not that I’m all that great at being rational anyway. But at a time like this, my heart and mind at at total war with each other, and it’s hard to figure out which one to listen to.

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to choose between your heart and your head? How did it work out for you?

Mar 27

Teaser Thursday- Changing Planes

Changing Planes released in June 2013 from Loose Id. I just felt like sharing a snippet of it today. 

Changing Planes_200

Sunday night over pizza, fries, and soda from Oliver’s favorite takeout place, Colin said, “Tomorrow’s Monday.”

“Indeed it is.” He knew exactly what Colin was getting at but couldn’t resist teasing him a bit. They’d spent the afternoon skidding on the ice on the Frog Pond in Boston Common, pushing each other, sliding, and falling on their asses, and he wasn’t ready to let go of the easy fun they’d had to have a serious discussion. Not quite yet anyway.

“You have to work, and I might have a phone call to make.” Colin set his plate on the coffee table and leaned back in the corner of the couch, facing Oliver. “I know you probably aren’t in the mood to talk, but we need to, Oliver. I need to know what I’m doing tomorrow while you’re at work. Am I packing and making plans with my friends back in Sacramento to get me through until I manage to come out here again or you manage to go there?”

Oliver hadn’t believed he would get out of the conversation so easily. He just wished Colin would have let him finish eating first. He didn’t see why they had to discuss it anyway. They both knew what they wanted. Where they belonged. Over the weekend, Oliver had made peace with the idea of making Colin uproot himself. Colin didn’t seem to have any problem with it, and it was his life.

Having Colin in his apartment had only proven to Oliver they belonged together. Every time he woke up and saw Colin beside him in bed, he felt more at home than he ever had. Talking and laughing with Colin was like being with his best friend.

And the sex was boiling hot, which definitely didn’t hurt.

“What do you want to do?” He wasn’t going to let Colin put the whole thing on him. “You’re the one who’ll have to make the most changes if we’re going further with this.”

“And I’m the one who’s used to making changes, remember?” Colin hesitated. “You know what I want, Oliver. I don’t know why it happened so fast for us, but it’s right. You know it’s right. I wouldn’t be able to make the change immediately. Even if they have an opening on a Boston route, it would take time to get all the paperwork done, and get things rearranged. At least a couple of weeks, and that’s if I call in a favor.”

Oliver pretended to think about it, staring off into space, but he didn’t need to think, and he doubted Colin did either. “So the sooner you call them, the sooner you’ll be here for good.” For four days, they had been a true couple, and he didn’t want that to change. He doubted Colin did either.

“Call them,” he said finally. “Find out how soon they can move you. I’ll talk to my landlord. There shouldn’t be a problem with you moving in, but I’ll have to put your name on the lease. And I’ll have to rearrange the furniture to fit your stuff in, but that shouldn’t be a problem either.”

“Put down your plate.”

Oliver did, and Colin tackled him. He wrapped his arms tightly around Oliver, and knocked him back so they were lying down together. Oliver laughed, and Colin echoed it. Oliver didn’t remember ever being this happy, not even when Sophia had accepted his proposal. Colin was his. They would be together forever, or at least a long time, and Oliver wouldn’t be alone anymore. He would be with the man he loved.

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