Monday, April 30, 2012

Excerpt from Chris Quinton's new book Fox Hunt


Have you read any of Chris Quinton's books? Her new one Fox Hunt is available from Manifold Press HERE.

There were two motorbikes parked by the workshop when I pulled in off the lane. Mike’s Kawasaki and another, bigger, beast in black and chrome. As I got out of the car, my brother came running from the workshop, his face white in the swathe of light from the open door.
“Rob!” he yelled. “Ann’s gone!”
“Yes,” I said calmly. “Mr B has her and we have his money. Or rather, Dad does. Why the panic? Did you think she’d been nicked?”
“Bee?”
“As in Baverstock.” I peered more closely at him. “Mike? Are you okay? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”
“I’m fine.” His smile seemed a bit forced. “Just a bit hung over, and finding her gone was a jolt.”
“I’ll bet. Too much imagination, Stud.”
“Huh!” Then he seemed to remember something, and the smile was turned up to full wattage. “Rob, come and meet an old pal who’s going to solve a problem for us.”
“Oh?” I said. “I wasn’t aware we have a problem. Apart from Dad.”
“Exactly. I meant what I said, you know. Those paintings could well be hot, and Baverstock may or may not know it. Then there’s Dad’s fall which might not have been an accident or even a fall. So-”
“Mike, you’re not making much sense.”
“Yes, I am. I don’t like the idea of you being here alone, or the panel when we’re both away seeing Dad, so – ”
“I am perfectly capable of looking after myself!” I snapped. “Will you stop equating gay with limp wrists! I’m not a fainting waif and I’m no pushover! It wasn’t me who ducked out of Karate classes because they interfered with my love life!” I had a green belt in Shotokan Karate, hardly Bruce Lee material, but it kept me fit.
“So,” Mike continued, ignoring me, “I’ve arranged a backup bodyguard.”
“What?” I scowled. “Who? Uncle Joe? What could he do? Huff distillery-breath on them?” It began to rain heavily, which did not improve my temper.
“Fox,” he said brightly. “He owes me a favour, so I asked him to stay for a while. Until Adam’s finished and gone back to Baverstock.”
“Oh. Did you.” Fox? What kind of name was that? If he was one of Mike’s friends, he probably smelled like one and was as house-trained; a spotty would-be biker with delusions of style. Or the real deal. This was Mike’s idea of being a responsible adult? My nerves had been stretched raw from the moment I received Lisa’s phone call telling me about Dad, and this was the last straw. I had a choice between anger or anger with violence, and the first swept over me before the second could get a toe in the door. Besides, satisfying though it might be, punching Mike’s lights out would get us nowhere. “Nice of you to consult me first,” I snapped. “You can tell your old pal Fox his company is not required, so he can jump on his toy bike and pedal off back where he came from!”
“Don’t be hasty, Rob! Just stop and think for a – ”
“I have, and foxes are superfluous to requirements!”
” – moment. He can sleep in my room – ”
“No! Of all the arrogant, stupid, selfish – if you’re so concerned about me and the bloody panel, why don’t you and Donna move in here? Hmm? Thought of that, Stud? So hop it, both of you!”
I spun on my heel and stalked into the cottage, slamming the door behind me. It was old, of solid oak, and slammed very satisfactorily. After a short pause, a bike fired up and roared away.
One bike. A sharp tattoo of brass on brass rattled in my ears as someone played a tune on the lion-and-ring knocker. I jerked the door open, smiling with all my teeth. “Fox,” I said, not feeling the need to moderate my words with Mike’s strange friends. “On your bike.” The figure on my unwelcome mat was clothed head to foot in dripping wet motorcycle gear – black leather topped off by one of those black full-face visored helmets that looked like a leftover from the Star Wars epics. He took off his gloves, and then his helmet, and ran his hand through his matted hair.
“Robert Rees,” he said. His voice was quiet, deepish and slightly husky, and started a slow curl of warmth through my blood. “Can I come in?”
In the light spilling from the room I could see he was pale, the almost transparent pallor that goes with naturally auburn hair. His was not just red, it was a copper mane that came past his collar in heavy waves. The warmth became a pulse of interest, and I flattened it quickly. I’d been dateless far too long, obviously. He was about my age as far as I could tell, just under six feet tall and looked as if he’d escaped from a Hollywood Brat Pack: all lean grace and cheekbones and thin high-bridged nose, and a gold ring in one earlobe. He also had a chin with a jut to it that begged to be introduced to a fist. He looked like fire and ice. He looked like trouble. ‘Can I come in?’ Who was he trying to kid? Not a chance …
The impulse sort of faded away and, “Yes,” I heard myself say. I was moving aside to let him walk past me before I fully realised what I was doing. His eyes were very green and as our gazes met, he smiled. The conviction I was imagining things edged into my mind and took over. This biker lout was no more trouble than Mike. A pest and a pain in the backside, but that was all.
“Thanks,” he said. “Mike told me to say he’s sorry he upset you, but he is worried.”
“Huh. I’ll wring his neck when I get hold of him, but it’s not your fault. You can stay for a day or so, I suppose.” I shut the door on the night. I felt oddly disconnected from my irritation with Mike and my unwanted guest, and couldn’t recall why he was unwanted, just that he was. The beginnings of a headache twinged behind my eyes. “Have you got any gear?”
“Yes, on the bike.”
“Bring it in, then. There’s another tarp in the workshop if you want to cover yours up. You look as if you could do with a hot drink. Coffee?”
“Thanks. Black, no sugar.”
“Go on, then. And wipe your feet!”
By the time I’d put the kettle on, he was back, panniers draped over one shoulder, hair straggling wetly over his face. He dropped the panniers and held out a hand to me. “Thanks for the hospitality,” he said and I wondered if he was being sarcastic. “I am house-trained, I promise.”
That got a bit close to reading my thoughts and I could feel my colour rising. “So I should hope,” I snipped, shaking hands automatically. His paw was narrow and long-fingered and chilled, the grip firm without being a power play. I glanced down at our joined hands.
On the first finger of his right hand was what looked to be an antique gold ring, the armorial design on the bezel worn close to obliteration. Hmm. So the Brat Packer was wearing a fancy ring. That didn’t quite go with the image. I wondered briefly where he got it from, then it fuzzed and slipped from my mind. “Furniture isn’t improved by being dripped on,” I said sternly, determined to play the bitch to remind him he was here under sufferance, and if it sounded more bitch-queen, then tough. It might even scare him off. “These are the house rules and if you don’t like them you know what you can do about it. Since you’re the resident Doberman, you can sleep on the sofa in the living room. It’s a lot closer to the workshop than Mike’s attic. You can also do the cooking and washing-up for both of us while you’re here, so I can spend more time on Dad’s work. Do you have any problems with that?”
“No, Rob,” he said meekly. Too mealy-mouthed, by half.
Visit Chris Quinton's website for news on all her books! 
Thanks for stopping by All Male Romance :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sedonia's Men Of Tokyo


Please forgive me. I just couldn’t help myself. A work I created and populated, born of the man in my life who means everything to me and the path my life has taken, has become so much a part of me that I couldn’t fight the need anymore.
What need am I talking about? Simply, my need, as an author and person, to allow myself to spend more time in this world, the world of the White Tigers. You might ask, well, if you love it so much, of course, that seems perfectly natural! Why wouldn’t you write as many stories as you can? Especially when there is a definite group of readers (bless all of you deep in my heart!) who also love that world.
It wasn’t so simple. Even though I adore the White Tigers and have gotten untold amounts of satisfaction and pleasure in writing this series, I was younger, less experienced and carried a strong belief that I had burned myself out, written myself out, that the series was done, nothing left, even though I had two more stories in mind (i,e, that of the twins Mod and Tatou and that of Jin and Wu Li who make an appearance in Men of Tokyo: Sudden Heat. I didn’t realize that it would be best just to continue this eries and not worry about writing books I believed would be more popular. Now I have taken the time to write to people who have signed the White Tigers Fanlist as well as all those good-hearted kind and supportive readers on sites like Facebook and Goodreads who have personally told me how much they loved the series or have written one after the other reviews saying how much they loved it. Yet others have written to me personally and expressed how much the White Tigers stories have been comforting, helped them in their lives and moved them deeply. How could I have been so short-sighted?!
Once I understood this truth, I set about to fixing it immediately and within an hour had half of the first chapter done of the next book in the series, Men of Tokyo: Forbidden Cravings, the story of Mod and Tatou, the twins who are so mischevous and lovable. They are crazy about Quan Chan and always tease him and make him blush, but they are also two of his greatest admirers and did everything they could to comfort him when his heart was broken in Men of Tokyo: Sudden Surrender.However, Mod and Tatou are also as deep and intelligent as they are mischevous and sexy and the story of how they came to be at the White Tiger is in the process of being told. The good news also is that for established readers of the White Tigers, Mod and Tatou’s story is an enriching addition to the series and for readers new to the series, Men of Tokyo: Forbidden Cravings can be read as a prequel to the whole series!
All that said, I’m just so happy to be working on this series again and below is a snippet from the first chapter (unedited) to give you a sense of the story. Hope you enjoy! And thank you again for reading this and for your support. 


Warmly, Sedonia


http://www.sedoniaguillone.com/




Snippet:
Chapter One
London, England a few years back

“Mod, what the hell? You’ve got to be taking the piss!” Tatou stared at his brother. Like looking into a mirror really, except that their mother’s Thai features were more obvious on him. Mod’s dark eyes were a touch narrower. And the grin on his full, pouty lips was always slightly more devilish. At least Tatou thought so.
“I swear I’m not!”
In the main room of the suite, the girls’ pajama party Angela had invited them to rang on. Mostly girls, giggling. An occasional cackle.
“Then Angie’s taking the piss.” The words that had just come from Mod’s lips could not be true. Not of Angie, who’d been their mate since third form and had followed them to Uni.
Mod took a swig of his beer and clapped him on the back. “Ask her yourself, mate. She swears it wasn’t her idea. Someone asked her to pass the offer along.” He hooked his arm so that Tatou’s neck rested in its crook and pressed their cheeks together, giving Tatou a whiff of his brother’s beer breath. “Just think, a hundred quid for a few seconds’ snog.”
Tatou wrenched out of his brother’s loose hold, but not before an odd frisson went through parts of him it shouldn’t have, parts he’d worked bloody hard to keep under control for a long time. “There are so many reasons we shouldn’t do that.”
“Hey, guys!” Angie’s voice shot from the room followed by another shriek of laughter. The volume in the already smoke and music-filled room rose. The natives were getting restless. And they wanted what a hundred quid would buy them.
That did nothing to wipe away Mod’s shit-eating grin. The barmy bugger. He was always up for anything. But this? “First of all, Mod, it’s prostitution.”
That pulled a throaty laugh from his drunk brother. “Okay, T. And what are the other reasons?”
“Well, there’s one other, really.” Tatou stepped in closer. Gay they both were but that didn’t mean you sucked face with your own brother. He didn’t even allow that track in his thoughts, even when his mind tried to go there. ”In case you hadn’t noticed, you’re my brother? There’s got to be a few injunctions in the Bible that tell us exactly where we’re going to end up if we snog. Especially for a room full of horny chicks.”
For the first time since Mod had pulled him out of the party room to tell him what Angie and her fellow dorm mates wanted, his grin faded. “I don’t see the problem in that. We have our own forms of affection, or have you forgotten?” He leaned in and nuzzled Tatou’s cheek. His brother’s soft lips made his skin tingle. And other body parts that would remain nameless. He closed his eyes. They’d shared a bed in the family’s tiny flat all their lives and often helped each other fall asleep by what they called “fitting.” It had only been here at Uni that they each had a bed in their dorm room and only occasionally practiced fitting. Truthfully, he missed the closeness. They were best friends. Didn’t go anywhere apart. Not even meals. Not even dating, limited though it was in their twenty-two years at this point to an occasional threesome in which the third guy was the focus, not each other. They really were two halves of one whole. But now, it was time be…normal. Not to go in the direction his mind and body had been heading. Being in school, so many people in the dorm all the time had kept them both…apart, you could say. This was not going to help. Then Mod’s nuzzling lips whispered a trail toward his ear, toward the sensitive flesh of his earlobe…
With a hand on Mod’s chest, he pushed him so that Mod was forced to take a step back. “Forget it.”
“There you guys are! What’s going on? The girls are going to come after you if you take any longer.” Angie, dressed in a pink silky nightgown and fuzzy slippers, danced her blonde-headed way over and put her arms around both their shoulders, swaying in time to the bass beat that made the floorboards vibrate. “I’ve got the collection going already. And…” She lifted her head up, a triumphant gleam in her hazel eyes, “There’s another fifty quid in it if you take your shirts off.”
Mod’s eyes widened. “Bloody hell!” He turned on Tatou. “T, if you don’t do this, you’re the bloodiest prat ever!” He narrowed his eyes. “Forget your stupid ideas of hell and damnation. Think of how we need this money for our trip!”
Ah yes. Their graduation present to themselves, partially funded by Mum and Dad after graduation. A whole summer in Japan. At that special place in Tokyo they’d found on the Net. Honestly, they were headed for one of the most expensive cities in the world. They could use all the extra dosh they could get. That hundred and fifty quid would go right into their travel fund. He heaved a sigh. “All right. Let’s do it.”
Angie let out a girl squeal. “This is going to be so hot!” She hooked her arms through both of theirs and led them back into the crowded room.
Shite. The common room of Angie’s suite looked more like what Tatou imagined the inside of Chippendale’s looked like on a weekend night, except that the patrons were dressed in nightgowns, pajamas and slippers and were draped all over the sofas, chairs and floor of the suite’s common room, full of pillows and blankets. And a few stuffed animals thrown in. The shrieks of delight drowned out the music as Angie led them to the front of the room where there was a small space away from the heat generated by all those horny college women. The sight made his heart pound and throat tighten. His mind fogged and his vision blurred. Up until this moment, he’d been as much the impish tease in their group of friends as Mod was, sometimes more so. Now, with all those pairs of female eyes on him and his brother, knowing what they wanted, were giving up money for, what was more nerve-wracking? All this lustful attention and expectation, or the fact that he was about to break his personal taboo? A hand clapped on his shoulder. He turned.
Mod was grinning at him, the corner of his full lips turned up. “C’mon, mate, let’s give ‘em their money’s worth, eh?” Before Tatou could answer, Mod released his shoulder. His hands went to the hem of his own t-shirt, lifted it off and flung it aside in one swoop. Eliciting, of course, another chorus of feminine catcalls.
Tatou glanced at his brother’s slim torso. Another shiver of electric heat travelled through him. Am I really so narcissistic that Mod turns me on?
Mod stepped up to him. “You’re taking too long,” he said and grasped two fistfuls of Tatou’s shirt. A sharp yank forced Tatou’s arms up and before he knew it, the air of the room hit his bare akin and another round of lusty girl cheers pounded through his head. A lot of these girls were mates but he swore he didn’t recognize them now, a feral lot of she-wolves in heat.
But then Mod’s hands closed around his upper arms and Mod’s dark eyes bore into his. The mischievous gleam he knew so well shone out of them, a direct reflection of his own, of course. But in private, they had their own world, a communication that didn’t always need words. Whatever Mod really felt about what they were doing, would surely come out later once they were back in their own dorm room two floors below this one. Especially if he thought Tatou was mad at him for it. Cheeky as Mod was, his brother’s concerns were his and he cared. Always cared… Tatou’s gaze fell on Mod’s lips. His consciousness registered that around them, the room had grown quiet, except for the music, which had fallen to a slow dance kind of love ballad.
Wordlessly, Mod pulled him close. Their bare chests touched, then pressed. Warm skin growing warmer from their combined heat. The embrace forced Tatou’s arms out. At first he let them hang at his sides, but then the temptation was too much. The moment took over and he reached around…let his hands rest on the small of Mod’s back. The hard ridges of muscles along his spine med Tatou’s fingertips. Tan-hued skin, smooth and perfect. Even though their Dad was English, there were some Mediterranean ancestors mixed in so the golden hue and shiny, dark hair came from both their parents.
Mod leaned in and pressed his lips on the side of Tatou’s neck. Tatou’s eyelids fluttered. That felt too good and he tilted his head. Mod feathered a small kiss there, right over the pulse, then licked. Tatou let out a breath and squeezed Mod’s back. Good thing their fronts were pressed together or all these women would get an eyeful of a hard-on growing in the front of his jeans. Their audience was getting well more than a hundred fifty quid’s worth as far as he was concerned.
Mod trailed those little kisses up, over his jaw and onto his cheek. Damn! The fire ignited deep inside him. The very desire he’d kept hidden for so long, tried to hide from himself was now welling up, burning like flames through dry leaves for all to see. Did Mod know this? The one thing he’d never voiced out loud, in spite of their closeness. He must have known anyway, sensed that’s how his brother wanted to be kissed and held.
Mod’s hand laced into his short hair, cupped the back of his head. Mod’ eyes burned into his, lids heavy, thick lashes giving them that lazy yet hot look. The next he knew, their lips were together. A pierce of hot wet moistness past the seam of his lips and Mod’s tongue clashed with his.
Another feminine chorus sounded behind them, but this one of nearly silent murmurs, sighs. Except for the music, you could have heard a pin drop. And but for the soft moist friction of their lips and tongues together. A sensuous dance that sent invisible threads of arousal and need thundering through Tatou’s body. Mod’s cock was hard. Tatou felt it, pressing against his through their pants. Hard, rock hard insistence. Shite, what would happen next if they hadn’t the audience? The answer was simple—everything Tatou had ever imagined and squashed away. Locked in the forbidden corners of his mind and soul.
Mod’s lips lingered. His tongue slowly, sensuously explored Tatou’s, every recess, glided over his teeth. Mod smelled good. He always did. Even with the beer. There was always an undercurrent of mint in there. His lips were soft, the sweetest velvet. Delicious. Addictive.
As if teasing the hell out of him, Mod ended the kiss. His hands slid back to Tatou’s shoulders and Mod gazed at him, heavy-lidded, cheeks flushed. Then the devil slid back in again. The gleam of mischief returned and Mod turned back to their audience. “Was that all right for you, ladies?”
Angie stepped forward, somewhat unsteady on her feet. Her pale cheeks show a reddish glow. Her eyes were glazed over. A smile pasted on her lips. “Perfect,” she murmured.
Mod grinned. He released Tatou whose knees felt slightly not solid. He wavered a moment then forced himself to balance. In the next second, Mod had bent over and snatched up both their shirts. He handed Tatou his shirt then reached for the beer he’d set aside on the nearby table before their…performance.
In a daze, Tatou worked his way back into his shirt, while ghostly tingles strayed through his lips, his neck, his cheeks. The memory of Mod’s chest against his remained in his skin. As he turned, he caught sight of Angie pressed closed to Mod, her hand pushed into his jeans pocket. She was slipping him their earnings, no doubt, while the guests of one her popular girls’ night in gatherings were whispering among themselves. Then she reached out and gently clasped Tatou’s wrist, pulling him closer. “Thank you guys so, so much,” she said, her eyes reflecting the delight she’d just been given. “You have given a group of exam-soaked women something to dream about besides failing finals and not graduating.” She kissed each of them on the cheek. “I will be forever indebted to both of you.”


Monday, April 16, 2012

As HAL BODNER explains it...


When Tristan told me he was going to put me in the Author Spotlight this week, it was very hard not to be infected by his enthusiasm. However I had no idea what being in the Spotlight entailed so I asked him.   “You could do a blog post,” he told me.

Now, THAT brought me up short.  As some of my fans know, I am a virtual computer illiterate when it comes to things like blogs and posts and tweets and texts and twoots and such.  Oh, I can “surf the web” as we used to call it back before the Millennium, but I’m rather baffled by this modern ability to stay in constant cyber-contact with everyone from your first grade teacher to your current co-workers to that hot guy you met in Grand Central Station back in 1986.  Frankly, I don’t understand how people have the time to do all that texting and twooting.  I tried to text once on my boyfriend’s cell phone and it took me forever to type even a short message.    

So when Tristan brought up the Dreaded Blog, I panicked a little.  Fortunately, I have some author friends who are far more cyber savvy that I am and, with the help of their advice and a couple of calming Vallium, I decided to give it a whirl. 

Apparently an author’s blog is supposed to give you, the reader, some useful insight into one of several things: the author’s creative process, the author’s life, the author’s choice of wall paper pattern for the guest bedroom – you know, the important stuff.  Given that this is All Male Romance, I thought it might be interesting to let y’all in on how I became what we call in the trade a “guy-on-guy” romance writer. 

The guy-on-guy part is easy.  I’m gay in case ya’ll hadn’t already guessed that.  What you may not have realized is how gay I am.  In fact, I suspect it is impossible to be more gay than I am!   If there was a contest, maybe Liberace could have beaten me but he had access to all those fabulous outfits—a distinctly unfair advantage. Or perhaps Paul Lynde, or Harvey Fierstein, or Bette Davis.

Let me be clear. I am in no way effeminate.  I’ll have y’all know that I was a major jock in my twenties and thirties, spending hours at the gym (and NOT just in the sauna, thank you!) and pretty good at competitive fencing -- foil only, none of that brutish hacking with a saber or flinging am epee around like a whip. I had a twenty-eight inch waist and six-pack abs back before they were fashionable and people who saw me without my shirt just assumed I was malnourished.  So, I’m not at all girly.

But I am…dramatic. 

I am dramatic as only a consummately gay man can be.  Someone once told me that, if I’d have been born straight, I would have been Tony Randall. Moreover, I have a wickedly quick wit and a tongue sharp enough to slash tires at fifty paces.  And I can quote extensively from Sondheim and Cole Porter lyrics while flinging lines from old movies around the room with reckless abandon. 

Finally, do you remember the aforementioned washboard abs?  On a twenty-something guy living in West Hollywood?  On a SINGLE twenty-something yadda, yadda, yadda?  Let’s just say that, in the guy-on-guy venue, I was very popular at parties.

Which brings me to the second part of the original query—how did I become a romance writer.  To this, I must honestly answer thus:  I have no freaking idea!!!

I started my literary career as a horror writer. BITE CLUB, my first novel, was a huge success.  But, insofar as the horror writers community is concerned, it had three things working against it. It’s funny; it’s gay; and it’s a vampire novel.  I don’t even want to begin to try and tell you how difficult it was to get my peers to read it! 



The situation with paranormal romance authors (and readers) is completely different.  They adore “gay”.  They salivate over “vampires”. And they lap up “funny” like fresh cream. So a funny, gay paranormal vampire romance would be a sure fire winner, right?

Sadly, I never managed to write one of those! 

In truth, I wrote only two paranormal romances before becoming known as a romance writer.  I constantly marvel at how quickly that happened.  I certainly never intended it. 

IN FLESH AND STONE was the first thing I wrote after my husband died.  Jimmy passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly of complications from food poisoning of all things.  Suddenly, I found “funny” was beyond me, at least temporarily.  Someone I’d met in the horror community had recently become involved in establishing a romance publisher. She’d read BITE CLUB and loved it and urged me to tack a whack at writing something for her.

My first attempt was a disaster.  I foolishly thought I needed to write a traditional “bodice ripper” with a frail young female protagonist.  I very rapidly discovered that I had NO IDEA how women felt about sex.  Even my descriptions of the male body, as told through the eyes of the heroine, practically SCREAMED, “A gay man wrote this!”  Consequently, I threw the thing out and thought that would be the end of it.  A few months later, my friend called wanting a manuscript. I explained the problem and she verbally beat me about the ears and shoulders.  To make a long telephone call short, she told me I should just forget about what I THOUGHT a romance should be and just write about what I knew—guys having relationships with guys.

I’d been toying with a couple of ideas for a gargoyle book in the BITE CLUB universe but I’d never taken it past the pondering stage.  I was also still devastated from losing Jimmy. And, one day, I was farting around on the computer, trying to write something--anything!—when an opening sentence sprang into my head:

”The only time Alex could remember being surrounded by so many naked dicks was many years ago in the steam room at the gym.”

That’s all it took.  The result-- only five days later—was IN FLESH AND STONE.  The book just poured out of me in what ended up being very close to its final form.  I think, in many ways, it was cathartic.  It was something I needed very badly to write as a way of helping myself move on after Jimmy’s death.  To this day when I re-read it, I’m shocked to think that those are my words on the page. It’s intensely poetic, incredibly passionate and deeply moving – not to mention hot and steamy where it needs to be.  And, I STILL get teary-eyed when I read that last scene!

So, FLESH was followed by FOR LOVE OF THE DEAD which I didn’t like nearly as much.  Eventually, I returned to my comic horror roots with the BITE CLUB sequel, THE TROUBLE WITH HAIRY which came out in February.   I’m fairly certain there will be a few more installments in the “Chris and Troy” universe.  I am very much hoping there will be more than a few additional paranormal romances within the next couple of years.  I’ve found the genre to be incredibly rich and I’ve a great number of ideas I’d like to take a whack at.

And who knows… perhaps I’ve a funny gay vampire paranormal romance novel in me yet!

~Hal Bodner

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chapter 1 of DAMMIT! by Michele L Montgomery


Dammit!
Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE


“Do you think it’s at all possible to make this yellow thing go any faster than it already is? I have a flight to catch and it’s one I can’t afford to miss. It’s not like we’re stuck in traffic here. Its three a.m., there’s no one in front of you.”

“No, no. Not possible. Snow make it hard to drive. Why you leave before sun shine? Maybe it make snow go away, eh?”

Michael groaned and slid down further in the backseat. His fingers tapped on the door, showing his impatience. He looked out all of the windows and cursed the falling snow. And it wasn’t just falling. Oh no, that would be putting it lightly. It was coming down in blizzard fashion, and he had to fly in this?

Michael exhaled. God, how he hated to travel; it was like a train wreck waiting to happen. Or a plane wreck. Whatever. Turbulence that felt as if the damn plane were attached to a bungee cord that could snap at any moment, lost luggage, then an engine failure that caused an emergency landing had just about sworn him off flying for good. Just the thought of it made him shudder. The lost luggage thing hadn’t been so bad, though. He did get to shop for some replacement clothes and found a pair of jeans that made his ass look fabulous, if he did say so himself, so there was that sparkly plus to an otherwise crappy experience. But still.

Flights after that had somehow managed to go smoothly, but now this mess. First, his alarm clock had malfunctioned, waking him up to Ozzy at two o’clock in the morning. And who in their right mind plays Ozzy at that time of the day? Damn alarm clock. It was supposed to go off at four. He’d lain in bed glaring at the evil thing, trying to decide if he should just get up, get his shower, and have his coffee, or go back to sleep. Getting up had won out because he couldn’t trust the alarm would go off again at four. Needless to say, the damn thing was
now in the incinerator.

To make matters worse, the snow had continued to fall, all the way to the airport, “making” the cab driver proceed cautiously, as in driving twenty miles an hour all the way down the freeway. This lovely ride was now coming up on an hour long, and he lived not twenty minutes from the massive circus tent the people in Colorado called D.I.A. The cab driver, who drove like it was a Sunday morning with nowhere to go, was doing his damndest to make him late, but somehow, someway, they were finally pulling up to the departures curb.

Michael let the cab slow to a rolling stop, then threw open the door, prompting an angry outburst from the driver, in a language Michael couldn’t hope to understand. If he had to guess, he was pretty sure the guy wasn’t thanking him for the great conversation and charming company.

He checked in with the skycap and then ran to the security gate, arriving breathless, ticket and ID in hand, only to come to a parking lot of people of all shapes, sizes, and colors, none of them moving or looking at all happy. Everyone and their mother had decided to travel at the same damn time as him, just his luck, and here he’d thought that by taking the early flight, the airport would be quieter, certainly less busy than this. Somberly, he stood in line and tried to ignore the couple behind him with their two screaming kids. Who in their right mind traveled with kids? The poor things had to get up early, probably missed breakfast, and then got dumped into this madness.

Time ticked on. And on. And on. Then finally, after twenty minutes of thanking God he was gay and would never reproduce, it was his turn. Like a well seasoned traveler, he had his shoes off, his pockets emptied, and his belt and laptop in the plastic bin, ready to go. He walked through the machine, then heard a noise that sounded a lot like, Ahhh! That same noise his aunt had made at him when he was little and doing something he wasn’t supposed to. He froze in place and stared at the security guard on the other side of the yellow line, motioning for him to come hither. Fear took hold like a fist in his belly, his heart thumping, and he stood there, paralyzed, because everyone was staring at him as though he were public enemy number one on the US government’s No-Fly List. Oh God, he knew he’d done something wrong or that guy wouldn’t be signaling to him, pointing him out and making his face heat up and break out in a sweat.

“Sir, please step this way. You’re holding up the line.”

“Oh, good Christ, why me?” he said, wishing he could disappear right at that very moment. He moved toward the guard, the cold tile floor making his bare feet all the more uncomfortable, his eyes wide and unblinking.

“Arms out to your sides, sir,” the guard said. He sounded annoyed, at that.

“Yes, sir,” Michael said, doing as he was told. Like this, of all things, was exactly what he needed to have happen, and right now? Why was it every time he traveled, shit happened to him?

Up one side and down the other went the wand as he stood there sweating from embarrassment, but it was amazingly quiet. He cocked his head to the side and snickered as if to ask, now what?

“Please step to your left and the next available guard will be right with you.”

Michael groaned and looked at the man. “But…why? Your wand thingy didn’t beep.”

The guard raised his left eyebrow, lowered his head. “You’ll want to Step to your left now, sir.”

“But, what about my stuff? My laptop cost me a…”

“It’s safe and sound. Please, step to your left. Next.”

And with that, Michael was dismissed. He fought the urge to growl again and did as he was told. Did he look like a terrorist? And, for that matter, what did they even look like? He moaned inwardly, sighed and rolled his eyes. Why had he even agreed to do this? Oh, that’s right, he hadn’t. He was being forced to do this. Well, not exactly forced, but if he didn’t do it, he’d be worse for the wear, and a shitty cousin, on top of it. Then he saw what the man in front of him was being put through, and his dick suddenly woke up. Perfect. Just perfect.

“Frisk? They frisk you now?” he said to no one in particular.

“I’m putting it up to a free feel, personally. Perverted bastards. I swear, if a man touches me, I’m throwing down on him. Nasty creatures, groping paws all over this hot body. I want a woman!”

Michael looked to his right, and a laugh escaped before he had a chance to swallow it down. The girl standing next to him had red and orange hair and eye makeup so thick he was sure if he’d scraped his nail across it, no one would’ve been able to tell, bright pink eye makeup, at that; the girl must have been color blind. “What are they looking for?” he asked.

“Fuck if I know. What do they think, that we’re all armed and hiding said weapons in our bodily orifices? Not very sanitary!”

Michael grew lightheaded as a wave of panic shot through his body. He swallowed hard a few times, his throat like sandpaper scraping against rock. “Oh shit, do they actually check those open ports? Here, in front of God and everyone?”

“Hell if I know. This is my first ride since all the bullshit started with those insane, flying acrobat wannabe’s. All I know is that no man is touching me. Do you hear that?” she yelled, raising her voice with every syllable.

One look at Mr. Gorgeous—tall, muscular, blond, and blue-as-sky eyes—frisking everyone, and Michael’s dick started dancing about in his pants. He was a goner, just wonderful. Six months without any action, whatsoever, and little man down below starts his happy dancing at the mere idea of being groped by a beefy, blonde TSA agent. “This is so not my day.”

“Next!”

“Good luck, Mister. Don’t let them shove their fingers up you, unless they have a glove and lube!”

He swayed with dizziness. “What?”

“Cavity search. Haven’t you ever watched Lifetime?”

He was pretty sure his heart was going to go ahead and explode from stress. Or maybe he’d just have a nice aneurism and escape this humiliation altogether. When he walked up to the rather large man standing near the… “I have to undress?”

“Sir. Please raise your arms out to the side and spread your legs.”

“With my clothes on, right?” Though the guard was all kinds of hot and muscular, Michael wasn’t good with having a stranger’s digits entering his body, at any time.

“Yes, sir.”

Once Michael did as he was instructed, he saw the man slip a pair of latex gloves on, and he yelped, “Oh my God! What are those for?”

“I’m only going to frisk you.”

“Can I ask why?”

“Random search, that’s all. Do you have something to hide? You seem a little nervous.”

“No! No, nothing to hide. I emptied my pockets and took off my shoes and belt, so I don’t understand why I’m being… Oh!”

“Sorry, sir. It’s part of my job.”

“Touching a man’s penis is part of your job?”

“No, sir, that was a slip. I apologize. Please turn around.”

Michael turned, as he was instructed, and jumped as that big hand had made its way up the inside of his thigh and back down again. As far as his dick was concerned, this was foreplay, and it made him achingly hard.

Add sexual frustration to his already overdone day. And it hadn’t even hit seven o’clock in the morning yet.

“Okay, sir. You’re free to go.”

“I’m clear?”

“Yes,” the man answered with a gleam in his eye Michael took as lust.

“Right, so you didn’t find anything?”

“Well, yes, as a matter of fact I did find…something. But it’s not a danger to anyone other than you if you don’t get it taken care of.”

The man grinned, patted Michael’s shoulder, and said, “You’re just fine. Next!”

Michael didn’t miss the other man’s suggestive look or what he’d been looking for. Random search, indeed. He offered a slight nod, cleared his throat, resumed his regular breathing pattern, and concentrated on walking to his personal items, with a hard on he was doing his best to hide.

“Oh man, that looks painful. If I was into dudes, I’d sure take you into the restroom and help you out with that.”

Michael couldn’t have been any more embarrassed if he tried. Make-up girl again. “Have you no couth?”

She laughed and sauntered over to her items, then came back to sit beside him. “None. Not at all, whatsoever. What’s the point? If you hide your true self from the world, they’ll never know you were here. It’s not like I’m ever going to see these snobs again, and if I do, they’ll remember me. You? I’ll remember you cuz when Mr. Sexy back there felt you up, you popped a woody and he, while you were turned around, grinned like a schoolboy. He liked it.”

“Oh, you’re bad. Shameless is what you are. And for your information, men have no control over how their penises react to certain situations. It’s a normal reaction.”

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Labor of Love

Back in November, 2010, I participated in NaNo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s a motivational event where anyone who wants to participate is challenged to write 50,000 words. That can encompass and entire novel or the first part of one. Feed, Prey, Love was the book which emerged.



My style tends to focus on the characters and I’ve been accused of torturing them, putting them through angst and emotional torture until they finally get their happy ending. I love the nuances of relationships, the ups and downs, the doubts and fears, and the ultimate rush of finding someone who can really love and accept you, the whole package, with all the benefits and ruffles.



My first two novels, Wrestling With Desire and Meant For Each Other were contemporary novels and they were expressions of very different sides of myself. Derek, in Wrestling was my high school self, grappling with identity, feelings which I knew were different than other kids, yet knowing deep down that I was a worthy person. This young adult novel followed two seniors in high school as they struggled with coming to terms with being gay and dealing with first love all at the same time.



In Meant For Each Other, Craig was the thirty-year-old version of myself when I first moved to New York City. He was idealistic, yet had begun to become pragmatic, falling into patterns which, if they continued, would have clouded his spirit. But when he reconnects with an old friend, one he’d grown up with who had moved away when they were fifteen, Craig realized he’d been settling into a life of going through the motions. As he and Jeremy reconnect, they each tap into the purity and idealism of their youth, but also find something powerful to sustain them in their present and future.



Both of these books were about the journey individuals go through and how their struggles, while painful, led to brilliant happiness and joy.



Still, I had a different kind of story to tell. A genre I hadn’t yet attempted and which scared me a little. A huge fan of speculative fiction, particularly paranormal creatures, I wanted to examine how being handling differences as extraordinary as being a different creature would play our as two characters found one another and struggled to merge their lives together.



I won’t lie, the world-building, the rules, to whole concept of paranormals and humans living together, was difficult to write. I had to take a fantasy and make it as real and believable as possible. Through editing and revising, I would walk away from the book for months, frustrated that I couldn’t quite fit all the puzzle pieces together; that there was something just out of reach to pull the book together.



And then I took a trip to Asheville, NC and visited with two very good friends of mine: Eden Winters and Ally Blue. They came to by hotel and we chilled out drinking a couple bottles of wine and I started reading the story to them. To me, I was reading something which I had practically given up on. To my utter amazement, they became riveted and, after I returned to NYC, continued to demand I send them chapters and finish revisions. They encouraged me, related with my characters, and pushed my thinking.



What has emerged is exactly what I had envisioned in the beginning. A world where humans and paranormals live together, not so harmoniously, but not in constant conflict either. I have created a community called Whispering Hills which is a residence complex where humans and paranormals live together. Best of all, I have created two characters who, while one is human and the other is a vampire, experience the same emotional pangs of insecurity, doubt, fear, and desire. They are rich and multi-dimensional and I am so glad I’ve gotten the chance to know them.



I just got final line edits back and within a week the book will be ready for publication. Two years of work is finally going to see the light of day. While it took sweat and tears, frustration and the need for a cheerleading section, my characters have told their story. It was hard work, but it was a labor of love and I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.



Please enjoy the trailer for the book and read the prelude which introduces Talib.



If you are interested in learning more about my books, please visit my website at www.dhstarr.com.



Excerpt:


Prelude

Palestine, 1798



Talib had been named after his late grandfather, meaning seeker of knowledge. His father was filled with pride when, at only eighteen, Talib was accepted to Beit Rabban, the house of the teacher, to serve as an apprentice under Rabbi Elder. It was a bittersweet moment when Talib left his meager village, proud tears streaming down his father’s cheeks. Although Talib inherited a dark complexion and angular, strong features, his frame was slender. Nothing like the muscular build of his father, who served as a commander in the Ottoman Empire army. Yet for all of his father’s size and military success, Talib had never questioned his love. While Talib might never be a military leader, he could show leadership in his own way and planned to open a school house once he finished his own education and pilgrimage. In the meantime, he relished his “special” relationship with his master. Only that eased his great homesickness.

He had been at Beit Rabban for nearly six months and missed his family dearly. The longing for home would have been unbearable had it not been for Rabbi Elder’s mentorship. More than a teacher, Elder had been an older brother of sorts, a friend to confide in and a man to emulate. The fact he seemed to be no more than ten to fifteen years Talib’s senior was simply another attribute to admire about the man. Rabbi Elder had to be truly great to attain his position at Beit Rabban at such a young age. Each day, Talib gazed at Elder’s sandy blond hair, the curls of hispayot framing his face perfectly to accentuate his cheekbones while hiding a sharp jawline, amazed that such a great man would devote so much attention to him in his academic studies and studies of the flesh.

The creak of his door each night was a welcome sound; one he had grown to long for over the past few months. He had lost count of the number of times Elder had climbed into his bed. At first shocked, having studied in the scriptures that the pairing to two men a sin against God, Talib quickly reasoned that his mentor and nightly lover knew best. Who was Talib to question a man who knew the Talmud far better than himself?

Rather than dwell on his notions of right and wrong, Talib relished in the spark Elder ignited within him. Longings Talib had felt, but never dared explore, became a reality as he and Elder explored each other’s minds and bodies. To know that a man as worthy of respect as Rabbi Elder wanted the pleasure of another man filled Talib with a sense of wholeness. That he had chosen Talib out of all the other students at Beit Rabban filled him with a sense of pride; a belief that everything within him was true and right.

Rabbi Elder padded softly across the stone floor of Talib’s dormitory room. While there were other students, each received his own sleeping quarters. The accommodations were sparse, walls of stone, a cold and harsh atmosphere, but that was all part of the learning. Sacrifice of personal luxury to better learn to empathize with those less fortunate. Yet as hard as his thin mattress was, the warmth of Elder’s body and the give of his muscles pressed against Talib’s own blocked anything else from his senses.

“I’ve missed you, Rabbi.”

Soft lips pressed against his own, capturing him in a kiss which began gently, but quickly became fevered. Something was different about the kiss. A hunger which wasn’t normally present. As if Elder had a greater need than usual. Once he pulled out of the kiss, brown pools seeming to glow with an amber fire stared down into Talib’s eyes. “I’ve told you, when we lay together, you are to call me Elder. The lines of master and scholar do not exist when we are together like this.”

“I’m sorry Rab…I mean Elder. It’s difficult for me to remember. I look up to you so.”

Elder’s eyes softened, the fire dimming, as he stared down into Talib’s. “It’s all right, my love. Tonight is going to be a very special night for the two of us.”

Heat washed through Talib, beginning in the pit of his stomach and radiating outwards. The waves of sensation burned from within, yet left an electrified chill along his skin, causing the hairs to rise. His lover’s words incited Talib. Excitement warred with anticipation as he waited for his mentor to continue.

“You know how much I love you, don’t you, Talib?”

The words filled Talib. He would have thought he was floating if not for the weight of Elder’s body on top of his. “Yes, I do. And I love you, Elder. You have given me a gift greater than knowledge, you have given me the gift of awareness.”

Elder brushed his fingers through Talib’s black hair, pushing his payot aside so they splayed on the pillow. He lowered his head to Talib’s neck and pressed his nose to the skin, inhaling deeply. The intimacy of the act caused Talib to shiver. In a husky voice, he whispered into Talib’s ear. “There are things I have not yet taught you, but I would like to.”

“Anything. I am a vessel for you to fill.” Talib smiled thinking of how many times Elder had filled his vessel.

Elder laughed. “You are playing with your words, but yes, you are my best and favorite student. Yet there are things not written in books which I must…no…which I desire to teach you. I have become…attached to you, and wish to share everything I am with you.”

The way he phrased his comment sent Talib’s mind soaring skyward. Elder wanted him, was attached to him. He had called him special. “Whatever you wish to teach me, I am willing to learn. You are a brilliant teacher. A highly skilled scholar. A man of great knowledge.”

“Yes, but I am more. Will you allow me to show you what I am? May I introduce you to the world I live in, one quite different than the world you know?”

There was mystery behind the cryptic words, forcing Talib’s breath to quicken, each intake shallow, uncertain. But Elder had opened Talib’s eyes, led him down paths which had frightened him, and Talib’s world was brighter and fuller as a result. If his mentor and lover wanted to share something with him, he would gladly receive the gift. “Yes, of course. Anything.”

Elder smiled, but it wasn’t a smile of happiness. Rather, his lips curled up into a grin revealing some other emotion Talib couldn’t identify. Only in the last moment did Talib realize Elder wore no smile. He drew his lips back, exposing teeth which seemed to have grown longer. Fear notwere the last words Talib heard before Elder descended, clamping down on his neck.

Razor-sharp teeth penetrated his skin. With a piercing scream filled with pain, shock, and pleasure, Talib gripped at Elder’s head, trying to escape but to no avail. Blood flowed from his neck and into Elder’s hungry mouth. A sickeningly sweet iron odor filled his nostrils. Along with the sensation of blood flowing from him, each lick of Elder’s tongue brought excruciating pleasure, Talib could also feel Elder’s arousal pressed against his thigh.

Time seemed to slow. The space between Talib’s heartbeats lengthened. The thrum of his blood coursed slower and slower.

After what seemed like hours, Elder drew back. Crimson blood stained his lips and dripped from his still-elongated fangs. While the bite had been painful, Talib longed for Elder’s mouth to return to his neck, to continue to draw blood from him. Although it was difficult to focus, Talib was able to make out the expression of lust and hunger in his mentor’s eyes. Elder’s arousal continued to drive against him, and his own hardened shaft pressed back. He’s something other than human. How can this excite me?

“Talib, I am a creature of the night. You have a choice to make. I have drained you to the point of death. You will die if I do not feed you, but if you accept my gift, you will become what I am, and we can spend our lives together, for all eternity.”

Through the haze of his faint consciousness, he could make out the earnest expression on Elder’s face. Thoughts flittered through Talib’s mind, disconnected, difficult to comprehend. “A creature of the night? A golem? Not real…only stories.”

Elder caressed his forehead, hot fingers burning against his cold skin. “I assure you we are not lore. I am not a demon or possessed by a dybbuk. I am real and I wish to give you the gift of eternal life. Will you share your love with me for all time?”

Darkness crowded in until he could barely see or hear. It wasn’t until the warm drops of thick liquid hit his lips and dripped into his mouth, quenching a thirst he hadn’t realized he’d felt, that his answer came to him. Gripping Elder’s wrist, he pulled the torn flesh to his mouth, sucking with all his might, drinking life’s essence back into himself with each pulse of Elder’s heart.

As if waking from a dream, Talib became aware of each of his senses. Sights, smells, scents, sounds, everything coalesced with great clarity and sensitivity. The fear emanating from a fly trapped in a spider’s web entered his nose. I can smell fear. Along with the coppery, iron flavor of Elder’s blood, he could taste the wine Elder had drunk at dinner. Disconnected thoughts flew through his mind. How can I taste the wine in his blood? Golem are real?

Sensation upon sensation filled him, only to come to a screeching halt when he heard something he never expected to hear. I have turned him. He’s now mine.

“What? What do you mean you’ve turned me?” Talib was sure he had misheard. It had to be the result of his loss of blood or perhaps the fear coursing through him. He had broken so many rules, he must be possessed by a dybbuk, the spirit of a dead man who’d violated the laws of Torah. Perhaps he had been wrong in believing what he and Elder shared was right. Was God punishing him for breaking His laws? An image of his home, his father’s proud face, flashed in Talib’s mind. Shame and panic swirled within him, making breathing impossible. He had shamed himself and his family. He had turned on his God; on his religion. All because he had trusted Rabbi Elder.

Elder’s eyes widened and his mouth opened slightly, only to clamp shut once again. Disbelief, no, shock, settled on his face. “I said nothing, my love. You must still be weak from the transformation.” It can’t be. He couldn’t possibly have heard my thoughts.

“But I do hear you. What is this? Have you deceived me in some way?” Fear shifted to anger and hurt. He’s betrayed me. He’s led me down the path of sin, knowing I could never return to the life I’d dreamed of. He’s forced me to act against my God…so I could be…his? The sense of foolishness closed in and around Talib and he pushed to free himself, to stand, to take in deep breaths of cleansing air. With little effort, he flung Elder across the room, his body hitting the wall with enough force to kill a man.

Even in the dim light of his bedchamber, Talib saw the color drain from Elder’s face. “But how…how do you know the thoughts which run through my mind?” He mustn’t ever find out I did this so I won’t have to be alone any longer. I need a companion. Isolation has left me starved.

It took him a minute to get over the shock that Elder had not been hurt from his crash with the wall. Talib could hear everything, every truth Elder had failed to tell him. He had not offered Talib eternity out of love. His motives had been selfish. He could hear it in Elder’s thoughts, for the man could not lie there.

Talib was no longer human. He knew this in the deepest reaches of his being. The change had occurred. He was a dybbuk and worse, a golem. He had broken every rule there was to be broken short of killing. There was no turning back. The truth filling him caused Talib to retch, thick red jets of blood erupting from his stomach. When he could speak, he scowled at his former master, the man he’d loved, had given his heart and body to. The man who’d deceived him in the most wretched way. “You did this to me because you wanted a companion?” While the words formed a question, his tone carried all the anger and accusation coursing through him.

Raw emotion lifted Talib from the bed. Before he realized what was happening, he was hovering in the air before Elder, defying gravity and laws his human form had to abide. He glided effortlessly, slowly closing the distance between himself and the deceitful man who had irrevocably changed his life. Instinctually, he reached out with his mind, linking it to Elder’s, forcing him into helpless paralysis.

Elder cowered, but was unable to avert his gaze. Talib could feel the will seep out of Elder as his weaker mental abilities gave way to Talib’s strength. He could sense the urge to fight back within his former mentor, but could feel the weakness radiating toward him. Elder wasn’t as strong as Talib. Talib was more than Elder, different. What have I become?

Hatred swelled within him as he prepared to strike, but he stopped, released Elder and lowered himself to the ground until he once again stood on his own two feet. “I will not kill you, nor will I remain with you. You may have taken the life I planned to live from me, you may have turned me into a golem, but you can never take my humanity. I may not be able to return home. I wouldn’t bring that kind of shame to my family. But I won’t stay here with you.”

Elder rushed forward. Kneeling before Talib he wrapped trembling arms around his bare waist. Fear radiated from his very pores. Talib could taste it, smell it. It burned his nose and tongue like acid. “Please. I’m so lonely.”

Talib pushed him away once again, not as hard as the last time, but hard enough to make his point. He had no idea what his future held, only that it had been changed. He could not undo the things he had done against God, but maybe there was a way to reverse the evil coursing within his body. Maybe he wouldn’t have to live an eternity, as Elder had said. Maybe he could become what he had always been, pious, a man of God.

Turning to face Elder, disgust filled him. Looking at the weak, pathetic man cowering on the floor, hands raised up in defense, Talib shook his head, a single, sad laugh escaping him. “And so you shall remain, for I must leave you.”
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