Wednesday, 24 August 2016
Book Name: Burning Tracks
Spotlight Series Book: Two Can be read as a standalone
Release Date: August 11, 2016
Pages or Words: 224 pages, 62,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Lesbian Romance, Romance Rom-Com
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Victoria S.
Blurb: In the sequel to Broken Records, Gwen Pasternak has it all: a job she loves as a celebrity stylist and a beautiful wife, Flora. But as her excitement in working with country music superstar Clementine Campbell grows, Gwen second-guesses her quiet domestic bliss.
Meanwhile, her business partner, Nico Takahashi and his partner, reformed bad-boy musician Grady Dawson, face uncertainties of their own.
Saturday, 20 August 2016
Overall Series Blurb
The N’awlins Exotica/Paranormal series
The city of New Orleans is rich in tradition, diverse, and known for the inspiration it provides. In the “Big Easy” there lies the hunger for the erotic as well as the unknown. The residents here feel that sexual energy and it reveals itself through their various creative activities.
Join the characters as they take a wild ride on the edge, enjoying their town for all it has to offer. There’s a certain magic in the air, an erotic magic that cannot be ignored.
Books 1-3 On Sale 99 Cents
Blurb: New Orleans is supposed to be the big easy. One night changes everything for Frankie Choteau.
New Orleans. A city rich in tradition, diversity, and on the comeback trail from hurricane Katrina. Francois “Frankie” Choteau, a resident of this town, a cop with a hot temper and low tolerance for bs. Kajika Fortier, a transplant from Oklahoma came here looking for a dream and unfortunately it’s turned into a nightmare. On a hot summer night, they meet and cross paths during a very difficult situation. Despite this, the attraction between them is evident and loneliness for both men is a fate worse than death. They’d both like a chance at happiness but will the circumstances and Frankie’s uneasiness prevent their happy ever after?
Read the first chapter here
Blurb: Livin’ in N’awlins ain’t all that easy…
Kajika Fortier loves his job, the attention he gets from onlookers, and Frankie Choteau. However, his new partner’s jealousy, mood swings, and over protectiveness drives Kajika to the brink but at the same time, excites him to no end.
To complicate things further, a murderer is on the loose looking for blood. All three of the killer’s victims are strippers which not only makes Frankie nervous about Kajika’s safety but leaves him questioning his love for being a homicide detective. Coupled with the stresses of cold cases as well as some fellow officers shunning him for coming out, Frankie is having second thoughts about staying in New Orleans. Despite the encouragement from Vance, Kenina, and Orrin as well as new chief Quinn Murray, Frankie is wondering if his life’s passion really is to catch the killers.
Will the new couple survive these new issues that impede their nearly perfect union? Or will the relationship fail, thus leaving Kajika alone and a target for New Orleans latest serial killer? Detective Choteau and Kajika’s commitment to one another is being tested in more ways than one and they only have one another to lean on.
Blurb: Living in the Big Easy is downright deadly especially if you’re a stripper. When another exotic dancer is found dead in her apartment, the heat mounts on Frankie and his fellow detectives to find the killer. Due to the magnitude of this unsolved mystery along with the LaBoy murders, tension runs high at Nineteen making it hard for all to breathe around the police station and sending everyone into a frenzy.
There’s no denying Frankie’s love for Kajika but in the back of his mind, hot thoughts of the mutual jerk off with Orrin Daugherty loom over his head. Though the feelings are mutual, Orrin wants nothing to do with this and pushes Frankie away. Add in to the mix his fascination with partner Vance Morain along with his severe case of blue balls and you got one hell of a predicament for these for complex and volatile men.
The men at Nineteen are burning with desire for one another and pleasure is beginning to be almost as important as business.
WARNING: Lots of lewd dialogue and smoldering sex between males.
* * * *
PRIZE All 5 Book of the N'awlins Series
Friday, 19 August 2016
Everyone has a story.
Dealing with HIV, high school bullies, and new found feelings.
That is Jeremy’s Story.
SynopsisJeremy is a teenager with a terrible past.
He has to live with its consequences for the rest of his life.
There is hope.
He’s found a new family, a new life, and a new school.
Will he be able to find friends? Love?
Or will he let those who would judge him prevail?
He sat in the middle of a row of chairs and looked around while he waited. Secretaries and teachers were all running around trying to get the last minute details sorted. Students were busy getting their schedules. Then the most beautiful boy that Jeremy had ever seen in his life walked in.
His blond, wavy hair was cut short, and he wore flattering trousers and a fitted blue dress shirt, with rolled-up sleeves showing off his nicely developed arms. He went to the counter and addressed the head secretary—the woman who had been so nice to Jeremy.
“Hey, Aunt Susan. Do you have my revised class schedule for me?” The boy turned his head towards Jeremy and leaned forward.
Oh my God! I shouldn’t be attracted to that behind. Why am I? Is he moving it that way on purpose?
The boy whispered something into Susan’s ear. She responded by squinting and wagging her finger at him, one corner of her mouth turning upward. The boy leaned closer and whispered something else. Susan’s response was to shake her head and dismiss him with a gesture.
What did he say?
The boy laughed aloud, took his papers from Susan, and turned around. He walked towards Jeremy and plumped down onto the seat next to him. Their legs actually touched.
Oh my God! Jeremy tried very hard not to let his blushing show. Why am I feeling like this?
Pre-order LinksWIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/jeremys-story-by-ned-ericsson/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IDSSU66/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01IDSSU66/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01IDSSU66/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01IDSSU66/
GiveawayPrize: $5 WIP Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the AuthorAfter publishing several adult stories under a different name, NED ERICSSON decided to reach deep down inside himself and write a story for which a younger generation, as well as the older ones, might relate. He hopes he succeeded in making people think.
Ned looks forward to writing many more stories to entertain and he hopes provoke some minds into thinking about today’s issues through their telling.
Ned lives in Canada with his husband Ken and their cat, Oscar Wild.
NED ERICSSON can be found at:
Thursday, 18 August 2016
Name: Caught Inside
Series: Boys on the Brink Book: One
Release Date: September 29, 2016
Pages or Words: 83,000
Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Luke believes he has his life figured out…and then he meets Theo. It should have been simple—a summer spent with his girlfriend Zara at her family’s holiday cottage in Cornwall.
Seventeen-year-old Luke Savage jumps at the chance, envisioning endless hours of sunbathing on the private beach and riding the waves on his beloved surfboard. He isn’t interested in love. Though his rugged good looks and lazy charm mean he can have his pick of girls, he has no intention of falling for anyone.
Nothing prepares Luke for his reaction to Theo, the sensitive Oxford undergraduate who is Zara’s cousin and closest friend. All at once, he is plunged along a path of desire and discovery that has him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. No one, especially Zara, must find out; what he and Theo have is too new, too fragile. But as the deceit spirals beyond their control, people are bound to get hurt, Luke most of all.
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
I'm still half asleep. Staying up all night doctoring a sick dog is not fun. I'm at the stage where my brain is full of cotton wool and I can't remember what prompt I used. I'm sure you'll find it in there if you look
I fell asleep content and replete in the arms of my lover. I wake to chaos.
Jerked rudely from sleep when the warm furs are torn away, my somnambulant mind struggles with the bright light, raised voices and sudden cold. At first, I can make no sense of what is happening. Then my Prince cries out and I am awake in an instant.
Our small tent is filled with men – at least four of them. They are shouting – at us and each other. One, who I now recognize as a particularly unpleasant Counsel member, grips Castien by the upper arm, having clearly dragged him from our bed. From the way my Prince struggled the man is hurting him. My lip draws back in a snarl and I immediately spring.
I knock the man to the ground and he releases Castien, with a cowardly squeak, as he falls beneath me. He is a weak man; a bully, quick to hurt a small man like Castien but with no fight in him for one such as I. Before I can raise my fist to break his face, arms circle me and pull me roughly to my feet.
“Don’t hurt him,” Castien calls and the man, getting to his feet, sweeps his arm, striking Castien in the face with his open hand. Castien cries out and stumbles back. Catching his foot on the sleeping skins, he falls heavily and is clearly winded. He curls on his side, gasping for breath. At least the Counsel man has the decency to look aghast at what he has done, but his concern is fleeting.
“This is your fault, demon.”
I anticipate the blow when he backhands me and snarl in his face as I struggle hard to free myself. The soldiers do not appear happy about what is transpiring but, at least until Castien is able to stand, they have to take their orders from the Counsellor.
“How dare you lay your sick, perverted hands on our prince? Have you no decency? The King will hear of this, and your betrothal to our Princess will be dissolved forthwith.”
I wish I could spit in his smug, self-satisfied face.
“He was never betrothed to my sister,” Castien gasps. My heart reaches out as he struggles to his feet, clearly in pain. A trickle of blood runs from the corner of his mouth. He wipes it with the back of his hand, running his tongue over the inside of his bottom lip.
I growl, low in my throat and throw myself forward again. He hurt My Prince. He made him bleed. Someone strikes me to the back of my head and stars burst in front of my eyes taking the strength from me.
“Behave yourself, demon,” the Counsellor hisses, “and you just might live.”
“Take your hands off him,” Castien demands. He stands very straight, although it clearly hurts. “Tian was never betrothed to Jandra. He is, and always was, betrothed to me.”
“Ridiculous,” the man snarls. “Men do not have relations between themselves, unless they are sick deviants. The King would never sanction this, and the Counsel most certainly will not.”
“Do not talk to me like that,” Castien snaps. “Remember your place. My father did sanction it, and the Counsel has nothing to do with it. I don’t need your permission to love who I choose.”
“You do when the love is forbidden and reviled. Neither the Counsel nor the people will sanction what I have witnessed this day.”
“If you had not violated the sanctity of my tent you would have witnessed nothing.” Castien turns his attention to the guard. “Get your hands off my bonded,” he growls and the grip on my arms lessen, only to be renewed at a snapped command by the Counsel man.
“You would override a direct order from your Crown Prince?” Castien sounds outraged and I feel a tremor of fear run through the guards who hold me.
“I’d do more than that if I had my way,” the man growls taking a step forward. Castien shrinks back.
A roar from outside heralds the King’s approach. A moment of panic flashes through the eyes of the Counsel man but he quickly recovers. “Take him outside,” he commands. The guards drag me into the harsh sunlight. I’m sure the man was expecting me to be humiliated, being naked in the middle of a waking camp. He couldn’t be more wrong.
“What the hell is going on?”
“Father,” Castien’s voice calls from inside the tent. It appears the Counsel man has prevented Castien from leaving. There is a brittle edge to Castien’s voice and I ache to go to him.
The soldiers drag me further from the tent, into the center of the camp, so I can’t hear the conversation taking place inside. What is clear, is that the king is not happy. If I can’t hear the words I can hear the roar.
“Release the Prince, or die.”
The call takes everyone by surprise. The camp is immediately thrown into chaos, but it dies quickly when it becomes clear we are at the center of a closing ring of archers. The thrum of arrows finding non-living targets cause everyone to freeze and there is no resistance when a small contingent of forest-men stalk into camp and relieve the soldiers of their weapons. The two men who hold me drop my arms, but before I am able to run to the tent I am faced by a tall, imposing figure, dressed in forest green, with a close-cropped beard and golden eyes.
“Exactly what trouble have you got yourself into this time?” he asks, crossing his arms across his chest.
Even though I am desperate to go to my Prince I cannot help the grin that breaks over my face. “I am fairly sure it is trouble you would approve of, Father.”
Father laughs and grips my shoulder in greeting, then we turn together to rescue my love.
Now go read the rest of the great flashers this week
Tuesday, 16 August 2016
Today, it's my turn to promote the amazing anthology A Summer's Day. The anthology is a collaboration of stories by some fantastic LGBT writers, based on the works of William Shakespeare. The concept was conceived of and has been directed by the incorrigible Rian Durant
All proceeds from the anthology will go to the It Gets Better Project If you're not familiar with it please take a look.
All proceeds from the anthology will go to the It Gets Better Project If you're not familiar with it please take a look.
Title: A Summer’s Day: Shakespearean Anthology with a Twist
Authors: Nephy Heart, Louise Lyons, Rebecca Cohen, JL Merrow, Charlie Cochrane, Asta Idonea, Dianne Hartsock, Rory Ni Coileain, Kathy Griffith, M LeAnne Phoenix, Phetra H Novak, Rian Durant
Genre: Gay Romance/Fiction
Length: Anthology, 115 K
Cover Art: Jay Aheer Simply Defined Art
A collection of 12 stories celebrating the Bard’s legacy with modern retelling of some of his works and delightful referencing of anything Shakespeare.
There is gentle YA romance next to hot sexy stories and all kinds of relationships – first love, May/December, interracial, second chances, happy endings and even a tragic one.
We’re travelling from Ancient Rome through Renaissance England to modern day UK, Venice Beach and other places in USA, Vancouver and Havana.
There’s fun, drama, tears, joy and, above all, lots of true love.
All proceeds of this collection go to the It Gets Better Project™.
Find the blurbs at the end of the post
on the books's Facebook Page, where you can also some pictures the authors thought will go well with their stories. :)
ExcerptThis excerpt is from my story "Kiss me Kade" which is based on the play "The Taming of the Shrew"
Kade groaned inwardly as he found Pete scooting along the row of seats toward him.
“Don’t call me Kate, and please feel free to sit anywhere in the theatre that isn’t within speaking distance.”
“Don’t be like that. You know you like my company.” Grinning, Pete slumped into the seat next to Kade.
“Whatever. Just leave me alone, I have work to do.”
Pete snatched the book off Kade’s knee and studied the cover. “Sex and Drugs: A Minefield for the Single Girl,” Pete read, gleefully. “Last minute preparation for tonight?” he leered. “Although I’m surprised you’re studying girls. I didn’t think that was your bag.”
“What?” Fury burned hot in Kade and he cursed himself for his heated cheeks, which Pete was sure to misinterpret. “First, it’s for a Sociology assignment, and second, what the hell do you mean, not my bag? What are you suggesting?”
Pete shrugged. “I’m not suggesting anything, Kate. Keep your knickers on.”
Kade took a breath as he counted to ten. It didn’t help. “Don’t call me Kate,” he snarled.
“Why not? Kade doesn’t suit you. You’re too pretty.”
Kade jerked away when Pete thrust a hand into his hair and ran the long, silky strands through his fingers. “Don’t touch me,” Kade snapped. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Keep your hands off me.”
“Don’t pretend you don’t like it.”
“It’s not pretence and if you touch me again, I’ll show you how much I like it, with a punch in the face.”
Giveawaya Rafflecopter giveaway
DEEPER THAN DID EVER PLUMMET SOUND
Clarence Limont is a slowly fading star of the London stage; convinced his great performances are all behind him, he nevertheless agrees to play Prospero in an off-off-Broadway production of The Tempest helmed by an old friend. Jaymes Stafford is the production’s starry-eyed Ariel, waking feelings Clarence had thought long dead and buried. But the poisonous jealousy of other members of the cast may steal the stars from Jaymes’ eyes, and even put paid to Clarence’s illustrious career.
A FINE LINE BETWEEN Louise Lyons
When Romeo runs into Julian on the beach, he's the last person he wants to see as he’s grown up hating him due to his parents' aversion to Julian's dad. Forced to rescue Julian from the sea, Romeo is surprised by his grudging attraction to the other young man. When simple lust becomes something more, the pair ignore their parents' anger, but family fights drive the lovers away from home - into a horrifying incident. Will it make the Montgomerys and the Caplins rethink their feud? ("Romeo and Juliet")
THE DEVIL AND THE LION Asta Idonea
Caius Martius and Tullus Aufidius have long been enemies. Then Martius arrives on Aufidius' doorstep, seeking a military alliance. Aufidius accepts; however, he wishes their partnership to extend from the battlefield to the bedchamber. His lust for Martius is one of the reasons he spares his life, but his jealousy will soon have terrible consequences. ("Coriolanus")
KISS ME, KADE Nephy Heart
Kade is in trouble, negotiating a dangerous path between an authoritarian father and wayward sister. Then Pete storms into his life and tries to take over. It can only end in disaster. ("Taming of The Shrew")
IF MUSIC BE... Charlie Cochrane
Rick Cowley finds himself taking up am-dram once more, thinking it’ll help him get over the death of his partner. He’d never anticipated it would mean an encounter with an old flame and the sort of emotional complications the Bard would have reveled in. Still, old Will had the right word for every situation, didn’t he? ("Twelfth Night")
TWO GUYS FROM VANCOUVER Dianne Hartsock
Valentine has been watching Preston date man after man with never more than a brotherly hug for him. Finally, despairing that Preston will ever love him in return, Val moves away to college, where he meets the glorious Silver, a man with problems of his own, who just might be his answer. Torn between his attraction to Preston and his growing desire for Silver, Val wonders if he’ll ever find love or will his life become as tragic as any of the Shakespearean plays he loves so well. ("The Two Gentlemen of Verona")
WHEN I LOVE THEE NOT Rian Durant
Desmond, the heir of a business owner is outed in the media after a hot night with his lover, Olvin, who also happens to be the company’s best negotiation expert. This is only the first step in Ian’s plan to get back at Olvin for choosing Michel Caswell as a main assistant for the latest merger instead of him, a plan in which he’s moving everybody around like pawns on a chessboard, bending the rules. Will Ian drive a wedge between Desmond and Olvin and get the position he wants or will he realize that there’s something more important that stops the world from turning into chaos? ("Othello")
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE BEACH Kathy Griffith
Tony and Bartholomew have been friends for years, but his latest request is a little much. Bart needs a loan to impress Porsche Keller, a personable billionaire, but the only cash available is from banker and raging homophobe Sherlock Palmer, who has a devious plan for them. Will our heroes find love and get their happy ending? ("The Merchant of Venice")
A HERO'S LAST BATTLE Phetra H Novak
Claudio is happy to be home after serving his country as a soldier for over fifteen years being stationed mostly abroad ready to settle down. Hero is still living at home, together with his father, trying to do what is expected a young man his age is supposed to do, work and live every day like it is your last. The two men meet at a family wedding, realizing they share a mutual dream of finding love and starting a family but evil lurks amongst them. Will these two lovers find a way to be together? ("Much Ado About Nothing")
NOTHING LIKE THE SUN JL Merrow
Hollywood darling Jerome Winter always defined himself by his looks—until a fire destroyed them. His oldest friend and still-loyal manager, Sam, has long carried a torch for him, but with his looks—and earning power—gone, what does Jerome have left to offer? (Sonnet 130)
THE SUN OF TOMORROW M LeAnne Phoenix
When actor Koray Shepherd rescues writer Winter Sirois from the brutal hands of his supervisor, Winter never would have believed the beautiful Turk would share his love of The Bard. When Koray asks Winter out on a date, Winter takes center stage in his very own tragedy, determined to end his play for today with a happily ever after. Screwing his courage to the sticking place, Winter sets his sights on the future and Koray... but when the horrors of yesterday resurface, will he crest the waves of fear and despair, or will he be heard no more? ("Macbeth")
MUCH ADO ABOUT LADY MACBETH Rebecca Cohen
Competition for roles is always high when the King's Men put on a play, but David seems to come up against Jacob time and time again, no matter what part he is auditioning for. But now they both want to be Lady Macbeth and it’s more than simple rivalry that causes the sparks to fly. (Shakespeare's Theatre)
Wednesday, 10 August 2016
Hands up everyone who thinks Brits and Americans speak the same language. Wrong! The fact is, that Brits speak Queen's English and Americans speak...well, American. If you don't think there's a difference, read on.
The truth is, I'm getting a little fed up of being called out on my 'shaky editing', 'numerous spelling errors' or even 'basic errors'. At first, I thought I had a real problem which was worrying, especially as I've been working with such excellent editors, but a discussion with my publisher left me reeling. Can you believe there are actually review sites out there who won't even take books written in Queen's English?
So here I am writing a post that will hopefully educate some of my American friends that what they think are spelling/grammatical errors, aren't, in the hope I might be allowed to write in my native language without criticism.
So let's launch in
In Queen's English there is a 'u' between 'o' and 'r' at the end of a word
There are many cases where the letter 's' in an English word have been replaced by a 'z' in American, so
The letters 're' at the end of words are often reversed in American
In words ending 'el' the past tense drops an 'l' in American
This works internally also
Double vowels are usually reduced to one in American
Words ending in 'ouge' are often reduced to 'g' in American
All of the words in the left hand column 'look wrong' to me so I can imagine that the words in the right hand column 'look wrong' to Americans. That doesn't mean they are wrong.
The English language has evolved through the absorption of many different language, as can be seen in its spelling and liberal smattering of words taken direct from other languages, especially French. This is an ongoing process. Only dead languages cease to evolve. American, being the younger language has run with this and made the language their own.
Apart from the spelling/grammar issue there are a whole plethora of differences, a few of which I shall discuss
The age of sexual consent in the UK is 16, not 18
The legal age for drinking in the UK is 18 not 21
Driving is not taught in British schools. The earliest age someone can apply for a provisional license is 17. A provisional license allows you to drive but only if accompanied by someone who holds a full license. In order to obtain a full license you have to pass both a written and a practical test. Many people pass their test in their 17th year. Many more don't pass until much later and many never at all. It's not at all unusual in the UK to not be able to drive.
The schools system is very different in the UK
Start school age 3 at nursery
At age 5 start primary education
7/8 move from infants school to juniour school.
Generally, these steps all take place within the same school and are marked only by different methods of teaching and subjects taught.
Age 11 move to secondary/comprehensive education working toward GCSE exams at age 16. GCSE's are given in individual subjects. There are 'core' subjects - English Language, English Literature, Maths, Science (and Welsh if you live in Wales) - and all the rest are elective. Sudents usually do 9+ The results of the examinations are stand-alone ie it makes no difference how well or badly you work through the previous years, it is only the end result that counts (no such thing as grade point average)
Age 16 - 18 Study for 'A' Levels. Similar to GCSE but higher level and students usually only do 3
Attending school until 16 is compulsory and there are criminal sanctions for parents who don't ensure their children attend school to that age. After 16 it's entirely voluntary. There are many alternatives to 'A' Levels, for example college courses, apprenticeships etc.
Until recently there was no such thing as prom. About ten years ago we started adopting the idea of prom at 18 which marks the end of the school career. It evolved out of the end of school ball.
Students do not graduate from school, only university.
After school people either move into employment, vocational training or apprenticeships (or claim benefits) or they go to university.
Graduate degrees are usually for three years, although some can be four.
After the first degree most people leave education. However, you can move on to Post Graduate Degrees which can either be vocational (for example Legal Practice Course or Bar Exams for Lawyers) or academic (for example Masters and Phd)
When exams are close we don't study, we revise.
Finally lots of little facts
-The back of a car is a boot not a trunk. We look through the windscreen and wear seatbelts.
-We walk on a pavement not a sidewalk and jaywalking isn't illegal
-Prostitution is legal, although soliciting (asking people if they want it) and kerb crawling (driving along a street looking for a prostitute) is illegal
- Diapers are nappies
and so much more
I hope you've enjoyed this peep into our differences. Of course there are far more similarities than differences and I hope that this article will help my American friends to realise that differences are not mistakes.
Tuesday, 2 August 2016
This week, I chose this prompt because it's spooky and I love hooded figures with staffs. It's a shame he didn't take a bigger part in the story. However, the Guardians will appear later in the story
The beasts of burden are enormous and I avoid then as much as I can. They frighten me and I do not want to show anyone, least of all Tian, how afraid I am. The horse I am to ride is small compared to the great beasts my father and Tian will ride. Tian is fearless and clearly an excellent rider. I am neither. Ah well.
“Do you require assistance, My Prince?”
I lean back into Tian’s embrace. We are very close to the side of the horse, hidden from view among the caravan’s stamping beasts, but still I shouldn’t reveal my feelings in this way. I reluctantly pull away glancing over my shoulder with a smile to temper my action. I see in his eyes that Tian understands.
“I can manage, thank you.” My mounting is inelegant but effective and I reign in my horse fairly competently. Tian leaps into his saddle with a grace I could never achieve.
It seems like only moments before my father’s call rends the air and we move off. My voice will never be as deep or as loud as my father’s. How can I hope to lead and army when I sound like an adolescent?
Stop being so negative about yourself. You’ll do just fine. You spoke to the Council didn’t you? You achieved what Father could not.
I can almost hear Tian’s voice chiding me. The words echo in my head. The self doubt is not entirely dispelled, but I feel better; stronger as I spur my horse to ride beside Tian, a little behind my father. Jandra steps back from where she has been speaking to him. Am I a bad brother that I am so relieved she will not be accompanying us? She is not pleased.
Jandra smacks the flank of my horse as it passes, making it dance. I desperately reign in it and gain control quickly. Nevertheless my cheeks burn and her smile is cold. Once we were close. I don’t know what happened to make her despise me so.
This is no time for such musings so I bring my mind back to the moment and concentrate on keeping up and riding straight.
We ride through the day, then make camp. My bottom is sore and my bones ache. Worse, I am not able to seek refuge in Tian’s arms although I put my foot down and insisted he sleep in the royal tent. I may not be able to embrace him, but we are able to entwine our fingers in the darkness.
Day after day repeats in the same way. There are grumbles on all sides and I fear the Council members who have insisted on accompanying us will be even more set against Tian’s people before we arrive.
Finally, we arrive at a cool tunnel of trees, shading the road from the relentless sun. We travel through for half a day until we see daylight ahead. Outlined in the entrance is figure dressed in a hooded robe, holding a staff. Tian urges his mount forward and dismounts to speak to the figure. After a short conversation the man inclines his head and steps aside allowing us to pass.
It is immediately obvious that we are in a different land. The forest spreads around us on both sides, like giant wings embracing rolling green plains through which a wide, clear river meanders. We follow the river beneath a gentler sun. Sometime during the afternoon clouds gather and rain falls, gentle at first but harder as we travel further, pelting us with slivers of ice.
“If we push on,” Tian says, “we might reach home a little after dark. However, I would advise to strike camp in the lee of the hill and move on in the morning. The rain will not let up tonight, but I believe the morning will be clear.”
“How can you know this,” Chander, a dour Council member spits. “Striking camp in this weather would be madness. Everything will be soaked through.”
“It will be warm inside the tents. The bedding will be dry.”
My father is clearly of two minds but acceded to Tian as the expert on the territory.
Tian is right. It is much warmer inside the tents, and the bedding is mostly dry. I strip off my wet clothes and dive under the skins and blankets. They are damp. Everything is damp. But at least I was warm – eventually.
Tian seems less affected by the weather and creeps beneath the skins to warm me with his body.
“We should not do this.”
“We are in my kingdom now. You will see a change. No one will persecute us here. Relax. I am simply warming you. We will fall asleep in each other’s arms and wake to start the day together. Tomorrow you will meet my father and he will bless our union.”
This startles me a little. “What do you mean? I-I’m not ready to join as life partners. Not yet. I need to know you first.”
“Ssh, do not be afraid. We have no such ritual. We are bonded and that is all the joining we need. My father will simply give his blessing and then no one will challenge us.”
“O-Okay.” I am still nervous. I am still new to the whole bonding thing. It seems so formal; so…permanent. It frightens me. I chuckle to myself. Everything frightens me.
“Don’t be afraid,” Tian whispers into my neck. “Everything will be alright.”
“Are you reading my mind again?”
“No, but I am coming to know you well, and I smell fear.”
“You can smell my fear?”
“That and…other things.”
I turn in his arms and gaze into his eyes. It is dark in the tent, lit only by a small brazier. His eyes glitter, their colour obscured. I must gaze into them more often because when I do my fear melts away.
Now check out the other awesome flashers
Wednesday, 27 July 2016
This week I took a prompt but kind of roved around it so I'm going to put it in anyway because you can probably see the connection, the intention and where it went astray. Extra mind work :D
Not even now. Not even with my promise of love fresh in his ears does my love truly believe in himself. At least he seems at peace. Perhaps, at last, he can at least believe in me.
“Come, we must retire and rest. I must send word to my father that we come and he should make ready.”
Castien melts into my side with a gentle sigh. “Will he like me, do you think?”
There is that anxiety again, leeching the colour from his beautiful eyes, painting shadow where there should be none.
“My father will like you. He will admire you. My mother will adore you, and my sister will steal from whatever kisses you can spare that are not for me.”
“All my kisses are for you,” Castien breathes.
“Ah but that is only because you live in a place where kisses are so little valued. When you come into my world your kisses will be in such high demand they will bear a dearer price.”
“Never for you. My kisses will always be freely given to you.”
“Come, let us retire. You seem tired and need to rest.”
“I’m fine. I feel as though I could take on the world.”
“Perhaps you can.”
I watch my prince sleep with so much love within me it is a joyous pain. My heart beats for him and every sigh, every flutter of his lashes makes it ache all the more. I ponder why love should hurt this way and conclude that my heart is seeking to fly from my chest, to be free of the poor confines of this body to encompass a love so wide and so deep my frail human form cannot contain it. Castien murmurs and shifts in my arms, his face beatific and I groan aloud, unable to bear the aching beauty of him.
Sleepy eyes blink up at me and my prince smiled. “Go to sleep,” he murmurs on a yawn and pats my cheek. What magic is this? My painful heart calms as I fall into his eyes and, at last, feel the pull of oblivion. I settle more comfortably and Castien tucks his face in to my chest. Then we sleep.
The days that follow were a blur of planning and organizing. The Council throw difficulties into our path at every turn and both Castien and his father are reduced to seething balls of snapping fire. It is amusing to note how alike they are beneath their many differences. They are both quick to anger, whereupon the king bellows and stomps while Castien seethes and paces. The king snaps orders while Castien gives the same ones in a polite, almost hesitant way. The king commands, Castien negotiates, and they both get things done.
Jandra disappoints me. She is not as supportive as would have hoped from a loving sister. She appears sullen and envious of Castien’s new status. I cannot imagine what life must have been like for him before, but it appears he has undergone quite a transformation and Jandra, among others, is not pleased about it.
I have tried to talk to her, the Gods know, but all she will say is that it will end in tears and I have no idea what I am doing. She is wrong. I see how quickly my lover wearies when he is stressed or pushing himself to work hard, which he does often. He is unable to accept weakness in himself even when he excuses it in everyone else. I use many wiles to divert him when he needs to rest. Sometimes by pretending weakness in myself; sometimes by distracting him with pleasant endeavours and sometimes by shamelessly pointing out how Jandra struggles with being usurped. This works far better than Jandra’s direct confrontation and demands.
Even so, Castien is pushing himself too hard in his attempts to prove himself to his father. The king is impressed and readily shows it. To give him his due, he does not falter in admitting when he is at fault and he has found many ways to show his regret and confidence to his son. However, he is blind to the fact that, in so doing he has awoken a fierce desire to prove worthy that is slowly consuming Castien. It is this that makes me fear for his health and wellbeing.
But the time of departure draws near and I know that once we are home, once Castien is able to relax in the calm and peace that Coedwen wraps around all those who cross its borders, when the healers have worked their magic, he will be well and strong and everything he hopes and strives to be. All I have to do is keep him safe until then.
There have been times, over the course of days that I had thought this day would never come. Delay after delay has cropped up and it has been clear over and over that the Council are working against us as far as they dare. Of course, the complaints are taken to the king or to Jandra, for they do not react with the calm confidence of my prince, who deals with problems with calm logic, a steady hand – and a wealth of knowledge that stops most of them dead in their tracks. It seems to me as if Jandra in particular feeds the hysteria that seeks to drag us backward. I doubt she does so deliberately but a disaffected woman is a dangerous creature.
Thankfully, despite the difficulties the day has dawned and we are ready to leave.
And now you need to go check out the other two amazing storytellers this week
Monday, 25 July 2016
Author Name: Zane Riley
Cover Artist: Colleen M Good
Cover Artist: Colleen M Good
Book Name: With or Without You
Sequel to ‘Go Your Own Way’
Should be read in order to appreciate the books
Release Date: July 21, 2016
Pages or Words: 348 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult
In the much-anticipated sequel to Go Your Own Way, high school seniors Lennox McAvoy and Will Osborne pick up right where they left off—navigating the tumultuous waters of a new relationship and dealing with Will’s disapproving father.
When a violent incident forces Lennox to give up his independent ways, he must come to terms with his past just as Will is grappling with his future. As Will’s college plans become reality, will Lennox have the courage to go after the opportunities he doesn’t think he deserves?
The band room was empty when he pushed the door open, but the piano was set up like it was almost every afternoon these days. Only Mr. Robinette and a music stand littered with sheet music was absent.
The silence struck Lennox as odd, but as he sat down he also realized how strange it was to announce himself. So much had changed since the first time he'd snuck in here to play on his own. Now he was auditioning for some college he still couldn't fathom.
To make Will happy. And maybe a little bit for himself.
"Ah, I wondered if you were going to show up."
Mr. Robinette was behind him, the door to his office now wide open. He'd taken off his tie and undone a few buttons on his shirt like he did most afternoons when they practiced.
"You just want to play it through a few times or mess around with something else?"
Lennox took a seat at the piano, but didn't both opening his bag. He'd memorized the piece he was playing by Valentine's Day and now, almost two weeks later, he could write it out measure for measure on blank sheet music. But playing it was becoming repetitive. For two hours, three times a week, almost nonstop with the same four pages and nothing else.
"I'd rather try something new. That piece is getting a little old."
Mr. Robinette smiled and pulled a chair up beside him. "I had a nightmare the other night and it was the theme song while I ran around a haunted house Scooby Doo style."
"You didn't catch a ride in the Mystery Machine, did you? I've always wanted that van."
"I've got a lunch box version of it. It doesn't fit much though because it's too narrow. Anyway, play what you want. I'll be here until about four-thirty, so it's all yours."
As Mr. Robinette returned to his office, Lennox pulled what had become his music notebook out of his bag and opened it to the latest page. He'd taken to composing during class when he should have been taking notes, especially calculus where he had no reason to pay attention anyway.
The latest page was a tune he'd come up with while the other kids had been tapping their pencils and erasing answers. Every moment of his life carried a rhythm, a melody, and an emotion he could create with, and his notebook was becoming a testament to that. He played through everything he'd jotted down over the past few days, but after several rounds he kept coming back to one. It was a piano version he'd tried—and mostly failed—to create of one of the songs Will had played on a loop a few weeks ago.
"I'm getting ready to lock up!"
Mr. Robinette's voice carried out of the office and into the band room. A few minutes and several jingles of Mr. Robinette's keys later, the office door was shut and Lennox was closing the cover on the keys.
"That last piece you were playing, was it a cover?"
Lennox shrugged as they headed for the door.
"It was supposed to be. Didn't sound much like the song."
"Well, the others did. They were all really good, even the ones that weren't covers."
Lennox watched him at the door to the parking lot for a moment. He'd been a great help over the last month—all year if Lennox was honest. Mr. Robinette had believed in him in his own way since school had begun, and thanks to him he had a decent shot at this audition.
"Thanks for… all of this. I actually feel like—just thanks."
Mr. Robinette gave him a genuine smile and patted him on the shoulder.
"You're very welcome. Let me know how it goes when you get back, okay? I'm rooting for you. Got all of my fingers and limbs crossed. You deserve the chance. Don't doubt that or yourself."
It was funny to have so many people believing in him after so long. Happiness was a strange feeling as well. Until he'd let Will into his life he couldn't remember how to capture such a feeling in his chest and keep it there.
Buy the book:
Barnes and Noble
All Romance eBooks
Barnes and Noble
All Romance eBooks
Meet the author:
Zane Riley is a transgender writer who wrote his first work of fan fiction in the fourth grade. He is a recent transplant to Vancouver, Washington where he spends his time watching long distance baseball games, hiking, and exploring the musical depths of the internet. His first novel, Go Your Own Way, was published by Interlude Press in 2015.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: facebook.com/ZaneNebula
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28764212-with-or-without-you
Tour Dates & Stops: