Monday, April 29, 2013

Featured Author: Double Dose of Sean Michael


Sean Michael is one of those authors whose dialogue just leaps off the page. Moreover, he has a deliciously kinky imagination! After you enjoy the TWO tasty excerpts he's provided for today, pop on over to his blog where you can find more of his work.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you, Tali for letting me guest post on your blog today!

I have two brand new short stories I'd like to talk about today. One is set in the Hammer Club world and the other is a stand alone contemporary. So, the amusing thing is, you'd expect the Hammer Club story to be the kinky one, right? Except it's not, it's the contemporary stand alone that is. That's just how things work out sometimes.

The Favor (the Hammer Club story) turned out to be a sweet and sexy pairing of two Doms who are best friends. Erik's interested in knowing what it's like for his subs, so he wants to lose his virginity (oh, he's plenty experienced, he's just never been penetrated himself.) So he asks his best friend and mentor Lion, the man who has taught him everything he knows about BDSM and being a Dom, to find someone to help relieve him of his virginity. Lion won't hear of anyone else doing it and insists he's the only man he trusts for the job. Man, did I have fun writing these two best friends as they hang out together for the day, and then later as they get their loving on. I couldn't be happier with the results even if it is a Hammer Club story without whips and chains, oh my. Both men are members at the club, though, and that is where it starts. Jack and Oliver even get a mention! While this one is set in the Hammer Club world, it can be read as a stand alone.

Revving It Up (the kinky contemporary) on the other hand, turned out to be hot and sexy. It features a pair who are dating, sort of. They started out hot and heavy and kind of fizzled after that. They still see each other every few weeks, but if you were to ask either Bryan or Jon to be honest, they'd say that the relationship was on its way out. That is until Bryan has quite the day at work and shows up for a coffee date with Jon while wearing a plug up his... where one would have a plug. They leave behind cooling off and fizzling out at lightning speed and rocket right back to hot and heavy, with a side dish of very kinky! It was totally fun to write and not at all what I was expecting when Bryan and Jon showed up.



Erik wants to know what his subs feel, so he’s planning on losing his virginity. To that end, he enlists the help of his best friend and mentor, Lion. Things get intense when Lion insists the only man he trusts for the job is himself. How will this affect their friendship?


Excerpt (adult):

They relaxed together, side-by-side, idly listening to the post-game banter. At some point, Lion's hand slipped onto his thigh. His muscles tightened, rolled, like they were telling Lion hello. Humming, Lion rubbed slowly.

His legs parted, the barest bit, welcoming the touch. They'd played together, gotten each other off before. It was good between them, usually. Lion shifted closer, free hand touching his cheek, turning his face toward Lion's. He nodded, just as into this as his friend.

Lion's mouth covered his, tongue sliding, asking entrance. Erik opened, tongue caressing Lion's. Hey. A low humming filled his mouth, Lion pushing him against the back of the sofa. He pushed back, ending up straddling Lion's thighs.

"So cheeky," murmured Lion licking his lower lip.

"Uh-huh." He dove back in, eager.

Lion's tongue pushed into his mouth, sweeping through him. It was like a wrestling match, two gladiators crashing together. Holding his head in place, Lion took the kiss even deeper. Fuck, Lion's kisses were like drinking -- dizzying and sweet and edged with crazy.

Lion slipped one of his hands down Erik's back, sending tingling sensations along his spine. He pressed closer, rubbing idly over Lion's ripped belly. The hand on his back dipped lower, cupping his ass through his jeans, thumb rubbing along his crease.

"Gonna make it good for me?" Erik asked.

"Do you even need to ask, Ricky?"

He grinned, tugged Lion's bottom lip. "No. Not really." They were good together, they had fun. This was just another level.

"That's right, you don't need to ask." Lion squeezed his ass cheek. "Gonna make it good for you. Hopefully it won't spoil you for anyone else." Lion winked, eyes twinkling with humor.

"It's not like I'm going to suddenly turn into a size queen."

Lion burst out laughing.

Erik grinned, wiggled his ass. "Oh, baby. Give it to me, please."

They both cracked up.

"Dork," Lion accused once he'd caught his breath again.

"Uh-huh. That's not new."

"No, I guess it's not." Lion gave him a quick kiss. "I have supper being delivered for us from Chez Nous around six."

"Oh?" He loved that restaurant. Loved it.

"Yeah. You didn't think this was just going to be a wham, bam, thank you, Lion event, did you?"




Jon and Bryan have been dating for about six months. While things were hot and heavy in the beginning, they’ve since cooled down to a low simmer. Still, Bryan’s looking forward to seeing Jon again tonight after his shift at the bar. But a game of truth or dare has left him wearing a plug and it’s making him aware of every single step he’s taking.

Will Bryan be able to make it through his date with Jon without going crazy? Or will Jon find out why he’s got that extra wiggle in his walk tonight and do something about it?


Excerpt (Adult): 

Jon grinned, laughed and hurried along faster. It was starting to get crowded, but they wound through people like they were on a mission. “God, who knew you had it in you.” Jon made a face like he was replaying what he’d said and started laughing.

“What does that mean, exactly?”

“I meant I didn’t realize you were the type to be into plugs and stuff, but the way it came out made it sound like I was talking specifically about the plug you’ve currently got up your ass.”

“Are you?” he asked. “The type?” And why didn’t they know that about each other? Especially if it was this hot. It should have come up already, shouldn’t it?
“I’ll show you my collection when we get home and you tell me.”

“Collection?” Collection? What? Jon had… They’d been seeing each other for almost six months.

“Yeah. What?” Jon shrugged. “It’s not exactly something you whip out to the new boyfriend.”

“No. No, I guess not.” Byron liked the term boyfriend.

“But once he shows up for a date with a plug up his ass, well, then it’s time to show it off.”

“I just… It was a dare.”

Jon stopped at the doors to his apartment building, turned to look him right in the eye. “You’re not enjoying it?”

“I didn’t say that.” He felt slinky, sexy, and with the way Jon was looking at him, desirable, like whoa.

“Good. Then I’m glad you were dared.” They started moving again, Jon opening the door for him.

Jon headed for the stairs, then stopped and grinned evilly. “After you.”

“What? You’re on the sixth floor!”

“I am. And I’m going to watch you take every single step.” In fact, Jon looked like he was going to start drooling any second now.

“No way…” Oh, God. How hot.

“Yes, way. Come on.”

Bryan took a step, the plug shifting inside him.

“Mmm, yeah. Look at that.”

“Jon…” His arms were covered in goose pimples.

“Keep walking.”

Oh, fuck. He made one flight, almost moaning. Jon’s hand landed on his ass, slid across his right cheek.

His steps stumbled and his heart pounded. “Oh, God.”

“You seeing God now, Bry?”

“I…” He was achingly hard.

Jon patted his ass, hard, managing to jostle the plug. “Five more flights. Let’s go.”

“Jon! No touching!”

“I don’t remember agreeing to that.” Jon pushed his ass this time, encouraging him to keep moving up.

“You’ll make me. Be careful…”

“Make you what? Damn it, Bry, I want to hear everything—how every step makes you feel, every touch.”

They were moving again, so slowly, up the next flight of stairs.

He’d never heard that tone in Jon’s voice, never wanted to just fall to his knees and beg the man. This was like the dirtiest fantasy ever. “Jon…”

“You heard me.” Yeah, he also heard that rough note in Jon’s voice.

He moved faster, so fucking turned on. Jon followed him up, touching and encouraging and distracting the fuck out of him.

“You keep touching…”

“Uh-huh.” Jon swatted his ass.

He stumbled a little, that sting stealing his breath.

“Careful, Bryan. I don’t want you falling down before we get to my bedroom.”
He made it to the top of the fourth story, sweating with effort. Jon stepped up right behind him, cock hard as it pressed against his ass.

“One more flight left, Bry.”

He pushed back, a deep cry leaving him as they met, rubbed.

Jon licked at his neck. “You can do it.”

“I’m so hard.”

Jon’s hand slid around, rubbed his prick through his jeans. “Yeah, you are.”

“Oh, fuck. Jon, I haven’t… We haven’t been together in weeks.” He was aching for it.

“Then it’s about time, huh?”

“Yes.” He’d been worried, a little, that the spark was completely gone. Looked like it has just been muted, waiting for the right catalyst.

“Up, Bry.”

“I am. Totally.”

~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks again to Tali for hosting me today. I hope everyone's having a good, smutty Monday!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

What's Your Name? Welcome to the World of the Face-Blind

♥KatB Photography♥
I've never been good at remembering people. I will meet someone and vaguely realize I should know them, but if I can't bluff my way to enough information to identify who they are...I have to ask. "Excuse me, but I can't quite place your name?" This has happened with neighbors and schoolmates and even first cousins and aunts I've seen plenty of times over the years. Just not every day. And it's been this way since I was a girl.

It's odd. I mean, I have a damn good memory for other things. Books. Plots. Where things are. I'm not kidding when I say if I have been someplace once I can always find it again. Anywhere in the world. I can do that. I can name paintings, buildings, countries by shape, match stock market symbols to companies, and put names to cartoon characters. But for the life of me, I can't always put a name to a face.

I've amused my husband for years because I confuse actors. All the time. Especially Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. I can't tell the two apart. I know they look different. Put their pictures side by side and I can see that. But I can't tell you which is which.

The other day I learned about face-blindness. Prosopagnosia. People who have this disorder struggle to recognize faces. They recognize people by context instead: mannerisms, hair style, voice, and other information. I read that and I said to myself, "That's me!" I recognize people by where they are, their height, their clothes. It even explains my love of quirky people and why I would rather speak to an auditorium full of people than approach a small group.

There was a test. I took it. It's free and simple. All you have to do is name that famous face. Here's the test.

My score: 57%

My husband: 98%

Most people score above 90%.

I am not severely afflicted. It might be argued I don't have it at all. People with severe prosopagnosia often don't recognize their own spouse or children by face alone. I haven't failed to identify a loved one yet. Still it's kind of comforting to know my faulty memory for faces and names might not be because I don't care enough or try hard enough. I do care. I do try. I really think I just...can't.

So if I meet you at a conference or convention...if we meet for coffee and have a great time (we would, for sure)...and I act like I don't remember who you are the next time we meet, just give me a clue. Your name would be a good start. Because I do remember YOU. I remember your name, the things we talked about, the name of your dog. I just may not recognize your face.

Want to know more about this condition? Here's a good article. 

So what about you? Is every face a stranger? Or are you like one of my middle-aged friends who can spy someone he hasn't seen since grade school and say, "Look! It's Jimmy Smith!"

Photo: ♥KatB Photography♥
http://www.flickr.com/photos/56695083@N00/4474085702/

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Purple House

I like quirky people and quirky things. Life is too short not to be interesting and some people and places are so darn interesting they become cultural icons. Take for example the Purple House. You know right away a place is special when it has a name everyone recognizes, maybe not everyone but definitely everyone on the south side of Milwaukee. How could you miss it?

The house occupied the corner of W. Howard Ave. and S. 43rd Street. I lived in the area and drove by it all the time when I went to college at Alverno, which was just down the street. The house wasn't always painted purple, which is why I never noticed it until one day in 1993 I drove by and saw this:



Well...that was different! I rather liked it for the high quirk factor, but it wasn't exactly something most people would want on their street. Because it wasn't on my street, I simply smiled as I drove by.

When I lucked into what became one of my favorite jobs, working for a Milwaukee County supervisor whose district just happened to include the Purple House, I learned quite a lot about the place and its owner. The owner had gotten a job with the city of Milwaukee and needed to live in the city. He was a bit of a free spirit and didn't keep up the property quite as his neighbors liked and they must have complained because he started getting fines for not having the place properly painted. So he painted it. He painted it purple.

Oh yeah, well how do you like THIS! I love that story.



My boss, the county supervisor, got along with the owner just fine and told me the story of the man's ongoing war with the city. He just didn't want to be told what to do. I could relate to that. I could also relate to the neighbors being unhappy. I eventually met him a time or two while delivering house to house notices about public sewer and water installation in the area. I always asked if the constituent had any questions for the supervisor about county programs and the like. He never did, but we had some interesting chats about development in the area and the decline of the parks. The house was near a park.

Two years ago when I was in Milwaukee visiting Mom, I learned that the Purple House was condemned and torn down. I was sad to learn the owner had died. I was even sadder to drive by the corner and see an empty lot. The house had been interesting. It was something special, a piece of pure Americana and Milwaukee up-yours spirit that will never be replaced. I mean, where else would anyone create a Christmas card like this?


I'm glad I got to see the Purple House, and understand it. It helped me understand that some of the best things in life are the things and people that stand out for being different. We try so hard sometimes to have neat, predictable lives. But there's something to be said for not being part of the crowd. I don't remember most of the many thousands of houses I've seen in my life...but I will always remember this one.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Character Sketches and an Excerpt: Vorgell

Some of you may recall the artwork that accompanied the blog postings of Thick as Thieves, which will be released by Dreamspinner in a few months. This sketch of a barbarian was the original inspiration for Vorgell, the main character who has a warped encounter with a unicorn horn:

http://demacros.deviantart.com/


Notice the ferocity? That ferocity grabbed my imagination and I ended up writing about this big, scary warrior who turns out to have a heart of pure gold when it comes to one other man: Madd, a dark-haired, cranky witch.

Well, as a gift to myself, I contacted Demacros, the artist who drew that image, and commissioned some character sketches for Thick as Thieves. What I love about his work is that the men are vigorously drawn and richly detailed. I wanted that for my guys. I'm so happy with what he did I'm sharing them with you!

So here's Vorgell looking all studly with an ax. He uses several weapons in the novel, including a ridiculously fearsome mace, but he would like nothing better than to get his hands on a Scurrian war ax.


And a close-up of the big guy:


I love that he looks ready to tear someone's head off.


Ready for an excerpt? Here's an expanded (and not yet edited) scene from Thick as Thieves

“So what do we do now?” Vorgell elbowed aside a thick-set brute, sparing Madd from a jostle. He didn’t know why he bothered. Madd had just screwed him out of his share of their earnings. “You gave that witch all our coin, which means you can’t eat and I can’t fuck.”
They had left the witches sanctuary behind them and were making their way back along narrow, rutted streets. The afternoon had turned dark, threatening rain. Madd walked at his side, quieter than usual. He kept a tight grip on a hide-wrapped bundle.
“If all you want is a screw, you have only to park your prettified ass on any street corner and women will line up to pop your cork.”
“How many women?” This sounded promising.
Madd’s already thin temper frayed a bit more. “How the fuck do I know? I avoid women like the plague. You’re amazing, you know that? You get hard just from seeing a knot in a tree stump.”
Vorgell grinned. It was true. Ever since partaking of unicorn horn, he got erect with remarkable ease. He was half-hard already, envisioning that tree knot. But Madd’s statement about avoiding women interested him more.
“You truly do prefer men,” he noted.
Madd sighed. “Since birth, I think. I don’t… do women.”
“Not even in the dark? From behind?”
“Were you born an idiot? Do you even have a thought that’s not connected to your cock?”
Just listening to Madd sputter, Vorgell laughed. Needling his new friend had become his favorite entertainment, second only to imagining what Madd might be like in bed. Passionate, he thought, all silken skin and hard cock, hot and slick and tumbled. Damn, if they were not walking the street right now….
“At the moment,” he growled. “I’m thinking we don’t have coin.”
“Not true. I have six gold bits in my boots.”
If that was the case, the scoundrel really had thought ahead. “Well,” Vorgell said, somewhat mollified by this revelation.
“Half of it is yours,” Madd hastened to confirm. “We used the rest to buy the cloak of shadows.”
“So you can sneak into Baron Flemgu’s castle while I stand outside dodging swords and cracking skulls.” Vorgell still did not think much of Madd’s plan. He doubted Madd had ever stormed so much as a barricaded privy.
His question earned him another sigh as Madd steered him behind a pillar. The stench of garbage and filth rose from a nearby alley.
“No, you oaf. It’s so you can sneak in with me.” A rat scurried past and Madd kicked at it, nearly catching the fat vermin with his toe. “Listen, I can conceal myself. I didn’t tell her because she’d ask questions and get all preachy on me, but I have skills—skill enough for that, especially if I avail myself of your… generosity. But I can’t place an invisibility glamor on you because your humungous body nullifies any magic directed at it. All I would accomplish would be to make your clothes invisible, which—believe me—the world does not need to see.”
“There are some who would disagree with you. Ibeena, I think, looked at my cock overlong.” He laughed when he received a venomous look in return. He sensed an answer near. “Just explain to me why this cloak will work.”
“Because the cloak is made of shadows, but it’s still just a cloak, a piece of clothing. The cloak’s magic confounds any who look at it. It confounds them, not you. They don’t see it… it covers you…” Madd looked at him expectantly.
Vorgell grinned. The little guy was cunning after all. He felt bad about not believing in him. Throwing an arm over Madd’s shoulder, he gave him a sturdy shake.
“Fret not, my little witchkin friend. My apologies for doubting you. I would buy you a drink if I had any coin.”
“These boots leave my feet when we get to the room and not a moment sooner.” Madd frowned at the filthy ground.
They set out again into the street. Vorgell pondered that he should feel so comfortable with Madd. The young witch was nothing like the band of Scurrian marauders Vorgell had thrown in with upon his father’s death and his sister’s sacrifice by their tribe’s shaman. That day had been the darkest of his life, and the period that followed had severed him from all he had previously known. His rage at being exiled had found a ready place among big, brawny men much like himself, with oversized lusts, a thirst for battle, and ready laughter. Madd, on the other hand, didn’t laugh a lot. As for lust… that was harder to say. Madd had the temper of a provoked hornet and was as come-hither as a serpent. A treasure house was less well-guarded.
He shrugged. Madd was clean and enjoyable to look at. He also possessed quick wits and a nose for survival. As companions went, Vorgell saw no reason to complain.
He recognized their surroundings when they passed the brothel of painted boys. A few languorous youths still lingered outside, advertisements of the pleasures to be purchased within. Customers stopped to peruse before moving on or entering the establishment. One pretty youth caught Vorgell’s eye and he grinned at the lad, earning a decidedly nervous smile and quick retreat back into the building.
“This is not going to work,” he complained. “I really need to fuck something.”
“Something?” By the way he said it, Madd didn’t think much of the word he’d used. “You know, it might help your cause if you could actually state what it is you want to fuck.”
“That’s the thing. I really just want to fuck.”
“Then you don’t have a problem. Your solution is at hand.”
“No, it isn’t. Because a hand isn’t enough. It’s not really fucking. I want another body involved.”
“At least now you acknowledge you want another body. Warm, I take it?”
Madd was being difficult and Vorgell was hardly in the mood to play. “Yes,” he said through clenched teeth.
“Good. That rules out corpses.”
Thanks to that exchange, Vorgell was no longer hard. Just as well. As they rounded the corner, he looked around, examining shadows and rooftops. He had never liked towns, not really. He liked cities even less. In particular, he disliked this one. Gurgh was made completely of hiding places and populated by the kinds of men who took advantage of them. One particular shadow caught his eye, and he soon noted it was not alone.
“Hold,” he said to Madd and drew him into the concealment provided by a sausage vendor’s cart. “Look closely at that roof.”
The roof in question abutted that of the tavern behind which they housed and provided a fine vantage from which to jump men entering the alley leading to their rented room. One of the chimneys looked too squat and there was a shadow at the end of the alley that should not be there.
“Damn. Someone found us,” said Madd.
“We did make a noteworthy appearance last night. This way,” he said, turning to go back down the street toward the dubious safety of the crowded bazaar. That was when he spied two other men approaching, their black garments rippling over toned muscles. Swords glinted in their hands. He and Madd were armed only with their newly purchased knives.
“They want us alive, or we’d be dead already.” Madd spoke in clipped, cold words. Good. He was thinking, not panicking. “Baron’s orders. If I die, the basilisk in the collar dies, and the basilisk is worth good coin. And you—”
“I know about me. Can you work any magic? Make them itch?”
“No. I haven’t—I can moonblind them, maybe. The moon should be on the horizon at this time of year.” The pale orb was nowhere to be seen, given the cloudy day, but Madd sounded confident. “But you have to make sure you don’t look at it yourself. Just look at me.”
“Do it, then. And be prepared to run.”
The men were moving toward them now. Madd focused, face intent and hands lifted, eyes fixed while his lips spoke a few soft words. Vorgell found it easy to keep his eyes on Madd. An unnatural brightness burst to his right, followed by cries of “What was that?” and “I can’t see!” in several languages.
“Villains!” Vorgell drew his long knife and launched himself at their stunned and now blinded attackers. He heard Madd screaming at him to run, but running had been the plan for his friend, not himself. It made more sense to take out their enemies. Two men were not so many, even if joined by the two from the roof.
He kicked the first man, his size a great advantage as his foot connected with a jaw and dropped his target immediately. Dispatching the second was easier, a simple slash of his knife across the throat. He then stomped on the chest of the first man and looked around to see if anyone was joining the fight. As he’d expected, someone jumped him from one of the roofs. There’d be at least one other. These two weren’t blinded.
His attacker lacked his brawn and Vorgell easily ducked to roll the man off his shoulders, sparing his head and giving him a clear target. Stepping on the fallen man’s knife hand, Vorgell sliced his own blade deep through the back of the leg, cutting his opponent’s tendons. Hearing footsteps behind him, he looked and caught just enough glimpse to deliver a backward kick to that man’s groin. The fellow fell, writhing.
“Let’s go!” Madd grabbed at him. “You don’t have to kill them. The city guards are coming. We can’t stay here!”
Heeding his partner, Vorgell joined him and they fled.
Buildings in this part of the city pressed close to the street and the alleys were narrow. They ran until the crowd thinned and they could no longer hear the shrieks and cries of the still blinded onlookers. Even with that in their favor, they could not return to their room. Enough people had seen them. Fortunately, neither of them owned enough yet to have left any possessions behind.
Barely avoiding the contents of a chamber pot being dumped into the alley, they slowed to a walk and recovered their breath. The sun had dropped low enough a few rays pierced the clouds and cast the alleyway in shadow.
“That was close.” Madd shook his head, his cheeks flushed prettily from exertion. He still clutched the bundle they’d gotten from Ibeena, his fingers curled anxiously into the thick hide. Beads of sweat trickled near his ear. A wild impulse to lick those drops swept through Vorgell and he pushed Madd in one rough movement against the nearest building. Madd looked up at him in alarm.
“Are you all right?” Vorgell bent near to breathe more deeply of the masculine scent of sweat and skin. He could feel Madd’s body casting off heat and he wanted nothing more in the world than to feel his skin slide slick and wet against the other man’s.
“What’s wrong with you? Of course I’m all right. You’re the one who was fighting! I’m surprised you’re not bleeding!”
Madd was still breathing hard, but he didn’t try to struggle out of Vorgell’s grip on his shoulders. Vorgell moved close, only stopped short by his cock—erect again—touching Madd’s belly. He smiled at the glare he received for that trespass. “I’m glad you didn’t run away after all. If you’d run, I might have lost you. I rather like having a partner.”
His words earned him a smirk of triumph. “The moonblind trick worked pretty well, didn’t it?”
Vorgell could barely breathe, he was so ensnared by Madd’s dark eyes, shining and lined with a fringe of thick lashes. The moon, not the sun, glowed in those liquid depths. Everything about the young witch male invited thoughts of bed sheets and night and the tender joys of the flesh. Vorgell was torn between wanting to keep this man safe, and plundering him like a lovesick swain.
“They might still be looking for us,” Madd said. “I suggest we keep moving.”

Coming soon...sketches of Madd. Another excerpt. And news about a basilisk.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Horror Comes In Many Flavors: Julie Lynn Hayes on What She Loves About Horror

Horror is a genre that jumps right down my spine. It also gives me nightmares. But go figure, lots of people love fiction filled with things that go bump in the night or, for that matter, horrifically killing other folks. Julie Lynn Hayes is one of those people. She loves horror so much she wrote a horror book of her own, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

Today Julie will talk about what horror has to offer. Welcome, Julie!

~~~~~~~~~~~

I unabashedly admit to being a horror story aficionado, whether in print or on the small or large screen.  I love to be scared, although I have to say I seldom am. Maybe because I don’t find it so realistic that I fear someday I’ll be up against a chainsaw-wielding maniac or a random slasher or a madman intent on creating hybrid creatures for strange intent. I found Blair Witch more realistic than most, because I can totally see myself getting lost in the woods like the hapless victims of that film.



Alfred Hitchcock was the king of horror films, and he did it in a way that was graphic for its time, but would not be considered so now. And yet, who doesn’t remember the shower scene from Psycho? After seeing that, it was years before I’d take a shower while alone in the house. And there are parts of the film that make me jump, not from fear but from being startled, which is not the same thing. Hitchcock could elicit horror from supposedly everyday normal things. Remember North by Northwest? Cary Grant standing on the highway in the literal middle of nowhere, waiting for a bus, when a crop plane innocently appears and quickly changes into a menacing presence that causes him to flee for his life!


Nowadays, the sky is the limit on what you might find in a horror film. I’ve seen all seven Saw films, and I would hate to find myself caught up in any of John Kramer’s horrific scenarios, but hopefully I’ve never done anything bad enough to qualify as one of his victims. Prepare to see the grossest of the gross, ditto with the Hostel series, of which I’ve seen all three. For something slightly different, there’s the Human Centipede. I haven’t seen the second one yet, but I hear it’s better than the first. In the first film, a doctor performs a strange experiment on three unwilling subjects, surgically connecting them to form his “human centipede”, mouth to ass, and connecting their digestive systems as well. What a macabre experiment, but the film was not badly made at all, surprisingly, subject matter aside.

The latest trend in horror films seems to be zombies. They’re popping up everywhere, and even beginning to show up in young romance films, like Warm Bodies. Whodathunkit?

When it comes to horror stories, the undisputed master is Stephen King, who’s been entertaining us with his gruesomely delicious tales for years. I have a number of his hardbacks on my shelves, although I’ve fallen behind in recent years, not having the time to read, or money to purchase.  One of my favorites is It, which has a very creepy feel to it. Someone who can make you feel horror from the printed word is a master indeed.


What about the horror villain? Or should I say the hero? For often times in a horror story, the villain is actually the hero. Well, the main protagonist, anyway. And often times, the most interesting character. Can you blame Clarice Starling for being fascinated by Dr. Lecter? And Dexter Morgan—who doesn’t love Dexter? Sweeney Todd, too. Gretchen Lowell. If you haven’t guessed, I have a thing for serial killers. Michael Myers. Leatherface. Jason Voorhees. Fascinating character studies, even if their manners leave a little to be desired.

While I’ve primarily written books and stories in the m/m romance field, I don’t consider myself limited to that genre by any means. And so I decided to branch out when I learned that one of my publishers, MuseitUp, was going to run a locked door series of horror stories. I thought I’d try my hand, although I wasn’t sure how good I’d be at it, or if I could even do it. I surprised myself by not only finishing a story and subbing it, but having it accepted. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night releases April 5th, and is my first foray into horror, but hopefully not my last. While it is not necessarily horror in the splatterpunk, gory tradition of some modern writers and filmmakers, I think you might say that it is more psychological.

It follows the not uncommon trope of strangers drawn together by the hands of Fate. In this case, travelers who have taken refuge at an inn because of inclement weather. And what happens to them there as their stories converge.
I believe that it would be really hard to write for a genre that you do not enjoy, although some people might argue with that. Sure, you can get things technically correct, but there is a certain feel that I believe only someone who reads it can impart. I’ll let the readers be the judge of whether I have succeeded or not, for I am a true horror fan.  In fact, I love serial killers so much that I’m developing one of my own, and look forward to presenting him in time.

Thanks for having me today, Tali! It’s been a pleasure!

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Blurb:  On a dark and rainy night, a group of travelers takes refuge at the Black Raven inn, seeking shelter from the storm: Two knights who are brothers, and who believe in diametrically opposed doctrines. A brother who questions the path his sister has chosen to take. A mysterious doctor whose presence gives the innkeeper’s daughter chills. A handsome dwarf, half owner of a traveling troupe of actors. 


Will they find more than they bargained for?

What is the mystery of the locked door?

Excerpt: Lightning sliced across the night sky like a jagged scar. It briefly illuminated the countryside, throwing twisted-limbed trees into momentary sharp relief. The thick ripe foliage of summer was long gone, and the land was left naked in the barrenness of winter. Several heartbeats later followed the thunder, a dull drumming in the background of the heavens that steadily increased in volume with each repetition.

The horse was skittish and pulled against the reins at the sound, but its rider pressed a reassuring hand against its heaving flank and it grew still once more; the clop of its hoofs echoed eerily in the momentary peace between the waves of sound. A second steed stood beside the first; it, too, pawed the ground in disquiet, its ears flattened against its head, expressive of its disapproval.

“The storm approaches,” the second rider observed. His flat voice revealed nothing. “Perhaps we should seek shelter for the night?”

“Perhaps,” the first rider agreed. “But it changes nothing. Simply delays that which is inevitable, Jintaro.”

A wry smile curled the younger man’s lip. “Nothing is written, Kaorin, until it is written. Much can yet happen. It is not for us to know until it does.”

“You are right, nothing is written in stone. You can still change what will be. Tell them what they wish to know. Give them the names of the others with whom you conspire, and you will feel their mercy.”

“Do you think so little of me that I would betray my comrades as well as my ideals?”

“You were always the foolish dreamer, wasting your time with ridiculous schemes. And what have those dreams gotten you? You have betrayed the queen, and for that you shall die.”

“At least I dared to dream, elder brother. At least I have had hopes. What have you? A life given to a faded ideal whose time is long gone. That is no life at all.”
Kaorin stiffened and turned away as another flash of lightning illuminated the landscape, the accompanying thunder growing louder. “I too have had my dreams,” he murmured, but the wind held his words as it swirled between them, and the horses stamped nervously, anxious to move on, away from the elements that threatened to engulf them at any moment.

What was that? Kaorin turned his head and in the light of the next flash, he saw what appeared to be a woman’s pale face, framed by long blonde locks, floating in the air before him. He blinked and the illusion was instantly dispelled.  He wasn’t entirely convinced it hadn’t been there, though.

“I know of a place we can stop for the night. Let us go.” He would not concede it was not his idea, nor give his brother the satisfaction of being right. He kicked his horse’s flank; the other horse followed automatically, having no choice, as they were tethered together.  Jintaro said nothing, but Kaorin was sure he heard a soft snort of laughter, which he chose to ignore.

Buy link for Do Not Go Gentle:  

My blog: http://julielynnhayes.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Going Deep

My writing has its own rhythm. It ebbs and flows much like the tides. Sometimes the writing pulls back and I have time to probe the tide pools and ponder critters or the shapes of things around me. But when the words come in and the story rises to flood level... I write. 

Right now I'm writing. It's a good place to be. I don't have time for much else except my husband, The World's Most Understanding Man. I hope he doesn't stop by to leave a comment that I'm neglecting him too. I make a point to call my mother. Everything else is on an "as needed" basis.

I'm writing two new Uttor books in tandem, Adored and Victory Portrait, because they share a timeline. In Adored, Adora is the more assertive character, quietly pursuing her man while Vallmer spends much of the book confused about what is going on because he came to Uttor planning to propose to someone else. It's up to her to change his mind in the face of disasters that get Vallmer thrown in prison and threaten to keep them apart. 

Victory Portrait is a love story between a victorious general and an enslaved prince from one of the countries he conquered. The general is Darius Arrento, a man so fearsome only his emperor can keep him in line... and the emperor wants him to sit for a portrait. Darius resistsuntil he sees the painter's assistant, a beautiful youth who sets his blood on fire. Readers of the series have already guessed that the enslaved prince is Peta Kordeun. That's himor at least the inspiration for himin the pic. The story was up on Literotica for a while as a short story, but is being expanded by 40,000 words to full novel length. 

That's a lot of writing. I'm going back to Uttor now...