Saturday, September 28, 2013

My Sexy Saturday: Victory Portrait

Welcome to My Sexy Saturday. For this hop, authors post 7 paragraphs, or 7 sentences, or 7 words. This can be from a WIP or something published. This week I’m posting an early snippet from my M/M WIP Victory Portrait.

In this snippet, triumphant general Darius Arrento has been ordered by his emperor to sit for an official portrait. A frivolous painting is the last thing the general wants, but he goes to the house of the painter, Brazzi.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

An easel held a large blank canvas. In front of the easel was a stool. Beside the stool was a table bearing brushes, pots of paint, and a kneeling, naked young man. With fair hair that drifted in feathered layers about his face and pale creamy skin so perfect it could have been carved from alabaster, the youth looked like a statue destined for the house of a despot.

"Is that an apprentice—or a catamite?"

Arrento frowned as Brazzi fussed with arranging him. Though he had thought the artist would want him to strike the pose for which he was most famed, standing erect with a finger raised to illustrate an order or point, the man wished him seated on the edge of a desk, chin raised... and looking directly at the naked man.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

H.B. Pattskyn on Erotica, Porn, and Cutting Out the Sex for Mom

Helen Pattskyn writes beautiful prose. She also writes beautiful stories, and most of all she writes from the heart. She's stopping by to share part of every erotic writer's journey: trying to define what we do. 

This post is also part of a wonderful GIVEAWAY including a free copy of her new release, Hanging by the Moment, and a bag of swag. All it takes to enter is a comment and your contact info.

Oh, and just let me say this... that cover is gorgeous!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First off, I want to say a huge, huge thank you to Tali for having me here today! My third novel, Hanging by the Moment came out on September 6th from Dreamspinner Press and I couldn’t be more excited. Hanging by the Moment is my first solidly contemporary story (my second book is contemporary, but with a steamy BDSM twist) and it’s a huge departure from my first two books (my first novel is a paranormal/historical).

I sometimes worry that readers won’t want to stick with me because I write all over the board like that. (I’m currently working on another paranormal, this time set in the modern era, and another book with a BDSM twist to it.) The heat levels in my stories are all over the place too—but I feel like I have to write the stories the way my characters want me to. Some boys area all about the sex, others have different priorities. Kind of like in real life.

The truth is that I get a little bent out of shape when people assume that because I write m/m I’m penning porn. I don’t even consider what I write “erotica” for the most part (okay, that second novel comes pretty close!)

Erotica is defined by Miriam Webster as “having an erotic/sexual quality” (which, does definitely sum up the first half of my second novel *G*). But to me, sexuality is simply a part of the human experience; nearly all of us engage in it, and hopefully all of those who do, enjoy it—and hopefully most of us realize that there’s more to sex than physical gratification.

My husband told me that his mom wanted to read my first book, but she’d rather have the PG version. I thought it was a little strange, Mom isn’t shy, but okay, I could go through and edit out the sex…. Except I couldn’t. I could change a few words, make some things a little less explicit (all the while scratching my head, Mom’s a nurse and like I said, not shy), but I simply couldn’t cut out the sex scenes, too many other important things went on during them. While they were having sex, James and Alun were connecting on a deeper level, through actions and also through words. Alun’s playful nature came out during foreplay. James’s dominant streak showed when Alun took him in the living room—only as it turned out James was the one doing the taking!

I finally finished editing and called Mom to explain that I was sorry, but I could only get it down to a PG-13 rating.

Mom balked. Why was I editing my story before giving it to her?!

Erm. Your son said you didn’t want to read the sex.

Bullshit. She wanted it exactly the way it had been published. In fact, she wanted a copy of everything I wrote and if her son and I ever got divorced (not likely, by the way) I was to continue sending her copies of everything I write because she loves me. And in the meantime, could I kindly smack her kid upside the head for tell me she wanted an edited version?

I love my mother in law.

So I signed a copy of the book and told my husband we were going to take it to her and asked him why he’d lied. Turns out, he was the one who was uncomfortable with the sex. Not because it was two guys, that was fine (he’s incredibly supportive and talks my books up to anyone who he thinks might enjoy them). He just didn’t want to think about his mother reading about sex. Any kind of sex.

I love my husband, really I do *g*.

It was a little harder giving Mom a copy of my second book; like I said, it’s pretty steamy and the sex is pretty kinky. Not that I think much can shock Mom. She’s a retired nurse and spent at least a couple of years of her career working in the emergency room.

Hanging by the Moment is about 112K words long and only has three and a half sex scenes in it, and one pretty tame masturbation scene. One of the sex scenes fades to black before actual penetration happens because everything that needed to be said between Pasha and Daniel was said during foreplay. Because just like any other scene, if the sex can be cut out, it should be (speaking of my own writing, not telling anyone else how to bring their stories to life). Every scene, ever sentence, every word, has to either tell the reader something important about the characters or drive the story forward.

Yet occasionally, my work is labeled as porn and while I don’t have a problem with porn, it isn’t what I write. I ended up leaving what was otherwise a really great critique group because I got tired of being put down for writing “porn”. I didn’t mind the gentle ribbing or the teasing or the silly fun that we had when I submitted something, but it got to a point where it was no longer funny. It got to a point where it was personal. And no artist should subject themselves to people who only want to tear them apart. An honest critique is one thing and yes, sometimes it can be harsh. I sought out other writers because I wanted to hear “this doesn’t work” and why. What I didn’t need was to have someone be completely shocked that my first novel took second place in a writing competition because “I didn’t know there was a category for porn!”

Well, as a matter of fact, Heart’s Home took second place in the paranormal category, because first and foremost, it’s a paranormal romance.

But I shouldn’t have had to defend myself (and maybe I didn’t, maybe I just felt so insulted by the comment that I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. It wouldn’t be the first time!)

As an artist, I observe a few rules for living my life and one of them is not surround myself by people who can’t support me. Nobody has to like what I write (I didn’t get angry at my mother in law when I thought she didn’t want to read the sex; I don’t expect any of my friends to read my books either), but they still have to support me because that’s what friends and family do.  

Which is a really great place to circle right back around to my third novel, because family plays a huge part in Hanging by the Moment. (Sneaky marketing ploy at work! *G*) 

Pasha Batalov is the son of Russian immigrants; to his father, Ivan, family is everything. But when Ivan says “family,” he means brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. Husbands and wives. Pasha is expected to find a nice girl, get married, have children, and take over the family restaurant. Being a good son and understanding Russian values, Pasha has never told his father that he’s gay, even when being buried so deep in the closet costs him his first love.

After losing Michael, Pasha resigns himself to a lonely life of one night stands and meaningless sex, even when it starts weigh on his heart and soul. He wants a family, a man to love him, maybe even children—but how can he do that and still be the son his father wants? The son his father needs?

A chance meeting with a lost delivery truck driver changes everything. Daniel is sweet. He’s funny. He’s smart. He’s drop-dead gorgeous. Best of all, when he and Pasha are together, Daniel looks at Pasha like he’s the single most important person in the room. It doesn’t take Pasha long to start falling in love—to start wondering if he should stick it out in the failing family business or try to figure out how to have the things he wants: a husband, kids, a home of his own.

But Daniel has a secret, and it’s not the kind of secret he can keep for long. For the last six years, Daniel has been living with HIV—and HIV changes everything.
I’m donating twenty percent of my earnings from Hanging by the Moment HIV/AIDS awareness charities, and it was directly because of the research that I did for the book that I decided to start volunteering with AIDS Partnership Michigan (http://www.aidspartnership.org/). Giving money to something I believe in is relatively easy, giving my time takes more effort and that means something to me.

You can read more about Hanging by the Moment on my website (http://www.helenpattskyn.com/p/hanging-by-moment.html)  or at the Dreamspinner Press site (http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4161)

And of course since this is a part of a virtual book launch party/blog tour, there’s a prize at the end  :) Between now and October 14, I’m visiting a bunch of my friends’ blogs; if you leave a comment here (and include your contact info) you’ll be entered to win a pretty cool prize: a sighed paperback copy of Hanging by the Moment as well as a goody bag of awesome swag.

And anyone who signs up for my newsletter (http://helenpattskyn.us7.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=0bd1c530d47486fe22f3cce92&id=dc70f94d36) will also be entered to win a signed paperback copy of the book in October. 

Thanks again to Tali for having me!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
My pleasure, Helen. And I hope visitors remember to leave a comment so they can enter the drawing for your glad bag of book and swag. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Sealed in Stone #14

Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week.

I’m continuing the story of Willem and Torrey, who are struggling to keep their love on an alien world. This week the prompts were: “my kingdom for a horse” or “open wide for chunky” or “Singing in the rain” or “Damn me, but that's awfully large!” or use something stolen or  have a miracle in your story or have a character who feels like he/she’s getting ill or use: a condom, a wing, and a prayer.


Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sealed in Stone #14


“Kiss him,” Cyrrhi said to Nak. Nak looked Eshuuni—slight, dark-haired, and graceful, with skin that looked like he toasted every day in the sun.

Torrey sat at the nomari Queen’s side, enduring the slide of her hand along his leg. If touching his body gave her pleasure that too was part of his service. He was thankful she had only just delivered her brood and at least two more greater moons would pass before she would enter another estrus. Until then, her demands on him were unlikely to be sexual.

Not so for her slaves. Even Cyrrhi’s casual appetites were voraciously sensual.

Nak wound his hand into Hari’s bright hair and he leaned toward the unresisting, taller man. Nak’s delicate lips, tinted with carmine, found Hari’s strong shapely ones, passing over them, teasing, until the other youth’s opened with acceptance. Water lapped at their twining bodies as their tongues probed and explored. Torrey watched because Cyrrhi wished it of him. Because he had never watched two men be together before. He watched because the young men were beautiful and sleek, their limbs moving eagerly to Cyrrhi’s commands.

“…take his wrist, Nak—yes, that one—and hold it behind his neck. Kiss his neck…”

Torrey could almost feel Nak’s lips upon his own neck and hoped his lips were not open the way Hari’s were, begging and smiling, eyes slitted with pleasure. Torrey knew what that felt like. Willem kissed him just like that. He drew a ragged breath as he felt his cock thicken. He wasn’t hard, not yet, but the thought reduced him to panic.

“Now, Nak, attend my slave’s chest. The right ring first.”

Nak’s slender fingers drifted down Hari’s wet skin to the broad muscles of his chest, found the gold ring in his right nipple. Torrey flinched at the tight tingle in his own. He hadn’t noticed before, when the slave had been with him, naked, in the pool, that Hari’s nipples were pierced. Or how pretty they were, erect and rosy, pierced with gold. Nak’s tongue slipped between parted lips to flick at the swollen peak, eliciting a moan. Torrey’s excitement rose, but he forced himself to not betray it, though Cyrrhi’s fingers stroked his thigh very near the proof. She bent her head near his.

“Which one is more beautiful?” Her low voice vibrated with deep, pleased tones.

“Hari.” When his Queen asked his opinion, he did not hesitate to speak the truth.

“Tell me why.”

Though he knew the game was dangerous, he could not refuse to answer. “Nak is pretty and small and gives beautiful light, like a candle—but Hari is stronger, taller, and he shines as brightly as spear.” He turned so his gaze met hers. “Queens prefer spears.”

“As do some males of the ri’im.” Something warm within her eyes told him the answer had amused her. The nomari did not smile, or laugh.

In the pool, Hari was panting with arousal, his cheeks flushed and his fingers clutching handfuls of Nak’s dark hair. Still entwined, they were on the two highest steps, their bodies more exposed than in the water. With every arching of his back, Hari’s muscles bunched and shone, his legs and arms straining as he sought more of Nak’s greedy suckling. His cock, too, thrust from the water, breaking the surface and sinking below it again like a monster leaping for prey. Nak’s member, too, stood proudly erect and hugging his flat belly.

Cyrrhi’s fingertips brushed Torrey hardness through the towel he’d wrapped around his hips. “See how they enjoy each other? It’s only a matter of time.”

“Time?”

“Before they beg for my permission to release.”

Permission? They could control it? Torrey flushed as he recalled how uncontrolled sex was with Willem, how wild and abandoned. How Willem would hold him down and they would grind their bodies together, each doing anything, everything, trying to make the other come first. Once either of them tipped over the edge… control was an impossible thing.

Tearing his gaze from the men in the water, he looked at Cyrrhi’s face and was glad to see her attention fixed on Hari and Nak’s naked bodies. Was it lust that hardened her expression, or something even more devouring and voluptuous, that human men existed in every way for her pleasure? Relief that his position afforded a degree of protection collided with shame that he alone should be excluded. No nomari queen, and especially not a nom Queen, would subject her Chosen to an unwilling sexual act.

But what of later, when Cyrrhi entered estrus and her nuptial phase? When her pheromones triggered the sexual urges of every human male with whom she had contact… he would want sex. Sex with her. Sex of any kind.

Hari’s half-closed blue eyes locked onto his and he saw those perfect lips twist in a languorous smile. Taunting him, showing him a kiss touched by a promise. Torrey stiffened with resistance.

Cyrrhi’s fingers left his softened erection and touched his face. He held his breath as her voice purred into his ear. “I hoped you would enjoy watching beautiful males at play. You are right to say I prefer spears… and my slave possesses a very fine one.”

“The finest I have seen,” Torrey assured her.

“Yet you don’t desire him?”

“No, my Queen.” Torrey flushed. He’d wondered if Cyrrhi knew. Gender preference was of little interest to the nomari, whose queens often entered into sexual relationships with human females also. “These males are beautiful, but I do not want to play with them.”

“Of course not”—she brushed the hair back from his eyes—“you yearn for one who is not here.”

Torrey felt his stomach roil, on the verge of getting sick. If Cyrrhi felt threatened—

Hari and Nak splashed, rolling over. Hari was now on top, sliding cock to cock atop a moaning Nak.

“I will forget,” he promised. “Your phase is coming… and I will forget.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for more fun, free fiction use the links below to visit the blogs of the other Wednesday Briefers.

Monday, September 23, 2013

On Being Eclectic, Or Why Can't Kim Choose a Damn Genre Already?

Kim Fielding is not only one of my favorite writers (if you haven't read Brute or Speechless yet, you're seriously deprived of awesomeness), she shares some of my quirks. This guest post nails it. My bookcases look just like hers! Read on for a look inside the mind of an amazing writer...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Thank you, Tali, for letting me visit today!



This is a photo of one of my bookshelves. Now, aside from the obvious—ahem, I might have a teensy little book-buying addiction—what can we conclude? Yes, I once took a ceramics class, at which I did not excel. And yes, bookends do seem rather unnecessary with so many volumes double-stacked. But aside from that, can you make out the titles? On this shelf alone, I have travel books and books about nature. I have some classics like Mark Twain. I have reference books on subjects such as LGBT history, punk music, sailing, and the Klondike Gold Rush. I have horror, sci-fi, fantasy… I have lots of things. And this is only one of my shelves. My cookbooks, knitting books, gardening books, my books on law, most of my history and other non-fiction, my collection of Latin American magical realism, my graphic novels, my m/m romance—they’re all on other shelves, along with more. And that’s not even counting my Kindle books!

Given the wide range of things I like to read, it probably won’t surprise you that I write in a range of genres. And the explanation for that is as simple as pie: I love to write what I love to read. Today that might mean fantasy, tomorrow paranormal or something else. I go where my muse takes me, or else I face a nasty fight I’m sure to lose. My hope is that my readers have a wide range of tastes too, and that they’re willing to follow me wherever I end up.

My most recent releases are a good example of this. Last week, Dreamspinner Press released my newest novel, The Tin Box. It’s a contemporary m/m romance set mostly in a former mental hospital, where caretaker and graduate student William Lyon struggles to come to terms with his true self. He’s helped along by his new friend, the buoyant and somewhat flamboyant Colby Anderson, as well as by a box of letters written decades earlier by a patient at the asylum.

Also last week, Cherry Hill released audiobook versions of my Ennek trilogy (Stasis, Flux, and Equipoise). These are dark fantasy books about a somewhat unwilling wizard named Ennek, who saves a man named Miner from a terrible punishment.

What these seemingly disparate books have in common—what all my books have in common, I think—is characters who are faced with difficult circumstances and who struggle with internal demons as well as external crises. Whether someone’s problem is an evil wizard, a lack of faith and family support, a troubled past, a face and body that frighten people, or being accidentally turned into a werewolf, he’s going to have to face that problem before the story is over. And he’s going to discover that another man’s love gives him some of the strength he needs to triumph over adversity.

If someone stuck a gun to my head and forced me to choose a genre, I’d probably pick something within the broad scope of magical realism. But wouldn’t that be like eating only one flavor of ice cream for the rest of my life?


To buy the audio trilogy: http://www.cherryhillpublishing.com/  (100% of my trilogy royalties go to Doctors Without Borders!)

Follow me:
On Twitter @KFieldingWrites

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

An excerpt from The Tin Box:

With the menus gone, William had nowhere to hide. He pretended to be closely examining his surroundings, but in fact the Java Joint was pretty unremarkably decorated, and he couldn’t avoid Colby’s thoughtful stare.
“You don’t like me much, do you?” Colby finally said.
“I… I don’t think I know you well enough to not like you.”
“Yeah, but you sort of make these faces and you keep flinching away.” He narrowed his eyes. “Are you homophobic? Afraid you’ll catch my queer cooties?”
If William had been sipping his water, he would have choked. As it was, he coughed rather loudly. “I’m not a bigot.”
“It doesn’t bother you to be seen with a flaming gayboy?”
“I don’t care what anyone else thinks.” That was true, more or less. Once he’d given up on gaining his parents’ respect, the only judgment he’d feared was his own. Unfortunately, he was a harsh critic of himself.
“So then what’s the deal? Hermit? Confirmed introvert? Asperger’s? Maybe you just disapprove of my stylistic choices.” Colby gave a significant look at his own tight and fairly skimpy outfit, and then at William’s Oxford shirt and sport coat. “Are you the fashion police, Will?”
“William.” He wanted to frown, but Colby was looking genuinely upset, his sunny smile replaced by troubled eyes and a frown. For the first time, William felt guilty for how he’d been acting. Colby seemed like a nice guy. Friendly and cheery. It wasn’t his fault he made William uncomfortable. “I’m sorry, Colby. I think I’m just kind of a jerk.”
The grin reappeared, and William was strangely relieved. “You’re not really a jerk,” said Colby. “We just need to work a little on your social skills. Loosen you up a little. ’Cause Will, my man, you’ve got a stick so far up your ass you must be tasting it. Who the hell put it there?”
William felt a little flutter of panic at the question. He intentionally pushed it down and focused instead on the coarseness of Colby’s language, which made him blush. It didn’t help that he knew Colby was right—William was about as uptight as they came. And Colby wasn’t the first to accuse him of it. Even Lisa used to complain and tell him to ease up, and she was wound pretty tight herself.
The coffee arrived, hot and blessedly caffeinated. William burned his tongue but didn’t especially care. Coffee had always been his one true vice, the one thing he wanted, knew he shouldn’t have, and couldn’t quite give up. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the rich, bitter flavor. He imagined he could feel his veins singing in happiness. Oddly, the song sounded a lot like the one Colby had been humming in the car.
“I’ve seen guys look less blissed out than that after a really good orgasm.”
William opened his eyes to glare. He looked around, but if any of the other customers had heard what Colby said, they weren’t reacting. “I need to buy a coffeemaker,” William said.
“Yeah, Frank’s will have one. How come you didn’t bring yours with you to JV?”
“JV?”
“Jelley’s Valley. See, now that you’re a local we can let you in on our secret lingo.”
“Oh.”
“So why no coffeemaker?”
After taking another soothing swallow, William answered carefully. “I didn’t have one before I came. I used to just go out for coffee.” That was sort of true. A few years back he and Lisa had splurged on a really nice Italian machine, the programmable kind that brewed coffee and espresso and probably did your income taxes if you punched the right buttons. Naturally, Lisa had kept it when he left. And during those miserable weeks of living in his office, he did go out for coffee, buying it from a campus vendor when he could afford it, pouring it from the burner in the graduate student lounge when he was broke.
“I guess that’s one of the advantages of living in civilization. You can go out for stuff.” Colby seemed neither sarcastic nor sad, just matter-of-fact.
“Have you really lived here your whole life?”
Colby had been slurping at his soft drink; now he smiled around the straw. “Why? You figure I’m a little too colorful for JV?”
“Maybe,” William answered cautiously.
“I thought so too, when I was a kid. Couldn’t wait to shake the dust from my feet. I graduated high school early, when I was only sixteen. Took off for the bright lights. San Francisco—homo heaven, right?”
“And your family let you go?”
Colby shrugged. “Dad was dead. Mom was remarried, to a truck driver. He has a house up in Redding but he spends most of the time on the road. Mom too. They’ve got their rig all set up like a little apartment, practically. It’s pretty cool. And Grandma and Grandpa, they were a little overwhelmed with me, I think.” He batted his eyelashes, which were unnaturally long. “I was just too fabulous for them to deal with.”
The waitress came to the table and plopped down laden plates. She pulled ketchup and mustard bottles from her apron pocket and set them on the table. “Anything else?”

“We’re good for now,” said Colby.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sexy Snippet: Adored

Welcome to Sexy Snippets, seven sentences taken from a work in progress, or a published book, and showcased just for readers to enjoy. For this week I thought I'd offer a peek at the final chapters of Adored, my M/F WIP and the next book in my Uttor series.
Adora, the heroine, finally gets a good look at her man...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Vallmer's gaze raked her as he pulled off his boots. When he turned his back so he might ease out of his trousers, she enjoyed the view of his muscular buttocks and thighs. She liked martial men with bodies honed for battle. He folded and placed his garments on the bench before turning back to present himself.
He had been accurate in describing his body. His erection was as proud and thick as any she had ever seen—and in Uttor it was possible to see a great many.
“I think I would like to be made your wife tonight,” she said.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Sexy Saturday: Adored

Welcome to My Sexy Saturday. For this hop, authors post 7 paragraphs, or 7 sentences, or 7 words. This can be from a WIP or something published. This week I’m posting a hotter snippet from my M/F WIP Adored.

In this snippet, the heroine, Adora, takes the lead in seducing Vallmer, who has just placed his gift, a beautiful necklace, around her neck.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Emboldened, Adora ran her fingers through the bright hair peeking from Vallmer's open jacket. “What do you expect when you come to a woman half naked? I’m not a virgin taught to turn away from the sight of a naked man.”
“I’m far from naked.”
“So am I.” She raised her hands to her shoulder to undo the pin of her gown, then did the same for the other shoulder. The released fabric fell to her waist, where it was stopped by her girdle of gold. It would be a loss, really, if Vallmer should leave Uttor without ever having seen her breasts. They were her best feature, after all. She watched with satisfaction as his mouth fell open and his pupils widened.
“By the prayers of all the Prophets—”
“Tell me the necklace doesn’t look even better like this.”
His gaze told her it did. The amber beads flowed like warm honey over her skin and dipped in a trail of seductive fire between her full breasts. Her nipples stood erect with an excitement any man would notice.
“Now you,” she said. 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hope you enjoyed this peek at the book. And if you’d like to visit more sexy Saturday snippets, please check out the many other writers in this blog hop.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Sealed in Stone #13

Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week.

I’m continuing the story of Willem and Torrey, who are struggling to keep their love on an alien world. This week the prompts were: “He’s mine to do with as I please” or “welcome to the grand illusion” or use: cabbage, rose, napkin or have a character that is being followed or “She's a slut with a capital S!” or use a hopscotch game in your story or “tiptoe through the tulips” or “Who are you?”


Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sealed in Stone #13


Cyrrhi delivered her brood on a day chill with portents of winter. She retreated to Pesht’s hidden core, secret to all but the Queen and Her Keepers, and did not emerge again for many hours, after which she wanted only to sleep. Humans of any kind were far from her concern.

Cold rain kept Torrey from the garden, but couldn’t keep his body from being restless. He decided to swim in the pleasure pool one of Cyrrhi’s ancestresses had built. Human art and nomari architecture had blended in the construction to create a grotto of water and light. Colonies of glowworms clung to the walls to give diffuse light to the chamber and reflect from the aquamarine water of a pool carved from gray volcanic rock. A pillowed platform for lounging occupied a viewing area. Torrey stripped from his robe and walked naked down the broad steps as water warmed by one of Pesht’s many hot springs lapped at his legs. He smiled, and then dove in.

He swam until his legs and arms tired, then hooked his elbows over the polished lip at the pool’s far end where glowworms dangled from the ceiling in light-filled ribbons. Was their light green or was it blue? What did they eat? Much about the nomari way of life eluded him.

Sound from the other end of the chamber alerted him that his privacy was about to end. Damn! It seemed any time Torrey left his room, Hari was certain to show up. The only times he didn’t do so were when Torrey was with Cyrrhi.

“Like it?” Hari shed his robe, displaying a perfect, toned body. His smooth skin practically gleamed in the limpid wormglow. Torrey couldn’t keep his gaze from running down Hari’s body, appreciating his flat belly and hard-muscled legs before fixing on that gorgeous, erect cock. “The pool, Chosen.”

Torrey jerked his gaze up to see Hari’s grin. “I was liking it.” Heat rose in his cheeks and he was glad the other man was probably not close enough to notice. He prayed Hari wouldn’t join him in the water—but of course he did. A pale flash of movement and loud splash was followed in just heartbeats by Hari’s head popping to the surface.

“Queen in Eshuun has one even bigger than this, for her men.” Hari shook his head and drops of water flew around him like midges. “Queens are competitive, you see.”

“I know that.”

“Pools, men… doesn’t matter, they want the best. They want what the other queen has. But they don’t want it second hand. They don’t want what some other queen’s used, so they only fuck men for pleasure, or to ruin them for other queens.”

“Is that what happened with you?”

“Maybe. Maybe it’s what’s happening with you.”

That answer made no sense. Torrey had never been intended for another. Shooting Hari a look of disgust, he pushed away from the wall and swam back to the steps. He was surprised, when he reached the other side, to find Hari there ahead of him. The other man’s grin was infuriating.

“You’ll get tired of avoiding me, one of these days.”

“Maybe you’ll get the message, one of these days.”

“You mean the one about you not liking me? Or the one that you think you’re better than me, because the cunt you came from lives in some dung hole the nomari could swarm at any minute?” Hari’s face hardened, wormglow glimmering in his narrowed eyes. “You don’t control your own life, much less mine. Who knows? Maybe I control yours.”

The threat sliced into Torrey like a blade and fear trickled from the wound. “Only Cyrrhi controls my life now.”

Lips as perfect and beckoning as those of a lover curled into a smile. “Are you sure?”

Before Torrey grasped what Hari was doing, the other man had wrapped him up and they fell together into the water. Onto the steps. The water’s buoyancy broke the fall so only Torrey’s ass hit the steps as he grappled with the larger body holding him. He managed to keep his head above water but Hari’s legs tangled with his, limiting his ability to move or fight back. Then Hari’s fingers wove into the hair at the back of Torrey’s head and held him fast. This time the kiss was cruel, demanding, and the press of Hari’s erection against Torrey’s belly made him want to scream.

And then he was free. His body sank into the water and he propelled himself out of it, onto his hands and knees on the steps. Becoming aware of movement, that others had come into the pool chamber, he looked up. Cyrrhi stood at edge, looking down at him. A retinue of nomari subservients and human boys fanned out behind her.

“Your kind enjoy play,” she noted.

“My Queen—” He wanted to tell her everything. That this was anything but play. But one of the human boys caught his eye and he saw how the youth held a finger to his lips, bidding silence. A warning?

“Come out of the pool. Join me. I will show you what play I enjoy.”

Torrey rose to his feet. Water ran down his skin as a pair of workers, barely larger than human children, rushed forward to dry him with lengths of cloth. When Hari moved to follow, Cyrrhi raised a hand.

“No, my beauty. I have not seen you look so filled with desire for many moons. I am inspired to watch you be pleasured. Nak”—she gestured to one of the pretty youths, but not the one who had signaled Torrey—“enter the water with Hari and do as I bid.”

She led Torrey, now wrapped in cotton cloth, to the pillow-covered platform. “Sit with me and watch, and learn. Isn’t my slave beautiful? He exists only to give pleasure, and he’s mine to do with as I please…”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for more fun, free fiction use the links below to visit the blogs of the other Wednesday Briefers.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Guest Author: Layla M. Wier on Sharing Passions

Welcome to Layla M. Wier and a chance to discover not only another great book -- look at that cover, this one hit my cozy hot spot and went straight on my list! -- but to win something warm, fuzzy and, yes, homespun just in time for winter. 

Remember, leave a comment to enter Layla's drawing!

~~~~~~~~

Hi, and thank you to Tali for hosting me today! This is the second stop on my blog tour for my novella Homespun, coming out tomorrow (Sept. 18) from Dreamspinner Press! During my blog tour, which runs 'til Oct. 8, I'm giving away a handmade scarf, knit or crocheted by me specially for you, in a style and yarn color that you get to pick! (This would also be a great holiday gift for someone else!) More details here:

http://laylawier.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/scarf-giveaway/ - you just need to comment on any of the posts in the tour to be entered.

And that's a great lead-in to the topic of today's post: sharing your passions! No, not that kind of passion -- at least not quite! Knitting and other fibercrafts are a great (platonic!) love of mine, as you can probably guess from the scarf giveaway.

Writing is, in some sense, all about sharing passions. You have to love your characters in order to get other people to love them. And it's not a simple matter of telling the reader "This character is wonderful! Love them!" In fact, that's a pretty sure route to a character who's roundly loathed by all. Instead you must take the reader by the hand and lead them to it gently. I don't know how many of my favorite characters are the ones who snuck up on me, the ones I didn't even realize I'd love from their first introduction, only to look back twelve chapters later and discover I'd grown to adore them.

It's not just characters, though. As writers, we fill our books with the things we love. Homespun is very much that way for me. It's a book that is full of my favorite things: autumn and fibercrafting and farming and painting; rural living and communication issues and difficult, complicated relationships.

But just as with characters, you always walk a fine line between inviting the reader to share your love, and simply masturbating on the page. Masturbation is a fine thing, don't get me wrong, but it's not something you typically invite other people to watch.

(Unless they're into that.)

When I wrote the first draft of Homespun, I told myself that I was writing it just for me. No one ever had to see it. The whole thing could be as much of an exercise in id-stroking as I wanted it to be.

But on the revisions, I had to ask myself to see it from a reader's perspective. This often meant asking myself if I needed to explain things a little better, or whether I really needed this many paragraphs talking about sheep; could I cut it down a bit? The trick is to learn how to say "I love this thing! Come here and let me show it to you!" without also jumping up and down, waving your arms at the reader, and generally making a nuisance of yourself.

I have always balked at a lot of writing advice that describes writing as a hard, desperate, lonely process full of soul-wrenching despair. "Kill your darlings", the adage runs -- which means not killing characters (as it's sometimes taken to mean), but never becoming so attached to any part of the story that you can't cut it if you have to.

I am wary of putting too much credence in that advice. I think the parts we love best are loved for a reason, and the lines of dialogue or descriptive passages that shine in our eyes are worth saving. A story's writer is also its greatest fan, and that's as it should be.

I try not to look at revision as a purely rational, objective exercise. I don't ever think I can be objective about my own work, and I honestly don't think it's a state to be sought after. Instead I think of it as learning to see it through someone else's eyes, the eyes of someone who's just come to it fresh and new. What do they see, this hypothetical new reader? What do they love, what do they hate, where do they get bored?


Don't kill your darlings. Nurture them so that they can be all they're meant to be.

~~~~~~

Homespun
by Layla M. Wier

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Novella/104 pages
Release Date: Sept. 18, 2013

Blurb:
For twenty years, Owen Fortescue, a down-to-earth farmer in upstate New York, has had an on-again, off-again relationship with volatile New York City artist Kerry Ruehling. Now that same-sex marriage is recognized in New York, Owen wants to tie the knot. But Kerry responds to the proposal with instant, angry withdrawal. Owen resolves to prove to Kerry that, regardless of the way his family of origin has treated him, family ties don’t necessarily tie a man down. With help from his grown daughter, Laura, who loves them both, Owen hopes to convince Kerry that his marriage proposal isn’t a trap, but a chance at real love.

Buy at Dreamspinner Press:

About Layla:
Layla M. Wier is the romance pen name of artist and writer Layla Lawlor. She was born in a log cabin in rural Alaska and grew up thirty miles from towns, roads, electricity, and cars. These days, she lives in Fox, a gold-rush mining town on the highway north of Fairbanks, Alaska, with her husband, dogs, and the occasional farm animal. Their house is a log cabin in a birch and aspen forest. Wolves, moose, and foxes wander through the front yard. During the short, bright Arctic summer, Layla enjoys gardening and hiking, and in the winter, she writes, paints, and draws.

Where to find Layla:

Stops and topics on the Homespun blog tour (Sept. 16-Oct. 8):
Monday, Sept. 16: Zahra Owens (http://zahraowens.com/) - autumn
Tuesday, Sept. 17: Tali Spencer (http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com/) - sharing passions
Wednesday, Sept. 18: RELEASE DAY! Party at the Dreamspinner Press blog!
Thursday, Sept. 19: Charley Descoteaux (http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/) - location scouting in central New York
Friday, Sept. 20: Chris T. Kat (http://christikat.blogspot.com/) - interview

Monday, Sept. 23: Charlie Cochet's Purple Rose Tea House (http://purpleroseteahouse.charliecochet.com/) - doing research
Tuesday, Sept. 24: Helen Pattskyn (http://www.helenpattskyn.com/) - bisexuality in Homespun
Wednesday, Sept. 25: Garrett Leigh (http://garrettleigh.com/) - interview
Thursday, Sept. 26: Skylar Cates (http://skylarmcates.wordpress.com/) - rural life
Friday, Sept. 27: Madison Parker (http://madisonparklove.com/blog/) - interview + review

Monday, Sept. 30: Jessica Davies (http://jessicaskyedavies.blogspot.com/) - learning to spin, part 1
Tuesday, Oct. 1: Anne Barwell (http://anne-barwell.livejournal.com/) - learning to spin, part 2
Thursday, Oct. 3: Michael Rupured (http://rupured.com/) - writing respectfully from outside a subculture
Friday, Oct. 4: Jana Denardo (http://jana-denardo.livejournal.com/) - invading characters' privacy

Monday, Oct. 7: SL Huang (http://slhuang.com/) - interview
Tuesday, Oct. 8: PD Singer (http://pdsinger.com/) - central NY photo tour