Archive for January 2011

Ethan Day Interviews Lynn Lorenz about Edward Unconditionally

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The author behind today’s 5.4.8×5 interview is none other than Lynn Lorenz. My first foray into her work was Edward Unconditionally and while she’s written many other truly wonderful stories, this one still holds a special place for me for reasons you’ll discover during the interview. Not only is Lynn a gifted writer she’s also a great friend, one who’s help over the past few years has been both invaluable and very much appreciated. I’m not sure what I did in a past life to have stumbled across so many amazingly kind and generous writers, but I’m happy to say Lynn is one of them. So without further ado…

edward npEthan: In a sea of straight-acting gay men, who populate the terrain of Gay or M/M romance, you presented us with Edward in Edward Unconditionally, the third book in your Common Powers series. I even mentioned to you once that he reminded me of one of my best friends, which is part of what made this book work on so many levels for me. : ) What was it about this character that spoke to you as the author, where the hell did you find him, and what made you write his love story, well…unconditionally, for lack of a better term?

Lynn: I’d been writing a lot of “butch” guys, men who were closeted or because of where they lived, were outwardly seen as more straight than gay for self-preservation. Edward had been dancing around in my back brain, doing a bold and sassy cha-cha with lots of booty shakin’, and I couldn’t resist him. Well, who can resist a man in chocolate brown leather fringe? I hadn’t read very many stories with such an openly gay character, and I worried at first that readers wouldn’t like him. I worried that my publisher would publish the story with a non-butch hero. But I found that of all my characters, Edward is the one that everyone asks about. He’s endearing, vulnerable, smart, and smart-mouthed, and although he’s been a little beaten down by life, his bad choices and his family, he doesn’t let that stop him. He’s at a point in his life where it’s time to take things seriously, or be doomed to repeat the same mistakes, and he’s determined to change his ways because he wants more.

Ethan: He is a really great character, Lynn. He definitely has a spirit that jumps right off the page. How do you feel Edwards’s special gift of being able to figure out and fix what’s wrong with everyone but himself affect the person he’d become as the book began? I found myself wondering if that would be stressful for him, to always be able to give of himself, yet never be the recipient of that gift. Did that factor into your development of his character at all?

Lynn: For Edward, the ability to heal was just one of the many facets of his life he’d never taken seriously. It was there, and he used it, but never really thought of it as a gift, more like a pain in the ass, since he couldn’t use it on himself. Edward was floating through his life without a guiding wind. As with most people, it took a wake-up call to open his eyes to what he is truly capable of, how strong he can really be, and how remarkable a person he is. It was part of his character’s arc – going from cha-cha-ing through life, to having to make some hard choices, that brings Edward to a new place, a place where he can finally be Edward, Unconditionally.

Ethan: I think every author has that moment, when a reader or reviewer gleans some aspect from your book that you never consciously set out to include when you were writing the story. Has there been anything about Edward Unconditionally that came as a shock to you after the fact – perhaps a characterization revelation or unintended plot point?

Lynn: Not that I can think of. But it’s been a while since I wrote Edward, and there might have been something then that I can’t remember. I do remember one poster saying that the stuff with his grandmother was slow and thinking, “I think she’s missed the point.” Another person complained about the lack of sex and the length of time it took for Jack and Edward to “get it on.”

I did that intentionally, building sexual tension can be as exquisite as the act, making it that much sweeter when it does happen. My books don’t tend to be filled with pages and pages of sex, but with Edward, Unconditionally, the lack of sex didn’t hurt it at all. In fact, I think most of the readers appreciated the slow burning build up. I hope they did at least.

Ethan: Here, here! LOL! I’m a great lover of sexual tension. The sex is always good, but the build-up can LL_RushDark_coversmmake it out of this world.

Edwards best friend, the very opinionated bulldog, Winston played an integral role in bringing his owner and Chief of Police, Jack Whittaker together. Was that the intention from the very beginning or did that idea come to you as the story progressed? I only ask since love-by-dog-attack isn’t one of the go-to meet-cutes one automatically thinks of when beginning a love story. : )

Lynn: I wanted an opening that would set the tone of the story, and show, in one scene, who Edward was and who Jack was, and Winston was the dog for the job. I love quirky situations, mixing it up, and it could have been a routine traffic stop, but I twisted it a bit. Also, Edward needed a best friend, and everyone knows “a boy and his dog” is one of the closest friendships there is. To Edward, Winston is the one being who has accepted Edward for who he is, loves him completely, and Edward loves Winston right back with the same acceptance. Finding a person to love him the same way was what Edward needed.

Ethan: Aside from the entitlement that comes from his upbringing, in spite of the fact he falls on, what some might deem the more fem side with regard to his sexuality and despite his otherwise total lack of direction in life, Edward does have a strength about him that rivals Jack’s more obvious style. It’s a much more subtle type of strength, but where do you think that comes from and how important was that in your mind when it came to making this story and these characters mesh so well?

Lynn: Edward’s strength comes from inside, that part of a person that whispers “get up, don’t stay down.” He’s been knocked down hard in his life, but his spirit isn’t damaged by it. He’s still open to love, willing to chance it, ready to get up off the mat when he’s been knocked on his ass, and try again. When he meets Jack, he sees the strength of control Jack has and when he lets himself gather his own control, he discovers what he’s truly capable of.

Jack on the other hand, has had an equally hard life, but he’s shut himself off from his emotions and from love, telling himself he doesn’t need it. He’s physically strong, and in complete control of his emotions and needs, until he meets Edward. Edward is the catalyst that opens Jack’s heart and mind to a life he thought he couldn’t have or didn’t deserve.

Ethan: Thank you so much for stopping by and giving us a little insight into your writing process as well as a little background from this wonderful book. For the rest of you…please enjoy the excerpt below!!

Click Here To Purchase Your Copy

Blurb:

When Jack meets Edward at a traffic stop, his world is rocked — and not for the better. Edward is the gayest man he’s ever seen, and Spring Lake is a small town just getting comfortable with its own new gay couple, Brian Russell and Rush Weston. Unlike Edward, Rush and Brian are big, strapping, manly men. But manly isn’t what turns Jack on. It’s Edward — everything about the younger man drives Jack wild with desire and the need to control Edward’s wild, impetuous spirit.

For Edward, his attraction to “bad boys” has been his romantic downfall. His heart’s been broken so many times he’s lost count. When he meets Jack, Edward falls for the all-American by-the-book lawman, but finds his attempts rebuffed and his pride severely wounded. Jack’s straight, or at least says he is, but Edward knows that look in Jack’s eyes, he’s seen it before from other men. How can a man so right be so wrong?

Edward tempts Jack beyond anyone he’s ever met and his desire for Edward builds each time he encounters the younger man, until he can no longer deny it or himself. But Edward doesn’t want sex on the side, he wants forever. He wants the fairy tale.

Can Jack give Edward what he wants or will Jack’s fear of being ridiculed for his choice of a partner keep them from their Happily Ever After?

LL_CP3_EdwardUnconditionally_coversmExcerpt from Edward, Unconditionally….

“Hell and damnation!” Edward flicked his gaze to the rearview mirror.

A large white car with blue and red flashing lights followed him, and he could hear the wail of a siren. For a moment, he thought about not stopping but decided Texas wasn’t the place to try to elude the cops. Didn’t they use cattle prods here?

“You don’t think that’s the welcoming committee, do you?”

Woof.

“I didn’t think so.” Edward slowed down and eased off the road as far as he could without going into a ditch big enough to eat a Buick.

He reached over, picked up his jacket, and fished out his wallet. Taking his proof of insurance and the registration papers from the glove box, he sat back and waited, his fingers drumming rhythmically on the wheel.

“You don’t think Barney Fife was using gaydar, do you?” Edward chuckled as he watched the cop car pull behind him.

Winston scratched at the door.

“You need to go walksies, Winston?”

Woof.

Edward grabbed Winston’s leash, dug under the red bandanna that decorated Winston’s neck, and clipped the end to a leather collar. Getting out, Edward pulled on the leash, and Winston hopped down.

A deep, irritated voice came out of the air. “Driver. Get back in your vehicle.”

Edward waved at the cop to let him know it was all right and walked around the car with Winston. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, Winston,” he intoned as the dog, head down, nose in action, sniffed his way along the grass at the side of the road.

“I said get back in your car. That’s an order.”

Good Lord, there was no need to get pissy about it.

Edward called over his shoulder as the dog pulled him farther away, “My ID is on the seat if you need it. I just need to walk my dog.”

* * * * *

“No. No. No,” Jack muttered. This was not happening to him. He’d given that guy a direct order, and he wasn’t used to being disobeyed. Jack shook his head, and the motion started the pounding again.

“Fuck!” He opened the car door, got out, slid his hat on his head, and put his hand on the butt of his semiautomatic. There was no way in hell he was going to take this crap from some… He stopped, doing a double take at the young man and his dog.

“What the—” he muttered under his breath.

The man and the dog wore matching red bandannas tied around their necks. Jack blinked. The dog, one of those ugly-as-hell bulldogs, waddled down the side of the road. Immense balls swung with every step as he pulled his master after him like a cowboy holding on to a stubborn cow headed for the barn.

His owner wore the tightest dark blue jeans Jack had ever seen cover a man’s behind. His ice blue shirt was Western cut, but the piping had brown leather fringe. At least, Jack thought it was leather.

“Oh my God.” Jack held back a snicker. Was this guy for real?

Jack headed to the car, leaned over the door, and picked up the packet of papers.

“Get over here. Now,” Jack ordered as he looked at each form. After checking the name, Jack tossed the registration on the seat. It matched the name on the insurance card, which he added to the pile.

He picked up the leather wallet. Soft, supple, it reeked of Italy and money. He had no idea how much it cost, but it was probably more than he’d spend on a good leather jacket. Looking up, he watched the driver approach and come around the car with the dog pulling hard on the leash and growling.

Jack looked at the dog and frowned, then up to the man’s face. Early thirties, five feet ten inches, short black hair, and deep brown eyes that stopped Jack in his tracks.

The growling grew closer, louder, then white-hot pain erupted as the dog chomped down on Jack’s ankle and shook his leg like a…well, like a dog with a bone.

“What the fuck!” Jack jumped back, dropped the wallet, and drew his weapon.

“No! Don’t hurt Winston!” the guy yelled, lunged forward, and grabbed Jack’s weapon arm.

Jack’s mind screamed ambush, and his adrenaline kicked into overdrive. He hopped backward as he jerked his arm away from the man and tried to kick the dog off his leg at the same time. Everyone was growling, and everyone had a piece of him.

“Let go of me!” Jack shouted. “Stop it, or the gun might go off!”

“Don’t shoot!” The man’s grip tightened on his arm, now more frantic than before. Jack flexed his bicep and pulled the guy into him, his gun pointed at the sky.

Through gritted teeth, Jack said, “If you let me go right now and get this mutt off me, I won’t shoot you both.” They weren’t quite chest to chest; the guy was shorter than Jack by a good four inches. Jack wanted to kill the son of a bitch right then and there. Then the damned dog.

“Promise?” Breathy and soft, that one word shivered down Jack’s spine and held him in its grip.

“I promise.” He had no idea why he was making promises to this man. He didn’t have to promise a damn thing; he was the law.

The man let go and stepped away just as the dog shook Jack again, its massive head snapping from side to side. Jack hopped backward and his arms pinwheeled in the air. He lost his footing, went down on his side, hit his head on the ground, and a new wave of pain erupted as his elbow jammed down on the blacktop.

LL_SoulBonds_coversmThe gun went off.

The front tire on the car hissed and flattened.

Someone screamed.

The man grabbed the dog, cooed to it, and Jack felt the dog’s teeth release his leg.

No one was going to believe this. Thank God his patrol car wasn’t one of the ones that had the new dash video cameras and that this moment wouldn’t be captured. And shared among all his men for them to laugh at him.

If it were up to him, no one would know about this either.

Standing over Jack with the dog in his arms, the man looked down at him. The bulldog’s tongue licked around its mouth as if savoring the taste of Jack’s flesh and blood, looking very pleased with itself.

From his spot on the ground, Jack said, “You’re lucky I didn’t shoot you.”

He shoved his gun back into the holster and pushed himself up to sitting. After pulling up his leg, he rolled up his cuff, pushed down his black sock, and examined the bite. Two puncture wounds just above his ankle leaked blood, his pants were shredded, and his dignity was shot to hell.

Would it be murder? First degree or manslaughter? How much time would he have to do?

“I’m going to have to impound your dog. He doesn’t have a tag.” Jack grabbed his hat and shoved it back on.

“You can’t do that!” The man clutched his dog to him and stepped back. “Winston can’t go to jail.”

“Yes, I can. I’m the fucking chief of police. I can do anything I fucking want to. And if you give me any more lip, I’ll toss you in a cell and throw away the fucking key.” Jack pushed to his feet. “Now, put the dog back in your car.”

Finally, the guy did what Jack told him to do. The dog hopped in, and as the man shut the Miata’s door, he murmured to the dog, “Stay right there, Winston.”

Woof.

Jack glared at the dog, then said, “Now, hands on the car and spread your legs.”

“What?”

Jack grabbed the man’s arm and spun him around. “I said, spread your legs,” he growled as a flash of power and control shot through his body. Uh-uh. Not good.

“But I hardly know you. I’m really not that kind of guy,” he drawled over his shoulder.

As the bulldog kept his eyes on Jack, probably looking for a chance to bite again, Jack slid his hands over the guy’s back, hips, and down his legs, lingering on firm muscles, absorbing the heat of the younger man’s body. “Anything you want to declare?”

“Just my sexuality, Officer.”

“That’s chief of police.” Unfortunately, he was clean. Jack had hoped he’d find something on the dude, just to add to the list of charges. “Put your hands behind your back.” Jack pulled out his cuffs.

“What?”

“I said, ‘Put your hands behind your back.’”

“Am I under arrest?” This time the younger man did as he was told. Jack slapped the handcuffs over his wrists and then walked him by the arm over to his patrol car.

“This is for your protection and mine. I’ll take them off if everything checks out.”

“Promise?”

Jack caught a flicker of fear in his brown eyes; then it was gone. Jack didn’t answer. Instead, he said, “Stay here; don’t move.” Jack leaned him against the bumper.

Sliding behind the wheel, he picked up the radio and took a deep breath. The man had made him so mad Jack had lost his professionalism, lost his control, and had cursed. Not cool.

Christ, Jack had been so rattled, he hadn’t followed procedure. For all Jack knew, he could be wanted in three states. That shirt alone should get the guy arrested.

He stole a look at his prisoner, decided it was time to pull himself together and act like the cop he was, put down the mic, and got out of the car. He strode over to the Miata and picked up the driver’s license and wallet lying on the ground, then gathered up the other papers.

Jack stared at it. “Edward Paul Beauregard the Third? Are you joking?”

“No.” The man stood straighter.

“The Third?” Who puts that on their license? Senior, junior, maybe, but the little III behind the name seemed so pretentious.

“Yes. I’m Edward Beauregard, of the Atlanta Beauregards,” he drawled, as if it should mean something to Jack.

“Well, Mr. Beauregard, I’m going to call in your license and see if you need to be sitting in the back with that crazed mutt of yours.” Sitting in the car again, he picked up the mic and read off the numbers to his dispatcher. If it came back positive, he’d put the guy in the back of the car. With his damn dog.

“He’s not a crazed mutt. He’s registered.” Beauregard tilted his nose upward.

“Registered as a lethal weapon?”

“Lethal weapon. Cute. I had no idea sheriffs were so funny.”

Jack let the sheriff comment slide. “Does he always attack people?”

The man looked Jack up and down, then purred, “Like me, I guess he can’t resist a man in uniform.”

Click Here To Purchase Your Copy

 

© Copyright 2009 Lynn Lorenz

January’s Gay Day is Here!!!

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Sunday, January 30th is Gay Day at my Yahoo Group.  Gay Day is the one day a month when the best authors in GLBT Romance stop by to post excerpts of their new and upcoming releases.

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The following authors will be generously offering giveaways you can enter to win:

GEOFFREY KNIGHT – THE SEVENTH WAVE – Coming Soon

J.P. BOWIE – NOWHERE TO HIDE

J.J. SOUTH – 33 A GAY LOVE STORY

Z.A. MAXFIELD – PHARAOH’S CONCUBINE

SIMONE ANDERSON – SADDLE UP & RIDE

ANGEL MARTINEZ – A DIFFERENT BREED

KATE MCMURRAY – THE BOY NEXT DOOR

ANDREW GREY – LOVE MEANS…NO FEAR

ALLY BLUE – THESE HAUNTED HEIGHTS

TRINA LANE – SIMPLY PERFECTION

E.M. WOODS – CHOCOLATE DREAMS

JAIME SAMMS – FINDERS KEEPERS

CLARE LONDON –THREADBARE

ETHAN DAY – LIFE IN FUSION

KIMBERLY GARDNER – TOO SOON FOR LOVE – Coming Soon

JAMBREA JO JONES – STEAMY REUNION & STEALING MICHAEL

CHARLIE COCHRANE – ALL LESSONS LEARNED Print Book of Winners Choice

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The amazing Authors below will be popping in and out to chat & post excerpts from their latest books:

MISSY WELCH – KLT23

STEVIE WOODS – SACRIFICE

K.C. BURN – BLOOD RELATIONS

DEVON RHODES – MAKING HIS LIST

JAMBREA JO JONES – A FISTFULL OF EMMETT

FINN MARLOWE – A THREAD OF DEEPEST BLACK

ADRIANNE BRENNAN – PISCES F/F Coming Soon

AKM MILES – FOR GOM’S SAKE – Coming Soon

T.C. BLUE – LIFE CHANGES EVERYTHING

LILY SAWYER – CATCH OF THE DAY

KIMBERLY GARDNER – BLUSH

EM WOODS – JACK’S WAY

SERENA YATES – THE CHAUFFEUR & REDISCOVERING ADRIAN

JAIME SAMMS – WISHING ON A BLUE STAR

ETHAN DAY – ANYTHING FOR YOU – Coming Soon

LYNN LORENZ – REMEMBER ME? – Coming Soon

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The day will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST in the Ethan Day Yahoo Group where we’ll be posting excerpts, running contests for free books, and chatting about all the new and upcoming releases from your favorite authors.

I hope everyone will stop by to catch up with your favorite authors and join in all the fun!

Ahh memories…

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The things they never tell ya before becoming an author…for instance, that some people may not like what you have to offer, lol. Shocking, I know! : )  As I’m currently working on the sequel to Self Preservation I thought I may as well re-issue my Norma Rae-like rant – defending poor Davis in all his desperate, panicked glory.

Thank goodness I never followed through on my threat to insert the random ‘crying character’ into all my books though, huh? Well…at least not yet.

 

 

The Crying Gayme

I was a little shocked recently to discover some sort of issue had popped up from a few folks in regards to the gay character in my gay novel doing a little too much crying.  At first I thought this was a joke, and I became paranoid as I searched frantically for the hidden camera in my office.  When it became all too apparent that this was seriously an issue, it got me wondering…am I to be considered less of a man, ED_SelfPreservation_coverlgdespite the genitalia that suggests otherwise, should I choose to cry?  Does crying make me a pansy boy?  This wasn’t the worst of it, though.  Apparently, the crying man is almost as bad as…hold your breath folks…A WOMAN!! As if being a woman is the worst thing ever!!  On behalf of my sisters and gal pals, I’m officially offended for you.  Seriously…I totally just had a sympathy menstrual cramp.

This has to be the single most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard!  I’m sorry…but when were magically transported back to the 1950′s and why the hell didn’t I get the memo? *Paging Tab Hunter to my boudoir!!* What…as long as I’m here I may as well make the best of it! : )

I hate to break it to you people, from-the-land-of-no-crying, but some of us do leak when faced with desperation and strong emotions.  If you honestly feel like a man who cries is weak, or less masculine than one who doesn’t?  Let’s just say I’m thankful I don’t live in your world! 

It takes a hell of a lot more strength and courage to allow other people to see the real you…ugly crying jag and all, then it does to never let anyone see past the mask.

For me personally, I’m not an equal opportunity weeper.  I can’t let myself loose it if anyone else in the vicinity is already crying.  Before you begin to admire all the butchie strength-in-a-crisis qualities I have…I should probably confess to the near melt-down I suffered when they canceled Gilmore Girls.  My point – you don’t have to be one or the other. 

I know for a fact I would never berate a man-friend (gay or straight) who had multiple melt-downs once he discovered his first and only love was going to marry someone else.  What’s he supposed to do in this situation…scratch his balls and grunt a few times before spitting out his chewing tobacco?

The thing I loved most once I accepted the fact that I was gay – I was no longer bound by the heterosexual model of male behavior.  No more pretending to like sports!!!  Hooray!!!!  If I wanna slap on a wig and heels while doing a Cha Cha down the boulevard…I can!  If I wanna have an all day Doris Day movie marathon…I can! If I wanna crawl up into a sling and let another man do deliciously naughty things to me…I can! And if I wanna cry afterwards, out of either joy or shame, I sure as fuck will.  I may even scratch my balls and grunt a few times in the process! : )   

I may not be able to marry the person I choose to spend the rest of my life with…but I’ll be damned to hell and back before I let anyone make me feel bad for crying about that fact.  You can’t take that away from me – it’s mine and I’m going to keep it.  I’m half tempted to throw in completely unnecessary crying into every single book at this point just to irritate the cold-cruel-dead-inside-meanies out there.  I’ll create one no-name character who’ll be in every book.  I’ll have him periodically walk down the street bawling for no apparent reason.  That’ll learn ya!!  LOL

Maybe I do like to play football on the weekends, or maybe I just like to sit on the sidelines and watch, or drool as the case may be.  Neither way is WRONG or BAD!  And shame on anyone who says anything differently. 

I guess at the end of the day, my message is this:  This is my gay party and I’ll cry if I want to! 

Much Love

Ethan

Ethan Day interviews Z.A. Maxfield about The Pharaoh’s Concubine

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She had me at hello…literally. ; ) From the very first moment we met, the subject of today’s 5.4.8×5 interview, offered me friendship and support. Never asking for a thing in return – it was just a simple act of kindness that meant a whole lot, even to the loud-mouthed, new kid on the block.

Her work seems to know no limits when it comes to stepping across the sub-genre lines of manly romance. While equally comfortable guiding us through the seriousness life sometimes leaves at our door as she is navigating her way around the light-hearted comedy found in something as simple as a family dinner…one thing stays true…with Z.A. Maxfield the love always comes through.

Pharaoh's concubine NPEthan: Let me first say how much I truly enjoyed your new book, The Pharaohs Concubine – now available from Samhain Publishing. Between the title and your description of the book to me when we were first discussing it – prior to my reading it – I found myself mightily confused. Knowing you as I do, I should have trusted you’d knock this one right out of the park the way you have every other book of yours I’ve read. That being said, I simply HAD to ask. Where in the hell did you come up with the idea of mixing a Russian crime lord, an ex-Mormon, and a reluctant gang-banger? Again, don’t get me wrong, Z – you blended them all beautifully. But I’ll admit to initially wondering if you’d been smoking some of that wacky weed out there in Cali, LOL! So, how did this character combo come to you, and were you scratching your head in the beginning as well, or were you able to visualize the possibilities from the get go?

ZAM: When I begin a novel, it almost always begins with a specific scene, so I had in my mind the first chapter. I don’t think I’m giving spoilers if I reveal that Dylan Anderson, the well cared for lover of Yvgeny Mosko, crime lord, is leaving from the VIP exit of a spa when he’s the victim of an attempted kidnapping.

Given that, I began to ask myself about Dylan. What kind of man would be happy with a life where he’s second fiddle to an official wife and family? What kind of man can ignore the moral implications of spending money made largely from crime? How did he get there, is he attached to it, or has he shut off his emotions and his innate morality and if so, why?

And then of course with regard to William Escobar, Memo, I planned a character who, like many young men I come into contact with every day, are shunted by family ties and expectation, peer pressure, economic woes, sheer alienation, and loneliness into gangs. While it’s easy to paint the picture of Crime Lord, Mormon, Gangster, I hope (I believe it fervently or this wouldn’t be seeing the light of day) that I’ve transcended stereotypes, at least a little, to tell their story.

Oddly enough, when push came to shove, and I was writing PC, the chasm between Mormon and gangster filled up with family ties, loyalty, tradition, and peer pressure until it started to look like they had at least a little common ground.

Ethan: Most definitely, that was a nice surprise to find, because initially it was difficult to wrap my brain around. I was asking myself, how is she going to bring these two together? It was nicely done in the book and the beautiful underlying message, that despite their backgrounds, two people who are different in so many ways can still be the same at their core – after stripping away all the protective layers we learn to cover up with as we grow up and move into adulthood.

ZAM: I sometimes think that we all want basically the same things, a sense of self worth, a physically comfortable life, and companionship. Those layers we put on can keep us from finding what we need, and sometimes stripping them off makes things simpler.

Ethan: Dylan’s character was the driving force of this novel, for me. It was his journey that I found myself completely invested within. Despite having lived the bulk of his adult life looking out at the world from the perceived safety of his gilded cage, Dylan seemed to be coolly detached from reality…even once he’s no longer protected by that cage. How much of this did you think was naturally inherent in his character vs. an aspect of conditioning, due to his upbringing and events in his past?

ZAM: I felt from the very first that Dylan was deeply damaged by being pruned from the family tree. Rootless, isolated, I thought it would have been very easy for him to allow an older man’s kindness to lure him into that cage. I also believe he felt grateful, and valued, and cared for very much by his lover, but I think it might not have been possible for him to form true attachments to either people or things. He’d lost everything in the blink of an eye because of a fundamental truth about himself he refused to alter, hide, or ignore. I think it would be hard to believe in anything after that. I saw him as detached for his sanity’s sake. Ready to roll with the punches.

Ethan: As a side note to Dylan’s character, while I’ve certainly drawn my own conclusions, I wondered why you felt he would have ever agreed to become the kept boy of such a powerfully frightening man such as Mosko? I certainly never got the impression it had anything to do with the financial side of thi50395_165809416786338_8375205_nngs – though he certainly enjoyed the trappings – but I don’t feel as though he truly missed that. Do you think he was merely trying to find shelter from the world at large, feared he didn’t deserve anything more out of life, or was it something else entirely?

ZAM: Dylan is pretty obtuse about his own worth. He has those values, still, instilled in him by his family and his church. He’s more about what he can offer in the form of service or hard work, not what he’s intrinsically worth.

He’s drawn to the warmth of Mosko’s kindness; if Mosko had been a homeless guy living in a box, I think Dylan would have been equally attracted. I tried to portray Dylan as someone who, after leaving his family, drifted until someone wanted him and took him in. I think mostly, until the end of the book, Dylan allows people to come and go, and he tries not to get his hopes up or his emotions involved. He tries to provide service, because he doesn’t imagine anyone would want him for himself.

Ethan: Pretty sad the way sometimes the very people who are supposed to love and support you the most wind up being the ones that do the most damage. There is definitely a sort of inherent sadness to him. But there’s no wallowing or self pity about him, like I said, he’s a very interesting character.

Since there are so many different ways a writer can go about telling the same story, I’ve always been fascinated by the choices an author makes when it comes to the voice or voices they use to narrate a tale. After reading Concubine, it seemed as if most roads led back to one character, Dylan. That’s not to say I didn’t thoroughly enjoy William and Desiree and what their perspective brought to book, but it did have me wondering what made you decide to open this story up to multiple POV’s? Was it merely the default choice that you prefer to work within, or was there another reason – some aspect of the story you didn’t feel you could otherwise tell had you been limited to one voice?

ZAM: I guess since part of the story hinges on how Dylan sees himself as opposed to how others see him, it seemed natural to view him through the eyes of those other characters. Plus, I really wanted to be inside William’s head. I think William is a great guy. His strength and loyalty and viewpoint with regard to Dylan’s family and the men in Dylan’s life were important to the story. The change in POV was required because Dylan was an unreliable narrator. Due to his detachment and his inability to see his own worth, and due to his past, it takes both men’s POVs for the reader to see clearly what Dylan cannot.

Ethan: Very good point, Z. I think all authors suffer the fear that wrong choices made with regard to labeling and marketing our goodies will wind up hurting the books we so lovingly spent all those hours perfecting – usually at the expense of some other aspect of our real lives. I found that I really enjoyed the title in conjunction with who Dylan was as the story opened up – how well it fit the book from beginning to end. That surprised me a bit considering all the other connotations that come with a title like The Pharaoh’s Concubine, especially considering the fantasy based genre we work within, which includes historical and the supernatural. While we all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover…or title…or blurb for that matter, we all do it. Were you at all worried about that when it came down to selecting the title?

ZAM: Oh heavens, YES! I opened up the discussion to others, authors and readers alike … Egads. After all, the book is about neither pharaohs nor concubines. I expect to get an angry letter or two from Egypt Exploration Society about that. I got lots of excellent suggestions but in the end when I put the question to Sasha Knight, my Samhain editor, and She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, she said she loved the title. So hey, who am I to quibble. She’s the one who makes me look good, and she had her hands full with me on this one for some reason. It’s a tough sell, the Mormon, gay, gangbanger, crime lord book. *rolls eyes* If you liked it, much credit goes to Sasha. If you didn’t it’s all mine… :D

Ethan: I’ll give Sasha her due, especially considering this is the second interview I’ve done and her name has come up in both separate interviews. But I see your stamp all over this book too, Z. It’s got your voice. : )

ZAM: Err, yeah, if by that you mean that my characters never shut the hell up. :D But yes, definitely, Sasha gets her due, she really is an outstanding editor, and this is our second book together. She’s landed me like a big airplane on a small boat safely both times. GO Sasha! 

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Beauty is only skin deep…until love reveals what lies beneath.

As mob boss Yvgeny Mosko’s open secret, Dylan Anderson is happy enough with a passionate, if loveless, arrangement that affords him a life of luxury. But at thirty-six, he wonders how committed Mosko The-Pharaohs-Concubine72LGwill be to an aging lover.

He finds out when a rival gang kidnaps him in a turf war everyone’s sure to lose. Mosko unleashes deadly force, leaving no one alive except for a young man whose dark eyes tug at Dylan’s heart—and the conscience he thought he’d excised long ago.

Though he tried to stop the kidnapping, William “Memo” Escobar knows Mosko will use what’s left of him to send a powerful message to his rivals. When Mosko’s pampered pretty boy risks everything to help him escape, he can’t believe his luck.

William figures he’s better suited to life off the grid, but as the days go by he begins to realize Dylan’s beauty is more than skin deep. And as Dylan coaxes more and more beguiling smiles from William, he yearns for things—like family ties—he’d thought were best forgotten.

Yet behind their newfound happiness lurks the certain knowledge that no matter how careful they are, Mosko will come for what’s his.

 

Warning: This book contains a mob boss, a kept man, and a reluctant kidnapper who will never have to hear the words, “Size doesn’t matter.

 

Excerpt:

Dylan’s breath caught when he saw William’s nude body, the skin of his bare back golden and glistening, inviting in the low light even if his abominable tattoos reminded Dylan of things he’d rather forget. Yves had a mural of colorful tattoos, quasi religious in nature, each facet symbolizing some part of his life in prison, his status among his men, his years in the mob, reworked and added onto with each new turn in the road his life had taken.

William’s tats, with the exception of the enticing round one next to his cock, had been etched there as a beginning, the once upon a time of his story. Dylan didn’t doubt he was meant to have become part of the inked résumé—as a victim, had their attempt to ransom him been successful. Yet he could no more stop staring than he could have stopped breathing.

If only he could remember how to breathe at all.

Everything had changed with that earlier embrace. Dylan saw William with new eyes, and he hadn’t imagined William’s appraisal of him at dinner or the subtle sensual challenge he saw there.

After a silent moment, William spoke. “I could use boots.”

Dylan lifted his focus from William’s chest to find him watching, his gaze cautious but maybe a little smug.

William waited. “Maybe a hat and some shades like yours? That would be cool.”

Dylan’s soggy jeans were half undone. They draped precariously low on his hips. William’s gaze dropped to the line of pubic hair that showed above wet blue fabric. Dylan’s cheeks flushed. Any slight shift and William would see the effect his presence was having on Dylan’s body. Again.

Dylan grabbed up his towel and muttered, “Excuse me,” before heading to the bathroom.

Well, shit. What was that all about? Dylan wanted him. Why did he keep running away?

William was too fucking sore, cold and tired to worry about it. Walking had sucked the energy right out of him. He felt a little sick, like the mountain air really didn’t have enough oxygen in it for him to do more than lie on his bed and rest.

Going to dinner had tired him, even though it was fun and tasted as fine as anything he imagined he’d get in a fancy restaurant. He’d felt Dylan’s eyes on him the entire time.

I want you.

Green light.

Maybe—finally—Dylan would stop treating him like he was some kid he had to watch out for until social services stepped in.

William grabbed a blanket and sat on one of the rockers in front of the fireplace. Curiosity kept him still, waiting. When Dylan returned from the bathroom, he wore the usual cool, distant expression on his face, even though he wasn’t quite meeting William’s eyes. He busied himself with building a fire while William watched and soon had a bright blaze glowing behind the fire screen.

“This ought to warm things up.” Dylan pulled a blanket off his bed and sat in the rocker next to William.

“Thanks.”

“I’m glad Ernesto put firewood in here. The wood out back is probably pretty damp. We have enough for tonight, anyway.”

“I checked, there are more blankets in the cupboard next to the kitchenette.”

“We won’t freeze; there’s a space heater.”

“I guess I’m just not used to it.”

“It can get pretty cold in Vegas at night. One time it even snowed. Nothing like here though.”

“I saw that on the news. Snow in Vegas.”

“That was pretty amazing. Yves and I were having breakfast and he just…”

William’s curiosity got the better of him. “What did he do?”

Dylan smiled. “It’s nothing. He and I were together and he left so he could go home and play in the snow with his grandkids. It was beautiful. So serene. I felt a little like playing in it myself.”

“I can see that.” William closed his eyes. It wasn’t hard to picture Dylan looking through the window of his opulent house, a man who had everything except someone to play with him in the snow. William was so tired the heat from the fire pulled every last bit of strength from his body. No matter how much he wanted Dylan, he could hardly keep his eyes open. “I bet you do all that snow stuff.”

“I ski and snowboard. Des is a maniac. She’s completely fearless. She used to play ice hockey.”

“I’m glad you can see her again. Sometimes I think…” He drifted into sleep, his rocker slowing to a bare back and forth, inches only.

Dylan’s voice startled him. “William?”

“Hm?” He started rocking again.

“You were in the middle of a sentence.”

When William opened his eyes, Dylan faced him, half illuminated by the fire, made up of reflected light and mysterious shadows, as enigmatic as the moon. “I was just saying I’m glad you have your sister back. Maybe when I’m thinking about you I can think of that and I won’t feel so bad for what we did to you.”

“You don’t need to feel—” Dylan’s voice stopped. “I can’t say what you need to feel.”

“I have to go and start over somewhere, and I’d like to know that you don’t…that you won’t be feeling responsible for me or some stupid shit like that.”

Dylan’s hand came down on William’s so timidly he didn’t move for fear that Dylan would snatch it away. “I wish I could give it all back to you. I’ve been trying to think of a way you could keep your college credits and maybe even renew your scholarship, but I can’t think how to do that without risking your—”

“Shh. Don’t worry.” William turned his hand and carefully laced his tender fingers with Dylan’s.

“But I do worry. What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. Look at you, going all concerned for me—like in that syndrome.”

Dylan snorted. “Stockholm syndrome? Doesn’t it sort of feel like you’re my hostage now?”

William gave up a sad smile. Maybe he could be honest for once. Maybe it wouldn’t get him in too much trouble to say what was on his mind.

In his heart.

He lifted his gaze and found Dylan watching him. “Papi, I’ve been your hostage since day one. Since the first time I saw you.”

The grip on William’s hand went slack.

“You don’t seem to know it, but you’re one very fine motherfucker, Dylan. My personal walking wet dream.”

Dylan whispered, “How come you call me papi?”

William tilted his head. “I don’t know. It’s just a thing. Like when Esme calls you m’hijo.”

Dylan didn’t break eye contact. He held William’s gaze for a long enough time that it made William want to look away, but he forced himself to meet those strange light eyes. What he found there was something pure and—probably—more honest than he was ready for. He didn’t find acceptance, necessarily, but what he saw didn’t cause him to lose hope, either.

“You should sack out, huh?” Dylan said quietly.

Disappointment flooded him. “Yeah.” William got up and carried his blanket back to bed.

“Lots to do tomorrow.” Dylan padded to his own bed. “Ernesto has a list a mile long and I’m not sure we can do half of the chores with the grounds so wet.”

“There’s new shit that will come up with the storm.”

“Yeah. Maybe more roofs to check out.”

“Night, Dylan.” William turned his back and pulled his covers over his head.

“Night, William.”

© Copyright 2011 Z.A. Maxfield

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The Saddle Up & Ride Antho Party

 

bloghomopromo

No…there will be no horses. Or Saddles. And no…you can’t save a horse and ride a cowboy. We’ll let the characters do that! But the authors of the Saddle Up N Ride Anthology will be stopping by Ethan Day’s Yahoo Group on Sunday, January 16, 2011!

Please Join:

 

JP Bowie * Simone Anderson * Jambrea Jo Jones * Jaime Samms * Em Woods * Jan Irving

They’ll be sharing excerpts and tidbits through out the day and giving away…prizes! I do believe a few lucky cow pokes will be getting copies of the anthology!

So come party with up with us! Ye haw!

Click Here to go to my Yahoo Group