Golden Ankh Awards (Full Nom List) @ellorascave #MFRWauthor #RLFblog

Keeper of My Pleasure by Kayelle Allen

Keeper of My Pleasure

Ellora’s Cave is introducing the Golden Ankh awards at this year’s RomantiCon. Readers get to vote in categories for their favorite ebooks of the year. Authors are readers too, so please take time to vote.

Ebooks released July 2013 through June 2014 were eligible, and there are three to six nominations per category (listed below). Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Saturday night at RomantiCon.

Voting for the Golden Ankh Awards is now LIVE. Head over to Survey Monkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RCon2014) and vote for your favorite book in each category today. The survey will be live until July 23rd. You can take the survey only once, but be sure to get all of your fans and readers to do their part and vote. The survey is completely open to the public.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RCon2014

RomantiCon Golden Ankh Nominations
Ebooks released July 2013 – June 2014; not previously published.

TABOO

  • Divine Solace by Joey W. Hill
  • Submission Island: On Location by Sindra van Yssel
  • Keeper of My Pleasure by Kayelle Allen (This is me!)
  • Compulsion by JB Brooks
  • Beyond Addiction by Desiree Holt

MODERNE

  • Pretty in Kink by Titania Ladley,
  • Restricted Release by Sommer Marsden
  • Sunset Tryst by Kristin Daniels
  • So Inked 2: The Harder He Falls by Sidney Bristol
  • Undaunted by Charity Parkerson
  • Charlie Sierra Tango by Kendall Grace

THEMED CONTEMPORARY

  • Quarter-Life Fling by Clare Murray
  • Trouble in Paradise by Cindy Jacks
  • Designed to Seduce by Nan Comargue
  • Stripper With Spice by Afton Locke

TWILIGHT (SHIFTER & VAMPIRE)

  • Changed by Aline Hunter
  • Shdowpeak Wolves 4: Hanna’s Haven by Lorna Jean Roberts
  • Coser to Fire by Alexis Reed
  • Icy Seduction by Shara Lanel
  • Mating Brand by Laurann Dohner
  • Shadows of the Night by Erin Simone

TWILIGHT (OTHER)

  • Passion’s Poison by Lexi Post
  • Bloodlust Denied by Christina Phillips
  • Traveler’s Kiss by Sherri L. King
  • True by Laurann Dohner
  • Pleasure Palace by Kelli Scott

SPECTRUM – MALE/MALE

  • Sinner’s Fall by Avril Ashton
  • Fire Engine by Tielle St. Clare
  • Artist’s Touch by Kerry Adrienne
  • Stoned by Shelley Munro
  • Daamon’s Choice by Jory Strong

SPECTRUM – FEMALE/FEMALE

  • Sugar Rush by Leigh Ellwood
  • Buried Permission by Jennifer Kacey
  • Beauty and the Butch by Paisley Smith
  • Stripped Down by Marie Lark

FANTASY/FUTURISTIC/SCIFI

  • True by Laurann Dohner
  • Caught by Menace by Lolita Lopez
  • Dangerously Hers by A.M. Griffin
  • Twisted Revenge by Mia Bishop

HISTORICAL

  • Portrait of Passion by Lynne Barron
  • Tainted by Christina Phillips
  • Wicked Affairs 4: Wicked Secrets by Eliza Lloyd
  • Timelost Lover by Susanna Stone
  • Dark Duke by Sabrina York

EROTICA

  • Animal Behavior by Gabrielle Holly
  • Fondled and Gobbled: Back for More anthology (Danica Avet, Sasha Devlin, Anya Richards, Sky Robinson)
  • My Three Masters by Juniper Bell
  • A Taste of Rome by Lucy Felthouse

SCARY STORIES

  • Made to Be Broken by Lyra Byrnes
  • Claimed by Sin by Regina Puckett and Charity Parkerson
  • Summer Girl, Winter Boy by Barbara Elsborg
  • Strange Days by Rebecca Royce

HISTORICAL BLUSH

  • Rebel Love by Scarlett Scott
  • Kiss of the Dragon by Christina James
  • Wishing Game by A.S. Fenichel
  • A Pretense of Love by Aileen Fish

NON-HISTORICAL BLUSH

  • Tall, Dark and Undead by Sandra Cox
  • Lily’s Enchantment by Krisin Noone
  • The Concubine by Raine Weaver
  • Mystic’s Touch by Dena Garson

CHRISTMAS

  • Sense of the Season by Kate Dolan
  • Revving Up the Holidays by A.S. Fenichel
  • A Christmas Caroline by Christa Paige & Vivien Jackson
  • Under Holly’s Stocking by Afton Locke

Again, here’s where to vote. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RCon2014
The survey ends July 23rd. There are no sign ups required. You can vote only once.

Thank you for stopping by. If you are so inclined, I’d love it if you voted for my book.
Keeper of My Pleasure
Rai trusts Koo to submit. To keep him, she must trust her heart.
A recent college graduate, Koo hires Rai as his attorney after thieves total his car and then dare to sue him. She wins, and takes him out to celebrate. Dinner leads to the hottest sex in his life, and a long-term relationship as her submissive. He adores the way she makes him feel, and the way she makes him burn. He longs to show her he has more to offer. He has a heart, and it’s hers, if only she’ll let him give it.
A successful attorney in her late thirties, Rai has a penchant for handsome young men with long hair. Koo, her newest client, becomes more than her usual boy toy. He likes being tied up and whipped, and he yields the way she’d always dreamed. But he has a future ahead of him, and she’s a jaded lawyer. He wants sex, not love. Right? He wouldn’t stay with her forever. She trusts him to submit. To keep Koo, Rai is going to have trust her heart.
A Romantica® BDSM erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
This book is in the Taboo line — one of the Ellora’s Cave Quickies
Ellora’s Cave http://ellorascave.com/keeper-of-my-pleasure.html
Amazon http://is.gd/Keeper_Kayelle

 

What’s a Story Molecule? Trailing Kaiwulf by Kayelle Allen #MFRWauthor #Scifi @MelissaSnark

Periodic Table of Storytelling

Periodic Table of Storytelling

Like me, my friend Melissa Snark likes the TV Tropes website. What are tropes? They’re devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means “stereotyped and trite.” In other words, dull and uninteresting. The TV Tropes site isn’t about that. It’s about the creative use of these mega-themes.

The Periodic Table of Storytelling is a site that makes good use of these themes. By putting together all the basic tropes and assigning them a range of colors and letters, it’s possible to create a “story molecule” using the themes of the story.

Trailing Kaiwulf Story Molecule

Trailing Kaiwulf Story Molecule

Melissa had an idea. Why not take the TV Tropes website and figure out how to apply its amazing concepts to her own story? She hit upon an even better idea. Why not invite other authors to do the same thing? Adding icing to the cake, she contacted the TV Tropes site and asked if they’d like to take a look. They did, she did, and a group of us got together to share the idea of creating a story molecule.

Mine is the last one in the series, so I’m doing my best to make it awesome. I hope you’ll check it out. The book I’m featuring is Trailing Kaiwulf. Why not head over there and take a look? It’s amazing what she put together. Click here: http://is.gd/kaiwulf_molecule

Find an invisible man in another dimension? All in a day’s work at TRAIL.

Travel to a godforsaken planet on the outskirts of space. Check. Hold intrusive military types at bay. Check. Find an invisible man in a different dimension. Check. Finish out the vacation TRAIL yanked you back from to do it? Easier said than done.

Trailing Kaiwulf

Trailing Kaiwulf

Yanked back from their first vacation in ages, Jee and Dane get handed a top priority mission. The pay is better than any they’ve earned before as agents for the Trace, Rescue, and Identification League. With this much money, they might not need jobs. They’re the best there is, and the item, person, or secret hasn’t been invented that these two can’t recover. Until now.

Locating this quarry might be a bit past even their considerable skills. After all, how do you find an invisible man in another dimension? And who, exactly, is footing a bill this steep? Certainly not the archaeologist in charge. The military wants to get involved, but they have no monetary stake either. So who — or what — is behind the request to trail Kaiwulf?

Excerpt http://www.kayelleallen.com/exc-kai.html
Amazon http://is.gd/SciFiAdventure_Kaiwulf
This is a Trace, Rescue, and Identification League story.
Download the official TRAIL Facebook cover and other goodies: http://is.gd/kaiwulf_excerpt

Learn more about the Periodic Table of Storytelling
http://designthroughstorytelling.net/periodic/

 

 

Am I Falling for a Heartbreaker? Luc and Rah #MFRWauthor #LGBT #scifirom

Luc and Rah Kiss

Luc and Rah Kiss

This is the scene from Surrender Love when Luc first tells Izzorah that he loves him. A mix-up with Izzorah’s visa had the Tarthian Labor Board on his trail, and they were about to arrest him (and probably deport him) when Luc showed up for their date. He interceded, showed the officials the passport his company had arranged for Izzorah as a worker, and then promised to keep Izzorah in his own custody until the visa was verified. Luc explained it to Izzorah, and let him know he’d have to stay with him.

Characters

Luc: Sempervian (immortal) currently living as a human. He is a powerful entrepreneur.
Izzorah: Kin (a feline humanoid) Luc’s naïve younger lover. He can smell emotion.
Wulf: Human, a previous lover of Luc’s. They lived together for five years.

Kahlah = the Kin ability to smell and interpret emotion. Izzorah’s ability is magnified.

Nothing in Luc’s scent said he didn’t want to vouch for him. No resentment at all. “You don’t mind having me stay with you?”

“I’d be honored. Now, I don’t want you to worry. I promise you’ll be safe from advances. I’d never take advantage of a guest in my home. A man would be a fool to plunder what he treasures. I’d never approach you.”

Izzorah’s kahlah revealed the battle raging within the man. Such honor! How could anyone not trust this man? Close on that thought came the impact of Luc’s other words. He treasures me. He hugged those words to his heart.

“Luc? Is it taking advantage if I approach you?”

The man remained quiet, and Izzorah’s heart kicked into panic mode for fear he’d overstepped.

“No.” Luc offered a smile that was almost shy. “But before you make any decisions, you need a good night’s sleep. You owe me nothing.” Luc cupped a hand around Izzorah’s face. “I couldn’t live with myself if I made you feel obligated. Your career will have nothing to do with how you respond to me. I promise whatever happens between us, your needs will always come before mine.”

“Did you say–” Izzorah hesitated, flicking one ear. “Never mind.”

“You want to know if I said the same thing to Wulf.”

“I’m sorry.” Where Luc’s hand still rested on Izzorah’s cheek, Izzorah nuzzled his face against it. “I had no right to ask that.”

“Yes, you did.” Luc stroked Izzorah’s cheek with his thumb. “You ask me anything you want to know. I’ll always answer you.”

“Do you miss him?”

Luc gave a short laugh. “No. Oh, I don’t like being alone, but it’s less stressful with him gone. Seems like we fought every day.” He lifted his hand to Izzorah’s hair, and slid his fingertips through it, pushing it away from his face.

When Luc lowered his hand, Izzorah had to stop himself from picking it up and putting it back. Touch me again. He leaned closer. “Do you still love him?”

“Not the way I did, no. We fell out of love long ago. We kept pretending, even when we were alone. He was falling in love with someone else and I could see it happening. Maybe I could have kept him from drifting away from me, but I’d reached a point where it was too painful to try and fix it.” Luc shook his head. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be burdening you with all this.”

“No, I want to know. And you need to tell it. It sounds like you were glad when it was over, but it still hurt.”

“Did it ever! I tried to tell myself it wasn’t happening, and that I didn’t love him anyway, but–” Luc stopped, shook his head again. “Wulf and I lived in the same house but we led two separate lives. It broke my heart, the way things ended. There was no final conflict. No big blow up. It was like the air leaking out of a balloon. Bottom line, I let him go, but then I moped because I was alone. Pathetic, really.”

“You had a right to be sad, Luc. It was like a death. Being slow doesn’t make it any less painful.”

The man focused on him with such sharp attention it made Izzorah’s heart race for fear he’d angered him. When Luc suddenly smiled, it felt like a ray of sunshine had crossed Izzorah’s path.

“You’re right about that, Izzorah. With you, I feel a peace I never knew before. Last thing I need is to fall in love with another heartbreaker. I’m hoping you don’t turn out to be that, because it’s too late, you see.”

Surrender Love

Surrender Love

The truth was in Luc’s scent, a faint smell of sweet grass, along with a hint of fresh linen, showing respect. The mixture meant whatever he felt was a surprise to him.

“I don’t understand, Luc.” Izzorah understood all right, but Luc needed to admit it to himself. That was in his scent too. And Izzorah wanted to hear the words. “Too late for what?”

“Too late for me to turn back.” Luc caressed Izzorah’s cheek again, and smiled into his eyes. “I’ve already fallen in love with you.”

Izzorah leaned his cheek against Luc’s palm. How could anyone not fall in love this man? I would cherish him forever. He held Luc’s dark gaze, savoring the man’s warmth. “I promise. I will be a shelter for your heart.”


You can read Luc and Izzorah’s love story in Surrender Love coming this fall. The sequel, Surrender Trust, will follow. Currently, a portion of their relationship is told in the short story Forbid My Heart. Luc and Rah must learn: where the heart leads — follow. http://is.gd/forbidmyheart

Right Person for the Job (a #free Luc and Rah short story) #lgbt #scifi

Rah in the pool

Rah in the pool

Here’s a complete (on this page) short story about Luc and Rah.

Characters
Luc: Sempervian (immortal) currently living as a human. He is a powerful entrepreneur.
Izzorah: Kin (a feline humanoid) Luc’s naïve younger lover. He can smell emotion.

Scene
Luc Saint-Cyr is planning an interview for a position at one of his businesses, and Luc’s lover, Izzorah Ceeow, is growing impatient waiting for his attention.

“Luc, are you finished yet?”

“No, Izzorah. Not yet.” He did not look up. “A few more minutes.”

Luc had said that an hour before, but he was still writing, pausing to look over his work, and then writing some more.  He’d been in that chair half the day. His notes filled a corner of the table.

With a sigh, Izzorah rested his chin on his fist, and waited. Outside, the sun was setting, and it seemed he would not get to play in the pool with his lover after all. The man had too much work to do, preparing for an interview.

Hmm. I know. Izzorah stood up, and moved behind Luc. He rested his hands on the man’s shoulders. “How about a little massage?” Not waiting for a response, he began kneading Luc’s tight shoulders.

“Oh… Nice. Nice.” He laid down his notes and leaned back. “That feels wonderful. Thank you, kosset. I’m almost through. This interview is important.”

“I’ll help you practice. Ask me the questions, and I’ll answer like the person you’re interviewing.”

Luc explained what he needed, and Izzorah asked a few questions to clarify. Once he had an idea of what Luc was trying to learn, he moved to sit in front of him. “Okay. Ask me the first question.”

“All right.” Luc picked up his notes. “Why do you want this job?”

“So I can help you.”

“No, kosset, that’s the question I want my interviewee to answer, not you. He or she will explain why they want to work for me.”

“But wouldn’t that be the reason? So they could help you?”

Luc scratched at his neck. “Let’s skip to the next one. Tell me about yourself.”

Izzorah laid back his ears. “Why would that help you hire anyone? Aren’t they going to say whatever they want you to know?”

“True.” Luc wet his lips. “What are your plans for the next five years?”

“I don’t want to be doing this job. I’d like to have yours.” Izzorah could sense Luc wasn’t happy with the way this was going. He had a light scent of frustration, but also amusement. “Is that okay to say?”

“It’s fine.” Luc scrolled the page, and slid a finger down his notes. “Tell me about your experience.”

“Oh, good question.” Izzorah took the notes from Luc’s hands and set them aside. “I have quite a bit.” Straddling Luc’s lap, he opened the collar of Luc’s shirt. “I’ve worked hard to bring attention to myself so you’d interview me for this position.” He pressed up against his lover and wrapped both arms around Luc’s neck. “If you hire me, I could make you really happy.”

Luc grinned. He linked his hands behind Izzorah and pulled him closer. “What would you do first?”

“I’d make sure not to violate company rules.” Izzorah slid his claws through Luc’s hair.

“Such as?”

“No talking back. Your employee should do exactly what you say. He should obey you.”

“Mmm. I like that, Rah. What else?”

“Remember the boss is always right. What he wants, he gets.”

“I think you might be hired.” Luc settled back, giving Izzorah his full attention. “Go on.”

“He should never” — Izzorah brought his mouth close to Luc’s, and though he didn’t kiss him, he hovered less than a finger’s breadth away — “ever promise what he can’t deliver.”

Forbid My Heart

Forbid My Heart

Luc drew in a ragged breath. “Can you deliver, kosset?”

He gave Luc a warm smile. “Why don’t you test me and find out?”

Luc and Izzorah will be back in Surrender Love and Surrender Trust. Read Forbid My Heart, a short story featuring them, available now at Loose Id.
In Forbid My Heart Luc and Rah must learn: where the heart leads — follow.
http://www.loose-id.com/forbid-my-heart-a-luc-and-rah-story.html
Luc is a featured character in the Chosen trilogy: http://www.kayelleallen.com/exc-chosen.html 

A New WIP: Return of the Vhalgenn #scifi #fantasy #giveaway

Giveaway and Contest

I’m working on a new book called Return of the Vhalgenn. It’s the sequel to The Last Vhalgenn, and is a crossover story from Trailing Kaiwulf.

Trailing Kaiwulf

Trailing Kaiwulf

This post is a quick introduction to the main characters of Return of the Vhalgenn. Writers and readers alike may enjoy seeing what the various people represent in a story. I used a software program called Dramatica to flesh out the plot. Click the name to learn more.

This crossover also gives a peek into the Terran Peace Team. “Team” (as the company refers to itself) performs interplanetary negotiations, and its ships are considered neutral territory. It also helps protect endangered people groups, refugees, and is a watchdog group for interplanetary asylum and amnesty cases. As you can imagine, there is plenty of opportunity for their negotiators (called Paracletes) to get into trouble. Team provides a high level of personal security for them by assigning them Psyche Guards. More about these guards in a future post.

Then there’s the Terran Colonial Smithsonian Society’s Department of Extra-Terrestrial Excavations. Talk about a mouthful! This group is on a search for mankind’s history in the galaxy. Its logo resembles a biohazard symbol — for good reason. They want to prove the myth of enhanced beings — hybrid creatures created by man milennia ago — is true. Scraps of records show they were located on the far side of the galaxy from Earth, but the true sites have been lost to the annals of time. A recent success in finding such beings is chronicled in Trailing Kaiwulf.

TRAIL

TRAIL

Which brings us to TRAIL, the Trace, Rescue, and Identification League (known by some as Thieves, Ruffians, A-holes, Idiots, and Liars). The item hasn’t been invented that they can’t find. Or hide. If you need to identify a body, or a relic, or research an esoteric bit of lore, TRAIL can help. For a price.

You’ll see more stories with all these groups. By the way — they have been infiltrated by immortals, so expect to see Sempervians, Chosen, and others. Now… into the book.

About Return of the Vhalgenn

Kierhe grew up hearing stories of Qarth, dragons, and venturing into the dreaded Denauerman Flats. As one of the famed Fae Guides, he makes a living guiding pilgrims from all parts of Qarth and Kellindahr to worship at the Gates of Life, and shows them how to pass their children beneath the soaring arches as the Fae commanded. So when outsiders want to dig up the Gates and release the Fae, Kierhe straps on his sword and prepares for war. The summer solstice is imminent, when the veil between worlds is thin. The Fae have talked to Kierhe in the past, and he worships them. What will releasing the gods unleash?

Theena is also a Fae Guide, and she’s as good a fighter as Kierhe. His ego gets him into scrapes, while Theena tends toward caution. While he’s a good listener, as a talker, he persuades better with fists and swords. Perhaps Theena’s level head can keep them out of war. If only Kierhe could see she’s a woman as well, but with her widowed father interfering in everything she does, the Fae popping up unannounced, and an enemy threatening everything they hold sacred, love will have to wait.

Meet the Characters

Kierhe Dahryc Loc Ohra, clan Draig (pronounced KEER-ee)

Protagonist and main character. The protagonist leads the story, and the overall concept represents his point of view. As a newborn, Kierhe was “passed through the gates” — a sacred rite that protects the child and provides a blessing from the Fae. His Aunt Raik was responsible for completing the ritual. As an adult, he bears an ivy tattoo on his chest, proclaiming his loyalty to the King of Qarth and Kellindahr, and against the “Treacherous Queen” who was beheaded not long after Kierhe was born. It matches a tattoo worn on the cheek of his Aunt Raik. Unknown to Kierhe, the queen was his mother, and everything he has been reared to believe about his past is a lie.

Ealee Katheena “Theena” Ohra, clan Ohra

Sidekick and impact character. The impact character forces the main character to face his problem. This sometimes seems as if the person is blocking them, but the function is to keep the hero from sweeping problems under the rug. Sometimes the impact character serves as the guide or guardian as well. In this story, the guardian function is held by another. The daughter of the master guidemaster to whom Kierhe is apprenticed, Theena has loved Kierhe from the day they met as children. Although to her the Gates of Life are merely pretty to look at and have no personal meaning, she accepts his belief that the Fae supposedly bless those lucky enough to have been passed through the Gates after birth. She is his champion and stands by him no matter what. She somehow manages to say and do the wrong thing every time she gets near Kierhe or opens her mouth. She and Kierhe are both apprenticed to her father (who runs the pilgrimage service for which they work).

Dept of Extra-Terrestrial Excavations

Dept of Extra-Terrestrial Excavations

Dr Viva Post (from Trailing Kaiwulf)

Antagonist. In this story, the antagonist is not an evil person, but opposite the hero in goals and needs. It’s the job of archaeologist Viva Post to get information and rescue the people trapped in another dimension on Kierhe’s world. Her recent discovery of identical so-called “Gates of Life” on the planet Ust makes her the reigning expert on the matter. In addition, she’s involved with the only person who can move between the “real world” and the Shadow dimension, a young man she met on Ust.

Kaiwulf Driacson (from Trailing Kaiwulf)

Emotion. This character represents the “feeling” or “uncontrolled” motivation aspect. In some stories, they wreak havoc. In this one, he is balanced by a strong sense of justice that adds control. Passionate, Kaiwulf reacts strongly to injustice or falsehoods. He is a fish out of water on the planet Stachien, and especially around the highly educated Viva, but he adores her. His homeworld is a backward planet of barbarians who live in huts. The last of a dying race, he is capable of moving between dimensions and is the only person who can verify whether the Fae are a trapped people, a myth, or if they even exist.

Lianne Myssara

Contagonist. This character may take either side, and sometimes takes both. (This is a Dramatica term.) Lianne has been sent by the Terran Peace Team to oversee the rescue of an endangered people group (referred to as the Fae on Stachien) If Dr Post is right, and the Fae are simply people in another dimension, Lianne is in the unenviable position of possibly destroying the religion and faith of another group.

The Last Vhalgenn

The Last Vhalgenn

Raik Ty Draig, clan Ddumach (from The Last Vhalgenn)

Guardian. The guardian represents the conscience of a story. Raik is Kierhe’s aunt, his mother’s sister-in-law. In reality, she is Raik Ty Hellesbor, and is bonded to the King of Qarth and Kellindahr. She hid the truth of Kierhe’s birth because his mother, the former queen, was a traitor. To protect the newborn Kierhe, Raik and the king agreed Kierhe would never know the truth. The family that reared him had a stillborn son (named Kierhe), and that child was passed off as baby Dahryc, the son of the traitorous queen. The boy was buried with her. Raik was the mastermind behind hiding him, and has remained at his side to protect him ever since. Her story is told in The Last Vhalgenn.

Rhoman O’Bannon

Terran Peace Team

Terran Peace Team

Skeptic. In a sense, the skeptic character is a heckler to the hero, and is designed to make him and other characters react or explain themselves. This gives the reader an opportunity to understand various aspects of the story better, and to be reminded of the reason certain things are done. “Why do we have to do X?” the skeptic might ask, and is told, “Because…etc.”  This character is useful late in a story to remind the reader about a goal or limitation. As an example, consider the dwarf Balin in the Hobbit film series.) Reared in a Terran Peace Team enclave to become a Psyche Guard (the elite protectors of the Terran Peace Team’s negotiators), Rhoman does not believe in things he cannot see or touch, and thinks the idea of looking for “fairies” to be ludicrous. Things are either right or wrong, and a decision is either black or white. There is no gray.

Milli O’Bannon

Reason. Representing logic and control, this character can sometimes be hard to relate to. To provide more empathy, I’ve given her an impulsive, childlike side that loves life. Like Rhoman, Milli was reared in a Terran Peace Team enclave. Her life is devoted to reason and justice, yet she is aware of spiritual things. She is fascinated by the paranormal, and things that can’t be defined. While Rhoman would bypass a flower without a second thought, Milli is apt to pick it and study it in detail. They are not related, but carry the same last name to identify which enclave reared them.

So there you have it — a quick intro to the characters of the story. Bookmark the site or follow the blog to read more as it comes out. I’ll be posting sneak peeks as I continue to write the story. Sign up for one email when the book is released: Author Alarms.

To win a copy of The Last Vhalgenn (pdf or Kindle), leave a comment and your email. I’ll draw one name by Monday, July 7th.

Everyone is welcome to download a freebie! Here’s a link to an illustrated eBook called Behind the Scenes with The Last Vhalgenn. This is an inside look at the characters and setting in the story. When you click the link, this will either offer you a download, or open in a new window, depending on your settings. To read it, you need Adobe Reader, available free. http://is.gd/vhalgenn_peek

If you’re stopping by on Friday, July 4th — Happy Independence Day to all who celebrate it.

100 Word Flash Fiction Bits from Peace to Flashionation #humor #MFRWauthor #amediting

“Good flash fiction takes time, skill, and patient editing. But it teaches you to write. ”

For several months, I was part of an author’s group that practiced weekly writing skills. Some of our best work was created in “flash sessions” where we limited ourselves to 100 words. No more, no less. Good flash fiction takes time, skill, and patient editing. But it teaches you to write. I saved mine, and look at them now and then. I thought you might like a peek as well.

Peace

Jon took a breather. The other guy wasn’t firing. Jon imagined him doing what he was doing. Sitting back, Jon listened for more gunfire. More sounds of war. What if neither of them fired again? What if they sat here, neither of them moving, and didn’t fight? Was that what peace was all about? Not shooting at one another? Wasn’t peace more than not having to fight for the right to exist, to simply be? Wasn’t that what Jon was out here to do? Provide his people freedom from tyranny? Shooting began again. He scrambled to his knees and fired.

Waiting

Just a little more… don’t stop. Don’t stop! Need this so bad. Need this. Please don’t stop. A little bit more. Come on. Come on. That’s it. Let it go. So close. Almost there. Hungry for it. So hungry for it.

He blew out the breath he’d been holding and took another one, hands shaking.

Been waiting for this. Been wanting it, so, so damn bad. He licked his lips. I should’ve started so much earlier, taken more time, gotten all of it ready. Oh! Yes. Yes… Here it comes!

The last little bit of ketchup landed on his fries.

Helping

He spread his thighs wider and slid down a little. “There. Can you get it in now?”
“No. Not yet.” He hooched over to the right, grunting a bit as he pushed harder. “Hold still.”
“Hurry up, baby.”
“I’m trying!” He shifted his shoulders, angled one foot against the ground for better leverage. “It’s almost in the hole. Just a little…”
“Do it harder! I can’t keep this up.”
“Hold on, baby. Hold on.” He wiped sweat from his brow. The heat rose. Fingertips slick with lubricant, he rubbed the opening. With a click, the car’s axle slid into place.

Red

So much for avoiding embarrassing myself. She’s wearing red. Again.
I needed her to wear one more red dress to haunt my memories. This one was sleeveless, baring perfectly formed arms, strong and feminine. Strapless too, revealing skin the color of mahogany cream.

A man doesn’t stand a chance with her in that dress. Long, slinky, shiny, scarlet. Oh, God. It looks– wet. Perfect. Slick and smooth.

Her mouth is the same red, her lips plump, like she’s just been kissed. Like she ran her tongue across them. Like she wants me. Is she wet anywhere else?
Damn, damn, damn.

Senses

He rubbed his eyes, trying to focus in the dimness. Dawn’s grey light filtered through curtains billowing at the open window. A soft shriek of autumn wind whistled outside, and a gust of wind tossed the curtains apart, letting in a chill that pebbled his skin. Tossing back the silken sheets, he padded across the cold wooden floor and reached up to shut the window.

The sound of the wind silenced, leaving an utter calm. “Ahh.” Shivering, he hurried back to bed.

“You cold?” His lover reached out one powerful arm and dragged him closer, up against his radiant heat.

Replacing Her

If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” The words to the old Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song kept running through this head as he walked up the sidewalk. Friends assured him he’d get over her loss by starting over. But though his feet carried him forward, his heart wanted to run back.

Nothing could substitute for her. She’d been his first. Had taught him so much. Sure, she’d had her flaws, but they’d been together so many years… How could ever just buy another motorcycle now that his baby had been totaled?

Taste

“Almost like blueberry.” He licked. “With a little licorice.”

“Is not! Stop that.” His lover tried to sit up, but was pushed back against the bed.

“Lie still. It’s my turn.” Licking again, he trailed his tongue all the way up along the entire length. The tip was different. A nice, interesting mixture of the blueberry and licorice. He circled his tongue all the way around it, lapping the tip. Why didn’t I ever try this before? It’s really good. I could get used to this.

“You’ve had enough.” He managed to sit up this time. “Give me the popsicle.”

Flashionation, the Art of Clarityness and Succinctation

This flash was an exercise with a group of author friends, and was done as a joke on one of the other regulars. He was the only one who didn’t know we were going to make up crazy words and use them as often as possible. This was the explanation given for the day, which did not go toward the word count:

“Today we’re talking about clarityness and succinctation. This is what flashion is all about. The ability to shortspress yourself. Tell us in 100 words or less what could have taken multinormously more words to do. The topic is speed. Anything to do with being fast, quick, or a blend of the two — fuick. Use 100 words or less.” Here’s the one I posted:

The conceptation of flash sites is to further accenticate good grammarage. Using too many words is called overwriting, or as some call it, desimplification. Doublespeak, the government version of desimplification, is also known as govspeak, govbabble, and politalk. Plague-avoid this. It’s deadlious.

Flashion is the heightest form of trusimplification, or the art of unmystifying meaning. Like the hero called Flash himself, be the quickifest version possible. Use your smoothliest expressifications. Hammer home meaningnails.

Trash frillinormous adverbs and unconnect from ginormous nounwords. Present the smoothliest cream of meaning possible — a banana smoothie of wordage. Blendification of understanding is the goal.

Overwritten Hunk

(Like “Flashionation” for this flash we were supposed to over-write a description for a simple thing.)

The meatiness of it thrilled her from her tiny, itty bitty little feet to her abundantly flowing cascade of rich streaming hair. She flounced said locks, running a manicured hand through the generous quantity of golden curls that bounced around her shoulders. Her fingertips, painted white by the French manicure process, which was not truly paint but a type of pencil painstakingly etched underneath her long, oval shaped nails, tapped the edge of the meat delicately.

Too much pressure on such a tender hunk might cause everything to slip, spreading juices over the white tablecloth as she cut the steak.

Revenge

“Guys! Check out this gun. It shoots around corners.” Jase waited for the hysterical laughter to die down so he could continue. “Look, I’m not faking this. It really works.”

Guffaws filled the barracks. His sergeant slapped him on the back. “Rookie, you got taken.”

“Okay. Stand in front of it then.” Jase flipped out the supports for the gun, set it down and turned its nose 90 degrees to the left, then sighted along the special scope.

Snickering, elbowing each other, whispering, his bullies clustered in front of the weapon.

Jase pulled the trigger. When it worked, nobody laughed.

A One-sided Phone Conversation

“Hey, Mom. It’s me. I tried that recipe you sent me. It sucked.”
“No, not the roast. Those cookies.”
“No. Not Aunt Matilda’s. The cookies with mashed potatoes.”
“Yes you did so give me a cookie recipe with mashed potatoes in it! You said to use leftovers.”
“Oh, now you remember. Well, it sucked. I threw mine out.”
“Cause nobody’d eat ‘em!”
“I didn’t do anything wrong. Why do you always jump to conclusions about my cooking?”
“Substituted one thing. I didn’t have mashed potatoes. Not everybody’s got cooked taters laying around.”
“Three cans of Pringles.”
“What’s so damn funny?”

Jailhouse Singer

The Last Vhalgenn

The Last Vhalgenn

Evanescence was belting out another tune as I pulled in and parked. I sat there, motor running, singing along, mumbling parts I didn’t know. Jailhouse singer, that’s me. Behind a few bars and can’t find the key, but I love to sing.

A car door across and down opened, and out popped the prettiest thing I’d ever saw. Big brown eyes, sweet mouth, not a day over twenty. Damn cock reared up like a stallion at the thought of that tight ass inside tighter jeans. Those lusty eyes met mine and he smiled. Just like that, I fell in love.

Thanks for popping in today. :) How about a taste of something much better to read? This is a giveaway for everyone, an illustrated eBook called Behind the Scenes with The Last Vhalgenn. This free eBook is an inside look at the characters and setting in the story. When you click the link, this will either offer you a download, or open in a new window, depending on your settings. To read it, you need Adobe Reader, available free. http://is.gd/vhalgenn_peek

Luc and Rah in the Pool: Summer Vacation Blog Hop #MFRWave #MFRWauthor

MFRW Summer Vacation Blog Hop

MFRW Summer Vacation Blog Hop

Welcome to the MFRW Summer Vacation blog hop! If you got here another way, and want to know more, click the butterfly button to join in the fun. Our interactive ribbon will take you to all the sites. You don’t have to do anything except read and enjoy the ride!

This post features Luc and Izzorah (Rah), and McDoth, characters from the books Surrender Love and Forbid My Heart. This is a very short-short story, complete in only 764 words.

Characters:

Luc is immortal, black-skinned, dark haired, with solid black, whiteless eyes.

Izzorah is a full-blooded Kin (feline humanoid with claws beneath human-looking nails, catlike ears and eyes, and the ability to smell emotion.

McDoth is an android butler — the consummate majordomo of the household staff

Izzorah squinted in the sunlight on the rooftop. The warm air smelled clean; none of the city smells intruded. The pool sparkled, as clear blue as a lake on Felidae. The white deck reflected the sun, and groups of white lounge chairs waited at different points, the bright blue and green pillows on them the only splashes of color. On the other side of the pool sat a white canopy where he and his cousins hung out when they visited him, sipping beer, and laughing.

Out of habit from when he’d been blind, Izzorah held the rail as he descended the wide steps toward the deck, but halfway down, he let go. The freedom of being able to take stairs without fear of stumbling over what he couldn’t see, or losing his breath because of his weak heart made him smile. He jumped the last two steps and bounced, laughing. The rough tiles heated his bare feet, and he ran the long way around the pool, past the deep end. The scent of clean salt water filled the humid air.

Izzorah tossed his towel across one of the chairs, and picked up a bright blue floatie. He flung it into the water. Pulling off his shirt, he took a deep, cleansing breath, and allowed himself to relax.

Rah in the pool

Rah in the pool

McDoth stepped out from beneath the canopy. “You look chipper.”

“If that means in a good mood, then yes. I am.” Izzorah stretched, inhaling the scent of cedar wood smoke, lime, green onions, and spice. “Mmm. It smells wonderful out here.” He followed the scent to its source. A brick barbecue held glowing coals. “Is there meat?”

“Touch the wall to the right of the pit, Master Izzorah.”

When he did, a panel slid sideways, revealing shelves of cold drinks and two huge slabs of beef. His mouth watered.

“This wall has hidden compartments like Luc’s bed.”

“Yes.” McDoth gestured toward the wall. “There are others. No doubt the master would want you to know they were there.”

Izzorah patted the wall, but nothing happened. “Where?”

“There are four decorative stones set in wall. The barbecue, food keeper, weapons rack, and a supply cabinet are directly beneath them.”

“Weapons?” He faced McDoth. “I thought we were on vacation.”

“One never knows when an enemy may strike, Master Izzorah. It’s best to be prepared.”

That sounded like Izzorah’s mother. “I suppose it is.” He moved a little to the right, found the stone, and touched it. A panel snapped to the right, and three racks of weapons popped out. “There must be a dozen guns here. Are they loaded?”

“Of course. Of what use is an unloaded weapon?”

“But… is it safe? A guest could lean against this and pow!”

McDoth folded his hands in front of him. “It opens only to those who have access. The master asked me to make sure every panel in every residence would open at your command.”

“Thank you, McDoth. How do you close it?”

“Touch the stone.”

Izzorah tapped it, and the rack closed.

A splash in the pool sent a mist of water across Izzorah, and he turned to find Luc surfacing. His lover swam toward him. “Come in! The water’s great.”

Izzorah took a running leap, jumped, and wrapped his arms around his drawn up legs as he plunged into the pool. He kicked to the surface, and wiped his face of water. He turned, looking for Luc, and swam toward him.

“This is perfect.” Luc held onto the side of the pool, smiling. “Blue sky, a day to do nothing but eat, sleep, play, and have sex with you.”

After a quick kiss, Izzorah nodded toward the brick wall. “I saw the weapons rack. Are we expecting company?”

“We are not. But I don’t take unnecessary chances. After lunch, I’d like to do some target practice. You up for that?”

In the water, Izzorah couldn’t read Luc’s emotions, but he was learning to read his expression. He seemed calm. “Luc, I’m up for anything you want to do.”

Luc quirked one eyebrow. “Are you now?” He gave a chuckle.

Izzorah laughed, and sidled closer. “This is our vacation, and I intend to enjoy every single minute. All day, and all night.”

“Mmm. I like that idea. You mean that, love? All day? All night?”

“Every single minute. Sincere and true. Let me show you how much.” Izzorah wrapped his arms around him, clinging to Luc in the deep water. He pressed his mouth up against Luc’s, and proceeded to show him him with touch, and tongue, and taste.

Read Forbid My Heart: a Luc and Rah story, exclusively from Loose Id.
Luc and Rah must learn: where the heart leads — follow.
http://is.gd/forbidmyheart
Coming soon: Luc and Izzorah return in Surrender Love and the sequel Surrender Trust.

GIVEAWAY
Here’s a giveaway for everyone. It’s a word search puzzle of words taken from Forbid My Heart, the sequel to Surrender Love. When you click the link, this will either offer you a download, or open in a new window, depending on your settings. To read it, you need Adobe Reader, available free. http://is.gd/FMH_puzzle

A 7-7 Post (Game of Sevens) WIP: Return of the Vhalgenn #amwriting

Return of the Vhalgenn

Return of the Vhalgenn

I was tagged on Facebook for the Game of Sevens and decided to bring it here. I was supposed to go to page 7 or 77 of my latest manuscript, then go down 7 lines, copy the text, and post the next 7 sentences. Mine is from Return of the Vhalgenn (sequel to The Last Vhalgenn).

Knowing what comes before and after, it’s surprising how well those sentences reveal the plot. But first, here’s what the book is about.

Return of the Vhalgenn
When the sacred site where Kierhe’s people worship turns out to be a portal to another dimension, he must decide whether to release the Fae, or keep them imprisoned as the gods he’s come to love.

“What will releasing the gods unleash?”

Kierhe grew up hearing stories of Qarth, dragons, and venturing into the dreaded Denauerman Flats. As one of the famed Fae Guides, he makes a living guiding pilgrims from all parts of Qarth and Kellindahr to worship at the Gates of Life, and showing them how to pass their children beneath them as the Fae commanded. So when outsiders want to dig up the Gates and release the Fae, Kierhe straps on his sword and prepares for war. The summer solstice is imminent, when the veil is thin. The Fae have talked to Kierhe in the past, and he worships them. What will releasing the gods unleash? Should he ask the king for an army to force the enemy from the holy site, or allow them to stay? What if they destroy all he holds sacred?

Theena is also a Fae Guide, and she’s as good a fighter as Kierhe. His ego gets him into scrapes, while Theena tends toward cautious. With Kierhe in charge, there’s bound to be a fight before long. He persuades better with fists and swords than he does with words. Hopefully, Theena’s level head can keep them out of war. If only Kierhe could see she’s a woman as well, but with the Fae popping up unannounced, and an enemy threatening everything they hold sacred, love will have to wait.

Intro to Kierhe:
As a newborn, Kierhe Dahryc Loc Ohra clan Draig was “passed through the gates” — a sacred rite that protects children and provides a blessing from the Fae. His Aunt Raik was responsible for taking him to complete the ritual. He bears an ivy tattoo on his chest, proclaiming his loyalty to the King of Qarth and Kellindahr, and against the “Treacherous Queen” who was beheaded not long after Kierhe was born. Unknown to Kierhe, the queen was his mother, and everything he has been reared to believe is a lie.

Here is my actual “7/7″ portion of Return of the Vhalgenn. Kierhe is recalling a moment in his childhood when he saw one of the mystical Fae.
—–

His Aunt Raik had told him the old tales of dragons raiding south out of the northern wastelands, gliding over the plains and calling up storms with their songs.
She’d filled his head with stories of crossing the forbidden Denauerman Flats, venturing into the mountains, and riding for days, lost and dazed.
He hadn’t believed any of it until that moment.
Seeing the Fae standing there before him somehow made every tall tale he’d ever heard seem possible.
The hair on the back of Kierhe’s neck stood straight up.
Kierhe and the Fae regarded one another for a long moment.
The Fae turned to look over his shoulder, as if checking to see where Kierhe had been looking.

—-

The Last Vhalgenn

The Last Vhalgenn

This book is underway and should be completed soon. Its prequel is The Last Vhalgenn (featuring Kierh’s Aunt Raik).
Duty to king and country has shaped Raik’s life since birth, but to protect them, she must perform a ritual that betrays all she holds sacred.
Available exclusively on Amazon http://bit.ly/SciFiFantasy_Vhalgenn

A Perfect Bonding Moment: Luc and Senth #FathersDay #FlashFiction #LGBT #GayDad

This flash fiction story (1560 words) is in honor of Father’s Day, and especially for dads who are gay. In my Science Fiction series set in the Tarthian Empire, Luc Saint-Cyr is gay, and the adoptive father of a straight young man named Senth. In this short-short story, Luc’s new spouse, Izzorah, has asked Luc’s son to meet him for coffee. Senth arrives, they shake hands, and Izzorah orders two coffees. One of the owners of serves them himself, and leaves a plate of thick chocolate chip cookies.
[In the timeline of my story universe, this takes place slightly in the future, after Izzorah learns that Luc and himself are both immortal.]

Characters:

Luc is immortal, black-skinned, dark haired, with solid black, whiteless eyes.
Izzorah is a full-blooded Kin (feline humanoid with claws beneath human-looking nails, catlike ears and eyes, and the ability to smell emotion.
Senth is a HalfKin, half-human, half-Kin, and looks more human than not.
McDoth is an android butler — the consummate majordomo of the household staff

———-

Surrender Love

Surrender Love

Izzorah bit into one of the cookies. “Mmm. Perfect.” He licked a bit of chocolate from a clawtip. “Still warm from the oven.”

“Don’t let my old man catch you doing that.” Senth dipped his cookie into the coffee. “Or this.”

“You mean Luc? Why is that?” Izzorah sipped his coffee, made a face, and put it back down. Why Luc liked this drink was beyond him, though Izzorah was trying to learn to drink it.

“My dad hated it when I licked my fingers as a kid. I can hear him now. ‘Where are your manners, Senthys?’ Man, I hated being called that. ‘My name is Senth,’ I’d say right back. I’m sure he thought I hadn’t heard a word he said.”

“Why was he so picky about manners?” Izzorah broke another cookie in half, dunked it in the coffee, and bit it.

“A thief should blend.”

Senth was a professional thief, and Luc had been one, Izzorah knew. But he had no idea about training to be one. “Blending? Is that some kind of thief technique?”

“It means we need to disappear into the background. Be one with the crowd. Nothing should stand out. If we’re the ones licking our fingers when no one else would be caught dead doing that…” He shrugged. “You should only do those kinds of things as a conscious decision. Not out of habit. If you stand out then people will remember you, and that’s not what a thief should do. Oh wow.” Senth frowned. “I could hear his voice in my head when I said that. I’m becoming my father. Creepy.”

Izzorah laughed. “I think it’s good you learned the lesson.”

“Yeah? Maybe.” He picked up another cookie. “So why the call, Izzorah? I’m sure this isn’t just you getting to know the old man’s kids.”

“Why do you call him old?”

Senth blinked at him, lowered his head, and gave him a questioning look. “Hello? Have you looked at him? He’s at least fifty years older than you. Besides, it’s a human thing. Kids call their fathers ‘the old man.’”

Luc was over twelve thousand real years old and an immortal, but Senth was never to know that. “He’s only thirty-eight years older than me,” Izzorah told him. In this lifetime. “Not that age matters. I think he looks hot. He’s got an amazing body, and–”

“Ew!” Senth held up both hands. “Ew, ew. Let’s not go there, okay? This is my father we’re talking about. Just tell me what’s up.”

Izzorah grinned at the expression of horror on Senth’s face. “I want to buy him a gift and I don’t know what to get him. I was hoping you could give me some ideas.”

“A gift? Why would you give him anything?”

Laying back his ears, Izzorah took a long sniff in Senth’s direction. The young man was clearly confused. “I don’t understand why you’d say that. Why wouldn’t I want to give him something? I love him. Don’t humans exchange gifts out of love?”

“Sure. It’s no big deal. Just get him something.”

“Like what?”

Senth shrugged. “I don’t know. He has everything. He’s the wealthiest man in the Tarthian Empire. As if you didn’t know. You live at the top of that towering piece of glass he erected. What’s he call the penthouse? Oh yeah, the ‘Loft.’ Like it’s some eagle’s nest overlooking all of creation.”

“Yes, I know he has money.” The Loft had been a lonely place for Luc until Izzorah came along. Luc had told him so. “Look, his money’s not the point. I know he has ‘things’ to burn.”

“What is the point then?”

“I want to give him something he’ll like.”

“Look, Izzorah, I’m sorry, but I don’t have a clue.”

“Didn’t you ever get him a gift when you were a kid? You must’ve celebrated birthdays and holidays with gifts.”

“He always gave me stuff, but I didn’t get him anything. Nothing fancy. I made him something once, when I was little. You know. One of those school projects they make you do.”

Izzorah drew his ears forward. “What was it?”

“Some ugly clay thing. We had to cut out clay in the shape of our hands and then make it into a bowl. I’m sure he pitched it first chance he got. I never saw it sitting around.”

“Would it by chance be about this big?” He put his own hands close together. “Brown? Has letters on the bottom?”

“Yeah. My initials.” Senth gave him a sideways look. “Don’t tell me you’ve seen that. What, is it in some treasure chest in his hoard or something?”

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure

At the Mercy of Her Pleasure

“It’s sitting beside his bed. He puts his personal belongings in it before he goes to sleep each night.”

A smile spread across Senth’s face. “No shit? He kept that?” He shook his head. “Well, I’ll be damned. Who knew? The Man has a heart after all.”

“Of course he has a heart.”

Senth met Izzorah’s gaze. “Yeah, I guess you’d know that.”

“Pardon?”

“Nothing. So there. Now you know what to give him. Get yourself some clay and make a mold of your hand, then shape it into a crappy bowl. He can have a matched set. One for either side of the bed.” Senth leaned back in the booth, and drained his coffee.

*****

A week later, Izzorah entered the room where Luc sat, reading. He looked up as Izzorah approached. “What’s that?”

“Here.” Izzorah held out the small box he carried. “This is for you.”

“What’s in here?” Luc took it, smiling. A hint of mint with a tang of smoke indicated his surprise. Not the usual combination of scents for the emotion, but Izzorah felt certain he was correct in his assumption.

“A gift for you. Open it.”

“For me?” Luc peeled back the paper from the box, careful as he unsealed each flap of paper. The vanilla scent of enjoyment overpowered his curiosity. He opened the lid on the box, smiled over at Izzorah, reached inside, and lifted out a thick, red leather-bound book. He ran his fingertips across the cover, where a word had been carved.

Luc read it aloud. “Senth.” He looked down at Izzorah. “You made this?”

“I decided what went into it, and helped put it all together, but McDoth helped me bind it and he wrote all the words.” Izzorah was learning to read, now that he was free to do so. “He had the cover made for it.”

Luc looked over at McDoth as if just now noticing the android butler was in the room.

“Thank you,” Luc told McDoth. “And thank you.” Luc leaned over and kissed Izzorah.

“You’re welcome. Open the book.”

The curiosity was back, as well as a strong scent of crisp autumn air: family love. The love of a parent for children.

“The life of Senth Antonello.” Luc read aloud. He turned the page to a photo of Senth as a little boy. “Age three.” Luc touched the picture, and it came to life in holographic form.

Senth stood before them in life-size, three years old, with straggly dark hair and big, pale blue eyes. He had his hands tucked behind him, and he was looking up, straight into the lens of the camera.

“This is him the day I adopted him.” He turned the page, and another picture at the same age showed. In this one, he was wearing a suit, his hair had been cut, and he was standing with his hands at his side. “This is his official picture, from his passport showing he was my son.” Luc stroked his fingers across the words at the bottom of the page. “We kept his last name as Antonello in case his family ever showed up. Which was how he and his brother Khyffen met. So adorable at this age.” Luc reached out to touch the face of the image, and the picture fluttered as he did so. “Where did you find these?”

“McDoth said you had photos of all the boys you adopted. I thought I’d put together a book for each one, starting with Senth. If you didn’t like this one, I wouldn’t bother you with the rest.”

“Bother me?! Izzorah, this is beautiful. Are there more pictures?” He flipped the page, revealing another of Senth reading a book at a table. This picture was a holovid, and when Luc touched it, Senth looked up and smiled. He returned to his book, and then the image reset and played again. Luc flipped a few pages of the book. “It’s full of pictures! I can’t believe you did this.”

“You like it.”

“I love it!” Luc reached over and hugged Izzorah, gave him a kiss, and then hugged him again. “Thank you! What’s the occasion?”

“Occasion?”

“Why the gift?”

“Oh.” Izzorah had noticed that giving a gift was Luc’s way of showing his love. What better way to love back, than to emulate how Luc showed his? “Just because I wanted you to be happy and because I love you.”

The raw emotion pouring from Luc showed how adored Izzorah was. He basked in the warmth and depth of the scent. He’d done what he set out to do — show Luc he was loved. In return, he’d been loved back. A perfect bonding moment of love.

Happy Father’s Day!

Shown: new covers for At the Mercy of Her Pleasure and Surrender Love. Book information: http://kayelleallen.com/Books.html

What Color is Your Hero? #diversebooks #LGBT #gaypride

Luc Saint-Cyr

Luc Saint-Cyr

I read a quote recently by Nora Ephron that encouraged me. “Above all, be the heroine in your life. Not the victim.” I agree with that. I believe that means I should take responsibility not just for what I do to others, but for how I react to what others do to me. I can decide to become a victim and have a “poor me” attitude, or I can decide to stand up for myself. I further believe if I am to stand up for myself, I must be willing to stand up for others also.

In 2004, my first book (At the Mercy of Her Pleasure) featured a half-human hero. Senth Antonello was part feline Kin, and part human — and while Senth’s human parent was caucasian Senth also had an adoptive father who was black, and gay. Luc Saint-Cyr was not a good guy, but he wasn’t all bad either. I wrote Luc to be an enigma. When I first created him, I had no idea how popular he would become. My critique group continually asked for his story while I was writing Senth’s. By the end of the book, I had one planned for him.

Someone asked me why I, as a straight white woman, would write not only a black hero but also a black gay hero. She wanted to know why I didn’t “write what you know.” I don’t think it’s an author’s duty to write only what we know. I think it’s our duty to create an imaginary world that’s realistic and unique, different from our own. I doubt I could choose a more polar opposite character from myself than Luc. Other than the fact that I consider us both “good people” he is as different from me as he can get.

He’s immortal, and he is thousands of years old. Far from being jaded like most of his kind, Luc is fascinated by humans. He seeks them out and wants to know them. He falls in love every “lifetime.” In his current life, he’s been lover to many, but has fallen deeply, permanently, in love with Izzorah Ceeow, a full-blooded Kin. Luc discovers through a tragic accident that Izzorah is one of the lost “Changelings” — immortals created by Luc’s ruler, Pietas. Izzorah loves Luc back with as pure a devotion as Luc’s. When Luc realizes he could have Izzorah at his side forever, he determines to keep him no matter what the cost.

Luc has dark chocolate skin, black hair, and eyes that he hides behind solid black lenses that cover his entire eye area. (He has a good reason for this.) In Romance novels, the average hero isn’t in his sixties and paired with a twenty-something alien hero. Luc has many diverse attributes. Yet he remains my most asked-for character. A few years ago, I decided to make birthday cards that would be sent “from” each of my heroes. (Really me, of course, but it was fun to play along.) When readers signed up to get a card, they had a choice among a host of characters. About three-fourths of them chose Luc.

 

Forbid My Heart

Forbid My Heart – Luc and Izzorah

Could I have made Luc white, human, and straight? I don’t think so.Those who know him refer to Luc as the “Man” with a capital letter you can hear. What Luc wants, he gets. Perhaps he chose me to write about him, rather than me choosing him. I will say that as I’ve written him into multiple books, I’ve always tried to stay true to Luc’s nature rather than being true to my own. Is having a diverse hero a challenge? Insomuch as I must always be mindful that I am writing about a person who is not me — yes. But as a writer, isn’t that what we do? Who wants to read a book where all the characters are the same? Who wants to write a book like that? Not me.

The hashtag #diversebooks was created to encourage writers to include characters of color in children’s and young adults’ books. I believe we should include diverse characters in every kind and genre of book. Have you considered creating a hero, a heroine, or another character who is a person of color? How about a gay character? Do you already have one who is either, or both? What color — what race — what species for us SciFi writers — is your hero? Feel free to give a blurb and a link to your book.

I’ll share more about Luc’s newest book and adventure in an upcoming post.
(Luc Saint-Cyr art by Janet E Jones)

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