Zach Sweets's Blog, page 2
February 22, 2013
Thank you, Zach, for having me visit. Seems we share a love of world-building in fantasy.
My fantasy empire of Uttor is not located on Earth, at least not on Earth as we know it. The continents are completely different, as are the lands and cultures for which they’re home. The people and their surroundings resemble those of our own past only because the inhabitants of Uttor are human.
I never really say whether the planets and the stars are the same. Most inhabitants of the Uttoran world have accepted that their world is not flat. They’re still convinced, however, that the heavens, including the sun, orbit around them.
For my newest Uttor novel, Dangerous Beauty, I use the character of Endre—one of the captive princes of conquered Sebboy—to accomplish some intellectual world-building. A society’s stance toward science and discovery is part of its fabric and I had a great time exploring attitudes toward science in Uttor and its neighboring kingdoms.
One of the things I most enjoyed about writing the story was my research into our own science history. In particular, I sought to learn more about when knowledge was acquired relative to other advancements. I also delved into medieval notions of celestial mechanics. The movement of the heavens figures both factually and symbolically in Dangerous Beauty and I was entranced by the ways early scientists conceived of relationships between the sun, planets, and stars. They understood a great deal more than we often realize…and were inventive in putting together the pieces.
Among the things I found were beautiful—gorgeous, really—models of celestial spheres and their arrangements. Just take a look at these.
Armillary spheres. Our forefathers created elaborate moving models showing how the world stood at the center of the heavens and the planets, sun, and stars moved around it. These models are sophisticated, as was the science that went into making them, and many are incredibly beautiful. They represented the work of the Creator, after all. Astronomers were the scientists of their age and the advisers of kings and priests, if not priests and kings themselves.
Armillary spheres were among the first complex mechanical devices and the highly skilled craftsmen who made them developed techniques that led to other inventions, such as clocks, engines, and even guns.
Astrolabes. Somewhat less beautiful but also more widely used were flat measuring devices called astrolabes. The word comes from the Greek for “star-taker” and the devices measured the inclinations of the horizon and celestial objects. These measurements were then used to triangulate location, calculate local time, and cast horoscopes.
Astrolabes were first devised by the ancient Greeks, but were perfected by Muslim astronomers. Mariners used a variation of the astrolabe until the late 1600s, when the sextant was invented.
Though we often think of ancient and medieval science as primitive, in some areas it was very sophisticated. I put that sophistication to work in my stories whenever possible, because intelligent characters are more fun than unintelligent one (well, most of the time) and intelligent people are often highly educated. Whatever science is in play, they’ll generally know.
Which is how I wrote this scene in Dangerous Beauty:
When Endre didn’t deny it, or seek to move away from the hand touching his face, Arshad dipped his head and kissed those soft pink lips. They parted beneath his, welcoming, yielding, not at all the lips of the resistant man he had kissed in Pontio’s garden. He tasted affirmation, followed immediately by nervousness as Endre wrenched away.
“Say nothing. I will give your father nothing, not a single word nor deed, to use against you. But if I cannot court you, I will yet try to win your good opinion of me. I am forbidden from giving you gifts, but I will lend you a book. I brought it with me. It is over there, in my pack.” He had dropped his pack beside the door upon entering the room earlier and not taken it when he left. Going over to it, he reached inside and pulled out a slim, leather-bound volume, which he walked back to place into Endre’s hands.
The young man’s eyes widened at seeing the name on the cover. “Foerdrat? Configurations in Celestial Geometry?” He leafed through the first pages, pausing to study drawings and calculations. “I follow his work. I’ve never heard of this book!”
“It’s new. He paid to have three copies made, one of which he sent to me along with a request for funds so he might afford to pay for more. I sent him a substantial sum because I believe the work is important and deserves distribution.”
“It does! I know this without having read it.”
“Then you will allow me to loan the book to you?”
“Yes.” The word was greedy, acquisitive. Endre flipped another page, devouring the text. He looked like a schoolboy, years stripped from his face by his joy of learning.
“Excellent. There, that is why I came to see you.”
Yanked from his study, Endre shot him a bemused look. He limped two steps to the bed and laid the book upon it before facing him again. “Only that? To lend me this book?”
“No. To gain your good opinion. Our last meeting did not set the proper tone for the relationship I truly wish. I was disrespectful and—”
If only he could articulate what relationship he was trying to convey. He barely knew for himself. There was nothing chaste or pure about what he wished from Endre, aside from the honor of being the young man’s teacher.
Once the Kordeun family ruled Sebboy…now they are imperial captives of the Uttoran Emperor. Devout and studious, Endre Kordeun loves his family and will do anything to free them, even if that means pretending he’s gay so he can pass messages to his father’s shady allies. With his golden good looks and a beautiful male courtesan posing as his lover, Endre finds Uttor’s decadent society more than willing to believe his ruse.
But when a passionate kiss from a dark, gorgeous man unlocks feelings Endre had been hiding even from himself, lies start to unravel. Arshad, prince of Tabar, is Endre’s match in every way…including a shared love for science and celestial mechanics. Going forward with his charade will be dangerous, and not only because he might be discovered. In that event, even his own father would kill him. How much is Endre willing to risk for love?
* * * *
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February 14, 2013
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Zombies have always been in my heart and Vampires are close to it other than werewolves. Vampires are perfect way to do a blog hop about on a Valentine’s Day.
The types of vampire I actually prefer are the horror ones. I don’t like the sappy in love vampire story. I do enjoy reading them, but it wasn’t my favorite. Twilight is the only thing I can think of at the moment. I have not read enough vampires to make any compare yet, though. The last vampires I have read were the Guardians series by Jaden Sinclair and I absolutely loved them. I’m going to post the reviews of Guardians series so you can get an idea why I loved them.
I think that this is a best vampire book I’ve read to date. It wasn’t a typical vampire story either, being more of a dark read. I couldn’t stop reading once I started and finished it in one sitting, a couple of hours spent engrossed in the story with truly wonderful plot that kept me on the edge. I worried for the main character on every page. I couldn’t believe what happened at the ending and I can’t wait to read the next book. I seriously don’t understand why I hadn’t heard of it before, having been unfamiliar with the author until Hearts asked me to review it. It was truly a great love vampire story. A true horror read, too.
The main character, Julian was extremely hot in the book, or at least he was in my head. Even though it was a het romance, for me the sex scenes were still hot. The way his bloodmate got fucked for the first time was realistic. I remembered my first time and remember how painful it was, so I could be sympathetic for her first time. The author wrote it beautifully.
The action scenes were done well. I worried every time the fighting scenes were mentioned. I was just terrified for Julian’s safety. The way the author labeled each character’s roles was fascinating. On a bonus side, the author included a glossary at the beginning of the book describing each vampire level and role. I also love the author’s idea of bloodmate. The concept of the mark on their skin showing they were designated to be mated with a vampire since they have different type of blood was awesome.
World building also was done brilliantly. I didn’t feel lost with the images of how their world looked. In some way, it could be categorized as an urban fantasy since vampires lived among the humans. The bloodmates were humans at start and the family members will know what they mean. In my perspective, it means Urban Fantasy, definitely a dark urban fantasy. I am still thrilled to find another awesome vampire story. This is a book I have to recommend to all vampire fans, even to those who wanted to try vampire tale out. If I could give this more than five hearts, I would!
After finishing the first book I couldn’t wait to read the second book to see how Julian handles his loss from the first story. It was a journey I extremely enjoyed throughout the book. The vampires were so original. This book was focusing on Dimitri’s story. It was a good character to learn who he was and I really warmed up to him. There were plenty of sex scenes and these were hot as well. The way they bonded was very similar to werewolves except they were vampires, an interesting way of showing how vampires would bond.
The action part of the story was done well too. I could imagine the scenes inside my head clearly. I understood what was going on from the beginning to the ending. Although, the author ended the book with ‘to be continued’, I’m only half okay with it (since I’ve never been a big fan of cliffhangers). Still, it convinced me to pick up the third book immediately. Oh, also, in this book I got to understand a bigger definition of the guardians and what their duty was better than in the first book. That was a huge bonus for me, getting a better understanding of them. I’m looking forward to see what will be the new thing I’m going to learn in the third book.
I completely connected to every character in the story, which was another bonus when reading the book. I like how vulnerable Claudia was and how much of a struggle it was for Dimitri to choose whether he deserved love or he didn’t. That was one of several fascinating pathways I got a chance to roam during this story. It was engaging enough for me to enjoy the book from page one to the last page.
If you like an original vampire love story that was filled with action that may made your heart race, then this book will be perfect for you. It was a great dark urban fantasy story. Highly recommended!
The series just keeps getting better! I was so thrilled this book would be Shadow’s book. I was already curious about him from the second book and wanted to learn more about him. I knew he’d get his happy ending with someone he could make love with. The way he found his bloodmate was scary but sweet when the bond happened. Learning who Janecka was had made me love her and care for her deeply. She was a vulnerable new child that had been exposed to an entire new world she hadn’t experienced. The way the author described her rebel attitude was done fantastically and it felt real. Nothing about her felt forced. So, it was that obvious she would become one of my favorite characters in the Guardians series. She reminded me a lot of myself because that’s what I did. I went against what my family believed and explored new things as much as possible before settling down for something I was extremely comfortable with. Just like what Janecka did.
The relationship between Shadow and Janecka was awesome. It was really cool to see how much Janecka wanted to learn everything there was about making love. It was an instant love but it worked in this story. It didn’t pull me out of the book, even though I am not usually a big fan of instant-love Janecka’s sister Victoria was another likable character who was way more vulnerable and confused than Janecka. Victoria was the good girl in the family, the one father loved the most. She had been brainwashed to follow Noble’s customs. It was hard to stop acting on it. For example, she was used to eat sparsely, dress properly, and sit like the way Noble people were supposed to. She probably would be labeled as a dumb and blind person but in my definition, she wasn’t. She was confused. She was tricked. She was an innocent young girl who had so much potential in her.
As you can see how much I felt for these two ladies. That was only because the author described who they were really well. It was as if I knew them somewhere in the past. They’re really interesting characters to be included in this type of dark urban fantasy world. Anyway, the whole story concept was done really well. So many things going on but it didn’t overwhelm me. For that, I was relieved. I could see how much more there needed to be filled. I guessed right because the book ended with to be continue. I really can’t wait for the fourth book to come out.
Highly recommended because this is completely different type of how vampires should be described. The vampires had a heart beating. That’s one of many things I can think of as an example why they were different from common vampires. What’re you waiting for? Get the first book in the series and see if that was enough to make you read the rest of the series
I’m anxiously waiting for the fourth book to come out. I’ve received those books from the author in an exchange of reviews on Hearts on Fire (http://heartsonfirereviews.com)
What is your favorite vampire book(s)? If you have any recommendation that is an awesome horror vampire books, please do share in the comments!
Take a look at all other blogger who participate in Vampire Bite Blog Hop!
February 8, 2013
Good Morning Readers!! Welcome to Zach’s blog. If you were expecting pictures of beautifully hairy men, then I’m sorry to disappoint you. I, Summer Michaels, has hijacked your normally schedule posting.
Two months ago I published my first story. I have to say, it has been so exciting to log on to places I love to buy books and see my own story for sale. I get a little giggly and just stare, like at any moment I will wake up and find it was all just a dream. Alas, it’s not a dream.
After Substitute Heart was accepted, I had to learn quickly what really goes behind the scenes for an author. It is scary, but you have to put yourself out that. That book isn’t going to sale its self. The author has to have some type of plan to make get readers to take interest. There are so many ways to get information into the world, but getting people to take notice without making yourself look like an ass is tricky.
I didn’t want to be the Twitter and Facebook poster that does nothing but tell you to, “Buy My Book!” There are so many great books in the M/M genre! I would more than likely give you a recommendation to one of my favorite authors than for my own book.
When Sweets (Zach) asked for guest bloggers, I jumped at the chance. I agreed not only because I love Sweets and would do anything to help him out, but also to take the time to introduce myself. I pondered what to write about, how do I let readers get to know me? The answer was simple, and here you go.
Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Summer Michaels
I’m not only an author, but a wife and mother of four. They all know what I write and none of them are shy to share the fact that I write gay romance stories. Even to our preacher.
I’m a talker. I can talk the green off grass. I talk to people I know, those I don’t, and I often stop a passerby to chat. My kids are always asking, “Who was that?” I’m a horrible example for those who teach their children not to talk to strangers.
I hate high heels. Seriously, who the hell came up with those death traps? I have a few pairs, but it has to be a special occasion where I actually brave the night in them. I don’t find them sexy at all. It may have something to do with the fact that I walk like a man in them. I often sing, “Dude looks like a lady” when wearing them. J Give me a pair of cowgirl boots and tennis shoes any day!
In high school, I wanted to marry Chipper Jones. I don’t often find blonds sexy, but he did it for me. My friends teased me, some still do. I wanted to go to college and become a sports trainer so I could work for the Atlanta Braves.
Coffee. I have been drinking coffee since I was in middle school. I love it. My Keurig machine is my mistress. I don’t really care for the strong coffee that could grow chest hair, but I like it strong enough to know I’m drinking coffee.
I have a HUGE fear of drowning. I don’t know where it comes from. We go camping on the lake every year and I am terrified to go boating. I did however go cliff jumping in a lake. It might sound brave, but my brother n law held my hand as we jumped in.
I have a massive crush on Ethan Day. It all started after I read At Piper’s Point. Once I put that book down, I had to know who the hell this man was. With each of his books I find myself more and more attracted to him. Hell, he watches Anne of Green Gables! ~sigh~ I think I single handedly just made him put an early end to his writing career.
Every time a tornado warning is listed for my area I pack a backpack. Inside my bag, I pack my Nook, laptop, and a few of my favorite books. If my house is going to blow away, I need to be prepared. We have insurance on the house, I have taken pictures of my bookshelves and wrote down what books I have, you know…just in case.
I met my husband in 1999. He was my supervisor at work. I didn’t think I had what it took to be his girlfriend so I set him up with my friends. He went to my senior prom with a friend of mine. After the second girl I set him up with came to us and said we should be dating one another, did we finally go out.
I wish I could cook better. I watch the Food Network and try those recipes. Nothing I make ever turns out like it is supposed to. Everything I cook looks like it’s been run over by a tractor with manure on its tires. I recently had to get new glasses. When my order came in, my husband doubled over laughing. “You would try anything to cook better, wouldn’t you?” I got a pair of Paula Deen frames. Not because they were Miss Paula’s!! I loved how they looked on my face. Honestly!
Well, that’s me in a nutshell! I hope I made you smile or wonder if I was stable, then I guess my job here is done folks. Thank you so much Sweets for allowing me this air time. I love you to pieces!
Summer Michaels wrote her first story in the second grade, about a car-stealing potato. Thankfully, men in love with other men keep her muse busy and satisfied. With a belief that love should be shared no matter what the form, she enjoys telling stories of rowdy cowboys, reunited lovers, and steamy shifters. When Summer is not reading and writing, she enjoys camping, hiking, cooking, and giving the old woman in a shoe a run for her money.
Summer is the author of Substitute Heart, published by Less Than Three Press.
Buy: LT3 Link
February 3, 2013
Unheard Destruction had been accepted to Less Than Three Press! I have from now till April to finish the manuscript. Until then, I will keep you all updated on when the release date will be. ;D I’m sharing six paragraph of rough draft. It is about their flashback of how they first met and this one will be a dance scene.
Suddenly, the room felt hotter. He tapped Hal’s shoulder. << Want to dance? >>
<< Lead the way. >> The best answer Rusty could ever get.
He took Hal’s hand and pulled him until they were at the dance floor. Dan told him he’d watch their drinks. At first, Rusty felt awkward dancing with Hal. It’d been a while since he danced. Normally, he enjoyed dancing by himself. Now he wasn’t alone.
When they got to the dance floor, Rusty held Hal’s hands up in the air then turned himself around. His butt pressed against Hal’s crotch then he shook his ass following the beat and moved Hal’s hands until it got onto Rusty’s stomach. He allowed himself the pleasure of Hal’s hot body against his own. He could get use to this. Both of them moved against the rhythm. Rusty was surprised at how good Hal was at dancing. It was making him extremely hornier.
Hal kissed Rusty’s neck softly and Rusty let him tilted his head to the opposite direction, to give him better access. It was as if they both blocked everything around them. It actually felt like they were alone in the room dancing their night off. Rusty was getting hotter as he unbuttoned his shirt. Clearly, Hal liked the idea since he helped Rusty out.
Rusty had to move away a bit then tucked his shirt in back of his pants and saw Hal removed his too. Fuck. That word constantly whispered inside his head as he stared at Hal’s chest. He was furry all over. Both of his nipples were pierced and he had the sexy bear claw tattoo on his right pec. He could clearly see Hal’s well defined stomach that showed him Hal had been working out. For some reason, his pants looked tighter.
I hope you enjoyed the preview of their dance together. If you’re curious what Unheard Destruction is about, you can check this blog out.
January 27, 2013
Now this time it’ll be about my new book that’s coming out in a few days! Jan 23rd to be specific but Less Than Three usually released it on the night before the actual release date. ;D I’m so excited and nervous about this one because it’s a first cross-dresser story I’ve ever written. If it goes well, then it won’t be the end of me writing characters that are cross-dressing.
It was only a twenty-minute drive to Navy Pier. Since it was New Year’s Eve, Chicago was packed with partygoers, but luckily Gus found parking in less than five minutes.
Joss took a deep breath and nodded, smiling hugely still. Everything’s going to rock. He mumbled to calm himself down. He got stopped several times during their walk toward Navy Pier.
“Can we get a picture with you? Please!” A young woman shrieked joyfully.
“Of course you can.” Joss struck a pose with the woman and her friends. Gus laughed as he took several pictures. Joss had experienced similar scenarios for as long as he could remember.
“Attention-whore,” Gus whispered into his ear after the ladies left.
Joss gasped. “No!” He giggled louder.
I love Joss because he’s such a happy person. He reminds me of one of my friend who I haven’t seen in a while. He was so happy and positive all of the time. Whenever I’m around him, I smile easily. I hope you’ll enjoy False Assumptions when it comes out this week. ;D Keep your eye out on my interview asked by a wonderful friend, Joyfully Jay. It’ll be posted on Wed, Jan 23rd.
Joss has been in love with his best friend, the one man who accepts him for what he is—pumps and all—for years. But Gus has never shown interest in anything but friendship, and Joss would do anything, even suffer in silence, to avoid jeopardizing what they already have.
Buy Link: Coming Soon!
January 25, 2013
“A beautifully written work of art, this story left me breathless and desperate for Part 3. If you are a fan of gay erotic fantasy, you don’t want to miss this book!” says a snippet from a recent review.
Which book? Trails of Love I Crawl Part 2.
Is it really so good? Help yourself to an excerpt below:
Dídac’s heavy steps. A tired sigh. More steps. Checking on Viktor? And still the horrid bitter taste on his tongue. His mouth was full of saliva as his body fought with the devilish flavor lingering in his taste buds. But he couldn’t even swallow, afraid that it would expose his pretense. Steps. Breathe, breathe, breathe calmly. The blanket being pulled higher, hands tucking him in gently. Why are you doing this? He almost choked on his guilt but still forced his breaths to come slowly through his nose. More steps. Rustle? Would he drink it? He didn’t know and couldn’t say. A sound of a mug clacking against the top of the table. Did he drink? Silence. It was almost smothering him. A pitiful moan of anxiety was rising to his lips and he was fighting, fighting, fighting not to let it out. Shuffling sounds, rustling in the darkness behind his eyelids. Was Dídac sitting down? What was he doing? What was he- Another weary sigh. He must have drunk it. Silence combed through just by soft breaths. How loud they sounded in the murk…
Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. A second. Another. A breath. A breath. A silent moan from sleep. Or of coming round? Waiting. Wait it out. Would the dose be enough for a man of Dídac’s build? A gulp of uncertainty, cold feet and hands. And sweat. Beads of sweat rolling down his neck. Sweat in his armpits and between his thighs. It felt sticky. Sticky as sin.
He couldn’t wait any longer. Either he did it now or never. His eyelids fluttered and then opened but a breath. Shifting in the bed, he let his sight rove around from behind the curtain of his eyelashes. The captain seemed to be asleep. Was he? Dídac’s head was leaned against the headrest of the armchair and his face looked peaceful in the flickering light of the candle. Relaxed. Not as stern as when he was awake. Younger. Softer. He must be asleep.
A deep, calming inhale and Amédée sat up slowly. And nothing happened. Both Dídac and Lucien slept on. Letting out a soft sigh of relief, he inched his way out of the bed and reached for the knife Étienne kept right under it… for plays Amédée had learned to love. For the thrill of cold steel against warm skin, for the sensations of a shallow cut, for the burn of hooch in the little wound. For the sweet fear that Lucien would wake up next to them if he weren’t silent through the exciting agony. Oh, oh, how much he needed such plays and how much he wanted to play them right now instead of what he was readying himself to do. Étienne would be mad with him in the morning. He would.
Knowing that, he still rose to his feet and padded over to Viktor. He had a debt to repay. Kneeling down next to his first master, he whispered softly: “Viktor?” Just a stupefied, confused groan was his answer but it was enough. Viktor had regained his consciousness and hopefully would be able to flee. But the little moan woke a memory up. Heat and passion and sweet affection. Surrender rewarded by these throaty sounds full of desire. Yes, they were still there, locked away in Amédée’s heart. And though their power had faded like colors of a dried rose, he still couldn’t resist planting a light kiss into Viktor’s hair. Just to smell the scent of fields of unripe poppies and ponds covered with waterlilies once again. Just once again and only for a while.
He did so in a bittersweet moment of nostalgia. In a moment that was worth any chastisement he would live through in the morning. But he wouldn’t tell Viktor. He couldn’t. The past would sleep. Pulling away from the fleeting caress, he murmured: “You can’t stay here,” and the knife bit into Viktor’s hand restraints greedily.
“I can’t go without you, bunny,” Viktor’s insistent murmur opposed his well meant efforts. But Amédée wouldn’t budge. He had found something more with Étienne than he had thought possible. His lover played the games with him because he knew Amédée loved them. But when the moments of thrilling passion were gone, there was safety. Predictability. Experience. Protection. Love. Here he knew he wouldn’t get traded for something else. And he wouldn’t give up anything of that for uncertainty of the life with Viktor. Yes, he would be punished in the morning but… it would be deserved… May he forgive me. The blade continued cutting through the leather but his thoughts were on Étienne. Torn between two loyalties, between a debt and love, he trembled all over his body, but still gave: “I can’t leave. You will. You must flee.”
“You must flee for I don’t want to see you dead,” Amédée repeated with a breath of compassion with Viktor’s distress. The broken voice almost made him cry but he wouldn’t. He had made his choice. Tonight. From tonight… Kemen and Viktor… would be a memory. A cherished memory. And nothing more. He had his place here, at the general’s side. In the morning, he would make his amends. Now he had to let the past speak once more and pay his dues to an old affection.
Working on his ex-lover’s ankle restraints, he held his head down, letting a curtain of his mane hide his pained expression. Yes, he had made a choice but it didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. With every movement of the blade, he was severing a bond that had meant the world to him. But it didn’t anymore and it felt like chopping off a trapped limb so that the body could live. In agony he finally cut apart even the belt tying Viktor’s knees together. It was done. Exhausted in mind, he murmured: “Go.”
His hands nudged Viktor to move and the breath stealing silence between them screamed that his first master finally understood. A second. Two. Three. Eternity of seconds before a shuddering: “Thank you,” slipped off Viktor’s lips. Choking on tears that couldn’t flow, Amédée replied: “There’s a corral at the west side of the camp. Take a horse.” His hand squeezed Viktor’s but for a short moment before a fitful whisper left his mouth: “Go and don’t look back.” The last brush of fingers against fingers and no, he couldn’t watch Viktor leaving his life, crawling his way to safety under the tent canvas. He wouldn’t watch him. He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t.
Long minutes passed before he raised his sight again and pulled himself to his feet. Only Lucien and Dídac were with him. Just as when the night had begun. Feeling a tear rolling down his cheek, he walked over to the writing desk and put the candle out. It closed a chapter of his life. But the scent of unripe poppies and ponds covered with waterlilies lingered like the waft of the candle smoke.
Do you smell the candle smoke? Can you catch the wafts of the scent of unripe poppies and ponds covered with waterlilies? Then your senses have for a while entered the world of Guardian Demon Series Ciaran Dwynvil writes… for the characters. “I’m their happy scribe and their personal bard. When they come to me, their story is already there and they just need an author willing to listen in silent midnight hours, paint their life with words and then sing about it on pages of the books. That’s what I do and what fills my days with joy,” he says.
The intimate relationship between the author and the characters guides every decision Ciaran takes in his labor of love. The men and women speaking through the pages of his books are free to tell their life stories exactly as they happened without worrying about expectations imposed by a particular genre or whether their tale meets the mainstream tastes. So, Ciaran’s choice of the self-publishing path won’t probably come as a surprise. This road to success might be longer and more complicated than traditional publishing option but the freedom to tell the story in a way which makes the hearts of his characters sing, make it worth any sacrifices.
If the excerpt grabbed your heart, then you are ready for the bard’s tales, which will pull you in a complex fantasy world to live through stories of faith, life, love and lust that will leave you aching for more and eagerly anticipating the next instalment in the series. A word of warning though: Dominance and submission themes run deep in Ciaran’s writing and readers who aren’t comfortable with more than spanking when it comes to BDSM expression of sexuality should avoid reading Guardian Demon series.
Not your case? Would you like to discover Ciaran’s books and get lost in the stories they tell?
You can find Trails of Love I Crawl Part 1 on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Trails-Crawl-Guardian-Demon-ebook/dp/B008Z4GYBC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358600049&sr=8-2&keywords=ciaran+dwynvil
Trails of Love I Crawl Part 2 is available through major retailers like Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Smashwords, Sony or Kobo. As a small gift to all readers of Zach’s blog, here is a code for 11% discount when getting your copy of Part 2 from Smashwords: LC86U The coupon expires on 27 January 2013. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/269658
If you decide to join the family of Ciaran’s fans, don’t forget to check the Treasure Hunt for readers of Guardian Demon Series: http://ciarandwynvil.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/treasure-hunt-for-the-readers-of-guardian-demon-series-2/ Who knows, perhaps you’ll be among the lucky ones who find the hidden gems in the books and claim a reward.
Ciaran Dwynvil, the bard of gay erotic fantasy, writes for… the characters. “I’m their happy scribe and their personal bard. When they come to me, their story is already there and they just need an author willing to listen in silent midnight hours, paint their life with words and then sing about it on pages of the books. That’s what I do and what fills my days with joy.” This approach to writing resonates best with thoughtful readers for whom character emotions and plots are just as important, (if not more) as the erotic aspect of the stories. The lines in Ciaran’s novels flow like verses in a minstrel’s tales from the time long passed. Like stitches on a tapestry they create intricate images for those who dare to join the characters in the moments of bliss and in the moments of their darkest hours. Readers will get pulled in a complex fantasy world and will live through stories of faith, life, love and lust that will leave them aching for more. The narratives never use solely one character’s point of view. Just like a tapestry doesn’t rely just on one color, Ciaran’s novels aren’t told in one voice only. All heroes and villains speak on the pages and thus allow a reader to experience their story from multiple perspectives until a rich, complete vision fully emerges.
January 20, 2013
Now it’s my second Six Paragraph Sunday and I chose Rusty’s Surprise. It’s my second accepted story, which made it perfect for this post. ;D I’m going to include my most favorite scene of all.
<< What are you laughing about? Help me get on it. >> Hal laughed and blushed.
<< You’re even cuter when you’re helpless. >> Rusty grinned like a kid eyeing his favorite candy bar. Hal was his own candy bar. He was an addiction to Rusty.
He unbuttoned his shirt and let it fall onto the ground. He made Hal stop whatever he was doing before he moved on to the buttons of his jeans. He undid them one by one, and he watched Hal’s cock grow after each pulse. When the last button was opened, he turned around, showing off his ass as pulled his pants down slowly until they were at his ankles. He bent over and shook his butt only to be a tease. He had a furry butt, and he knew Hal loved it. Finally, he discarded the pants and turned around to look at Hal. He was hard as fuck. Hal started to come toward him, but Rusty had his hand in the air to stop him.
<< First you get your sexy ass on the sling. Then I’ll help you get your feet in the loops. >>
When Hal finally got comfortable on the swing, Rusty lifted each of Hal’s ankles and inserted them into the stirrups, and then he backed away to get a good look at Hal. Since his cock was already hard, it rested nicely on his stomach. His balls were hanging low, and he was shaved except for the part above his shaft, which was left natural. It looked hot with his furry stomach and chest. Both of his nipples were pierced, and he even had a Prince Albert as well as a bear claw on his right pec.
<< Gosh, you look absolutely gorgeous on the sling. >> Rusty took his time looking Hal over from head to toes. He wouldn’t ever get tired of seeing his body.
Rusty is excited for Valentine’s Day: he has a couple of surprises in mind for his lover that he knows will do much more than please; everything from sweet to kinky to ensure a memorable holiday. Locked away in their basement for a night of uninterrupted fun, they miss an surprise of an entirely different nature…
January 13, 2013
It’s my first time doing a six paragraph Sunday. I know it’s usually six sentence but paragraphs seem better. ;D I chose Zombie Rain because it was the first book that was accepted by a publisher. I decided to share one part where Jake killed a zombie for the first time.
Just as I was about to throw my leg over the seat, I was jerked backwards. The zombie that seemed so far away had managed to come into the barn while I stood there packing and debating whether to follow Rex or go my own way. I wiggled out of my backpack, scrambling away from the hungry undead. He chewed on my bag, and I felt sick as I realized that could have been my neck. I searched wildly through the hay, trying to find something to defend myself. I saw a pitchfork stuck in a hay bale. I yanked it from the hay, swung it around, and stabbed the zombie over and over. The last jab went through his head. Finally, it stopped moving and lay still and silent.
Oh. My. Fucking. God. I killed a zombie. My first kill. I start hyperventilating and I felt like I was about to faint again. I guess Rex hadn’t left after all, since he caught me right before I hit the ground. “I–I ki-killed h-him.”
“It’s okay. It was a thing, not a human. You put him to rest and that was a good thing. Breathe in and out slowly, Jake.” He held me until I caught my breath.
“He tackled me from the behind. I didn’t know what to do.” There I went again. I started to bawl. “Sorry.” I rubbed my eyes, trying to stop the tears.
“It’s your first kill. What did you expect? You’d be Black Ops the minute you left the house? I’d be more shocked if you weren’t upset at your first kill. It isn’t easy. Remember though, they’re already dead.”
He was doing a good job comforting me. As I stood up, remembering what happened to my son, I kicked the thing violently, screaming until I felt better. It was wrong to kill, but they killed my son first.
Jake’s world is torn apart when his son dies, killed by a little girl who has infected him with a strange disease. Soon, Jake’s entire hometown is overtaken by the disease. A disease that turns them into flesh-craving monsters. The combination of tragedy and horror is almost more than Jake can take, but then he meets Rex, a man who has been struggling through the horror in search of more survivors. The two men travel together, searching for answers and other survivors, the growing bond between them the only bright light in their dark world.
But then that light is taken brutally away, and Jake is left struggling to find it again, fighting against insurmountable odds and growing despair…
January 11, 2013
Here I am with Zach at GayRomLit this past fall
2013 Reading Goals and Predictions by Jay
Hi everyone! I am so excited to be here and thrilled that Zach asked to me stop by today and chat with you all.
My name is Jay and I run a m/m romance review blog called Joyfully Jay. The blog is about a year and a half old and is now big enough that an awful lot of books pass through my computer. In 2012 we reviewed over 500 m/m romances and I personally read and reviewed about 220 of them. So as you can tell, I read a LOT and am lucky enough to get to check out a lot of fabulous books.
This year when I was working on my Best of 2012 post, I took a look back at what I had read. Out of those 200 something books, I’d say about 150 of them were contemporaries. Yes, some were BDSM or menage as well, but still, it appears I am stuck in a bit of a rut. So I decided that one of my goals for 2013 is to branch out more on what I read. I began to think about both what I want to read personally this year, as well as what I think may be some trends this year in m/m romance. I am no expert here by any means, so don’t go buying stock or anything. But here are my thoughts based on what I see coming across my desk, both from authors and publishers, along with some of my personal reading goals.
1) Paranormals: When I first started reading m/m romance, I was all about the paranormals, mostly wolf shifters. This theme seems to lend itself well to the m/m genre, as not only do you get the sexy furry guys, but you can also throw in the alpha males and the instant mating love. But after a while I think I got burned out, and I realized I haven’t read much paranormal lately. So one of my goals this year is to get back into paranormal. Although I still love a good wolf shifter, I think for me there are three other areas that catch my interest as well:
Unusual shifters – Although I still love a good sexy wolf and I don’t see them going away any time soon, I am excited about the increasing number of books featuring more unusual shifters. Last year I read Snakeskin Boots by Xara X. Xanakas where the main character was a snake shifter. And I just finished Naked Tails by Eden Winters about a group of possum shifters. I think people are becoming more willing to push the envelope and get creative with shifters, both as readers and authors. There is so much room for new and interesting animals and clever ways to incorporate those animal instincts into their human counterparts. So I am excited to see what folks can come up with.
Vampires – This is not a new subgenre, but again not one I have read much of lately. I think lots of folks got Twilight burnout and vampires were less in vogue for a while. But suddenly I am craving some dark and twisty vampire stories, all gothic and brooding. I am keeping my eyes open for good ones, so tell me if you have suggestions.
Zombies – This year I saw a lot more zombie stories coming out and I think they are going to continue to be popular this year as well. With the Walking Dead burning up the ratings and some new movies on the horizon, I think they will continue to be hot (hear that Zach?). I read a couple zombie stories this year, including Bad Moon Rising by D.C. Juris, and I have a few more in my TBR pile.
2) Fantasy and Sci Fi/Futuristic: I don’t read much of either of these genres, mostly because I need to understand everything RIGHT NOW and these genres tend to lend themselves to a lot of world building. I will admit to being an impatient reader and I often have trouble waiting for things unfold (my husband will tell you this is not the only thing I am impatient about!). So I sometimes have trouble settling into books with complicated world building because I want to understand EVERYTHING immediately. But I think I am letting my impatience get the best of me because I end up missing out on great books in these two sub genres. So no real predictions for 2013 here, but one of my reading goals for this year is to read more Fantasy and Sci Fi/Futuristic books.
3) Expanded GLBT: It seems pretty clear right now that m/m stories make up the largest percentage of the GLBT genre. Whether this is due to interest or availability is open for debate (and I think there is a bit of the chicken and the egg to this issue), but regardless, right now m/m is king. But over the past few months I have begun seeing some of the other GLBT areas growing, such as f/f, trans, bi, and m/m/f menage stories that include guys getting together as well, not just there to service the lady parts. And from what I have been hearing from publishers, it seems like this trend is continuing into 2013.
I will actually be really curious to see how this develops, especially with f/f stories. As most of us know, a large portion of m/m romance readers are straight women. So I will be curious to see whether this same audience embraces f/f stories as well, or whether a new audience develops for these books. But I am encouraged to see so many authors and publishers taking a chance on new GLBT subgenres and I am really curious to see how this market builds.
4) Serials and Vignettes: This is another trend that seemed to be taking off at the end of 2012 and I am expecting to continue. I may not be using the terms right here, but by serials I am talking about episodic stories that are released one at a time, but all link together under one larger narrative. They are not quite the same as a series, in that the books aren’t really standalones. The individual episodes instead are connected in one narrative arc. (Riptide Publishing and Storm Moon Press have much better explanations than mine if you want to read more.) Vignette is probably not the right word here, but I am talking about a book broken down into smaller episodes/vignettes that are all connected to make one story. Combined together, they don’t necessarily tell the full story from beginning to end, but they give you the key moments that build the narrative. The best example I would give of this would be Aleksandr Voinov’s Dark Soul series, where each book contained two or more smaller stories. Another example would be Dead in L.A by Lou Harper which used a similar structure, though those substories flowed together a bit differently.
I am enjoying seeing how authors are playing with new styles and new formats. Personally I have a bit of a hard time with serials because I have major series OCD and I need to read ALL THE BOOKS or else I make myself crazy. Combined with my incredible impatience, I have a hard time reading a story a bit at a time. So I tend to want to wait until the whole thing is released. But I think for a lot of readers, this is sort of a fun way to get drawn into a book or series and they will enjoy getting just a nibble at a time. So I am looking forward to seeing where this all goes.
So that is it. My 2013 goals and predictions all rolled into one. So what are you guys looking forward to reading this year? And any ideas of things you think might be coming up in the romance world? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Jay
Jay is a wife, mom, blogger, and cat wrangler. She is an avid reader and lover of beaches, lazy days, and all things chocolate and peanut butter. You can find Jay over at Joyfully Jay where she reviews m/m romance and more. She also hangs out on Twitter or Facebook and always loves meeting fellow readers!
January 6, 2013
I was behind with the blogs for the last few weeks. I didn’t know a thing about The Next Big Thing Blog Hop until an awesome friend who I’ve knew before both of us becoming a writer had tagged me. She is an awesome person to be friend with. She’ll warm your heart instantly. She probably has the biggest heart I’ve ever met online in like forever. I’m so lucky to get to know her and now we both have become an official author. I proudly introduce you to Summer Michaels! In her blog post, she explained her most recent release and a very first published story called The Substitute Heart.
The Next Big Blog Hop list ten questions for me to answer about my currently WIP (Work in Progress) called Unheard Destruction. It is a sequel to Rusty’s Surprise. I still haven’t decided what series title it’ll be since it will have a couple more after Unheard Destruction.
Since I’m sorta of a late bloomer of this blog hop…it was a fun and tough task to tag more authors. I managed to find some—
K.A. Merikan. She posted her The Next Big Thing blog on December 19, 2012.
Cat Grant. She’ll post her blog on January 13, 2013, so keep eye out on that one
Megan Derr. She’ll also post her blog on January 13, 2013, so keep eye out on that one, too!
The ten questions are:
1. What is the working title of your book?
Unheard Destruction is the working title of my book. I feel it was an appropriate title for the book because the main characters are deaf. There are destruction happening around them and they couldn’t hear them. That’s where the “Unheard Destruction” title idea came from.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
It was never planned until I wrote a short Valentine’s Day story for Less Than Three Press’s Kiss Me Quick collections. I didn’t know what kind ending I planned for the book. It was as if the muse actually took over my hands and typed the ending I didn’t expect because it really did surprise me. It fits perfect to the title since it was called Rusty’s Surprise. I’ve always wanted to write something horror or sci-fi or fantasy involving deaf character(s). Unheard Destruction was a perfect way to meet my dream of writing main characters that are deaf. They were trying to survive against the aliens in the space. Not often people would read the main characters that rely on their visual rather than hear. I wanted to show the readers the deaf people have an ability to survive in this type of scenario. I’m deaf myself and writing this book will give me a hope that I can survive just the way my characters could in Unheard Destruction.
3. What is the genre of the book?
Gay Sci-Fi & Horror
It does have some small romance element to it but it will mostly be on horror side. The aliens weren’t the friendly one. It’s a surviving type of story.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie
That’s probably the hardest for me to choose which actors I think they’d portrayed Hal and Rusty well.
Rusty Barton: I didn’t describe what Rusty looked like in the Rusty’s Surprise. I think Shia LaBeouf would be perfect as Rusty. He can be innocence and scare easily but will act tough when it was necessary.
Hal Jarvis: Karl Urban with beard. Since I described Hal’s beard being dark brown in Rusty’s Surprise I didn’t’ describe eyes color, though. So, it’d be brown eyes or hazel eyes. I haven’t decided. Karl’s eyes are brown.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After the shocking destructions, Rusty and Hal is abducted and they must rely on each other to survive by fighting back against the aliens who want them for their experiment purposes.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher?
I plan to submit Unheard Destruction to Less Than Three Press since Rusty’s Surprise was published by them.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I started the manuscript last August and wrote up to around forty thousands words and I decided to start all over again just a week or two ago. It wasn’t working for me anymore. In January, I’m putting myself to be committed to Unheard Destruction It’ll be my first novel-length. Currently, I’ve set a goal to make the story goes up to between 60k to 80k, depending on how the ending goes.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
As of right now, I haven’t read any gay horror involving aliens so I have nothing to compare with. I’m hoping my novel will be as original as possible.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My own deafness and the Aliens movies inspired me to write this type of the book.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It’s a gay sci-fi with plenty of horror elements. Even better, there’ll be two deaf characters trying to survive without being able to hear what’s coming behind them. Scary enough, isn’t it?
I’m going to list a couple of authors who have done their Next Big Thing blogs:
There are more authors but I’m only list a few that already did their NBT blog post. Enjoy!