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We all have demons. They can be ignored, but they’ll surface eventually. Once they are out in the open should they be destroyed or tamed? Or perhaps they should be allowed free rein.
A family’s legacy of seduction and corruption comes to light when Gareth inherits the derelict Harbinger House. Gareth has previously risked ruining everything with Tim by continuing his promiscuous lifestyle despite Tim’s insecurity about their relationship. The new start Harbinger House provides the couple is tainted by ghosts from Gareth’s past… and the demon that lurks inside does nothing to help either. Or does it?
Look who I found! Tristram La Roche! (Okay, so he’s been tied up in the basement since January…ahem…)
Now you’re back in the daylight, Tris, tell me what’s afoot (wotchit…)
Tris: About twelve inches where I come from 😉 You knew I would say that, didn’t you? Well, something you may not know, I’ve re-released my first gay novella, On My Knees. New cover, slightly extended story, and – in my view – a bit spunkier.
Kiran: How would YOU categorise On My Knees?
Tris: You’re trying to drag me in to the old M/M row, aren’t you? You know already that the classification M/M annoys me. Too many readers of it expect a slushy romance with two guys – usually stereotypical – having a fling, falling out and finally, erm, coming together. Happy ever afters, happy for nows. This isn’t really what my writing is about. Just because the characters are gay doesn’t mean a story can’t be mainstream literature. I mean, who classifies Alan Hollinghurst as a writer of M/M? No one, of course. I’m not, by the way, claiming to be Alan Hollinghurst or that I write great literature, I’m far too modest for that. On My Knees is a fairly quick read – a novella rather than a novel – which I always wanted to be easily accessible to those men who are trapped in the wrong lifestyle, and those men and women who are not but want to understand something about that situation. So, in short, On My Knees is gay story about coming out. It is a romance in the sense that two people fall in love and try to make a go of it, against all odds. But don’t expect hearts, flowers and chocolates.
Kiran: What inspired you to write the story?
Tris: I needed the money. No, well, yes, I did, but really I wanted to give hope to all those gay men who are still too afraid to step outside their straight lifestyles. In this day and age there should be few of them, it is sad that there are any at all, but the recent debate on gay marriage shows how bigotry and prejudice still lurk in some of the halls of power. I had a difficult start to life, being brought up by narrow-minded and hate-filled parents. I didn’t fit in and never understood why until quite late in life. Coming out was a bit like stepping off a cliff without a parachute or rope, but I didn’t die – I found a better life. That’s what I want people to get out of On My Knees.
Kiran: When you get some feeling back in your fingers (sorry, might have tied the rope a bit tight…) will you be writing something new? If so will you continue to write romances?
Tris: The truthful answer is, I don’t know. I haven’t much time for writers who just keep churning out stories to make money when they have run out of things to say. The same old meaningless tripe with a few name and place changes. That is not for me. If I have nothing to say, I keep schtum. But I am sure that I will have something to say at some point and then I will write again. Whether or not it will be romance is beyond me at the moment. For sure, the main characters will be gay and have something to offer the reader. You see, why open a book if you know what – more or less – is in it? I wouldn’t, don’t, and I don’t expect my readers to pay good money (although very small money!) for that either. When my next book comes out I want them to say, “I can’t wait to see what this one is about”.
Kiran: You are possibly as sunny as I am dark – but you briefly wandered into the spooky side when you wrote the short story Love Lies Deep (Halloween Heat M/M anthology), and your eyes should have become accustomed to the gloom by now – are you tempted to write something touching on the more shadowy side of human nature?
Tris: Human nature is shadowy. I enjoyed writing Love Lies Deep and have toyed with a few ideas, yes. It might be that I come up with something for Halloween 2014, we’ll see. I really enjoy horror myself, film or book, and through my work so far discovered new and talented writers like Julia Kavan and Steve Emmett – and you of course!
On My Knees:
Mark’s life is in turmoil. Held together by alcohol and antidepressants, he ducks and dives through the war zone his marriage has become, and watches helplessly as his business spirals down the plug hole. After yet another blazing row with his wife he escapes to the gym, intending to work off steam – and the effects of too much wine – but a tall and very handsome stranger catches Mark’s eye. Feeling uncomfortable and weird, and in no hurry to return home, Mark agrees to a pint in the nearby pub. Before the night is out, Mark finally understands that he isn’t weird – he’s gay – and a new world opens up for him.
Novella circa 25,500 words.
Contains explicit gay sex scenes /group scenes.
London, May 9
“For Christ’s sake, Diana, will you stop your fucking nagging for once?”
I’d barely got through the door before the usual evening bust-up flared. All because I’d stopped by the wine bar on the way to the tube station for a few drinks. Just a foursome: Alex, the guy I shared an office with, and a couple of his mates who’d come up to town for a night in the West End. And me, of course. In any case, I’d long ago lost any eagerness to get home early. I used to count the minutes to home time then rush off to catch the train and get back to my wife. Things change. If we didn’t argue about one thing it was another, and since the row came guaranteed whatever I did, I’d started taking the view that I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. Jesus! That’s something I picked up from her – talking in clichés.
“You’re drinking too much.” Diana funnelled the words through pursed lips and frowned. “How much have you spent? Eh? Show me the bill.” She hurtled towards me and tried to dig my wallet from my jacket pocket.
“Get off,” I said, wrapping my arms around my body. Four grown men after work could drink a lot more than she would ever forgive. “You treat me like a child.”
“You behave like a child.” The neighbours would be able to hear her raised voice and I told her so. She craned forwards into a posture that would have been threatening if only she’d been nine inches taller. “You’re just…just…”
And I hated that, too. She did it all the time, start a sentence and leave it dangling in the air. “Just what?”
“You know very well. I didn’t marry an alcoholic,” she said, clenching and unclenching her fists by her side.
Alcoholic? I was not and never have been an alcoholic. A drunk, yes, but that’s different. “And I didn’t marry a nagging bitch.” Oh, I regretted it instantly. I threw my hands up in a gesture of peace. “Sorry, sorry. Please can we try to have a normal conversation?” She grabbed a knife off the kitchen work top and lashed out. I leaped back just in time. “You’re mad. Like your mother. You’re unhinged.” I struggled to hide the fear. For a little person she packed a punch when she wanted.
She lunged at me again, her unruly hair falling across her face. “Well, if I am, it’s you that’s driven me to it.” She missed. The knife flashed by my side and I brought my hand down on her arm, knocking the blade to the floor. She squeezed her wrist with her left hand and cursed.
“I’m sorry,” I said, reaching out to her. The love had gone but I had no wish to hurt her. “Here, let me look.” I took her hand but she snatched it away.
“Don’t you dare touch me.” She stamped on the floor and turned her back on me.
I couldn’t win. I knew it from previous experience. The best thing I could do was put space between us. I took my chance and bolted out of the kitchen door. We lived on the top two floors of a Victorian house in a duplex we’d bought together. From the central landing a dog leg stair led to the ground floor. As I rounded the turn in the stairs I heard her coming from the kitchen. I should have left it at that and just scarpered – but I didn’t. By then my blood boiled with anger so I shouted over my shoulder. “Well, if I am an alcoholic, you’ve driven me to it.”
“Oh, really? And where do you think you are going?”
“That’s just typical of you. Come back here and deal with it.”
But I had no intention of going back. Not then. I turned the key in the lock and pushed open the door into the shared hallway.
A stabbing pain shot through my shoulder. I toppled but managed to stay upright as a heavy dictionary fell to the floor with a thud. From above she hurled books down the stairwell, swiping them off the shelves to judge from the avalanche. I nipped across the hall and ran into the street, slamming the outer door behind me.
Even in the street I heard the thunder of her hooves coming down the stairs. I got into the car as fast as I could and locked the doors. I started the engine but didn’t manage to make my getaway before she appeared in the street, fists thrashing the air. She grabbed the driver’s door handle just as I accelerated. I didn’t look at her. I eased the car out of the space, hoping she would let go. Half-hoping that the wheel would crush her foot.
“Come back! Come back now!” She beat her fists on the window and I feared it might smash.
Clearly, she had no intention of letting up so I hit the accelerator. She leaped back out of the way as the engine purred and the car turned. As I went down the hill, I could see her in the mirror, standing in the middle of the road with her hands on her hips, shaking her head. Well, at least she was unhurt.
But then I faced another problem. Where to go? All of our friends lived on the other side of town and, considering I’d been drinking, I didn’t dare drive far. All I needed was to lose my licence and I’d be well and truly fucked. Then I remembered that my gym bag was in the boot. The gym was no more than a mile away, and the exercise would help my system break down the alcohol.
And work off the misery of another day in hell.
You can find Tris here:
My basement…what do you mean you won’t go back down there? *sighs* Okay, you can find him here:
Tristram has teamed up with Daniel deLoite to bring you On MyKnees along with a collection of Dan’s short fiction!
I’m not sure that I have a seductive stud for you, but I do have a seductive demon I’d like to share. Below is an excerpt from my M/M short story Bedevil, introducing Luka, a house guest with a difference…
The warning cry from the rusting gate ripped his senses awake, but his mind was slow to follow. All Luka was aware of at first was the agony of sound and the warm trickle of blood from his ears. His muscles stretched as he moved, tendons almost tearing from the bone as he unraveled his body from its fetal position. He wailed with the new pain—a feeble echo of the metal against metal outside. His first intake of breath rasped down his throat and burned into his lungs. He clamped his mouth shut and breathed in deeply through his nose. The house was different—the odor of dust and mold and damp was still there, but something else too. The protesting gate had heralded the arrival of new flesh. He could smell it.
A river of cold air flowed across his pain-wracked body, caressing his arms, his chest, his legs—the outside world finding a way through a crack in his prison and reawakening his nerve endings to remind him of what he had been without for so long.
Touch. Skin against skin. Breath on skin…
You can read more from Bedevil HERE
To visit other participating authors, click on the banner below…and enjoy 🙂
Today I’m handing my blog over to fellow Etopia Press author, Elin Gregory!
Many thanks, Kiran for allowing me space on your blog and time to talk about pirates, a subject very close to my heart.
Democrats, with a small ‘d’.
Some years ago the museum in which I work was short of an exhibition to cover the summer months. During a discussion with the curator I suggested that we do something to bring the kids in. “And what do you suggest?” she asked.
“Something everyone likes – like pirates. Everyone likes pirates.”
So much fun! I borrowed artefacts from all over and had a dressing up box. It was a hoot to see fully grown men putting on eye-patches and bandannas and sword fighting all around the gallery. We even had a pirate day – free to anyone in costume – and made hats and cutlasses, dug for treasure and let the kids walk a very low plank. For the 4 months of the exhibition we heard more giggling than ever before or since.
Of course, we also had people who pointed out what awful people pirates had been in real life – scum of the earth, cowardly thieves and murderers with poor personal hygiene – and all that is true but there were interesting social aspects to piratical history that we didn’t have the space or the means to cover in the exhibition.
Pirates were drawn from all walks of life, not just from amongst seamen. For quite minor crimes a man could be transported to the Caribbean as an indentured servant. Poor labourers or apprentices could be shackled to well-educated professionals. Some of the prisoners were political – supporters of the Duke of Monmouth or, later, of the Jacobite cause. In the cane fields it was the ability to swing a machete that mattered, not ones social standing. When the time of servitude ran out, or they escaped, they signed on ships as deck hands to try to get home, or as sailors. Some of them ended up as pirates – free men with a uniquely egalitarian idea of how the world could be made a better place – and some pirate crews began to organise themselves.
This was a time when birth was everything and it was sincerely believed that God decreed a man’s status. Yet in the early years of the 18th century pirates established a system of accountability for their own behaviour and for that of their officers. The captain, quartermaster, bo’sun and mates were elected by vote from the most able men available. Major decisions about the route they took or prizes to be attacked were made in the sight of the whole crew. In addition, ‘articles’ were drawn up – a list of rules to live by. Some of the rules concerned the safe running of the ship – limits to drunkenness, care to be exercised with naked flames – and some governed the division of treasure, laying down the shares of plunder each man could expect and promising retribution to anyone who tried to defraud the company. Other rules placed limits upon the power of the officers – the captain’s cabin, for instance, though nominally his, could be entered at any time by anyone in the company and if he gave orders that could place the company in peril the quartermaster could countermand him. All men were entitled to equal treatment, equal shares of necessities and, if injured while about their business, they would be compensated from the common fund at a rate suitable to their injury – an eye was worth 100 pieces of eight. When a new recruit joined, or was forced to join, he would be made to sign the articles to show he understood the rules and agreed to abide by them.
It was recognised that if these sets of articles with their signatures had fallen into the hands of the authorities it would have spelled disaster so pirates crews often came to an agreement that they would blow the ship and themselves up. Men who regularly toasted each other with “curse the King and all Higher Powers, and damn the Governor” preferred death at their own hands to trial and hanging.
Below is an excerpt from On A Lee Shore where democratic principles are weighed against good old common sense.
Find more of my thoughts about the Golden Age of Piracy on blogs belonging to Sue Roebuck, Trisram Laroche and Catherine Cavendish. Comment here or on their blogs for a chance to win a copy of “On A Lee Shore”. Each comment = one chance so the more the merrier.
Blurb: “Give me a reason to let you live…”
Beached after losing his ship and crew, and with England finally at peace, Lt Christopher Penrose will take whatever work he can get. A valet? Why not? Escorting an elderly diplomat to the Leeward Islands seems like an easy job, but when their ship is boarded by pirates, Kit’s world is turned upside down. Forced aboard the pirate ship, Kit finds himself juggling his honor with his desire to stay alive among the crew, not to mention the alarming—yet enticing—captain, known as Le Griffe.
Kit has always obeyed the rules, but as the pirates plunder their way across the Caribbean, he finds much to admire in their freedom. He deplores their lawlessness but is drawn to their way of life, and begins to think he might just have found a purpose. Dare he dream of finding love too? Or would loving a pirate take him too far down the road to ruin?
“How can a Captain rule a ship if every man of the crew knows as much as he knows and is privy to the workings of state?” Kit asked. “There needs to be a proper order.”
“Don’t see why,” Davy said. “We’re all men. You, me, O’Neill even though he’s Irish, Valliere even though he’s black, Lewis and Prothero even though they are mollies. We all deserve our say.”
“Indeed,” Saunders was there again. “Young Davy has grasped the great Athenian principles of democracy, which is a fine and wonderful thing on paper but falls down sadly when applied to flawed and sinful men. Take Denny for instance,” they looked across to where Denny was clinging to the rigging waving to the Garnet’s long boat. “Denny is a man, therefore he is entitled to his say. But would either of you agree to put Denny in charge of any great enterprise? Could he Captain a ship? Would you expect him to inspire men to exert themselves under terrible and dangerous circumstances? No of course you wouldn’t. He can just about be trusted to run an errand as long as it’s not a complicated one. So, although all hands are able to hear what is said, and speak their piece, we rely on our betters—for they are our betters—to decide what is best for the greatest number and to see us safely to port.”
“An’ if they don’t, we get to vote them out,” Davy muttered and Saunders nodded again.
“True—they remain in charge just as long as the hoi polloi are kept satisfied. As long as panem et circenses are forthcoming our Captain will remain the cockalorum. Now—if you gentlemen will excuse me—I have a crisis to attend to.” He hefted an empty bottle and went on his way.
Many thanks, Kiran, for your hospitality.
It’s a pleasure to have you 🙂
I’m excited to have new friend and fellow Etopia author, Antonia van Zandt on my blog, today. It’s been great to get to know a little more about another of the contributors to the Etopia Press Halloween Heat anthologies. Antonia’s short story, Serena appears in Halloween Heat Vol 3.
Kiran: Tell me – who or what was the inspiration for your short story, Serena?
Antonia: There is a painting in my house of a very beautiful woman, with black hair, emerald eyes and an enigmatic look. As you move about the room, her eyes seem to follow you. A bit spooky, but captivating.
Kiran: What drew you to write erotic fiction?
Antonia: A number of reasons, but one was a challenge to see if I could write good sex. It is not as easy as many people think!
Kiran: What do your friends and family think of your writing career?
Antonia: My family don’t know. They would be shocked and probably disown me. Mind you, they don’t really approve of me anyway, so I probably wouldn’t notice much difference. But, best to be on the safe side. My true friends are very supportive – and some of them even contribute ideas!
Kiran: What would your perfect writing day look like? (Mine involves being shut in a darkened room with my characters)
Antonia: In my lovely quiet study, surrounded by books and paintings, the door slightly ajar to allow my cats to wander in and out. The phone goes to voicemail and it is peace, perfect peace until I am ready to say goodnight to my characters, switch off the laptop, feed my cats and curl up in my comfiest chair with a glass of Blaufränkisch.
Kiran: You are holding an All Hallows Eve dinner party. Tell me the four sexiest fictional characters you would invite.
Antonia: One would definitely be Serena from my short story of the same name. She is sultry, sensual, strong and passionate. Another would be Karl from my latest WIP Vienna Valentine. He is a Hunk, but also compassionate and caring. Third would be Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights – but I would have the Timothy Dalton incarnation from the 1970 film as far as looks were concerned (certainly not Laurence Olivier!). Heathcliff was so mad, bad and dangerous to know – dark, swarthy, earthy and undeniably sexy. Lastly, The Sundance Kid (OK, I mean Robert Redford’s portrayal of him). I’ve always fancied riding off into the sunset with a gorgeous cowboy and I’d make sure he didn’t get shot!
Kiran: What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
Antonia: Around Christmastime, a new novella called Seducing Amanda is coming out. This is creepy, atmospheric and as hot as a sizzling poker in mulled wine. I’m hoping Vienna Valentine will follow soon after, but I’m waiting to hear. You can rest assured there will be gorgeous people, lots of erotic fire and passion, all set against a background where things are never quite as they appear to be…
Marianne closed her eyes and luxuriated in the perfumed water, as it caressed every inch of her body. Soon her secret lover would be here. Soon it would be her fingers stroking her skin, probing deep within her, rousing her to new pinnacles of passion.
Serena. Even the sound of her name swept through her on a tide of ecstasy. On this magical night, all Marianne had craved would be hers. And now she need wait no longer. Framed in the doorway, stood a tall, slender woman with black hair and emerald eyes.
Serena had come for her and Marianne was ready.
Excerpt from Serena:
The scent of jasmine wafted up from the sea of fragrant bubbles and I stretched out my legs until they touched the far edge of the oversized bath, such decadent luxury made all the more exquisite by its rareness. I lifted my right arm out of the water, stroking its silky softness, then touched my breasts, their rosy nipples poking up through the water. My fingers traveled to the firm contours of my stomach and on down to my pelvis. I hesitated, longing to touch myself and start my arousal, but that would be cheating. Serena must do that. It was our way.
A little moan escaped my lips. So long since I had seen her, since I had felt her warm, vibrant body and rained kisses on her smooth skin. But I didn’t have much longer to wait. A rustling sound made me open my eyes. Framed in the doorway, there she was. My beauty.
Antonia van Zandt can be found on her website: http://antoniavanzandt.blogspot.co.uk/
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/antonia.vanzandt
And Twitter: https://twitter.com/AntoniavanZandt
Six Halloween themed erotic mini-anthologies from Etopia Press available from Amazon and All Romance!
Join Etopia Press on Twitter tonight, 5th October – 9.00pm (EST) to meet the authors!
Search for #Etopia and join in the fun
Tristram La Roche
Release Date October 5th 2012
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KiranRecently unchained. Writes dark, supernatural and erotic fiction. Loves it on the dark side.
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