Friday, October 24, 2014

Of Winter Coats and Woolly Sheep



 One week until Halloween! These days we don't seem to see many trick-or-treaters out on Halloween. What I mainly remember about trick-or-treating as a kid was the battle with parents over winter coats -- where I live, it can be in full winter by Halloween, but what kid wants to wear a winter coat over her costume?

 On the other hand, there is a lot more to do as an adult on Halloween now. Costumes aren't based around winter coats for adults. Personally I'm not such a fan of the "sexy" version of costumes, but my characters don't always agree with me. In my paranormal m/m romance Moon Shadows, werewolf Theo finds spiritual medium Max's choice of costume for him almost as trying as the evil spirits lurking around town . . .

Excerpt:

Theo sighed audibly in relief and pushed back the woolly hood as they stepped out into the chill night air.
 
"Hey," Max said. "Stay in costume."
 
"It's really hot," Theo complained.
 
"You're hot. You're my hot Greek --"
 
"-- wolf in sheep's clothing."
 
"-- wolf in sheep's clothing!" They spoke in unison, Max's voice pitched high with barely contained amusement, Theo's low and distinctly not laughing.
 
"That wasn't funny the first ten times you said it." Theo waved a cloven-hoof glove at him.
 
"Wrong," Max said, claiming Theo's elbow. "It's hilarious. I have no idea who would make a sheep costume in your size, but when I saw it at the thrift store, I just had to get it. You look," he dragged his voice back to its native range, "adorable." They made their way down the rickety back stairs, and he added, "Well?"
 
"Well what?"
 
"Glad we came?" He tugged and was amused by Theo's exaggerated loss of balance.
 
"Y-yeah." Theo smiled at the gravel underfoot.
 
"Good. Me, too." Max chuckled. "You think we're going to get a cab looking like a slutty shepherd and his hot sheep?"
 
"I don't know." Theo gave the street ahead a concerned look. "It's not even Halloween tonight."
 
"Halloween's on Monday. They couldn't have done it any other night. Besides, you've already got Halloween plans."
 
"It's a tradition," Theo said, as they moved slowly through the alley. "You're welcome to come."
 
"I'm not sure I want to watch a bunch of horror movies in a row with your friends," Max said. "Are you going to dress up?"
 
"Yeah, of course. It's Halloween." There was a pause, then, "But no non-fandom stuff."
 
"I don't have my geek-to-English dictionary on me, Theo."
 
"We cosplay -- uh, dress up -- like specific characters. Not like, y'know, just witches and stuff. Depends on what you're into." The words were coming out quickly.
 
"So what are you going to go as this year?"
 
"You wouldn't have heard of him."
 
"Hm." Max looked into Theo's rosy-cheeked face. "Do you want me to come?"
 
"Kind of."
 
"Does that mean you don't want me there?"
 
"It's not your scene, obviously. But it'd be nice if you knew my friends, and I could --" He paused.
 
"You could what?" Max let the last word linger.
 
"Sh-show you off," came the mumbled reply. Max stepped in front of Theo to stop him.
 
"Don't make me mess up your lipstick," he said. Theo smiled, then kissed him lightly on the mouth.
 
"I hope we can get a cab," he said softly. "I don't want Ana to come get you."
 
"Oh, I like drunk Theo," Max replied in a matching tone, wrapping both arms around the floss-covered body before him. With his black lashes augmented by mascara, Theo's eyes were incredibly beautiful, and they focused on him alone. Then Theo's brows drew down.
 
"Wait."
 
"Okay, that's not fair." Max gave up on his complaint when he felt sickeningly familiar tingles on his neck. "Oh, shit. Theo?" Theo was hastily getting out of his costume. Max watched despondently. "Theo, you're not --"
 
"It's close," Theo said, shoving his clothes into Max's arms as he looked up and down the alley. Max closed his eyes defensively, light battering at his eyelids. When he opened them again, all he saw was the tip of a tail disappearing around the side of the building. Max slipped between two buildings and waited, shivering. His half-pants left his calves at the mercy of the night air. The buzz of alcohol had been replaced by adrenaline, irritation, and an unpleasant sense of uselessness.
 
When others left the dance and passed by his place in the shadows, Max held his breath. He didn't want to attempt explaining anything. He did worry about them, but suspected that leaping out of the dark warning about evil spirits wasn't going to get him anywhere.
 
They're going off with other people. At least they're not alone.
 
Theo had been clearly intimidated by the press of people but danced readily and with a decent sense of rhythm. It had been tremendous fun to watch him, to press against him, to laugh and smile with him. On the other hand, Max's head reeled from all the drinks he'd downed to try to keep from noticing the attention Theo had been getting.
 
This monogamy stuff's a pain.
 
After a small eternity, a big shadow trotted up to him. Panting, Theo sat down. Steam rose from his mouth, and his ears were at half-mast. Finally, he stood, shook, and flashed into light.

"Lost it," he said in disgust as he dressed. "Those things, I don't know where they go, but they just -- go." 

"Well, spirits move through worlds we can't," Max said, ambivalent. "If they're afraid of you, why do they keep coming near you?"
 
"I -- I don't know. Is it me?" Theo was buttoning up the sheep suit.
 
"It's a possibility."
 
"Either way, I ... We shouldn't be alone tonight."
 
"We weren't planning to be, remember?" Max gave him a playful pat on the side, but when they went out into the street, he could see the fatigue in Theo's expression.
 
Goddamn things. First they mess with my sister, now they steal a night with the sexiest sheep in Fort Rivers.

* * *

Not every werewolf is leader of the pack. Theo Dimitriadis, games tester by profession and werewolf by nature, has built himself a quiet life. But he puts himself into the public spotlight after he pulls Anastasia Shevchenko out of a river. This brings him to the attention of Max, Anastasia's brother. Max is a dog trainer who, like Theo, has a family secret. He's a medium, able to communicate with ghosts and spirits.
When life-draining shadow spirits appear in Fort Rivers, Theo and Max take action together. Max starts wanting the gorgeous man he sees hidden behind Theo's shyness. The more Theo retreats from his attention, the more Max goes on the chase. Theo loves to submit but fears that he'll give up too much control to Max. They struggle to understand each other even as they zero in on the shadow spirits. But before they can reconcile their differences, an even darker threat comes along, intent on harming more than their relationship. If Theo and Max want to be together, first they have to get through this supernatural battle intact!


 * * *


I hope everyone has a great Halloween, with lots of candy and fun, and no winter coats!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Author Extra: Blind Eye of the Sun (Eternally Dark) by TA Moore

Blind Eye of the Sun
by TA Moore

Once a man-made paradise, the pleasure planet of Canaan is now a man-made hell. The seas have boiled, the floating cities have crashed from the skies and the few who survived the disaster scrabble to survive long enough for rescue.
Even before he broke her hard old heart and became a soldier, Shea's ma said he'd come to a bad end. Now, stranded on a burned out pleasure planet, Shea thinks she might have had a point. He doesn’t think even his ma imagined the feral, starving vampires that hunt him through the ruins.
An elder of his species, an Old Earth √©migr√©, Anatoly Druget was used to being invulnerable. At least he felt that way until the sun fell out of the sky and burned him blind. When he finds Shea he thinks he’s only found dinner, but maybe there is more to the unsentimental soldier than his carotid. And maybe there's more to Anatoly than a monster.

This story is also included in Eternally Dark Anthology.
This book can be found at: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=79_93&products_id=4284

Author Extra:

The last thing Anatoly saw had been nothing in particular. He had been lounging at the balcony, gazing down at the clouds and the flickering lights of parties below. A passing pretty boy had caught his eye, but there was no shortage of them in Canaan and this one was not quite pretty enough to be worth pursuing. Loss of interest had unfocused his eyes and then the world burned white. Not even white. It was the actinic flare on the other side of blue, but white was the closest word he had.

So his last sighted memory was a blur of bodies, glittered skin and a slice of cloud. Not much to carry into the dark.

The first blind memory he had was of pain. He was old, he had been old before his damning left earth. It had been a long time since he felt pain, truly felt it. Without fear – of mutilation, of death, of worse to come – pain was just another bit of sensory data to register.

This he felt. He tried to list the different elements of pain: the wet burn of blistered eyes, the dry, cracking scab pain of his lungs, the nerve-twitching jolts of his bones binding themselves back together. Broken. He was broken.

His veins cramped and itched under his skin, withering as he spilled blood onto the ground. Hunger balled at the back of his brain, like a fist pushing at all the things it didn't care about.

Knowing that he'd kill the good Samaritan who'd answer, he tried to yell for help. His lips cracked, scraping against broken teeth, and his voice was a thin wheeze. Deaf? Was he deaf as well as blind? No. He could hear the screaming and the strange clicking tick tock of cooling destruction.

He crawled out from the ruins of the club, dipping his fingers into puddles of boiling liquid and tearing his palms on ragged strips of metal. It took him hours. His flesh cooked and slid off his bones, bones splintered and cracked and the fist of hunger dislodged more and more of him from his mind.

Home, he promised it. There were decanted bottles of blood in the larder, his servant and a willing vein waiting once he had glutted himself. All he had to do was get there.

So he crawled until his legs put themselves back together, and then he stumbled through a world washed white and yellow in shades of heat. Twice something attacked him. The first time he was confused, breaking it without knowing what it was. The second time he knew the face he ground into the molten ground.

Gretel. Gret now, to sound more modern. Not a friend, but sometimes a lover. Someone he would have considered going to for help. Not someone who screamed mindlessly in a raw voice, biting at him with broken teeth even as he broke her neck, cracked her skull.

And when he got home... It wasn't gone. He had crawled across enough scorched devastation between there and here to anticipate that. Except the ancients of his race had their foibles, tics ground into their brains through centuries of repetition. His was a fear of being rescued – to a vampire being buried alive was considerably less inconvenient than a midday rescue. Even on Canaan, where the dawn never came, he had his dwelling retrofitted and reinforced.

It had listed and cracked, coming adrift from its moorings on one side, but it still stood. He felt his way along the cool walls, nails scratching the ceraglass compound, to the secure-seal door. Long fingers picked out the shape of it delicately, finding the chips and spurs that he had never noticed before. That was less to do with his new found blindness and more to do with the freshly regrown nerves in his onion-skin thin fingertips.

The best security system money could buy. Anatoly folded his hands around it and leaned down, positioning his forehead using the glare-screen. The laser flicker jabbed through his eye and into his brain like a laser, registering not as light but as scored black lines. Barely regenerated cells collapsing under the new assault on their fragile structure.

'Retina scan: Unconfirmed. Access denied,' the box intoned.

Anatoly closed his eyes and laughed until his scorched lungs seized, refusing to draw in fresh air. He couldn't get in. All that way and his only modes of access were denied him: his eyes blistered in their sockets, his fingertips regrown and scarred and the direct line leading, he supposed, to a burning pit.

'Sir?' the voice was unremarkable in the way this generation aspired to, barren of linguistic markers to his source or class. It was also blessedly familiar. 'Sir? Is that you?'

'Yes!' The word was a hiss, guttural as Anatoly had imagined a witch's to be when he was a boy. He turned his head blindly towards the sound, holding out his hand. 'Simon. Get me inside.'

 The man hesitated, Anatoly's hearing catching the nervous flutter of his heart and the undecided shuffle of his feet. It was only a second, but the disloyalty enraged Anatoly past all proportion. The fist of hunger, of need, in his mind hammered against the bones of his skull in demand, laying out the concepts of trust and forgiveness with casual backhands.

'Sir,' A warm hand gripped his arm, leading him. 'I thought...when the sun fell...I thought you were dead.'

Blood pumped through Simon's veins by the pint, the heady liquid just under the skin. Anatoly squashed the temptation down, layering over it with contempt. He'd known the boy's family for generations. They'd usually been good servants. He, in turn, tried to be a reasonable master. He chewed on his lower lip, shredding his flesh with his fangs, and dug his fingers deep into Simon's arm as the living man and his intact thumb print won them entry.

'The blood,' Anatoly rasped, casting his head around like a hunting dog. He let go of Simon, giving him a shove in the right direction. 'I need blood to heal. Get me a bottle.'

Silence. No footsteps. Just the rasp of breathing that was about to fail someone.

Anatoly turned his head. 'Blood. Now.'

He could actually hear Simon wringing his hands, the rub of skin on skin and the pop of finger joints.

'I can't. It burned or it broke. I....sir, bottles were exploding. There was nothing I could do. Nothing.'

Anatoly sagged, joints behind around him as he slid down them to the ground. He pressed his forehead to his knee.

'Told you, told you,' the hunger hissed its condemnation. 'We have to eat.'

It flexed and, for a second that seemed to float out of time, he felt his 'self' crack. The bit that was Anatoly split like an egg and something gaunt and mad crawled out. He heard the noise coming out of his mouth, a horrid chittering clatter, and felt his joints flex ready to move. It wasn't him telling them to do that, he wasn't pulling the strings on his flesh right now.

Then it was just screaming and the profligate Rorschach of blood splashing up the walls onto the screaming. The hot pleasure of Simon's blood filled Anatoly's mouth, the bitter sweet tastiness of the servant's last heartbeats on his tongue. He drank from throat, the synovial hinge and the great vein at the crease of Simon's thigh, draining the boy of every last drop.

It wasn't enough.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Author Extra: Spearmint Warning (Eternally Dark) by John Amory

Spearmint Warning
by John Amory

Not much about Thad's life is exciting. He works at a coffee shop in a college town and has little else to look forward to other than the changing of the seasons to his favorite of them all: autumn. But with the changing of the leaves, Thad's life is turned upside down. He begins having strange dreams in which he sees a stranger who has been frequenting the cafe... a stranger who holds a lot of secrets that will put Thad's life in danger.
The man's name is Guy, and he is a vampire who is being stalked by his creator, an intimidating creature who always manages to snatch Guy's happiness from him. And at the moment, that happiness has taken the form of Thad.

This story is also included in Eternally Dark Anthology.
This can be found at: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=79_93&products_id=4285

Author Extra:

Recipe:
Fresh Spearmint Tea:

½ cup fresh spearmint leaves
2 cups water

 This is one of the simplest recipes you’ll find, but it’s so impressive to serve guests (and delicious enough that you’ll want it yourself all the time) because it uses fresh herbs. Just tear off about ½ cup of spearmint leaves (about 15-20 leaves), wash them well, and tear or muddle them to release oils. Set aside. Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of water. Remove water from heat, add spearmint, and steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain into two cups, or into one large mug, and add your favorite sweetener, if desired. (You may also put the leaves in a tea infuser, if you have one.) This makes a very bright, grassy, refreshing drink… enjoy!

Author Extra: Aubade (Eternally Dark Anthology) by Jenna Jones

Aubade
by Jenna Jones

Jory loves the night. You meet the most interesting people after the sun goes down. But when a new man approaches Jory at a poetry slam, Jory's love of the night may be his downfall -- or introduce him to an entirely new sort of night life.

Jory Garcia is a slam poet who hasn't performed since his relationship ended. At his first competition in months, he meets a blind man named Robin and is instantly attracted to him. A kiss in an alley exposes Robin as even more of a creature of the night than Jory is, and Jory plunges eagerly into Robin's mysterious world. But knowing Robin is a monster is one thing -- can Jory accept Robin into his life without becoming a monster himself?

This story is also included in Eternally Dark Anthology.
This book is available at: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=79_93&products_id=4282

Author Extra:
Jenna Jones's top 5 favorite vampires

5) Dracula (Book Dracula, though I love many movie versions  too.)

4) Louis, The Vampire Chronicles

3) Erik Northman, True Blood

2) Eve, Only Lovers Left Alive

1) Pam, True Blood

New Releases - It's almost Halloween!!!!

BOO! We've got some "it's almost Halloween" spooky sales going on this week -- get 20% off selected titles from Kiernan Kelly, BA Tortuga, and Ari McKay! http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=specials  You can also use the coupon code BOO through October 10/31/14 to get an additional 40% off.

Eternally Dark
by John Amory, Jenna Jones, TA Moore, BA Tortuga
177 pages / 53100 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-824-0
$4.99
Buy Link:  http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=76&products_id=4281
Blurb:
What might make a vampire vulnerable enough to take a human lover? What if they were blind, and needed what a human could give them, not just blood, but sight?
In Blind Eye of the Sun, TA Moore gives us a dystopian, ruined pleasure planet where humans and vamps fight for resources. Jenna Jones pens Aubade, where a young slam poet finds both fear and excitement in the arms of a vampire. In John Amory’s Spearmint Warning, a vampire teaches a hot barista all about mint leaves and tea. Finally, in Those Who Cannot See, BA Tortuga gives us a historical cowboy who’s nearly been hanged and the vampire who saved him.
Includes the following stories:
Aubade by Jenna Jones
Who Can Not See by BA Tortuga
Blind Eye of the Sun by TA Moore
Spearmint Warning by John Amory

Ghosts and Ghouls, a Halloween Collection

by Kiernan Kelly
94 pages / 28800 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-818-9
$3.49
Buy Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=76&products_id=4287
Blurb:
This collection brings together an eclectic mix of smoking hot vampires, werewolves, ghosts, classic literary monsters, and demons in five spooky, sexy stories. In "Things That Go Bump," we meet an Old World vampire living in modern day New Orleans who yearns for some hot sex and a new way of life.
In "Through the Veil," Alex Martin grows up with a unique talent – he can see and speak to ghosts. One in particular, sexy cop Charlie, is different from the rest. When Alex realized he has an actual physical connection with Charlie, things quickly go from spooky to smoking hot.
Werewolf Valerian is on the prowl for sex in "Were the Moon Touches." When he stumbles across hot, young Christo, a shifter on the run from another pack, he's ready for some action. He gets his wish when he and Christo find out they have more in common than a taste in dance clubs – they're mates, and now they have two packs hunting for them.
"Love Between Fiends" is a homage to two great literary monsters – Dracula and the Frankenstein Monster. In this sizzling little story, when the Dracula finds the Monster, they recognize in each other a kindred spirit, and form an unlikely alliance that matures into something else – a desire for one another, and a resolution to keep White Chapel, in 1888 London free from any other monster, including the one currently prowling the streets – Jack the Ripper.
In "Abracadabra," what better way for a demon like Hex to make a living in modern day New York than as one half of a psychic con artist team? Together with his human lover Greg, they rake in the cash, and have lots of hot sex, but feel something is missing from their relationship.  They may just find their answer in the form of Mark O'Brian, a wealthy CFO at his wits end, who comes to them for help.
Previously published as independent shorts by Torquere Press.


The Demon's Door

by Ari McKay
137 pages / 42000 words
ISBN: 978-1-61040-819-6
$4.49
Buy Link:  http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=78_85&products_id=4286
Blurb:
When Thomas Carter discovers his grandfather’s hidden journals, detailing the old man’s fight against the supernatural, he knows he’s found his true calling at last. Yet when he sets out to stake a local vampire, he quickly learns that the difference between Good and Evil is very different than what he had believed.
Julian Schaden is at first amused when Thomas tries to destroy him, but he quickly recognizes Thomas for what he is: a Demon Hunter, a supernatural being who exists to hunt and destroy the soulless. The two are drawn together as Julian teaches Thomas the skills he will need to survive, and attraction intensifies to something deeper. But when a major demonic manifestation looms at Halloween, will they have the strength to face it, when failure might condemn them both to an eternity in Hell?

Coming Next Week...
Cereus: Training
by Sean Michael, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga
Genre: Paranormal/Horror
Two Guys Walk Into an Apocalypse 3
by V.L. Locey
Paul, Gordon, and their ragtag band of zombie hunters are searching for a winter stronghold. Will undead lumberjacks, wandering moose, and other less-than-friendly survivors put a crimp in their homesteading plans?!
Genre: Paranormal/Horror, Apocalyptic, Romantic-Comedy
Velvet Diamonds, a Velvet Glove short story collection
by Sean Michael
Velvet Diamonds brings together five short stories from the Velvet Glove world. Each of these gems explores the coming together of Tops and bottoms at the universe's most exclusive BDSM club.
Genre: Contemporary, BDSM

Monday, October 20, 2014

BDSMonday - Fetishes Video



It's BDSMonday!

Today I have a video for you. It's an episode of the Midwest Teen Sex Show, which is a hilarious and informative series to teach young people about all kinds of sex and sexuality. I highly recommend it. (I didn't want to put "Teen Sex Show" in the title lest I give the wrong impression...)

It's a very silly video, and definitely not a how-to guide to playing, but I hope you enjoy it!

Sit back, relax, and may I present the Midwest Teen Sex Show - Fetishes!

Coming This Week...

Coming This Week...
Eternally Dark Anthology
by 
John Amory, Jenna Jones, TA Moore, BA Tortuga
What could possibly make a vampire vulnerable? What if they were blind? Still sexy, these vamps make their men swoon. Featuring John Amory, Jenna Jones, TA Moore and BA Tortuga.
Genre: Paranormal/Horror
Ghosts and Ghouls
by 
Kiernan Kelly
Want a bite of paranormal delight this Halloween? These five short, spooky, sexy stories bring together an eclectic mix of our favorite monsters!
Genre: Paranormal/Horror
The Demon's Door
by 
Ari McKay
When Thomas Carter sets out to stake a vampire, he finds out the true difference between Good and Evil. Can Julian Schaden teach him about his own abilities – and the power of love – before it’s too late?
Genre: Paranormal/Horror