Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Moral Authority By Jacob Z. Flores

Literary Nymphs Interview

Title: Moral Authority
Author: Jacob Z. Flores
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Genre: Gay Mainstream Fiction
Release Date: May 22, 2013

Do you write in more than one genre?

Well, so far my three published books have been in three different subsets of gay fiction. 3 was an m/m/m romance, The Gifted One was a paranormal gay romance, and Moral Authority is gay mainstream fiction.

Some people often ask why I keep changing it up, but it’s really not a conscious choice. Once the plot bunny hops into my life, I go with it. Those fantastic little bunnies rule my writing world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, my current WIP is a contemporary gay romance series set in Provincetown.

I don’t plan on leaving gay fiction. I have too much fun here!

What if any, is the hardest part of writing for you?

That changes with the project actually. Sometimes it’s the writer’s block, which can be crippling. With Moral Authority though, I didn’t have any writer’s block. The story just flowed from my brain and out my fingertips. I had plotted out most of the book before I’d written it, so that may have helped with the writer’s block. But Moral Authority was just one of those stories that couldn’t be contained and just had to come out. In fact, I stayed up late one evening to finish writing the last ten chapters or so. The characters and the plot just spoke to me that much that I couldn’t sleep until their voices were satisfied. It was truly an amazing experience.

What inspired the story?

I actually got the idea to write this book during a final exam. While my students were busily analyzing poetry, I suddenly thought: what would happen if the moral majority got everything it wanted?

My muse took over from there. I drafted up some amendments to the Constitution that created a fourth branch of American government called the Moral Authority. It was their charge to establish a moral code of conduct for citizens that would free the country from social ills, crime, and domestic terrorism. This was dubbed “lifestyle legislation.” However, in caring for the greater good of Americans, the Moral Authority ventured into micromanaging our lives. For example, if obesity was unhealthy, it was therefore immoral. So the country enacted lifestyle legislation that regulated caloric intake of all American citizens. In essence, everyone was assigned a meal card that tracked caloric consumption. Once the caloric credit on the card was used up for the day, food could no longer be dispensed or purchased.

From there, the ideas steamrolled, and Moral Authority was born.

Moral Authority is a dystopian novel not a romance. A romantic relationship develops between two characters, but their love story isn’t the crux of the novel. The novel follows three men—Mark, Isaac, and Samuel—and tracks their very different journeys through this nightmarish America.
Here’s the blurb that provides more information:
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are prescribed ideals in America of 2050. The Moral Authority, the nation’s newest branch of government, has virtually eliminated crime, poverty, and most social ills, but it also rules the land with a tyrannical fist, championing ignorance and brandishing fear.
Mark Bryan is a gay man whose existence brands him an outlaw; Isaac Montoya is a charming stranger, who entices Mark to defy moral law; and Samuel Pleasant runs the Moral Authority and plans to punish moral offenders and a rebellious uprising—no matter the cost.
Will liberty and justice return for all?

Lastly, as part of my blog tour I’m holding a contest. All you have to do is leave a comment to this post and your name is entered to win a free copy of Moral Authority. If a reader happens to follow all my blog stops, then she or he can leave a comment at the other sites a well. This means that someone could enter 7 times for a chance to win the book. At the end of the tour, a winner will be chosen and announced.


“Good evening, Supreme High Chancellor,” one of the reporters from USA2 replied. Most of the others remained silent, most likely in awe of his presence.
“Are we about ready to begin?” Samuel asked while Anita placed a hot cup of tea on the coffee table in front of him—another tool to gain the nation’s trust, to show that Samuel was a simple, moral man just like everyone else watching.
“Yes, sir,” answered another reporter.
“Are you sure you don’t want a teleprompter?”
“Quite certain,” Samuel replied. “My words will come from my heart and soul. No teleprompter is needed for that.”
“We go live in one minute, sir,” announced a media technician, whose job it was to synchronize the live broadcast with all of the national news channels.
Samuel nodded and took a deep breath. The moment he waited for was at hand. His flesh crawled with goose pimples and his heartbeat accelerated. It wasn’t his arrhythmia or his high blood pressure. It was sheer excitement, with a touch of nerves.
All cameras pointed toward him, focusing their lenses on him and preparing to broadcast his image to every available television screen in the nation. The media technician informed him, “We go live in five, four, three….” after which the technician held out two fingers. Then one, and then he pointed at him. All cameras stared at Samuel with their red eyes glowing. He was now live.
“Good evening, my fellow Americans. As many of you know, today marks the official thirty-fifth anniversary of the Moral Authority. I consider this a great accomplishment in American history. While many of you out there didn’t know an immoral America, I, as well as many others, did.
“The immoral American way of life was full of heartache and misery. While the nation certainly enjoyed its privileges, it shirked and often renounced any moral code. This lack of morality wasn’t an isolated incident in the America of the past, but it was a virus that spread through the nation like a plague, slowly debilitating the essence of America from within its own national body.
“Drugs, violence, and crime were rampant symptoms of our moral infection, and as many of you know, these diseases spared no one, not even me. I lost my own mother and my brothers to these immoral actions. Like a contagion, these diseases spread from home to home, neighborhood to neighborhood, state to state.
“They were spreading, and they were growing. On our own soil, our nation suffered constant attacks by other nations. Our economy was failing due to mismanagement of funds and political corruption. Our citizens were under attack in other countries. Even at home, Americans were losing jobs, facing economic upheaval and the loss of the family unit.
“While most citizens’ eyes were turned outward, blaming other people, other countries, or the government for their failures and losses, our president at the time, the first woman ever elected to the office, Sarah Palin, turned our eyes inward. She showed us what needed fixing in America was within America. She made us realize that if the nation was indeed going to get better, the very fiber of America itself must change, must grow, must become more than it was becoming.
“As many of us now call Sarah Palin, she was the mother of the Moral America. With great struggle and some resistance, she birthed unto the nation a moral age by establishing the Moral Authority as the fourth branch of our nation’s government. She envisioned an America that could recover from its sickness by returning to the moral piety on which our nation was founded.
“It’s because of that vision that we now live in this golden moral age. Gone are the days of rampant street violence, domestic abuse, terrorism, and drugs. Where once national news was negative and alarming, our nation now sees a nation of goodness reflected in the news programs of inspiration, growth, and moral success.
“Ask yourself when was the last time you saw violence or corruption in the media or heard it in a song or even read it in a book? If we ask ourselves that question, we will no doubt answer—not until recently.
“While we are human, and humans certainly err in their morals, we have lived through decades of moral peace and strength. We could turn on televisions without fear that our children would be assaulted by violent words or images. However, in recent months, there has been a great change.
“A group exists within this very nation that wishes to return us to the infection of immorality. They want us to suffer through the fevers and upset of crime, the apathy of uncaring citizens, the harshness of unfair treatment, the curse of disloyalty, the arrogance of disrespect, and the absence of all that is pure.
“This group is the Human Rights Campaign. This group has attacked our moral code. They threaten us because they feel that wanting only goodness and moral behavior is wrong. For them, chaos and immorality are right.
“They attack peaceful moral officers who are doing their moral duties. They hole up in secret hiding places, plotting how to disrupt the moral fiber of America. They gather ammunition and weapons, wishing to build an immoral army to defeat all moral codes of law.
“They speak of humanity, they speak of rights, and they speak of campaigning against morality. Yet, their actions and their words show us only inhumanity, the taking away of moral rights, and a campaign for immoral corruption.
“They believe they know better than the moral majority, and they wish to impose their beliefs on us, force us to view their moral actions and accept their immoral behaviors. They want men to marry men and women to marry women. They want fathers to leave their families for mistresses. They want pornography available for all to see, even children. They want drugs made legal, crimes to increase, and violence to return to our streets.
“This is not a human rights campaign at all. This is anarchy, pure and simple, and it is un-American to the core.”

Where can we find your website?

  All are welcome to stop by and visit. I try to post content at least three times a week and love hearing what readers have to say. I’m even hosting a “Choose My Inspiration” Contest on my website. Readers have a chance to vote on the inspiration for one of the MC’s for another series I’m working on. One winner will even be able to name the characters. How cool is that? If you’re interested, stop on by my website.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Outlast the Night by Ariel Tachna

Author: Ariel Tachna
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M Contemporary Series
Release Date: May 20, 2013

Office manager Sam Emery is unemployed and out of luck. When his emotionally abusive wife demands a divorce, he contacts the one person he has left, his brother, Neil. He doesn’t expect Neil to reject him, but he also doesn’t expect the news of his divorce—and of his sexuality—to be met with such acceptance.

Neil takes Sam to Lang Downs, the sheep station Neil calls home. There, Sam learns that life as a gay man isn’t impossible. Caine and Macklin, the station owners, certainly seem to be making it work. When Caine offers Sam a job, it’s a dream come true.

Jeremy Taylor leaves the only home he’s ever known when his brother’s homophobia becomes more than he can bear. He goes to the one place he knows he will be accepted: Lang Downs. He clicks with Sam instantly—but the animosity between Lang Downs and Jeremy’s home station runs deep, and the jackaroos won’t accept Jeremy without a fight. Between Sam’s insecurity and Jeremy’s precarious position, their road will be a hard one—and that’s without having to wait for Sam’s divorce to be final before starting a new life together.

CAINE NEIHEISEL looked up from the tax forms that were currently driving him batty when he heard a knock at the office door. It wouldn’t be Macklin because his lover and the foreman of Lang Downs wouldn’t bother knocking.
“Come in.”
“I’m sorry to disturb you, boss,” Neil Emery said, sticking his head in. “Do you have a minute?”
“Of course,” Caine said, setting aside the forms. “What can I do for you?”

“I need a favor. My brother Sam called. His wife kicked him out, and he doesn’t have anywhere else to go. He lost his job a year and a half ago, and I know it’s a lot to ask, but could he come here for a month or two? Just until he gets back on his feet?”

“The last time I checked, you and Molly had an extra room in your house. You don’t need my permission to have someone stay there.”

“I’ll have to go down to Yass to get him,” Neil said. “I can send him a bus ticket to get that far, but it’ll still mean taking at least a day off.”

“Just let us know when you’ll be gone so we can get someone to cover your chores.”

“I’ll leave Max with Chris. Chris has learned enough about dogs that he can use Max to help move the sheep down into the valley. I know it’s a bad time to be gone, but I can’t afford to pay for a hotel for him for long—”

“Neil,” Caine interrupted, “I’m not upset. He’s your brother. Of course you’re going to help him out. I don’t know how much luck he’ll have doing a job search from here, but even if all he does is recover from leaving his wife before figuring out how to go back to town, he’s still welcome. We can afford to feed one more.”

“He could maybe help you out in the office while he’s here,” Neil suggested. “He worked as an office manager for a small hardware store until the owners retired and closed the shop. At least he’d feel like he was contributing something instead of taking handouts.”

“We’ll see when he gets here,” Caine said, though the idea of having someone to help him figure out the logistics of Australian tax law and employee benefits regulations would be a huge help. Caine’s degree in business gave him enough background to make sense of the jargon, but the difference in laws had tripped him up more than once.

THREE days later, Neil met his brother Sam at the bus station in Yass. The lines of stress and worry on his brother’s face made him frown. “You look like shit.”

“Good to see you too, arsehole,” Sam replied, hugging Neil more tightly than necessary.
“Come on,” Neil said, grabbing Sam’s sole suitcase. “Let’s get out of here. We’ve got a long drive ahead of us. Or do you want to eat something first?”
“How long?”
“Five hours or so,” Neil said, “and most of that is through the tablelands, where there’s nowhere to stop if you get hungry. I can shout you lunch, here or in Boorowa in an hour or so, if you don’t think you can wait until we get home.”

“Lunch would be good,” Sam admitted. “I… haven’t been eating well.”

Neil had noticed how gaunt Sam looked, but this confirmed it. “Kami, the station’s cook, will get you sorted in no time, but for now we can go to the Yass Hotel. It’s nothing fancy, but it’ll fill you up.”

“What about that one?” Sam asked, pointing to a small restaurant across from the bus station.
“We don’t eat there,” Neil said, his voice cold. “One of our jackaroos nearly got killed there last spring, and nobody lifted a finger to help him. His brother had to come running to the hotel for help.”
“In a town this size?”

“They didn’t take well to him being a poofter,” Neil explained.
Sam didn’t reply. Neil gritted his teeth when he saw the tense look on Sam’s face. He didn’t want to fight with his brother, especially when he was down and out, but Sam was going to have to keep his opinions to himself. Neil wouldn’t tolerate slurs against Caine and Macklin from his brother any more than he would from any of the other jackaroos on Lang Downs.

“So tell me about the station,” Sam said once they’d reached the Yass Hotel and had ordered lunch. “I mean, I know it’s kind of remote and I know you raise sheep, but that’s as far as it goes.”
“That’s about all there is to tell,” Neil said. “I told you about Molly when we got engaged. Everything else is pretty much what you’d expect from a station. Well, except Caine. He’s a Yank. He owns the station.”
“How did that happen?”
“His great-uncle founded the station. When he died, it passed to Caine’s mum in the States, but she’s not young and wasn’t going to move here to run it, so Caine came. Last year at Christmas, she gave it to him outright. You know, I bet he could use a hand figuring out all the paperwork, taxes and shit. He’s got a head for business, but he’s still a Yank. You could keep your hand in.”
“If he’ll let me help,” Sam said with a sigh.

“Why wouldn’t he?” Neil asked. “You lost your job because the owners retired. You weren’t fired or laid off or anything like that. It’s not your fault you couldn’t find a new job.”
Sam shrugged. “He sounds like a good bloke. Is he married?”

Neil choked on his beer. He’d been hoping to put off this conversation until later, but short of lying, he didn’t see a way around it. “Last time I checked, two blokes can’t get married here. Macklin’s name is on the deed, though, and he moved out of the foreman’s house and into the big house a year ago, so I figure that’s close enough.”

“You work for a gay couple?”

“Sam, you’re my brother and I love you, but if this is going to be a problem, you need to tell me now so I can get you a hotel room in Yass.”
“No, it’s not a problem,” Sam said quickly. “I’m just surprised. We didn’t exactly grow up in a tolerant house.”

Neil shrugged. “Caine saved my life and nearly died doing it. And he did it after I found out he was gay and said every nasty thing I could think of to him. He’s earned my loyalty.”

The arrival of their food forestalled Sam’s reply, and he ate with such gusto that Neil didn’t press for more of a reaction. He wasn’t in the mood to listen to all the homophobic bullshit he’d grown up with. He was a different man now, a better one, he hoped. If Sam could just give Caine and Macklin a chance, he’d see they deserved his respect.

They finished eating and headed north toward Boorowa. “Do you need anything?” Neil asked. “Supplies of any kind? Once we leave Boorowa, there’s nowhere to stop.”
“No, I’m fine,” Sam said. “Alison let me keep everything of mine.”
“One suitcase?” Neil responded.

“I left some stuff with friends,” Sam said. “I didn’t figure I’d need suits on the station.”
“No, you won’t,” Neil agreed. “So tell me. What happened with you and Alison? Last time I saw you, I thought you were happy.”

“She wanted someone with a job, and I wanted…. It doesn’t matter what I wanted. She wanted out, and I’m not going to fight her.”
“Is there someone else?” Neil asked.
“I didn’t ask her,” Sam said.
“What about you?”
“No one that matters.”
“You slept around and it didn’t even mean anything? That’s low, Sam.”
“It wasn’t like that,” Sam insisted. “I….”
“You what, Sam?”

“I married her because it’s what Mum and Dad expected. I didn’t feel like I had a choice, and at least I liked Alison. We got along well enough, but that’s it. I never really loved her. I don’t know if she loved me, but she doesn’t anymore, and I’m fine with that. Dad’s gone. He can’t be disappointed in me now, so it doesn’t matter anymore.”

“What are you talking about? Why would you marry Alison if you didn’t love her? You could have found someone else.”

“You already said it,” Sam said. “It’s not legal for two blokes to get married.”
“You’re gay? Why didn’t you say something?” The words were out before Neil could consider them, the only thing he could think of to say in the wake of such surprising news. Sam had been married! Neil had never dreamed his brother might be gay.

Sam shot him a look of such incredulity that Neil flushed. “Sorry, that was stupid. Of course you didn’t say anything while Dad was alive, but you still didn’t have to get married. I didn’t. Not until I met the right girl.”
“Yeah, but you aren’t gay. You might not have met the right girl, but you knew you would someday. I didn’t have that, and you were gone. You didn’t have to listen to him constantly after you left, going on and on about the family name and being a man and getting married and having children. Thank God Alison and I decided to wait to have kids.”

“Did she know about you?”

“Not when we got married. After I lost my job and couldn’t find another one, things got… tense at home. Money was tight. I felt like a failure for living off her income. We fought all the time. We agreed to a trial separation nine months ago, with her helping me out with the rent, but I think that was almost worse, because she was supporting me completely. I wanted to feel good. I wanted to spend a few hours with someone who didn’t make me feel worthless.”

“So you did what? Hooked up with some random guys?”

“Yeah, pretty much,” Sam said. “It was stupid. I knew it when I did it, but it felt good too. They didn’t care that I didn’t have a job. They didn’t care that I was in the closet. They just cared that I’d let them do whatever they wanted to me. Alison kept on about getting a new job, always threatening to stop paying my rent if I didn’t get my act together. She actually had a lead on one, but it was with a cousin of hers, and he made it pretty obvious he’d only be hiring me out of pity. I turned down the job and told her I’d find somewhere else to live. There’s no way I could go back to that.”

“I wish I’d known,” Neil said. “I’d have tried to make it easier for you.”
“There’s nothing you could have done,” Sam said. “I had to fuck up to see how bad off I was.”

“So what now?”

“Now nothing,” Sam said. “I won’t fight Alison for anything when we can finally file for divorce in three months. She gets the house, the car, everything, because she’s paid for most of it, and I don’t want the black mark on my name if I ever get a lead on a job somewhere that might care if I’m gay.”

“There’s not a lot of opportunity for anonymous sex, gay or straight, on the station,” Neil warned. “There’s a couple of other jackaroos who are gay besides Caine and Macklin, but Chris and Jesse are shacked up, and the others will be leaving when the season is over in a few weeks.”

“So I’ll do without,” Sam said with a shrug. “It won’t be the first time.” He hesitated, then added, “I got enough of faceless fumbling this year. I’d rather do without until I can meet someone. I know that probably won’t happen on the station, and really, starting a relationship before I’m even divorced would be stupid, but I’d rather do without than feel like a cheap trick again.”

“I thought you said it made you feel good?”

“The sex, yes. Afterward, no,” Sam explained. “I don’t imagine you want details.”

“Not really,” Neil said with a grimace. “I might not let anyone say anything about Caine and Macklin, but I don’t need to know what goes on in their bedroom. Same goes for you.”
Sam’s smile was the most genuine Neil had seen since he’d picked his brother up at the bus station.

“Thank you.”

“YOU need to go to Melbourne this winter,” Devlin Taylor said, turning to face his younger brother Jeremy. “You need to find a good woman, settle down, start a family.”
Jeremy only barely managed not to roll his eyes at his brother across the breakfast table in the main house. Devlin refused to eat in the canteen with the jackaroos. He said it was “beneath him.” They had been through this discussion of his relationship status more times than he could count. He would get married when he was damn well ready—not likely to happen anytime soon since he wasn’t going to marry a woman and he couldn’t legally marry a man—and Devlin could take his meddling and matchmaking and shove them up his arse. “I was planning a trip to Sydney,” Jeremy replied, “but just for a week or two, to unwind a bit from the summer.”

“That’s not long enough to meet someone,” Devlin protested.

“Maybe because I don’t want to meet someone?” Jeremy retorted. “Not like that. We aren’t having this conversation again.”

“Be careful, boy,” Devlin said as if he were Jeremy’s father, not his older brother. Granted, the twelve years between them meant he and Devlin had never been all that close, never had the shared childhood so many siblings drew on to bond as adults. “People will start talking. You’re thirty-four. That’s more than old enough to get settled down proper. You keep on like you are, people are going to start saying you’re like those pillow biters up at Lang Downs.”

“So what if they think that?” Jeremy replied hotly, not the least because it was true. He hated the term as much as he hated his brother’s homophobic rants, but he could hardly deny he was gay, even if he had conveniently forgotten to tell his brother that one important detail. “Armstrong runs a tight ship at Lang Downs, regardless of who he’s sleeping with, and when you had to fire that fucker who sabotaged their fences, Neiheisel let it go without pursuing you or him. They aren’t hurting anybody by being together.”

“No brother of mine is going to be known as a poofter!” Devlin roared.

“Better an honest poofter than a homophobic bigot who still can’t run a station as well as the ‘pillow biters’ at Lang Downs,” Jeremy shouted back.

Devlin’s angry bellow gave Jeremy the warning he needed to dodge the punch his brother sent flying in his direction. His own ire raised now, he countered with an uppercut of his own, catching his brother squarely under the jaw. Devlin staggered back, then narrowed his eyes as he came at Jeremy again. Jeremy tried to block the blow, but Devlin connected anyway. Jeremy rocked back, catching himself on the edge of the desk in Devlin’s office, and slammed his brother’s face into the wooden surface when Devlin lunged at him again. He had the briefest moment of relief that at least none of the jackaroos still on the station would see them fighting like this before Devlin was up again and plowing his fist into Jeremy’s gut. He doubled over and went for Devlin’s knees. When his brother went down, he stayed there, glaring at Jeremy with such hatred that Jeremy took a step back.

“Get out,” Devlin spat, blood running from the corner of his mouth. “Don’t come back until you’ve got a wife and a respectable life.”

Jeremy closed his eyes for a second, knowing from the tone of Devlin’s voice how deadly serious he was. “I’ll be gone before sunset.”

“And don’t take anything that belongs to the station,” Devlin added.

That would be impossible, since Jeremy had never bothered drawing a salary and bought what he needed with station funds the same way Devlin did, but Jeremy was tired of arguing with his brother. He would take what he considered to be his personal belongings and leave the rest. He could replace anything else once he got a job on another station. He hoped Lang Downs was hiring because that would be an extra punch to his brother’s gut, but if they weren’t, Jeremy figured he had enough experience to get a job pretty much anywhere.

He climbed the stairs to his room, rubbing his jaw where Devlin’s fist had caught him, and proceeded to pack his clothes and toiletries. He considered taking his phone but decided Devlin would just cancel the contract if he did since it was on the station’s account. Looking at the duffel that contained everything in the world he could truly consider his, he scowled at the sorry state of his life. He should have done this years ago.

“I’m taking my car,” he told Devlin when he got downstairs. “I’ll send it back when I get where I’m going.”

Devlin didn’t even look up from where he sat at his desk, a cold pack on his lip.
Jeremy turned on his heel and walked out of the house where he’d grown up, whistling for Arrow, his kelpie, as he went. It was time to shake the dust of Taylor Peak off his feet.

“IT’S too early for Neil to be back, isn’t it?” Caine asked Macklin, looking down the valley at the plume of dust from the gravel road.

“I wasn’t expecting him before dinner,” Macklin said, following Caine’s gaze.
“Are we expecting anyone else?”

“Not that I was aware of,” Macklin said. “I guess we should go see who it is.”
“I can handle it if you want to stay here and finish getting the sheep settled,” Caine offered, though he knew Macklin would refuse.

“No, I’ll go with you,” Macklin said.

Caine gave his lover an indulgent smile. He still hadn’t figured out what kind of trouble Macklin thought he would get into walking across the valley by himself, especially since Polly, Jason’s dog, had been on Caine’s heels all day and didn’t seem inclined to leave now, but Caine didn’t argue either. He could handle whatever or whoever was driving down their road by himself, but that didn’t mean he would enjoy it, depending on what it was.

As the dust cloud approached, Caine could make out a plain black Jeep much like the ones they used at Lang Downs for trips to town. Eventually it pulled up to where they were standing and a man Caine didn’t know climbed out, followed by a solid brown kelpie with the bluest eyes Caine had ever seen on a dog.

Taylor?” Macklin said, tensing at Caine’s side. “What are you doing here?”

Taylor meant Taylor Peak, and that meant their jackass of a neighbor, but this wasn’t Devlin Taylor. This man was closer to Caine’s age than Macklin’s, and much more the typical jackaroo than Devlin Taylor could ever hope to be.

“Sorry to arrive uninvited,” Taylor said, “but my brother kicked me off the station. I’m hoping you’ve got space for one more, for a day or two, anyway.”

“Why did he kick you out?” Macklin asked.

“I got tired of listening to his bullshit,” Taylor said. “I called him on it and he didn’t take it well.”
“That how you got the shiner?” Macklin asked.

“Yeah, but it was worth it,” Taylor replied. “The look on his face was priceless.”
“What did you say?” Macklin asked, his voice sounding amused now.

“He was going on about you two, the way he does when he gets in a snit,” Taylor said. “I told him I’d rather work for you than for a homophobic bigot who still couldn’t run his station as well as the two men he was so determined to insult.”

Caine couldn’t stop the grin that crossed his face. “Caine Neiheisel,” he said, holding out his hand to their guest. “Welcome to Lang Downs.”

“Jeremy Taylor. Nice to finally meet you.”

“So are you looking for a place to crash for a few days or are you looking for a job?” Macklin asked after Caine and Jeremy had shaken hands.

“A job, if you’ve got one, but at this point, I’ll settle for not having to drive to Boorowa tonight.”
“The foreman’s position is already taken,” Macklin said, not quite cracking a smile, although Caine thought he heard amusement in the words, “but we’ve got space in the bunkhouse.”

“It’s a roof over my head,” Taylor said. “That’s good enough for me.”

“Come on, then. We’ll find you a bunk,” Macklin said. “Caine, you want to tell Kami there will be one more for dinner?”

“Of course,” Caine said, even though he was dying to go with them and find out more about their newest stray. But he would have time. He didn’t have to know everything right now.

“SO YOU want to tell me what was different this time?” Macklin asked as he led Jeremy toward the bunkhouse, Arrow following on their heels. “Devlin’s been shouting filth in our direction for more than a year, since he found out about Caine, and he’s been pressuring you to fit into his mold for longer than that.”

“He started in about me getting married,” Jeremy said. “Same shit, different day, but today I just got tired of it. He can shout and threaten all he wants. I’m not getting married because of it, and I got sick of listening to it.”

“That station is your birthright too.”

Jeremy shook his head. “Not in any way that counts. His name’s on the deed. Maybe Dad meant for us to run it together, but he didn’t give me any actual say in it in any kind of legal way that I could enforce. I was at uni still when he died, so maybe that made a difference. Who knows? I’ve spent more than ten years being ignored every time I’ve tried to point out to Devlin a way to improve something. Never mind that I’m the one with the degree in animal management, not him. I’m his kid brother, so I don’t know anything. I got tired of it, and listening to him insult you was one thing too many.”

“You know the rumors that are going to make the rounds since you came here instead of going to a different station,” Macklin said. “Nobody here cares what the gossips have to say, but it might make going somewhere else later harder than if you went to a different station.”

Jeremy shrugged. “They won’t be saying anything that isn’t true. Maybe I never told anybody. Maybe I’d never planned on telling anybody, but that doesn’t make it less true.”

Macklin just nodded like he’d known all along, making Jeremy wonder what was going on behind that inscrutable stockman mask Jeremy knew so well. He’d put it on himself so many mornings he wasn’t sure how to take it off anymore. Had Macklin suspected? Or did he simply accept it that easily? Jeremy wasn’t sure it mattered, and it made him more grateful than he could say.

“It’s up to you what you tell people or don’t,” Macklin said as they reached the bunkhouse. “I’m not one for telling tales.”

“Thanks,” Jeremy said. “It’ll be hard enough in there, being a Taylor. Being gay won’t help.”
“Depends on who you’re talking to,” Macklin said with a grin. “Some of them might consider that a point in your favor.”

“I’m here to work, not to fuck around,” Jeremy said. “I’m not interested in a relationship.”

Macklin laughed. “Where have I heard that before? I appreciate the attitude, but as long as the work’s done, the rest is up to you and whoever you choose to spend your time with. I don’t keep tabs on my men’s personal lives unless they interfere with the job.”

They went inside and peeked in rooms until they found an empty bunk. “You can take a few minutes to unpack if you want,” Macklin offered. “You can meet us at the sheds.”

“And have someone come in and see me and think I’m here without your permission?” Jeremy said, tossing his duffel on the bed. “I’ll unpack tonight after work. By then hopefully everyone will realize I’m here with your blessing.”

“Most of the ones here in the bunkhouse are too new to remember the dustup with Devlin,” Macklin replied. “They might recognize your name, but it’s only the year-rounders, who tend to have houses of their own, who might have an issue with you.”

Jeremy wasn’t sure if that made things better or worse. The jackaroos in the bunkhouse would be leaving in a few weeks, for the most part, off to wherever they spent the winter once the bulk of the work from breeding was done. Jeremy would have the bunkhouse pretty much to himself after that, but the men he would have to work with when the seasonal hires were gone all knew his family, his brother, and the ongoing animosity between the two stations. Or, to be fair, the ongoing animosity Devlin felt toward Lang Downs. Jeremy had never shared that sentiment, even before Caine’s arrival and finding out both he and Macklin were gay, but while Macklin knew that, Jeremy doubted the others would.

“I’ll still make a better impression by coming to work now, since I know there’s work to be done,” Jeremy said.

“There’s always work to be done,” Macklin said with a shrug.

“Then let’s get to it,” Jeremy said. “Come on, Arrow.”


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Predator's Kiss by Rosanna Leo

Literary Nymphs Interview

Title: Predator's Kiss
Author: Rosanna Leo
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Release Date: May 20, 2013

Do you write in more than one genre?
Well, I am an erotic romance author primarily, and although most of my books have been set in the paranormal world, I do like to explore other areas of erotic romance. I also like to work with various types of paranormal creatures: Greek gods, selkies, and my new series is about bear shifters. I have also written one contemporary romance, and hope to do another contemporary soon. However, right now, the paranormal world provides me with so much inspiration.

What if any, is the hardest part of writing for you?
Not being able to write! It's agony for me. I also hold down a part-time job in a library, and love that work as well, but writing is of course my passion. Because I work outside the home, there are days when I cannot write. Those are the times that are hardest for me. I could easily sit at my laptop for days on end, and never tire of writing or researching. However, if I have to do a few shifts at my library and can't take a moment to scribble, I become ornery like my bear shifters. :)

What inspired the story?
Believe it or not, it was inspired by the fairy tale Snow White and Rose Red. I always loved the old tale about two sisters who were as different as light and dark, and enjoyed reading about how they discovered an injured bear and brought him home to nurse him back to health. In my book, the sisters became brothers who have trouble being in the same room with each other, they are so different. However, when a woman on the run enters the picture, inspiring feelings of protectiveness in one brother, they realize they must all work together to save her from her tormentors. I set the book in a Northern Ontario fishing lodge, and it all came together.


He only paused a moment. Within seconds, Ryland Snow was stalking his way back to her, looming over her. She wanted to sink into him and drown in his masculine aura.
He stared down at her, engulfing her as easily as flames shooting through kindling. “Soren doesn’t get to kiss you again, Lia,” he threatened in silky tones. “But I do.”
He pulled her against him into such a possessive clench her feet almost came off the floor. She had to stand on her tiptoes to remain in the position. His lips met with hers in a kiss that wasn’t soft or tentative, as a first kiss might be. Rather, he took her with his kiss. Laid claim to her. As Ryland’s mouth smashed against hers, he circled her skull with one hand, holding her where he wanted her. His other arm wove tightly around her waist, pulling her flush against him. His erection slammed against her rib cage, stunning her with delicious possibilities.
He nudged her lips open with his tongue. And of course she opened to him. She let him come inside, let him explore and take her on a journey she’d lost hope of ever traveling again. As he slid his tongue against hers, Lia’s pussy sent out sweet, moist warning signals. She did everything she could to not open her legs and appear the shameless tart her parents had labeled her. But everything in her wanted to swallow Ryland up. She wanted to embrace him with every limb and take him deep inside herself.
Lia could barely think, he felt so good, and she couldn’t have asked for a better first kiss with him. It was proprietary and carnal, just what she’d sought to express in her novel when Claudio kissed Adelaide for the first time. Her every sense felt dazzled; her limbs were mush.

Where can we find your website?

Thanks so much for hosting me today on Literary Nymphs!

 Readers can also connect with me at:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Soul Magic by Poppy Dennison

Soul Magic
Triad: Book Three
ISBN-13: 978-1-62380-580-7
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Genre: Paranormal M/M
Price: $6.99 eBook $14.99 Print
Pages: 220
Release Date: May 6, 2013

Blood runs soul-deep. Cormac hasn’t been the same since the night the High Moon Pack was attacked. With his magic weakened, he’s consumed by a bloodlust he hasn’t felt since he first became a vampire. His need to replenish his power makes him a danger to his last remaining family member, and his hunger makes him careless. And that’s just the beginning of his troubles. Feeding from pack beta Liam Benson was supposed to slake his appetite, not leave him craving more.
Simon Osborne and Gray Townsend are trying to fight a being history says shouldn’t exist—one with all three types of magic. The pack must use all of their resources to combat the mysterious triad, even turning to the shady Council of Mages for help. While Cormac struggles to reconcile his past failures with his current desires, Simon must attempt the impossible: an alliance between mind, body, and soul.

About the author
A sassy southern lady, Poppy Dennison developed an obsession with things that go bump in the night in her early years after a barn door flew off its hinges and nearly squashed her. Convinced it was a ghost trying to get her attention, she started looking for other strange and mysterious happenings around her. Not satisfied with what she found, Poppy has traveled to Greece, Malaysia and England to find inspiration for the burly bears and silver foxes that melt her butter. Her love of paranormal continues to flourish nearly thirty years later, and she writes steamy love stories about the very things that used to keep her up all night. If her childhood ghost is lucky, maybe one day she’ll give him his own happily ever after.

You can find out more about Poppy’s books on her website

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Finding Shelter by M.J. O'Shea

Literary Nymphs Interview

Title: Finding Shelter
Author: M.J. O'Shea
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M contemporary
Release Date: April 29th

Do you write in more than one genre?

I do! I'm still working on getting published, but I also write Young Adult. I'd love to keep doing both.

What if any, is the hardest part of writing for you?

It always has to be the time thing. I do have a day job still and a house to keep up, so it's a challenge to find enough time to get all the stories out that I have in my head. Someday I will! I have a ton of stories in there still waiting to come out:)

What inspired the story?

This story was inspired by previous characters. I'd always planned for the final of the three books to be about Justin, but it wasn't until I made Logan up to be Mason's best friend that I realized he'd be the perfect one to bring Justin out of his shell. The story just unfolded from there!


“GET your ass back out here, boy! I’m not done talkin’ to you.”
Justin locked the door to his small bedroom and hoped it was strong enough to hold for just one more night. His father pounded at the door, hard—hard enough that it shook in its frame. Justin fought back hated tears. Crying made him feel weak. Being scared made him feel like a failure. He couldn’t do it anymore.

I need to get out of here before he kills me.

Justin threw clothes into the backpack he’d just dragged out from under his bed. Shirts and pants flew in randomly, haphazardly—he just went for anything he could grab quickly and shove into a bag nowhere near large enough to fit his entire life. He didn’t have room to take much, just enough to get him to where he needed to go. Away. Far away.

I’m leaving. Tonight.
He and his mom’d had a plan for Justin to get out from under his father’s thumb. He was supposed to wait. Wait for the next time his father was out of town, too far away to come after him. Wait until it was safe for him to disappear to his aunt and uncle’s house out on the coast. But it wasn’t safe to stay anymore. Not for one more second. The plan wasn’t going to work. Justin’s eye was puffed up so bad he could barely see, his hand mangled and scraped from where it got caught up against the doorjamb when his father shoved him. His father was on another one of his raging benders, too drunk to be coherent but nowhere near drunk enough for Justin to slip out of his meaty hands. He lifted his hand to his sore eye but jumped when another loud slam shook the door.
“Worthless faggot. You’re no son of mine, hiding in that room like the pussy you are. That’s what the men call you. Faggot pussy.”

Justin had been a source of embarrassment to his father ever since he was old enough to walk and talk and look like a “fucking fairy,” according to his father. He was small and pretty, and he wore his hair shoulder length. He’d never told anyone he was gay. Apparently, he didn’t have to. He’d still been beaten for it so many times, spent so much time out of school and in the hospital, that he’d barely graduated from high school in the spring. At nineteen. Who wants to be the oldest kid in the school and still get bullied and beat up? He’d almost quit more times than he could count. But Justin knew he needed that damn diploma. So he’d kept going until the bitter fucking end, putting up with his father’s hatred and the jocks at school, even his mother’s damaged indifference. No more.

Tonight. I’m gone.

HIS father ran out of steam eventually and stumbled off to pass out. Nearly safe. Justin waited until the house was silent. His father snored away drunkenly on the recliner. His mother cowered in her room like she always did, Sarah McLachlan playing low to cover the sound of her sobbing. Justin didn’t understand her, didn’t get why she never left, never took him and got as far away from his bastard of a father as she could, away from their small town, away from the people who talked and pointed when they walked down the street. It wasn’t like Justin couldn’t hear the whispers about “that trashy Foster family who lives out on the edge of town.” He heard them talk about his abusive, alcoholic father, about his cowering mother... about him. That was when the whispers got so quiet they were nearly a hiss. Justin heard the word “faggot” when he walked by, felt the hostility in the fists of the jocks at school when they beat the hell out of him behind the dumpster.

Maybe where he was going wouldn’t be any better. But it would be different. And his father would be out of his life. Hopefully for good. Justin felt a little bad not saying good-bye to his mother, but he knew she’d be able to find him. It just felt like he was abandoning her, leaving her without a plan for her own escape. His father didn’t like to lose. He’d go after Justin’s mom. They both needed to disappear, but Justin had to go first.
It took a long time to walk to the bus station. They really did live out in the fields. It was good that it was summer, the night still hot from the sunbaked pavement and filled with a cacophony of crickets and frogs and what he hoped were merely owls. Justin wore only a T-shirt and jeans; his sole hoodie was slung through the straps of his backpack. He had only one other pair of jeans with him, a few T-shirts, some socks and underwear, and his life. His life most of all. He supposed that was the only important thing. It explained why he kept looking back down the road, expecting to hear the rumble of his dad’s beast of a truck at any moment, why he sped up his gait even when it appeared the coast was clear. He still didn’t know exactly what his father was capable of. Justin was afraid, if he stuck around any longer, he’d learn. And that might be the last thing he did on this earth.

“I’M NINETEEN. You can’t make me stay any longer.”
“And where the fuck you gonna go, worthless boy?”
His father had laughed like a rabid hyena and thrown back another shot of Jack. He had a point. Justin had nothing. No real money. Nowhere to go. He’d hidden in his room as long as possible that night, but his father had eventually broken the lock.

THAT had only been a week or so after graduation. Things had gotten progressively worse until the night his mother whispered that she’d talked to her sister and they were planning to get him out of there. He’d wanted to go right away, but his father was home on vacation for a few weeks. They had to wait. If nobody was watching, it would be safer for him to go.

THE wait felt like a thousand years. Every time his father came after him, it seemed like it might be the last. Justin figured if he’d waited out his father’s vacation, the only place he’d end up was the hospital again. Or the morgue.

IT TOOK nearly an hour to get there, but the dim yellow lights of the bus depot were welcoming, kind of like a dull sort of hope. He dug a rumpled wad of cash from his pocket and bought his ticket before he found the most remote corner to slump in. Again, Justin waited, but this time for the late-night westbound toward Seattle, a city bigger than any he’d ever been to. He’d been saving cash, quarters and dollars swiped off the counter after a trip to the liquor store, money from working at the neighboring farm last summer. Justin had never been so glad that he’d had the idea. The money was his escape. He’d needed it after all.

The idea of being in Seattle alone was scary. He’d heard rumors of city violence, drugs, homeless people and prostitutes, but he’d change buses quickly, head south and west until he hit the coast. Even though he was still on the east side of the mountains, where the air was dry and hot, Justin almost felt the breeze from the ocean, the cool salt mist from crashing waves. His aunt and uncle lived in another small town, maybe no better than the one he was about to leave. But, again, it would be different. Different was good. And hopefully safe.

He got out his phone, one of the few things he’d dared to bring that might connect him to home, and texted his cousin Travis, saying he was on his way and that nobody knew he’d gone. Travis was cool. He wouldn’t tell. Justin breathed a huge sigh of relief when the bus finally pulled up. He’d been holding his breath the whole time, waiting for the rumble of his father’s truck. There were only a few stragglers at the station, and he jumped onto the bus and went all the way to the very back, where he sat and willed the driver to release the brakes and put some distance between him and the miserable cow town he’d called home for nineteen long years.

JUSTIN didn’t know much about Rock Bay. He’d never been there— his family didn’t have the time or money for travel. It didn’t matter. Anywhere was better than living with his dad. He’d met his mom’s sister and his cousin Travis the couple of times they’d visited the east side. He liked his aunt, and he liked Travis even more. They weren’t close, but they’d stayed in touch through Facebook and, lately, texting. It was nice to know there would be a friendly face waiting for him on the other side, even if it wasn’t all that familiar. The miles melted away, but they couldn’t go fast enough. Justin kept looking out the window, sure that his dad’s rusty old red pickup would pull up next to his bus on the highway, that his dad would cut the bus off, make it pull over, drag him out and beat him the whole way home like he had that day when Justin had dared to go to school with a black eye. His dad was all about control and image. It would kill him that Justin had taken charge of things. He’d hate it when people in town talked about Justin being gone. And word would get around town... at least whispers would. They always did.

Transferring buses wasn’t nearly as big a deal as Justin had thought it would be. He was glad to stand after hours hunched in his seat, waiting for disaster to strike. He got a few searching looks from the drifters who hung around the city terminal, but not enough to worry him. Justin mostly looked for his father, who had to know by then that he was gone. It had been daylight for at least three hours, and his dad was an early riser. Justin checked his phone. Other than a few texts from Travis, there was nothing.
In an odd way, it was disappointing. Maybe not disappointing, but anticlimactic. He almost wanted the opportunity to fight, to bite back—at least from a safe distance. Justin told himself not to be an idiot. Standing up to his father was stupid and caused nothing but trouble. It was best to simply disappear.

The scenery was better on the west side of the mountains. No more seas of dry grass and rock. Instead there were trees and cities and water, and everything was so, so green. Justin had seen pictures before, lots of them, but it still didn’t prepare him for the strangeness. It was probably him who was strange, anyway. Who gets to nineteen and hasn’t ever left their pathetic hometown even once? Justin shook it off and stared out the window some more. The bus had passed through the city of Seattle and then the smaller city of Tacoma, headed south for the place where it would turn toward the coast and Justin’s new home—at least for the time being. He’d memorized the route, traced it with his finger on a map so many times. Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, then second turn to the right and straight on till morning.

Idiot. Rock Bay isn’t some sort of fantasyland. You’ll be lucky if you don’t get your ass beat on a daily basis there too.

Sometimes it helped to not expect much. That way it was harder to be disappointed.

I’m Mj O’Shea, author of erotic romance–well all sorts of romance actually, and that’s just what’s been published so far!

I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington State and while I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.

I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite TV stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then…

Right now, I have four books published through Republica Press but I’m constantly working on new projects.

When I’m not writing, I love to play the piano and cook and paint pictures…and of course read. It’s nearly impossible to work on my own writing when I’ve gotten myself hooked into a great new book:) I like sparkly girly girl things, own at least twenty different colored headbands, and I have a little white dog with a ginger eye spot who sits with me when I write. Sometimes she comes up with ideas for me too…when she’s not napping.

Where can we find your website?

Website and blog: