Category Archives: Author Posts

Guest post by Ofelia Gränd

I’m here today because I wrote a story, a Halloween story … sort of. The thing is, I’m Swedish, and we don’t celebrate Halloween. I’ve never been to a Halloween party in my entire life, and I have no Halloween decorations apart from one tiny pumpkin lantern. So why on earth would I write a Halloween story?

What we celebrate here is All Saints’ Day. Though it’s not saints we’re remembering on that day, it’s family members. It’s nothing special — no one is dressing up, no one is giving out candy, but if you’re ever in Sweden on October 31st, visit a graveyard. There are candles everywhere.

As a child, I thought it incredibly boring to walk around and find the graves of dead relatives I’d never met or couldn’t remember so Mum could light candles. Now, I make sure to walk by the church every October 31st.

This has very little to do with my story, and yet it’s related. Many of the holidays we see at the end of October or the first days of November are related to death — the death of harvest season or the remembrance of the dead. It can be All Hollow’s Eve, Samhain, Día de los Muertos, All Saints’ Eve, or something else. In the dark of October, the spirits are near, and they are in Soul Eater too.

Thaddeus Ezax is a wizard, a mage to be exact, but a lousy one. He’s never been able to do the spells he’s supposed to master, has never accomplished anything that has impressed the wizarding world. He is a detective working in Rockshade’s Paranormal Investigations Department, it’s the end of October and a case has him going to the black market to ask some questions.

As a mage, he has no connection to the spirits of the dead, and yet his entire being buzzes when he touches a skull. The seller at the black market claim it’s a werewolf skull. Against his better judgement, Thaddeus steals it. When he accidentally releases the spirit trapped in it, he realises nothing he believed about himself is true.

Sorcerers have connections with ghosts, not mages, and yet Thaddeus finds himself in possession of a ghost werewolf. Or perhaps it’s the werewolf who has possession of him.

Continue reading Guest post by Ofelia Gränd

Guest post by Nell Iris

Regaining Trust by Nell Iris

If you ask romance readers what their least favorite thing to read in a romance is, the majority will answer “cheating.” It doesn’t matter what their favorite genre or trope is, or if it’s gay or straight romance — or somewhere in between — on that issue most readers agree. No cheating in my books, please!

I won’t lie to you: I’m one of them. I avoid cheating whenever I can, and grumble when I come across it by mistake in a book I’m reading. More than once I’ve DNF’ed the book if there’s cheating.

So I get it. Trust me, I do.

Then how come I wrote a book that opens with an instance of cheating? (Don’t worry, it’s not a spoiler, it’s right there in the blurb.)

The idea came to me when I scrolled past an article in one major Swedish newspaper. It was called something like 7 ways your relationship can survive infidelity. My curiosity was piqued, and I read it.

The article got me thinking: in a world where the norm is kicking the cheating partner to the curb, how can you make your relationship survive? It got me thinking about the rich and famous couples that have chosen to stay together after infidelity, Bill and Hillary Clinton probably the most famous among them.

Whatever you may think of Hillary Clinton, can you imagine the guts it must have taken to stay and fight for her marriage? To have everyone and their mother weigh in on your choices and even ridicule you for them?

I have no opinions on whether she should have stayed or not. It’s none of my business; the only people who get to decide what will happen with their relationship after infidelity are the people involved in it.

And in the case of my new release, Regaining Trust, Law decided to give Frankie another chance.

This is the story of how they pull through.

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Guest post by A.L. Lester

Taking Stock is a 35,415 word gay romance set mostly in rural England. It’s set on Webber’s Farm, which I first wrote about in Inheritance of Shadows. Inheritance is set in 1919 and is part of my spooky paranormal universe. I based the farm on somewhere I used to know as a child on the Quantock Hills in Somerset and didn’t want to leave after Inheritance. Taking Stock is the result. Although it’s set in the same universe as my other books and some of the same background characters are there, there’s nothing paranormal or suspenseful.

Instead it’s a gentle story about two people who are hurt and angry and tired, who find their way toward each other and help each other heal.

Initially Laurie was going to have a similar chronic condition to me … I have fibromyalgia and seizures … but then just before I actually sat down to get the words out of my head and on to the page, my mama had a very severe stroke. She is in her eighties and has been more or less working her seven acre smallholding singlehandedly for years. Her frustration and anger at her situation translated directly into Laurie as I was writing. So he’s a combination of both my own feelings about my lack of agency through my disability, and hers.

It was a very emotive story for me to write and I hope you enjoy it. Here’s a little deleted scene for you!

“What do you mean, I can’t go home?” Laurie was almost crying with frustration. “I can go home if I like!”

Sally glared at him. “And how are you going to get up and down the stairs? Or even down the hall to the bathroom?” she said. “And wash when you get there? And turn over properly in bed? And what happens if you actually fall out of bed in the night and can’t get up? And come to that, who’s going to take you home, you idiot? You can’t drive!”

He glared back. “I thought that you might!”

“No! Not me!” her glaring was so much better than his.

He pushed against the pillows, but because he was unable to brace properly with his weak leg, he couldn’t make himself sit up any further. She stood up and hauled him forward with competent strength, shoving more pillows behind him to support his bad arm and shoulder. Damn her.

When she sat back down, he lowered his gaze to his lap. His hand lay across his legs, curled and useless. He imagined moving his fingers and he felt it happening in his head. But in his lap, they lay dead and still, obvious betrayers of his helplessness.

“Laurie …” Her voice was kind. “You need to stay in here for a bit and let them help you. They say at least some of the use of your arm and your leg should come back quite quickly, specially if you work at it. And then we can get you back home.”

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Guest post by Ofelia Gränd

Why Quincy Dean is buying Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

I thought I’d drop by today and tell you a little about Quinny, Focus!, my latest story, but mostly about candy.

I’m Swedish, and you might not know this, but Swedes are said to have the highest candy consumption per capita in the world. I admit that I do my share to keep us at the top. My favourite candy is Djungelvrål, and I know you’ve probably never heard of it, but you can find it on Amazon, and if you want to, you can search on YouTube and see people’s reactions to eating it. I’ve done that, checking YouTube that is, so I knew that when Will in Quinny, Focus! was yearning for some sweets, Djungelvrål wasn’t what he was after.

As a writer, you Google a lot of things, and when I say a lot, I mean a lot. So naturally, I Googled, and the most popular candy in the US according to USA Today, is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. And luckily we had some at home! So, everyone in the household got one, and I told them that the characters in my story were having Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and that it’s the most popular candy in the USA — I teach my kids important stuff LOL

When I’d written the story and sent it to my beta readers, one of them got back to me and said Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups was her favourite candy, and she’s German. I guess Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have conquered the world. But I dare you all, if you get the chance, try some Djungelvrål.

Continue reading Guest post by Ofelia Gränd

Guest post by Terry O’Reilly

I never intended to be a writer. It never occurred to me, not once, as I was growing up that someday I’d be writing stories that would be published. Yet, here I am today at 78 years old, a published author of several dozen books and short stories. How does something like this happen? It’s a tale that some may find interesting.

Several years ago I discovered a free online site on which amateur writers could post their work. I began reading some of the stories and discovered several by a man named Drew Hunt. I found them to be intriguing, and after reading several of them, I decided to write to him and let him know how much I appreciated his writing. We began a regular correspondence, and we became friends.

He mentioned several times he thought I had a knack for writing, and I should try my hand at it. I was amused by this, for as I said, I never imagined myself as an author. He persisted, however, and so, one Christmas I decided to write a story for him as his Christmas gift. It was about a homeless man taken in by a widower during a snowstorm in the week prior to Christmas. I called it One Night In December. It was more a lark than anything, but I worked hard on it and sent it to him.

Drew liked it and began a campaign to get me to post it on the same site on which he posted his works. It took him a while, but his British bulldog tenacity paid off, and I gave in. The story was about 4,000 words in length and covered four days in the lives of the two main characters. To my surprise, within days of the postings I began to receive emails from readers who not only liked the story, but demanded I tell them more about the lives of the homeless man and his rescuer.

I discussed this turn of events with Drew, and with his help I embarked on my journey to becoming an author. Over the next year or so I expanded my original story to include seven Christmases and the intervening years in the story of David and Andrew.

At first, I stumbled and struggled to find things that I thought might be interesting enough to add to the story. Drew encouraged me to write what I knew, and the story became roughly an autobiography as I included many experiences from my own life with dogs, horses, sports, and coming out to my family. Once again, with each new installment, emails arrived expressing appreciation and curiosity as to what would happen next.

By the time ONID (the acronym for One Night in December Drew and I used when discussing the story) was completed, Drew was encouraging me to try publishing it with a professional company. Was he kidding? It turned out he wasn’t. So, knowing it was useless to argue with him, I embarked on finding a place to submit my story.

Again to my surprise, it was accepted by the first publisher I contacted. They assigned me an editor. Since the story was so long, she suggested it be divided into two books. So it became One Night in December and With These Rings. Eventually a third book was added, The Next Generation. The books sold well, and I went on to write several more over the next couples of years on topics other than the lives of David and Andrew.

Drew then approached me, saying a good friend of his was starting her own publishing company and was interested in having me publish with her. This, of course, was JMS. I was excited to be invited. And so began a very happy and satisfying relationship. I have been writing with JMS for ten years.

Surprise, surprise, I am an author.

P.S. Drew and I are still good friends, and BTW, he’s my editor now as well.

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