book review · Books · gay romance · lgbt · mogai

Book Review: Seer’s Stone by Holly Evans

October is my month to read and plan for NaNoWriMo. It’s a good way for me to get through my TBR pile … if it quit growing. Anyway, I decided to kick the month off with the brand new release Seers Stone by Holly Evans. Part of the Ink Born world, it is full of fun and magic.  Here is the official blurb:

My name’s Kaitlyn Felis, and I’m a treasure-hunting alchemist.
51nauuwe29lI was given the opportunity of a lifetime to work for a mysterious elf called Fein Thyrin. Not only did he give me my dream alchemy lab, one that came with a beautiful part-nymph assistant (she’ll be the end of me, in the best possible way) he’s also hired me as his personal treasure-hunter. To say I was excited is a drastic understatement.

First on my treasure-hunting list? The Seers Stone – it’s a thing of legends, and I’m going to be the first hunter to get my hands on it.

Seers Stone stars Kaitlyn Felis, a fun, feisty, flirty heroine who I quickly fell in love with. Her companion will’o-the-whisp, Wispy, is adorable and adds just the right touch of humor when things are getting a bit dicey. And they do indeed get dicey at points. Kaitlyn might be an alchemist but she also craves adventure and treasure hunting is the perfect outlet for that. While most of the time I find characters like her grating, she was amazingly well grounded and not above calling herself out on her own bullshit. Something I’ve come to love about Holly’s writing is the fact that her protagonists are allowed to make mistakes and be assholes, but they also acknowledge where they went wrong when the time comes.

I will also say that typically I don’t care for characters who sleep around. Mostly because of personal reasons. I’m demisexual and the thought of sleeping with someone I’ve just met is both baffling and terrifying. But this felt so much different. Kaitlyn is all about adventure and trying new things, and sex is just another component of that. It helped that encounters didn’t feel forced and the scenes were sweet and emotion-focused rather than your typical blow-by-blow erotica (don’t get me wrong, I love those too, when in the right place).

It was great to see Tyn again as well as a couple other familiar faces. As always Evans took us to some spectacular places as well as some rather creepy/depressing areas. It’s nice to see such a well-rounded world. Yes, there is wonderful beautiful magic, but there is also a rather dismal and terrifying underbelly as well. And magic definitely has its cost.

Overall, this was a fun, fast-paced read and I’m very much looking forward to more of Kaitlyn.

 

Limited Print Edition of Masquerade

Get your very own limited edition print copy of Masquerade.

$10.00

book review · Books · gay romance

Book Review: Ice in Sunlight

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

 

61lb6l208ql

 

“I think I’m supposed to be dead.”

Corwen’s emotions are a frozen wasteland after years of enslavement and abuse. When he’s finally rescued, freedom isn’t enough to thaw the wintry landscape of his heart.

Slowly, his new compatriots teach him that physical intimacy is a sacred gift, that pleasure can be shared without pain. With endless patience, they offer him a different way of being.

In order to be whole, Corwen must surrender the self-loathing he wears like armor. Can he learn to see himself the way his new companions do? Or will he hide from love forever in the icy vault that shields his deepest soul?

Ice in Sunlight is a full-length M/M fantasy tale. It is intended for mature readers only due to adult themes and content.

This is one of the few times I will post a review for a book I did not finish. While I personally did not care for the book I know the style and subject matter are something many might find compelling. Please do not let my personal opinion sway you from picking this book up, there are still many reasons to read it.

While I find Julia’s writing style pleasurable to read and the prose clear and evocative, from page one I found it impossible to connect with Corwen. I appreciated that Julia showed Corwen struggling to cope with the horrible things that had been done to him without having to actually show the abuse itself. His reaction to the changing situation is proof enough.

That being said, after six chapters of listening to Corwen’s derision at being shown kindness and many references to his daydreams of dying I could no longer handle his attitude. It might have helped if there was a break from his constant melancholy. I would have appreciated another viewpoint, such as from Amir, to give me a respite from Corwen’s depression and show me why the trio felt compelled to help him beyond the seemingly altruistic motives.

I finally closed the book on chapter six. I have enough dealing with my own self-loathing, depression and post trauma issues and would rather not read a whole book dealing with someone else’s. Unfortunately, Corwen was not someone with whom I could relate. Corwen has no redeeming qualities outside of his pining after Elias, he’s cruel and manipulative and knows he is. It is what has kept him alive this long. I really wanted to like him, but after spending half a book with him, I was done. I suppose it is a good thing Amir and the others have more patience since I no longer cared whether this frosty young man ever thawed or not.

 

Tomorrow join me on Queer Sci-Fi for an interview with author and editor Ryan Vance.

Please consider supporting me on Patreon.

 

 

 

 

asexual · gay romance · Going Over the Rainbow · lgbt · mogai · writing

Going Over the Rainbow: Hot for You

GoingOver theRainbow (1)

This past week there has been a lot going on in both the LGBT community and the gay romance writers community. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw some of my reactions to the ongoing discussion. It revolved around one topic in particular: the ‘gay for you’ trope.

An incredibly popular trope in the m/m romance/erotica genre, it has been staunchly defended by those who enjoy writing and reading it while at the same time much of the queer community has expressed concern over it as being multi-queerphobic.

It’s been debated far and wide on the internet and I’m not going to get into it here. I will say that I personally loathe the trope for a long list of reasons, but instead of getting into that I am going to show you how to make the trope work.

That’s right. It can work. I promise you. Though the ‘gay’ part might need rewording.

First let’s take a look at the trope itself. What does ‘gay for you’ mean? Straight cis male falls in love/lust with another gay/straight cis male.

Hmm, okay. Well if you are straight and then suddenly find this one specific person who is your same gender attractive *surprise* you aren’t straight and you never were! Welcome to queerdom!

But-but, yes they are! You exclaim pointing to all the straightness of your character.

Shh, it’s okay. There are many people out there who thought they were straight and ended up being queer. Sexual exploration can be on ongoing and fluid thing. Shoot, I thought for years I was a lesbian (mostly because people said I was), then ace, then learned about demisexuality.  However, most gay men I’ve met, talk to, read about, knew they were gay since they were young. I’m talking like from their teens and sometimes even younger. You learn pretty early on who you find sexually attractive. Well, most of us.

What do I mean by that? Well, not everyone who is queer is gay or lesbian. Some of us don’t find anyone sexually attractive. (gasp)

Let me use myself as an example. I am 37, soon to be 38 years old. My entire life I have found only two people sexually attractive who happened to be different genders. And no—I am not bisexual. I am demisexual. I cannot and do not feel sexual attraction unless I have a deep emotional bond with a person and this doesn’t mean I’m hot for all my friends. Doesn’t work that way.

But that’s just me. There are some bisexual people who have only found one or two people of their same gender sexually attractive. They are still bisexual.

So what does this have to do with the trope.

Everything. There is a big issue in the entertainment industry with never looking beyond the G & L and basically erasing every other orientation out there, not to mention trans persons. Which is incredibly frustrating and very sad because the variety brings you so, so many opportunities for incredible stories.

This trope wouldn’t even be an issue if the character came out as bisexual, demisexual, pansexual or gray-asexual. All of these orientations would neatly explain why a character is attracted to someone of their same gender when they never have been before. One or two sentences is all it takes. Please allow me to demonstrate:

Reilly sat down next to Timothy in the booth. His best friend wriggled over to give him more room.

“What’s up Rei? You look a bit worried.”

Reilly shrugged and slid down in the seat. “You remember Quintin?”

“Yeah, he works at the cafe on the square. I almost asked him out. Why?”

“I don’t think I’m as straight as I thought.”

Timothy chuckled but quickly sobered. “Wait … really?”

“I don’t get it Tim … I’ve never … I’ve always thought I liked girls. I know I’m not gay.”

Timothy leaned over and bumped Reilly’s shoulder, “So maybe you’re not, maybe you are bi.”

It really is seriously that easy. In fact there really are no excuses beyond ignorance and laziness. And I know you are not like that.

So instead of ‘gay for you’ maybe ‘hot for you’ or another choice of wording might help us to be more inclusive. Just in case you need help here is a link to my worksheet and so helpful links.

Character Sexuality Worksheet

Going Over the Rainbow: The Trope Trap

Going Over the Rainbow: Moving Beyond the LG in LGBT.

Going Over the Rainbow: Show and Tell

For You

The Mythical Unicorn of LGBTQIA Novels (Or, the A doesn’t stand for Ally.)

Why Labels Matter

 

Do you have any questions for me regarding asexuality/demisexuality or the ‘gay for you’ trope? Which orientation would you like me to feature next month?

 

If you enjoyed this post and would like access to exclusive content please consider supporting me on Patreon.

 

Books · Characters · gay romance · Going Over the Rainbow · lgbt · mogai · Movies · writing · Writing FUNdamentals

Going Over the Rainbow: The Trope Trap

tumblr_o1a4is0yup1upq7vno1_1280

 

All joking aside, accountability is something that professionals of any discipline face. Even us writers.

Yes, you read that right. You, my dear writer, are accountable to your reader. Well yes, you say, I should give them the best story I can write.

Yes you should, but it goes beyond that too. If you’ve written for long you’ve probably ended up having to do some research into an unfamiliar topic. We often joke about hoping the government isn’t keeping too close an eye on our internet research history. There are many resources available online to help us flesh out our characters and our setting. One Stop For Writers is a great example. However, while we might research settings, the job our character has and where they live; sometimes we forget that other things need research too.

Jami Gold had several excellent articles about writing with diversity and the research that goes along with it.

Ask if the Story Is Ours to Tell: If we don’t have direct experience with the diverse element, a story that centers on the diverse aspect might suffer from disrespectful negative stereotypes or breathless, isn’t-it-inspirational-how-they-overcame-those-obstacles “positive” stereotypes. (Note that treating a character’s diverse element as a problem to overcome isn’t actually positive.) — Jami Gold

Sometimes when we are writing a character, even when we’ve done research, we might find ourselves slipping into stereotypes or tropes. They are like clichés. They are comfortable and familiar. Unlike clichés they can be damaging and perpetuate some very harmful thinking.

We can usually spot harmful racial stereotypes. I wrote about avoiding stereotypes in a previous post. I still recommend WritingWithColor, DiversityCrossCheck and betas to help with racial/cultural sensitivity. But tropes aren’t always stereotypes, so how do we know if we are falling into the trope trap?

Trumping the Tropes

There are a LOT of tropes out there. And they are not all bad, most exist for a reason and like popular themes don’t have to be eschewed completely and can even be used to good effect. Over the course of this series I will be addressing various tropes and how they relate to the identity or orientation I’m discussing. In case you are curious as to how many there are TV Tropes Queer as Tropes page is a good place to start.

One of the most prevalent tropes is Bury Your Gays. Queer persons never get happy endings. Ever. Often they die.

Or, more recently, they are the villain.

This doesn’t mean that your queer character has to survive and not be evil. However, it does mean that you need to be very careful about how you approach each of those circumstances. Just as careful as you’d be about casting a black man as a street thug.

Tropes at their most basic are indeed stereotypes and thus need to be very carefully considered. Many common romance themes are tropes in disguise.

  • Stereotypes: Not literary. We avoid using this term to talk about classifying characters, settings, plot points, etc..
  • Archetypes: The broad, all-encompassing norms of the stories humanity tells. The same archetypes can be found in all or nearly all cultures.
  • Tropes: Culturally-specific norms in storytelling. Tropes are cultural classifications of archetypes. There can be many tropes found under the umbrella of one archetype. Literary devices are not tropes (i.e. narrators, foreshadowing, flashbacks, etc.).
  • Clichés: Overused and hackneyed phrases, characters, settings, plot points, etc.. Archetypes do not become clichéd. Tropes can become clichés if they are used too often and readers get bored of them. Clichés are defined by a loss of the meaning or as a distraction from the story.

Definition list from WriteWorld.org.

If we find ourselves falling back on common tropes a lot in our writing5 Questions to Ask Yourself (1), we might need to ask ourselves why. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using tropes but we need to make sure we are giving them our own special treatment. This is easily done by combining two or more tropes or even subverting or flipping them.

Let’s look at some examples:

All Gays Are Promiscuous trope is the stereotype that a gay man is completely driven by lust and must therefore have sex all the time.

Game of Thrones: Downplayed by Ser Loras Tyrell; he is rather easily seduced by an attractive male prostitute, and exchanges significant glances with the openly bisexual Oberyn Martell not long after his lover Renly Baratheon is killed. He mostly comes across as this in comparison to his literary incarnation, who falls into a deep depression after Renly’s death, is apparently celibate, and shows signs of being a Death Seeker.

Wallace Wells, Scott Pilgrim‘s cool gay roommate, is characterized with this trope, even going so far as to hang a lampshade it when chastising Scott for infidelity.

Scott: Double standard!
Wallace: Hey, I didn’t make the gay rules. If you don’t like it, take it up with Liberace’s ghost!
Are there gay men who like to sleep around? Yes, or course, just as there are lesbians, bi-sexuals, pansexuals and straight people who do the same. But the issue comes when we perpetuate it as a defining trait of being gay. This trope is very easily subverted by letting our gay character be in a committed relationship that is not centered on sexual gratification. After all that’s the kind of relationships many of us have and enjoy.
So, do you see how a trope can be trouble? But why should you care?

Jumping the Shark

movie-poster-jaws

The blockbuster movie Jaws launched a national campaign against the ‘man eaters’ and contributed to the drastic decline in the shark population. To this day, the stereotype against sharks persists.

The film’s key mistake was portraying great white sharks as vengeful predators that could remember specific human beings and go after them to settle a grudge. — How ‘Jaws’ Forever Changed Our View of Great White Sharks by Charles Q. Choi

This is just one example of how harmful a negative portrayal in our work can be on others. This is why I wanted to address the issue of accountability with you and how it relates to using tropes.

As authors we enjoy the privilege of having readers accept our words at face value (for the most part). People trust us. What we show them in our fiction, no matter what we write— paranormal, romance, thriller, mystery, literary, et cetera—has an impact on their thinking and their perception of the world around them. This is why we have to be so careful about stereotypical or negatively portrayed characters from marginalized identities/orientations/races/cultures.

This is why I say we are accountable. Our words have power. The power to create understanding and empathy or further the divide. This is why research from valid sources is so important and why we must recognize our own tendency toward common tropes and stereotypes when writing.


 

Now that I’ve got most of the preliminary issues out of the way, it’s time to start delving into the various gender identities and sexual orientations. As we move forward, I’d like to encourage you to refer back to these posts and keep these things in mind.

What are your thoughts on author accountability? Have you ever come across a negative portrayal that affected you personally? Have you read any books where certain characters were walking stereotypes? Do you have any other comments or questions for me?

If you enjoyed this post and would like access to exclusive content please consider supporting me on Patreon.

Characters · gay romance · lgbt · mogai · writing

Going Over the Rainbow: Getting the Kinks Out

warning-general-2Disclaimer: This post frankly discusses some aspects of sex and sexuality that some might find triggering including sexual kinks, fetishes and paraphilias. Please do not read further if you find any of these subjects triggering.

 

If you’ve been around romance writing for long you’ve undoubtedly ran across a number of characters with kinks and fetishes or even paraphilias (and no I will not discuss a certain well known book that shall remain nameless).

But what do these have to do with gender identity and sexual orientations?

Let’s take a look.

Continue reading “Going Over the Rainbow: Getting the Kinks Out”

Characters · gay romance · lgbt · mogai · writing · Writing FUNdamentals

Going Over the Rainbow: Crush Those Stereotypes

Get rid of stereotypical characters as easily as Dorothy got rid of the Wicked Witch of the East.

There is a lot of great advice out there when it comes to creating our characters. From Nancy Kress’ Dynamic Characters to The Positive and Negative Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi there are many excellent resources for writers looking to create truly unique and realistic characters.  Even as comprehensive as these helps are, there is one area many writers neglect.

A character’s sexuality and sexual orientation.

‘But I don’t write romance!’ I hear you saying. Romance isn’t always about sex and sex isn’t always about romance.  A character’s sexual orientation can have a huge impact on how they are treated by society, their family, how they interact with others around them and how they perceive themselves. It can be a source of both internal and external conflict.

‘But I only write straight characters!’ You say.  Okay, nothing wrong with that, but why? Why only write straight characters?  It’s almost guaranteed that you personally know, at the very least, one person of a different orientation and the likelihood is that the number is much higher. Our lives are filled with diversity and it stands to reason that our stories should be as well.

Diversity is a huge buzz word right now in the entertainment industry and while there is a great focus on it, the actual results have been marginal at best. Unfortunately some well-meaning writers have perpetuated harmful stereotypes, misrepresented an orientation or been less than accurate in their portrayals of queer* persons.

So how can you add diversity and be inclusive without stumbling into the stereotype trap?

Click your heels and we’re on our way.

The first step is to realize writing diversity is not hard. Writing a queer character is no harder than writing any other character because, first and foremost, you are writing people; not an orientation.  A lesbian is not just a lesbian, she might also be a sister, mother, accountant, scientist, police officer, volunteer firefighter or any number of things that make up someone’s identity. Her orientation is just one aspect of who she is, but it is something that helps define her, just as core traits help define personality.

Fearless Defenders #12

The second step is to decide if the character’s story is one for you to tell. As I stated last week, some stories need to be told by writers from that particular background. We should recognize when a character’s story might not be ours to tell, especially if the story centers on experiences or hardships related to their race, orientation, physical ability or mental health.  As the term goes, stay in your lane. In other words know when to check your privilege and don’t assume any amount of research is going to give you true insight into their struggles. Instead, support authors who are part of those diverse backgrounds.

Kaidan Alenko is a romanceable option for Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 3

With that being said, there is nothing wrong with including diverse characters. You absolutely should.

The final step in writing with diversity is actually creating a character that is a fair representation. Everyone’s experiences are going to be different and there is no one right way to write a queer character. However, there are most definitely wrong ways to write them.

Over the next several months I will be going through both the sexual orientation spectrum and the gender identity spectrum and helping you to avoid stereotypes and harmful misinformation. My goal is to help you not only understand your characters better but to feel more comfortable writing with diversity. I myself am a queer person. I identify as an agender/nonbinary panromantic demisexual. That’s probably is a bunch of gibberish right now, but I promise, if you stick with me I’ll show you what those labels mean and what they can mean for your character.

The first place we are going to start with is the Character Sexuality Worksheet. I designed this worksheet to help you answer orientation specific questions about your character. This should give you a launching point for your research. I’ve also included two handy flowcharts to help in case you are not sure where on the spectrum your character might fall.

Character Sexuality Worksheet

Please feel free to download and print the worksheet for your private use.

Over the next several months I will be exploring each of the various sexual orientations and gender identities in an effort to help my fellow authors write with more diversity. I will be inviting people of other orientations and gender identities to offer their advice and experiences as well. I sincerely hope you find this of value and please feel free to ask questions.

If you enjoyed this and would like access to additional content, please consider supporting me on Patreon

What orientation you are most curious about? What else would you like know about sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity? Have you written a character from the sexual orientation spectrum?  What challenges have you encountered in your effort to add diversity to your writing? Do you have any suggestions or comments for the worksheet or upcoming topics? I look forward to hearing from you.

*As someone who identifies as nonbinary and panromantic demisxual, I am comfortable using the term queer when describing myself or my characters. I am aware that many in the community still feel this is an insult. If you do not identify as part of the spectrum, please refrain from using the term.

Characters · gay romance · lgbt · mogai · writing · Writing FUNdamentals

Going Over the Rainbow: Moving Beyond the LG in LGBT.

Growing up in small towns in the middle of the Midwest, I didn’t get much exposure to people of other races.  There was not a single African American at the school I went to and only one person of mixed race.  I also had no exposure to people who identified as different sexual orientations or gender identities. This meant I felt horribly out of place growing up. I was just weird. It’s taken twenty years, but I’ve finally found where I fit and understand myself. I’ve also learned a lot about others along the way.

Last month Jami Gold brought up the subject of diversity on her blog.  Diversity is a huge topic right now, and it should be. We need more diversity in every genre.  And by diversity I don’t just mean racially, but sexual orientation, gender identity, neurodivergence, physical ability, all of it. However, we need to when and how to add it so it fits and doesn’t feel tacked on. There is no quota, only authenticity.

This is a good thing when it comes to our characters, especially for characters with diverse elements, as there’s no definitive black, gay, disabled, whatever experience, and therefore there’s no “one right way” to portray those characters. There are, however, wrong ways to portray diversity.—Jami Gold, Writing Diversity: How Can We Avoid Issues?

In a follow up post, Jami also touched on research and being aware of the source of our information. There are plenty of resources on the internet but we need to be aware of who is supplying them and if they are actually part of the segment of the population they are writing about. This can make all the difference in whether or not our portrayal is authentic or othering.

Some stories simply are not ours to write.

Obviously, the most helpful thing we can do to support diversity within the publishing industry is to buy and help promote books from diverse authors. As I mentioned last time, there might be some stories that aren’t ours to tell, so we also need to encourage the success of those authors who can tell those stories.—Jami Gold, Digging into Research: Consider the Source

I write stories with queer* characters and yes many of them are not white, but their race and queerness is part of who they are and the stories are not about either. As a white person it is not my place to write a story about race or racism. It might happen in my stories, but it won’t be the focus because I have never had to deal with it the way so many others do. I cannot and will not write something when I know it is a subject that does not belong to me. No amount of creativity can replace experience with something like this.

And that leads me to the point of this post.  As a queer person I have noticed a lot of authors struggling to write authentically queer characters. The gay romance genre is stuck in the m/m cis white male, coming out trope (not that there is anything wrong with the trope, but … diversity would be nice ^^). That is only one small part of the entire spectrum. The rainbow flag is not the only flag out there. Whether you write romance or not, adding other orientations can only enrich your writing. When done properly.

Pride Flag Collage

Over the next several months I will be exploring each of the various sexual orientations and gender identities in an effort to help my fellow authors write with more diversity. I will be inviting people of other orientations and gender identities to offer their advice and experiences as well. I sincerely hope you find this of value and please feel free to ask questions.

If you enjoyed this and would like access to additional content, please consider supporting me on Patreon

As always your comments and questions are welcomed below. 

*As someone who identifies as nonbinary and panromantic demisxual, I am comfortable using the term queer when describing myself or my characters. I am aware that many in the community still feel this is an insult. If you do not identify as part of the spectrum, please refrain from using the term.

excerpt · gay romance · lgbt · mogai · short story

Just Your Average Everyday Romance

Yes, it’s Upworthy. Chill. I liked this because this is exactly why I am writing stuff like The Jeweled Dagger and The Silver Peacock series. I want to read about people like me and I know there are a lot of us out there who want the same.

We deserve amazing adventures featuring characters who are as real and vibrant as we are.

I’m very excited about both The Jeweled Dagger and The Silver Peacock. Each feature a broad spectrum of orientations and gender identities but that’s not the sole focus. There are plenty of literary novels that splendidly detail the struggles of being different. No, my books are entertainment that just happens to feature characters who are not heterosexual or even cisgender.

If you are interested you can read the first in The Silver Peacock series for only $0.99 on Kindle, or support me for as little as $1 a month on Patreon and get access to all kinds of freebies and exclusive content.

Here is a sneak peek at part of a scene from Chapter 16 of The Jeweled Dagger.


“It’s not polite to eavesdrop on private conversations.”

Genevieve jumped at the voice in her ear and turned. Roderick smirked at her and Genevieve wished she could slap it off his face. As much as she wanted to she couldn’t just deck the man and leave. She couldn’t afford the scandal that would cause. It had taken her years to gain the standing she had at Court as the Marchioness. One mistake and it would all be for nothing. Her stomach tightened uncomfortably at the thought of playing along with Roderick’s delusion. It wouldn’t be the first time she’d used someone’s romantic interest in her to gain access to information. It just wasn’t something she generally found pleasant.

No. She couldn’t, not with Roderick. Not only was the risk too great, she simply couldn’t. She did many terrible things, things that seared her conscience and gave her nightmares, but she drew the line at this. She’d kill the man before willingly leading Roderick on. Galey had taught her just how quickly things could spiral out of control. Right now she needed to regain command of the situation.

“I don’t know what you are referring to. I am simply enjoying a quiet moment to refresh myself.” Genevieve was glad she still had her drink. The suspicious look didn’t leave Roderick’s eyes.

“Come walk with me. There are some things I wish to discuss.”

gay romance · mogai · short story

New Short Story: The Regular

The Regular Cover

Read the latest short story by Bran Lindy Ayres, available on Amazon for Kindle.

All Gentry Devlin wants is to bartend and flirt with the gorgeous bouncer, but some people won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

Support me on Patreon for exclusive content, free books, invitations to private events and many other perks! Help me reach my goals to educate and inform my local community.

Books · gay romance

The Jeweled Dagger: Excerpt

If you like steampunk, adventure, conspiracies and grand masquerades along with technologically progressive lesbian queens, nonbinary spies and gay soldiers then my current WIP The Jeweled Dagger is probably right up your alley. Below is the introduction to Lafayette Goddard, one of the main characters.


The clang reverberated through the cell block, jolting Lafayette from where he sat leaning up against the bars of his cell. The movement set off a riot of aches and he gritted his teeth. Even as exhausted as he was sleep had been impossible with the stench, the pain, and the frustration. Blinking grit out of his eyes he reached up to pull his hair out of the way and winced as his shoulder protested. Getting slammed to the ground twice by that cretin after running all the way from the harbor made moving difficult. He should never have taken the shortcut through the garden. But he hadn’t been thinking clearly. He had only slept a handful of hours during the two days stowed away on the ship crossing the strait after running for his life in Galey. This week was becoming a string of miscalculations and bad decisions. Getting his papers stolen hadn’t even been the least of his problems.

If only he’d recognized the Captain’s uniform first off and not overreacted. He’d spent too long in Galey jumping at shadows. He was certain those same shadows had followed him back to Orandon. He lifted his head, peering down the corridor as footsteps echoed. It must be morning. His message was too late. He’d failed Rona and who knew what might happen now. He narrowed his eyes as the tall, dark haired Captain walked into view. The intent brown eyes regarded him for a long moment but his face remained impassive and Lafayette couldn’t discern what the man might be thinking.

“Get up.” The Captain man turned away and took the set of keys off his belt along with a pair of cuffs. “I’ll take you to the Queen.”