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Excerpt from WIP, “Soulbound” (The Republic #4) – #BiWeek 2016 #BiVisibilityDay

 

Happy Bi Visibility Day!
(AKA Celebrate Bisexuality Day)

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Earlier this week, I shared a personal post on being bisexual. But today is a different kind of sharing day. If we want to encourage the acknowledgement of bisexuals in society, we need to represent them in our literature. We need to tell their stories, whether they be fiction or non-fiction.

When I first started writing romances, I wanted to write LGBTQA characters in loving relationships. But as I’ve worked with different characters, I’ve realized my default seems to be bisexual characters, no matter my intention. To date, four of my published stories feature bisexual characters: Gren in Rule Breaker (actually pansexual), Mayr and Tash in Four, Elly in Heart, Lace, and Soul, and Jace and Roan in For the Clan. At the moment, I have at least ten other stories on the writing roster featuring bisexual or pansexual characters. Maybe it’s because it’s how I identify or maybe it’s because, like with most things, I love the middle ground. Either way, these characters are making their way into existence.

Today, I’m sharing a bit of my current WIP, Soulbound. Not only is it the fourth book in The Republic series, it features the main couple in Four. The journey with Mayr and Tash is not yet over — especially as the Shar-denn exacts revenge. Soulbound reveals the second phase of their relationship: the struggle to merge two lives, facing the consequences of Tash’s past, and working with their bisexuality to have the life they want. It also involves another bisexual character, Arieve, whose heart is torn between the life she wants and a girlfriend who keeps breaking things off. This is what happens when they realize they can help each other — and still be committed to the one they love.

{Note: This is raw material and subject to change. It’s also on the long side because I couldn’t decide between one excerpt and another, so I took the combined whole.}

 

 

 

Excerpt:

In two words, Arieve slew his heart.

In an instant, she changed the world.

Tash gripped Mayr’s wrist hard. Out of shock, Mayr suspected, though perhaps it was to keep Mayr from running out the door and hollering for mercy.

He needed to flee. He needed to hide. He needed something safer than standing in the same room with his heart’s other half and the woman he had given up on.

This was not all right.

This made no sense.

And he was cold, so cold. Lost, spinning out of calm thought and drowning in the realization that her words had been spoken with sincerity. Her features were drawn and pinched as she looked away. This was not a joke at his expense. This was a truth she had thrown at them, simple and liable to tear into the friendship they had enjoyed for so long.

He snatched Tash’s hand in both of his faster than he could take a breath and held on.

“You’re not the only ones who want kids,” Arieve said gently, circling the toe of her boot over the floor. “I have for years now. But Coye doesn’t, so I’ve never gotten any further than wishing. And since I never wanted to give her up, it’s always been a choice. I’ve always chosen her. Now I’m starting to see it’s not enough. I’d rather choose me than a relationship that keeps failing. I want a future that’s more than me. I’d drop everything to have a child with you than have none at all.” Her next smile was lopsided. “And considering I’ve had a mad crush on you longer than I’ve known most people, it’s not a sacrifice in the least. I could finally work out all these feelings I have.” A frown killed her smile. “If you’d ever let me in that much.”

Mayr choked on the first breath he could manage. He sputtered and stumbled, fragments of words flying out of his mouth in a mess of noise. “Arieve,” was the only thing he said with certainty.

Arms wrapped around him, drawing him close to Tash before his knees could buckle.

“Breathe,” Tash whispered against his temple. “Hold onto me and breathe.”

Arieve pushed off the desk and rushed forward three steps, reaching out. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you this bad.” Her arm lowered. “I don’t know how to say any of this. I never have.”

Clamping both hands around Tash’s arm, Mayr was at war with himself, his emotions and rational thought clashing in a painful raid. “You’re going to have to spell this out, Arieve, because everything you’re saying… I have to be hearing it wrong. You and me, we’ve only ever been—and you said—you called me family—and we’ve always been separate, always at the wrong time—”

“I know.” Arieve chewed on her bottom lip. “There’s been a lot of dancing around the truth. We’re never quite right at the best times, but so perfect at the worst. You’ve always been my look-but-don’t-touch. Mine to fix when you were hurt and mine to lose when the world offered you better. Now I feel bad for even looking.” She motioned to Tash with one hand. “Though I can’t lie and say it hurts seeing you two together. Out of all the men you could’ve had, the one you chose does all the right things…” Clearing her throat, she backed towards the desk. “Let’s just say I’d be happy to help.”

“And while that’s flattering,” Tash started softly, “I’m trying to understand what you understand and what I’m missing.” He pressed his forehead to Mayr’s temple. “Because I feel like I’m standing in something that should be private—a moment that’s not mine to have.”

Mayr stilled. Alternating between focused and unfocused, his gaze clung to the paintings on the wall behind the desk: portraits of Orae’s first husband and their children next to the portrait of her second husband and the rest of her children. Smiling families, happy to be together in the time life afforded them.

And in the top corner, the portrait of a young Arieve, no older than sixteen, with a smile that could light someone’s entire world for the whole of their life.

A life he had been certain they would never share. A life he had committed to the man at his side.

A life that could spiral into misery quicker than he could collapse to his knees in apology.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered, holding Tash tighter. “So sorry.”

Tash’s breath skipped across Mayr’s cheek. “For what?”

“For not being honest when I should have told you everything,” Mayr mumbled. “For never owning up to what I really think. For never being able to lose these stupid feelings. I owe you better, and I’ve been a complete ass.” He flushed beneath the scrutiny of Tash’s gaze. “I can’t even say it now, even though you’re here and she’s here and this would be a really good time to stop being an idiot.”

Silent moments past, weighted with his struggle to string words together. He felt the fluttering caress of Tash’s eyelashes against his skin.

“Mayr,” Tash murmured into his ear, “say it.”

“I don’t—”

“Let it go. Release the truth from wherever you’ve stashed it and let it breathe. If you can tell yourself what this really is, you can tell me.” Gentle fingertips glided over his jaw and down the back of his neck. “Say you have feelings for her and set yourself free.”

A chill raced down Mayr’s spine, small bumps rising across the skin where Tash’s fingers rested. Loosened by a touch that always made him want more, words tumbled from his lips, slow and stiff. “I’ve had a… thing… for her. Since we were kids. But we’ve never—” He turned his head, catching Tash’s lips on his. “We’ve never done anything. I’ve never done anything. I never could. There was a line—a really good line—and—”

A kiss silenced him, soft and smooth, without tongue, without command, without heat. A gentle kiss he never tired of receiving. Compassion and hope in the embrace of restrained passion.

“Thank you,” Tash whispered, pulling back. “You can stop fretting now. You don’t need to apologize.” He cupped Mayr’s cheek. “And you needn’t hide. I’ve got you.”

“But—”

“You’d challenge a servant of Emeraliss?” One of Tash’s brows arched. “I’m the last one to scold the inconvenience of love. Or strong like, whatever this is.” He glanced at Arieve.

Arieve hunched her shoulders. “I don’t know. It might be. Since I was sixteen, I figured if I ended up committing my life to a man, they’d have to be like him,” she admitted, pointing at Mayr. “But I never said anything. And with my grandmother’s connection to his family—us growing up with them, in a way—it seemed like something we shouldn’t overstep. But when he married Betta…” She let out a long sigh. “I was so disappointed. And when she left him, I was pleased. Pleased, like I was full of myself and happy to be cruel. Then I found out why she’d left and I wanted to find the bitch so I could rip her apart. I wanted to tell him then what I felt, but I never had the courage to flirt with him enough to make it obvious. Never had the words.”

“And I put it out of my thoughts.” Mayr leaned into Tash. “After Betta, I hurt too much to do anything. It wasn’t worth ruining our friendship.”

“Yet it’s come back around,” Tash said, his lips hinting at a small smile. “And maybe that’s the whole point.”

More silence, almost deafening in what it did not say.

Arieve approached, stopping two paces away. “As much as I’d like to continue this—as long as I’ve waited to hear it—I have to get back to work. But here’s the proposition: what you want and what I want are the same thing, so instead of waiting for someone else to fill the gap—someone who might never come or want what we want—we could try having it together.” Hesitant, she reached for Mayr and Tash, one hand finally settling on each of them. “I’m not involved with anyone. I want to get pregnant. And I really wouldn’t mind the fooling around it takes to get there. It wouldn’t have to be permanent. I’m not looking to destroy your marriage and take anyone’s place. You could consider it a favour if you want. Consider it one friend helping another, and we’ll leave your marriage intact. We’ll protect it.”

Before Mayr could answer, she withdrew her touch. “It’s ideal, too. I’ll still work at the estate, so I’ll be there. You’ll be around for the pregnancy, and after, I’ll be around to parent. It’s better than consigning ourselves to what we don’t want.”

“Why us?” Mayr swallowed hard, his mouth dry. “Why not someone else?”

“Other than the fact I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to kiss you?” Arieve drew her fingertips across her lips. “I trust you. I don’t sleep around; I choose my partners carefully. I don’t want to be with someone who’ll resent having a family or use a child against me or fight me for custody. I don’t mind being a single mother, but I also don’t want to use a guy to have a baby without their permission or without them understanding why.” She tapped the back of Mayr’s hand. “But from what you said to Aeley, it sounds like you want the same thing as me, and for the same reasons. You want a child of your own blood. Seeing as I’ve known you for most of my life and I know you’re a good man, I’m willing to try with you, if you’ll have me. I’m not asking to be married to you. I’m not expecting us to live in the same house. I’m not demanding anything. But I can’t ignore this. It’s like fate’s stepped right on in and hijacked opportunity.”

With a gentle smile, she moved to the door and opened it. “It’s just an offer. The two of you can think about it. I’ll keep thinking, too. And whenever you have your answer, whatever the answer is, you know where to find me.”

In Mayr’s mind, the quiet sound of the door closing behind her was more like a hammer striking down the wall. He blinked, unable to focus on anything but the floor.

All he had wanted was to take Tash to dinner and spend a quiet night worshipping Tash’s naked body.

This was more than he could take.

“We should go,” Tash suggested, tugging Mayr’s hand. He had his short coat on before Mayr moved from his spot.

Without words, they dressed in their winter long coats and cloaks, the brown-black fur capelet of Mayr’s cloak still damp. After wrapping their scarves around their necks and pulling on their gloves, they left the office together and wove their way around the tavern patrons to the front door.

Cold, dry gusts greeted them the moment they stepped outside. The snowfall had not let up since their arrival, descending upon the darkened village in large flakes. The dark figures of villagers shuffled down the road in a group, their voices carrying over the quiet as they sang wintertide carols off-tune and made their way through the foot of snow. The occasional ball of snow sailed through the air, resulting in pelted victims and peals of laughter.

Meanwhile, Mayr felt as though his world had turbulently flung itself into a stop and could not get started again.

In step with Tash as they trod up the flattened path left by the wheels of a wagon, Mayr dug his hands deep into his pockets. Snow crunched beneath their boots, echoing the grinding noise in his mind.

After all the years, after all the heartbreak, he could have told Arieve he loved her and that would have been enough.

I really know how to ruin things before they start. Mayr gaze at Tash from the corner of his eye, barely seeing Tash’s face around the thick, red hood of Tash’s cloak. And sabotage the things I have.

“I can read your worries from here,” Tash said, walking closer to grasp Mayr’s hand. “Talk to me.”

“This is where you’re supposed to be angry,” Mayr answered, barely louder than a mumble. “You should be disgusted, unsettled, lecturing me on disrespect.” He glanced down at their clasped hands. “Not treating me like you did before. Not being so perfect and loving and nice.”

“Hey.” Tash pulled Mayr to a stop, turning to face him, his brow furrowed. “What have I ever done to make you think I would react otherwise?”

Mayr shrunk back, huddling into the warmth of his coat. “I wasn’t honest with you. Of all things, you prefer honesty. I let you down. I wanted to tell you how I feel about her—how I’ve always felt—but something always stopped me. Then you found out like that. Considering…” His gaze dropped to the hand with his marriage ring. “The timing couldn’t be worse.”

With strong hands, Tash gripped Mayr’s arms. “Mayr, I encourage your honesty in all things, but I don’t demand it. Everyone has secrets—from themselves, from their loves, from the world. It’s in our nature to keep things to ourselves. Sometimes we don’t think about it or the truth is so far from our conscious, we can’t think of it. It’s how we were put together. And love is sneaky, you know this as well as I do,” he said softly. “It seeps into our hearts without invitation and sets things into motion without our command. When we deny it, when we try to lock it away, it yells and fights and bangs on the walls, devising plans and doing everything to have what it wants. When time and chance and circumstance get in the way, love might wait for a while, but it eventually comes to light.”

“But—”

Tash’s cold hands cupped Mayr’s cheeks. “You did nothing wrong. I have not been slighted. I don’t feel any less loved than before Arieve’s proposition.” A gentle smile softened his features, blue eyes gleaming in the faint moonlight. “Truth be told, I feel more loved.” He held Mayr’s hand in both of his and kissed the back of Mayr’s fingers. “You could have sought her. You could have waited. You could have turned me away. Instead, you allowed me into your heart, and for that I am yours, come all complicated matters and embarrassing moments that make you stammer and struggle.”

Heat swept across Mayr’s cheeks. “Now you’re just making fun of me.”

The grin in reply twisted knots in Mayr’s gut. “It does make me laugh a little, I’ll admit.” Tash brushed snow from the tip of Mayr’s nose. “You’re unspeakably ravishing when you’re flustered over love. When your emotions get too far ahead of your words and you can’t catch up,” he murmured, his fingers settling on Mayr’s lips. “It’s like falling in love with you again and again.”

Mayr swallowed hard, painfully aware of the effect Tash’s touch had on the rest of his body. Perhaps he could salvage the night after all. “Yeah?”

“Yes. Besides, she’s cute. I’m certainly getting to know your taste in women. Not entirely different from my own.”

“And that sounds like you’re trying to say something.”

“That I understand, for one. How you could feel something but not speak of it. How you can care for someone else and be too afraid to admit it. I can’t fault you for that, especially since what we have fell prey to the same choices,” Tash said quietly. “But even more than that, I don’t have a need to be angry, or the right. You’ve been so patient with my love for Inesta and the things that eat at my conscience with Naliss and Erithe. You don’t hold them against me. And I dare not complain about whatever you still feel for Betta because I understand it. Our hearts are as they are. Love lingers, even when the body is gone. You’re allowed to feel something. I never demanded you give any of that up.”

“I still feel like I should.”

“And miss the opportunity that’s thrown itself at us?” Tash clasped Mayr’s hands and swung them gently. “I can’t tell you how blessed I feel right now. It’s an unexpected gift. However it’s come to us, whatever the path, it’s a chance to have everything we want. And no one has to get hurt along the way. No one needs to be embarrassed or uncomfortable.”

Mayr held his breath, waiting for Tash to add a caveat. When none came, he breathed out long and slow. This was beyond him. Tash’s optimism and reason forged ahead faster than Mayr’s thoughts could make sense of why he was not standing alone at the side of the road, watching Tash walking away in disappointment. His heart had been sold on a hard fight, armed to his frozen back teeth with apologies and gifts to prove his love.

Instead, Tash bounced on his toes with a boyish smile, blowing away any hint of jealousy or disapproval Mayr had anticipated.

He was reading everyone wrong lately.

 

 

 

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Bisexual and Baffled: A Very Personal, Very Geeky #BiWeek Post {Let’s Slay the Bierasure Beast}

 

Happy Bisexual Awareness Week! If you have no idea what it is, visit the GLAAD site to learn about what this week’s all about. And check out #BiWeek on Twitter to see what others are saying. The week runs from September 19th to 26th this year, with Celebrate Bisexuality Day on September 23rd.

I missed writing something last year, but I’m on it this year. There are two posts this week. This is post #1, which is personal and touches on my issues with bisexual erasure (a.k.a. bierasure). Post #2 will be the fun one with an excerpt from my current WIP, because the 23rd is all about celebrating and I WILL CELEBRATE! *ROAR*

So without any further ado…

 

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Hello, It’s Me, and I’m Bisexual

 

And that’s as simple as it gets. But since there’s always that little bit extra, let’s get this on the table right now:

No, I’m not confused

Yes, I really am bisexual.

Yes, I’m in a long-term, common-law marriage with a female who identifies more as bigender.

And yes, I find other women attractive.

But I’m attracted to men, too.

And no, I’m never going to apologize.

Or hide.

Because this is part of who I am.

 

Here’s the low-down: I grew up with the occasional crush on the occasional guy. There weren’t many that I was attracted to, and no girls I liked “that” way, and they certainly never returned the interest. (I also had zero clue that bisexuality was a thing — until high school, I didn’t even know being gay was a thing. There was no talk in our schools, nothing in the TV shows I watched or books I read, and none of the adults around me talked about it.) So public school and high school were a little… lacklustre in the romance department. I didn’t date. I didn’t have sex. I never got to explore exactly who I was in terms of those things. I knew I liked guys and they didn’t like me — that was it. Then again, I was a complete misfit that only other misfits seemed to understand. And those misfits became my chosen siblings. I was weird, odd; I was a thinker and a writer and studious, and if people other than my friends or teachers liked me, they certainly had a screwed up way of showing it.

But in university, things changed. In my first year, at twenty years old, I came around to bisexuality. And I discovered what it’s like to elevate the status of one of your best friends to girlfriend after thinking about her in ALL the sexual ways… and how to be okay with that.

It was alarming at first. I suppose I could blame the video for t.A.T.u.’s “All the Things She Said” for making me see the possibility. At that point, I’d had thoughts but had done nothing with them. After that video, though, things moved along emotionally. To put it not-so-delicately: I woke the fuck up. I let the emotional barriers fall. I let assumptions about myself go.

And it scared the shit out of me when the feelings I had were returned in kind.

It was a very complicated year. My psychology class was way easier to get through than the emotional whirlwind. My science courses were more manageable than thoughts. At least they made perfect sense.

Fast forward to now, 13 years later: That girlfriend and I live together, hardcore common-law. We wear wedding bands — hers is gold, mine is silver, catering to what we like best. We’ve lived in the same apartment for 12 years. We’ve laughed, cried, fought, and struggled together. We’ve become full-fledged adults together, weathering the ridiculousness of life. And that’s a good thing. A bit of security to fall on. She puts up with my wacky humour, my writing, and the irritability I inherited. I deal with her video game obsession, her social butterfly personality, and the vicious, damaging truths haunting her from a childhood marred by abuse and rape. Between us is a wonderful give-and-take, and I really wouldn’t trade it, even on the days when I’m 100% anti-social hermit.

But that doesn’t change certain things about us, like the fact that while we’re committed to each other, we’re still attracted to others. I still dig men. So does she.

And we drool over them together.

Because wouldn’t you know:  it’s damn liberating being able to crush on the same people with your spouse. We can watch movies and TV shows and find the same guys hot. We can compare notes. Then we can turn around and watch the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and drool over sexy abs on gorgeous female models. Because we can. Because when we hooked up, we didn’t stop being who we are. We didn’t stop finding certain people of different genders attractive. I’m bisexual, she’s pansexual, and it’s SO. MUCH. FUN.

Even better: no one is apologizing.

 

 

Being Bisexual Was My Destiny.

 

If the subject of sexuality comes up or someone asks about mine, I’m open about it. I’ve got no shame. But to be honest, my in-the-middle / blended romantic and sexual interests are exactly like who I am in so much of my life and decisions: neither one extreme nor the other, dancing around the middle line and enjoying every bit of it.

I’m both “left-” and “right-brained”; both an artist and a scientist, adoring language and fictional worlds as much as I love logic and scientific thinking (even though my mathematical skills are suspect). I need diversity in my thinking and the way I see the world. I need diversity in the way I explore the universe and understand it.

My music collection is all over the place because I can’t choose genre over genre. I like having a little of everything. I need diversity in my tunes.

I don’t believe in all-peace or all-war because both can be a disaster; coexistence is the real trick. Moderation is key. Balance is everything.  I need the middle ground.

I’m a realist, with equal helpings of optimism and pessimism. And when it comes to politics, I don’t identify with any one party because while none of them will ever truly, or properly, represent me, I think they all have their merits. I need the world to be represented among the multiple options.

My simplest truth is this: I see greys everywhere, in everything. I don’t see the world in black-and-white but rather a range of colour and shade.

So why would my sexuality to be any different?

The only thing that doesn’t seem to “abide” by this in-the-middle thing is my cisgender identity. Other than that, I’m all over the map. It makes perfect sense to me. I feel pretty damn balanced.

Which is why I really don’t get why bisexual erasure is a thing.

 

 

/Cue RANT

 

Straight-up, the fact that bisexual erasure and anti-bisexual crap exists pisses. me. off. And baffles me. It breaks my brain as much as it breaks my heart.

I don’t get it.

Okay, that’s not completely true. I kind of get it, in some moments more than others, though it still baffles me on the most basic level of behaviour and logic. Why the hate against bisexuals? Why the myths that it isn’t legit, or true, or that we don’t exist? Why are some people so quick to shove bisexuals and pansexuals and others in a similar circumstance into the Mythical Unicorn category and deny us the chance to be exactly who we are?

Although it’s difficult to explain how it comes up rational in my head, sometimes I get it, though I usually don’t have the words to explain it. Ego is involved, especially when it comes to the really human thought of “we know EVERYTHING”… when we totally don’t, but our species likes to think so. Fear is another thing, though I’m not sure what those exact fears are. Is it the fear that in recognizing bisexuality as real somehow invalidates homosexuality and/or heterosexuality? Or is it the fear that in validating bisexuality, it brings it too close to home in terms of the truth? Or is it the fear that our strange, clingy relationship to binary concepts is under attack?

Because, oh god, do humans LOVE the freaking binary concept.

 

[Insert the ultimate face palm]

 

So maybe it’s the scientist in me, but what the fuck, fellow homo sapiens sapiens? This obsession with binary — it’s harmful. Really, truly harmful. The world does not evolve around binary concepts. SURPRISE! Spectrums have everything to do with everything. So do things that exist of more than one thing.

Light exists across an entire spectrum. So do colour, sound, temperature, and a host of other variables. Without those spectrums, the world would be a very different place. They have extremes, but so much more of the universe is found between those opposite ends. They can overlap and they can stand alone.

Gender exists as a mix and a spectrum. Our biological make-up is all over the place on spectrums: from skin tone, eye colour, and hair colour to behaviours, personalities, and disorders. And don’t forget hormones, chemical balances, and pH levels! There are spectrums everywhere, inside every one of us.

Why can’t sexuality be like that? Why can’t we have asexuals, homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, and all-manner of other-sexuals? Who has the right to say those don’t exist?

But guess what: there’s MORE.

Light can exist as both wave and particle.

Matter can exist in multiple states. Water can be a liquid, solid, or a gas, dependent on the situation. While it might exist for awhile in one form, it can still exist in the others.

Bonobo apes are known to be sexual with females and males, engaging in both hetero- and homosexual activities. They’re more interested in social interactions and keeping peaceful groups. And they share about 99% of the same DNA as we do. They’re our closest relatives.

So why can’t we be attracted to two or more genders? Why can’t we be in-between or outside homosexual and heterosexual? And why can’t we be with someone of one gender and still be attracted to another?

Enter the Big Question: Just what is it about bisexuals that is so terrifying? What is so offensive that some people feel the need to say it’s a lie? Because the last I heard, the universe operated on spectrums and diversity and mixes of all sorts of things. The galaxies laugh at our obsession with binary.

We need to learn to let that shit go.

We need to learn to accept there’s more to the world — more to us.

And we need learn to accept that more is beautiful.

 

 

In Closing…

 

So go forth, my bisexual, pansexual, and whatever-sexual friends. I see you. You’re here. You’re a person. And I see you. Because we aren’t invisible — we’re right here, right now, and we’re beautiful together. Just like our homosexual, heterosexual, and asexual friends, we’re real, we’re valid, and we’re here to stay.

We will not be erased.

 

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Release Party for FOUR = Tonight On Facebook! + Giveaway Reminder #MM #romance #fantasy♥

The party is on!

 

To celebrate the release of my newest book, Four, there’s a party on Facebook tonight, thanks to Vicki Rose at Platinum Promotions. Come join us!

 

The Official Four Release Party
September 14 @ 6:30 PM – 8 PM CST
(that’s 7:30 – 9pm EST)


On Facebook, so feel free to come in PJs.
Games, prizes, hanging out, stress-free time, and the occasional silliness.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1133768410030428/

•••

 

FOUR Teaser 2

Blurb: Four

Genres: Fantasy, romance
Series: The Republic

On the outside, Mayr seems to have it all: a successful career as Head of the Guard for a prominent politician, family and friends who adore him, and the attention of beautiful women. But appearances are a good way to bury secrets, including the fact that while Mayr is a romantic at heart, searching for the one person to share his life with, his lovers keep leaving him.

When his last girlfriend takes him back and suggests an intimate night with Tash, one of her lovers, Mayr reluctantly agrees. The last thing he expects is to fall hard for Tash, who is nothing like Mayr’s previous lovers—and about to undertake the Uldana Trials. If Tash fails, he’ll likely die. If he succeeds, he must give up Mayr, and become the latest to leave Mayr standing alone with a broken heart.

*Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30619748-four

Also check out the other stories in the series, Rule Breaker and A Question of Counsel.

 

Purchase Four directly from the publisher Less Than Three Press or from any major online retailer, including: AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsAll Romance eBooksKoboiTunes

•••

 

FOUR Teaser 3

 

Don’t forget to enter the  G I V E A W A Y!

Here’s a chance to win stuff! The giveaway will run until October 5th. You must be 18+ years old to enter.

 

Prizes to be won:

* Winner #1:
$20 Amazon gift certificate

* Winner #2:
An eBook set of the first two stories in The Republic series: Won’t Back Down (with the novella, Rule Breaker) + A Question of Counsel

* Winner #3:
$5 Amazon gift card

* Winner #4:
An eBook copy of For the Clan

 

For a chance to win, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

 

 

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FOUR = out TODAY! Giveaway, Party Info, & Excerpt! #MM #romance #fantasy♥

 

It’s Release Day!!!

FOUR COVER

 

Purchase Four directly from the publisher Less Than Three Press or from any major online retailer, including: AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsAll Romance eBooksKoboiTunes

 

It’s out! It’s out! *waves arms erratically*

I’m thrilled to finally share the book with everyone. I’ve written about my thing with Mayr before, but seriously, he’s the type of character that’s gotten under my skin and made a home so deep in my heart I can’t shake him. And he comes with friends, so it’s a real party. He started with a teensy part in A Question of Counsel that grew and grew and has now staked a major claim in the series as a whole. Now he’s got Tash, and that guy… I’m hopelessly sold on them both.

Readers, beware: This is the first book of Mayr and Tash’s romantic journey. There’s so much more. They’re complicated. Their combined fate is a big thing and by the end of the series, this cryptic message will all make sense. I love them, and I’m hoping you fall in love with them, too!

(If you do, watch out for them in the next book, Blood Borne, and their second book, Soulbound. Blood Borne is coming out in 2017 and I’m hoping to get Soulbound done ASAP so it can also come out next year.)

 

ANYWAY.

 

To celebrate, there are a couple things happening.

 

GIVEAWAY!
(See the bottom of this post for the details, in addition to this helpful link to the Rafflecopter)

 

&

 

A party on Facebook next week, thanks to Vicki Rose at Platinum Promotions.

The Official Four Release Party
September 14 @ 6:30 PM – 8 PM CST
(that’s 7:30 – 9pm EST!)


On Facebook, so feel free to come in PJs!
Games, prizes, hanging out, stress-free time, and the occasional silliness.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1133768410030428/

•••

 

FOUR Teaser 2

 

Blurb: Four

Genres: Fantasy, romance
Series: The Republic

On the outside, Mayr seems to have it all: a successful career as Head of the Guard for a prominent politician, family and friends who adore him, and the attention of beautiful women. But appearances are a good way to bury secrets, including the fact that while Mayr is a romantic at heart, searching for the one person to share his life with, his lovers keep leaving him.

When his last girlfriend takes him back and suggests an intimate night with Tash, one of her lovers, Mayr reluctantly agrees. The last thing he expects is to fall hard for Tash, who is nothing like Mayr’s previous lovers—and about to undertake the Uldana Trials. If Tash fails, he’ll likely die. If he succeeds, he must give up Mayr, and become the latest to leave Mayr standing alone with a broken heart.

 

*Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30619748-four

Also check out the other stories in the series, Rule Breaker and A Question of Counsel.

 

Excerpt

 

He waited, not sure what to expect as an answer.

Tash played with the chain of his talon ring. “I really did have your interests at heart,” he said quietly. “And since we’re being honest: I didn’t come tonight just to be a priest. I was hoping to see you. I’d thought of visiting again, but worried it was too soon—that you wouldn’t want to see my face again. I was afraid you wouldn’t trust me or listen to anything I had to say.”

Don’t we make the pair? Mayr studied Tash’s face, tempted to brush Tash’s hair over his shoulder to see him better. Maybe there was a chance for them yet.

“One thing you said still confuses me,” Mayr admitted. “What did you mean when you said this wasn’t part of your plan?”

“It’s a priesthood thing. I’m going through for the next level soon, though it’s not yet set. I have to do some things before then and complete certain tasks. Prove my worth and how serious I am about committing to it.” Tash smiled sadly at Mayr. “That’s why I was with Sarene. I was having fun before I have to go through all of that. She offered something that wasn’t attachment, just pleasure. Since being an Uldana restricts me from intimacy, I thought it wouldn’t hurt.”

Tash shook his head. “But I hurt you, and that’s not right.” He laid one hesitant hand on Mayr’s. “I truly am sorry for everything. Sarene made it sound like you were fully into it. Meanwhile, I had the distinct impression you were serious about her even though she was playing you. She’s inept and too blind to fully comprehend what she had.”

Mayr threw blades of grass toward the hill. “You don’t need to apologize. You told me I could get out and I didn’t. I’m glad I stayed.”

And now for the moment of debilitating truth.

“You asked how I was taking it, what we did, and I didn’t answer. Because I couldn’t.” Mayr sucked in a deep breath. “I didn’t know how to answer you, but I’ve been working it out. I’ve had a lot of time to figure out my exact reply.”

Rising to his knees, Mayr ignored his doubts. Before he lost his courage, he pressed his lips to Tash’s, tugging gently on Tash’s bottom lip before offering his mouth fully. It felt right. Good. He should have done it before.

Tonight, he would not shy away. His fear of rejection would have to wait.

As Tash gripped his arm and pulled him closer, Mayr’s fears dissipated. When Tash’s tongue entered Mayr’s mouth, tasting and teasing, it sparked deep emotions Mayr had missed. Sincere desire, transcending the relationships he had accepted as all he could have.

Slowly, Mayr broke the kiss, satisfied with Tash’s ardent gaze. “Did I tell you that I’m really, really happy you’re here?”

Without waiting for Tash’s answer, Mayr kissed him hard, wishing Tash could feel what he did. He felt lit up, more than he had in a long time. The relationship with Sarene had become a chore. And before her, it wasn’t any different. I felt the same for the other women as I did her. Just going through the motions, telling myself they could be someone I could stay with for the rest of my life so I wouldn’t be alone. Convinced they would stay and he would be happy, he had given them everything.

All of it had been foolish desperation.

But Tash offered the things missing from most of Mayr’s relationships. Joyful intoxication derived from emotion alone. Breathtaking inspiration that made everything else in his life seem lacklustre. The restored hope that someone could consider him enough. Whenever Tash asked about him, his concern sounded genuine. In the smallest action, there was more care and respect than any of Mayr’s girlfriends had shown him. The idea of being with Tash was both thrilling and terrifying, but deep down in his tainted core, he needed it.

“I’m hoping that answers your question,” Mayr murmured. “Otherwise, it’s going to take me a while to convince you, and I still have things to do tonight.”

Tash leaned his forehead against Mayr’s. “No, you’ve made it clear. I won’t ask again.”

“Then I’ve got a question for you.”

“Anything.”

“If I said I wanted to see where this could go, what would you say?”

Lips traveled up Mayr’s jaw and kissed a path to his brow. Arms encircled his waist, holding him upright against Tash’s side. “Yes,” Tash whispered against his temple.

The breathy reply wreaked havoc on Mayr’s body. A shiver shot through him from the back of his neck to his feet. To feel Tash’s interest was one thing; hearing it was another. They were worth every night he had agonized over an apology.

“I have to get back to the feast.” Mayr tilted his head. “Do you have a curfew? Do the other priests lock you up if you come home late?”

Tash chuckled. “No. That’s only for the Metahs. I’m free to do as I please. Why?”

“If you stay, we could spend time together after the feast is over. Maybe finally get around to knowing each other better?”

“Considering I came here mostly for you… there’s no place I’d rather be.”

“Also known as yes.”

“Yes.”

And with one word, hope trounced Mayr’s fear into submission.

•••

 

FOUR Teaser 1

 

And then there was a G I V E A W A Y!

Here’s a chance to win stuff! The giveaway will run for the next 4 weeks, until October 5th. You must be 18+ years old to enter.

 

Prizes to be won:

* Winner #1:
$20 Amazon gift certificate

 

* Winner #2:
An eBook set of the first two stories in The Republic series: Won’t Back Down (with the novella, Rule Breaker) + A Question of Counsel

 

* Winner #3:
$5 Amazon gift card

 

* Winner #4:
An eBook copy of For the Clan

 

For a chance to win, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

 

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Playlist for Four (The Republic #2): A Little Heartbreak, A Lot of Romance, and Something About Sleep

Time for a little audio show-and-tell! With Four coming out next week, I wanted to share its playlist. For those who don’t know: I’m addicted to music. Always have been. And my interests are WIDE when it comes to genres and artists. All of that helps when I write, especially since I find writing in the silence incredibly uncomfortable. Each story has its own soundtrack and its own personality. This is no less true for Four, which turned out to be slightly alternative and indie rock, heavily electronic and indie pop, and suitably acoustic, with a touch of darker tones. Then again, the playlists for The Republic series are, surprisingly, not as dark and heavy as I anticipated. Instead, the muses are banking that deliciously dark stuff for when I start on the two science fiction series I’ve dubbed “the Kindles”. (More on those once I get more of The Republic completed.)

 

 

The Major Themes

Conjure One – Extraordinary Way (feat. Poe)
One of my favourite Conjure One songs. Then again, I love Poe’s voice. But this became a theme given the lyrics and sound. It’s a song that, on the right day at the right time, can make me cry from the bridge onward because of the beautiful sentiment and the tension crafted with the electric guitar. In terms of the book, it’s very much a theme for Mayr and Tash’s relationship. They’ve both been hurt in the past because they haven’t been enough, but this song celebrates relationships that are enough.
“What an ordinary day,
the extraordinary way
you take what I can give
and you treasure it.”

 

Ellie Goulding – Love Me Like You Do
This song is one of two ultimate Mayr & Tash themes. I first heard about it from a party on Facebook where I asked readers to share their fave songs. I gave the video a go after someone posted it — I like about 1/2 of Ellie’s discography, and I was curious because the song is on the soundtrack for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. At some point during my first listen, the song became a staple on Four‘s playlist. The whole thing screamed perfect for the boys. I can’t listen to it without thinking of them. Although what makes it even better is knowing Tove Lo wrote the lyrics — a lovely Swedish songwriter and musician I have a big musical crush on.

 

Florence + the Machine – Long & Lost
The song that became an instant theme for Tash. I won’t say too much as to why since spoilers, but it speaks to those choices he’s not proud of, all those things he wishes he could redo. All his heartbreak. The song had me at my first listen. Here’s the live version since the studio album version isn’t on YouTube. :S

 

Lifehouse – Trying
If the previous song is Tash’s theme, this one is Mayr’s. He tries so hard in love and life, and the overall sound and tone fits who he is. Plus I’m a sucker for a waltz time signature.

 

Nickelback – Trying Not to Love You
Here’s the second ultimate Mayr & Tash theme — the song that captures the whole book.

 

SOHN – Carry Me Home
Again, another song that had me at first listen after I watched the movie “Insurgent” to the very end. I replayed this song a dozen times on the Blu-ray that night. This became the soundscape for intimate scenes and other key emotional bits.

 

 

 

Then there were those other songs…

 

A Perfect Circle – The Noose
A darker song on the playlist, and one of my favourites by A Perfect Circle (right up there with “Passive”). For readers: this fits in the book during Trial #3.

 

Ahn Trio – All I Want (feat. Susie Suh)
This song makes me cry. Seriously. I heard it on So You Think You Can Dance and it’s been on a few of my playlists since. Where there is a romance in trouble, there is this song.

 

Avril Lavigne – Let Me Go (feat. Chad Kroeger)
A song about overcoming the failed relationships of the past and moving on. Mayr & Tash have a lot of that going on.

 

Bedroom Rockers – Nothing Else Matters
I love watching CSI and CSI: Miami, not just because of the science spin but because there are fantastic songs. This is one of those, and the lyrics are quite fitting with Four. So is the slow feel.

 

Blue October – Hate Me
Another song that (a) makes me cry and (b) reminds me of Tash. A beautiful, emotionally raw song about sacrifice and wanting a better life for someone you love.

 

Cinephile – Comatose
A walk on the darker side.

 

Cinephile – One
Something a little more romantic and that concept of soulmates…

 

Cinephile – What Becomes of Us
Right back to the dark side. Another song I found thanks to CSI.

 

City and Colour – As Much As I Ever Could
More Canadian content. More waltz. More acoustic guitar.  The pace and tone of Mayr & Tash’s romance. For readers: this song is especially relevant when Tash goes through those parts of the book.

 

City and Colour – Day Old Hate
The sound of heartbreak in the book.
“Now you still speak of day old hate
though your whole world has gone up into flames.
And isn’t it great to find that you’re really worth nothing
and how safe it is to feel safe?”

 

Conjure One – Sleep (feat. Marie-Claire D’Ubaldo)
Another one of my top Conjure One songs — especially when I’m trying to go to sleep (go figure). But seriously, this song works with both Mayr and Tash. My favourite lines: “My nervous system is shot all right, I won’t sleep unless you sleep with me tonight”.

 

Daft Punk – Beyond
Because Daft Punk. This is the most sensual I’ve heard them get.

 

Frou Frou – Let Go
Another song about letting go, moving on, and taking a chance.

 

Gotye – Hearts A Mess
Love me a touch of jazz and a bit of darkness to the sensual feels. Not to mention that yes, both Mayr and Tash are a freaking mess in the very context of this song.

 

Joseph Trapanese – Convergence (Score Suite from “Insurgent”)
OMG, Joseph Trapanese. Hands down the best young composer our household has heard in a long time. He’s going to have such a great career like Howard Shore, James Newton Howard, John Williams, and all those awesome composers. I loved his work in “Tron: Legacy” with Daft Punk and the Divergent movies, “Insurgent” and “Allegiant”. The third movement in this suite is the foundation for SOHN’s “Carry Me Home”, which I figured out after I adopted both songs for the playlist.

 

Loreena McKennitt – The Old Ways (live, Nights From The Alhambra)
A song of love and woe from a Celtic heart (err, Canadian with a love of crafting Celtic music). Another song that moves me to tears — the cello solo kills me in this live version, but the wail of the Uilleann pipes does me in on the studio album. This song also tends to show up on my playlists whenever I write fantasy novels that include not-so-good times and/or pagan undertones and elements. And Four certainly is all the above. From what I can tell, this song will appear on the playlists for at least half of the series.

 

Metric – Gold Guns Girls
I heard this in the car coming back from a family function and thought “YES, this song”. Then I found out the lyrics were inspired by the movie “Scarface” and that was it. Because criminals and mobs. This is the sound of the Shar-denn’s gangster activity in the series. Welcome to the darker side of Canadian rock music.

 

Metric – Gold Guns Girls (Acoustic)
… And then, there was this. On my way to finding the album version, I stumbled across this acoustic version and immediately fell in love. It gives the song a rather different spin. A softer, emotional touch. A great song for those moments in the book when things are bittersweet and weighted with doubt.

 

Moana and the Tribe – Manawa Tahi
Music from a Māori band in New Zealand. I had the pleasure of seeing them live a few years ago and they were brilliant. This song provided the right inspiration at the right time in the book, during parts of the Uldana Trials where there’s a certain atmosphere and feeling.

 

Skylar Grey – Words
Somehow this made it onto the playlist, which is interesting considering I usually can’t listen to this song without being a mess (ever since my mom died, it hits a little too close to home). But sometimes, as a writer, things go into that place and you do things you normally wouldn’t. In this case, this worked for the worst possible feels in the book.

 

Underworld – And I Will Kiss (feat. Dame Eve Glennie)(London Olympics 2012)
I don’t do sports and I usually avoid the Olympic Games like the plague. But I did catch the Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in 2012 and wow, I’m so glad I did! Of the whole thing, this opening piece was the most amazing. It took me until recently to realize the music was done by Underworld (my dad loves their music), but seeing the whole thing unfold at the Games was a HOLY S*#T moment. The video here shows only still photos, but there might be a live version somewhere that the Games Committee didn’t have taken down. I can’t remember exactly where I used this to write, but it was there (mostly the first ten minutes).

 

Woodkid – Never Let You Down (feat. Lykke Li)
Going back to that romantic feels thing…

 

Zella Day – Sacrifice
And finally, the list ends with Zella. Because at the end of the day, the themes in this book include sacrifice, the things people do for those they love, and the fear of being alone. This is a song for a hero and a relationship that fights to hold on.

 

 

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The Republic Book #3 Has Been Signed! Blood Borne: Enemies-to-lovers & Bad Things (+ excerpt)

Wooooo! There’s some partying going on around here: Blood Borne’s been picked up by Less Than Three Press. *happy dance* It’s the third book in The Republic series and reveals several things that are key to the series going forward. It also offers both my first asexual MC and first bigender MC.

The contract has come at such an amazing time. I finished edits on the galley for Four (book #2) this week and I’m currently working on book #4, Soulbound. Together with Blood Borne, the three books form a snug trio within the whole series. There’s a lot of spill-over.

More information to come in 2017. For right now, here’s a bit about the book and an excerpt.

 

BLOOD BORNE Coming in 2017 poster

 

 

About Blood Borne:

For Ress, survival is nothing short of a complicated nightmare. Caught between two masters on different sides of the law, his life is falling apart one bad decision at a time. All he wants is to be is a good person, a loyal family man, and a successful metalsmith–a fantasy he can never obtain while he works for the Shar-denn, the gang that plagues the republic of Kattal with violence and criminal activity.

To make matters worse, he works as an informant for the High Council. He scrapes through both jobs waiting for his last breath, knowing his usefulness is coming to an end. As the Shar-denn motto says: “The only way out is dead.”

Death is coming sooner than he expects.

No stranger to living complicated decisions, Adren is caught between worlds of cir own. The child of a Shar-denn faction boss, Adren is alone after the rest of cir family is arrested. Enraged and on the run, Adren is determined to punish Ress for turning in cir family. No one betrays the gang and lives. In true Shar-denn style, he will pay in blood.

 

Excerpt:

No one betrayed the Shar-denn and got away with it. No one.

And no one hurts my family without paying for it. Revenge isn’t sweet, it’s necessary. And I’m going to bring so much necessary upon this guy he’ll feel it for all eternity.

Gripping Pade by the collar, Adren tugged him close. “Give me the name. Tell me whose blood I need to wear.”

“Ress.” Pade’s lips curled into a smirk. “If you’re going to do your daddy proud, please tell me I can come with.”

Adren shoved him back. “Be my guest. There’ll be enough guts to go around.”

“There won’t be anything if we don’t shut up and get moving.” Darus growled and snapped his fingers at the quiet, gangly man in the furthest corner. “You, Heweth, get that damn door open.” He sheathed his knife as Heweth obeyed, dragging a short ladder with him from where it had leaned against the wall. “The rest of you run. Don’t look back, don’t give me sad eyes, don’t give me lip. Head for cache houses in any direction that isn’t where we’re going or find one of the other hideaways. When you get there, spread the word that Rivane’s gone down.”

Heweth positioned the ladder beneath the ceiling door and climbed the steps. The door squeaked as Heweth opened it slowly, allowing dim light to creep into the hidey-hole. Adren bit back cir protest as Darus clapped a dirty hand over cir mouth, jerking cir against his chest.

“Shut it,” Darus whispered, tilting his head and stepping against the wall, hiding in the safety of the shadows. No one breathed or moved, the perfect silence in the cellar disrupted by the soft sounds of leaves moving in the breeze. Heweth pushed the door open further and stuck his head out, glancing in every direction he could manage without falling.

“Clear,” Heweth announced with a hoarse whisper, pushing the door open completely. “See you on the other side.” He scrambled out of the hole and disappeared into the darkness, his footsteps heavy on fallen leaves, branches cracking in his wake.

Pade grabbed Adren’s hand and yanked cir from Darus. “Your turn.” He pulled cir towards the steps, gripping cir tight as he climbed the ladder and dragged cir with him.

From behind, Darus shoved Adren up the steps, jabbing cir in the back and pushing on cir legs.

Hands off, Adren almost yelled. If circumstances were different, ce would have turned around and punched him in the throat.

Things are already complicated enough. And that bastard—that unbelievable, cock-twisting bastard of a little bitch—he snitched on us. Us!

Adren snarled at Pade as he hauled cir onto the grass, twigs snapping under their shifting weight. It should have been Mordane standing there with cir. It should have been Tethe pushing cir up the steps. Rivane should have been the first to run, not an overpaid lackey who they would likely never see again. Not one of the men in the hole would ever measure up to the men that had raised cir. For all of Tethe’s inner darkness and inconsiderate impositions, he was the staunch protector ce needed to feel safe in cir own home. When no one else could be trusted, Tethe was the one ce turned to, knowing his scathing hands would settle any danger ce could not ward off cirself.

And when no one else wants to be seen with me, there’s Mordane, the only one who’s ever cared enough to love me for me most of the time. He’s the only one who bothers listening that little bit further. And they’re both gone because someone couldn’t keep their mouth shut.

As Darus pulled himself out of the hole, Adren flicked cir glance to the sky. Through the gaps in shaking branches and wilting leaves, ce glimpsed the stars, cursing every breath the snitch took. The last time ce had stared at the stars, ce had stood with Mordane and Tethe, laughing at the absurdity of wishing upon the night sky. It was so vast, so consuming, yet untouchable, unobtainable. A sea of cold emptiness waiting to crash down upon them and still people cast their hopes to the stars. Adren had agreed with cir brothers that would never be them, only one of the things they had in common. Stars would never dictate their future. Wishes would never fool them. They would make their own destinies, pulling each other along for the ride. None of them would be left behind.

Now that memory was tainted, muddied by a new memory of standing alone, wishing upon the stars for cir family to survive.

Darus snatched Adren’s arm. “Let’s go.” He pulled cir to the north, charging between bushes without waiting for Amelin to catch up. Pade hurried past them, light on his feet, scanning every direction for danger. So far, the soldiers’ focus seemed to have remained on the estate on the other side of the woods, though their luck could change at any moment.

“And you expect us to go where?” Adren clutched cir satchel, picking up cir pace to match Darus’s.

He sighed loudly, throwing an annoyed glance over his shoulder. “Cache house. We need information. Can’t catch a snitch when you don’t know where he is.”

“And we need a plan,” Amelin added, rushing up behind them, winded.

“That, too.” Darus tugged Adren harder. “But we need to leave now, so keep up.”

When he broke into a run, Adren followed, batting away leaves and tall grasses as they fled with Pade in the lead and Amelin behind. Each step that took cir away from home felt like a blunt saw shredding cir heart. The house ce had grown up in. The family ce loved. Both abandoned, both seized; both in the custody of cruel hands that would respect nothing about them.

Ress would die—a promise, not a hope. He would shed a drop of blood for every memory that haunted cir.

For each comforting image of cir father playing a game with cir, teaching cir about rules and strategy, Ress would weep at cir feet.

For every time ce remembered cir mother’s girlish laughter as they danced barefoot in the courtyard to the dulcet sounds of a string quartet, Ress would feel the lash of Adren’s wrath.

For all the times ce relived the times Mordane and Tethe had embraced cir and wiped the fear from cir soul with the gentlest glance, Ress would scream for mercy.

Ce would teach him what loyalty meant. Ce would bleed him dry.

I can just see him now: a sleazy, greasy, little man in expensive boots with cheap perfume. Not even worth the flimsy rag to wipe his guts from the wall. Or he’s some lazy lowlife of a rodent, toothless and clawing at the scraps. No prospects except to run his mouth. I bet he’s too stupid to hide.

Adren glanced at Darus, his long coat trailing behind him as he kept a steady pace, taking large strides with Pade through the harvested field before cir. They would find Ress and make certain he could never speak again. Any plan, any strategy. I’ll do whatever I have to do to shut him down, and these guys can take whatever shots they want. But the final kill is mine. I’ll make his soul writhe in agony forever then I’ll get my family back. And if there’s one life I’ll end happily, one name I’ll die saying without regret, it’s Ress’s.

 

 

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For the Clan: Facts & Trivia About the Book

 

During the process of writing For the Clan, I had to dig deep into the real world and pull out bits that worked. The book took me into a direction that I don’t normally go: a futuristic version of Canada with a dystopian spin. Usually I create whole new worlds, but this one wanted to stay firmly on Earth. And it turned out to be such an angsty outlook on Canada. Like, really, really angsty. It took me awhile, but I think I figured out why: other than the fact I love writing dark and angsty plots and characters, there’s a little thing called politics. At the time, I was pretty pissed off at what federal government was doing with our country and the road we were headed down. For the Canadians reading this, you know what I mean. One word: Harper. Had that line of political thought and disgusting discrimination continued, we wouldn’t have recognized our country.

So there’s THAT, one solid fact about the book that underlies the whole thing.

But wait, there’s more!

I thought I’d share a few of the facts about the book, just because I like sharing and some of it I found terribly interesting. So here we go…

 

For the Clan: Trivia and Fun Facts

(#1) Jace’s clan was named Teach because I was watching Crossbones at the time (TV show about the famous pirate, Blackbeard, also known as Edward Teach). I thought it worked well, in a weird sort of way.

 

(#2) The Sigma program is named after sigma receptors, which are affected by drugs. When I was thinking about Roan, his tattoos, and the program he was enrolled in, I kept thinking sigma was in there somewhere. I didn’t know why, just that it sounded like it belonged. When I looked up the use of sigma in the scientific world, I discovered its biological connection. It’s also used in statistics to denote standard deviation; or rather, the deviation from the statistical normal. I immediately knew I had to go with sigma: the word play made me laugh so hard, it’s embarrassing.

 

(#3) The clan’s gas masks are based off the M50 Joint Service General Purpose mask that’s in use right now by the United States armed forces.

 

(#4) The locations are based off of real places. The fight between the military and rogue element is based off a mall in London, Ontario that I visit monthly, and it really is north of a university (my alma mater, actually… love you, Western U!). The prologue is based off a couple towns on Lake Huron where my grandmother lives – they’ve been a big part of my life as much as my hometown and London, involving many a summer vacation and family Christmas. (Incidentally, she’s the same grandmother who writes.)

 

(#5) The “burning monks” mentioned are inspired by real incidents. The photograph referenced is that of Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk. He burned himself to death at a busy intersection in Saigon, Vietnam on June 11, 1963, in protest of the persecution of Buddhists by the government. The chilling photograph, taken by Malcolm Browne, has been famous since. (Don’t look it up if you’re easily queasy.)

 

(#6) Nannie’s name is pronounced “Nah-nee” rather than “Nan-nee”. The spelling was inspired by a nickname given to Anne Boleyn (Black Nan) and ties back to Roan’s mother, Anna.

Although a fun fact I’ve learned recently: in the mid-1800s, members of the Newash tribe were still in Owen Sound, a major town which is roughly a 30 minute drive from Port Elgin and Southampton (the towns featured in For the Clan’s prologue). At the time, their leader was Chief Senegal, who had a daughter… named Nah-nee-bah-wee-quay (“Upright Woman”). [According to Owen Sound: The Port City by Paul White] In a strange way, that ties the beginning and end of For the Clan together, all within the concept of a nomadic society and matters of the people versus government. Mind. Blown.

 

(#7) The character Winchester was named after the Winchester rifle. Yeah, I went there.

 

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that are the major facts worth sharing!

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