Posted in Interviews

World Building With MD Stewart

What Follows is an interview conducted by Emily Carrington with Sci-Fi/Romance author, MD Stewart.

Emily: the Internet is flooded with world building techniques. What we are here to find out today is how specific authors create their universes.
Emily: what is your main genre?

MD Stewart: I primarily write Science-Fiction romance and Paranormal romance. I have a few unfinished books in my files that are contemporary romance, but my imagination just won’t let me have a “normal” universe! I write all types of romantic partners too; male/female, male/female/male, male/male/female and most recently all male/gay romance.

Emily: what do readers expect from this genre?

MD Stewart: Well, from Sci-Fi romance, I think they want to see aliens, space travel and of course love between races. They want the couple to overcome differences between cultures or issues of prejudice against “aliens”.
In paranormal romance, I think readers want to see magic or strange creatures and how every day humans deal with finding out another world exists beyond what they’ve known their entire lives. Do we see movies and read about vampires? Sure, but do we really think they exist? No. So what happens when someone is confronted not only with the knowledge that they are not only real, but they are attracted to one? Shapeshifters are another enigma that I love to explore. In my Paranormal B&B series I try to bring in different types of supernatural creatures. Ghosts, Psychic Vampires, Incubus, Angels, Demons, Hellhound Shifters, Trolls, the list goes on.
In both genres I think readers want characters they can relate to and care about.

Emily: in terms of world building, what do you bring to this genre that is different or the same as readers’ expectations?

MD Stewart: I love to reimagine the backstories of creatures we all have read about; change it up. We all know about vampires, they’ve been written about forever. But what about Psychic Vampires? Creatures who need the emotional energy of others? They aren’t “created” like Sanguine Vampires where they’re turned by a bite and take in blood of a vamp. Psychic Vampires are born like any other human but they are born with a hole in their aura and need to syphon excess energy from humans to refill their own drained soul. Without that recharging, they’ll wither away and die. That is different and that is my character Killian in Born an Empty Soul. I’d like to think my imagination builds a Universe that has unique characters with unique abilities. I hope it gives the reader something different they can enjoy.

Emily: what world building went in to your latest release?

MD Stewart: My latest release, Born a Halfling, is the fourth book in my Paranormal B&B series. Along with characters I hope my readers have come to care about, I introduce a former Marine who was injured in Afghanistan and found his healing through Drag. Since it’s my first MMM romance, I needed to build a relationship between my three guys that was believable. One man is a security guard that met Michael when they were serving in the Middle East. One is the title character, a half-demon/half-angel who knew Michael all through childhood into early adulthood through their shared dreams.
I also needed to explore the Cross Roads, the world beyond ours where supernatural creatures live and where humans go to be escorted to heaven (Rest) or hell (Hellfire Lake). I’ve spoken of it and shown small glimpses of it in previous books, but do so more in ‘Halfling’ and even more will be revealed in the next book, Born a Demon.

Emily: please check out the latest release below:


https://barnesandnoble.com/w/1133620135
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/born-a-halfling
https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1480320615
https://www.changelingpress.com/born-a-halfling-paranormal-b-b-4-b-2923

Posted in Interviews

A Visit with Whitley Grey

Hello, Readers! Welcome to a series of stories about renewed love and/or love happening during the renewing times: mid-winter or spring. This week’s visitor is Whitley Grey.

WhitleyGray_MidwinterNightsDream_coverlg

Tell us about Midwinter Night’s Dream and how you came up with this idea.

This is the story of a man who gets lost in a blizzard and the man who saves him. Errol delivers singing telegrams to eke out a living, and takes one last job despite the forecast of heavy snow. Joe is a model and former fireman, returning to his family’s cabin in the woods to deal with the loss of his lover two Christmases ago.

My extended family had a cabin in the woods when I was growing up, and those memories served me in creating the setting.

How much research did you have to do about firemen before you created Joe’s character?

It wasn’t too bad. A couple of firemen answered questions about the types of fire and rescue described in the book. The culture of the firehouse and the pressure of belonging to a family of firemen took addition research.

This story sounds complicated and fun! Two broken men seeking redemption. Is it one character’s story more than the other? Or do they both grow equally? And how do they grow?

I think it’s pretty evenly distributed. I love Errol’s personality—he’s somewhat quirky, and a survivor. Joe’s paramedic background and how he saves Errol resonates with my medical background. They both grow—Errol learns to trust, and Joe learns to let go of the past.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to write romance?

Learn the basics of writing. Online classes are an excellent way to do this. Get the fundamentals mastered and then build from there. Join a critique group—these people can help you see your manuscript’s blind spots. Last, READ. A lot. In whatever subgenre you want to write. I read about 200 M/M books before writing the first one.

BUY: http://www.amazon.com/Midwinter-Nights-Dream-Whitley-Gray-ebook/dp/B00H89ANJO/ref=sr_sp-atf_image_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392346332&sr=1-1&keywords=whitley+gray

Excerpt:

Heat surrounded Errol’s body. The surface beneath him was soft, and he couldn’t perceive any light through his eyelids. His hands and feet hurt. He was exhausted and achy. Couldn’t open his eyes. A little more rest…

Something ticked out a muted rhythm, and every click made his head throb. During his nap someone had taken a ball-peen hammer to his head, and his tongue had become glued to the roof of his mouth. Felt like the hangover from hell.

Water. Water would be good. A hint of wood smoke filled Errol’s nose, mixed with a spicier smell—evergreen and clove, like Christmas. He must be dreaming.

The featherweight web of sleep persisted, and he rubbed at his eyes and opened them a crack. Wait a minute. Where was he?

Well, first of all, warm and cozy in an enormous bed. Not his; not by a long shot. The thing was heaped with sleeping bags and quilts, making the covers weighty. He squinted and peeked under the covers. Naked. The ache behind his eyes intensified as he absorbed his lack of clothing. Yikes.

A dozen feet away, there was a fireplace made of river rock, flanked by bookcases. Banked embers glowed in the hearth, outlining walls made of logs in faint rosy light. A clock ticked on the mantel, the source of the tapping irritating his ears. A sweep of muted plaid framed the dark windows, and snow hissed against the panes, seeking entry. Okay, naked, in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar place. What the—

Something rustled next to him, and he rolled over. A tuft of dark curls stuck up from the covers. Nothing else of his bedmate showed. Holy shit, make that naked next to an unfamiliar body.

Oh, no. No, no, no. He couldn’t remember doing the sing-o-gram, but maybe he’d had a holiday drink and ended up sleeping with someone at the client’s house? Judging by the way his head felt, he had the mother of all hangovers, and if alcohol had been involved, who knew? Man, he’d be in such deep shit. Pour Vous had a strict no-sex-with-the-clients policy. If he’d broken the rules, Smitty would roast his chestnuts over an open fire and cut him loose. Without a job, he’d be out on the street in a week. He shivered.

Smitty didn’t have to know.

With a deep sigh, the bedmate rolled over, one arm pushing the covers down to the waist. Errol’s eyes widened. Whoops. Naked, muscular, and male. Dark curly hair, a shadow of beard covering his jaw, and a face like a model. Errol had never really understood the meaning of chiseled features before now, but this met the definition. Yowza.

Wait a minute. Smitty had said the telegram recipient was a blond woman. This was very definitely not her. So who the hell was this guy? Had Errol slept with him? Like wild-monkey-sex slept with him?

This had to be some crazy dream. Must be that convenience-store burrito he’d eaten for lunch. Guys like Errol didn’t wake up with guys like this. Errol pinched himself and blinked. The guy was still there.

Posted in Interviews

New Year’s Eve Chat

Dear Readers,

What follows is a series of conversations that took place when I invited eight characters over for New Year’s Eve.

DragonFood_CoverfromKatie[1]EC_Heartwood_coverfrtell-me-I'm-home

New Year’s Eve Chat

Part One: Preparations

Mark Tavery’s POV:

Mark had been stewing for the better part of an hour. Maybe once his husband, Luke, got home things would settle down. Luke always made things—explosions, pending staff get-togethers, argumentative dragon herds—seem less cataclysmic.

Thanks to Emily, he, Luke, and at least six others she called “characters” would attend a cocktail party. How did she expect Mark, a water dragon who loved his magical universe just the way it was, to make small talk with two men from post-World War II America, another two who lived and breathed the modern military life, and two kids?

Luke poofed into the condo he and Mark shared. He stood in the doorway between kitchen and living room.

Golden-haired and muscular, his very presence took Mark’s stress down a notch.

The genie bowed, proffering a bottle. “There are a dozen more where this came from.”

Mark smirked at the well-known label. “I assume you’re also bringing rum and Coke?”

Luke’s eyes twinkled. “To get you drunk? Is that what you want, my Mark?” He tried a severe expression, but it evaporated the moment Mark touched him.

“Maybe that’s a good way to get through the night,” the water dragon told his husband. And maybe everything will go all right. Luke’s a genie; how much can a simple celebration get out of hand? “In any case, we don’t need to worry for another couple of hours.” He put the bottle into the fridge. “We have a little time on our hands. What should we do with it?”

Luke laughed. Then he magicked both his and Mark’s clothes off.

* * * *

Will Jefferson’s POV

Will watched Don take the roaster out of the oven. “How long until we’re expected at this shindig?”

Don set the pan on top of the stove. Using a potholder, he took the top off the roaster and smiled. “This is done finally.”

“We have to bring food?”

Don shrugged. “Maybe it isn’t the custom to bring a dish to pass in whatever year Emily’s staged this party, but here and now, in 1946, we pay our respects.” He glanced at Will and raised an eyebrow. “Or do you have an issue with that, mister Southern hospitality?”

Will shook his head. “You’re never going to stop picking on me about my birthplace, are you?” he asked the white boy.

“Not until you treat everyone like they’re human first and of a different race second.”

He scowled. “Asking if this is a potluck occasion Ms. Emily Carrington has organized isn’t a black/white thing. It’s a politeness thing.”

Don grinned. “I know.”

Will stared. “Then why’d you say—”

“Because having you slightly annoyed makes for good sex.” He wrapped his arms around Will, pulling him into a kiss.

Mmm. Don always kissed like a randy private. Or a sex-starved sailor who’d finally hit dry land. Moaning, Will pulled his lover closer, trying to meld their bodies.

A minute or so later, Don pulled away slightly. “The chicken’s done. Shall we savor a little pre-dinner dessert?”

Will pulled him out of the kitchen, down the hall, and into their bedroom.

 

Part Two: First Encounters

 

Xander Tsoukatos’s POV:

The ride from Washington, DC seemed to take no time at all. Before Xander knew it, he and his husband, John, stood on the front steps of Emily’s house. It was a little place, much like their house on the air force base, but Xander noticed the elegant, well-built porch.

John rang the bell.

It wasn’t Emily who greeted them at the door, but a dark-haired man with intense ocean-blue eyes. He raised an eyebrow at them.

“John and Xander Tsoukatos,” Xander introduced them.

“Mark. Come on in. The party hasn’t started yet.”

They walked into a room with dark ceiling beams and a fireplace.

French doors led into another room. As John walked through, Xander paused to examine the delicate etching on the doors. Each pane was a scene: forest, mountain, beach. He was arrested by an etching of a tall oak free. He crouched and studied the tree more closely. By the leaves on the ground, it was autumn in that scene.

“I copied that earlier,” someone said behind Xander. “It’ll make a great carving for Aid’.”

Still crouching, Xander turned. He faced a young man—maybe still a teenager—who was even shorter than the man who’d greeted them at the door.

“I’m Mike,” the kid said. “And Aidan’s around here somewhere.”

He got to his feet and shook Mike’s hand. “I’m Xander.” He tilted his head, studying Mike.

The kid raised an eyebrow. “Yes?” He seemed both amused and curious.

Here’s someone who’s never been hurt. “I don’t mean to be rude, but how old are you?”

Mike grinned. “You’re the second person to ask me that. I’m twenty. So’s Aidan, for what it’s worth. We’re probably the youngest here by five years.”

There he went again, mentioning someone named Aidan. Probably his boyfriend. “I’d like to meet Aidan.”

Mike smiled. “I’ll introduce you.” He walked between the doors, and Xander followed.

* * * *

Luke Morrison’s POV:

The boy, Aidan, stood at one counter. He’d come to help Luke in the kitchen. He was competent, if opinionated. He mixed drinks with a practiced hand.

He was also blind.

Luke had never wished for the ability to change another’s nature more than he did when he saw disabled people. It wasn’t within his magical abilities to fix how someone had been born or how they’d become, but his heart went out to them.

“Stop staring at me,” Aidan said. “You have drinks to mix and food to make appear out of thin air.” He shook his head, and his voice was laced with wonder when he added, “Or whatever else genies do.”

Standing a few feet farther along the counter, Luke blinked in surprise. “How did you know I was looking at you?” So far as he knew, his and Mark’s universe was the only one where Emily had introduced elements of magic. And that included telepathy.

Aidan snorted. “Practice.” He felt along the counter to his right.

Luke frowned. “You are blind. But…”

The young man faced him. “But what?” He crossed his muscular arms and stared without staring at Luke.

It was as if, without sight, he could see Luke’s soul. Suddenly Luke craved nothing more than to have Mark backing him up. Protecting him from this self-possessed man who was probably no more than twenty-one.

He hunched his shoulders, aware that he was imitating what Mark did when the dragon felt exposed or uneasy. “You’re happy being who you are. That…” He searched for the right phrase. “That blows my mind.”

Luke expected Aidan to get in his face, but the younger man relaxed, dropping his arms. “How long have you been alive?”

“About a thousand years.”

“And I’m the first blind guy you’ve met? I find that hard to believe.”

“You’re not.” Luke shifted his feet. “But you’re probably the only person with disabilities I’ve actually talked to. Spared more than a moment’s pity for.”

Aidan stepped forward, his mouth thinned to a single line. He stood about two steps from Luke. “Can you put this kitchen back together if it’s messed up?”

Confused, Luke nodded. “I still have my magic.”

Aidan attacked him.

Luke didn’t want to hurt the blind kid by using magic. And got punched for his consideration.

Aidan followed the knuckle sandwich with a blow to the side of Luke’s neck that would have caused damage if Luke wasn’t a genie. Then the kid landed an uppercut in Luke’s side. The chaser was a snap kick as Luke doubled over.

Luke gathered his magic around him into a shield, ready to take the guy on, blindness or not.

But Aidan retreated several steps, bowed slightly, and said, “Don’t pity me. The ones to feel sorry for are the people who don’t have talent, love, good work ethic, and confidence.”

Luke stood straight and advanced, holding out his hand. “Thank you for the lesson.” He smirked as he and Aidan shook hands. “You must be lucky. If you’d tried that with Mark, my husband would have bitten your head off. Literally.”

“Yum,” said a voice from the doorway. “Tastes like chicken.” Mark crossed to join them, slipping an arm around Luke’s waist. He offered a predator’s hungry smile. “You’re not hurt?”

“No,” Luke said.

Aidan bowed again, more deeply. “I’ll keep my hands to myself from now on.”

He’s intimidated by my Mark, Luke thought in amazement.

“Not necessary,” Mark answered, and Luke was surprised to see his lover looking up at him with a touch of admonishment in his eyes. “You taught Luke a lesson he should’ve learned years ago.” He nodded toward the counter. “Do you two need a hand?”

Shaking his head and grinning, Luke tugged his husband in for a kiss.

 

Part Three: Trouble at the Table

 

Mike Delaney’s POV:

He watched Aidan chat with the two men from the magic-filled world as if all three were old friends meeting again after years apart. All three sat at the opposite end of the long table from Mike, but that was okay. Aidan could more than handle himself, and Mike was having too much fun listening to Xander’s stories to be unsettled by so many alpha types being in one room.

“There were fifteen of them,” Xander was saying. “Officers’ wives are sweet, at least in my humble opinion, but they’re also human.” He laughed. Then he scooted his chair closer to Mike’s and whispered, “If I’d never married John, I wouldn’t have met so many supportive women, but I miss my work in the clinic.”

‘What kind of clinic?” Mike asked, lowering his voice in response to Xander’s suddenly secretive behavior.

“The Fairy Clinic—” he smirked, possibly at the name—“deals mostly with AIDS, although they also help with Hepatitis C and a few others. Many of the patients there just need a steady, calm presence while they get their results or wait for appointments. They know me as Mister Chamomile Tea.” He smirked. “Or as the card sharp spotter. I don’t let one group of friends cheat another.”

Mike grinned. “I like it. You’re a guardian angel.”

“More like a pita angel.”

“Pita?” Mike asked, picturing the folded bread-like stuff from a Mexican restaurant.

“Pain in the ass.”

Mike laughed. “Did you come up with that? It’s a great acronym.”

Xander leaned back in his chair. “John’s air force buddies are the kings of acronyms, but that’s not mine or theirs.”

“Why aren’t you working at the clinic anymore?”

Xander closed his eyes. “John’s jealous.”

Mike squirmed. “I know what that’s like. Aid’ and I dealt with my jealousy within the first month of our relationship, but we came close to calling it off right there.”

Xander moved his chair nearer, and he was back to whispering. “What made you jealous? Didn’t you trust your boyfriend?”

“I do.” Mike bit his lip. “I did. But…it was a misunderstanding. I thought I was one of Aidan’s conquests, that he didn’t want a real relationship.”

“Hmm.” Xander scowled. “I wonder if that’s John’s issue.” He shrugged and sat up. “Well, this isn’t the time for talk like that.”

“Talk like what?”

Mike jumped. He stared up at the buff, intimidating man who wore some sort of military dress uniform. Shit. This had to be John. Mike slumped in his seat, hoping the man would ignore him.

Xander rolled his eyes. “With your creeping ability, you should’ve been a Vietnam-era spook,” he told his husband.

John sat down on Xander’s other side. “You can’t talk. You’re flirting right in front of me.” He shot a glance at Mike. “With a kid.”

Mike looked away, seeking help. Where was Emily? Hadn’t she created these guys to be in love? Why hadn’t she stepped in?

Xander shoved his chair back and got up. “Screw you.” He stalked out of the room.

The two men from the 1940s grabbed John’s arms as he stood to follow.

“Come on,” the black guy said. “Let’s find a cooling off place.”

“Or some beer,” his lover added.

Would it look suspicious if Mike went after Xander? Probably, he decided, but nobody else seemed inclined. So as soon as the two 1940s guys took John out of the room, Mike made for the French doors and the room with the fireplace beyond.

That was when Aidan called his name, softly, and urged Mike to sit back down.

“This is still supposedly the season of hope,” Aidan said. “Let’s get a game plan before we try talking sense into those two.”

 

John Tsoukatos’s POV:

“I don’t need any beer.” He jerked away from the hulking men. No slouch himself in the muscles department, he still felt uneasy around two men who’d supposedly gone through the same military training he had. Or at least the equivalents from sixty years ago. “I’ll talk to Xander myself. This just isn’t the time.”

The taller of the two men—white like John, but resembling a blond bear—laughed. “We saw how well you handled it so far. You need a few minutes to calm down. That’s what we’re giving you.”

“You’re so insecure in your love you don’t trust him?” the shorter, more muscular, black man asked.

John scowled. “You’ve never seen Xander in a dress. You’ve never watched people flock to him like he’s their god. It’s not him I don’t trust; it’s them.”

“Can he fight off the adoring throngs?” the blond bear asked quietly.

Given the way Xander had granted a black eye to the last one who’d made an over-aggressive pass at him… “Yeah.” John threw up his hands. “But that doesn’t mean I want him mingling with sex-crazed people on a regular basis.”

“Not everyone’s fuck-focused all the time,” the black guy said.

John opened his mouth, but then closed it. Both men were looking at him as though he had a stick up his ass. Unsure what to say, John grimaced, folded his arms, and ignored them.

 

Xander Tsoukatos’s POV:

Xander knocked on the doorframe that stood between the dining room and the small room where the escorts had taken John. He watched all three turn to face him, and he read their expressions easily: exasperation, confusion, and annoyance. John was the confused one. That might be a good sign. Xander walked in.

Before he could say anything, the room filled up behind him. Emily’s other guests were coming to see this showdown. What kind of “characters” had she invented?

“Jealousy’s natural,” the dragon, Mark, said without preamble or any indication that he was ashamed for intruding.

“We’ve all dealt with it in one form or another,” Luke said.

Aidan snorted. “That’s for damn sure.” He grinned. “And in case you’re wondering, Xander, it wasn’t just Mike.”

“So if the two of you are going to survive as a couple,” Don said, “you’ll have to learn to talk.”

John blushed, which made him look adorable. “Maybe we should.” He stepped forward, taking Xander’s hands. “I know you love me. Please give me another chance to prove I love you.”

“It’s not a question of love,” Xander answered, but he hugged his husband. “It’s not even trust, I don’t think.” He pulled back and met John’s earnest gaze. “It really is that we still don’t know each other well enough.”

“Does that mean I should send you home to get reacquainted?”

Xander turned, blinking when he saw the single woman among them. “Emily?” He cleared his throat, remembering she’d created him. “Ms. Carrington?”

She raised both eyebrows until they disappeared into her bangs. “Emily’s fine. And I definitely need to send you home.” She smirked. “Love and make-up sex fix almost everything.”

 

Peace!

–Emily

Posted in Blog, Books, Interviews

Tell Me I’m Home: first conversation with a potential fan!

Dear Readers,

For your amusement, this is a post I made on FB and the resulting conversation.

 

Putting this up where some gay men (or those who like to read about gay men) might see it. “Like” this post and have a chance to win a box of dark chocolate sea salt caramels.

December 21
The officers’ wives had invited him for tea. Not for a rousing game of basketball, tennis, or even chess. For tea. What was he supposed to do in a parlor, surrounded by delicate cups, tinkling laughter, and doilies?
Xander shuddered. “Doilies, John. You can’t be sending me into a battlefield that includes doilies.”
His husband of two weeks smirked at him from where he stood in front of the dresser. BDUs on halfway, John Tsoukatos masqueraded as a partial god, partial GI Joe standee. “I thought being part of the military community sounded like ‘all sorts of fun.’ Isn’t that what you said when you agreed to take up with me?”
Xander cast through his shirts, seeking one that wouldn’t look too “out there” according to the assumed military standards. Assumed by me, but confirmed by everything I’ve ever heard about the military. “I don’t regret making our relationship official”—never in life would he regret it—“but I didn’t realize all the required frills that would come with saying ‘I do.’”
“The officers’ wives aren’t harpies,” John said. Fully decked out in his everyday uniform at last, he sat down on the end of their bed to tie his boots. “They’re women. Good women, for the most part. Major Cassock’s wife is a gem. And the others will fall right in line today because this meeting’s organized by the Colonel’s wife, Nora, and she’s a piece.”
“A piece of what?” Xander asked, pulling his head out of the closet.
“A peach.” John smiled. “Relax, Xander. You’ll love them.” He grinned. “And look at it this way: with your long hair, you’ll fit right in. Keiko Armstrong’s hair isn’t even as long as yours, and she’s the queen of understated fashion.”
Xander didn’t respond. John was trying to be helpful, but beyond that Xander heard the familiar note of “I’m being patient in spite of your madness” tone creeping into his husband’s voice. Any further questions and John might snap.
Not that John’s testiness was bad on a day-to-day basis. It normally led to some pretty hot make-up sex. Or some plain old “rough for the sake of being rough” lovemaking that left Xander craving full-out BDSM.
Either floated Xander’s boat just fine.
John stood. “You can come home whenever you want.” He crossed to Xander, turned him gently, and kissed him. “Try? For me?” He laughed. “Besides, after six years of our long-distance loving and you moving whenever I thought I’d be staying in one place for more than six months, meeting a few women—and seeing their doilies—can’t be that bad.”
Xander nodded. “I know.” He swept his hair behind his right ear so it wouldn’t get in the way and resumed their kiss. Mmm. John tasted of coffee and something fruity. “What did you eat this morning?”
“Toast. With homemade raspberry jam.”
The jam Xander had made before their wedding.
John’s next words squashed the warm feeling in Xander’s chest. “I’ll eat a real breakfast at the chow hall.”
With all your buddies I haven’t gotten to meet yet. Xander shoved that thought to the back of his mind. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell had been repealed for less than a year. He and John had been married for barely two weeks. There simply hadn’t been time for more than John going to work and Xander staying in the house they didn’t own, longing to paint the walls and redesign the landscaping in the front yard but knowing he wasn’t allowed to make any significant changes. Bases on the East Coast might be more accepting as a rule, but conformity was still strongly encouraged.
“You taste good,” Xander said, drawing on the raspberry-jam comment. He closed the distance again, grinning when he found John smiling into the lip-lock. “Yes?” he asked, pulling away half an inch.
John’s milk-chocolate eyes sparkled with humor. “I love you. Don’t worry so much.” He stepped back. “If the officers’ wives don’t love you, they’re crazy. I bet they’ll start a contest to see who can French braid your hair the most elegantly.”
“Oh God. Not that.” Xander grinned. “I’d better get going. They wanted everyone to bring a dish to pass for brunch, and I haven’t even started my famous sausage-and-peppers casserole.” Why had he been worrying about what shirt to wear in the first place? He should cook in an apron but without a shirt. As much as he enjoyed being in the kitchen, his fastidious nature wouldn’t allow for oil stains on his clothes. “Go on. You don’t want to be late. The chief will make you give him fifty.”
“That’s drop and give him fifty. Chief Ringgold’s not the BJ type .”
“Lucky for me. And ‘drop and give him fifty’ sounds wrong in the right context.”
“You’re only thinking that because your ‘erotica on the moon’ is due in three weeks and you just finished the outline.”
Xander blushed. “It’s only a short story. I’ll be done in plenty of time for the deadline.”
John pinched Xander’s cheek. “Don’t spend too much time trying to impress the ladies. You’re handsome just the way you are.”
“So are you, GI John.” Bare-chested and wishing he could drag his husband back to bed, Xander nevertheless shoved John toward the door. “Get going. Whether it’s push-ups the traditional way or the new, more creative variety, I don’t want you having to do more than necessary. Unless you’re practicing them on me, of course.”

Tell Me I’m Home: Blue Ticket and Adeste Fideles comes out from Loose Id on December 17.

Elizabeth   I’m not a gay man but can I like it just for candy?

Emily Carrington I suppose, Elizabeth  , but you might like the story too. (Assuming you’re not opposed to two stories where hot men get it on over the Christmas holidays.

Emily Carrington Thanks, Nicholas Rivituso!

Elizabeth   I have never read such a thing, but I like men and I like hot men, so. My husband might question my motives, but if I just tell him I’m secretly a gay man and married him for his hot bod, he will leave me alone. XD

Emily Carrington I have two gay friends, a couple, and they read my first book, Dragon Food, for two different reasons. Jeff read it for literary value. Allen read it for the sex. Considering they went at it after reading, I can only assume it’s…inspiring.

Elizabeth   So 50 Shades of Grey for gay people. I can dig it. XDDDD

Emily Carrington Ummmm. Fifty Shades with a plot. Where the sex is secondary to the story.

Elizabeth   (I didn’t read FSOG)

Elizabeth   In fact, I haven’t read anything not a textbook in a very long, long time.

Emily Carrington I tried. It was full of bad grammar and cardboard characters. Drove me up a wall.

Elizabeth   So Twilight but with S&M?

Elizabeth   and Sans Glitter?

Emily Carrington Tell Me I’m Home will be good for you then. Each story is about twenty pages.

Emily Carrington Yes! No glitter. Although Xander (from Adeste Fideles, the second story in the book) is prone to long, flowing dresses.

Emily Carrington Do you mind if I post this conversation on my website? It makes me smile. I can black out your name if you want.

Elizabeth   I like dresses. I approve.

Elizabeth   Nope, not at all. If you could black out my last name, I’d appreciate it. <_< My MIL is one of the top rottweiler breeders in the country and I’ve found that the rest of us are easy to track down through her (creepilyyyyyy).

Emily Carrington Oooo! Puppies!

Emily Carrington (My guide dog is a Labrador.)

Elizabeth   Yeah our last name…isn’t…really…common?

Emily Carrington Makes sense. I’m lucky I’m using a pen name. Of course, Pepper and Nick know who I am. I started writing shortly after meeting Pepper.

Emily Carrington There are more of us than people think. You can find my stuff on Amazon too.

Emily Carrington I need to go to bed now. Erotic romance novelists turn in early. (Or something like that…) Peace, Elizabeth!

Peace all, and good night!

–Emily