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angelsredemptionTitle: Angel’s Redemption
Author: Azalea Moone
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 31k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Heat: 2 – Romantic & Tame
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Angels, Fallen Angels, Rockers/Musicians, Metal Music, Roommates, Luck, Insta-Love
Rating: Not Feelin’ It

BLURB

Twenty-four-year-old Blaine Schneider is seasoned to hardship. Since the age of eight, he’s experienced nothing but a swarm of bad luck: from the funny electrical fire in shop class to failing grades and relationships gone sour. He believes he’ll never get past it; only his band, ‘Til Dark, and their dream, keeps him going through it all.

Shortly after he mysteriously inherits a beautifully carved angel statue, Blaine also finds an apartment big enough to display the lifelike sculpture, and he thinks his luck has finally taken a turn for the better. But when he discovers the spell inscribed on the statue’s base, he frees Lynsael from his stone prison, a handsome fallen angel who claims to be Blaine’s former guardian angel, and then his luck really improves.

But while Blaine is falling hard for the angel’s blue eyes and lively personality, in the shadows, dark forces are working to keep Blaine and Lynsael apart. It will take more than luck for the pair to come through unscathed—it’ll take a miracle.

REVIEW

I shouldn’t apologize for my feelings and I try not to usually, but I will, because I tend to do that. Sorry ahead of time to those who put a lot of love and care into the creation of this book, this isn’t really going to be a positive review 😦

I have a love/hate relationship with angel stories. I think that maybe people are turned onto angels for a few different reasons, but a lot of it has to do with the loss of innocence. There are so many directions an author can take an angelic character — an exploration of literary history and popular angelic mythos, playing on the fallen angel theme and the dichotomy of innocence and corruption, angelic and human. Many romance novels place a lot of importance on world building as a backdrop to the reason their angel falls and then some place the romance itself as the focus of their story. Many of those stories are where I find myself not as interested. I like seeing an author’s imagination in world building of angel stories. I think that what I really don’t like is that I sometimes find angels in romance stories to be somewhat… vapid? without personality? They convey all of that innocence but it seems one dimensional. It’s hard to connect with a character like that, and even though it might be a purposeful choice because angels are in fact, not human (who knew?!), that doesn’t necessarily make it a good choice for the story.

That’s where I started to encounter some problems for me with Angel’s Redemption. I like this author’s prose, no doubt about that. And that is probably why I continually come back to read her stories even though, in the past, I’ve not been very kind in my reviews. So for me, taking a gamble on this story for review was… well, a gamble, what with the angel theme and my past history with not liking some of this author’s characters so much. The premise of this story is the freedom of an angel who is bound in a statue. Blaine received the statue, which has always mystified and alternately unnerved him, from his father’s best friend, an artist who worked on the statue for a long time and for some unknown reason left it to Blaine in his will. When Blaine moves to an apartment with enough space to showcase the beautiful rendition of the male form (au naturel), he puts it in a place where he can showcase it, even adding a spotlight to show it off.

In the meantime, Blaine is trying to make his sucky life better. Ever since the age of 8 he’s been terribly unlucky. Prior to that, his life was wonderful. Now that he’s 24 and with a band he’s proud of he thinks he might be able to master his own luck and make his life happier. There’s a chance for his band to play a weekly gig at a popular club, which will give them lots of visibility and even a bit of cash. His life and luck is looking up, if they can actually get the gig. It looks promising, if only his bandmates would get their shit together.

But Blaine is still mystified by the statue of the beautiful angel. Sometimes… he swears that when he walks by the eyes follow him and occasionally he sees a feather ruffle. It can’t be true, but further investigation of the statue reveals a strange phrase in latin marked on the base. Blaine’s curiosity could be the best, or worst thing that has ever happened to him.

I hate to sit and list the problems I had with this book. I mean, for the most part I still enjoyed reading it and I definitely didn’t hate it. But, I also found some things here that have bothered me with past Azalea Moone books and stories. One of those things, and the one of the biggest problems that I had here was the world building. It’s almost non-existent. I read through this whole book having no clue what was going on. It wasn’t because the characters were purposefully keeping secrets — they were — but, we’re often given references of things that have happened in the past. This is great because it helps us put the pieces of the story together ourselves, but there has to be a framework in which to fill in those gaps — a world. I read the blurb again when I finished the book and it had more detail than was in the actual book. Also, throughout the book, Lynsael continually asks Blaine to help him find out what happened with the statue. Both of them don’t understand how he broke out, how he was bound, or what the sculptor (Blaine’s father’s friend) really knew about any of this, including Lyn. Blaine offers to help, about a million times but something always seems to come up to distract him. This is just one of my pet peeves. It didn’t seem like a very good reason to stall them, to put off talking about their situation and finding out what is going on. It seemed more like an easy way to stall them until the ending of the story. It was just… frustrating to read, honestly. I would have liked to see them talk, not only to figure out why everything was happening as it was, but also to get to know one another — their history, their lives, their feelings — and by extension for me to get to know the characters.

I ended the book feeling like I didn’t really understand the story, only the few events that happened but no background at all to fill in the details and gaps. I also felt like I didn’t really know the characters well. I understood Blaine a bit better than Lyn, but not well. So I didn’t connect with them and I didn’t really see a connection between them. In another story by this author that I read and reviewed (“On Clouds of Obsession” in the Fraternal Devotion anthology, reviewed here), I felt like I didn’t really like one of of the main characters. And I felt that way about Blaine somewhat too. While he wasn’t the kind of asshole like in “On Clouds of Obsession”, he still pissed me off most of the book with his words toward Lyn and his refusal to help him and his general attitude of pissy and then, suddenly, he loves him. I didn’t get it, really.

I think that pretty much says everything. I didn’t really like the book and I feel like it needed more work to fill out the story. That and I just couldn’t connect with both of the characters. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this one.


One of the best parts of writing science fiction is getting to invent the fun gadgets you wish you had. For me, if I could have anything in the multiverse, it would be the translator software carried by Union’s ambassadorial corps in Thornless Rose.

For one thing, having a universal translation program installed in my brain would be very useful in Washington, D.C. It would make going through the paperwork of the international organization I work for much simpler by cutting down on the things lost (or at least stalled) in translation. I would also get to eavesdrop on more conversations on the Metro, which, in my defense, is some of the best observational learning on human nature a writer could have. And being able to pack the vocabulary multiple dozens of languages around means being fluent not only in two or three tongues, but dozens. I could read and write reports for the Mexican subsidiary in Spanish and then unwind by reading Les Miserables in the original French. Without having to endure a single class or shell out for one more Rosetta Stone tape.

If I go on like this, I’m going to want to hire my own personal scientist to invent this thing for me. I can even vaguely describe how it might work—computer chips implanted in the language centers of the brain, carrying some risk if there’s a clumsy operation. It would be pretty awful to wake up from a procedure that’s supported to turn you into a polyglot cyborg, only to develop aphasia instead (I’ll jot down that note for an angst-filled story).

Then again, even if you get a perfect installation, the program contents themselves may prove… strange.

As in Thornless Rose, where bodyguard Tyrel realizes

…though the stress lay on a different syllable, the Corrinan word for stranger was the same as for enemy.

In fact, maybe you’d prefer not to know everything the names in a language signify:

Verithe unfolded a data screen and examined the map display. “This seems to be called Lusabra,” he said. The Union translation program running in Tyrel’s mind whispered, Tears of our enemies fall like rain.
“Unexpectedly poetic.”
“Lua is just a verb distinguishing falling drops, as opposed to tumbling solid objects or a cascading flow, like a waterfall.”
“Still, at least it isn’t a cascade,” Tyrel persisted.
“Oh, an optimist.”Verithe laughed softly.

Knowing someone’s language brings you that much closer to understanding their thoughts. In the real world, that’s a good thing. Ironically, in a universe like the one in Thornless Rose, where instant comprehension of someone else’s words is actually possible thanks to technology, it may be more comfortable if it wasn’t. Especially when it does more to show the limitations of language than its possibilities.

“Thank you,” Verithe said, a phrase with implications of surrender and pleading not carried in his tone. He wouldn’t say it at all to a native Corrinan, not if he valued his dignity or his life.

On a happier note, being able to understand multiple languages would let you into entirely new worlds of wordplay and puns—I would appreciate, and maybe my characters might come to, too–

Veri, he should think of him as now. The translator chip told him it was a cognate for a dozen words—a songbird on Cussler, a Senian unit for measuring gold, and from some dying language on an obscure planet in the opposite galactic spiral, something like ‘extremely’ or ‘muchly’. It struck him as amusing, but he wasn’t certain enough of his newfound sense of humor to share it.

And more than once, at times of great emotion, Verithe speaks in his native language, relying on Tyrel’s translation equipment to get the message through to him.

One last word on the use of universal language software for diplomacy—provided the people around you don’t have access to the languages you do, you have a ready-made code to prevent being overheard.

“Don’t glower,” the diplomat murmured in one of the obscure languages provided by Union translator chips. Santiro might understand it, but the Corrinans couldn’t.
“I can’t help it. Instinct.”

If I haven’t yet sold you on the absolute necessity of inventing these tools by next week, at least this post has given me a chance to have some fun with language. As a writer, I love words. But sometimes sitting down to a blank page and trying to fill it with the tricky bastards is like herding cats—touchy, petulant cats who arch their backs and hiss if you draw near to pet them. Yet, on other days—days such as today obviously is for me—you can get swept up by a metaphor, tickled by puns, enchanted by ambiguities and beguiled by sudden fireworks of meaning. Words, words, words! Writing Thornless Rose has been the most fun I can remember having with them recently. Especially penning Tyrel’s curses in the name of his deity’s various primary and secondary sexual characteristics. In fact, I might even trade in my chance at a translator chip for the chance to use those in everyday conversation.

Thornless Rose – by T.C. Mill – Now Available from Storm Moon Press for just $3.99 (ebook)!

thornlessrose_tcmillTyrel Uvieras, a bodyguard serving the Union of planetary governments, has been assigned his most interesting charge yet: Verithe Jerrith, Union’s ambassador to what might be the most cursed planet in the galaxy. Something distinctly unsavory surrounds Corrina, whose first contact with Union space came through the stolen equipment of a stranded spaceship. Yet, Union policy requires an answer to the Corrinans’ request for negotiations. The best they can do is send a well-prepared diplomatic party—if it’s possible to prepare for what they find on the planet’s surface.

Tyrel and Verithe discover a mutual attraction, though Tyrel also thinks Verithe perhaps too lighthearted given their dire mission and certainly too gentle—like a thornless rose—to survive long in a dangerous world without protection. Tyrel tries to provide that protection, but the two men are captured in what is just the beginning of their descent into barbarity and treachery. They will be called upon to make unbelievable sacrifices and confront the “curse” of Corrina that brings out people’s darkest desires, endangering sanity and soul. Even their feelings for each other might not give them the strength to endure.


Thank you for having me here today! In Angel’s Redemption, published by Storm Moon Press, we explore the concept of angels, both good and bad, those from Heaven and Hell. Lynsael, ex-guardian angel of Blaine Schneider and several other mortals, is now a fallen angel, exiled from his position in the “Palace” as a guardian, and destined to serve an eternity in Hell for crimes he’d committed.

But, before all of that happens, I can imagine Lynsael (aka Lyn) in the Palace as a beautifully pale angel with a gorgeous set of white wings, light blond hair, and his usual spry personality. Actually, I can imagine all of Heaven’s angels this way, whether they are guardians or archangels.

In the story, we read about guardian angels like Lyn. They watch over earth, to guide their “wards” through life, but they cannot interfere in their lives. But, in fact, there are archangels as well. Those who serve the Lord, their aim is to protect everyone in Heaven. They could wear godly armor made of gold and carry bows and arrows that shoot beams of heavenly light. We don’t read about them in the story, but they are there.

All angels are pure and virtuous, untouched by sin and mortal desire. Well, that goes for the majority of them.

But what about those angels who fall from grace? Those that are inspired by acts that could be seen as sinful. The fallen angels. In Angel’s Redemption, Lyn appears before Blaine, his ward, as a fallen angel; one with long, black hair, deathly pale skin, and crumpled black wings. The reason for this is because the minute Lyn had committed his wicked act, he had lost his righteousness, therefore taking the appearance of a fallen angel. This didn’t necessarily affect his vivaciousness, as he’s still silly and full of amusement.

So what makes an angel a fallen angel? Is it just those who attempt immoral deeds, or something else?

It’s my belief that angels can fall due to a number of reasons, particularly from carrying out or intent to carry out any of the seven cardinal sins. You know those: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

Lyn had been convicted of two of those: wrath and lust. He desired his ward Blaine and interfered in his life. Then, he committed a crime seen under His eyes to be immoral. Therefore, he was supposed to be sent to Hell for punishment. See how I said “supposed to be?” Yeah, he didn’t go where he was supposed to. Instead, he ran to earth and hid. After his bonds are broken, he finds Blaine. But being in the company of a human, he loses his angelic nature, his wings, and turns human.

Fallen angels, aka Hell’s angels, are those that are sent to serve the devil. The way I envision them are the same as the fallen angels above: black wings, black hair, and a deathly appearance. Raziel, a Hell’s angel, is sent to earth after learning Lynsael had been released from his bonds. Remember Lyn has a date with the devil and is supposed to be in Hell. To blend with the human population, Raz had disguised himself as a normal rocker dude with tattoos and piercings in order to capture Lyn. But when revealed, he appears as a dark angel with extraordinary abilities such as increased speed.

So what other kinds of angel’s would be in Hell? This is just me brainstorming, since we don’t read about any other Hell’s angels, but I wonder if there are different kinds for every level. Are there special angels who serve the devil, or are those just demons? Do they have different abilities, and where do they come from? Maybe there are angels who work with demons. Okay, I’ll stop now, but you never know. Writing about angels from both Heaven and Hell opens up a whole different aspect. Since I am world-building my own story, I don’t necessarily have to stick to what has been told in religious tales over the centuries. Yet, I like to stick with what is common. Light is good; dark is bad. Heavenly angels have flowing, white wings. And Hell’s angels have torn, black wings. It’s all just a lot of fun!

I hope you enjoy my new story, Angel’s Redemption, which is now available for just $3.99 over at Storm Moon Press. Thanks for having me at The Armchair Reader today, Cole!


AngelsRedemption_500Twenty-four-year-old Blaine Schneider is seasoned to hardship. Since the age of eight, he’s experienced nothing but a swarm of bad luck: from the funny electrical fire in shop class to failing grades and relationships gone sour. He believes he’ll never get past it; only his band, ‘Til Dark, and their dream, keeps him going through it all.



Shortly after he mysteriously inherits a beautifully carved angel statue, Blaine also finds an apartment big enough to display the lifelike sculpture, and he thinks his luck has finally taken a turn for the better. But when he discovers the spell inscribed on the statue’s base, he frees Lynsael from his stone prison, a handsome fallen angel who claims to be Blaine’s former guardian angel, and then his luck really improves.



But while Blaine is falling hard for the angel’s blue eyes and lively personality, in the shadows, dark forces are working to keep Blaine and Lynsael apart. It will take more than luck for the pair to come through unscathed—it’ll take a miracle.


The Out in Colorado Anthology has a special place in my heart, since I was born and raised in this beautiful state. When first asked to be apart of the anthology, I was surprised and quite shocked. After all, I had no published works and, at the time, only a small blog about literature and romance in the gay paranormal world. Still, I couldn’t wait to get started on my story and be a part of this exciting anthology with fellow authors in Colorful Colorado.

I was also lucky to be the cover artist for this anthology as well. I love drawing and creating cover art for my favorite authors and friends. I was inspired to make the cover look and feel like Colorado, that’s why I love the mountains in the background.
You can visit my cover art page at tabathaheartart.wordpress.com.

While growing up in Colorado, my closest friend was gay, and I have several more friends who have come out of the closet since. I have always known that love is love, no matter what gender, and I love reading and writing stories with happy endings. Love should always win, and that is what my stories are about.

Paranormal stories are particularly my favorites because I love getting lost in the dark worlds of vampires, lycans, and zombies, oh my! I love writing stories, especially with darker characters filled with lots of tragedy in their lives. I find these stories especially freeing, knowing that there is a darker side in all of us.

The idea for my short story, “Spirit’s Fire”, came with a winter storm and the curiosity of what it would be like to hang out at a cabin in the mountain woods with a group of close friends. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it!

Storm Moon Press became the first publisher to offer me a contract for my first published story. I felt bad for my poor editor, who had to put up with so many of my amateur mistakes, but with a lot of patience, she got me through and made my story so much stronger than when I had first put it in Storm Moon Press’ hands. I will have to admit, this being my first published story, I had an amazing experience and would highly recommend anyone looking for a great publisher of amazing books to come to Storm Moon Press.

Thanks for having me today at The Armchair Reader, and I hope everyone checks out my story and the others by Colorado authors featured in Out in Colorado!

OutinColorado_500This collection brings six talented authors from the Centennial State together under one title, all offering their take on what it means to be Out in Colorado. These stories explore the cultures and mores of the state as only native authors can, each bringing a unique perspective on the diverse peoples and changing attitudes that are quickly coming to define this state in transition.

In a yearly tradition, five friends have gotten together in a cabin in the winter mountains of Colorado, but one of them has been lost for years. This year, all five friends will be back together and discover secrets that will change their lives forever, in Spirit’s Fire.


Excerpt:

“I thought we were friends. You used to come talk to me about everything…”

“Why didn’t you visit me even once while I was locked away?” Ivan yelled. “Why didn’t you write me a letter or something to at least tell me that you never wanted to see me again?” Ivan quickly slid his elbow over his eyes, most likely trying to hide that he was crying. “Something to…”

“I thought you were dead,” Tate interrupted.

“What?” Ivan’s eyes went wide.

“You are dead. I went to your funeral,” Tate shook his head, his tone softer now. “All of us did.”

“They…” Ivan swallowed loudly. “They told you I was… dead.”

“Yes,” Tate said, the word coming out barely above a whisper.

Tate stood there for a moment, finally glancing up to see Ivan staring at him.

“I guess that explains why everyone was looking at me like I’d risen from the dead when I got here last night.”

Tate let out a laugh. “Well, you did give us quite the shock.” They laughed together this time. The smile making his eyes light up like the stars.

“Was it at least good?” Ivan asked.

Tate stared at him, his face a mask of confusion. “Was what good?”

“My funeral.”

“Yes, it was quite beautiful, actually.”

Ivan stood there nodding, Tate went to pull him back in for a hug. He needed to know that Ivan was really standing there, that this wasn’t a dream. But Ivan’s hand went up, holding Tate back. “What’s wrong?” Tate asked, confused when he knew Ivan loved to be held and touched.

“I…” Ivan’s eyes fell. “There is something… different about me. Something I don’t know if you will like. And touch triggers it.”

“Touch triggers what?” Tate said, stepping back. He knew what Ivan was capable of in certain situations. “Do you mean the incident? Like that?”

Ivan shook his head and extended his hand, an invitation for Tate to come to him. Tate hesitated for only a moment but finally took Ivan’s hand in his own. Ivan was cold to the touch, but he soon warmed up. Tate suddenly found himself filled with warmth, his heart went into overdrive, and he felt as if he were floating. Every part of him came alive with feelings, all of them pleasant.

“What is this?” Tate asked. His voice sounded distant.

“My feelings for you,” Ivan said softly.

Tate blinked past the warm haze that had surrounded him. This was more than just friendship, this was lust and desire mixed with… well, maybe even love.

Ivan wanted him.


Tabatha Heart can often be found typing obsessively, hoping to finish another story when not out raising zombies from their graves and plottng the world’s demise. Her passion for life has always been in writing, especially in the paranormal genre, because there is a darker side in all of us. Her short story, “Spirit’s Fire”, can be found in Storm Moon Press’ Out in Colorado anthology, now available in print and ebook formats.


500When I first saw the call for gay dragon stories at Storm Moon Press for their Dracones anthology, I totally discounted it, off hand.

I love writing about mythical creatures, but dragons are such a staple of the fantasy genre, I wasn’t sure what I had new to offer. Yet the idea of writing a dragon story niggled away at the back of my mind as I went about writing other things. I thought a lot about what I liked in stories about dragons, what I didn’t like, and what I’d never seen before. I considered setting the story in medieval Mongolia, I thought about setting it in Japan, or even a traditional European-focused fantasy land. Nothing really inspired me, though, or made me feel compelled to write it down.

Then, one day, while I was planning for another story, it hit me: a steampunk-like Victorian setting. That idea just clicked for me. What I really wanted to read, I realized, was a story about a dragon set in 1870s New York City. Since I felt excited about reading it, I knew I had to write it.

The first thing I did was a lot of Google searches looking for pictures of dragons. I researched a lot of different kinds of dragons. I looked at and read articles about dragons from all different mythologies. Almost every mythology in the planet has some sort of dragon or dragon-like creatures, so there was a lot to choose from. The kind of dragon which really jumped out at me, though, was the Irish wyrm. Wyrms are found in British and Irish mythology. They are different from the more traditional dragons found in fantasy, in that they don’t have arms, legs or wings. Wyrms don’t fly, but they do hoard, and more importantly, they are associated with guarding specific geographic locations. Wyrms can be found guarding particular hills, rock formations, springs, or deep caves. Usually these locations have magical properties or are soft spaces between our world and other worlds such as the realm of the faeries.

My wyrm, Daire, can look human if he wishes but is not used to living amongst humans. Having something precious stolen from him drives him from the hill in Ireland and forces him to come to New York City. Daire isn’t used to trying to live as a human, though, and quite often, he does not act completely human. That was something else I wanted, I knew my dragon was going to have to be in human form at least part of the time (to fascinate sexy times if nothing else, which would be a lot harder and less sexy if he were in wyrm form). Even when he looks like a human—which is most of the story, actually—I wanted it to be quite clear that Daire is a wyrm, not a human. He doesn’t have the same moral compass as humans do. As far as Daire is concerned, if someone attacks you and steals from your hoard, you are allowed to eat them. Plain and simple. He also doesn’t understand certain elements of societal interaction very well, which makes it hard for him to blend in. Plus, Daire in wyrm form picks up a lot of his sensory input through his tongue (as snakes and lizards do). It’s hard for him to remember he can’t actually taste magic by licking things in his human form, though. This is particularly a problem for Daire in relations to books, which are what he hoards.

Overall, my short story, “Weird Magics”, is much more steampunky than anything I’ve written in a while. It’s a fun adventure story about how magic and mythical creatures mix with technology and secret organizations in the back streets of New York. It also goes particularly well with my other magical high-jinx in New York story, “Business Makes Strange Bedfellows” in Storm Moon Press’ Blood and Lipstick anthology. Just saying. 😉

Below is an excerpt from “Weird Magics”. I hope you enjoy it and check out the Dracones anthology! Thanks to Cole and The Armchair Reader for having me today!

***

“Do you come here often?” There was a light touch to his shoulder, and Daire turned to find Cyras standing next to him.

“Sometimes.”

“If you two would excuse me.” William headed for the door as Cyras’ hand curled around Daire’s elbow.

“I need to see if they have any of Count Jan Potocki’s monographs, but then would you accompany me to get a cup of coffee?”

Daire hesitated for a moment and then nodded. “All right.”

He trailed after Cyras, who moved farther into the shop before stopping at one of the shelves, eyes searching across the spines of the books. Daire turned to the opposite shelf; his hands were immediately drawn to a small volume with a pretty, light brown leather cover. He pulled it free and opened it to find it was a small volume of love poems in French. He flipped through the pages, noting that the words had been hand scripted onto the pages. Reading through a few poems, Daire stopped every so often to stroke one finger across a word or phrase before moving on. He began to make that deep humming noise as his chest warmed.

“Are you going to buy that, too?”

Daire jumped, having forgotten he wasn’t alone. He tucked the small volume under his arm. “Yes.”

“You were right.” Cyras led the way to the front of the shop, although he himself was empty handed. “You really like books.”

Dracones – Now Available from Storm Moon Press. Seven short stories for just $7.99!

crescent_logo_slogan


QueerFear_500I remember, a long time ago, reading an article on how to write erotic horror. The part that really sticks in my mind was the part were the author of the article talked about needing to make the sex an integral part of the plot. That was the difference between erotic horror and horror with sex, according to the article; in erotic horror, the plot could not be resolved or the story driven forward without the sex. At the time, I wasn’t doing a lot of original fiction writing and could not ever imagine myself writing horror anyway. Still, when I saw the call over at Storm Moon Press for submission to the Queer Fear anthology, I immediately thought of that article. It was last October, and I had never written horror before, but I was in the mood to write something scary and sexy so I thought I’d give it ago. I’m not sure I agree completely with how the article defined erotic horror, but for me, it was an interesting experience trying to fashion a story where the sex and horror elements were of equal importance.

I don’t consider myself much of a horror fan, but when pressed, I will admit that adore ghost stories and stories about demonic possession. I’m not a huge fan of violence or gore for the sake of violence and gore – I generally find that boring – but I love accounts of hauntings, real or fictional. There is something so intriguing and yet creepy about encountering a hostile force that we simply cannot explain in our purely rational and scientific world.

For me, demonic possession takes that idea and ramps it up a few notches. With demonic possession, you have an evil which we used to believe in and have ways of trying to protect ourselves against. Now, though, if we take demonic possession to be a real possibility, then science and our modern concept of progress has actually made us completely defenseless against it. I mean, how scary is that? Here, we can protect ourselves with state of the art security technology or high powered weapons or medical science which can cure us of the plagues and illnesses that used to kill humans off in droves. We can study and diagnose even the evillest of people, we can punish crimes, but all this can’t save us from the supernatural. Because in our modern Western world, the supernatural is not supposed to exist. Which means that while we ignore it, it can climb inside of us and eat us from the inside out.

Literally.

I find that far more scary than any serial killer.

One thing that I never expected to write was body horror. Demonic possession can lend itself to body horror, what with heads rotating backwards and people vomiting acid or needles, but I’d always imagined that I’d take a more haunting approach to it. Less with the gross and more with the creepy. After all, I’ve never considered myself a fan of that particular sub-genre of horror. Yet I find myself strangely drawn to writing body horror, although not to the extreme of say The Thing, there are elements of it that sneak into everything creepy I write these days. The physicality of it draws me, that concept of mutated bodies and the question of where the victim’s agency lies in horror that involved mutilation and transfigurement is very interesting to me. It also works in a kind of uneasy mirror of the erotic. Erotica is also concerned with bodies, the manipulation of bodies and what is done by and to them. It’s a fine line to balance on, having the horrific and the sexual be both depend upon what happens to this one characters poor body. At the same time, it is a great challenge for me as writer. I love thinking about my characters and their physicality differently, being hyper-aware of their physical selves, their sensations, their bodily needs, their experiences, both good and bad.

In my short story, “The Possession of Lawrence Eugene Davis”, Lawrence is already a character who has struggled with his changing physical abilities, having served in World War I and coming back with severe injuries. The war changed how Lawrence thought about his body and himself as a sexual being. The rest of the events of the story, including his encounter with Elijah, change that again in all sorts of profound – and in some cases, highly unpleasant – ways. Elijah, too, has a complex relationship with his body and its physical needs.

Ultimately, I would like to think that I managed the balance between scenes which are truly unsettling and scenes which are sexually appealing well, and the story was a great pleasure to write. Below is an excerpt for “The Possession of Lawrence Eugene Davis”, now available from Storm Moon Press in their Queer Fear anthology. Enjoy!


Excerpt

They bussed the dishes into the kitchen together, and then Billy said his goodnights and headed for his truck. Lawrence watched him walk down to his pickup from the porch doorway. Billy cut such a nice figure in blue jeans, work shirt, cowboy boots, and cowboy hat. He was too young, Lawrence reminded himself. He was obviously in need of someone in his bed again. Then, maybe he wouldn’t spend so much time being distracted, looking at younger men he had no right be looking at.

Another wave of pain hit him, cramping his abdomen, and Lawrence tightened his grip on his cane to keep from doubling over. His throat felt dry and painful, as if he had something caught in it that wouldn’t quite go down. He swallowed convulsively and waited for the pain to pass before heading towards his bedroom.

After turning on the lamps in his bedroom, Lawrence began to undress. Another wave of cramping pain hit him, causing Lawrence to grunt and double over, almost falling. He caught himself with his cane. There was a strange pushing sensation from inside his abdomen, and Lawrence squinted up through the haze of pain at the reflection of himself in his full length mirror. That strange, pushing pain came again, and Lawrence watched with horrified incomprehension as what looked like a hand pushed out from his stomach. It was clear, without a doubt, a hand pushing from inside him.

Lawrence thought he might have screamed, although he wasn’t aware of sound, only of stumbling back and falling. Hot pain shot up his entire body and down his leg from his hip at the same time another waving of cramping pain hit him. He sobbed in agony and tried to curl up into himself. The pushing came again from inside, and the clogged, nauseous sensation in his throat, that he could now identify as the feeling of something trying to push its way back up. Lawrence squeezed his eyes shut. Upstairs, the door slammed, and Lawrence tried to push himself up, tried to stand, only to twist his hip in a way that caused him to fall back with a strangled scream. Pain engulfed him and darkness rushed up to meet it.


Blurb

It’s long been known that fear and arousal create the same type of response inside the human body. Putting them together, then, is a recipe for a scorchingly hot time. Queer Fear does just that by exploring the world of erotic horror. It’s the ultimate marriage of lust and terror, the perfect blend of dark horror elements with sensuality and erotic content. This isn’t some safe and sparkly paranormal romance; this is the place where angels fear to tread, and so would you, if you had any sense. Turn back before it’s too late!

We begin with Reading Arteries, where a new designer drug engineered to force feelings of lust in those who take it. When the men hired to steal the formula decide to try it out, they end up addicted to love. Then, in The Possession of Lawrence Eugene Davis, following the death of his father, Lawrence has returned to his family’s ranch, but is quickly set upon by a demonic presence. Hope for release comes with the conveniently-appearing Elijah, but the deal he offers may be just as unholy as the demon itself. Next, Dark Revelation brings us Derek, constantly at war with his darker half, a demon who uses Derek’s body to rape and kill. And though Derek tries to isolate himself from people, nowhere is truly empty, and Derek’s demon hungers again. The Pain Cycle follows Luke, despondent over the disappearance of his lover six months ago. When he witnesses a friend dragged into a tunnel by a hideous creature, he gives chase, only to learn the chilling truth about his lover—and who knows how many others. Finally, in Matthew Powers Lives, a porn shoot in a former mental hospital is plagued by strange equipment failures, leading the crew to believe the site is haunted. For Matthew, those fears are confirmed when a restless spirit confronts him personally, and he’s a hottie!

Queer Fear – Now Available in ebook for $4.99!

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