I would like to welcome Marteeka Karland to Five Question Friday.
1. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I’m totally good at falling… broke the same finger TWICE in a matter of like five weeks. *groan*
2. Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? Why?
Angela Knight. Because she’s SO FRIGGIN COOL!!! And because I owe her a big ole tackle hug and a sloppy kiss with tongue and I really want to see her reaction when I follow threw with my threat to pay my debt.
3. What are 3 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?
The mini laptop, my kindle fire, and sometimes I even bother to put on clothes.
4. Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
The “where” is anywhere I can find a place. I’m not really picky. The when… generally the later the better. I’m kind of a night owl and, since making writing my full time job, I’ve got my days and nights turned around. Besides, at night, there isn’t anyone up to BOTHER ME…
5. If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and any other guy with big muscles and a good sense of humor.
Memphis Heat 2: Streetwise
by Marteeka Karland and Shelby Morgen
Memphis, Tennessee. The Russian mob’s moving in, and the FBI’s recruiting Memphis PD’s finest — finest werewolves — to form their new FBI Paranormal Activities Task Force.
Jarod and Belle have been assigned to the FBI — their job, infiltrate the Russian Wolf pack. All they have to do is find the pack. But the closer they get to the Russians, the farther away they seem to be from the truth. So far they’ve found more werewolf cops than Russian wolves.
The Russians seem to have declared war on the MPD, leaving a team of dead cops in their wake, and the Memphis PD to clean up their mess. MPD’s Colonel has a few secrets of his own, and he doesn’t really appreciate FBI intervention on something that’s clearly local jurisdiction — in more ways than one.
When Officer Butch Carson and his rookie trainee, Regan “Sundance” O’Mally, are caught between the MPD and the Russians, they have no one they can turn to but each other. The more they learn about being werewolves, the tighter their own bond becomes. And the more determined they are to stop the assassins who nearly added them to the growing list of victims.
* ~~~~~ * ~~~~~ *
Marteeka would love it if you stalked her on the world wide web…
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marteeka.karland AND https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marteeka-Karland/183118360789?ref=hl
I would like to welcome author Anne Selby to Five Question Friday! Anne will give away an e-copy of The Serpent and the Peacock to one lucky person who comments on the post.
1. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Roger Hamilton. Probably because he is so confused as to the situation he finds himself in. He is a senior police detective in the London Metropolitan police, he is also the Senior Investigating Officer on a murder with a lot of responsibility, but he finds himself losing any control over everything in his life as the story progresses.
2. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I was an Army marksman during my 11 years of service in the British Army, I play drums and guitar and was part of a Blues Band and performed throughout Europe, I can build and configure computers. I am not sure if any of that is unique per se, but I think it might be for a 62 year old pensioner!
3. What can your readers expect from you in the future?
I am three quarters of the way through the second book in the series which continues the story of Roger Hamilton. It’s called The Paths of the Moon. I am working on the outline of a new series of detective novels based on one of the characters from this sequel.
4. Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? Why?
I’d have loved to have met J R R Tolkien, I am fascinated with the world, the language and the races he created.
5. What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I am currently reading a book by a man called Bernard Schaffer and it’s based on the Jack the Ripper murders and the story has Sherlock Holmes being asked to investigate.
A Crime/Fantasy novel, based on the Sumerian myths of the Fallen Angels or Grigori.
This is Anne’s first novel which introduces the characters of Eve Hallam and Roger Hamilton, two detectives in the London Metropolitan Police who are assigned to the case involving the murder of a young girl in a London cemetery. They soon find themselves in way over their heads and trying to keep their sanity intact while a mysterious group called Grigori Enterprises seems to be one step ahead of them in the investigation and have their own agenda with regard to the murderer.
Soon to be followed by sequel The Paths of the Moon which follows the adventures of Roger Hamilton aka Semjaza as he tries to fulfill his destiny. The path he will choose will either be for the good or the detriment of mankind. How will he choose?
“Ritual murder,” Eve thought irritably. “That’s all I bloody need. Angels in my private life, demons and black magic in my professional life. Why does everything have to be so damn complicated? It can’t just be a normal sort of murder, it has to have occult connections.”
The discovery in a London cemetery of the body of a young woman sparks off a nationwide murder enquiry and Detective Sergeant Eve Hallam of the London Metropolitan Police, is assigned to the case.
A terrifying encounter with something that she cannot rationally explain, leads Eve to believe that they have more than a simple murder investigation on their hands. She and Roger Hamilton, the senior investigating officer, find themselves desperately trying to keep their lives, their sanity and the investigation on track whilst being constantly and tantalisingly side-tracked by the mysterious group Grigori Enterprises who seem hellbent on obstructing the investigation.
The stench of blood filled its nostrils.
In the nature of all scavengers, its acute sense of smell led it to an unexpected bounty . . . fresh meat, recently slaughtered. So recent, the blood had only stopped flowing a couple of hours earlier and was now beginning to coagulate.
Beady little eyes gleamed with mindless hunger.
The dreadful aroma of death hung in the air and masked the dry, musty smell that normally clung to the stone walls of the silent old building.The intruder clawed feverishly at the rounded heap of newly-dug earth in one corner and the stillness was suddenly disturbed as a clump of soft, loose soil fell away. The scavenger continued to dig frantically to reach the prize waiting beneath. The small trickle of earth turned into steady flow and slowly, but surely, the burial mound opened to reveal part of its bounty. With just one precursory twitch of its tiny nose, the predator began to gnaw at the uncovered flesh.
Despite the cooling weather, a fly, also attracted by the initial stages of decomposition and decay, suddenly landed on the exposed flesh. A pale hand, stiffened in death, lifted involuntarily towards the arched ceiling, but no-one saw it.
Except the rat and the fly and they didn’t care. As far as they were concerned food was food!
“We’re going to get into terrible trouble.”
The young girl in the padded ski jacket cast an anxious and slightly fearful glance behind her. The shadows were lengthening rapidly, throwing the surrounding buildings and statuary into gloom. Dusk had fallen which meant that whatever it was that was rumored to exist in places like this and thrive in darkness, corporeal or not, would soon awaken. If they weren’t already awake of course. Imagination wasn’t something the girl lacked. Quite the contrary in fact. Graveyards at night did not bring out the best in her at all.
Four of her five companions looked at her, faces alight with glee and scorn. There was only one thing better than being in a graveyard at night, and that was being in a graveyard with a cry-baby girl at night. The potential for some considerable verbal abuse was doubled at the very least.
“Don’t be such a wuss Sarah,” said the tallest of the boys. ”Nobody knows we’re here. Anyway it’s more fun being here when its dark, that’s the whole point.”
Privately Sarah thought the fact that nobody knew they were there made it worse, but she stubbornly bit back her objections in the face of such blatant masculine derision. This was about proving that girls could be as adventurous as boys, and she wasn’t about to let the female side down, no sir. No matter what it took. She was in a minority of one after all.
“So, now what Mike?” The fifth boy, an overweight lad with ginger hair and freckles, spoke up.
Despite the assumed bravado of the boys, Sarah noticed that his voice had a distinctly nervous tremor. She realized, with some relief, that she wasn’t the only member of the little party who felt uneasy about being there.
Mike straightened up from tying his shoelace. Somewhere along the line, he had assumed the position of group leader and the rest had meekly accepted it without any form of discussion. He gestured at one of the others, a brown haired boy of about fourteen. ”Colin here says that he was watching a couple of men with shovels earlier just around the other side of the graveyard. His bathroom window faces out over there. I say we go and check out what they were doing. They were probably burying somebody.”
“Burying somebody?” Ginger’s voice came out in a shrill squeak. ”You mean a dead somebody?”
“No, of course not!” snapped Mike scornfully. ”I meant the fucking ghost of Christmas past! Of course I meant a dead somebody. This is a shagging graveyard for fuck’s sake, all the bodies they put in here are dead, you poncy git.”
Everyone laughed at that, but even so, it was decidedly nervous laughter. Ginger flushed the kind of pink that only redheads can manage and muttered something unintelligible under his breath. Sarah smiled at him in support and the pink grew even pinker, if that was possible.
“I’ve never seen anyone dead before,” he admitted. Any bravado he might have felt before had now completely deserted him. His voice had even more of a wobble in it than it had earlier.
Oh god, thought Sarah, he’s going to cry, and she braced herself for the merciless teasing that would inevitably follow the tears, but to her surprise Ginger valiantly managed to keep a stiff upper lip.
Mike sighed. ”Look,” he said in a slightly less scornful tone. ”The whole idea about being here was to look at a dead body. We all agreed. You shouldn’t have come with us if you felt squeamish. You can go back if you like; maybe the main gate will still be open.”
He gestured back at the path and they all turned to look. Darkness was almost completely enfolding the graveyard now, and the path they had all followed between the graves had disappeared into utter gloom. Vague shadowy statues and family crypts, some elaborately decorated with cherubs and crosses, now loomed threateningly here and there. Objects of interest and fascination in daylight, they seemed to take on a much more sinister aspect altogether at night.
Ginger stared glassy-eyed into the darkness. He looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights, thought Sarah.
“I don’t know the way b-back,” he finally managed to stammer.
This made the other boys laugh, but Sarah again smiled at him encouragingly. If he decides to go, she thought, I might as well go with him. Offering to keep him company to the main gate would get her out of this bind and leave her with some sort of self-esteem. The thought of a warm bed seemed very inviting right now. Even the thought of doing her homework was a more inviting proposition.
“Well if you stay then you’ve got to promise that you won’t squeal like a little girly, no matter what we find,” Mike said firmly as he switched on his torch. “No matter what we find,” he repeated and played the torch beam along the path ahead, effectively ending the conundrum.
“Okay, no squealing. I promise,” Ginger agreed sullenly, and he started to follow, but his eyes shifted nervously from side to side.
Sarah sighed inwardly. Well, so much for that avenue of escape.
“Just you make sure you stick to it,” said Mike without turning around.
Aw, leave him be Mike.” Colin spoke up in Ginger’s defense. He winked broadly at him. “He’ll be fine, won’t you Ginge?”
Mike shrugged his shoulders eloquently and headed off confidently down the path. They all followed him in silence, Colin voluntarily bringing up the rear.
The trek along the meandering path was fairly uneventful at first, apart from Ginger developing an annoying habit of stopping abruptly every so often when he thought he’d heard some suspicious noise in the bushes and trees that formed the landscaping of the graveyard. Every time he stopped, Sarah and Colin who were walking behind him, stumbled into him.
“What the hell are you doing?” hissed Colin after climbing up Sarah’s heels for the fourth time in so many minutes. He gave Ginger a sharp shove in his back.
“I thought I heard something!” Ginger protested. His eyes strained into the darkness. Even the tips of his ears seemed to be quivering with alertness.
“It was probably some small animal, a cat or a rat, or something for fuck’s sake. There are lots of things in here that could make a noise and everything sounds louder at night anyway.”
They continued to follow Mike and the other two boys, but hadn’t got more than a couple of yards when the snap of a twig and a very loud rustling noise from behind them caused all three to freeze in their tracks. They stood as still as the graveyard statuary and as silent as the grave, but now all they could hear was the dull scrunching of the other boys’ footsteps on the gravel path as they disappeared into the velvety darkness.
The comforting halo of Mike’s powerful torch gradually faded, leaving Colin, Ginger and Sarah in almost complete darkness. The rustling grew louder and closer. Ginger let out something very close to a sob.
Colin finally found his voice. ”Have either of you got anything like a torch or some frigging matches or a lighter or something?”
“N-no. Nothing,” said Ginger hoarsely. He was convinced the hair on his head was standing on end.
Sarah found herself wondering why they only had one torch between them. She could feel the hysteria bubbling up inside her. Any minute it would break loose and engulf her. Once she started to scream she knew she would never stop, so she bit down hard on her lip. Blood welled up, leaving her with a coppery taste on her tongue and the metallic tinge of fear in her throat.
“Sarah? What about you?” The note of desperation in Colin’s voice partially cut through the paralyzing fear. She jumped slightly.
“Wh-what?” she squeaked, managing to find her voice through the fog of fear. Her pounding heart had apparently moved from her chest into a new position somewhere just below her vocal chords. Illogical fear had taken over and she felt as though she was being strangled.
“A torch,” Colin said as patiently as he could. ”Do you have a torch, or matches? Anything!”
Sarah’s brain flatly refused to work. Staring into the darkness of the foliage around them, her eyes detected movement in the area of a particularly dilapidated large crypt with a intricately carved wooden door. Set in the door, at about eye level, was a metal grille instead of a window. Her eyes slid downwards and she noticed that part of the bottom corner of the decayed wooden door had been either torn or gnawed away. Something dark, about the size of a small cat squeezed effortlessly through the aperture into the darkness beyond. She swallowed convulsively. This whole stupid evening was like something from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
A clammy, podgy hand gripped her arm and she let out a squawk of alarm.
“D-did you see that?” Ginger’s voice was hoarse with fear.
“Yes. N-no. I don’t know what I saw,” she stuttered in distress. ”A cat or something?”
“More like a rat,” said Colin “Lots of them down here. They come where the bodies are, but my dad says that’s why the bodies are put in stone coffins so the rats can’t get them. There’s nothing to be afraid of, but it’s worth taking a look. Torch? Matches?”
Sarah stared at him, still aware that Ginger was holding her arm in a death grip. “I don’t smoke,” she responded automatically and then realized how stupid that sounded. ”No. No matches, no torch, no lighter.”
Colin walked over to the crypt and peered through the metal grille. Everything was dark and there seemed to be nothing to see. He pushed the door and it creaked open slightly. Sarah and Ginger jumped back as one person.
“Well it’s open,” he said, pushing it further open. As he did so, the clouds parted to expose the moon which dimly illuminated the inside of the entrance of the crypt. Colin could make out apertures in the walls with small stone coffins and two large sarcophagus-like tombs standing in the middle of the room. Three candles rested on top of one of them.
“There’s candles. On top of the coffins. Now all we need is something to light them with.”
He disappeared into the gloom of the crypt. Sarah and Ginger looked at each other and with one accord they moved towards the door. Staying outside by themselves was a much worse option than going inside. Colin suddenly reappeared in the doorway making them jump back again. ”Found something!” He cried triumphantly, holding up a battered petrol lighter. “It was on the floor by one of the coffins. Whoever was last in here must have forgotten it.” He flicked the lighter, which sparked but refused to ignite.
Sarah wrinkled her nose. “What’s that smell?” she asked, staring around at the inside of the crypt from the door but refusing to move. She could feel Ginger’s hot fear-filled breath on the back of her neck.
“It’s the petrol,” said Colin, shaking the lighter and flicking it again. ”Don’t know why it doesn’t light. The flint seems okay and there’s lighter fluid in it.”
“No. Not petrol. It’s something else, sort of sweet, like rotten meat.” She sniffed the air. ”Whatever it is, it’s disgusting. Let’s try to catch up with the others.”
Colin grinned and his teeth gleamed in the dull moonlight. ”If it’s meat, then all the more reason to look around. If it was a rat that came in here then it came after something in particular. Aha!”
The lighter flared into flame. Colin adjusted it to a lower level and lit two of the candles. He handed one to Sarah and the other to Ginger. Then he lit one for himself. Now the room was filled with light and rather disappointingly empty, apart from the stone sarcophagi and the stone coffins in the wall niches.
“Nothing here.” He sounded a trifle miffed.
“Well the smell has to be coming from somewhere,” said Sarah. She still hadn’t moved and was holding her candle slightly aloft. Ginger was still standing too close to her and she could hear his heavy wheezing breath. There was something. Just an edge of something unnerving. She frowned in concentration but it was just a fleeting impression, so she tried to shrug it off.
“For god’s sake Ginge. Don’t stand so close to me with that candle, you’re going to set my hair alight or something,” she said irritably.
Ginger flushed and moved back. ”Sorry.”
Colin pushed the edge of the stone cover on top of the sarcophagus in front of him. A slight grating noise and movement told him that they could probably push it open with ease. ”We could look inside,” he said. ”Maybe the smell is coming from in here.”
“No. We couldn’t,” said Sarah. Her face was pale and covered with a light film of sweat. ”I don’t want to. I want to go and find the others.” She couldn’t put her fear into words. There was definitely some sort of atmosphere in here, something she couldn’t quite pin down, like someone had sweated globules of fear and left them hanging around in the air and clinging to the walls. A rustling and squeaking in the dark corner at the back of the crypt caught their attention.
“Ah!” said Colin going to investigate. ”There’s another small part of the crypt at the back, like a little room or something. Come over and bring the other candles.”
Sarah and Ginger looked at each other. ”You go,” she said through slightly numb lips.
“Me?” Ginger’s voice raised in shrill protest. ”Why me? Why not you?”
“You’re the boy.” She spat back.
“And you’re the one who keeps telling us how girls are as good as boys,” Ginger retorted. ”Now you’ve got a chance to prove it! Isn’t that why you came?”
Sarah groaned to herself; she had stepped right into that one with both eyes open.
“Stop arguing both of you,” snapped Colin. ”There’s something here.” His candle flared for a moment and then went out. “Damn,” he said struggling with the lighter, which once again refused to ignite. This time there wasn’t even a spark from the flint. It had obviously died. “One of you come over. I don’t care which of you it is, just as long as you have a lit candle. And watch your step, the flagstones end just about where I’m standing and then there’s just bare earth. The smell’s really strong over here.”
Ginger stood, rooted to the spot, beside the door of the crypt so Sarah sighed and walked slowly over towards the sound of Colin’s voice. Colin took the candle from her and lit his own with it.
As the bright light flared, the whole of the tiny rear chamber was illuminated. A dozen pairs of bright beady little eyes glared red in the light. The rodents who had been busy over a dark heap of earth in the corner scattered in all directions. Ginger promptly forgot his promise and squealed like a dozen little girlies as a couple of them skittered past him and out of the crypt door. He hopped from one foot to the other.
“Are they on me? Are they on me?” he screamed shrilly. He tried to look behind him but the hot wax from the candle dripped down his wrist causing him to yelp in real pain this time. ”Are there any more of them? Guys? What are you doing?”
Somehow there was something not very reassuring about the way Colin and Sarah were standing. Still and silent, they were staring at something in the back of the crypt. Ginger gathered up the courage to walk towards them. “Guys? What’s wrong? What’ve you found?”
Colin turned and Ginger was shocked to see his colour. Even in the warm candlelight, his skin was tinged with green and his eyes looked stunned. He made a futile gesture to try to stop Ginger from coming closer, but now Ginger’s curiosity was aroused and he brushed off Colin’s restraining hand with ease.
He stepped closer to Sarah and realized that she was trembling from head to foot. Her glazed eyes were fixed on the corner of the room where the earth had been dug away by the rats. Huge silent tears were sliding down her cheeks and plopping onto the padding of her jacket. He followed her gaze and was horrified to see what was now uncovered.
His gorge rose and he fled the crypt, uncaring of anything that might have been outside waiting to hurt him. He doubled over on the path and puked into one of the bushes. The contents of his stomach came up like thin acid, which burnt his throat and spattered the leaves.
A light rain started to fall.
Three tall shadowy figures stood in the protection of the trees nearby watching the large boy disgorge the contents of his stomach. Two of them turned to the third and cocked their heads in question. Neither of them spoke, in words at least, but the other had no trouble in understanding their query.
“No,” he said in a low voice. “All that could have been done has been done here. The police will be here soon. One of the children will now no doubt raise the alarm. We will just have to hope that the scavengers have done enough work to cause sufficient confusion. We must not alert them to our presence. Go now, I will wait and see what the police have to say, then I must make my own report.”
The other two bowed their heads, almost in deference. They slipped silently into the trees and were swallowed up in the night. The third figure rubbed his chin, smiled grimly to himself and settled himself down to await the inevitable arrival of the police.
The Serpent and the Peacock is available NOW. Get your copy here!
Anne would love it if you stalked her on the web….
I would like to welcome author Kenneth Weene to Five Question Friday!
1. Who’s my favorite character and why?
With five novels published, I have to admit that unlike the proverbial and dishonest parent, I don’t love all my children equally. Some of those characters are downright despicable and others seem like dear friends. But for shear literary power, my favorite is the unnamed narrator of Memoirs From the Asylum. He lets it all hang out. (No, not in that way you of dirty minds, that’s a different character.) His world is one filled with angst, doubt, helplessness, and stench; and he doesn’t shrink from it or from what he brings to it. Yeah, honesty, even when it’s wrapped in terror and psychosis: that’s the ticket for me.
2. Where is one place I’d really love to visit?
I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life. Much of it in my head, but a quite a lot has actually involved having a passport. The funny thing is most places have been fascinating and I want to go back, except for islands with beaches. My wife and I actually paid extra to get out of Hawaii ahead of schedule and I wouldn’t go back to Puerto Rico on a bet. I like culture, the highbrow stuff like theatre and classical music, great food and interesting museums. I delight in Europe and would like to get to Prague, one of the treasures I missed in that continent. China, yeah that’s a country I wish that I had seen. But most of all, and this is totally weird given my whole highbrow thing, Mongolia. I have always wanted to go to Mongolia, to visit the nomads, to spend a few nights living in a ger, and to hear the throat-singing, not on stage but in real day-to-day life.
3. What’s the hardest thing about writing a book?
I write fiction, literary fiction. The two most difficult things for me to do when writing are maintaining the narrative voice and finding a denouement that works.
Whether the book is told in the first person or the third there is somebody telling the story. The narrator may not be a character in the story, but his (her) voice, how things are said, has to be consistent and has to work with the story being told. For example, Tales From the Dew Drop Inne is narrated by Cal, one of the regulars at the Dew Drop. He has to sound like somebody who would in fact hang out at a local bar. On the other hand, Widow’s Walk is narrated in the third person. It is the story of a woman who is rediscovering life after years of limiting herself to being a wife, mother, and caregiver. Suddenly, she is exploring ideas, religion, education, as well as love and sexuality. The narrator has to be prepared to deal with things like sermons and the college scene. That narrator’s voice is very different from Cal’s.
A denouement is a point at which a story-line changes, it is the event that allows characters to grow; therefore it also allows the story to move towards its conclusion. While a novel can have more than one denouement, there is usually a principle one, an event that really pushes the story arc. In Memoirs From the Asylum the denouement takes place at the circus. The inmates/patients have been taken on a field trip; the hospital administration call it recreational therapy. Suddenly, an elephant goes berserk. I will leave the scene for you to imagine, or better, you can read the book. Suffice it to say, that the world of the asylum will never be the same. Coming up with that mad elephant and with the reactions of the mad to that madness was incredibly difficult. It was only when I was told a story of a circus elephant that had in fact gone berserk and killed its keeper in a small city in the midwestern United States that I got the idea. In that real life event, the elephant was tried, convicted, and hanged–yes, I said hanged.
4. Why do I write in this genre?
I write literary fiction because I love language. It isn’t enough to convey information and events, I want the flow of language to work, to reach as close to poetic form as I can achieve. Next, I want my characters to live and breathe, not simply to act and speak. For me writing is an extension of my fascination with the spoken word.
I have been told, many, many times, that I should write non-fiction, that it would be easier to sell. Having spent my professional career as a psychologist, I have many interesting stories to tell and worthwhile ideas to share. The problem is that as soon as I try to write non-fiction I get stilted. The sentences cease their flow. I no longer want to hear my own words.
No, I’ll leave that intellectualized stuff in my former life and stay with the literary fiction I love. I may try to expand my repertoire. Humor, speculative fiction, possibly some historical fiction; but language and character will always be my fascination.
5. What are three things I never leave home without?
Sorry, Mom, I don’t worry about my underwear or my handkerchief. I do, however, try to always have a pad and pencil or pen. You can never know when inspiration will visit, and I never want to miss that opportunity. It just doesn’t work to keep chanting that great line over and over until the opportunity to right it down occurs.
Number three is not so much a thing as an attitude, an approach to life. I don’t like to admit to being a voyeur, but I have to admit that I am always watching. Who can say which person or event will give me a new idea, a new perspective. There is, for example, a chapter in Tales From the Dew Drop Inne that centers on maple syrup. I know, it sounds such a minimal topic, but it was inspired when I had stopped for breakfast and watched two young men. Eagerly they talked and even more eagerly they ate, and ate, and ate. A whole bottle of syrup consumed with such delight. I did not want to think about how much sugar and high-fructose corn syrup they had consumed, but that evening, replaying the scene in my head, a great chapter was born.
You can also look for Ken on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and all those good places by simply searching for Kenneth Weene. How fortunate for you that he have a unique name. Now if only he can get it better known….
I would like to welcome Tara Lain to Five Question Friday! Tara will give away an e-copy of Hearts and Flour to one lucky person who comments on the post between Friday and end of day Sunday.
1. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
My new book, Hearts and Flour, is a quirky MM contemporary romance about the unlikely love of a vegan, raw-food fanatic for a cross-dressing cupcake baker. Yes, it’s not your everyday story! But I love the unexpected. I loved writing it because I’m a bit of a health food nut myself so it let me express some of my own idiosyncrasies while reminding me to love and accept other points-of-view!
2. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I write primarily MM contemporary and paranormal fiction. I also have a series of MMF ménages. I fell in love with MM fiction quite by accident when I ordered a new book by a favorite author of mine and it turned out to be a gay romance. I was surprised, fascinated, and ultimately captivated. I love the lack of gender roles in MM fiction and the fluid way an author can play against stereotypes. I love being able to choose which character I’ll identify with versus being forced to relate to the heroine. I just love writing male characters.
3. What day jobs have you held? How have they impacted your writing?
My day job has totally impacted my writing in various ways. I am an ad/PR professional and now own my own agency. I do a ton of writing as a part of my job. For years that kept me from writing fiction, because more writing sounded like too much work! But now that I do both, it’s terrific because I love the variety. I don’t get bored with either kind of writing. And I get great ideas for books from all the information I get from my clients. Like the genetic sequencing in Genetic Attraction was an idea from a client.
4. For people who want to explore the theme of your book, where should they begin?
Hmm. The theme of my book is authenticity and self-worth so I guess everywhere in life there are lessons in those subjects. For those who want to explore MM romance, they have only to go to Amazon. There is a huge, thriving genre waiting to be explored, and the average reader of a MM romance is a woman between 30 and 60! Health food and cupcakes? Hop on the Internet. There’s so much fun stuff to learn.
5. What are three things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?
I NEVER go out without lipstick (actually tinted natural lip gloss from the health food store! LOL) even if I’m going on a hike. I always have something to read either on my phone, Kindle or iPad. I stuff tissues in my pocket because I hate having a runny nose and no tissue. And not all the time, but a lot of the time I take my Papillon, Jolie.
To Micah Truveen, raw, vegan food is his religion. So when his devoted customers show up with white flour cupcakes, Micah could kill. Then Micah comes home to find his boyfriend, Dharamaram, in bed with someone else. He throws the rat out and agrees to go to his friend’s orgiastic anti-Valentines party where he meets a gorgeous cross-dressing guy who gives him a night to remember.
Southerner Quentin Darby wishes he could stop wearing women’s clothes. He so wants to live up to his grandmother’s glowing opinion of him, he’s never even told her he’s gay. And now there’s Micah who makes him wish he could just be who he is. But Micah finds out that Quentin is the baker responsible for the plague of cupcakes afflicting the community! And Dharmaram adds a little blackmail to the mix. Can two hearts rise above the flour?
Gasping for breath, he stopped outside the store. Locked. Of course. It was only eight thirty in the morning. At least Dharmaram’s class didn’t start until nine. If only Quentin would come here to the shop right after he dropped off his grandmother. Or maybe even before. Oh God. What if he went in and Dharmaram confronted them together? No warning. Just a smack in the face. Maybe he should run to the yoga studio? He took two steps down the pavement—
He turned back to see that beautiful face. A beautiful face and body—dressed in men’s clothes. He’d seen Quentin as Queen. He’d seen Quentin naked. But this was the first time seeing him as a man.
Of course, that masculine image was slightly compromised by the fact that Quentin wore an apron over his jeans and T-shirt. An apron covered in flour and dough. Micah wanted to lick it off. The first processed food he’d had in years.
Quentin wiped his hands. “What did you want?”
His eyes wouldn’t focus. He just wanted to keep staring at that loveliness.
“Maybe I could get one of your raw cupcakes?”
“You came here before opening for a cupcake?”
Micah shook his head. “No. I have something to tell you. Something pretty awful.”
Quentin frowned. “Something more awful than you going back to your yoga teacher a few hours after we had sex?”
Micah breathed out hard. “It’s related to that. Where can we talk?”
“There’s people baking in the kitchen. You know, baking that poison I make and force on people?” He stood very upright.
“I’m truly sorry for that. Just, please, let me tell you what’s happened.”
“OK.” Quentin stepped aside and pointed to the back. Micah walked into the shop, assailed again by the sweetest of smells. No second sweetest, after Quentin.
Quentin walked through the door that led to the kitchen and Micah followed. He turned right and stepped into a small office with a desk, computer, and a filing cabinet. Quentin pointed to a straight-back chair across from the desk. He took the desk chair. “So what did you want to tell me?”
Whew. Face-to-face, this was tough duty. His heart beat so hard he could feel it in his toes. “I, uh, I really care about you.”
Who knew Quentin’s face could get that angry. “You sure have a unique way of showing it, sugah.”
“Wait. I’ve done a bunch of dumb things, and I’m not sure which is dumbest. First, I did that whole priggish song and dance about the cupcakes being poison when I should have been telling you how much I admire you and appreciate how you take care of your grandmother. And I really want to know why you created those raw cupcakes—” he held up a hand “—but first I have to tell you about my other idiot moves. The reason you saw me with Dharmaram is because he was blackmailing me. He figured out that the beautiful woman he saw me with is the grandson of his most proper southern lady student, and he threatened to tell Mary Beth about you if I didn’t take him back in. What you saw was him moving his stuff into my guest room. That’s guest room.”
Quentin’s mouth literally hung open. “But why did you do that? Why didn’t you tell me?”
Micah shrugged. “I knew if I told you, you’d immediately come out to your grandmother, and I didn’t want to force you to do something you didn’t want to do.”
“So you’ve been hosting that snake in the grass on account of me?” The blue eyes widened to saucer expanse.
Micah shifted in the chair. “I was. But that’s why I ran here so fast this morning. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I woke up this morning and he was climbing in bed with me. I threw him out again.”
“Not good, because he’s going to go straight to Mary Beth and—”
“Who’s going straight to me, darling?”
The soft southern voice came around the partly closed door followed by a curly head and blue eyes that sparkled just like her grandson’s.
He would have smiled but fear seemed to have frozen him solid. What could they say? All he could do was follow Quentin’s lead.
Tara Lain’s first erotic romance novel was published in January of 2011. She’s now on book 17. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series of 2011, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm, and she carries her promotional instincts into her writing career as well. She lives with her soul-mate husband in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
Tara would love it if you stalked on her on the web…
Author blog: http://taralain.blogspot.com
Book blog: http://beautifulboysbooks.blogspot.com
FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/taralain