Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Very Special New Release: The Tattoo Artist’s Mate by Doris O'Connor and Raven McAllan


Earlier this year our Evernight Family lost our beloved longtime author, Doris O'Connor. Please welcome Doris's best friend, Raven McAllan, as she talks about how she finished the story they started together...

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I’m so happy—and incredibly sad—to be able to say that the last book the lovely Doris O’Connor had an input in is now out. I know that is a contradiction, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

The Tattoo Artist’s Mate.

This story was plotted out by the two of us, in my study a couple of years ago over a gin and tonic (or three) with lots of snorts and giggles. A page of notes on my lap top cryptically called ‘Ours J n D. Gaspar’. (J for Jo, my non-author name) As with a lot of other, must do, one day things, life got in the way, and it got put to one side. We talked about ‘oh we must write that one day,’ and got no further.

Until recently.

And in the worst of all circumstances.

As I’m sure most of you know, Doris lost her battle with cancer of an unknown primary earlier this year.

I feel part of me is missing. 

Try as I might I can’t find it. 

It’s so hard; she was the sister I’d never had. Both only children we clicked when we first met online in a group for aspiring writers, and even more so when we met in real life. We were, we decided sisters, under the sun.

Over the years we have nagged, encouraged, laughed and cried with each other.

The first time Doris was asked to add a certain sex scene into a story, it’s a wonder Skype didn’t crash the amount of words that went on. When I had to fathom out what a Regency Dom would use in a certain scene, ditto. We discussed out plots, where our books were set, and beta’d each other’s work. We called it ‘rediting’. I.e. red penning it, (or whatever color type we felt like using.) We were, we both admitted, each other’s harshest critic. Which was welcome. There was never any need to hold back on telling the truth, and yes sometimes it was harsh, but hey ho, we never held it against each other. It was always honest and what was needed.

My husband and I (I sound like the Queen here ;) ) were over the moon to be asked to be honorary grandparents to her youngest when he was born. Before long we were grandparents to all of Doris and Tony’s children. Fantastic. An honor we love.

However, I digress.

Back to Gaspar.

Around 4 years ago we wrote (again giggling in my study) a time slip story, The Duke’s Christmas Abductions, and it was great fun. But with both of us busy, the ‘we must do it again’ apart from that one page if notes, kept getting put back.

Fast forward to the end of last year. 

Doris went into hospital and was bored. I unearthed our notes, wrote my first bit and sent it to her, with a note. ‘Over to you.’

She laughed and added a bit. The ‘me a bit, her a bit’ went on until she couldn’t write any more. I promised her that as we had started it, I would finish it, and use our original ideas.

So I did. This is our joint story. 

I hope it works for you, and you enjoy it as much as we and then I enjoyed writing it. (If you can say that about something so bitter sweet. There were more than a few tears shed.)

I hope I’ve added what was needed to finish our joint story.

And I hope it’s what she would have wanted. (I haven’t had any shouting in my ears saying Jo, for goodness sake just do a, or b, already, so fingers crossed it is.)


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The Tattoo Artist’s Mate 
by Doris O'Connor and Raven McAllan

Bare Alley Ink, 1
When Isla Campbell leaves her so-called Dom, she is determined never to sub again. All she wants is her tattoo removed and to live a quiet life with no dominant, or domineering men, in it.

Until she meets Gaspar MacDonald, tattoo artist and, unbeknownst to her, a bear shifter.

Isla calls to Gaspar in the most basic of ways—he knows she is his mate.

Now all he has to do is persuade Isla of that fact. Oh, and explain he’s a Dom, and a shifter, and that subbing for your Dom is not what she thought it was, but much better.

Will Isla ever trust him enough to discover if they have what would be the perfect match?
Be Warned: BDSM, spanking

Find The Tattoo Artist's Mate here:


Saturday, June 15, 2019

“Questioning” seems the core and the matter of the issue... by Katherine Wyerven #PrideMonth


In honor of pride month, we've asked our LGBTQ+ authors what PRIDE means to them. Please welcome Katherine Wyvern to the blog today.

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When I was writing the first book in my loosely interconnected ”transgender trilogy”, Woman as a Foreign Language, I came across a beautiful quote by Eddie Redmayne, who had recently starred in The Danish Girl, and had suddenly become an advocate for transgender rights. He said, "If gender is on a spectrum, where one finds oneself is completely unique.” This is something that should be almost obvious, but is not. 

Whenever I see the rainbow flag proudly displayed, I think sometimes that the rainbow truly represents that spectrum, but also the divisions that still exist within the queer community, where much language is wasted in obsessively (and sometimes aggressively) labeling and subdividing people’s identities and sexual orientations.
The words themselves have such changeful meanings, that what two years ago could legitimately be called a “transgender trilogy” should now probably be relabeled a “genderqueer trilogy”. It’s confusing, disheartening and ultimately counterproductive when vocabulary gets ahead of the content in any discussion, but such is the queer world. 

My interest in writing genderqueer characters stems from my own gender confusion, for which I have no name and no label, except perhaps that rather beautiful umbrella term, “questioning”. 

“Questioning” seems the core and the matter of the issue to me. Questioning gender is just one more form of the quest of human beings all over the world to find their true place in the grand scheme of things, which is not necessary the place where fate has dumped us. 

This deep questioning of place and identity is a terrific premise for any story, if not for a person’s own peace of mind. It is also part of why I never wrote outright transsexual characters, and found much more interest in characters for whom gender exploration is not at all a one way street, and who don’t feel they are one thing or the other, but rather, truly, some changing, indefinable, nameless hue on a spectrum.

Incidentally, these are possibly the most numerous transgender group, and the one that finds the least expression and representation in the media. 

I found it most therapeutic to write a transgender story set in Victorian times, A Muse to Live For, exactly because of the lack of established language at the time to define this issue. It was liberating to know that I could avoid all labels because at the time there were no labels, and that I could freely explore both the ingenuity and the inadequacy of the language in dealing with such topics.  

It’s also my true experience of growing up with a genderqueer identity in a world (provincial Italy, thirty years ago) that had absolutely no concept of it, and where the discussion of this topic was not “taboo”, or “frowned upon”, or “loaded”, but simply “non-existent”. 

Pride month is a time of noise and extravagant colourful displays, but I do hope it comes with deep reflection. So many people both in the western world and in less democratic countries, still struggle in silence, sometimes in real physical danger, to find expression and legitimacy for their identities and orientations. Unless we extend our protection to these people, and lend them our voice for what they cannot say, our pride is and will remain pretty shallow. 

There are many LGBT rights organizations supporting human rights around the world. Consider celebrating pride month with a donation to one of these. 


"This is one of the most beautiful romances I've ever read."


London, 1884

An artist lives to create. When Nathaniel’s urge to paint died, so did his will to live.

Until the night he meets Gabrielle.

Gabrielle may be just a poor prostitute, but she has the beauty of a Pre-Raphaelite stunner and the otherworldly aura of a fallen angel. She also has a secret. Gabrielle is Gabriel, and when Gabriel’s dark past comes knocking and Gabrielle must abandon her new career as an artist’s model, Nathaniel’s whole world comes crashing down again.

Better to die than living without her love, and the breathtaking creative drive she brought him. But it’s dead easy to die for a woman. Any fool can die for love. To live for it, that takes altogether more courage, doggedness, and imagination.

A MUSE TO LIVE FOR is available here:



Sunday, June 9, 2019

Being LGBTQ+ doesn't look like you think it does.... by Erin M. Leaf


In honor of PRIDE MONTH, we've asked our LGBTQ+ authors to speak out about what PRIDE means to them. Please welcome Erin M. Leaf!

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Being LGBTQ+ doesn't look like you think it does....

Hello readers! My latest book, His Beast Returns, features two guys who are destined to be together, and neither one of them looks or acts like anything remotely stereotypical when it comes to being gay. Russell is rugged and tough, and routinely startles people with his size. Tristan seems distant and cold, but that's only because he has to hide his empathic abilities. Neither man has been able to be truly themselves for most of their lives because of their circumstances. And that is an important point to understand: no LGBTQ+ person should be pressured into being one thing or another thing. No one should be expected to be anything except what they must be for the situation in which they find themselves living.

Growing up queer is never easy, even when you have a supportive family. Being in the closet or out of it is an individual choice that depends on where you are in your life. How you present yourself to the world is a choice. Temperament and safety and a zillion other things can dictate how you live and interact with your community. Survival sometimes trumps truth, and no one who hasn't experienced that kind of fear should judge someone who's lived it. 

Being open and proud also means understanding that life is a process, and acceptance comes in many different forms. Sometimes it takes a while to accept yourself. Sometimes it takes a while for someone else to accept you. This is a universal truth. And that's why being queer doesn't always look like you think it does. We are all just pushing forward through life, trying our best to love and be loved.



Book Blurb:

Tristan Marik fell in love when he was too young to understand that he wasn’t allowed happiness, particularly not with another boy. As the son of Edmond Marik, ruthless owner of Monolith Enterprises, he had an image to maintain. After his father threatened his boyfriend’s life, Tristan spent years pretending he'd never sworn a blood oath. But now, everything has changed. 

Russell Kelvin dreamed of the day he'd return to Tristan because he thought it would happen on his terms. He thought they’d be free to love. Instead, his ability to call his beast is the only thing that can keep Tristan alive when enemies want him dead. 

Fear keeps Tristan from fully trusting Russell’s intentions. Instinct keeps Russell by Tristan’s side, even in the face of doubt. But oaths made in blood never fade, and the drive of the beast is stronger than either of them realize.

Buy Links:


Chapter One Teaser-->

Russell Kelvin looked up at the building, one of the taller glass monoliths in midtown Manhattan, and gritted his teeth. The owner of the building had named it and his company aptly, for he couldn’t imagine a more forbidding tower of glass and steel. Monolith Enterprises owned the place, and Russell was here to step inside and back into the world of civilization after too long away. He hadn’t set foot in the States in ten years, and he hadn’t set eyes on Tristan Marik in even longer. His skin prickled with energy, and he swore he could taste electricity on the damned air, no matter how unlikely a scenario that was. He licked his lips, imagining Tristan’s cool green gaze. Everything else would be different about the man, but not the eyes. Never the eyes.
“You can do this,” he muttered to himself, like a madman. Only a crazy man would talk to himself in the middle of New York, but perhaps he wasmad, despite how wretchedly sober he felt. People walked around him as if he were also part monolith, and it was true he was taller than average, but it was also true that in the city, people had places to be and he was simply an immovable object in the way of everyone at this time of the morning. He thought maybe he should’ve shown up later that day, perhaps just before five, and then his sudden appearance would’ve been unremarkable, except, well, he wanted to be remarkable. Tristan needed him to be remarkable. That was the whole point of this homecoming, after all. He ran a hand through his dark hair, knowing that no matter how carefully he styled it, people would be looking at the rest of his body long before they noticed his face. He hadn’t bothered with a suit. It seemed pointless. He’d put on jeans and his boots and a black shirt, and if all of it showed his muscles just a little bit too well, so be it.
“You knew this was coming. You’ve known this was coming for over ten years now,” he murmured, exhaling almost before he began moving forward. He pushed open the glass doors. The moment he stepped inside the cool, hushed foyer, the people behind the reception desk looked up, polite smiles fading as they took him in. He wasn’t anything close to civilized, and this gleaming building wasn’t anything close to the wild lands where he’d been living. His mother would say that he was a beast set loose in a china shop, and she wouldn’t be too wrong. It was a pity she’d been dead since he was a child. She would’ve enjoyed this kind of homecoming. He would’ve enjoyed her enjoyment.
“Can I help you?” one of the women behind the gleaming desk stuttered, eyes riveted to his chest. A faint blush rose onto her cheekbones. The other woman’s dark skin hid any blush, but he felt her attention on him just the same.
Blonde. Grey eyes. Marlie, his brain supplied as he met the first woman’s gaze. He knew all the key employees here, even though they didn’t know him. “No, thanks. I’m good,” he said in a clipped voice, nerves getting the better of him. He could pretend to be civilized, but it would never feel comfortable. He glanced at the others. The woman on the far end didn’t even try to hide her curiosity. The man in the middle frowned faintly, sensing competition where there was none. Russell had no interest in the women, or even the man. “I know the way,” he said more gently, taking in the vaulted ceilings and columns.
Tristan’s father had built this place, but Tristan had his hands all over the design. And thatmeant Russell knew everything there was to know about the building, all of its secrets and deficiencies, not that anyone except Tristan had a clue about that. It was a pity the building was the only thing Tristan had control over for the past decade. Russell wouldn’t have had to stay away for so long if that hadn’t been the case. And now you’ve descended into self-pity, he thought, angry with himself. Just what Tristan doesn’t need.
Marlie stared at him, but he simply smiled as he strode past the large desk to the bank of elevators. “Wait! You can’t go up without a security pass,” she said, standing up. The man in the middle of the two women, as blond as Marlie, stood up, too. He looked less confused and more inclined to suspicion.
Hmm. Not completely stupid, then, Russell thought, not that it mattered. The man wouldn’t be a problem for him.
“She’s right,” the man said, holding the desk phone as if it were a weapon. “And you certainly can’t use that elevator. That’s the VIP lift.”
“There’s no need to call security, Jon,” Russell said, nodding at him. He ignored their whispers about his knowledge of their names. They’d find out the details soon enough. He lifted his hand and placed it on the palm scanner of the executive express elevator, the one that went directly up to the top three floors. The elevator Tristan used. The elevator Edmond Marik had used before his death a week ago. A moment later it beeped, and he tapped in the floor of the building he wanted onto the screen. The doors opened.
The woman at the far end paled. “How—”
Russell smiled, but he had too much to deal with right now to take the time to explain anything to her and the others. “It’s okay. I promise,” he told the trio, stepping inside. “I’m expected.”

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

First Chapter Teaser...




Blood Born, 3

Lynn Burke

Copyright © 2019


Chapter One

Primrose
“Looking for crazies, huh?” The old woman peered up at me from the park bench with watery, blue eyes, not a hint of an inner beast within her whispering to me.
I smiled, knowing humans responded better to kindness than the anger her words simmered to life inside me. “Some people’s inner thoughts can take on a mind of their own. Not everyone who hears voices has mental issues.”
She snorted, lips pressed in a tight line, and glanced around the small park, the first of many such stops I’d made while traveling around northern Arizona.
I’d gone into Jackson Hole enough times to know the older humans liked to talk the most, full of stories—gossip, lore, and truth. Weeding through the fantastical proved harder for me, especially since I hadn’t spent much time around humans in my twenty-two years. I’d also found that while the older human generation answered the most questions, they had similar people skills like my own—almost non-existent.
At least I had a reason for my behavior.
“What do you want with people like that?” the woman asked, without looking at me. “They’re the ones who shoot up schools and blow themselves up for their religion.”
“Have you heard any good gossip lately about people hearing voices? Do you know anyone personally?” I forced myself to ask—again—rather than storm off for reasons she would never be able to fathom, ones that a recluse like me understood perfectly well.
Another snort of sarcastic laughter shook her shoulders. “All kinds of crazies like that over at Lockwood.”
“Lockwood?”
“Hospital for the crazies.”
I blinked, never once thinking that perhaps the humans would lock up people who claimed to hear voices to the extent I did—I was far from mentally unstable. “Can you tell me where this Lockwood is located?”
Wrinkled hand waving toward the west, she muttered something about the next town over, one also buried near the Grand Canyon with hardly a population worth mentioning. “Plenty of them crazies you’re looking for over there.”
For a month, I had made my way south from my cavern home in the Grand Teton in the hopes of finding blood born from the third ancient family on North America’s continent. My grandfather had claimed their ancestral home lay in the Grand Canyon, so I forced myself to go from town to town as I drew near the national park combing the streets and trying at small talk, hoping, praying to my own ancestors in the stars, that I would hear the voice, feel the energy pull of those fate planned for me.
I’d had zero luck in the month since I’d left my cavern home, but watery-eyed woman had given me the first sense of hope I still might find them.
Not bothering with a thanks or even a good day toward the ignorant old fool, I stood and ambled back the way I’d come from the trees beyond the park.
My grandfather’s alpha male had asked me if I’d gotten out much after walking in on him and their female without knocking, so I guess my lack of interaction with humans showed. For those with inner voices, however, I had zero difficulty reading and understanding. That was, until I left the Teton area and flew south in search of my own mates.
I had met many humans, some with enough dragonblood their inner beasts spoke with me even though their humans knew nothing of their existence. Some also had various voices inside—ones I didn’t recognize as human or dragonblood. I noted, too, the latter humans had even less people skills than I.
One man I had attempted to speak to drooled all over himself as he stared, unseeing from his perch on a similar bench as the woman I’d left behind. At least six voices had whispered in his head, all of them sputtering absolute nonsense. I’d left him as I found him, alone, and me, none the wiser in finding the two who belonged to me.
One alpha, one beta—my two mates, the ones I would need to procreate and rebuild the dragonblood line on earth. While I longed for the sexual hunger my grandfather experienced with his two fated mates, I had yet to meet anyone, human or dragonblood, who could make my body burn, yearn for my first sexual encounter.
My inner dragon purred at the possibility one of the two I searched for might be in the next town.
Once out of sight of the small park, I stripped out of my clothing, stuffed them in the new duffle bag I had bought myself, and closed my eyes. Communicating with my inner dragon came easy as breathing, my mind’s desire to shift and cloak myself from sight rippling through my physical body like a bend of light, morphing my human form into that of a pale golden dragon, the same color of my waist-length hair, spines, claws, and all.
Front claws of my left foot wrapped tight to my duffle, I launched into the air, destination Lockwood.
On the day I had turned eighteen, my human grandmother had added me to her bank account, one richly donated to by the grandfather who just recently found out I existed. Money for my travels wouldn’t be an issue, but I found the motels and hotels much less accommodating and comfortable than the cavern I’d grown up in, even if the amenities of my childhood home were severely outdated.
And the noise…
Engines, radios, humans chattering—vastly different than the solitude of Grand Teton and the quiet wildlife interested only in surviving.
Cloaked and slowly flapping my wings, I soared toward the setting sun, breathing deep as always, hoping for a hint of the scents that would bring my body to life. The ragged cliffs and deep, ancient openings of the earth lay below to my right in muted tones of red, brown, and gray, the deepest parts hidden from sight as the sun sank. A different beauty than the snow-capped mountains of my home, but no less stunning.
It was a good twenty plus degrees warmer in northern Arizona than home for fall, with absolutely no hint of snow or ice far below me, and for the briefest second, I found myself missing home, the comforts of that which I’d known, the full-blooded dragonblood grandfather I had barely gotten to know before taking off to seek my own fate.
A small town lay a bit to the south along a snaking highway, so I banked slightly and drew closer, my dragon sight allowing me to easily focus in on buildings and cars. No hint of male dragonblood floated on the breeze from my height, so I circled until I found the hospital watery-eyes woman had spoken of.
Invisible to the human eye and my cloaking extended to my duffle bag, I made to land a ways off the beaten path and into a stand of trees. Once shifted into my human form, I pulled my leggings, a bra—something I’d hardly worn while living in seclusion and hated with a passion—and a long-sleeve tunic that fell to mid-thigh. My favorite ballet flats, easy to tear through should I need to shift in a hurry, pinched more than I would have liked, and I told myself I would finally buy myself some new clothing at the next store I found.
I breathed in the soothing scents of spruce and juniper from the surrounding trees, and still finding no hint of dragonblood in the air, I started off toward town. A small motel on the outskirts offered me a place to lay my head for the night, and once I stowed my duffle bag away in my rented room, I started off in the direction of Lockwood.
My heart thumped heavier than usual, and I couldn’t keep from smiling. Would fate smile down on me? Would she be so kind as to offer me my two mates so early in my search?
Yes.
The voice in my head purred at the same time a slight tingle of energy slid over me. My head jerked toward the hospital’s closest wing, the two-story white building sterile in appearance without a hint of beauty landscaped below. Bars lined the windows, and my brow furrowed at the thought one of my males would be held against his will.
My dragon growled in my chest, and I bit my lip to keep it contained as humans approached me on the sidewalk. I didn’t bother forcing a smile or replying to their greeting, my focus flitting from window to window of the hospital’s wing, wondering which one shut me out from him.
Beta.
I pulled up short, fingers threading through the chain link fence along the hospital’s perimeter, allowing my dragon to take over my wandering gaze since her instincts far outshone those of my human form.
Energy rippled over the mostly-empty parking lot on the other side of the fence, the tether of energy leading up to the second floor … third window from the building’s end.
He is there.
“Yes,” I whispered my agreement with my inner dragon, feeling the energy linking us strengthening enough I could almost feel it like a physical caress across my fingers. Warmth woke between my thighs for the first time, and I gasped at the luscious dampness, the slight pulse of need for my mate as my nipples tightened.
Biting my lip against the whine building inside me, I stared at his window as the sun cast its last rays overhead in a final attempt to keep the night at bay.
Did he feel me as I did him? Did he communicate with his inner dragon to the extent he knew who and what he truly was?
I clutched at the fence, unmoving except for the gnawing of my inner lip as doubts plagued me and the minutes slipped past. What if the voice had driven him to madness? What if the ability to think rationally, to understand the truth of his circumstances, lay beyond his grasp?
Darkness fell, and I glanced around, making sure no one watched me before cloaking myself, becoming a shadow in the coming twilight. My attention once more returned to the hospital, and I forced away the negative thoughts, determined to find a way inside and free my beta from his prison.

Read Driven by Dragonblood, #1click on Amazon HERE!



Wednesday, May 15, 2019

NEW RELEASE: Devin and the Playboy by Kastil Eavenshade

NEW RELEASE!

Devin and the Playboy 
by Kastil Eavenshade

Devin Murphy enjoys her life as a high-priced escort. She has the best of both worlds—an active sex life and money to live a comfortable lifestyle without answering to a man at the end of the day. When the infamous playboy of Manhattan Jack Monterey proposes a contract of marriage that offers her a lavish lifestyle beyond the prime years of her profession, she accepts. Besides, if anyone could handle the legendary master of bedroom activities, it was her.

Leaving her former profession proves to be harder than she thought and her past keeps threatening to ruin her future thanks to her husband's vindictive sister. To make matters worse, Jack Monterey's reputation of sexual Adonis has been grossly exaggerated. Devin is caught in a society far above her capabilities and Jack's assistant Stephan? His penetrating gaze promises to fulfill her carnal fantasies long since neglected by her husband. Can she keep her vows or will temptation take it all?

Be Warned: menage sex (MMF), m/m sex, anal sex, voyeurism
Available here: Evernight Publishing | Amazon | More eBook Retailer links