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For a couple of 19th Century gentlemen, Commander William Marshall and Lt. David Archer have been surprisingly ready to accept the notion that people in the 21st Century might be interested in their lives. I say as much. Lt. Archer, leans back in his chair and shrugs.

Davy: And why not? I would leap at the chance to speak to Shakespeare, if he would explain the truth of the gentleman to whom he wrote his sonnets. The war in which we have been engaged must be important in your own history, and therefore interesting. Since you are addressing me in English, I venture to guess that England triumphed in her disagreement with Bonaparte?

LR: Yes, though it will be a long, bitter struggle. You were both right-the Peace of Amiens was only a break in the battle.

They are a study in contrasts-Will tall and slender, with dark eyes and what might be called a poet’s face, his gypsy-black hair still gathered in the old-fashioned sailor’s queue, David a little shorter but strongly built, thick blond hair cut in a neat cap that has the length of Regency fashion but not the affected classical style. But they both lean forward, the question written on their faces.

Will asks it: But England will win?

LR: Yes, decisively.

The gentlemen relax, exchange a smile, and Commander Marshall asks me to commence.

The first question is for him. One of the readers is curious to know what he would dream of spending his prize money on.

Will: (After a moment’s hesitation) I have no idea, really. The prize money sits in the bank. I am not one of those fools who risk all on a throw of the dice. You may think it strange, but my needs are very simple, and my pay is sufficient to cover them. A few pounds now and then, for a comfortable room and good food when we’re ashore, a Christmas treat for my crew… Someday, I suppose, when I leave the Service, I shall want a home, but that day seems a long way off. And-forgive me, ma’am, but most sailors do not make old bones. Ask me that question again, in twenty years’ time, and I may have an answer.

Davy: He’ll have a tidy fortune. Our prize agent is an honest man, and a clever one. We might find a quiet little place somewhere….

LR: : Would that be your choice-a home together, ashore?

Davy: Oh, yes, but I fear it’s a forlorn hope. I’ve grown a bit cynical on the subject of honor and glory-public honor, at least, as opposed to the personal sort-but I do not think I could coax Commander Marshall away from the Navy.

LR: Commander Marshall?

Will: Why hope for something we can never attain? You say that in your time, in England, we might live together openly. (He reaches out, unconsciously, and Davy takes his hand.) In our lifetime, that would be impossible.

LR: I’m afraid you’re right-and even two hundred years later, such freedom is not universal. But if we can move to a happier subject, a reader would like to know how you feel about one another. What do you think of Lt. Archer, sir?

Will: I … pardon me, but that seems a very bold question!

Davy: (grinning) The Commander is very shy, ma’am. Let me just step out of the room for a few moments, so my presence will not inhibit him! (leaves)

Will: (looks after him as though he’s about to leap up and leave, then settles back) What do I think of him? I have no words for that, he is the one whose head is full of poetry.

LR: Is it fair to say you hold him in high regard?

Will: Regard? Really, madam, regard? He is like my breath. Until we became … intimate, I do not think I was truly alive, and for all the joy he has given me, there is an equal measure of fear. (He is silent for a little while, then shakes his head.) As you apparently know, he has insisted upon staying in the Service with me, despite-what befell him last year. Mr. Archer has much more courage than I do. I tell you, I do not know what I should do if he were to be wounded again, or worse. I truly do not know if I will be able to command him in battle, when the Peace is broken.

LR: I thought you settled that question between yourselves, aboard the Mermaid.

Will: You could more accurately say he settled it. In my more sensible moments, I hope that I might be killed first, so that he would go ashore, out of harm’s way. If I had more sense and more self-discipline, I should send him away for his own safety and my peace of mind. I cannot. (He rises abruptly, glancing off to the next room.) I can say no more. Shall I send him in to spill all our secrets?

LR: Please.

He nods, and walks out. After a moment, Davy enters and reclaims his chair. I almost feel I should warn him of his lover’s misgivings, but that seems unfair. I find I need not have worried.

Davy: Poor Will. He’s still fretting over that target painted on my back, is he not?

LR: Well, you did nearly die, after all. He’s much more worried about you than about himself.

Davy: Yes. Silly, isn’t it? I don’t suppose you could reassure him-no, of course not. Even if you said we’ll both survive, he’d never believe you! But please, do go on with your questions.

LR: It’s the same question I asked him-what do you think of Will?

Davy: How many hours do we have? (He grins, and I suddenly see why Will is so conflicted-this man has a smile that shuts down rational thought and turns the pheromones up to Warp 6. If I weren’t happily married … and his boyfriend didn’t have a cutlass and pistol…)

LR: As long as you need, but the sooner we’re finished, the more time you’ll have to yourselves-I reserved this room for you for the whole weekend.

Davy: Ah! Well, then-excellent Captain, good manners, lovely in bed-will that be all? (laughs) He is the most attractive man I’ve ever known, and he does not realize how handsome he is, which I find endearing. He is truly honorable-and believe me, I’ve seen far too many despicable gentlemen to know how rare that honor is. Will wants to make the world right. He thinks himself a cynic, but underneath it all he has a very tender heart.

LR: And what about yourself?

Davy: Oh, I am a cynic; I expect the worst, so when life gives me a surprise, it’s generally a pleasant one. Will himself has been the grandest surprise of my life-he deserves to be knighted for his prowess in the bedchamber, as you have reported at great length.

He raises an eyebrow, as if inviting me to comment on the double entendre, but I just nod.

LR: Anything else?

Davy: I would like to grow old with him. Passion is glorious, but I think as time goes on, the physical expression diminishes and, if one is fortunate, the affection remains. It seems so with my parents, at least. I envy them their long life together, because I doubt I will ever be so lucky. Will is utterly fearless in battle. He seems able to step outside himself, takes risks he would never require of another. I fear that he may one day take one chance too many. As he said himself, that is the most likely ‘future’ for us both. I know that such anxiety is considered unworthy of a true man, but as my father has often observed, I have many such ‘unmanly’ faults.

LR: Will has said he’d like to see you leave the Navy.

Davy: I know. But, really, leave? And go… where? With whom? If I were to leave him, we might never meet again, or if we did, we might not even know one another. A ship is a world apart… I would not miss the Navy, but I do not want to live without Will.

LR: Do you think he could adjust to life ashore?

Davy: I wish I knew.

At this point, Commander Marshall tapped discreetly at the open door. I told him to come on in, thanked them both for their time, and asked if there was anything more either of them would like to say.

Will: Only this-whatever may befall us in the future, if I had the chance to take this path again, I should do so without hesitation. Come what may.

Davy: Indeed. But for my part, I would not object to a long, happy life together. So, madam writer-what are you going to do about it?

David Archer has a knack for getting the last word.

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Mani from ‘Space, Man’ by Sharon Maria Bidwell

When I wrote ‘Space, Man’ I wanted to hit a mildly comic note. It’s a ‘fling’ and therefore it’s intended to be a light, quick read. Some people have said they only wish it were longer and I admit I could have gone for more character development if I’d increased the story length but I was subject to the guidelines for the category as demanded by the publisher. Still, these two characters hold an unexpected place in my heart.

I came up with the idea while in Padstow, which is a small seaside port on the left side of the United Kingdom. I know the above images are a tad ‘poser-like’ and maybe you need to be British or have visited Padstow to appreciate them, but the idea of someone stumbling over this man in white on the quayside amused me so much I wanted to ‘see’ the vision I had in my mind. I simply had to write this story. I also think Yaoi influenced me a little. I’d love to write a Yaoi novel one day but I definitely see Mani as one of those characters. I also saw the world from his perspective. He arrives; he falls in love. He sees nothing wrong with whom he chooses to love despite it being someone of the same sex and… Well, read the interview and find out for yourself.


I’ve asked Mani to wear his spacesuit for this interview. I felt a little awkward asking but he’s so amiable that he didn’t seem to mind. I even felt a little foolish and then the door opens and he walks into the room. Alex’s thoughts when he first saw Mani spring instantly to mind:

“Another beach bum. Just great. With that shaggy hair bleached white and falling in a thick, tumbling wave over his face, the man could only be a drifter. The white hair was one thing to arrest the attention, but the white, tight outfit, was quite another. It… clung. No wonder the stranger attracted so many odd glances.”

On with the interview, if I can clear my throat enough to speak. Cling is the perfect word. I swallow, try to drag my eyes away, but I can’t. He’s like a magnet and goodness knows what the folk of the quiet little seaside resort of Padstow would think of a gay alien in their midst. Saying that, Mani and Alex live in London. Alex’s parents live in Padstow but he and Mani visit them often and it’s where Alex first set eyes on this man in white.

Mani turns to take his seat and presents me with the perfect round globe of his backside. At once, I struggle to stifle a laugh and fight to pull my face into some semblance of order before Mani sees my expression. No wonder Alex was so taken with this man at first sight. I recall Alex’s promises not to take home another beach bum when he first saw Mani. Yeah…ri-ghhhttt. Alex, you didn’t stand a chance.

While Mani is definitely sex on two long and lean legs, there’s also something very innocent and demure in his attitude. I sort of understand why, but is the universe really such an innocent place?

“Hello, Mani.”

He nods and smiles. The smile immediately lights up his face. His beautiful, violet, almond-shaped eyes distract me. His thin nose leads down to full kissable lips. I only just realise I’m starting to purse my own lips in time to stop before I make little kissing gestures.

“Thank you for granting me an interview. I’d like to start by addressing the issue of your name.”

“Addressing?” Mani frowns at me, the centre of his brow crinkling up adorably. “Ah, address is where you live.” He seems to think about this. “I do not see how you can put an address on a name.”

For a second, I’m speechless, and then I remember that Mani is still learning the subtle nuances of our language. Indeed, he’s learning the nuances of an entire planet. “It also means dealing with an issue, concentrating on a topic.” Not wanting to give him too long to think about this as I can see Mani leading us off on a whole tangent of questions, I swiftly forge ahead. “Alex gave you your name. What’s your real name in your language?”

He utters something that makes me think of a dyslexic typist crossed with the sound of nails on a chalkboard. There’s no way I’m going to be able to come up with a way to spell it. So much for that.

“I wondered what you thought of the name Alex gave you. I mean, Mani is quite unusual.” Alex took the name from a Norse legend. It means Moon but I want to know if Mani truly likes the name. “Do you like the name or would you rather choose another?”

Another smile teases Mani’s lips. “I like it,” he replies. “I like the sound of it, the story behind it, and that Alex gave it to me. He named me almost as if he was my destiny, the one to take my hand and lead me into this new life.” His gaze is a little unfocused and wandering. His hand presses against his defined pecs and then the hand starts to slide. I’m lost for a moment watching that hand descend over the ridge of abdominal muscles that the suit hugs so…intimately. They sure do make them well formed out there in the universe. That’s a vote for space exploration if ever there was one. I’m wondering how far down he’ll sweep his hand when it stops moving. I’m trying not to glance any further downwards. That suit sure does cling. His voice brings me out of my trance. “I always remember when he gave it to me,” Mani continues and I have to give myself a mental kick to recall that we’re talking about Alex giving Mani his name. “He was so flustered. Of course, then, I did not understand why. I have learned much since then.”

A faint flush touches his cheeks, so delicate that it’s almost the type of rosy blush you’d expect to find on a Victorian maiden. Is Mani shy? About sex? He certainly never appeared to be.

“Mani, you told Alex that you have three forms and that the one you maintain on your home planet is a block of wood?” I sound as uncertain as I feel.

Mani laughs. “No. I said he would no more look at me in that state than he would a block of wood. The form we use on my world is no more interesting than wood.”

If Mani understood the concept of slang and that there are many forms of “wood” I can’t help thinking he’d have second thoughts as to whether Alex would be interested or not.

“I see. You also said that on your world you don’t mate in the conventional sense.” As that small frown that makes me want to kiss Mani’s forehead appears once more, I think that maybe I’ve made my question too complicated.

“We do not mate the way your species mate,” Mani says, showing me that he’s learned a lot in the last year on Earth. “Females do not need more than our seed.”

“Yes, that’s what you said. What I don’t understand is why you were not eager to seek female companionship then? What made you choose a man?” This question just popped into my head, but it’s a good one and deserves an answer. I also want him to explain why he chose Alex in particular but we’ll get around to that.

“I did not choose in the way I think you mean it. We met by accident but my race believes in destiny. We…flow along with the design of the universe. What will be, will be. Alex was meant for me.”

“How do you know that? Why Alex? If you wanted a man then why pick Alex as that man? Was he simply convenient?”

I give Mani the few moments he often needs to work his way through our language. When he finally understands I see him blink. A look of something like consternation sweeps over his face.

“Alex was not convenient,” he says and the tone of his voice tells me that he most resolutely refutes this and even dislikes the question. “I was not looking for anyone, male or female. I did not even know that you could mate with your own sex but I am glad, for my heart opened to Alex long before…” He stops. The flush rushes up his face and he’s actually blushing now. “Before other parts of me did,” he finishes.

Despite the startling scarlet blush that stands out so starkly in all that pale skin, there’s something altogether too smug and delighted in the set of his mouth and the way his eyes sparkle. He might be embarrassed enough to blush but he loves Alex and clearly adores making love with him. I’m a little sorry that he’s embarrassed at all. When Mani first arrived here, he was so innocent that he saw the world as it should be, rather than how it is. He saw nothing wrong with loving someone even if that person was the same sex. Now the idea embarrasses him a little and I can’t help wondering how many more of our prejudices he’ll be subjected to in the years ahead. I hope Alex can keep him safe, protect him. Still, I also see that he’s unrepentant and proud of the person he loves, and I’m very pleased about that.

“Give me three reasons why you fell in love with Alex.”

I expect Mani to answer me at once but he pauses. When he finally starts to speak, I realise that it’s because he wanted to get his words just right.

“He’s loving,” is the first thing Mani says. “I didn’t realise how loving he was at first, but he was looking for love, longing for someone he could believe in, and I felt it. I felt his need but I felt more than that. He was so open with his heart even when he tried to close it off. I knew I was worthy of that love.” If a human being said this, no doubt we’d think them conceited, but Mani isn’t human. He doesn’t know what conceited means. “I knew I wouldn’t betray him. That made me worthy. He needs protecting, and I can do that.”

It’s my turn to blink. All this time I’ve thought of Mani as the innocent one that needed protection, and now I realise that he’s right. Alex needs someone to look out for him just as much as Mani does.

“He’s kind.”

I smile at this. Yeah, Alex is too kind sometimes.

“He took me in, a stranger. He’s so kind that sometimes he lets others hurt him.”

Wow. Mani is just getting more perceptive by the minute.

“His type of kindness is a vulnerability, but it’s rare and precious so that is the second reason I love him.”

“And the third?”

Mani shakes his head. “I have more than three reasons. Alex is smart…for a human being.” I want to protest in defence of our race, but considering what Mani can do with technology, I grant him this. “He’s funny, usually when he doesn’t mean to be, which is adorable.” Mani smiles sweetly. “He’s sexy and a good lover. I can sum Alex up by calling him a good man, and that’s why I love him, but there is one more thing.” Mani grins at me and I see something in his expression that I never expected. That look is mischievous. He leans forward as though he’s going to confide in me.

“Would it be wrong of me to say that he makes me horny?”

We stare at each other a moment and then fall about laughing.


Sharon Maria Bidwell
aonia – where the muses live

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*”A fair breeze and 38 guns, who could ask for more?”*



*You are an only son, Daniel. Highly unusual that you’re pursuing a
career in the Royal Navy. Shouldn’t you be looking after the family

I should, yes. And you may believe me that my parents have tried every
trick in the book to dissuade me from my plans to go to sea. Oddly
enough, my mother more than my father! She would read to me all news
about our losses at sea, adding gruesome details she made up in the
process. My dear mother has developed a rather morbid affection for

*Interesting strategy, though highly questionable from a modern point of view. Weren’t you afraid?*

Not at all! When I was eight years old, I ran away from home and
chartered as a ship’s boy aboard the “Sweet Louise”, a merchantman. It
wasn’t before Sicily that my father caught up with me.

*I suppose Admiral Leigh wasn’t too pleased.*

Mildly put! I received a truly good hiding, I couldn’t sit for days!
Just because he liked to call me “powdermonkey” he obviously didn’t
want me to be one! But in the end he accepted that I couldn’t envision
a career in politics or spend my days looking after our estate. I leave
poachers and grumpy tenants to my cousin, Francis. He’s a pedantic
bean-counter; can you imagine that he’s writing all his business
letters ink-over-pencil? The man is thirty-five years old, for crying
out loud! And still not married, if I may add. Not that this surprises

*You are not married, either. Not that this fact would surprise /me/.*

I have John and serve on a fine ship. A fair breeze and 38 guns, who could ask for more?

*Captain John Meadows is a very quiet man, withdrawn into himself. You are the opposite; how comes you’re so captivated by him?*

Do you desire me to sort the list in alphabetical order? There is his
sarcasm and dry wit. John is a man of honour, always putting his duty
first. I wish there were more men in the Royal Navy like him. All
through his suffering, he has never complaint, and was willing to
sacrifice his own life for me. It is good to see him freed now from
this creature which has haunted and almost murdered him. All that
aside, I really enjoy kissing him. Not that I’d admit to that in
public, of course.

*Aren’t you worried about the consequences of this love? If you and
Captain Meadows were found out, you’d face a court martial and possible

That is very true. But we would have to be caught in the act first,
with two eyewitnesses present. As we’re careful, that’s not very likely
to happen. No coupling in the captain’s cabin, that’s Article of War #

*Don’t you find it difficult to adhere to that rule? Being at sea for
weeks, if not months, with no privacy but your lover right in front of
your nose?*

Pardon me if I should be too forward in answering this question, Miss
Collingwood, but that’s one of the reasons why the front flaps on our
breeches are so convenient. In the cable tier-

*-it is very dark, I’m aware of that, and now it’s time for a /very/
quick change of subject: how would you describe “Lieutenant Samuel
Blackwood (deceased)” to our readers?*

It’s a Georgian ghost story, featuring a cursed ship, a vengeful ghost,
a haunted captain and a very daring lieutenant. Extraordinary events! I
thought I was doomed to spend the rest of my days in that stuffy office
at the Admiralty, and before I could think twice, I was right in the
middle of an adventure I’d have never dreamt of! A ghost! A ship with a
mind of her own! And Captain John Meadows. I would also like to add
that I find cover and illustrations by Mlle Amandine de Villeneuve most

*What is the next mission of HMS /Privet/?*

We will return to Spithead next month. John will then take the waters
in Bath, and we both hope that you will write us into a less dangerous
adventure next time.


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Happy New Year!

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An interview with Peter Kenyon from ‘Captain’s Surrender’ by Alex Beecroft

I am surprised to find Captain Kenyon so young, until I remember that sailors in the 18th Century started their careers at age thirteen or even earlier. There’s a long habit of command in his eyes, which seem to always be looking towards a distant horizon. They are also a very attractive shade of green.

He rises to greet me and bows with that outstretched leg and flourish of the hand that looks so stiff and ridiculous in films, yet here is graceful as a swan. All at once I feel very uncouth.
“Let’s dive right in,” I say. “Tell me, Captain; your family is quite grand, so why did you decide to join the navy?”

“You’ll think I am… showing away,” he says, with a little head-duck of embarrassment. “But the truth is I wanted to do something of use. Not to rise at noon and dress at two and waste my substance in gaming and other debaucheries like my brother. I wished to defend my home and country against its enemies, and to see new wonders, from the silk markets of Cathay to the Sphinx of the Nile.

“And of course my father’s approval was much eased when Commodore Anson returned from his voyage with more gold in prize money than is in the Bank of London.”
“You were an adventurous boy?”

“Always,” he laughs, “I never could hear of a new thing before I desired to sample it for myself.”
“Which brings me neatly onto Lieutenant Andrews,” I say. “Joshua Andrews. You sampled him quickly enough.”

“Is it your purpose to insult me?” He has hardly sat down before he’s standing again, lips drawn thin as wire and his eyes gleaming.

“Peter,” I say, “As your creator, I know you inside out. I know you deserve the occasional insult.”

“I may,” flicking back the skirts of his coat he sits back down, slightly mollified, but still bristling. “But Josh does not.”

“I’m glad you realize that. But what on earth made you charge straight into a gay relationship with him, and then throw him aside the moment the girl came along? He was just something new you wanted to try?”

“I…” he has the grace to look a little ashamed, and doubtful. “I am a man of my times, Mistress, and I thought of sodomy as a vice one might indulge on occasion – like drinking or cards – and then put down when one took on the responsibilities of marriage. In my defense, Josh encouraged me in this view.”

“He did, didn’t he?” I laugh, “you’re both as bad as each other. Though I can’t help but feel his motives were purer. What do you think it was that finally opened your eyes to the fact that you couldn’t live without him?”

“Alas, I couldn’t tell you. Love? Death? Captivity? God? Who can fathom the mysteries of the human heart?”

“Not you, clearly!”

“It’s true,” he laughs again; beautiful, confident and unconcerned with his own flaws. “I have been called reckless, and even proud, but I don’t think anyone has ever claimed I was wise.”

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Terence from In the Blood, by Rick R. Reed

Terence is not expecting me when I drop by at dusk. The house where he and Edward live on Chicago’s Sheridan Road appears deserted, ghostly really, so I’m sure neither of them is expecting visitors.

But it’s dusk and I want to see Terence, catch him before he goes out for the night (vampires have such predictable lives!). It’s been so long since we’ve chatted and I wanted to be sure he isn’t too cross with me about how I represented him in my novel In the Blood. Not that I think I represented him unfairly (hey, when you’re gorgeous, heartless, and ruthless, there’s little a writer can do to mask it).

I knock and wait. The house’s windows, black, make me think of empty eye sockets. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this house had stood empty for decades. I glance across at Lake Michigan, which looks angry, flinging itself at the boulders along the shores. I do not even hear the door opening.

“Oh my! Look what we have here! It’s the little writer boy come to call. The one who thinks he knows all about us.”

The voice chills me; it’s deep, resonant, and has a way of penetrating more deeply than a human voice. Almost as if a cold hand grasped my shoulder and forced me around, I turn. Terence stands before me, in all his glory: alabaster skin, long blond hair, muscles sheathed in pewter latex and black leather. He is like a fetishist’s dream and a fundamentalist’s nightmare. And he actually is both of those things. He is, quite simply, stunning. And I, the “writer boy” can barely think of a word to say. Terence’s gaze has a way of doing that.

“Hello, Terence. I thought I’d stop by, see how you were.”

“Oh, concerned now, are we? After you exposed me to the world?” Terence steps back and I follow him inside the cavernous space. They have knocked down walls to make room for their eclectic and voluminous art collection.

He doesn’t offer me a seat and I stand, staring up at him. “Oh come on, my dear. You live for such exposure.”

Terence gives his best impression of a pout and I want to laugh, but I don’t. “Not when you make me look so horrible.”

I shake my head. “I was just reporting what you did. I’m not the one that killed the old homeless man while he was sleeping, or dragged the schoolgirl back to my lair and fed on her for days.”

“Oh hush! Just because you shop at a grocery and I do my shopping al fresco doesn’t mean we’re any different.” He smiles hugely. “We all have to eat.”

“I suppose. But do you know what? I wanted to tell you this. I thought you might be pleased.”

Terence cocks his head. “What? The only thing I’d be pleased with is opening up that pretty little throat you’ve got there. But they’d notice you missing too soon and our connection would lead them here.”

“Remember that. No, what I wanted to tell you is that many people who have read about you thought you were gorgeous and extremely sexy. More than any other character, women and men alike wanted a taste of Terence.”

For once, a glimmer of a real, human smile whispers across Terence’s features. I can tell he’s genuinely pleased. I know, that for Terence, it’s all about Terence. “Really?”

“Yes. They all want to be your next victims. They think it would be achingly romantic.”

“Hmph. They’ve got the aching part right.” He grins and then grabs me, inspired. “Tell me where I can find some of them.”

I slowly shake my head. “Don’t you know I never reveal my sources?”

Terence smirks. “Always with the conscience! Why don’t you give it up to me and become one of us?”

“What? And lose my ability to put fiends like you on paper? No way.”

“Well, if that’s how you feel, you should know that I have better things to do now that it’s gotten dark outside. I’ll thank you to be on your way. Lovely chatting with you.”

I turn at the door. “Try to pick on someone your own size tonight. Maybe someone just as heartless.”

Terence winks at me. “You’re no fun.” He waves his hand in my direction. “Off with you now.”

Available at Amazon, here.

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I had dinner at Dick and Jonathan’s the other night, to bring them a
copy of The Dream Ender, and after they’d put Joshua to bed and we
were sitting in the living room having a glass of Strega–Jonathan had
a Coke–I thought I’d take advantage of Alex’s kind offer to do an
interview with them.
DG: You don’t mind doing an interview, do you?
DH (shrugs): Never done one, but sure.
JQ: Wow! An interview. It sounds like fun. But why would you want to?
We’re nobody special.
DG: Well, you do have quite a few fans out there who might like to get
to know you better.
JQ: Really? That’s nice to know! I guess I’ve just been too busy to
notice. Did you know that, Dick?
DH: Well, yeah, since I’m always talking to them.
JQ (looking puzzled): Huh?
DH (smiling): I’ll tell you later. So, what do you want to know?
DG: Well, like how you and the gang are getting along. Especially
Jake: he still doing okay?
DH: He’s doing fine. His brother Stan is keeping a close eye on him,
and he’s been taking his meds regularly. We see him and Jared and the
rest of the gang as often as we can.
JQ: That reminds me…we’ve got to call Craig to see if he can sit for
us on the 18th. Phil and Tim are celebrating their anniversary.
DH: That’s right! I’d nearly forgotten. I’m glad I’ve got you to
remember these things.
DG: That brings up a question. Some of your fans have said that
sometimes you treat Jonathan more like your kid than your partner.
JQ: See? I’m not the only one.
DH: But I’m getting a lot better. Jonathan’s done a lot of growing up
since we first got together. And I’m a Scorpio…what can I tell you?
It’s my ‘Me Tarzan, Him Boy’ nature.
JQ: And I should say that now that we’ve got Joshua, Dick’s been a
lot better about it. I admit I was pretty insecure when we first got
together, but like he says, I think I’ve grown up quite a bit.
DG: I understand you’ve joined the Gay Men’s Chorus. How’s that going?
JQ: I love it! We’ll be doing our first concert pretty soon, and
it’ll be fantastic! I hope you can come!
DG: I wouldn’t miss it for the world. So, are you working on any new
cases, Dick?
DH: The one thing that drives me nuts about this P.I. business is
that it’s either feast or famine. I’m keeping pretty busy with little
stuff, and doing things for Glen O’Banyon and some other lawyers, but
at the moment nothing exciting is going on. Which isn’t to say that
the other shoe won’t drop any second now.
DG: And how is Joshua doing? He’s been with you a year now. Any problems?
DH: Not really. Nothing major, anyway. I know he still misses his
folks…Jonathan does, too…but we just handle things as they come up.
DG: I really enjoyed spending some time with him before and after
dinner, though I can imagine he can get to be a handful. Is he always
that full of energy?
DH: You have no idea! But he’s really a great kid. Takes a lot after Jonathan.
JQ: Flattery will get you anywhere.
DH: I sure hope so.
DG: Do you want me to leave so you two can be alone?
DH and JQ (laughing): Sorry about that!
DG: Well, it’s nice to see you’re still getting along after all this
time. But tell me, Dick, do you miss your old alley-cat days?
DH: Not a bit.
JQ: A-hem!
DH: Okay, so I do think about it from time to time. I’m only human.
But there’s no way I would risk jeopardizing what I”ve got now.
DG: Same for you, Jonathan?
JQ: What do you think?
DG: Well, guys, it’s getting late and I’d better be heading out.
Thanks again for dinner, and give my best to the gang when you see
DH: Will do. Glad you could come by.
JQ: And don’t forget our concert, okay?
DG: I’ll be there.

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Kit St. Denys from “The Phoenix”


Ruth Sims

Welcome to an interview with Kit St. Denys, The Phoenix. It’s somewhat different from most interviews, in that it leaps more than a century and shatters the fragile divide between fact and fancy.

RS: Kit, it’s wonderful to see you in the flesh.

Kit: (laughing) I’m sure it is. You created me, after all, so I must be to your liking.

RS: Tall, handsome, brown-eyed, fair-haired man…you might say that. As for creating you, it’s true, I did. I wish I could have controlled you!

Kit: No one has ever done that. I don’t anticipate that anyone ever will. It’s not your fault.

RS: Let’s get immediately to the interview, since you’re not allowed to stay in my world very long. People want to know about you in your own words. You’re a nineteenth century version of a rock star, you know. Famous, idolized, rich. Women throw themselves at you; offer to leave their lovers and husbands. I’ve heard they literally beg for you. Do you ever take them up on it?

A – I don’t know what a rock star is, but I know that when I want sport it’s not with a woman. And it would never be with anyone who begs.

RS: You call yourself as a phoenix. Why?

Kit: Why not? It’s what I am, as you well know. I’ve destroyed and remade myself over and over. I was born in the worst slum in London. My father—if I can even use that word for him–was a monster and my mother was a whore. I was a thief. I was good at it. Then I did something that could have left me dangling from a noose before I reached manhood. Fate stepped in and gave me the chance to become someone else. The theatre gave me the chance to remake myself with every performance. And when I met Nick I remade myself again, into someone I didn’t even recognize because for the first time I knew what it was to be in love—which was most assuredly not my original intention. I meant only to seduce him because he was so innocent and it was a game.

RS: You mean Nick. Tell people about Nicholas Stuart.

Kit: My Nico. Healer. Self-righteous Puritan. Pain in my heart. Innocent fool with the clearest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. I took him in hand—in more ways than one—and taught him how to love another man. I taught him that his body was something more than just inconvenient baggage for the soul. You see, he believes in souls. And in God. I believe in neither. Sometimes he would be possessed by an insufferable self-righteousness that made me very cross. Once he called me a man’s whore and accused me of sleeping with half the men in England. Well, that infuriated me, especially when he said it was half only because I bypassed the ugly, the insane, and the dead.

RS: And you responded by…

Kit: Knocking him flat on his arse. In fairness to him, he wasn’t entirely wrong. There had been many men before I met him. But I never slept with those I loved and I never loved those with whom I slept. When he came into my life I suddenly did both. We were even happy for a while. Neither of us had ever been truly happy before; perhaps we just didn’t know how. He couldn’t reconcile what he is with the demands of his God. And I refused to share him with anyone, not even God.

RS: Loving another man is very dangerous legally, is it not.

Kit: Before the laws were changed we could have been executed. Now we would only go to prison. Wilde was an amusing, pretentious ass but at times he was spot-on. He said danger was part of the attraction, and likened it to “feasting with panthers.” Be that as it may, I feasted with many panthers, but I never gave up control to them. Or to anyone.

RS: I must admit, your charm and charisma, your…intensity is a bit overwhelming—

Kit: You do look a bit flushed. (laughing)

RS: How ungentlemanly!

Kit: You forget that I’m a gentleman only on the outside. On the inside I’m still what I was born to be.

RS: How do you feel about women?

Kit: Other than my mother, who was a waste of space, the women I’ve known have been grand and wonderful creatures. Lizbet saved me. Rama loves me with all her good heart. Minnie Fiske was a devoted friend. I adore women. I just don’t sleep with them.

RS: Someday I am going to interview Rama. I know she has been in love with you for many years.

Kit: She never stops hoping. Sometimes I wish I could change just to please her.

RS: Earlier you said you did not believe in God. Does that mean you don’t believe in Evil?

Kit: I believe completely in Evil. I’m well acquainted with it. I lived with it. I saw it in the eyes of the monster who fathered me. I saw it when he beat me and my twin brother. I saw it in the nightmares that terrified me every sleeping moment and many waking ones. Oh, yes. I believe in Evil. I believe it must be destroyed no matter the consequences.

RS: Tell us more about Nick.

Kit: I told you I believe wholeheartedly that Evil exists. But thanks to Nick as well as my adopted father I also know that there are good men in the world. Xavier St. Denys, took me in when I was a wild child who could have faced the gallows. He gave me a new name and the chance to become someone else. And Nick, my Nick…well, with every fiber of his being he cares about mankind. When he was a boy he promised God that he would devote his body to chastity, his soul to purity, and his industry to mankind. Poor Nico. Only the last has been easy. Thanks to me the chastity was abandoned! And no man has worked harder to ease life for suffering humanity, though it is a losing fight. As for his soul…it is pure and always will be, though he thinks it is not.

RS: I thought you didn’t believe in souls.

Kit: I believe in his.

RS: You conquered the theatre world before you were thirty, rose from your own ashes a half dozen times, and fought devils both inside yourself and outside. What does the future hold for you?

Kit: More of the same. The battle will never end.

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fanstudies picture

Recently I’ve noticed several people in the m/m romance world asking this question. As I’m coming from a fanfiction background, I’ve seen this subject thrashed out endlessly again and again on Live Journal, where m/m romance is known as ‘slash fiction’. So in an effort to stop the re-invention of the wheel here are a couple of really good links on the subject.

TrinityofOne’s LJ

The grand-daddy of slash studies:

Slash Philosophy

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Apollo and Hyacinth (pic)

In case anyone’s wondering who the rather androgynous people are in the banner of this blog, it comes from this lovely painting of Apollo and his male lover Hyacinth:

The Death of Hyacinth by Jean Broc

It’s 19th Century classical art, so I don’t really think it’s not work safe, but on the other hand there *is* full frontal nudity 🙂

The Death of Hyacinth by Jean Broc

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