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Johnnie is from Heaven Sent 1: Heaven by Jet Mykles

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Link to my website: http://www.computerotika.com/home/books-stories/heaven-sent/heaven-sent-1-heaven

Buy link (ebook): http://www.loose-id.com/detail.aspx?ID=267

~*~*~*~
Johnnie Heaven waits for me on a balcony overlooking the distant Pacific Ocean. My, that sounds lovely, doesn’t it? To have a gorgeous rockstar waiting for me? And it is lovely. I spend a short moment watching him, his long body folded into a chair, bare feet propped up on the balcony railing before him. Blue lounge pants cover his long legs with a lighter blue dress shirt draping broad shoulders and slimly muscled arms. All that glorious hair is loose, spilling down the back of the chair in hues from gold through chestnut to chocolate.

He chuckles without looking at me, sipping at his soft drink. “You’re late.”

I grimace and finally step onto the small space. “I know.”

“You’re the one who kept putting it off.”

“Quiet, you,” I mutter, sitting in a chair beside him.

Being the pompous ass he is—

“Be nice,” he warns me, setting down his drink on the small table between us.

“Okay.”

Being the lovely creature that he is—

“Oh that’s nice.”

—he’s consented to give me an interview. Since this is virtual, I don’t bother with pad and pencil or recorder, just curl up in my chair and face him. He’s nicer to look at than the landscape anyway. “Where shall we start?”

“Oh, let’s not start at the beginning.” He adjusts in his chair, posing for me. One leg comes down from the railing, showing off just how long and sleek he is. “My adolescence wasn’t that interesting.” Given that his parents were divorced during that time, it’s understandable.

“So, where should we start?”

“How about when I met Luc?”

I nod. “All right. How old were you?”

“Almost eighteen.”

“How did you meet him?”

“At Purgatory, the club where we got our start.” He smiled fondly, adjusting the sunglasses that, unfortunately, hide those stunning emerald eyes of his. “We both ended up crashing a private party that turned out to be a dud. I can’t even remember who it was for.” He gives it a moment’s thought then releases it with a shrug. “I heard him mention this band he and his friend were thinking of starting and we started talking. By the end of the night, we’d agreed to meet that weekend.”

“You just hit it off?”

“We seemed to. Luc and I think a lot alike, you know.”

Yes, I do. “The rest is history?”

“Pretty much. I met Brent that weekend and after hearing him play, I couldn’t pass up the chance. They had another drummer back then. He played with us for a few months then left when he got a ‘real’ job.” The amused disdain in his voice is obvious.

“Where did you find Darien?”

“At Purgatory. You know his uncle owns the place. We’d just convinced Garth to let us play one night when Thom quit. When we told him we had to quit because we didn’t have a drummer, he suggested his nephew.” Johnnie laughed and gave me a look over the rim of his glasses. “You know how hyper Darien is now?”

I nod.

“Multiply that times five.”

“Whoa.”

“Yeah.” Another chuckle. “But not when he was playing. He learned the few songs we had pretty much in one night and played with us in our normal spot. We didn’t make any money that night to speak of, but Garth did ask us back.” A smug look. “The girls really liked us.” His grin takes on that wicked tilt he’s known for. “Really liked us.”

I can’t resist. “You get laid?”

“Oh hell yeah.”

“Girl or guy?”

“It was a girl that night.”

“You remember?”

“I remember them all.”

Somehow, I believe him. “Were you bisexual back then?”

“Proudly so.”

“The other guys didn’t mind?”

“Not that I noticed. Surprised at first, but they took it in stride.”

“And you converted them all.”

“Not personally, no. Damn it.”

That makes me laugh. “Who did you want to sleep with?”

“I would have slept with any of them,” he says without hesitation. “Have you seen them?”

“I have.”

“Then you can’t blame me.” He sits back in his chair.

“No, I can’t. The idea of promoting the band as all bisexual was your idea, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah. I thought it’d be a good gimmick. I never thought it’d really last that long or that they’d really take to it.”

“Did it surprise you when they started being interested in guys?”

He thinks for a second. “Brent? No. I kinda thought he was gay. Darien, well Chris was his first so it took him awhile.” He chuckles. “Luc surprised me, though. I didn’t think he’d go for it. But once he did…” He laughs harder.

“Ah, the life of a rockstar. Fun, huh?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s all over now, though, right?”

He arches a brow at me. “All the fun?”

“All the sleeping around.” I glance behind us, not that Tyler is there. He’s in the hotel somewhere but not anywhere in hearing distance. “You’re rather committed now, aren’t you?”

His smile turns from smug to beatific. “I am.”

“Tell me about that.”

“What’s to tell? It’s great. He’s great.”

“Did you see yourself settling down with a guy?”

“I never saw myself settling.”

“Not even in your later years.”

“Nope.”

“You don’t want kids?”

He shrugs. “Never really thought about it or expected it, to be honest. I always thought it’d be nice. I like kids. But if it didn’t happen, that’s fine too.”

“What about Tyler? He want kids?”

“We’re discussing it.”

“You’re in love?”

“Hopelessly.”

“What is it about him that draws you?”

He sighs. “What about him doesn’t?” He shakes his head. “He’s smart, he’s talented, he’s got a head for business that makes my head spin. We amuse each other. He’s fucking gorgeous.”

“He’s good in bed,” I tease.

“I decline to answer that one,” he says with a small grin.

“Was it love at first sight?”

“I have to admit that it was lust at first sight. For me. He had an unfair advantage.”

“Oh?”

“He’d seen me before.”

“But he hadn’t met you in the flesh.” I glance down at said flesh.

He grins. “Too true.”

“And then…”

He shrugs. “At first, it was a lark. He was beautiful and I couldn’t miss those big, blue eyes looking at me. For such a sharp businessman he’s got the worst poker face. Plus he gets this gorgeous flush when he’s excited.” He clears his throat.

“He was straight when you met him.”

“So he thought.”

“What made you think otherwise?”

He stares at me for a quiet moment. “A feeling.”

“Meaning?”

He turns aside, scowling slightly at the horizon. “He… didn’t act straight. He was at least bi, even if he didn’t know it.”

“That’s kind of high-handed of you to decide for him, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, well. I didn’t force him.”

I lay my hand on his shoulder. “I know you didn’t. Just… persuaded him.”

He has the grace to look a little embarrassed. “Yeah. I pushed the point. But my brain didn’t work right when I was with him. Still doesn’t, completely.”

“What made you want to be with him forever?”

He gives it some thought, staring into the distance. Then he shrugs. Removing the sunglasses, he gives me the full effect of those gorgeous green eyes. “I fell in love. I can’t imagine being without him.”

How sweet.

“So what’s up with Heaven Sent now?”

“We’re taking a break. We’ve got a few gigs lined up between now and June, but then we’re playing it by ear. Brent and Hell have a few projects they want to look into, Darien’s spending time with Chris. I think they’re going to travel some. And Luc’s got this movie thing.”

“You ever thought of doing movies yourself?”

“Oh sure. I’ve had a few offers. Nothing that really hit me, though.” He shrugs. “I’m not opposed but I’m not going out looking.”

“Is this the graceful end of Heaven Sent?”

“Nah. I know it looks like it could be, but it’s not. We’re not done with each other.”

Good to know. “Ever thought of a solo career?”

He shrugs. “Again, I’ve had offers but I’m not really interested. Maybe I’m just lazy. I’m used to working with the guys. Doing it all on my own doesn’t appeal.”

I smile. “So you go your separate ways for awhile, then meet up again?”

“Something like that.”

“And in the meantime, you’ll get to spend more time with Tyler.”

“Yeah. I’m looking forward to that.”

Out of my own questions, I consult the list left by fans. “Seems to be a fascination with your hair,” I muse. “You ever think of cutting it?”

He pulls a handful over his chest, admiring it. “I’ve thought about it. It’s a pain in the ass, to tell you the truth.” Frowning, he brings the lock of hair closer to inspect the ends. With a sniff, he drops it back to his lap. “But I think I’d feel kind of lost without it now.” He chuckles. “Tyler might not be too happy if I cut it. He might let me cut it to mid back or something, but I don’t think I’d go shorter than that.”

“What kind of conditioner do you use?”

He laughs. “You know, I’m not even sure which one it is. I change a lot. This one smells like peppermint, though.”

“Have you written any songs dedicated to Tyler?”

“Every love song since I’ve met him has been written about Tyler.”

“Were you ever in love before Tyler?”

He picks up his drink to sip at it. “Not really. I kind of thought I was, but all those relationships were too easy to give up. Might have been because I was all about Heaven Sent for so long.” He’s thoughtful for a moment. “I don’t regret those other relationships, but I don’t miss them either. I’d be a wreck without Tyler.”

I laugh at the next fan question. “Have you beat Hell at video games?”

He scowls. “The little beast won’t play anymore! He just got lucky.”

Which just makes me laugh harder.

“What’s so funny?”

What a delightful surprise. We turn to see Tyler stepping onto the balcony. He looks achingly gorgeous in a blue and white striped dress shirt and silver gray slacks. The slacks are obviously part of a suit but he’s left the jacket somewhere else. His curly gold hair is loose about his picture-perfect face and those enormous blue eyes fasten on his husband as he closes in for a kiss.

I watch them slowly brush lip to lip and see the hint of tongues that quickly swipe each other.

“That was for my benefit?” I ask archly.

Tyler straightens, leaning his hip against the back of Johnnie’s chair. “Yours and the readers,” he says with an unrepentant smile.

“You’ve been around him too long,” I accuse.

Tyler squeezes Johnnie’s shoulder. “No doubt.”

“All right then, you get to answer the last questions.”

“Okay.”

“What did you do for your last anniversary?”

Tyler’s eyes go wider than normal, then he ducks his head to hide a blush. Johnnie laughs.

“Oh, this must be good.”

Tyler slugs Johnnie’s shoulder, which just makes the singer laugh harder.

“Well?” I prod.

Tyler sighs, still not looking at me. “We decided to stay here. We got all the food and anything we’d need for three days and I told the staff not to disturb us.”

What’s so bad about that? Unless… I smile. “Good God! Did you guys ever get out of bed?”

Tyler’s flush deepens.

Johnnie’s grin is positively demonic. “Not really.”

Oh man!

And that, lovely readers, is where I’ll leave this interview because my brain is now scrambled just thinking of such a weekend!

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 Jay from Snow Angel and Angel Heart by Sharon Maria Bidwell

 

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During my interview with Dean, I said that in the world of the imagination anything is possible. Right now, I’m watching Jay. He won’t know I’m here until I want him to, of course. This is my world, after all, but what’s puzzling is that I’ve been trying to catch his attention for ages. Hey! Readers want this interview, but he doesn’t seem to be listening. In fact, he seems seriously preoccupied. Right now, I can’t help wondering what he’s doing. He’s delving into an old box and to my surprise, he takes out an old school textbook. I remember that Dean used to help him with his homework. What would he think of this, if he saw Jay flipping over the back pages and yes, there, amongst the scribbling that most students do, I see a small mark of three letters, ‘J4D’ enclosed by a small heart.

 

Somehow, I’m not surprised. The letters have been written over repeatedly so that they are darker than the rest of the doodles and would stand out if it weren’t for the fact they’re so small, almost deliberately hidden.

 

“Hey, Jay!”

 

“Hmm…”

 

Determined to pin him down today, I take the book from his fingers and trace the letters with a fingertip. He slightly flushes. “Were you worried about April discovering this, Dean, or another classmate?” I can’t help smiling as I ask.

 

“All of the above,” Jay replies, and he’s smiling too, though there’s something coy in his expression. He doesn’t bother hiding his amusement, though.

 

“When did you know you loved him?”

 

“How old does one have to be?”

 

That’s almost as good a question as mine is. “You couldn’t have foreseen a time when you’d get together.”

 

“No,” Jay answers simply, and that one small word says so much, largely due to the tone of his voice. He sounds a little melancholy, maybe a little disbelieving. “I often feel as though I’m dreaming,” he says, confirming my theory. “I keep thinking I can’t possibly be this lucky.”

 

“Lucky?” The phrase ‘cat among the pigeons’ springs to mind. I know I’m going to have to stir things up to get a decent interview. “Some would say that Dean is the kind of luck they can do without.”

 

“And I’m tired of hearing crap from people who don’t know him.”

 

I blink at him. This is hardly the quiet Jay we’ve come to know and love, although his manner reminds me there are times where he can be very loud and very vocal.

 

“No one gets it,” he mutters.

 

“So explain.”

 

“Why should we?” He looks up from where he still kneels; everything about his posture speaks of defiance. “I know what people think of Dean but they just don’t get him. Yes, half the time he’s oblivious. He’s oblivious to the fact that anything he says can possibly hurt another person’s feelings.”

 

“You call this defending him?” I’m trying to tone down the sarcasm.

 

“What? Yes. No!” Jay laughs then. “He’s oblivious because he can’t imagine anything he says being that important to anyone. He knows he’s good-looking and that people are attracted to him, but deep down he sees that as superficial.”

 

“Many would call Dean a superficial person.”

 

“He’s not. He lives for the fun side of life because it’s the easier option and, anyway, why shouldn’t he? He didn’t need anything else until now. He didn’t have a reason to be serious.”

 

“And now he does?”

 

Jay sits quietly for a moment, clearly in thought. “You can’t get much more serious than this for Dean. I know this isn’t easy for him. I understand why he’s confused. You see, I couldn’t believe it myself at first, but I’ve come to realise that Dean loves me despite the fact I’m the wrong sex. Hell, some days it would be easier if I wanted a sex change, but I don’t, and he wouldn’t ask me to. He wouldn’t want to change a thing about me.” He sounds immensely pleased as he makes that last comment.

 

“He can’t just ignore what sex you are and there’s no lack of sexual chemistry.”

 

Jay shrugs. “He just doesn’t see sex that way. April once accused him of being happy to screw any orifice and if he was marooned on a dessert island with nothing but men for company, I couldn’t see him going without for too long. He’d screw a passing…”

 

I hold up a hand, not wanting to go with that image or complete the thought of what might be passing. I shake my head at Jay but he’s quietly laughing.

 

“Sex is just sex in Dean’s eyes. Love is something else and he’s never had that in his life before. The fact is he loves me because I’m the one person who sees him for what he is, and I love what I see and accept him without question. If I can do that for him, he wants to do the same for me.”

 

“And who is he?”

 

“You already know, more than anyone. He’s insecure, vulnerable. He’s got a temper. He can sulk, be sullen. He likes to tease to the point of being spiteful at times.”

 

I give him an expressive look. “And these are his good points?” Jay shakes his head.

 

“He goes too far, says things he doesn’t really mean, then regrets the hurt he’s caused the minute he’s done it. It’s almost a protective mechanism for him, self-preservation. He’s got a soft heart when all is said and done. He has an aggressive sense of justice. He decides something is right or wrong and sticks to it. He’s loyal. He’ll defend someone he cares about to the end. He’s passionate about life, sex, things and people he loves. He can be amazingly affectionate. He looks at me as though he can’t believe he’s been this lucky, when all the time I’m thinking the same thing about him. What truly amazes me, though, is that so many others can’t see these things. So, it’s down to me and I’m the one who ends up defending him.”

 

Now he looks contemplative and a little sad. “It’s going to be a long haul for us. We’ve a lot of people to convince and many comments that will need ignoring.”

 

I hate to ask this question, partly because I can’t imagine these two guys not being together now, and partly because I know some readers would love me to revisit them yet again, but I don’t see a reason to, for that would require more conflict and surely they’ve been through enough. “Do you think the two of you will make it?”

 

Jay looks at me and I can see that this time it’s his turn to be surprised. He smiles once more. “We already have. Dean hasn’t gone through all this to give up now and neither have I.”

 

“Still, you’ve grown up with prejudice. Dean is new to it and he’s got even more stacked against him. There are those who just can’t believe he’s in a relationship with another man, those who don’t believe he’s serious, and those who just don’t want you with him.” I avoid mentioning Jay’s sister. She gives the word vitriolic a completely new meaning.

 

Jay sits there for a moment, but when he answers, he sounds very decided and as if what he’s saying is the most obvious thing in the world. “I’m in love. I’ve got the one person I always wanted and it’s not a crush. What I feel for him has never diminished. It never left me. I just learned how to live with it. As for Dean, I don’t doubt him for a minute.” He looks at me; absolute certainty makes his eyes shine. “We’re stronger together, but Dean is as strong as I make him. I won’t let anyone come between us, and so neither will he.”

 

Oddly enough, I share his confidence. Some relationships may seem out of the ordinary but they defy explanation, the odds, what everyone else wants to make of them. I wish them peace.

 www.sharonbidwell.co.uk

Snow Angel and Angel Heart available here:

http://www.loose-id.net/searchresult.aspx?CategoryID=237

 

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An interview by Sylvia Shults 

 

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           I pull up to the small white villa in the Campanian countryside, coast to a gentle stop, and shift the Ducati LaVerda into neutral.  The purr of the engine stops when I turn the key off, and I sit for a moment, enjoying the quiet of this tiny piece of Italy.  I swing off the bike and pull my helmet off.  The Italian sun smacks me in the face with a sensual kiss that smells of lemon and fresh basil.

            I walk up to the front door and ring the bell.  A chime sounds from deep within the house.  Before I’ve admired the moss roses on either side of the front walk for more than a few minutes, the door is flung open.

            “You’re here!” Angela squeals, and pulls me in for a hug.  I smile at her easy affection.  My heroines are much like me – quick with a grin, and friendly.  She shows me a chair in the front hallway where I can put my motorcycle gear.  Then I follow her into an airy, sunlit dining room.  Pillows make a welcoming nest on the built-in seats underneath the bay windows, but Angela directs me to the bar stools set up next to the breakfast nook.  She bustles into the kitchen, tossing a question over the counter at me.

            “Can I get you something?  We’ve got tea, coffee, milk – of course the Italians like their milk warm, bleagh.  That’s something I haven’t gotten used to yet.  You can’t get a nice cold glass of milk at a restaurant.  Makes me feel like some kind of deviant, I have to drink my milk cold in the privacy of my own home!”

            “It’s a beautiful home, Angela.”  She beams at the compliment.  This is definitely a change from the apartment in Ercolano where I left her.  As if she’s reading my mind, she replies, “Yeah.  Valerius – I mean Gabriel – is so much happier here than in the city.  This is more like what he was used to back in – well, in his first life, I guess.”

            I’m not confused at all by her words.  It was my idea to put Valerius Tullus Valens’ soul into Gabriel Massimo’s body when Gabriel was hit by a car.

            Angela has been rummaging in the fridge.  She turns around, holding up a bottle.  “How about some sparkling lemonade?  I’ll get us a couple of glasses.”

            The cold lemonade is just what I need after my ride.  I sip it as I think about the questions I would ask my character.

            “Angela, what got you interested in Roman history?”

            “Oh, I’ve always been interested in history – not the boring dates-and-battles-and-treaties part, but the human part.  People are people, no matter what year it is.  That’s what fascinates me most.  The idea that the ancient Romans were people just like us, with the same hopes and dreams, the same needs, the same desires…”  Her voice trails off and pink colors her cheeks.  She takes a quick sip of lemonade.

“Actually,” she says, setting her glass down, “I didn’t start off as a history major.  My freshman year in college, I was a biology major, if you can believe that.  Can you imagine me as a doctor or something?  Ha.  Anyways, that lasted right up until I hit my first chemistry class.”  She shudders with the memory.  “I was struggling and panicking to make Cs in my science classes.  Not fun.  Then I realized that I was making As in Latin without hardly even trying.  That’s when I switched majors.  Even though my Latin class was at 8 in the morning – yeesh!”

“I don’t blame you a bit.  I’d have done the exact same thing,” I grinned.  “So what’s it like, being an American living in Italy?  How has life as an expat been treating you?”

“Oh, I love it here!  Taking Latin in college was a great foundation for learning Italian later on.  I’m almost as fluent now as Val– Gabriel is.  And Valerius and I helped each other so much during the first few months we were together.  I mean, it was almost like we were both foreigners.  I was this goofy American chick, and he was a Roman from the first century.  He helped me settle into life in a foreign country, and I helped him adjust to life 2000 years in his future.”

“Ah, yes.  That was one of my favorite parts of your story, I have to confess.”  From the corner of my eye, I see Gabriel sneaking into the kitchen.  He puts a finger to his lips, and I focus on Angela.  Stalling for time, I say, “So what’s Gabriel doing now?”

Angela claps her hands in delight, oblivious to Gabriel stealthily creeping up behind her.  “He is brilliant.  He’s still an archaeologist, of course, but now – eep!”  She squeals as Gabriel grabs her from behind and pulls her in close for a nuzzling hug.

“Now they’ve got someone excavating the Villa of the Papyri who really lived there,” Gabriel/Valerius says.  “You’re right, darling, I’m brilliant.  My supervisors just have no idea why.”

I smile at one of my favorite characters, the Roman surgeon who now inhabits a hunky Italian body.  “Okay, Angela, I have to ask – what was it like being with two men at the same time?  Especially when one of them was a ghost?”

Gabriel grins and buries his nose in Angela’s hair, breathing in deeply and making her giggle, even though she’s blushing again.

“I’m a little shy, okay?  I would never have thought I’d be in a threesome.  Ever.  But I really like sex.  Good sex makes me feel – primal.  Earthy.  Sensual.  Desired.”  (“Oh yeah,” Gabriel murmurs into her hair.  “You are definitely desired, my love.”)  “And having Gabriel and Valerius at the same time – oh my god.”  I can see a shiver pass through her.  “I felt – well.  I felt a little bit naughty!  But mostly I felt like I was losing control, and loving every minute of it, because I was perfectly safe with both of them.  Even though I couldn’t see Valerius, I could feel him.  And I could feel that he wanted me.  I felt loved, and adored – and god, I felt sexy!”

“I’m glad,” I say, and I mean it.  Writing is a way to explore our deepest desires and our wildest passions.  What I may never experience, my characters can.

Valerius reaches out and takes my hand.  “Thank you for giving me a second chance at life.”  He grins.  “After what happened to Gabriel, I’m particularly careful about crossing the street.  I want to have a long, happy life with the woman I love.  I’m not going to make the same mistake twice!”  He winks.

“I wish you the best,” I say, smiling at his joke.  I finish my lemonade, and head back to the front hallway to gear up.  Before I reach for my helmet, Angela gives me a hug.

“I want to thank you too,” she whispers into my ear.  “He’s perfect – so wonderful, and smart, and kind.  And he’s Roman!”  She pulls back, her eyes twinkling.  I smile at her.

“I just knew you’d be happy with him.”

~*~*~*~

‘Timeless Embrace’ is available here

 

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Interview with Jake Riordan

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It’s eleven minutes after the hour when LAPD Homicide Detective Jake Riordan walks in. He moves with that alert but easy confidence I remember. He spots me immediately, joins me at the bar. He nods a curt hello, leans across to order a drink — what is that scent he wears? Soap, the leather of his jacket, a hint of his own clean sweat. He settles back on the stool and studies me.  His eyes are hazel. I’d forgotten that — forgotten how long his eyelashes are too. I guess I didn’t want to remember how attractive he is, but now that he’s here in front of me…he’s not easy to dismiss.

 

“Okay, Josh,” he says, and that wry suggestion of a smile is sort of disarming. “What the hell is so important that it couldn’t wait?”

 

“I need to ask you a couple of questions. And I need you to be straight with me.”

 

“I’m always straight.” He’s not smiling.

 

“Listen, pal, your continued existence depends on the next five minutes.”

 

He meets my gaze levelly. Lifts a broad shoulder. “Shoot.”

 

“You’d be surprised at the number of people who want me to do just that.”

 

His lifts his brows, apparently unimpressed. He dumps the shot in his beer. Picks the glass up and takes a sip. “It’s always a possibility in my line,” he says.

 

“I know.” Oddly enough, he looks a little sympathetic, meeting my gaze. “You’re married now,” I say. “How’s that going?”

 

His face closes. After a moment he says, “You know Kate lost the baby, right?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Yeah. Well…” He sighs. “It’s been rough. Rough on Kate. You know women. She keeps going over it. Thinking maybe it was something she did or didn’t do.”

 

“I’m not that interested in Kate.  I want to know how you feel.”

 

His expression is pained. “Jesus, Josh. How the hell do you think I feel? I wanted the kid. I wanted…”  He stops. “Anyway. It’s okay. It’s good. I got what I wanted. She’s a great girl.” He corrects himself. “Woman.”

 

“You used to do the clubs. Are you still active in the s/M scene?”

 

He gives me a long look. “You know damn well, I am, so why are you asking?”

 

“Not exactly Leave it to Beaver this marriage, is it?”

 

“No.” He looks pointedly at his expensive wristwatch — the one Kate gave him for his birthday. “Next question.”

 

“You were involved in a homosexual relationship for a while with Adrien English, a gay bookseller –” I hesitate as I note the fleeting softening of his expression. “That relationship ended in violence –”

 

“Violence.” He shakes his head. “Jesus. I shoved him, he fell. I shouldn’t have — I feel like hell every time I think of it, okay? I wouldn’t — it was an extreme situation, and, yeah, I was jealous, frustrated, bitter, I admit it. All of it. I regret it.” He gives me a level look. “Ask Adrien if he thinks I’d ever — never mind.”

 

“Do you ever see Adrien anymore?”

 

“I tried calling him a couple of times. Left a message.” He sips his drink. “He could get in touch if he wanted to.”

 

“You’re married!”

 

“I mean as friends! Jesus. You people. You know, guys can occasionally be close without jumping into the sack.”

 

“You really are pretty damned insensitive,” I say disgustedly. “No wonder Adrien wouldn’t pick up the phone.”

 

He finishes his drink. “That it?”

 

I study him for a long moment. “One last question. Do you still love Adrien?”

 

His hazel eyes meet mine, and just for a moment I see something — or maybe I want to see it. His face…changes. Just for a moment there’s something almost too painful to look at. He doesn’t answer, and I realize he can’t. He recovers so fast I think I probably imagined it.

 

Jake gets up to leave. Without looking at me, he says, “Tell Adrien…tell him to take care of himself.”

 ~*~*~*~

 Find Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English mysteries here

 

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Openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka is the protagonist in three of Neil Plakcy’s Hawaiian mysteries: Mahu, Mahu Surfer, and Mahu Fire (April, 2008).

Interviewed by Anthony Bidulka, author of the Russell Quant mysteries, this is the twin of last weeks interview 🙂

mahusurfer.jpg

1. Boxers or briefs? And how many other people than yourself can answer that question?

Boxers, in patterns and prints that many men would find embarrassing, like shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, hearts and cupids for Valentine’s Day, tropical fish, surfing dogs and naked Santas. But hey, I’m secure enough in my masculinity to wear goofy shorts. If you get me stripped down that far, you’re thinking about what’s inside the shorts, not what’s on them! And as to how many people can answer that—a gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell (or strip and tell, for that matter.)

2. Many would say, Kimo, that you had a rather interesting coming out process. Is there anything you regret about how you came out? On the other side of things, what is your favorite thing about how you came out?

I wish I’d been able to come out on my own terms, on my own schedule. Being dragged out of the closet by the media, when I wasn’t really ready, was tough. But then, everything happens for a reason, right? Who knows, I might have stayed in the closet a lot longer otherwise. And think of the fun I’d have missed!

3. What do you think of the word “mahu”? When is its use appropriate?


Mahu is a really tough word in Hawaii. I remember when I was a kid, I’d hear people mutter that word like it was some kind of a curse, and once in a while, when I was being whiny, my dad even said things like “Don’t be a little mahu.” And that hurt, you know? But I think we can take the sting out of any word, like mahu or queer or faggot, that we claim as our own. When you use it from a position of power—like “I may be a mahu but I can still kick your ass”—then it’s fine with me.


4. You are a Hawai’ian boy. Some say Hawaii is a paradise. Others feel it is too small and isolated. What is your opinion? And if you would ever live anywhere else, where would it be and why?

I went to college in Santa Cruz, and I liked California—but it wasn’t home. There’s something about the islands that connects to me. I look out at the waves and imagine my ancestors sailing across those seas to this place. I grew up here, and every street, every corner, every beach has some connection to my past.


Yeah, sometimes I get island fever, and I get jealous of my college friends who live on the mainland—you can just get in a car and drive for hours if you want. Cross state lines and climate zones. You can’t do that when you’re stuck on a rock in the middle of the Pacific. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. But if I did, it’d have to be a place with great surf!


5. What would life be like if – for whatever reason – you could no longer surf?


Man, that would be a tough one. Surfing gets me away from all my troubles, makes me concentrate on the wind and the water, live in the moment. If I couldn’t do that I’d go crazy. Or start parasailing.


6. What is your definition of despair?

That’s a tough one. But I have to say I’ve seen people in despair—criminals at the end of their rope, victims who’ve nearly been destroyed—and it’s not a place I want to go. I think despair arrives when you lose faith in happy endings—the chance that things will work out for the best some day. When you lose that hope, you’re prey to all the bad things in the world.


7. Who is your best friend and why?

I’m lucky to have two best friends. The three of us were high school friends, and now Harry Ho is my best guy friend and Terri Clark Gonsalves is my best gal friend. With Harry, I can kick back over beers, surf, and talk stink. He’s always got my back. My friendship with Terri is different; I feel like she can see into my soul, and she always knows what to say when I’m feeling lousy. She’s a beautiful person, inside and out, and you can see that in the way she treats everybody.

Of course, I’m in the market for a third best friend—the kind that includes romance. Maybe that guy, when I find him, will take the place of these other two—but I hope not. I’m a big-time romantic, despite the reputation I’ve got for sexual adventuring, and I’m waiting for that special guy to come along who’ll be my heart’s best friend.

8. Of all the bad guys (gals) you’ve come across in your career as a criminal justice professional, which one still haunts your dreams and why?

Sex is such a powerful force, you know? When we’re chasing some sexual dream, it can be enough sometimes to make us do all kinds of things we wouldn’t usually do. When I was struggling with coming out, I was also chasing this big, handsome, sexy bad guy named Wayne Gallagher—and he knew just how to manipulate me. Teasing me. Touching me. It made me ashamed to be attracted to someone I knew intellectually was just bad. I put him behind bars, but when a guy’s chasing me in my nightmares, it’s Wayne.

9. Describe you dream date – not only the person, but how the date/event would unfold.


My dream date will make me laugh, and I’ll be so interested in him and what he’s got to say that I won’t notice the time passing. I’ll be totally attracted to him, dying to rip his clothes off and run my hands and lips over his whole body, and yet I’ll want to talk to him, and listen to him, even more. Am I a romantic, or what? As for the rest of it, well, I live in a tropical paradise, so we’re talking a fabulous meal of local seafood, accompanied by a couple of tropical cocktails. Then a walk along the beach with waves as our sound track, gentle ocean breezes, the scent of plumeria blossoms, the stars of Orion’s sword twinkling above us. And then, of course, amazing, hot, passionate sex afterwards! (Oops, did that last line make me sound like a slut?)

10. What makes you belly laugh?

Slapstick. Watching the stuff they put contestants through on reality TV. The Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers and anything made by the Farrelly brothers. You gotta laugh, right? It’s nature’s best medicine. It keeps you young. And it sure makes you sexy!

~*~*~*~

You can find ‘Mahu Surfer’ and the other books in the series HERE

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Author Neil Placky interviews Russell Quant, the star of Amuse Bouche, A Flight of Aquavit, Tapas on the Ramblas, Stain of the Berry, and the new Sundowner Ubuntu.

In a fascinating departure from our usual style, Neil is interviewing a character who is not his own creation, but who is the star of Anthony Bidulka’s series of detective novels. Next week we’ll have an interview of Neil’s lead character by Anthony, so this is a two part treat 🙂

Stain of the Berry

Gay private investigator Russell Quant is based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (in the middle of the Canadian prairie) but in five books by author Anthony Bidulka (Amuse Bouche, A Flight of Aquavit, Tapas on the Ramblas, Stain of the Berry, and the new Sundowner Ubuntu), he’s been around the world.

1. You’re half Irish and half Ukrainian. Do those two ethnicities blend well in you?

If you had asked me that question ten…maybe even five years ago, I would have stared at you with a blank look in my eyes, quickly followed by some not-so-quick witted reply. Growing up, I never considered myself half Ukrainian or half Irish. My parents—my dad in particular—always said we were Canadians, plain and simple. I think he’d gone through so much—leaving behind family he was never to see again, poverty, bone-breaking labour, heartbreak, disappointment—to come to Canada in the first place, that by Jove he was going to be a Canadian, and so were all his descendants.

Though my dad had a heavy brogue, and my mother to this day rolls her ‘r’s and wails her ‘oi’s’ to great effect (and let’s not forget her penchant for garish color combinations), I never caught on to the fact that I was made up of stuff from a country other than the one I was born in. Until recently. I find as I grow older, I’m thinking more about this. Especially now that my dad is gone. I’ve begun to recognize traits in me that speak loudly of who and where I come from. I like to think—as a tribute to my two fine parents—that they leave me with the best those two ethnicities have to offer. And maybe some of the rascally qualities too—but hey, what’s life without some rascally qualities.

2. I know you were a police constable before you became a private investigator. What drew you to police work in the first place? And what caused you to go out on your own?

I am a sad cliché. I wanted to help people. Ever since I was a boy, the people I related to on TV, in movies, in books, in real life, were the ones who reached out a hand to those in need. I must admit, part of the whole cop/PI thing may have come from crushes developed on Starsky, Hutch, Magnum, Remington Steele and Sonny Crockett. And when I saw reruns of shows like The Rookies and Rockford…well, how could I not follow in those footsteps? Joshing aside, I just have this thing I guess, where it means something to me to ensure people in need are being looked after.

Although I have been accused of being a dreamer and taking risks when I shouldn’t, I am smart, I am pragmatic, and I am realistic. I knew becoming a PI in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan wasn’t any of those things. So I became a cop. When I left for training in Regina, I knew it wasn’t my ‘exact’ dream. It wasn’t a perfect fit. But I would get exceptional training—which I knew of no other way to get—and I believed that once I became a constable on the city streets, I could achieve most of my goals. And who knew, maybe I’d love being a cop.

I didn’t.

In many ways, I am a lone wolf. To be a good cop, you need to be part of a team. The weakness is mine, not that of the profession.

And there was another problem. The people I wanted to help the most, I couldn’t reach: the people who, for a myriad of reasons, are beyond the scope of the police service’s scope. For the first time I truly understood the need for private investigators. They are not there to compete with the police, they are there—in the best sense of that profession—to give aid to those who fall between the cracks, who have a need that cannot be fulfilled by traditional policing.

That is what I wanted to do.

But I couldn’t see a way to do it on my own. My greatest barrier still existed: the unknown. Could a private investigator survive in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada? Sure, there were other detectives in Saskatchewan. But from what I could tell, their bread and butter came from rather mundane activities I wasn’t interested in. Without going into much detail, at about this time, my uncle and life mentor, passed away and left me with a small inheritance. The money came with a price tag. It was to be used to “Buy a Dream”. And the dream I bought, was to leave my career as a City of Saskatoon Police constable and hang my shingle as Russell Quant, PI. I’ve never looked back.

3. Where’s the place you’ve traveled on business where you wish you could have stayed longer?

France continues to appeal to me. It’s odd really, as I don’t speak French, so one might think I wouldn’t feel all that at home there. Especially in the countryside where English-speaking locals can be more difficult to find. But there is something about the French attitude that I admire. They treat their daily lives the way you and I treat vacations. They nap in the afternoon, they dress up just to go for a walk, they drink wine all the time, dining is an experience, they don’t take sex or themselves too seriously, humour is sharp and smart, relaxation is an art.

Also, my friend Anthony has a place in Tuscany that I’d happily return to. Africa changed my way of looking at the world. New York is adrenaline for me. I could go on and on, don’t get me started.

4. People are always asking when you’re going to get a boyfriend. Do you have commitment issues?

First off, I’d like to lay claim to at least some ‘commitment’ cred. The people who ask about my boyfriend-less status are generally only looking at my life in the last five years or so. They either don’t know, or have forgotten, that I have a couple of long term relationships in my past. Then again, those obviously did not last, and here I am, single (for the most part) for over five years.

So do I currently have commitment issues? Yes. And no. It’s not that I don’t want to be committed, or feel incapable of it. But for whatever set of circumstances I haven’t been looking for a commitment. Part of it is that I feel some compunction to prove, at least to myself, that being in my thirties and single is a viable lifestyle. I really love my life. I love what I do. I love my friends and family (most of the time). I love my dogs, my house, my car, my office. My life is very full. But yeah, yeah, I know, it’s still empty of the love of a good man.

I know I may sound like I do have commitment issues, and just don’t know it (or won’t admit it). But deep down, I really feel when the right guy comes around, I’m going to know it and I’m going to go after it with greater vigor, aggression and commitment than anyone has ever seen from me before.

***SPOILER ALERT***

As you know, I have met someone who I’ve been spending a lot of time with. It’s the longest relationship I’ve had in some time. Obviously I don’t want to get into it here, but I’m still working on where this thing will go. To be honest, I am having issues. Emotions are a complicated thing. And I’m not helping any. I don’t know if it will lead to a greater commitment.

5. Where’s the place you most hope a case will take you?

You know, I’m kind of hoping that sooner rather than later I’ll get to go somewhere just for a vacation. No bad guys/girls. No guns. No tracking down leads. No jumping out of exploding jeeps or ducking punches. I think it would be a delight to go somewhere hot and only worry about my tan line and whether I want a margarita or a nice cold beer.

6. Do you have any regrets about the cases you’ve handled?

Uh, yeah. There was this young man while I was on a case in New York…

At first it appeared to be suicide. It wasn’t. His death wasn’t my fault of course. I know that in my head. But in every other way I am filled with regret about what happened to him. I can’t help but wonder if I’d stuck a little closer to him, knew more about what was going down, that I couldn’t have saved his life. He was a beautiful, charming, intelligent, witty, young man who should not be dead. This is the crap part about what I do.

7. Tell us more about those black pants of yours!

Do you remember Lassie? Or The Littlest Hobo? Or the Olsen twins? Like them, the wonder pants have actually been more than just one specific pair of pants over the years. There have been certain immutable occasions in fashion history that have necessitated my wonder pants be updated. Stuff like wide leg changing to slim fit, flat front in favor of multiple pleats, that kind of thing. Other than that, wonder pants are that one pair of black trousers in your closet that you can always turn to, regardless of the occasion, time of year, or whether or not you’ve just ingested a bag of Zesty Dorito chips. They always fit, they never wrinkle, never show stains, and they always make your butt look great. Everyone must have a pair.

8. Is Saskatoon really as great a place as you make it sound?

I’m asked this question a lot. I think it’s because Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is a place not many people have heard of, and fewer have been to. And, let’s face it, it’s not L.A., Paris, Toronto or Hong Kong. But why should that mean it’s dull and boring? It is an awesome place to live. But so are L.A., Paris, Toronto and Hong Kong. One is not better than the other, just different. And, I’m a full believer that anyplace is a great place to live, as long as you surround yourself with people you love, and/or love to spend time with. Fun is in the air. You just have to breathe it in.

9. What’s your favorite food? And how do you stay so slim?

May you live forever with all the riches of life at your feet!

Sometimes I think my obituary will say (along with other more uplifting things): Russell endured a lifelong battle against weight gain.

I am not naturally, genetically, or any other way, predisposed to be thin. My body wants to be bigger than I allow it to be. I’ve known this since my first, much-beloved, forever-owned, pair of wonder pants (see above) had to be “super-sized” two sizes bigger. This happened when I was about 27, and there was simply nothing I could do any longer to maintain my grade twelve waist size.

So, I work hard at it. I go to the gym and walk the dogs. Now, to be fair to my metabolism, I do cheat—outrageously at times—which brings me to my favorite food: cinnamon buns. My mother makes these incredible cinnamon buns, the kind that are soft all the way through (I don’t like crusty buns) and they’re slathered in this sauce that is creamy, rather than sticky, and tastes vaguely of butterscotch.

10. Tell us about your dogs—you seem to have a real fondness for them.

Barbra and Brutus are standard schnauzers, pepper and salt in colour. They are brother and sister. I will admit, given my line of work, and the fact that I travel as much as I do, it might seem wiser for me not to have pets. Or to have a cat or fish or some other type of pet that needs less attention than dogs do. But I am fortunate to have people around me who love Barbra and Brutus too, and are willing to watch after them if I’m busy on a case or out of town. And, over the years, the two of them have become quite accustomed to my sometimes odd hours and lifestyle choices.

There are times, it’s true, when I’ve been on surveillance for the past fourteen hours, I haven’t slept or eaten, I’m exhausted, and I come through the door and the last thing I want to do is take a dog for a walk or fix dinner for anyone other than me. But mostly, there are the times when, even though I live in a large house, all three of us are cuddled up on the same sofa, it’s cold outside, we’re watching a movie together, there are cinnamon buns nearby, and I could not be more content. There’s something about having something living in your home other than you. Yeah, it could be a boyfriend or husband, but for now, well, I love my dogs. Who says I have commitment issues?

~*~*~*~

You can find more about Russell in Anthony Bidulka’s series of books, available HERE

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Nat and Ritchie from ‘Roses in December’ by Fiona Glass

Nat was easy. I’d already written about half the book and had a fair idea what he looked like when I came across a page of photos of Karl Urban in a film called The Irrefutable Truth About Demons – and suddenly I found I was staring at Nat!

If you’d prefer not to know who Fiona would cast as Nat and Ritchie, don’t click on the cut 🙂 If you’d like to know, but you have a very different idea of what the boys look like, why not tell us in the comments who you would cast instead? (more…)

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