Guest Post | As the Crows Fly

Guest-Post

Thank you so much to Ofelia for having me here to day to tell you about As the Crows Fly, my new short story—11,500 words—in my Reworked Celtic Myths collection. The stories are a loose set of contemporary stories set in Wales, and the seed of each one comes from a Welsh or Irish legend.

As the crows fly

The seed for As the Crows Fly is the story of St Kevin. You can read about him in the afterword of the story (ha! See what I did there!) or on my blog. The original story was a bit lacking in romance, even more so that my previous story Playing Chicken, which involved St Dwynwen and a magic well full of eels; so I took the bits that interested me and ditched the rest—the murders and the almost drowning the woman who tried to seduce you, that sort of thing!

The stories so far are based in very resonant locations for me—I lived in Wales for quite a while in my twenties and thirties and I love the landscape and the sense of ancient place that’s there in the countryside.

As I was writing the first scene in this story, it was rolling out in my mind at a place called Manorbier, that turned into Flint Head in the story. It’s a village with a ruined castle, right on the edge of the sea. I envisaged poor Kevin and his sick car in the car-park by the beach and saw him walking home westward along the cliff-top with Webster. It’s somewhere I’ve been many times and without wishing to sound like an employee of the Pembrokeshire Tourist Board, it’s a lovely area.

The castle is open to the public, but if you go down to the beach you can look back up toward the village, past the castle, and see the crows. There are always crows, dancing in the wind above the ruins. On one side you have the sea, crashing on the beach. And on the other you have this beautiful, majestic, eerie ruin, strewn about with tiny black specks tumbling and twisting above it.

So, that’s some of the background! It’s a short, hopeful story, a complete change from my usual longer historical angst-and-magic-filled queer books. I hope you enjoy it! I’m planning on adding to the collection regularly over the next few months.

As the Crows Fly

As the Crow Fly

Paul Webster has come out the army after a twenty-two year stretch with a trick hip and no idea what to do with his life. He takes a few weeks walking along the Welsh coast to get his head on straight.

Kevin Davies is a veterinary nurse and an artist. He’s getting lonelier and lonelier in his cottage on the edge of the sea, kept company by his cats and a friendly flock of crows.

What happens when the two men hunker down together to wait out a wild March gale?

A 11,500-word short story in the Reworked Celtic Myths series. This time, there are crows.

Buy As the Crows Fly

Crows banner

Find Ally

A. L. Lester is a writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense. She lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat, and some hens. She likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

Find her at her website, allester.co.uk or you can find on your preferred social media via lnk.bio. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and now, shockingly, Tiktok!

Cover Reveal | Dazzle Me

Cover-Reveal

Back in 2015, I wrote a story… Beaten Track Publishing put together an anthology called Summer Bigger Than Others – A Summer Anthology. It was to be summery short stories, and most often I write dark, grey rainy autumn stories, or I write biting cold winter stories. 

Summer isn’t really my thing. 

I mean, living in Sweden, we’re deprived of sunlight, so spring and summer bring hope and a little bit of energy. This time of year, our vitamin D levels are scary low LOL 

But the bugs, and the frogs, and the sweating… *scrunches nose* 

Anthologies are always fun, though, so I wrote a story. Dazzle Me is now being re-released with JMS Books, and Tom likes tropical climates about as much as I do… 

It’ll be released on the first of May, but I have the cover. Do you want to see it? 

 

Blurb:

Tom and Santino’s anniversary is coming up, and Tom has a plan. He’s going to show Santino how much he means to him. The night will be magical.
Tom’s plan did not include a trip to Thailand. He doesn’t do aeroplanes, doesn’t do tropical climate, and he doesn’t do spas. Yet he finds himself without a stitch of clothing on a spa table, with a man he’s never met before while Santino is away on a business meeting.
This was not how it was supposed to go. Tom will do his best to live through the day so they can celebrate their anniversary when they get back to the hotel, but If Santino wanted him smooth and sparkly, couldn’t he have told him instead of booking him an appointment?

Note: Dazzle Me was first published as part of Summer Bigger Than Others – A Summer Anthology from Beaten Track Publishing.

Pre-order in the JMS shop (20% off)

Fridays at Ofelia’s | Blown Away

Guest-Post

Hello, Holly here. I thought I’d hijack Ofelia’s blog for the day 😀 

Where do we stand on alphas and omegas? Personally, I like shifter stories, and I have nothing against different pack structures. I’m not a fan of Mpreg stories, though, so there is some navigating when it comes to picking books to read. 

To celebrate Big Wind Day, which is on April 12th, I’ve written a story called Blown Away. It’s released tomorrow, yay!  

When I started writing, I had this idea of a man being stranded due to the storm. Once, many years ago, there was a terrible storm here in Sweden. I was on a bus and trees fell all over the road blocking us in. We were trapped for hours. So I know you can be trapped by a storm as an ordinary human, but I was in the mood for something paranormal. And what kind of shifter has a special relationship to the wind? A bird, of course. 

To up the stakes, I made the bird an omega. In my world, omegas are treasured, so all the alphas want to mate with one. Submissives have to do what the alphas tell them to do, but omegas are outside of the pack structure.  

Arvid, our omega, doesn’t want to mate some random guy though and is on the run from a group of alphas trying to catch him. On a normal day, he’d easily have flown away from them, but this is Big Wind Day, so he’s trapped. 

And where is he trapped? In Espen’s forest. Espen is a bear shifter, a hungry bear shifter, who has no desire what so ever to brave the storm when he could be at home eating, but he has to defend his territory. 

Espen doesn’t believe omegas exists, and had he known Arvid was one, he’d never taken him home, but he couldn’t leave the poor bird in the woods, could he? 

Wing

Excerpt:  

Little by little, Arvid relaxed into the armchair. The fire was warm and while Espen was a bit grumpy, he hadn’t once tried to fuck him. He might be one of the few who couldn’t consider having a male mate, even if he was an omega. 

Ketchup?” 

What?” Arvid yanked his gaze away from the flames. 

Personally, I don’t like it much, but I have a bottle. Use it when I make Bolognese.” 

Oh… eh… yes, please.” 

Before Arvid could blink, Espen was in the kitchen, roasting stick still in his hand. As he came back, he had a ketchup bottle under his arm, a kitchen chair in one hand, and his roasting stick in the other. He sat, placed the stick across his lap, and plucked the roasting stick Arvid was holding from his hand. Without a word, he put some ketchup on the hot dog while still attached to the stick, and handed it back to Arvid so he could bite into it. 

Before he had taken his first bite, Espen had swallowed his and was putting a new hot dog on the stick. The wind howled, the flames danced, and Arvid had a surreal feeling of being trapped in a dream. 

This making my heart bang like crazy, is it something you can control?” 

Arvid shook his head. “You feel what I feel if you’re close to me.” 

And I can’t block it?” The frown wasn’t what Arvid had expected. Most shifters were thrilled to meet an omega. 

I don’t think so.” 

Do you feel what I feel?” 

Arvid shook his head. 

So, it’s a pretty crappy skill.” 

Arvid stared. “What?” He was an omega, a luna, a some-other-word. He was a prized possession, an asset for the pack, a something else. 

What do you get out of it?” 

Erm… nothing? I don’t have to obey when an alpha tells me to do something.” That was the main thing. The emotional part didn’t matter to him since he didn’t feel other people’s emotions, but he wasn’t predisposed to do something. He had a will of his own. And he treasured it. 

Espen pursed his lips and reached for a third hot dog. Where the heck had the second gone? Arvid bit into his first, it was still a bit too hot. 

I guess it’s a big deal when you’re not an alpha.” 

It was. “You would never understand the life of a submissive.” 

No.” Espen shook his head. “But I don’t agree with how they’re treated.” 

He didn’t? Most alphas thought it was great. “Do you have a… pack?” 

Sleuth.” 

You’re a sleuth?” So cool! Was he working a case? Oh no, what if he was the case? Some rich, crazy alpha had hired him to find Arvid. His heart was beating hard, and Espen grunted. 

Stop it.” He rubbed his chest. “I’m not a sleuth. A pack of bears is called a sleuth. Like… are you a murder?” 

Murder?” Arvid’s voice bounced around the room. 

Espen huffed. “Like a murder of crows.” 

Who knows the group words?” Espen was insane. 

A quiver of cobras, a cackle of hyenas, a zeal of zebras—” 

It’s not normal.” Arvid shot him a glare, then he wished he hadn’t because Espen might seem mellow, but he was an alpha. 

Normal.” Espen snorted and reached for a fourth hot dog. Where did they go? Arvid looked around the floor. Did he swallow them whole? He took another bite of his first, now a pleasant temperature. 

And no, I’m not in a… group—rock band or otherwise.” He chuckled. “I’m alone.” 

A lone wolf?” 

Bear, obviously.” Espen flinched as the sound of a window breaking sounded. “It’s the barn.” He stood. 

Where are you going?” Fear awoke in Arvid’s gut. Was there someone out there? 

I need to go put some boards over the windows.” 

Now?” 

Should’ve done it before.” He placed the roasting stick on the chair and headed for the hallway. “I’ll be back soon.” 

Blurb: 

blownaway

Espen Urso would rather stay inside and enjoy a nice, sweet cake than be out in the worst storm of the year. But there’s a group of alpha shifters trespassing, and he needs to defend his territory and keep the people in his village safe. A group of wolf shifters he can scare off, but when he realizes they’ve hurt a defenseless little bird, he loses his patience. 
 
Arvid Rai is having a bad day. He’s an omega on the run, with a group of alphas on his tail. If there hadn’t been a storm, he could have easily flown away before the stupid wolves got their hands on him, or the angry bear noticed he was in his territory. But there is a storm, and the idiot who grabbed him broke his wing, so now he can’t fly anywhere. Still, he deems it best to stay with the growly bear rather than having the other alphas fight over him. 
 
Espen has never believed in the myth of omegas, and it isn’t until he takes Arvid in he realizes how much trouble he’ll be in when shifters from near and far learn he has one in his home. Will he be able to keep Arvid safe from other shifters? Is it even possible to defend his territory with an omega in it?  

M/M Paranormal Romance: 13,628 words 

Amazon :: JMS Books :: books2read/BlownAway 

About Holly: 

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.  

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.  

Connect with Holly @ https://lnk.bio/xpae or visit her website @ hollydaywrites.wordpress.com