Guest Post | Hurricanes and Rainn by Gavin Atlas

Interview

Today, fellow JMS author Gavin Atlas is here for an interview. Welcome, Gavin!

Why do you write?  

I can think of two reasons.  First, I have to.  I think even if I could only write for myself or a small group of friends, I would still write.  Second, because I want to make people happy.  I started with literary fiction, but it seemed like most of that was depressing.  Writing gay erotica or romance (or humor) makes me feel hopeful I’m making my audience feel satisfaction or joy.  

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what do you do to avoid it?  

Absolutely.  I have ADHD, so I write slowly when I write at all.  To focus myself, I choose one of my obsessions to form a plot around.  At different times I’m intrigued with art, music, colognes, tennis, gemstones, travel, colleges, and airlines, among other things.  So, if I can create a character with one of those obsessions and obstacles related to it, I have a good start.  Perhaps the character is also lonely and needs love.  For Hurricanes and Rainn, I focused on a beautiful green island in the Caribbean, Dominica.  My love for the setting helped power me through writer’s block. Moreover, Dominica is not exactly pro-gay, so the setting also created obstacles that propelled the story forward.  

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have, and do you plan to finish them? 

As far as unfinished stories, I understand there’s an incredibly large number called “googleplex,” which is the number 1 followed by a hundred zeroes raised to the power of 1 followed by a hundred zeroes. I suspect that’s probably close.  I would like to finish much of what I’ve started.  I have a romance set on a luxury cruise liner I like.  There’s another with a handsome aspiring perfumer whose world collides with that of an airline magnate.  Furthermore, I have ideas for two or three more collections of short erotica.  I also have ideas for one or two books of humor fiction, and I’ve also started a couple novels. Finishing one or both would surprise me, but perhaps I’ll give it a shot.   

What are you working on right now? 

I’m working on a triad romance, which is something I’ve never written before.  As I love art and art museums, and I also love being silly, the main character is the adorable young curator of a terrible museum of art.  It’s a collection of “old masters” that are less than masterful, located in the dusty, remote town of Egbert, Texas.  The protagonist absolutely needs rescuing, and a pair of dashing, noble alpha males might just swoop in.  

Blurb from Hurricanes and Rainn 

Hurricanes and Rainn coverRainn may fear tropical storms more than anything, but his love of flowers has landed him a gardening position on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Loneliness leads him to take tours with breathtakingly handsome local guide, Sam. 
 
Sam is taken with Rainn but not at all with the planned hotel where Rainn works as a gardener. Windemere Resorts is quietly destroying Dominica’s natural beauty, and now Sam and his friends hope Rainn will help them obtain information they need to stop the hotel from being finished. 
 
Rainn wants Sam badly, but what if he’s being used? An out-of-season hurricane bearing down on the island makes his worst fear a reality, and now he must decide if he should break the law for Sam. Can he trust Sam with his heart and body? 

Excerpt:

Rainn didn’t know this song, but it had a regular groove, sexual and grindy. He soon found his rhythm. He saw Roger nearly choke on his drink and then scurry over to him and Sam. 
 
“Ooh, Rainn. You’re a good dancer,” Roger said. “I bet you’re fun in bed.” 
 
Rainn laughed and felt himself blush. Sam turned and smacked Roger on the shoulder. Then he turned back and put his hand around Rainn’s waist. 
 
“Is this okay?” Sam asked. 
 
Rainn nodded. It was more than okay. 
 
Rainn hated to sound like all he did was panic about storms, but it was on his mind. “So, I heard on the radio the activity east of here is almost definitely going to form Tropical Storm Alex. Isn’t that crazy? I mean, it’s only April.” 
 
Sam shrugged. “It’s the dry season. Even if there’s a fluke storm, it can’t be that bad.” 
 
“I heard some of the other laborers say the trailers the Windemere has for us aren’t hurricane safe. We’re supposed to have places in the hotel to live in by June but …” 
 
Sam massaged Rainn’s shoulders. “Relax, baby. Why do hurricanes scare you so?” Rainn inhaled Sam’s cologne, warm with musk and vetiver, and felt calmer. 
 
“When I was little, I liked the rain because of my name,” Rainn said. “I was staying with relatives in Houston for summer, and I was out riding my bike in a storm. I didn’t want to go home. I was swept away in a flash flood and almost died. To this day I feel faint when I hear thunder.” 
 
Sam whispered in Rainn’s ear. “Shh. We’ll keep you safe, I promise. I, personally, will keep you safe.” 
 
“Sorry to bust in,” said Cyprian. “But have you been working for that hotel for longer than the month and half you’ve been here?” Cyprian asked. 
 
“Because you should know the people there are an evil bunch,” Roger added. He was loud enough to be heard over the music. Again, several nearby men turned to look at Rainn. Sam said something Rainn couldn’t understand, probably a rapid Creole. From the tone, Sam suspected it was something akin to “hush up.” 
 
“I’ve always wanted an evil friend,” Roger said quickly. Then he smiled flirtatiously at Rainn. Whatever Sam then said to Roger sounded very similar to what he’d said a moment ago, but it sounded gentler. 
 
Sam looked at Rainn. “I said, ‘Hands off. He’s mine.'” 
 
Rainn laughed again. 
 
“I love how you can’t stop blushing,” Sam said with a grin. 
 
This was thrilling, Rainn thought. He was delighted by all the flirting, but he still sensed tension in the room. Clearly his employer bothered Cyprian. Roger and Sam, too. 
 
Sam caught Roger blowing Rainn a kiss and pointed two fingers at him to tell him, “I see you.” He said, “I love Roger, but I worry his big mouth, or his leering eyes, will get him in trouble sooner rather than later.” 
 
The song changed to something faster, and the crowd whooped. 
 
Sam leaned in to whisper. “You are adorable. How sho — uh, how tall are you?” 
 
Rainn laughed. “You were about to ask how short I am. I’m 5’6″.” 
 
“My little pocket gardener.” 
 
Rainn laughed again, then flexed his arm. “But hey! I’m nobody’s wimp.” 
 
Sam smirked. “Pint-sized but powerful.” He squeezed Rainn’s bicep. “May I slide my hand lower?” Sam asked. 
 
Whoa, what? Rainn felt a ripple of pleasure run through his body. He couldn’t look at Sam but nodded. He felt Sam grab his butt. Delirium and lust shot through Rainn. It had been months since Rainn had been touched like that. 
 
“Such a nice ass,” Sam said. “You think I didn’t notice? Because I did on all three tours.” 
 
“Wait. You noticed me even on the first tour?” 
 
“I should have guessed you’re part Indian. I noticed your beautiful brown eyes right away.” 
 
“Oh, yeah?” 
 
“I also noticed your shorts can’t hide your gorgeous chunky ass. I have to have it.” 
 
Wow. Rainn gaped at Sam’s brazenness. He loved it, but he couldn’t believe it. 
 
Sam burst out laughing. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m not normally like this. I think you may have put a spell on me because I’ve never said anything like that before.” 
 
Rainn wasn’t someone who slept with a guy on a first date. He didn’t know what to say. But he continued to dance, keeping his lower body within easy reach of Sam’s hands. When the song ended, Cyprian was at Sam’s shoulder, looking impatient. 
 
“Kiss him already,” Cyprian said. “It’s past time we talk to him.” 
 
Talk to me? About what? 

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon

Fridays at Ofelia’s | The Four Legs of Fate by D.J. Fronimos and Elke Lakey

Guest-Post

Today, we have fellow JMS authors D.J. Fronimos and Elke Lakey on the blog. They’re talking about their story, The Four Legs of Fate, that will be out tomorrow. Welcome!

Thank you so much, Ofelia, for having me here on your blog today! I’m excited to share our new release with you, ‘The Four Legs of Fate’, a novella about two women and two dogs and the first novella D.J. and I have co-authored together. As some of you may know already, D.J. and I are partners in life as well as in writing. We met in 2015, and until we started working on our first novel (Watching Cars Go By, released in November 2020), I had only ever written in German. Needless to say, it was a huge adjustment. Having lived in the US since 2000, I was fluent in English, of course, but as I’m sure you will agree, the written and the spoken word are two totally different sides of the same coin, and being comfortable in one doesn’t mean you’ll easily master the other. But there we were, D.J. and I, attempting what neither one of us had done before: writing lesbian fiction worth publishing. Yet, with two full-length novels and one novella published, and two more books in the works, I feel I can proudly say D.J. and I have accomplished our mission.

Like all our stories, ‘The Four Legs of Fate’ was written from two separate points of view. And, also like all our books, it encompasses bits of truth about us and our own lives. Devoted dog-mom D.J. came up with the plot, and she ‘is’ Lisa Fitzgerald, who in the story ends up with adorable Terra, who she believes to be a puppy. Lisa originally doesn’t want a dog, but soon is won over by Terra’s cuteness, and she spoils her no end, just as D.J. has always done with her dogs. A horse-lover and owner in real life, I like dogs as well, and have had at least one for most of my life. But, as I’ve learned from owning horses, spoiling your animals doesn’t necessarily serve you well. In comes Erin, whose German shepherd, Max, is her best friend and trusted companion, but is so well-trained he listens to her every word. I don’t own a German shepherd and never have owned a dog as obedient as that, but if Max were real, I’d take him in a heartbeat. So, while the two women connect over Terra and Max, there’s plenty of room for disagreement. D.J. and I learned to compromise when we moved in together, as did our dogs, but then neither our dogs nor our views on how to treat them were as different as Lisa’s and Erin’s are. Our dogs were pretty easy, too. Shadow, my big, bulky black Labrador retriever who has since crossed the rainbow bridge, was the perfect gentleman to D.J.’s Aria, a blue-heeler mix. With any other dog, Aria’s bossy attitude may not have gone over as well, but Shadow not only let her eat his food, he also gave up his favorite spot to her whenever she wanted it. Terra and Max, on the other hand…Well, you’ll just have to read their story.

First meeting

Terra picked up speed and suddenly she was pulling Lisa forward. Oh no! A bicyclist was coming straight at them. Terra darted into the street at the same time that Lisa took a step back. Terra’s leash went taut and suddenly there was an ugly crunching sound as the bike’s handlebars met the pavement. Lisa watched in horror as the bicycle’s rider, a woman, toppled forward and slid across the pavement, stopping in a crumpled heap a few feet ahead. Lisa made as if to bend down to the woman and was stopped by the angry snarl of one of the biggest dogs she’d ever seen. Teeth bared, the German shepherd planted himself between the woman on the ground and Lisa with what she could have sworn was an accusing stare. She must’ve let go of Terra’s leash when the bicycle hit it because suddenly Terra showed up on Lisa’s left. Before Lisa could grab her, Terra flung herself at the German shepherd, yipping and growling and biting at the huge beast that could kill her at any moment.

“Stop! You’re going to get bit!”

Lisa, who’d been about to reach for Terra, pulled her hand back. The woman on the ground had pushed up into a sitting position. “Max! Voraus! And then sitz!” The German shepherd lunged forward and Lisa thought she was about to die as it came straight toward her, but went past an inch or so to her right where it stopped and sat. Terra tried to go after him, but the woman had managed to grab her leash and Terra was yanked back mid-lunge.

“How about giving me a hand up?”

“Of course.” Lisa felt her face grow hot. She had stood there helplessly while the catastrophe unfolded and the woman took charge, despite being the injured party. The huge dog remained still as a statue despite Terra continuing to make threatening noises in his direction. Stupid dog. Nothing but trouble.

Lisa pulled herself together and extended her hand to the woman on the ground.

“I’m so sorry. Are you all right?”

“I’ve definitely been better.” The woman grimaced as she examined her right forearm where the skin was scraped off. “And, apparently, so has my bike. My front wheel is definitely out of alignment.” She had taken Lisa’s hand and gotten up and now pulled her bike upright as well. “Guess, I’ll have to push it home. You know, you really shouldn’t allow your dog to get ahead of you like that.”

Lisa took Terra’s leash back and gave her an angry glare as she tried in vain to assert her authority over the recalcitrant dog. The shepherd remained seated but with a tightly coiled air as he gave Terra a look that clearly showed what he was capable of. And yet Terra still pulled in his direction, stupid dog. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I only got the dog yesterday and it seems she hasn’t had any kind of training. Do you live far? Are you able to walk?”

“Of course. I live just one street over. About two blocks down from here. You’ve probably seen the townhouses. There’s a whole row of them. Max and I are in the last one at the corner which gives us a little more backyard. I … Crap!” She had taken a step and now tentatively took another one, followed by a hissing intake of breath. “Looks like I’ve hurt my ankle.”

Max had risen to a standing position and Lisa resisted her inclination to step toward the woman to assist her. “What can I do to help? I’m not far from my own apartment. I can go back for my car and take you home. Your bike and — Max, was it? — should both fit. Don’t worry, I’ll drop Terra off.”

“Yes, please.” The woman flashed her a smile and Lisa was struck by how pretty she was now that she wasn’t frowning. “I would normally hate to put you out like that, but, I’m figuring since my spill was technically your dog’s fault …”

Her tone was more playful than accusatory, and Lisa relaxed. “Honestly, I’m surprised Superdog here didn’t lead you in a graceful leap over the leash, or take the bike in his massive jaws and carry you to safety.” Lisa wrapped Terra’s leash around her wrist several times. “It’s the least I can do.” Never mind that she’d have to take the shortest route home, which meant going past the house with the immaculate lawn Terra had fouled.

“Superdog, eh?” The woman gazed fondly at the shepherd, who at a subtle flick of the woman’s wrist trotted to her side where he stood as if glued to her. “Guess we’ll be waiting right here for you. By the way, I’m Erin.”

Blurb

The four legs of fate

Freshly out of a relationship with a woman who decided she likes guys better, Lisa Fitzgerald parties too much and wakes up the next morning with a puppy. Terra, as she names the dog, turns out to be a designer-breed full-grown Pomsky.

Erin visits her long-time partner Cici, who is teaching a guest semester in Paris. But Erin feels out of place in France and they break up when Cici asks her to move there. Max, a well-trained German shepherd, becomes Erin’s sole companion.

Cute little Terra wreaks havoc not only on Lisa’s home and life but also on Erin’s when she darts into Erin’s path as she is bicycling with Max. Lonely for human contact outside of work, Erin makes light of her spill and cons Lisa into spending time with her and Max.

Soon the four of them meet regularly. Their friendship blossoms when Lisa decides to keep Terra, but the women privately yearn for more while at the same time denying their mutual attraction. Having been burned recently, both Lisa and Erin are wary of crossing the line and promptly flounder when they ditch the dogs for an evening together. But their interest in one another persists and eventually they try a second time, only to fail miserably.

Can fate on four legs bring them back together?

Buy links

JMS :: Amazon

About the Authors

DJ Fronimos

Debra J. (D.J.) Fronimos shares a five-acre ranch in central Texas with her partner and co-author, Elke, two horses, and a spoiled blue heeler mix. When not writing, she works as an ultrasound technologist, and in her spare time sings in a women’s chorus that has won medals in annual regional competitions. She has a passion for traveling, especially road trips, and indulges it as often as possible, but hasn’t found a way to drive to Europe yet. Besides lesbian romance, D.J. has dabbled in lesbian erotica, travel essays, poetry, songwriting, and received an award for a professional medical paper.

Elke Lakey

Elke Lakey, born and raised in the Bavarian town of Augsburg, indulges her lifelong passion for horses by riding with the Tejas Rodeo Rough Riders, an award-winning precision drill team. Growing up her interests were horses, reading and making up stories, and medicine, not necessarily in that order, and she now works in the lab as a medical technologist. Elke has written play reviews and articles for two German fan magazines, and has published fan fiction in both magazines and anthologies. She now vastly enjoys creating lesbian fiction with her partner.

Between them, Elke and D.J. have raised five children (four boys and one girl), and have one grandson.

Where you can find us:

https://www.facebook.com/DJ-Fronimos-and-Elke-Lakey-104203748309889

Guest Post | The Bear Claw by Holly Day

Guest-Post

Hi! 

Yesterday, my latest story, The Bear Claw, was published, and this is the post where I tell you how I failed to write it. It’s there, all 46,763 words of it, but after all the edits were finished and I sat back thinking my work was done, I stumbled across an article – never good. 

The article said that for a good story, you need 8 characters, 5 at the bare minimum. To begin with, I disagree. I was gonna claim that a story only needs one person, and part of me believes that – I wrote a flash once with one person being the only survivor on the planet, but I guess you could argue there had been people there forming her and still being present in her mind, so perhaps not only one person. But the article got me thinking… 

It claimed the story needed a protagonist, an antagonist, a mentor, a sidekick, and a sceptic – that’s the barebone story. I frowned, read on, pursed my lips, read on, took a sip of coffee, and read on. 

I’ve failed to write a proper story. 

I have a protagonist – two actually since it’s a romance story. The protagonist is the hero of the story, the one whose point of view we get. They drive the plot forward. 

In The Bear Claw, we have Shiro and Pitch. Shiro, I would say, is the more relatable of the two. Every supernatural being is either submissive or dominant, and Shiro is a submissive who wants the same freedom and rights as a dominant have. I think everyone can relate to that. 

Then we have Pitch. He’s a strong, dominant, werewolf who thinks he knows what Shiro needs – a privileged bastard. Worry not, he develops in the story. 

Protagonists

Then the article talked about how there has to be a sidekick, a loyal companion who shares the path the hero is on. This is Lyra. She’s been with Pitch for twenty years. They travel from city to city, and she follows him on his journey but sees it from another perspective.  

Then there has to be a sceptic, and that’s Astra. The sceptic can also be the hero’s friend, and Astra is Shiro’s best friend. The difference between the sidekick and the sceptic is that the sceptic doesn’t support the journey the hero is on. Astra does not like where Shiro and Pitch are heading, and she does her best to prevent them from reaching their goal while still wanting what’s best for Shiro – only what she thinks is best isn’t what Shiro and Pitch think is best. 

Sidekick

Then we’ve reached the point where it all falls apart. The antagonist’s job is to prevent the hero from accomplishing his goal, and it’s easy to spot him in this story. Bernard is a dominant who wants to mate with Shiro. He is not 100% evil – a good antagonist never is – but he is the bad guy. He plays a role in Shiro’s life and later on in Pitch’s too, and through his actions, he puts the situation on its edge.  

Okay, brace yourselves! This is where it all goes to shit. I have no mentor. 

A mentor is a character who guides the protagonist. They’re often an experienced, helpful person, and their job is to help the main character get on the right track.  

For a while, I tried to push Lyra into the role. She does try to get Pitch to make the right decisions, but she’s not more knowing than Pitch is – only more well-behaved LOL. 

So, you see, I failed to write a simple story. 

Antagonist

Excerpt:

Pitch watched as Shiro and a short female sub walked out from behind the counter. The female carried coffee and Shiro a plate. Bernard’s eyes lit up when Shiro placed a brownie in front of him.

What’s this?” It looked like he was about to touch Shiro before he caught himself. Maybe they were close. The only one who touched Pitch other than the subs he fucked was Lyra, and then often to shove him or slap him when he wasn’t listening to her.

A little pick-me-up.” Shiro stepped away too fast. Pitch’s senses went on alert. There was something in the way he moved that wasn’t quite… right. He narrowed his eyes and reached for the cup of coffee the female had put in front of him.

You didn’t have to.” Bernard turned to look at Shiro as he edged away.

He nodded. “I did.”

Pitch had the urge to slam his hand on the table and demand Bernard stop looking at Shiro the way he did. It was something… not right.

Why so grumpy.” Lyra kicked his shoe. She often did—it was annoying. “This might be the best coffee I’ve had in months, maybe the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.”

Pitch took another sip. It was excellent coffee. He hadn’t tasted it before, had been too busy watching Bernard and Shiro.

It’s good.” Bernard smiled at Lyra. “Both Shiro and Astra do magic in the kitchen.” Why he chuckled at his own words, Pitch didn’t know, but he eyed the brownie. Maybe he should order something to go with his coffee.

His musings were interrupted by a group of dominants pouring in through the door.

Bernard stiffened, which had Pitch do the same. It was unusual for dominants to socialize without any subs, but Pitch could tell at least a couple of them were mated. He and Lyra hung out without subs or being mated, so if it hadn’t been for Bernard’s reaction, he wouldn’t have focused on them.

Regulars?”

Bernard shook his head. “It’s not unusual. Shiro and Astra have gotten good reviews lately, and many new find their way here.” He took a bite of the brownie while watching the group steer toward a table. He rolled his shoulders and some of the tiredness left him. “Though it’s not as packed as it used to be back when…”

Shiro and Astra?”

Bernard nodded toward the counter where Shiro and the female stood. They were both tense and spoke in voices too low for Pitch to be able to hear.

They’re mated?” They couldn’t be, Pitch would’ve known. Lyra gave him raised eyebrows.

What? No. But they work together. Shiro owns the bakery and Astra works for him. They live together.”

A low growl escaped Pitch before he sensed it was coming, and Lyra kicked his shoe again.

Bernard took another bite of the brownie and got to his feet. “I’ll be right back.”

Pitch watched him walk up to the counter.

What’s wrong with you?” Lyra studied his face.

The man, Shiro, there is something strange with him.”

A smile crept onto her lips. “I see.”

Pitch rubbed his neck where his skin felt too tight. He was about to speak when the push of power reached him. He snarled and flew to his feet. Bernard snarled too and was by the table of dominants in a heartbeat. Pitch followed. Why he cared if someone tried to control someone he didn’t know.

This is human soil, and if you can’t act according to the law, I’ll have to ask you to leave.” Bernard’s voice was growly enough for it to be hard to make out the words, but the message was clear.

One of the dominants huffed, and Pitch snarled. It was a man a few years older than him, some sort of cat shifter—not lion. They locked eyes and Pitch allowed his wolf to peek out through his eyes.

Bernard frowned at him but didn’t say anything. After several seconds of silence, Pitch walked back to the table where Lyra hid a grin behind her coffee cup.

What?” Pitch sat and reached for his coffee.

Nothing.”

But it was something. Pitch was off, unbalanced. He reached over and stole the corner of Bernard’s brownie. The moment the taste of chocolate spread in his mouth; joy spread in his chest. It was… wrong, and yet so right. He glanced toward the counter, but Shiro was nowhere to be seen, then he looked at Lyra.

Fortune cookie.”

What?” She laughed.

Bernard called him a fortune cookie. I thought it was a slur, but he meant the baked goods he’s serving.” He gestured at the brownie.

Her laugh grew louder and tears gathered in her eyes.

What?” Pitch rubbed his neck and grabbed for his cup, swallowing the last of the delicious coffee.

Lyra wiped away the tears before they spilled over. “Oh, this has been the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.”

Yeah, you said.” It was most likely the best cup of coffee he’d had too, but he’d been too busy watching Shiro and Bernard to pay attention, and now he’d finished it.

Blurb: 

thebearclawIn a world where all supernatural beings are either dominant or submissive, Shiro Amano doesn’t have many choices. As a submissive, any dominant walking into his bakery can order him around. He hates it. All he wants is to live his life in peace and bake pastries he can spike with emotions far away from obnoxious alphas.  

Pitch Rhys wants a mate, but he won’t settle for anything but a true mate. As a powerful wolf shifter, he has subs flocking around him, but his true mate is hiding in the kitchen of a bakery and refuses to see him. He can order him to, of course, but since he threatened Pitch with a knife when he allowed his power to leak, he doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Instead, he’s settling to see how many pastries and cups of coffee he can consume in a day.  

Two years ago, Shiro escaped an abusive relationship, and he’s not looking for a new one, but when word gets out Shiro is an unmated sub, dominants are invading the bakery. Pitch does his best to scare them off so he can woo Shiro at his own pace, but things escalate too fast. Will Pitch be able to get Shiro to trust him before it’s too late? Can he convince him he wants nothing more than to make him happy and keep him safe?  

Buy links: 

 Gay Paranormal Romance: 46,763 words 

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/TheBearClaw 

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 on social media:

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