Guest Post | How to Soothe a Dragon by Holly Day

Guest-Post
Hello everyone! Holly here stealing a spot on the blog again 😊 Did you know that it’s National Button Day today? It is, and I happened to write a story to celebrate it. It might be hard to tell from the title, How to Soothe a Dragon, but it’s about a button.

I didn’t think about this story as a dystopian until I hopped onto Goodreads to grab the link, and the first line I saw was:

There’s a remarkably sweet love story set amidst a deeply dystopian world in this novella

I stared at it for a few seconds and thought: Yeah… They’re right. LOL

So we have a dystopian world where aliens have invaded Earth and rule through mind control – you’d think as the creator of this world, the word dystopian would’ve popped up in my mind, right? But nope, I’ve only been thinking about dragons, aliens, lemons, and buttons.

Derek is human, but where everyone else follows the Pacurians (the alien race) blindly, he is not affected by their mind control. He can sense when someone is trying to control him, but he doesn’t have to obey if he doesn’t want to.

His neighbour, Ocren, is Pacurian, and he’s always chasing Derek, which Derek finds terrifying. The problem is that Ocren is a cop, so Derek doesn’t think there is any point in reporting him.

Then one day when he comes home from work, there is a button on his living room floor. A black button. The same kind of buttons Ocren has on his uniform.

Excerpt:

Derek unlocked the door to his apartment and stilled. Nothing was out of place, but the air was wrong. He didn’t know how he could tell, but something had the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end.

Slowly, he took a step away from the door and locked it. He hugged the bag of groceries to his chest. Lemons, he’d bought lemons with his last grocery money—and some beans and rice. He feared beans and rice would be what he’d live on for the coming week, and then he’d die. A bit dramatic perhaps, but he had no money, and he had no work. How the hell would he live?

Panic closed in on him. He’d have to leave, and with no income, he wouldn’t be able to find another place to live. Casey would let him sleep at her place for a few nights, but he couldn’t move in. Her apartment was tiny.

He put the bag on the kitchen table and pulled out one of the chairs. Right as he sat, the light from the living room window reflected on something on the floor. He stared. Had he dropped something? For a few seconds, he didn’t move, but then got up and stepped closer to whatever it was.

The air refused to move out of his lungs as he stared at the button. It was a few feet from the window, but it could’ve come from someone squeezing through and getting caught on the window frame.

A Pacurian had been in his apartment.

If he remembered correctly, their buttons were the same color as their uniforms. There were some golden details, but the primary color was the same as the uniform.

The button on his floor was black—a police uniform button.

A cop had broken into his apartment, and there was only one individual wearing black who knew where he lived. Since nothing was taken or out of place, he had no idea what Ocren had been doing there, but it had to end. He had to be able to come and go without fear of getting eaten by his neighbor—not that he’d be living here for much longer. And said neighbor had to respect his boundaries. Being a cop didn’t give him the right to break into Derek’s apartment.

He grabbed a lemon, cut it in half, and opened his window. If Casey was wrong about the lemons, Ocren would get a good laugh, and then he’d kill Derek, but this had to end.

His legs were unsteady as he walked down the grid stair to Ocren’s apartment. With a deep breath, he stopped at the landing outside his living room window and squeezed the lemon so the juice trickled through his fingers.

Ocren was there. His green eyes bore into Derek, his dark skin was duller than he’d ever seen it, and the little ridges the Pacurians had where humans had eyebrows stood out like horns. They were similar to humans—lips, nose, the shape of their eyes, everything was the same. But they were bigger, and they had those little horns almost as lizards did. Ocren had one on each cheekbone too—most of the others didn’t.

And the eye color was wrong. Pacurians had different eye colors, as humans had, but they were more intense. And at times they glowed.

Ocren’s glowed a vivid green.

Derek held up a lemon, waiting for Ocren to laugh at him—he didn’t.

Seconds went by and neither of them moved. Derek’s heart banged hard in his chest, but he had no idea what he’d do now.

With the glass between them, they continued to stare at each other. The November chill was creeping into Derek’s core.

An eternity went by, and Ocren continued to stare at him. Slowly, he reached for the sash lift and pushed the window up.

“Derek.”

The growly tone made him shiver more. “Stay out of my apartment, fucker.”

Ocren raised his lips like an aggressive dog, showing off piranha teeth identical to those he’d seen at the bar. What the hell was wrong with the world? Had they suddenly been invaded by crazed aliens? Not suddenly—they’d been invading since long before Derek was born, and he’d always known they were far more dangerous than they’d let on, hadn’t he?

Blurb:

howtosootheadragonDerek Herman is living a nightmare. Long before he was born, the planet was taken over by a mind-controlling alien race, and everyone is affected except for him. Derek does his best not to draw attention to himself, but it’s not going well.

Ocren Starburst is obsessed with his human neighbor. Every time he sees Derek, he wants nothing more than to grab him, hold him, and keep him forever. And four years of chasing him up the stairs in their apartment building has resulted in Derek refusing to even acknowledge his existence. That is, until Derek accuses Ocren of breaking into his apartment.

Derek found a button on his living room floor, the same kind of button Ocren wears on his police uniform. And while Ocren hasn’t broken in, he knows the button means someone has. Ocren’s race has kept their shape-shifting abilities secret for years, but now his other form wants out to slaughter everyone that dares to get too close to Derek. And staying in control proves hard when threats toward Derek increase.

Will they be able to keep Derek safe without Ocren losing control of his dragon self?

Buy links:

Gay Paranormal Romance: 28,195 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: www.books2read.com/HowToSootheADragon

How to Soothe a Dragon

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:

Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest :: BookBub :: Goodreads :: Instagram

Fridays at Ofelia’s | Call Me Methuselah by R.G. Hendrickson

Guest-Post

We have R.G. Hendrickson today, sharing a little bit about his new book, Call Me Methuselah, scheduled for release on November 27. Half of the story takes place in a prehistoric time, and the other half in the present. In both parts, the main character is the same person, who by some quirk of nature remains young. The romance in the past influences the developing romance in the present. This is a book for those who enjoy a fantasy/science fiction subplot.

Excerpt:

No blood nor gore in sight, I worried that the crocodile had eaten him already, tossed him in the air, and swallowed him whole. Relieved that I didn’t have to fight that monster, I dived down again near the bottom, where the crocodile might not follow me. Its big tail wagged above my head and passed me by.

As I turned to swim away, I found the drowned man sinking. All in one piece, he must have submerged before the crocodile arrived. His eyes were blank, and his many skinny braids floated and twisted like snakes around his head.

No time to waste, I grabbed his hair and pulled him along with me. His husky body nearly weightless underwater, I held on with one hand. My legs and the free arm enough for swimming, I towed him toward a safer shore, near the ledge from where I’d first spotted him that morning.

When I could hold my breath no longer, I surfaced and looked for the croc. No sign of it, maybe it returned to the beach. They didn’t like it here by this cliff with its deep water and jagged rocks. I slipped through the outcrops, as I’d done since a boy.

Losing my loincloth along the way, I struggled to shore with the stranger in tow. By his armpits, I dragged him out of the waves to dry gravel and avoided his eyes. They were open, unblinking, and vacant.

With both my hands, I felt his neck for signs of life, warm but motionless. His mouth was full of water, which trickled out. He was dead.

Remembering him gives me pause. Lately, I’ve pondered my own mortality. Hence, this memoir, I’m not ready.

More the reason for starting in a happier time, the beginning, long ago on that lake with my first love.

We were so much alike then, young and invincible. Only for me, invincibility was no youthful fantasy.

I’ve never stopped missing him. Not to complain, that wouldn’t be fair. It wasn’t me who had to die, and even while grieving, there’s joy in life.

Enough said. On with the story.

The dead man’s eyes bewildered me. I couldn’t bear to look at them or make myself look away. Though we were strangers, we’d faced a monster crocodile together and escaped it. Few friends could say that. As tears blurred my vision, I covered his face with my hands and brushed his eyelids closed.

Then I remembered the words of my father. A boy had drowned. His brother pushed the water out of him, and the boy came back.

Worth a try with this man, I pressed hard on his tight stomach, just below the ribs, and water sprayed from his mouth. Worried I’d hurt him, I checked his face for signs of pain. He showed no expression but peace, a haunting beauty, and over his lips more water flowed.

When I pressed again, he twitched. His eyes opened wide, and when he rolled on his side, lake water spewed out his mouth. Then, to my considerable relief, he coughed and took a deep loud breath. We gazed at each other in the eye and lingered there.

No, he doesn’t die that day, and I get to meet him after all. He’ll be the love of my life. I know this now, a long time later …

Blurb:

call me methuselahSince humanity’s first steps in the Stone Age, Methuselah has harbored an ancient secret. Cursed by the shaman to witness the end of days, he searches in vain for a home, place to place, clan to clan, yearning to belong. First in prehistoric Africa and lately disillusioned with love for a hundred years in the New World, he learns all too well to guard his heart and hide his story. That changes when a car crash lands him in the hospital with a fractured skull. Doctors discover strange stem cells in his blood, promising cures and a fountain of youth. Methuselah faces choices of life and death.

Forced on the run again, he comforts himself by reliving a happier time, when he and Arrow, his first love, raft across the paleo-lake Makgadikgadi, which rested in those days on the vast Kalahari. In their age-old journey, the cavemen lovers find a place to call home and learn what it means to belong.

While Arrow’s enlightened sensibilities get the two of them in trouble and challenge Methuselah’s judgement, their adventures in an untamed world bring them together. When Methuselah’s enduring youth reveals itself through the passing seasons, he and Arrow bravely face a dire reality.

From the distant past that lives inside Methuselah, Arrow’s spirit reaches out, providing guidance for our threatened times. He gives Methuselah the strength to do the right thing and the courage to live his true self in the modern world. Arrow’s memory opens Methuselah’s heart and renews for him a hope of redemption in the arms of a caring man today. If only Methuselah permits himself to love once more.

Buy link:

Gay Fantasy Romance: 83,343 words 

Pre-order at JMS Books (20% off) 

About R.G. Hendrickson 

R.G. Hendrickson loves words for the feelings they evoke. Though relatively new to writing, he draws on experience from a long life and strong imagination. In his M/M romance, you’ll find quirky characters and fantasy/science fiction subplots.

If you take a chance on his book, he would love to hear your thoughts about it, whatever they are. He also enjoys receiving critiques from the writers group that he attends weekly online from his home in Las Vegas.

Guest Post | Drown The Man by Jaymie Wagner

Trick or Treat

Today, Jaymie Wagner is on a visit to talk about Drown The Man. Welcome Jaymie!

“Who Are You?” is a really powerful question.  

For me, as a trans woman, it’s a question that I was asking on one level or another for more than thirty years. Each time I found an answer that I thought was “THE Answer”, I would eventually find another layer, until I finally accepted who I really was inside.  

It’s hard to look at yourself and try to pull away the different identities we wrap ourselves in to find the core person underneath. Sometimes it’s much easier to lean into some of those layers than take them off. We identify with where we came from, or what we do. We buy clothes to project a certain image, listen to certain kinds of music, and the list goes on and on.  

Drown The Man is a story about someone who is asked “Who Are You?”, and their introspection gets a serious jumpstart from a woman who is more than she seems. 

Alyona’s head tilted slightly. “You don’t want to have dinner with me?” 

“I didn’t say that,” Kolya objected, trying to keep his voice from giving away the sudden butterflies in his stomach. “I would love to have dinner with you if that is what you want, but I don’t like being caught in old men’s schemes either. If you just want to go home, I’ll take you. If you want to leave, I’ll tell them you refused. Father keeps telling me to be a gentleman, after all.” 

Alyona’s eyebrow rose. “Are you not gentle? Or are you not a man?” 

Koyla shrugged. “I’m from Jersey.” 

She unfolded her arms and shrugged. “Then I suppose I could eat something.” 

It’s a story about two people falling in love. It’s a story about deciding what matters to you. It’s a story about identity. It’s a story about gender, and about how far you are willing to go once you understand who you are, deep down.  

I had a lot of fun writing it, and I am hoping you’ll enjoy reading it just as much! 

Drown The Man

Kolya Agapov has been trapped in a life he never wanted to live, but an encounter with the beautiful Alyona might just change his life…or end it.  

Drown The Man will be available starting October 27th as an ebook from JMS Books, and if you enjoy it, I’d suggest checking out my queer and supernatural erotica stories in the He Will Obey and The Femdom Coven anthologies. I’m also going to have a story published in Heckin’ Lewd: A Trans and Nonbinary Erotica Anthology this summer from Bold Strokes Books! 

Last but not least, I have a twitter account called Fantasies Fractured where I share microfiction and other fun ideas, and I will have a queer romance story, Holiday Garage, published by JMS Books for the holidays!