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!

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

Fridays at Ofelia’s | The Fog of War: Rob & Matty

Guest-Post

Thank you so much to Ofelia for having me here today to talk about my new release, The Fog of War! The book is the first of a new trilogy in my Border Magic Universe. It’s a sapphic, historical, paranormal, romantic mystery set in rural England in 1920. I’m doing a bit of a blog-tour talking about the characters, settings and the history behind it and Ofelia is one of the stops. You’ll be able to find the other posts listed on my website as they come out this week.

Rob and Matty

Rob Curland and Matthew Webber

Rob and Matty first appear in my novella Inheritance of Shadows. Matty owns Webber’s Farm. The farm is loosely based on one of the farms I remember on the Quantock Hills in Somerset as a child, worked by two elderly brothers and their cousin.

Matty Webber is the owner of Webber’s Farm. He was born in 1886 and he took over the running of the farm when his father died before the war. He’s not a big man, but he’s wiry and strong from all the physical work he does; and like everyone nowadays, he knows how to kill a person with his bare hands and use a gun.

He likes reading and he likes learning. He was educated until he was sixteen and then he left school and helped his father with the farm. He’s kept reading, though, anything he can get his hands on, so picking up the books and continuing his brother Arthur’s research into the esoteric isn’t too much of a stretch for him.

Rob Curland is a farm worker on Matty‘s farm. He was born in 1884 and started working there when he was about thirteen. He’s now about thirty-five. He’s gentle and good with animals. He’s clever, thoughtful and quiet, a steady sort of person who likes to think things through before acting. If I had to use one verb to describe him, it would be stabilize.

He joined the army in 1914 when Britain first went to war with Germany and was promoted to Sergeant in the Signals by the time he was discharged in 1919. He’s largely self-educated, very eclectically. He’s a regular library user.

His wartime experience involved a lot of communications tech and he happens to find ciphers and codes fascinating and breaks them for fun. (This is extremely handy for my story in Inheritance of Shadows, I have no idea how it happened, honest!).

Rob has been in love with Matty for years, but Matty was oblivious. Neither of them said anything to each other before they went off to the war, but afterwards, Rob decided that life was too short and fragile not to take a chance at happiness and made his feelings for Matty clear.

There’s a bit of crossover between Inheritance of Shadows and The Fog of War, because Sylvia swoops in at the end of Inheritance and sews everybody up. They both stand alone, but they complement each other, I think? Sylvia is very helpful to Rob and Matty in their book. And they are very helpful to her in The Fog of War.

The Fog of War

Fog of War coverPublisher: JMS Books LLC
Editor: Lourenza Adlem
Release date: 14 Aug 2014
Word Count: 50,000 words
Genre: Sapphic, found-family, historical, paranormal romantic mystery set in 1920s England.
Content Warning: Mention of domestic violence.

The quiet village of Bradfield should offer Dr Sylvia Marks the refuge she seeks when she returns home from her time in a field hospital in France in 1918. However, she is still haunted by the disappearance of her ambulance-driver lover two years previously ,and settling down as a village doctor is more difficult than she realised it would be after the excitement of front-line medicine. Then curious events at a local farm, mysterious lights and a hallucinating patient’s strange illness make her revisit her assessment of Anna’s death on the battlefield.

Lucille Hall-Bridges is at a loose end now her nursing work is finished. She felt useful as a nurse and now she really doesn’t know what to do with her life. She hopes going to stay with her friend Sylvia for a while will help her find a way forward. And if that involves staying at Bradfield with Sylvia…then that’s fine with her.

Will the arrival of Lucy at Bradfield be the catalyst that allows both women to lay their wartime stresses to rest? Can Sylvia move on from her love affair with Anna and find happiness with Lucy, or is she still too entwined in the unresolved endings of the past?

The first in the Bradfield trilogy, set in the Border Magic universe.

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About A. L. Lester

AllyWriter of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense, mostly. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat, some hens and the duckettes. Likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

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Excerpt

It was a beautiful late August day when Sylvia motored down to Taunton to collect Lucy from the railway station. The sun shone through the trees as she followed the lane down the hill from the village and the sky above was a beautiful summer blue. She had left the all-weather hood of the Austin down and wore a scarf and gloves against the wind, topping her trouser outfit off with her new hat, which she pinned firmly to the neat coil of her long hair.

Walter had watched her fussing with her appearance in the hall mirror, stuffing his pipe. “Are you sweet on her?” he asked, somewhat acerbically.

It’ll be cold with the hood down,” she said, crushingly.

Yes, yes, so it will be.” He turned his attention back to his tobacco, face straight. “Be careful on the bends.”

I will,” she said. “She’s a beast to drive, smooth on the straights and handles well on the corners, but I’ve no desire to end up in the ditch.”

She’d bought the big Austin coupe late last winter when she’d got fed up riding her motorcycle out to some of the more remote houses she was called to in the dreadful weather. It was huge, far bigger than she needed really, although the back seat was useful to transport a patient if she had to. She still preferred her ‘cycle, but it wasn’t exactly suitable as a doctor’s vehicle. Not very staid at all. The Austin wasn’t very staid either, in that it was huge and expensive; but one of the benefits of a private income was that she could afford it; and so why not be comfortable?

She pondered all this and more on the drive down to Taunton, mind floating along with no real purpose. She loved to drive and for some reason it calmed her thoughts and allowed them to drift.

It would be lovely to see Lucy again. As Walt had said, she was a sweet little thing. Although Sylvia didn’t want to revisit the grim minutiae of some of the worst times at Royaumont, it would be lovely to reminisce about some of their happier moments of camaraderie. It had been four years of extreme stress and grim terror lightened with moments of laughter and fun. Working with a team of competent women all pulling together for one purpose had been extraordinary. She’d never experienced anything like it before and she doubted she would again. She was delighted some of the staff had set up a regular newsletter so they could all stay connected.

And so what if Lucy was sweet on her. Sylvia wasn’t interested in that kind of complication anymore. She didn’t want to cause gossip in the village for a start…although she supposed people wouldn’t make any assumptions about two women living together these days after so many men hadn’t come home from France. But anyway, even if it wouldn’t cause gossip, she didn’t think about Lucy like that. And she doubted Lucy thought about Sylvia like that, despite Walter’s teasing. He was stirring the pot a little to see what bubbled up, that was all.

Those musings took her to the station.

The train was on time and was just pulling in as she got out of the car. She walked out onto the platform as the smoke was clearing and through the clouds, she made out Lucy.

She was beside the guard’s van, directing the guard and porters to what seemed like an unnecessarily large pile of luggage. Despite the clement August weather, she was wearing an extremely smart velvet coat with a fur collar over a beautiful travelling suit that hung to mid calf, topped with an extraordinary confection of a hat.

She looked competent and sophisticated and exceptionally beautiful. Not at all the slightly scapegrace young person of 1916 who had persuaded the hospital powers-that-be she was a suitable candidate for France, although she’d been only twenty-one and inexperienced as a nurse.

Well. Gosh.

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The Fog of War