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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Outlast the Night brings mayhem too!



Every once in a while, a character or set of characters will come along with a story to tell that’s just too big for one book. Or, if you’re me, that happens more often than it doesn’t happen, but that’s the topic for a different post entirely. Sometimes, though, while the story doesn’t end at the end of the book, what remains to be told doesn’t make a book by itself. That’s what happened to me with Caine and Macklin in Inherit the Sky. I got to the end of the book, I got them together and on the road to happiness, but they still had issues to resolve. Unfortunately, I didn’t think resolving their issues would fill a second book, at least not well enough and with enough interest to justify writing it.

Fortunately, I’d set a precedent for a Lang Downs universe. Michael Lang, now deceased, had built his station over seventy years by taking in strays. An immigrant himself, he hadn’t held to the stereotypes and prejudices of his peers. Any man willing and able to work on his station was welcome, no matter the color of his skin, the religion of his heart, or the preferred gender of his lovers. Lang Downs isn’t a large station as these things go, but it’s a solid one, built on the sweat and dedication of the men and women who came and stayed because the world outside of Lang Downs was far harsher than anything the outback could throw at them. When Caine arrives on Lang Downs from the US, he’s as much one of Michael’s “Lost Boys” - for all he’s Michael’s great-nephew-as any of the others in the past have been.
Or, if you’re me, that happens more often than it doesn’t happen, but that’s the topic for a different post entirely. Sometimes, though, while the story doesn’t end at the end of the book, what remains to be told doesn’t make a book by itself. That’s what happened to me with Caine and Macklin in Inherit the Sky. I got to the end of the book, I got them together and on the road to happiness, but they still had issues to resolve. Unfortunately, I didn’t think resolving their issues would fill a second book, at least not well enough and with enough interest to justify writing it.
Fortunately, I’d set a precedent for a Lang Downs universe. Michael Lang, now deceased, had built his station over seventy years by taking in strays. An immigrant himself, he hadn’t held to the stereotypes and prejudices of his peers. Any man willing and able to work on his station was welcome, no matter the color of his skin, the religion of his heart, or the preferred gender of his lovers. Lang Downs isn’t a large station as these things go, but it’s a solid one, built on the sweat and dedication of the men and women who came and stayed because the world outside of Lang Downs was far harsher than anything the outback could throw at them. When Caine arrives on Lang Downs from the US, he’s as much one of Michael’s “Lost Boys” - for all he’s Michael’s great-nephew-as any of the others in the past have been.
And that was the key to being able to continue their story. Because Caine owns the station, he’s in a position to continue in Michael’s footsteps and welcome people who need a home, for a season or for a lifetime. That gave me the opportunity to find more lost boys for Caine to take in, and then as I told their stories, to peek in on Caine and Macklin as they continue to deal with their issues.


Chase the Stars came out of the immediate need for a bit more resolution, and by the end of Chase the Stars, they had another issue that needed to be resolved. I’d planned for one more book in the series, but it was supposed to take place ten years down the road.  That was too far away for the issue in question, so once again, I looked around for more strays Caine and Macklin could take in. It made me smile to have one of them be Neil’s brother. Neil’s homophobia in Inherit the Sky was a huge sticking point in the plot and Neil’s about-face on the subject is a large part of Chase the Stars. There’s a difference, though, in dealing with it over there and having it be his own brother. Neil’s greatest virtue is his loyalty, and that carries the day even when his brother starts falling for a man Neil has always hated….



Office manager Sam Emery is unemployed and out of luck. When his emotionally abusive wife demands a divorce, he contacts the one person he has left, his brother, Neil. He doesn’t expect Neil to reject him, but he also doesn’t expect the news of his divorce—and of his sexuality—to be met with such acceptance.
Neil takes Sam to Lang Downs, the sheep station Neil calls home. There, Sam learns that life as a gay man isn’t impossible. Caine and Macklin, the station owners, certainly seem to be making it work. When Caine offers Sam a job, it’s a dream come true.

Jeremy Taylor leaves the only home he’s ever known when his brother’s homophobia becomes more than he can bear. He goes to the one place he knows he will be accepted: Lang Downs. He clicks with Sam instantly—but the animosity between Lang Downs and Jeremy’s home station runs deep, and the jackaroos won’t accept Jeremy without a fight. Between Sam’s insecurity and Jeremy’s precarious position, their road will be a hard one—and that’s without having to wait for Sam’s divorce to be final before starting a new life together.

Excerpt:
      “You need to go to Melbourne this winter,” Devlin Taylor said, turning to face his younger brother Jeremy. “You need to find a good woman, settle down, start a family.”


Jeremy only barely managed not to roll his eyes at his brother across the breakfast table in the main house. Devlin refused to eat in the canteen with the jackaroos. He said it was “beneath him.” They had been through this discussion of his relationship status more times than he could count. He would get married when he was damn well ready—not likely to happen anytime soon since he wasn’t going to marry a woman and he couldn’t legally marry a man—and Devlin could take his meddling and matchmaking and shove them up his arse. “I was planning a trip to Sydney,” Jeremy replied, “but just for a week or two, to unwind a bit from the summer.”
“That’s not long enough to meet someone,” Devlin protested.
“Maybe because I don’t want to meet someone?” Jeremy retorted. “Not like that. We aren’t having this conversation again.”
“Be careful, boy,” Devlin said as if he were Jeremy’s father, not his older brother. Granted, the twelve years between them meant he and Devlin had never been all that close, never had the shared childhood so many siblings drew on to bond as adults. “People will start talking. You’re thirty-four. That’s more than old enough to get settled down proper. You keep on like you are, people are going to start saying you’re like those pillow biters up at Lang Downs.”
 “So what if they think that?” Jeremy replied hotly, not the least because it was true. He hated the term as much as he hated his brother’s homophobic rants, but he could hardly deny he was gay, even if he had conveniently forgotten to tell his brother that one important detail. “Armstrong runs a tight ship at Lang Downs, regardless of who he’s sleeping with, and when you had to fire that fucker who sabotaged their fences, Neiheisel let it go without pursuing you or him. They aren’t hurting anybody by being together.”

“No brother of mine is going to be known as a poofter!” Devlin roared.
“Better an honest poofter than a homophobic bigot who still can’t run a station as well as the ‘pillow biters’ at Lang Downs,” Jeremy shouted back.
Devlin’s angry bellow gave Jeremy the warning he needed to dodge the punch his brother sent flying in his direction. His own ire raised now, he countered with an uppercut of his own, catching his brother squarely under the jaw. Devlin staggered back, then narrowed his eyes as he came at Jeremy again. Jeremy tried to block the blow, but Devlin connected anyway. Jeremy rocked back, catching himself on the edge of the desk in Devlin’s office, and slammed his brother’s face into the wooden surface when Devlin lunged at him again. He had the briefest moment of relief that at least none of the jackaroos still on the station would see them fighting like this before Devlin was up again and plowing his fist into Jeremy’s gut. He doubled over and went for Devlin’s knees. When his brother went down, he stayed there, glaring at Jeremy with such hatred that Jeremy took a step back.
 “Get out,” Devlin spat, blood running from the corner of his mouth. “Don’t come back until you’ve got a wife and a respectable life.”

Jeremy closed his eyes for a second, knowing from the tone of Devlin’s voice how deadly serious he was. “I’ll be gone before sunset.”
“And don’t take anything that belongs to the station,” Devlin added.
That would be impossible, since Jeremy had never bothered drawing a salary and bought what he needed with station funds the same way Devlin did, but Jeremy was tired of arguing with his brother. He would take what he considered to be his personal belongings and leave the rest. He could replace anything else once he got a job on another station. He hoped Lang Downs was hiring because that would be an extra punch to his brother’s gut, but if they weren’t, Jeremy figured he had enough experience to get a job pretty much anywhere.
He climbed the stairs to his room, rubbing his jaw where Devlin’s fist had caught him, and proceeded to pack his clothes and toiletries. He considered taking his phone but decided Devlin would just cancel the contract if he did since it was on the station’s account. Looking at the duffel that contained everything in the world he could truly consider his, he scowled at the sorry state of his life. He should have done this years ago.
“I’m taking my car,” he told Devlin when he got downstairs. “I’ll send it back when I get where I’m going.”
 Devlin didn’t even look up from where he sat at his desk, a cold pack on his lip.

Jeremy turned on his heel and walked out of the house where he’d grown up, whistling for Arrow, his kelpie, as he went. It was time to shake the dust of Taylor Peak off his feet.


Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat.  Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with France, where she met her husband, and India, where she hopes to retire some day.  She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.



Twitter: @arieltachna


To purchase my books, you can always go to  Dreamspinners Press  or you can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, Fictionwise, or Rainbow eBooks, Rainbow eBooks.  I’m sure there are probably other eBook outlets as well, but I don’t go searching for them.  Also, if you want to buy the book in print, any bookstore that allows special orders can order the book for you with the title and my name.
 

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