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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A pirate's life for me!



Hello followers of Guys Like Romance!
Jaxx Steele is here again to share my pirate book with you, A Day on Plunderer’s Pride. I have always loved pirates. I loved reading pirate stores when I was a kids and couldn’t get enough of movies when they came out. They are usually men hardened by their choices they’ve made in life. I love that! Pirates are men’s men! They can be the extreme of every adjective. Rough, burly, passionate, dirty…
A pirate’s code of conduct is unlike the civilized men you find on land. If a “civilized” man wants what you have he may simply ask you for it or appeal to you intellect on why you should just give it to him or he may even decide to duel you for it. If a pirate wants your shit they’re going to take unless you’re man enough to stop them. LOL My pirates are like that! A Day on Plunderer’s Pride takes place on a pirate ship during a time when the government used pirates to as ‘workers’ to get what they wanted from other merchant ships. Shortly after that time they rounded them all up and hung them for doing the very thing the government paid them to do. *smh*


"A pirate’s life is for me!"
Life is hard, but worthwhile on the pirate ship Plunderer's Pride. Follow Captain Julian Hazard and his band of ruffians as they go about their daily business. As you endure their daily struggles and nightly rewards you may find that a pirate's life may be for you, too.

Excerpt:
Captain Hazard walked along the empty deck toward the gang plank. All off-duty crew members were in town, adding to the usual chaos of Port Royal. Nigel hardly ever left the ship when they were docked, preferring to stay by his captain’s side in all things. Julian liked it that way as well. Nigel was not only his quartermaster, but his favorite as well.
“The men are on standby, Nigel?” he inquired as they walked along the pier.
Julian knew the answer even as he asked the question. Nigel was an exceptional quartermaster. He knew what Julian expected from him and his crew and he had not been disappointed since Nigel officially took the position.
“Aye, sir, waiting for my call.”
“Good man.”
The governor’s house was not far from the shoreline but away from the denser streets filled with taverns, homes, and the noise that filled the heart of small coastal city. In a short while they were on the stone pathway that led them directly to the door of his stately two-story home.
“Good day, Captain Hazard. You are expected,” a servant told him. “Please follow me.”
The governor was an Englishman with all the comforts his position afforded. The house was large and immaculately decorated. Crystal chandeliers hung from the vaulted ceilings, plush crimson carpet covered the floors, while the walls showed the succession of the men in his family in large golden frames.
“The governor will be with you shortly.”
The oversized room they were left in was scarcely furnished: a few cushioned chairs and small tables to separate them and a circular staircase leading to the upper level. The ceilings and walls were as bejeweled as the rest of the rooms they passed. Captain Hazard looked around the room, frowning before he turned his gaze to his companion.
Nigel stood unmoving, staring straight ahead. His sturdy legs were spread as he stood erect with his chest out and hands clasped behind his back. A light sheen of perspiration glistened faintly on his bald head in the light of the room. His wide chest rose and fell steadily under the tattered tan shirt he wore. Julian glanced at Nigel several times as he paced the floors, admiring his quiet patience.
Luckily, before Julian’s intolerance for waiting wore too thin, he heard the clump of heeled shoes on the steps. He turned to the sound. Sir William Pendleton smoothed the ruffles on his pristine white blouse as he descended the staircase slowly. Two large silver buttons on his abdomen closed the black satin overcoat that swayed along the back of his calves. He exaggerated each step, overextending his legs, causing his foot to hit the stair heavily.
“Greetings, Captain Hazard. So good of you to stop by.” His voice was light and jovial.
“I am here at your request, Governor,” he stated just as cheerfully, walking over to meet him.
“Quite so. Well, in that case, I thank you for answering my summons,” the governor amended, offering the captain a limp wrist handshake. “I am a blunt man, Captain. I will come right to the point of this meeting. You have a reputation of attacking other ships, taking whatever riches they have on board, the crew as well. Is there truth to this accusation?”
Captain Hazard wrapped his arms around his chest and raised a brow. “Aye. I take what I want and trade what I don’t need.” Irritation tinged his voice as he confirmed the allegation without faltering.
The governor raised his hands in surrender. “That is not a criticism, my good man, by no means. I ask because I am in need of such skills.” Governor Pendleton produced another scroll from a nearby desk draw. “This is a Letter of Marque. I would like you to stop a trade ship on its way back from the Americas. It is a Spanish galleon that makes birth out of Santa Domingo. It is said that they carry gold, silver, spices, silks, ivory, and the like. Whatever the cargo is I want it.”
Captain Hazard looked over the letter and nodded. “What is my cut?”
“Bring me half of the goods, and the other half is yours. That seems fair, does it not?”
Hazard thought on his offer. “What of the galleon’s crew?” he asked with a raised brow.
Sir Pendleton waved away his question. “Do what you will with them. Lay waste to whole lot for all I care. They are of no concern to me, only the treasure matters. Do we have an agreement?” he asked impatiently.
Captain Hazard looked over his shoulder at his companion. They had been sailing together for many years. He could read the man very well. Julian looked for signs of caution in Nigel’s handsome but blank expression, but saw none. Satisfied, he re-rolled the scroll and handed it over to Nigel before turning back to the governor.
“Aye, Governor, we have an accord.”
“Excellent! My spies tell me that the ship was due to leave the Americas just this morning in route to Santa Domingo loaded to the brim with my riches. If you leave with the rising sun you should be able to intercept them as they move past Cuba toward Haiti. I do not wish them to return to Hispaniola with riches I have already determined to be mine, Captain Hazard. Do not disappointment me,” Governor Pendleton added pointedly with an air of arrogance before turning on his heels to return to the stairs, abruptly ending their meeting.
The captain and his mate left the room quickly.
“Gather the men and meet me on the ship, Nigel. We leave before dawn.”
“Aye, sir,” he said, lagging behind him, already in motion to do his bidding.
Plunderer’s Pride is available now at Muse It Hot
Find Jaxx at:

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Little Bit of English



Hello, dear readers! For those who don’t know me, I’m a British writer who loves history and folklore. I’m originally from the same town as The Cure, but I’ve spent half my life in quaint village settings that wouldn’t look out of place in Hobbiton.

Some of the guys look like hobbits, too, but I digress.

The English countryside is bursting with fayres, harking back to ye olden days, and I admit I have always been a sucker for them. My favourites are the medieval fayres, the sorts that have people in period costume. Long haired hotties, medieval musicians and warriors. I do love that.

Here is a peasant-boy version of me, at Herstmonceux castle. The big woman in red was part of the parade later.


Because my English mother has always danced in morris sides, we’ve been taken along to folk fayres, whatever the weather, since we were kids. Morris, now recognised as a very English style of dance, is something that sprung up in the middle ages, yet no one can agree on where from.

Arguments aside, there a few styles of morris. The more usual sight is a somewhat genteel dance, known as Cotswolds, with the handkerchiefs and bells, and soft music. Then there is border morris, from the Welsh borderlands. That’s the style I prefer; it’s a lot faster, there’s usually more drums so it’s louder, and the dancers wear masks or painted faces (because the peasants originally dancing it didn’t want their identities known) and sticks are smashed with lots of shouts and shrieks.


I’m rather partial to creepy things like The Wickerman, and maypoles, masks, and horror, so when I started writing my Goblins fantasy series, I knew I had to include some morris dancing. Though, to them, it is normal dancing. When one of the goblins moves into a human castle, in the second story, and sees the tame court dancing, he is not impressed at all. So, they run off to the village, to partake in some masked border dance instead.

One of the dances the villagers dance in my story, is The Horn Dance. A hunting dance, traditionally done with six dancers brandishing deer antlers to represent the animals, and later more dancers come on as archers. It represents good luck for the hunt.

 

There’s quite a few castles dotted about Britain, and I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few. If I lived in a castle, I’d like a moat and a long drawbridge. Herstmonceux castle was pretty enough in appearance to give an idea of what my castle in the Goblins story would be like.




While Goblins is a historical piece of fantasy, I wanted to give it a modern pace and humour. It needed to appeal to someone like myself, who loves history but is more interested in the story. I wanted the series to be fun, light-hearted, and romantic.

There are modern pop culture references peppered throughout, if readers think they can spot one, let me know!


 In the 17th Century, the ancient sprawl of Epping forest is bursting with magic and those who go unseen by human eyes: the elves who rule the summer court, and the goblins who rule the winter court. It is said that if a human catches the eye of one of the fey, they are either doomed or blessed.

Wulfren & the Warlock

When Wulfren wakes from a strange dream of a human captor with long silver hair, and grey eyes, his brothers tell him they rescued him from a warlock, and take Wulfren back home to the goblin king's palace. But Wulfren isn’t so sure the matter is that simple. Why was he missing so long? What are the strange dreams of the beautiful man with the silver hair? Dalliances with humans are severely frowned upon, especially by Wulfren’s father, but Wulfren is willing to risk the scorn of his family to find the human who haunts his dreams.

Quiller & the Runaway Prince

After a hard winter, Quiller is sent deep into the forest on a family errand, and is surprised when a human stumbles into his path. Quiller swoops in to pester him, perhaps even eat him, but there is something special about the human: his scent is royal, though he protests that he is not, and soon Quiller finds himself agreeing to help the human with his troubles—in exchange for a kiss.

Goblins buy link

Melanie website

Melanie twitter
@melanietushmore

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Roaring 20s!



I love the era of the 1920’s. Art Deco, F. Scott Fitzgerald, old Jazz, silent films, the wild exploits – they’ve always appealed to me. So I began to wonder what it might be like for a gay couple during that time. What if they headed west to make their fortune in Hollywood, and were seduced by the more lurid aspects of the celluloid kingdom? Would the intense love that bound them together survive?

Many of the heartthrob male actors at that time were gay. Some rumored, some admitted. It was a nine year moment in history – against the ironic backdrop of illegal booze – that was more unrepressed and free than ever before.  The word gay as a label for a male homosexual was first coined during the twenties by jazz musicians as a more positive term than the derogatory ones in use. The backlash against the puritan aspects of the Victorian era was massive. Yet – as much as there was acceptance in the big cities, there was still a deep seated conservatism everywhere else. The earliest silent films had every manner of never-before-seen behaviors.

Eventually, there was outrage from the middle America public, and morals clauses were added to star’s contracts. The party wasn’t over, but it had to be more discreet. Being openly gay would only destroy a screen god’s career. Was Rudolph Valentino gay? Roman Novarro most certainly was. Everyone has a different opinion. It was difficult to know for sure, as many people were pushing boundaries, and not just buying into what had always been traditionally accepted. Men’s washrooms contained a dispensary of pink powder in which they could insert a coin, hold a puff underneath, and then pat their cheeks with the cosmetic. To be sure, the song, “Masculine Women, Feminine Men” - sung with an implied wink - is a testament to the feelings about gender identification of the decade.

In book one of my Gin & Jazz series, Hollywood Bound, my main characters – Nick and Jack – dream of certain fortune in Hollywood. Nineteen year-old orphaned Jack has always loved the older, streetwise Nick, but his affections have never been returned. Nick struggles with his feelings, raised to believe that being queer is wrong. In this short scene when they sneak into the theatre at one night to keep from sleeping on the streets, there is a pivotal moment between them:

     “Get in quick before anyone sees us!”
     Jack ducked under Nick’s arm with which he was holding open the door, and stepped into the utter blackness of the backstage. Nick followed behind him, and practically ran him over in the darkness. Jack pitched forward, but Nick grabbed him by the waist and held him fast. For mere moments Jack leaned a little back into Nick’s embrace, the only sounds he could hear being the pounding of his heart, and Nick’s elevated breathing. Cloaked in secrecy by the lack of light, it suddenly seemed okay to just be close to Nick. No pretense of the cold being the reason, just the desire for one another’s warmth.
Jack turned within Nick’s hold, and put his arms up around Nick’s shoulders. He pressed his cheek to Nick’s chest and breathed him in. Nick tensed a little, but didn’t let go. It seemed as if this one moment would forever change them. Tentatively, testing to see how far he could go, Jack ran his hands down Nick’s muscled back. He stopped when he reached his waist, waiting to see if Nick would push him away. Even though he remained tense, he didn’t grab Jack’s hands to stop them, and he didn’t let go of Jack’s waist.
     Jack paused before going any further. The quiet was deafening between them, but he was certain that if he uttered any sound, it would break the magic that was keeping them both in thrall. Moving even more cautiously, Jack let his hands drop lower, past Nick’s waist, and settled them on the ass he had secretly admired for so long.
     The silence broke.
     “Jacky,” whispered Nick, ”We shouldn’t be touching each other like this.”
     Even as he said it, Jack knew in his heart that it was a lie, as Nick hadn’t let him go. And he could feel his closest and only friend’s hard cock pressed against his belly.
                                                              


****
Blurb:
Sweet and innocent nineteen year-old Jack has loved the older and more street wise Nick from almost the first time he met him. Nick has taken care of him ever since Jack arrived in New York after he was beaten and thrown out of the boy’s orphanage for messing around with one of the guys there. They share a passion for silent films and have dreams of heading west to make their fortunes building sets for the studios. If only Nick felt a passion for Jack, and wasn’t already engaged to a gal back in Philly.

Nick’s temper sometimes gets the best of him, but that’s only because he worries about Jack – Nick is all the poor kid has to take care of him. But he’s also terrified about the way he’s been feeling towards Jack lately. They’re the kinds of feelings he should only be having for his fiancĂ©, Penelope - and never for a man. His only goal is to get them both to Hollywood, where he’s sure they’ll be rolling in the dough in no time, and where everything will all work out the way it should.

Hollywood isn’t exactly what they’d thought it would be. There are plenty of gin joints, jazz, money, parties and sex – but everything comes with a hefty price. Everyone they meet - from Trixie Fox, the ditzy up and coming starlet, to Bernie, the foreman who gets them their first studio job - seems to have a hidden agenda. Can the newfound love between Jack and Nick survive the tawdry mess that makes up the glitz and glamor of the celluloid kingdom, or will their own secrets tear them apart forever?

Hollywood Bound is available now at a 15% discount at Total-E-Bound  available for download at TEB October 4th, and everywhere November 1st.

Find Morticia @morticiaknight on Twitter, Morticia Knight on Facebook, or her website at www.morticiaknight.blogspot.com