Thursday, December 13, 2012

From the Ashes Blog Tour

Tomorrow kicks off my From the Ashes promo blog tour. I am currently scheduled to appear on a dozen blogs. There will be interviews, book spotlights, and giveaways in preparation for the January 4th release of From the Ashes. Be sure and drop by to comment for a chance to win.

From the Ashes is a Cinderfella (m/m retelling of the classic Cinderella story--boy meets prince) set in 16th century France.

Cinder never thought that he could rise from the ashes of his life, but an unexpected encounter with a woman claiming to be his fairy godmother may be just what he needs. Finding himself flung into his very own fairy tale, she sends him off to to meet his Prince Charming. But was the gown really necessary?

When, where, why, and how:
December 14: Amara's Place
     The source of my inspiration for From the Ashes and giveaway - winner: Loveless3173
December 15: Kharisma Rhayne
     Christmas interview
December 20: Deanna Wadsworth
     The Twelve Days of Sex-mas and giveaway - winner: Jim Evans
December 27: AB Gayle
     Interview the Next Big Thing style and giveaway - winner: Christopher Hammel
December 31 - January 1: Kay Berrisford
     New Year's Kisses Party and giveaway
January 1: Zara Stoneley
January 3: Rebecca Leigh
     Inspiration for From the Ashes and giveaway - winner: Faberge Nostromo
January 4: Leona Bushman
     Book spotlight
January 8: Doris O'Connor
     Book spotlight
January 9: Micheala Rhua
     Book spotlight
January 10: Megan D. Martin
     Author spotlight
January 17: Allie A. Burrow
January 18: Raven McAllan
     Ten things about my heroes

Hope to see everyone there!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Megan D. Martin's Debut

A lot of work goes into writing any book, but I think it's safe to say that there are some genres of romance that are more difficult to write, just based on the amount of research that has to be done. Historical books pose a threat to any writer, because not only do we have to procure a good story but we also have to make things historically correct, else we get hung out to dry with the rest of wrong-doers (haha).
My novella, Forbidden Angel, is set in a concentration camp at the end of WWII. Here are some of the tactics I used when it came to making my story historically correct—I didn't limit myself to the characteristics of one certain concentration camp (example: Auschwitz). Instead I did research on all prevalent camps, like—Dachau, the extermination camp Sobibor, and of course Auschwitz. I took the knowledge that I learned about camps like these and used it to create the setting for the characters in my novella.
-I also did a lot of double checking, which is probably one of the best tactics to use. Don't trust anything you find online, unless there are multiple sources that back it up, especially when it comes to Wikipedia. It's very useful, but not always correct.

This time period is a rather difficult to capture since this is such a tragic event in our history. It is hard to portray something like a romance within the walls of a place where happiness isn't a common denominator; especially between the Jewish people being held prisoner and the Nazis holding them captive. This was a big reason that I chose this story, because it was a challenge. A relationship between these two people seems nigh impossible, based on the circumstances that bring them together.

It's funny because when I read books about paranormal heroes who are known killers of hundreds, and are proclaimed evil, I don't think twice about it. When it comes to a German Nazi soldier, it's hard for me to think of any qualities he could have where he can redeem himself. (Funny how that works, right?) Writing Sarah and Aurel's story was definitely a challenge for me, especially since I had a hero whom I disliked at first, but grew to love in the end.

With all of that being said, I hope you will check out my debut novella, Forbidden Angel. Available now from Breathless Press!

Forbidden Angel
Timeless-Historical Romance
Buy Link
When captured by the Nazis, Sarah finds herself in a concentration camp that not only brings her closer to death...but closer to love.
Sarah Brenner, a young Jewish woman, is terrified when she finds herself in the heat of a rail-car bound for a work camp in Nazi Germany. For years she, along with her mother and sister, had hidden from the SS, but no one could hide forever. Her hatred for those who have enslaved them is ever-growing, especially when they arrive and she encounters the shockingly handsome Nazi doctor who can't seem to keep his eyes—or hands—off her.
Aurel Rothstein is not your everyday concentration camp physician. The endless prisoners and lack of care he's allowed to give have made him numb to the work he so coveted. It isn't until he comes face to face with a beautiful prisoner that his heart becomes involved with his job—a forbidden and fatal move to any Nazi.
When a vile soldier takes direct interest in Sarah, she will be forced to make a choice that will change her life forever: ignore the pull toward the handsome doctor or give in to the forbidden passion he awakens with only a look. Either way they both risk everything...
The doctor was kissing her. She was kissing him back. Sarah had been afraid when he'd carried her to his office. The word "experimentation" terrified her, but he did nothing of the sort. He'd actually fed her and given her some water. He even made her something to take back to her family. He was being so kind, and when his gaze smoldered and he said something about inspecting her body, she'd easily melted for him.

There was something wrong with her. She shouldn't be feeling this way, but the moment his rough hands caressed her achy back, she was lost to her nerve endings. Never before had she felt such desire from the mere brush of fingertips against her skin. The pain in her back immediately ceased, and all she could feel was pleasure.

His kiss was soft and tentative at first, as if he was afraid he'd scare her away, but she kissed him back and reveled in the groan of defeat he gave. He ran his hands deliciously over her hardened nipples, teasing them, tracing where his mouth had kissed just moments before.

He's a bad person, her mind kept trying to tell her, but she ignored the warning. Something about this man just felt so right.

"What's your name, angel?" he asked as he broke away from her lips. Did he just call her angel? She pondered this pet name for a moment before he leaned in and nipped her neck.

"Mmm, I'm no angel." She truly wasn't. She was selfish just like any other person.

"Yes, you are, angel. Your name?"

"Sarah," she murmured as he traced his tongue along her sensitive collarbone. Never in her life had anything felt this good. She'd been with one man before they stopped going into public. She didn't dislike the sexual acts she explored with him, but they felt like nothing compared to this.

"If I am an angel, then so are you." Sarah temporarily forgot his actions outside of this room, the other things he did. Only an angel could bring forth sensations this exquisite.

"No, that I am not." His voice rumbled like a hurricane.

"Okay, a dark angel then, but still an angel."

About the Author
Megan D. Martin is a content editor at Breathless Press, and loves her job more than a normal person should. She was born and raised in a small Texas town, where she still resides with her delightfully rotten son. She enjoys decorating her home with strange things that do not match, playing her old school Nintendo Entertainment System, and buying fish for her many fish tanks. Forbidden Angel is her debut novella. To learn more about Megan and her writing check her out on these social networking sites:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Next Big Thing - Yet Again

What is the working title of your book?

My current WIP is entitled 497 BC, but may be retitled Taming Theron.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It is the prequel to A Spartan Love, Apollo's Men #3.

What genre does your book fall under?

It's a historical m/m erotic romance.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Andreas discovers that food really is the way to a man's heart.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm planning on subbing it to a historical m/m anthology.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

After two days, I'm approximately 1/3 done with the rough draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven't really read any similar stories so I would say Alexios' Fate, book 1 in the Apollo's Men series. Aleksandr Voinov's Spoils of War comes the next closest.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to tell the story of how Andreas and Theron met.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The story takes place in Sparta during the beginning of the Persian War, approximately two decades before Thermopolae.

The following authors will be posting in The Next Big Thing series next week:

Cherie Noel:
Margie Church:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Next Big Thing, Second Wave

Today four authors will be making their Next Big Thing posts about their current works in progress (WIP). Please take a moment to pop on over to their blogs and see what's new and exciting in the works.

Deanna Wadsworth is an author of erotic romance, primarily m/m, but she's not afraid to add a girl to the mix.

Rebecca Leigh writes erotic romance, m/m, f/f, and multiple variations on the theme.

Tara Lain has never met a beautiful boy she didn't love, especially when he loves another boy.

Kharisma Rhayne has just launched her new yaoi blog Itadakimasu.

I hope everyone will join us there.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Next Big Thing

What is the working title of your book?
Unfortunately, I don't have a title yet. I'm just calling it Apollo's Men #2 until inspiration hits.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
The original idea for the series was sparked by a photo of a half-naked man chained to a rock. A Greek temple and a trireme were in the back ground, so it made era and local easy to choose.

What genre does your book fall under?
Historical m/m erotic romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?
I hate this question. I have no idea who the current crop of actors are, much less their names! I Googled "hot actors" the last time I had to answer this. And this is what I came up with. I don't know if anyone knows who these guys are.
Alexios - a young Allu Arjun
Apollo - Freddie Stoma
I do know the last two, but I had to go find out what their names were.
Galen - a young David Chokachi (I liked him in Witchblade, especially the nude scene.)
Lykos - David Wenham from 300 (He was also Faramir in The Lord of the Rings.)

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
Prince Alexios and his former slave, now lover, set off for Delphi to serve Apollo.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
When I finish it, I will sub it to Breathless Press where the first story in the series, Alexios' Fate, is available.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I haven't finished this one yet, I've been working on other projects at the same time. It can take anywhere from a day to a month usually for me to write a first draft. But this one is taking longer because I had to stop and get two other stories edited and published at the same time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The only comparable story I know of is Aleksandr Voinov's Spoils of War.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The photo I mentioned above.

What else about your book might interest the reader?
The story takes place in ancient Greece during the 5th century BC. The world is exactly as Alexios believes it to be (eg the immortals and all their lesser brethren do exist). I am striving for a somewhat more modern take on Homer.

The following authors will be posting in The Next Big Thing series next week:

Deanna Wadsworth at
Rebecca Leigh at
Tara Lain at
Kharisma Rhayne at

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Project

My friend Gavin Atlas forwarded a submission call for historical m/m erotic romances. He said it looked like it was right up my alley.

So I decided to write an Alexios/Galen short story. It is titled "496 BC" in accordance with the anthology guidelines, and takes place between the end of Alexios' Fate and the sequel.

496 BC gives us Galen's point of view, something we haven't seen previously. Along with insights into his life as a freed slave.

AB Gayle suggested that I rewrite it strictly from Galen's POV. I've given that a try and will take scenes from that version and put them into a dual POV piece. Then I'm going to ask my beta readers which one is better. So I'm not even sure which one I'm going with yet.

The single POV story is a hauntingly bittersweet love story. I don't know what the other version will be yet, but I think it will be a little more sweet. I'll have a better idea once I finish it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cinder Takes Wing

I've finished my content editing and have sent Cinder and his prince off to the proof reader and then the line editor. My boy is all grown up and no longer in my hands.

That is always the strange part for me. It's like the first time you put your child on the school bus and realize that someone else has a say in their life now. And after they are finished with him, I have to turn him loose in the big wide world where I hope everyone is nice to him.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

From the Ashes Cover

Mina Carter outdid herself on my new cover for From the Ashes. Henri is sexy, sensual. And Cinder? Cinder is exactly how I and his godmothers pictured him.

From the Ashes is a Cinderfella. A m/m Cinderella story. Cinder's grasping stepmother forced him into a dress when his father died a decade earlier. Since then he has been a servant in his father's house, known as Cinderella. But soon his stepmother will be unable to continue the charade. What will be his fate then?


Cinder never thought that he could rise from the ashes of his life, but an unexpected encounter with a woman claiming to be his fairy godmother may be just what he needs. Finding himself flung into his very own fairy tale, she sends him off to meet his Prince Charming. But was the gown really necessary?

Cinder glanced around. Paper lanterns floated in the trees, lined the walks, and graced the gazebo near the reflecting pool, giving the grounds a mystical air. Their warm glow caught the dancing jets of the fountain splashing merrily to his right. The musical, crystalline tones carried on the night wind’s breath. He was reminded of the enchanted gardens in the fairy tales his father had read to him when he was a child. What would happen to him if he dared walk there?

Henri led him toward the gazebo. Soon he would find out.

The cool breeze caressed his uncovered neck. Cinder shivered at the ethereal touch. Henri turned to him, the question clear in his eyes, but he didn't know how to answer. Instead he breathed in the tangible scent of rich earth and flowing water, hoping to calm his bounding heart.

Henri lightly stroked his arm. Cinder’s breath caught at the silky brush of the other man’s fingers. He drew another shaky breath. Henri may have meant to soothe him, instead his touch set Cinder’s wayward body aflame.

They left the last of the courtiers behind as they entered the dim interior of the fanciful pavilion. Vines climbed its intricately carved posts, perfuming the air within. The music and voices of the aristocrats faded away. Only a single intrepid nightingale could be heard over the cheerful babbling of the fountain. Hidden from the rest of the court, an unworldly sense of peace filled him. Was his very own fairy tale about to come true?

Bespelled and bemused, he could feel the magic in every beat of his heart, in every trembling breath he drew.

Once inside the bower, Henri reached to cup Cinder's cheek. Unused to being touched, he nearly flinched away but managed to still, heart pounding, before giving himself away. The older man's thumb slid across his cheekbone and came to rest lightly on his mouth. Why did he want to lean into that caress?

The other man's warm, slightly musky scent filled his nostrils, drowning his senses.

Henri's other hand wrapped around his waist and drew him close while tipping his face upwards. Cinder's breath left him in a rush, stirring the noble’s hair. Henri was all that he could see, his mouth slowly, carefully descending toward Cinder’s. If he allowed this, the other man might discover his deception. He couldn’t risk that, so why then did he ache to feel Henri’s kiss? Their lips brushed, light as thistle down.

Surprisingly, Henri's mouth was soft and warm upon his own. After a moment, Henri's pressed more firmly against his. Something fluttered in his chest, trying to get out.

Cinder didn't think to pull away until he felt Henri's tongue seeking entrance. The hand on his face slipped to his nape and held firm. He froze in shock, not even daring to breathe, as flames rushed through his body. The very beat of his heart betrayed him.

The questing tongue stroked his lips and pushed between them. It slid over his teeth, seeking to enter. When he protested, Henri's tongue swept in and began a lazy, sensuous exploration that left him breathless.

Soon he found himself stroking Henri's tongue with his own. Henri responded to his fledgling attempts by pulling him closer and moaning into his mouth. He had never experienced anything so deeply sensual and erotic. He fed his own needy pleas to the other man one at a time.

Finally they separated slightly, Cinder panting heavily, trying to catch his breath. Was Henri as affected by their kiss as he was? A quick glance confirmed Cinder was not alone in his arousal. Flushed and gasping, Henri gazed at him with eyes full of wonder and something unnamed smoldering in their depths.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Alexios' Fate on Shelfari

Alexios' Fate is now on Shelfari. I've added some information and background details, but I'd love to see everyone come and add their own thoughts and impressions to the page.

Shelfari is new to me, but appears to be's answer to Goodreads and Wikipedia combined. I'm interested to see how it works.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Writing for Kicks

I'm working on the second round of edits for From the Ashes. Cinder's story is coming along nicely and only needs a little polish before it's ready to go off to the proof reader. This is only the second time I've gone through this process and I still find it exciting. Am I weird that I enjoy editing? Probably...

Once I'm done with this round of edits, it's back to the second story in the Apollo's Men series. I'm still working on some court intrigue and maybe death and mayhem. And if I manage it, an erotic short story that takes place between books 1 and 2.

Too bad I can't quit the day job so I can focus on my writing. Not really. I do enjoy my day job. Writing is my entertainment, my creative outlet. Something I do for fun.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review of Alexios' Fate

I just found this wonderful review of Alexios' Fate on Goodreads.

"The author has done a great job of recreating that time, using just enough imagery to make you feel you are indeed back in that age without being overwhelmed. What's more I have it on good authority that the facts are correct.

The sex scenes are hot and fall naturally into the story line. The plot is good. All in all, I found it a very enjoyable read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys m/m."

The rest of the review can be found here:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Breathless Press Birthday Bash

This month is Breathless Press' third birthday. BP is celebrating with a collection of free stories. My Morning Star is one of the m/m erotic stories.

They have also discounted everything 30% for the event.

Be sure to check out my other m/m erotic romances: Legends and Alexios' Fate.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Morning Star Is Available for Free Download

This month Breathless Press celebrates their third birthday. To celebrate this, I and several other Breathless Press authors have written free stories as thank you gifts to our readers.

My free m/m story, Morning Star, is now available for download at Breathless Press. If you enjoy hot m/m erotica, Morning Star should be exactly what you are looking for.

Blurb: What would you do if you met Adonis?
Mark spends one night with him and is never the same again.

Based on a true story about one unforgettable night, Morning Star is my tribute to my dear friend Mark.

Download your free copy:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cover for Morning Star

Next month, Breathless Press is releasing some free reads for their birthday celebration. My short story Morning Star will be one of those stories.

Morning Star was inspired by something that once happened to my friend Mark. He told me the basic story. I just filled in some of the details.

I had fun with some of the symbolism surrounding the morning star. More than one culture and multiple meanings of the phrase morning star are employed. See if you recognize them all.

Blurb: What would you do if you met Adonis? Mark spends one night with him and is never the same again.

Here is the cover. Anyone care to unwrap Adonis?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The 777 Challenge

Seven lines from the 7th page of each manuscript, starting with the seventh line.

Apollo's Men #1, Alexios' Fate:

Lykos wore an intricately patterned chiton. Black and green Greek keys meandered along the selvages of the crimson linen. The folds of cloth fell from where the garment was pinned over his left shoulder with a bright bronze fibula to below his knees, leaving his right shoulder bare. A wide ox hide girdle supported a sheathed sword at his waist. Soft leather sandals encased his feet, supple sheepskin laces winding up calves like tree trunks. Alexios half expected him to wear a laurel wreath at his brow.

Even if his clothing hadn't marked him as the king, Alexios would have known by the way the older man held himself. Confidence and raw power spilled outward from him in an irresistible current, his authority clear for all to see. Gray touched his wind-tossed hair and beard and showed in the wiry curls on the side of his chest the chiton left bare. Lykos' broad shoulders and the corded muscles of his exposed arms and legs told the story of a life spent defending his kingdom.

Apollo's Men #2:

With a discomfited growl, he threw himself down on the pillows. Changing his mind, Alexios grabbed the drinking vessel and downed the contents in one long pull. Even then he couldn't swallow the knot in his throat no matter how he tried. A trickle escaped his mouth and ran down his chin.

He set the kylix down with a clatter, breathing heavily. He could feel the thick wine moving sluggishly through his blood. Maybe that would calm him some.

Lykos gazed at him, unspeaking. Speculation and some kind of understanding crossed his strong features.

From the Ashes:

"I don't need to go to the ball," Cinder started to say when she interrupted him.

"Oh, nonsense, dear. I promised to see you happy, and I won't let a little shyness on your part keep you from meeting your prince. He's been waiting for you, you know." She gently shooed him toward the front courtyard.

Prince? He didn't need a prince. He was a man. A princess would be nice, but what would he do with one of those?

"I really can't go..."

Morning Star:

Opening his mouth, Mark took Adonis' cock to the back of his throat, burying his nose in the nest of curls at its base. The sound that ripped from the other man's throat sounded almost painful. Knowing what it would do to the other man, Mark moaned his own appreciation as the cock in his mouth throbbed and twitched. More precum flooded his mouth.

Sucking hard enough to hollow his cheeks, Mark pulled back up. He swirled his tongue around the edge of the crown before pressing into the inverted v on the underside. The fingers in his hair clenched and pulled him down again. He repeated this several times before Adonis reverted to form and began fucking his face.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

From the Pen of...

Just finished editing Morning Star, the story inspired by this photo. It will appear in the Breathless Press birthday bash freebie collection releasing in August.

On another front, From the Ashes has a tentative release date of January 4th, 2013. I'm looking forward to editing and seeing how my story changes along the way.

Book two of the Apollo's Men series is about half way through the first rough draft. As usual, I'm spending as much, if not more, time on research than the actual writing. I guess it's a very good thing I love the research!

Finally, I have a story line called Fan Service that the owner of Breathless Press and I are discussing making available in an unique format that I thing fanfic readers will enjoy. More on that later if we hit upon a good format for doing it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Red+Blue Is Up for BOM at Goodreads M/M Romance Group

The latest novel by my good friend and mentor, AB Gayle, Red+Blue is up for Book of the Month (BOM) at the Goodreads M/M Romance group. Of course, I voted for her.

I'm about 70% through the novel and am enjoying it immensely. It is the first in her Opposites Attract series.

Here is the link to vote for Red+Blue:

Fresh from backwoods Minnesota, actuarial student Ben Dutoit is ecstatic to land a job with Sydney Sutherland Family Insurance, one of the few companies that offers life insurance to people in the high-risk category. The fact that he gets to work in Gay Central, aka San Francisco, is just the icing on the rainbow-colored cake. Ben sets himself just three goals: be out and proud enough to participate in the Pride parade; seek out the company of like-minded souls in the clubs; and maybe, if he’s lucky, fall in love.

But the men Ben meets are everything he’s not: suave, confident, sophisticated, and sexy. Unlike redneck Ben, they’re blue bloods from blue states, born with status, wealth, and the responsibility that comes with the package.

Ben’s still wondering if red and blue can mix when he discovers what risk really means. The global economy tanks. The job he looked forward to is in jeopardy, and every dream Ben ever had is threatened, especially love, the biggest dream of all.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cinder Has a Home!

The manuscript I've been calling Cinder now has a home with Breathless Press. I don't have a release date yet, but will post it as soon as I have one.

From the Ashes
Cinder never thought that he could rise from the ashes of his life, but an unexpected encounter with a woman claiming to be his fairy godmother may be just what he needs. Finding himself flung into his very own fairy tale, she sends him off to meet his Prince Charming. But was the gown really necessary?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review of Alexios' Fate

Don Bradshaw of Hearts on Fire Reviews gave Alexios' Fate four out of five hearts.

"I found this to be a great, well researched and well written book... Ms Jameth threw some good plot twists and turns which made the story more real to ancient Greece... Ms Jameth has crafted a great start to what I hope will become a great series."

For the complete review:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Introducing Red + Blue by AB Gayle

It's always a pleasure to host Ms Gayle. I enjoy her wonderful stories and she usually brings some fine looking men with her! She also brought a copy of her latest work, Red + Blue, for one lucky commenter.

My first contact with Ben occurred one October morning a couple of years ago. I was lying in bed, wandering half asleep in that inspirational dream world where you just wish you had mind-captcha to record all those great ideas that vanish as soon as you get up. Suddenly, this voice inside my head piped up, “I gather your shit scared because you don’t know what you’re going to write about for Nanowrimo.”

Now, contrary to public opinion, I’m not quite ready for the insane asylum, and don’t normally speak out loud to people who aren’t really there, so my reluctant affirmation of “Spot on” was more mental than verbal. had recently signed up for the National November Writing Month and was starting to panic about the required minimum of 50,000 words. However, don’t ask me how Ben knew of my predicament.

I can help you.”

His voice sounded so certain, so real, that I checked under the bed to make sure I was really alone. Nope. Only dust. Makes mental note to stop spending so much time staring at the blank computer screen and do some housework! Oh, well. Looked like a little white pilwas going to be on the menu tonight!

“How are you going to help me?” I muttered to myself, snuggling back under the covers.

Ben set off on this convoluted tale in which the names Jason, Mick, Adrian, Carl and Chris cropped up at regular intervalsStill, not willing to admit I was really hearing things, I focussed more on the young man’s accent instead. Every now and then, a slow drawl would break through, as if he was going to great pains to disguise his place of origin. Unfortunately, I’m no Professor Higgins and unless the speaker is from Brooklyn or the Deep South, most Americans sound the same to me. He stopped for a moment to take a breath.

“Where are you from?” I interjected before he could start up again.

There was wariness in his reply. “Minnesota.” Before I could get a chance to mention that I’d been there and to find out which part, he was off again, telling me that he was living in San Francisco now and his adventures there would make a great story. From the sounds of things, he was young, possibly early twenties, and ...the penny

Okay, that sounded promising. Sounds interesting,”  I hedged. I hadn’t really been paying attention. “Why me?” Those words would occur again and again over the next few months, normally accompanied by a few handfuls of hair being torn out. However, I distinctly remember his first reason.

“You know how you were thinking the other day that a lot of m/m romances are about alpha males in dramatic professions like fire-fighters, cops and soldiers...”

Obviously, someone who only existed in my imagination would be totally cognisant with my every thought, so this time I didn’t bother wondering how he knew.

“...and you were bemoaning the fact that none of them were real men in everyday jobs....”

Momentarily setting aside his offhand dismissal of some wonderful romantic heroes, my affirmative response was guarded. I could tell I was being softened up for something terrible. “And...?” I prompted.

“And your website says you like a challenge....”

“True.” Unfortunately, I was never one to take the easy option. Put me out of my misery. I begged.  Where do you work?

For an insurance company.

An insurance company?????? “What the...? Are you an accountant?” He’d warned me it would be a challenge, but really? Visions of Monty Python skits, featuring men in bowler hats, carrying briefcases and furled umbrellas flashed through my mind. Was I about to write the gay version of “Ethel the Aardvark goes Quantity Surveying?”

“No!” His voice almost brokeso strong was his indignation at my unvoiced cynicism.

Woops. Note to self. When carrying on a conversation in your head, the other person knows exactly what you’re thinking.

“I’m an actuary. Well, studying to be an actuary at any rate. You do know what they are, don’t you?”

As it happened, I did. Both the ones I knew were super intelligent, but not nerds. Good at sports. Definitely not your typical bean counter. Maybe I could do this. But stories need conflict? Where’s the drama? Where’s the pathos?

Conflict? There’s plenty. Most insurance companies discriminate against gay men, by not letting them purchase life insurance once theyre diagnosed as having HIV.” He proceeded to tell me a tale of how one company had even been taken to court when they refused to pay out on a policy because the guy died of AIDS.

“My readers will be yawning after five minutes if I tell them all that, Ben.”

I almost felt the air around me move as he mentally let out a deep sigh. “I know, but things like that matter. It makes gay men feel like their life’s not worth anything once they become positiveDon’t forget that contracting HIV isn’t a guaranteed death sentence anymore and insurance companies have limited cover for people with other terminal diseases.”

“It’s still not a topic for a romance.”

He was silent for so long I thought at first that I’d scared him off. But I should have known better. Ben is persistence personified. Even though this interview was not taking place in the real world, I felt an instant empathy for the young man. His heartfelt passion and righteous indignation were palpable, real. I stretched out an imaginary hand. “Tell me a little bit about yourself. Maybe there’s a story there. What about the guys you mentioned. Are they your boyfriends?”

“No!” he spluttered indignantly and smothered a laugh. “Well, not exactly. I work with Jason, Carl and Adrian, Mick is a friend and Chris is one of my brothers.” His tone became reproachful as he added, “Just because someone is gay doesn’t mean they want to get into bed with every man they meet.” An infectious cackle burst out. “Only the good looking ones!” 

He dropped some pictures into my mind. I scanned through them. Nice eye candy.

“Still, not enough conflict, though.”

“What about the fact that everything gets affected by the recent global financial crisis?” A note of desperation had crept into his voice. “That’s really made life difficult. Adrian and Carl have been tearing their hair out, making sure the business survives.”

“Yeah, but my readers don’t want to be reminded of things like that. They want exotic settings. Not dreary offices.”

“What about Northern Californian vineyards and millionaires mansions on Long Island?”

“Still, not sold. Sorry, Ben.”

“Is the Quetico exotic enough? That’s why I approached you. You’ve been there. You know what it’s like.”

“True, but canoeing isnt sexy and sex sells.”

“Well, now you come to mention it, there is some sex in the story. Let’s face it. am a twenty three year old gay guy. Naturally, there’s sex.”

A conglomeration of images filled my head based on what he had told me so far. His personality shone through his words. Full of life, vibrant. Still, readers are pretty hard to please.

“Maybe if you send me an outline and a picture of yourself.” Naked preferably, I added mentally and immediately kicked myself. He must have heard that!

“Okay,” He sounded shy and a bit hesitant. I’ll send a recent one that my brother, Chris, took when we went paddling last year. It’s a bit goofy and only from my waist up.”

I blushed and told myself to stop being a perv. “That’s fine!”

Then he sent me the photo and the introduction. Well, I couldn’t not write the rest of the story, then, could I?

Introducing Red
Some men can wear red, some can’t. Being a redhead, I avoid it like the plague. The color suits my buddy, Jason. With his tanned olive skin and dark hairthanks to his Spanish momwhen he wears red, you start looking for the charging bull. His ass looks great in tight black matador pants too. Pity he seldom finds an excuse to wear them. Mind you, in his dark pinstripes, he can double as a GQ model any day. He has that mandatory slim-hipped sexiness and the pout to match.

I, on the other hand, always look exactly like what I am—a country bumpkin. As for tans, I gave up trying after overdosing on UV as a kid, hoping my freckles would join up. All I got for my trouble was sunstroke, a face as red as a lobster, and a walloping from my dad.

Jason hails from Long Island but never talks about his folks much, always more interested in tales of my family. When we first met, he kept bugging me to do some Minn-speak. “Say, ‘Ya, sure, ya betcha’, Ben.”

I told him to suck my cock for supper instead. Geez, one of the reasons I came to San Francisco in the first place was to get away from Minnesota. Why would I want to advertise where I came from once I got here? Yessiree, Bob. My older brothers might be happy staying there, but I wanted out. That’s why I jumped at the offer of a summer internship when a rep for Sydney Sutherland Family Insurance came scouting around college back in February. My talent for number crunching gave me the chance to follow my dreams to Gay Central.

I met Jason in a bar in the Castro not long after I arrived. There I was, talking to my friend, Mickwell, I’d known him for ten minutes and he was still speaking to me, so that made him a friend in my bookanyway, Mick had asked me to ride on a tandem with him in the upcoming Pride Parade when this good-looking dude in a silky red shirt and black leather pants elbowed him aside and pulled me onto the dance floor. He acted like he knew me, but it wasn’t until I was fucking him into the mattress two hours later that I finally figured out he was one of the firm’s top-gun salesmen.

You see, my traineeship role as an actuary keeps me apart from the snake-oil peddlers and their expense accounts. I assumed they were all conservative breeders with a wife and 2.5 kids, struggling to stay afloat with too much gearing on their five-bedroom McMansions and Porsches. It was real good to find I wasn’t the only gay guy working for the firm.

I hadn’t recognized Jason, but my hair makes me stand out in a crowd. Being six-two in bare feet also helps. Jason claims he’s six foot, but hey, that’s only if he’s wearing his high-heeled Cubans.

We don’t broadcast our relationship at work, although he always pinches my ass on the way to his weekly meeting with Adrian Sydney Sutherland, the head honcho of the western division. For some reason, my daily visit to the water cooler coincides with the time Jason walks past. No, wait, I remember—we planned it that way. Heh. Lucky no one has ever caught on. I think the boss saw him grope me a couple of times. The clich├ęd narrowed lips and hard eyes when he glanced our way indicated that something upset him, but maybe it was just acid reflux.

Thank you for joining me today AB Gayle. It's always fun to find out how a story came into being. And what an unusual tale you have spun for us today.

Ms Gayle is offering a copy of Red + Blue. Just comment below and leave your email address. A winner will be chosen at the end of the week. Good luck everyone! The rest of us will have to wait until May 25th to order our copies, print and ebook. I know I am looking forward to reading this story.