Because I like to talk about my writing I assume others like to talk about their writing to. In this spirit, I forced my lovely co-authors in Owned by the Alpha to answer a bunch of questions about how they got from the blank page to this book.
Question 2: Tell Us About The World
Is there anything particularly special about the setting to you? Is it from our real world or is it some larger world?
Mooncrest is set in the state of Colorado, at the foothills of a mountain. There are a dozen wolf packs living within a 25-30 mile radius of the town of Mooncrest, including the Creed and the Gunn packs found in this short story. As you’ll see in future stories, the Wade, Persa, Janus, and Moxie packs inhabit the area as well. Mooncrest is a small town where full-humans and shifters live side by side, but the full-humans don’t know about the secrets of the smaller mountain communities the shifters have developed. And the packs fight to keep it that way, but their secret gets closer to revelation with each story.
My story is set in Waretown, New Jersey, which believe it or not, is actually a real place in my neighboring state. The neighborhoods I describe are purely of my own creation. I wanted them to have a certain feel, but I felt like a place called Waretown should have a story told there.
The Scarf is part of a bigger fantasy world I’m developing for my thesis novel (I’m a graduate student getting and M.F.A. in genre fiction). In Tovar, society developed with magic, so instead of steam and electricity they had spells. This means that witches are the ones who run the world and shifters, the animals witches curse with the ability to transform into humans, are at their witch’s beck and call to be used as spies, fighters, familiars, anything else the witch sees fit.
The story is set in New Zealand where I live, so the places are real. But it’s also a world where shifters exist and are known about. They don’t live in the shadows. I love writing fantasy/paranormal themed stories.
Because I like to talk about my writing I assume others like to talk about their writing to. In this spirit, I forced my lovely co-authors in Owned by the Alpha to answer a bunch of questions about how they got from the blank page to this book.
Question 1: Introduce us to your studs:
Tell us about your studs. Who (or what?) inspired them?
Xander’s character is based very much on a friend of mine who we say has always had the worst luck. He once got his knee caught in a bridge in Pamplona and was almost run over by the bulls. Honestly. Worst. Luck. Ever. Until he met his now husband, and then his luck most definitely changed for the better!
Mooncrest is a Romeo and Romeo (not Juliet) story of fated love with families who have issues galore. My alpha, Saber Creed, spent his life preparing to be his pack’s alpha, but the focus didn’t prepare him for his fated mate. His mate, Kace Gunn, has waited for Saber patiently, but when they finally meet, Kace doubts their families’ pasts can be set aside. Saber’s physically based on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kace reminds me of a cross between Ed Sheeran and Prince Harry.
Both my studs, panther alpha and Sheriff Luke Benson and his mate, Dr. Tom Barrymore, are brilliant and dedicated to their roles, saving people in their own way and both men come to love each other fiercely. I was searching for inspiration on the internet when I came across Brodie Beaudry (Luke) and Harvey Newton-Hayden (Tom). They were perfect and matched the vision I had in my head for them.
I developed a thing for werewolves and Raymond Chandler (who wrote Noir detective novels that were usually turned into movies starring Humphrey Bogart) at the same time so The Scarf is really my love letter to them both. Tru, who’s a lone wolf taking on a corrupt pack, has the same hard exterior and internal poetics that makes Philip Marlowe and interesting detective. But because he’s a shifter, he’s also completely helpless to defy his desire for his fem-fatal who ain’t that fem.
Tudor is my alpha and a lion shifter. I said in the story that Eirian, his best friend, PA, and chef, watched Tudor’s back. There’s a specific reason he did. Young lions, on reaching sexual maturity, are excised from their prides by older males. Tudor experienced this expulsion from his own shifter family as a rite of passage. But instead of still being there if he needed them, they fully excluded him because he wasn’t interested in a female mate or having his own offspring. The hurt from that experience created the aggressive and arrogant Tudor to suit his public TV persona. But the real Tudor, and his softer side, are expressed in the country house, and what’s in there.
My Alpha (Eamonn) actually came secondary to his mate (Izzy) who was absolutely and unapologetically inspired by actor Noel Fisher’s portrayal of Mickey Milkovich on the HBO series, Shameless. From there, I liked the idea of a misguided street thug—already having a tough time trying to make a break from the criminal life he’s always lead—finding out he’s the fated mate to an Alpha wolf who also happens to be a police detective.
I’m so excited to be part of Evernight Publishing’s new anthology: Owned by the Alpha Manlove Edition, that I thought I’d post the first chapter of my story here. Buckle up, bitches, here’s “The Scarf.”
If I threw money at fights—and unless I’m in them, I don’t—I’d bet a lioness would beat an ogre. Don’t misunderstand, Chief Uzegar is no lightweight, but against a full-grown lioness with her claws out…
The lioness showed up a few minutes ago outside my office building, yowling for half the shifters of Matawon to hear. Of course, the police station is just across the street and the chief is a hands-on fella. So five stories below my window, there’s an ogre brandishing a cudgel, two humans holding a blanket like a shield, and a lioness coated in blood. Her back is shredded, but Uzegar didn’t do that kind of damage. If she doesn’t back down or attack, she’s going to bleed to death.
I raise my window to get her attention. When she looks, the humans get the blanket over her and force her transformation. Uzegar body-slams her changed form, though on two legs she’s still big enough to cause trouble. He gets his big green arm around her throat and she goes down.
“I need help, you bastard!” the lioness shouts.
Shit, she’s only a teenager. Can’t be more than fifteen.
What does a shifter lioness need protection from? I guess her witch, but a witch isn’t going to leave blood like that. Not even on a run-away familiar.
“Why the hell—” Uzegar stops himself from yelling at a kid. “We were understandably afraid, miss. We’ll get you medical attention. Who attacked you?”
The ogre looks up at my window. “How many?”
“There’s a pack of them … eight or nine. They’ve got all the shifters in Down-City afraid for their lives. The smaller ones they beat. The strong ones … they kill. They make us run their drugs… Sell our time.”
What kind of sicko is buyin’ a teenager’s time? I guess the kind that wants to whip her back until she’s a bloody mess. Hope he got what he paid for and she gutted him.
Uzegar helps the kid to her feet. “Come on. Let’s get you inside. Have a witch heal—”
“No witches!” The lioness jerks away from Uzegar’s hand. She staggers, turns her face upward. “Hey, you’re Truman Wolf, ain’t ya?”
I straighten a little in the window. “Yeah.”
“You’re only half with them.” She sneers and thumbs at Uzegar. The blanket slips. She’s about to turn lion again, except Uzegar takes her shoulders and steadies her. “You gotta fix Down-City.”
She glares at the police. “That’s what you people are supposed to do, ain’t it? Fix the rotten places?”
“Let’s fix you up first, okay?” Uzegar turns her toward the station doors with all the daintiness an ogre with a cudgel can muster.
She flings him off like he’s a feather, and then turns to me. “The wolves mauled a swan and the police didn’t do nothing. The wolves put a lynx in the hospital and the police didn’t do nothing.”
I’ve never seen so much anger mixed with so much frailty as in this kid.
“A couple months ago, the ravens asked me to get outside help. They said, oh that Truman Wolf tracked down at a missing bear cub. Maybe he can help.”
The lioness pauses—blood loss or shame. “But I told the ravens I didn’t have a problem. I didn’t need nothing to change, did I?”
She laughs, a dark disturbed sound. Chills my bones. “A lioness can protect herself, right?”
Uzegar catches her as she falls and he sinks with her to the pavement. He orders his men, “Get in there and bring Miss Denise out here. Make sure she brings her books.”
The lioness points up at me. “You fix Down-City, wolf. I got the scents you need. Left ’em by the dumpster.”
There’s a plastic bag flapping in the wind. “I’ll see ’em.”
She uses the last bit of her strength to roar at me. “You fix it, wolf.”
I nod and that calms her down. She passes out, and I guess that’s fine, ’cause that’s the only way the charity witch is going to get near her.
“These two and the alpha are the ones who attacked her.” Uzegar compares the contents of the plastic bags with the report Joyce-Lynn—that’s the lioness—gave. “The sleeve belongs to a dog named Staid.”
It’s a green and white scrap of flannel drenched in blood, but a wolf doesn’t go in for my line of work if he can’t stomach the scent of gore. Staid was terrified when Joyce got his sleeve. And though the best of dogs has a right to cower when a half-grown lioness bats at his head, the acrid salt scent of fear soaks through his clothes. Not a brave man, this Staid.
“Got him.” I put the cloth aside.
“Gus.” Uzegar chucks a black tank-top my way. “Joyce got the whole shirt because he launched at her as a wolf.”
“Bold fella.” I sniff then recoil from the noxious tang. “Stupid fella. This stinks of sky-seed. Must’ve been high as a god-damned moonbeam.”
The chief’s gray-green face breaks into a smirk. “I’ll check his record.”
“I’ll probably find him first.” Gus must’ve broken his nose to tolerate his own stink. “I got him. Not likely to forget him either. Do we have the alpha?”
“Lioness says he’s all over Down-City.” Uzegar reaches into his coat to bring out an evidence bag. “Had to wrestle this from her.”
“What is it?” Something sky-blue and blood-brown is inside the plastic.
“Scarf. She got help on her way out. Won’t tell us about it, but…” Uzegar scans his report. “Figure it’s a place to start.”
Joyce’s blood soaks one end of the scarf. Otherwise it’s soft and clean as I bring it to my nose and sniff. That may be the last sane thought I’ll ever have.
The scent strangles me with longing.
Fox. Cedar-rose cologne. Touch of magic. Notes of wine. Clean, deeply arousing fragrance. Not that I have a thing for foxes. Not that I would think twice about cedar-rose cologne—applied sparingly, just enough to mask the animal musk for humans—if I passed a shifter wearing it in the street. Except, if I passed this fox in the street, I’d have to haul him into the nearest dark place and fuck the shit out of him.
Uzegar doesn’t notice. “You done?”
“No.” I breathe deep at the scarf. I’m not giving this back. I need this smell. Need to hold it in my lungs until I can hold that fox. “It’s, uh, faint and … important. I need to keep the scarf.”
Uzegar shrugs. “There’s a history of wolf attacks below Tenth Street.”
I don’t care about wolf attacks. The lioness, her blood, and desperation, are a distant memory. My world has turned into the scent of a fox. He wore this scarf often. Days of his life are imprinted in the slippery silk.
Uzegar is still talking. What about?
“…sniff around Down-City. See if there’s anything to her story.”
My fox is effeminate, the type of man who wears women’s scarves. He needs my protection. Maybe he’s scared … alone. He’ll catch my scent. He’ll want me. He’ll trust me.
“Tru, you listening?”
“Uh…” My head swims and my eyes hurt from too much light. My cock throbs and I’m in awe Uzegar can’t hear my heart banging.
His eyes narrow. “You mad or something?”
Mad? Sure. Stark-raving mad. Wild-animal-who-shouldn’t-live-in-a-city mad. “No, I hear ya. I just need…”
To find and fuck this fox. Right now.
“Sniff around Down-City. Look for a protection racket. Got it?”
I jet across the street, slam the door to my room behind me, and pop open my trousers. My cock shoots out like it’s been suffocating. The open air makes the throbbing more painful so I wrap my fingers around the shaft to deal with my unreasonable lust.
I drape the scarf over my face, sip that remarkable scent. Cedar-rose, wine, fox. My own personal love poison.
My fox would be lithe, move like smoke. Hair red as sunrise. Pretty face. Small build. His scarf—this scarf before the blood—would trail after him, float as he darts.
I imagine him running across the street in the police station, the scarf a silken tail. He looks over his shoulder and smiles. We’re playing. Lean hips swerve, strong legs leap. He navigates over the desks, waste bins, and scrying pools. I barrel after him. There’s a trace of lust on the wind, stronger when he turns down the dead-end past evidence. He lets me catch him. His face angles down, red hair wild. His eyes—got to be green—lift with innocent longing. Unknowingly sensual, his hands caress the dusty brick behind him as I close in.
His fragile body flutters and melts under my strength. When he moans, his voice is a song. Lust overwhelms the cedar-rose cologne. He wants me with the same maddening desire. I’ll break his little body with sex, make him mine through raw force, spray all over his back and ass and claim him.
He’ll cling to me when I finish. I’ll take him across the street to my apartment where he’d live now because he belongs to me. I’ll fuck him until my lust is sated.
Then I’ll ask his name.
That’s all for now, folks. Hope you enjoyed Chapter One of “The Scarf”. Be sure to follow me so I can send you details about where to find Owned by the Alpha Manlove anthology (which is full of similar goodies by fantastic authors).
Somewhere in some city, some building is burning down. Amid the spits of fire and falling ashes of the structure’s sordid past, two figures sit across a burning coffee table. One of them is Lea Bronsen, amazon best-selling author and two-time winner of Evernight Reader’s Choice Award. The other is a creature of darkness who is-
L.J.: *squeals* Oh my God! Lea Bronsen, I have loved your work since Wild Hearted. So excited to talk to you!
…the worst at being dark and mysterious…
L.J.: So where you from?
Lea Bronsen slyly lifts a cup of coffee and looks around the flame-soaked room.
Lea: I like to say I’m a European because I have ancestors from all over the place – France, Norway, Scotland, Germany…
A piece of timber crashes across the room. The squalls of a baby and the bark of a small dog are heard somewhere above. Lea notices the fire flare as if acknowledging the sounds, and sips her coffee.
Oh, she is so much better at being mysterious, L.J.
L.J.: I guess, what I’m really asking is… are you actually married to Charles Bronson and just changing the name ever so slightly to avoid being accused of using it to gain popularity?
Lea: *swoons slightly* No. No. I don’t have… Nothing ever happened between me and Charlie… I mean, Charles Bronson, actor extraordinaire, love of my life… Nothing.
A door breaks and a firefighter, who looks suspiciously like Charles Bronson, races in the room taking no notice of the two authors. Instead, he rushes up the staircase.
L.J.: Right. So we’re here to talk about Fiery10-16? That’s a cool title. What’s a 10-16?
Lea: 10-16 is the American police scanner code for “domestic problems”, and I wanted to use it in the title because one of the themes of the book is domestic violence.
L.J.: That’s dark.
Lea: I prefer the edgier side of romance.
L.J. So what inspired Fiery 10-16? Brooding love affair? Daring rescue? Troubled past?
Charles Bronson coughs as he returns to the staircase cradling a little girl who looks suspiciously like the mysterious Lea Bronsen and a mini-schnauzer.
Lea: *laughs* It’s pretty funny, because I got the idea for this book after responding to a private ad for children’s clothes last year. The seller gave me an address in town…and I ended up knocking on the door of the main fire station. Of all places! The guy just happened to be a daddy selling children’s clothes online. He wore shorts and sandals, like he was on the beach.
Another piece of falling timber lands directly across the stairs and Charles Bronson is caught behind looking suddenly underdressed in shorts and sandals instead of his protective gear.
Lea: I left the station laughing and shaking my head. It was a most surreal experience, but real enough that I started the book with the same scene! At the same time, a friend of mine showed me a pic of the excruciatingly handsome actor, footballer, wrestler, and rugby player Geno Segers.
Lea swoons a little as another door is kicked down by another firefighter, this one bearing a strong resemblance to Geno Segers.
Lea: And there and then I swore I would write him a book!
L.J. and Lea both watch appreciatively as Geno Seger sweeps Charles Bronson, the child, and the dog off their feet and carries them to safety.
L.J.: The weirdest things happen to me at interviews…. Anyway, what kind of research went into a firefighter story? Are you on any watch-lists for arson, now?
Now is when you ask her if she’s into arson, L.J.?
L.J. pointedly ignores the narrator and listens attentively to Lea. There are applauds and sounds of weeping from outside as the gathered crowd celebrates their heroes.
Lea: Research… let me see, I googled everything from firefighting equipment to the interior of a station, the trucks, the ladders, the schedules and routines… I looked up how carbon monoxide works, how a fire spreads… I visited firefighter forums and learned about their fears and hopes, personnel issues, interpretation of the law… I downloaded tons of photos from all kinds of situations… and I read a few firefighter romances to make sure I got the vocabulary and jargon right.
Lea leans closer and whispers, very mysteriously.
Lea: crucial, since I’m not a native English speaker.
L.J. looks at narrator and mouths “did you know?” Of course, not or I would have mentioned it. Do you want me to revise? Stop making faces. You have a guest.
Lea: If I’m on a watch-list for anything, it’s not arson but “hot, sexy firefighters.”
L.J.: I’m told if you google, “not an arsonist, just a romance writer” they take you off the list. Which sounds really untrue when I say it… New topic… new topic, uh… Sex or action scenes!
Smooth, L.J. By the way… upstairs there is a creak and a groan as the support beams of the building begin to lose their fight against the flames.
Lea: Honestly, sex is complicated. You need to include so many things like emotions and senses etc. My beta readers always tell me to extend, extend, extend. It makes me pull my hair out!
Out on the street Charles Bronson shouts in a husky smoke-stained voice. ‘The roof is collapsing. Stand clear!’
Lea: Action scenes are all about choreography and maintaining an intolerable level of suspense, and I find that much easier to write. I also LOVE to add a dash of gore here and there, lol.
Above the floor gives way and what appears to be a charred corpse lands on the coffee table.
L.J.: So… you’re just an arsonist, right?
Lea: I told you I’m not an arsonist.
Lea smiles mysteriously and winks before ducking out the back of the unstable building and being lost to the flames.
Lea: Thanks for the coffee.
L.J.: Well, I guess there’s other reasons to start fires… Thank you to Lea Bronsen for letting me interview her about her latest release: Fiery 10-16. Scroll on down to buy her sexy new novel. Follow Graceful Indecency to encourage me to meet more of these fabulous characters. Now, let me out of this firetrap!
About Fiery 10-16
Runo Wiggins is a scarred man, the wounds etched into his psyche deeper than those on his skin. But he loves his job: fighting fires helps reenact his survival of a house fire as a teen, one that killed his mother and brutal stepfather.
Dawn Caravello is married to a psychotic drunk. She can take his beatings as long as he doesn’t touch their children, and she’ll do anything to put food on the table, even if it means stealing from the town hero.
When Runo meets the fiery Dawn, sparks fly. But he suspects she is victim of the same abuse as his mother was. As day turns to night, the past and the present blend in an exhausting, hold-your-breath chase to prevent another death.
Excerpt from Fiery 10-16
Dawn’s eyes shimmered with a mix of stubborn pride and extreme sadness. They seemed to be made of molten brown stone. Runo had never seen eyes like these. So vibrant, saying so many things. They revealed her life, her endurance, her dreams, her combats, her despair. And she was still so young.
While he stared, she leaned forward and kissed him, an act a whole lot more intimate than he was comfortable with. A short, hard peck, a statement. Not the tender gesture a kiss was supposed to be, but one telling him her gratitude as well as her dignity. She thanked him, but was going to go back to her life and continue fighting.
He stood shocked, his whole body rigid, didn’t know what to do. She, such a small woman thing a whole head shorter, shook him, a giant of muscle and stupid testosterones inside a hard shell.
He would definitely take care of Dawn and her kids. Any way possible. Alert the authorities and make sure they got the protection they desperately needed.
She stepped backward, her features softening, and turned on her heel.
Not so fast.
He cleared his throat and called, lifting a weak hand. “Hey, wait!” His heart hammered in his chest, blood pulsed in his ears.
She turned. “What?”
“Promise to be good. Promise it’s the last time you do it.”
“Do what?” Her eyes gleamed with humor. “Kiss you?” In the midst of this emotional turmoil, she found the strength to tease.
She pursed her lips, looking like a disappointed little girl. Maybe she still was a child inside. A child taking care of children. A child beaten savagely.
He swallowed. “Promise.”
After several long seconds, she nodded. But her gaze told a different truth.
The Dishonest Lover will be my first solo release with Evernight Press and I am so proud of this story!
It’s a typical Christmas story, you know with thugs and criminals and men tied up in abandoned warehouses…
Alright, not so conventional, I guess. George Morrison, a lasped Catholic and non-practicing gay man in Ireland plans on spending his Christmas alone. Until a dangerous German gang forces him to abduct a fleeing con-artist by threatening George’s family. George is an odd-jobs man, not a kidnapper, and he had no idea how to go about capturing Roy Chantileer.
Until Roy approaches him in the streets of Galway. The American instantly charms then accidentally seduces George, under the impression that George is only a local boy finishing up his last minute Christmas shopping.
Over the holiday, George falls in love with Roy and now, with only a few hours until the gang shows up to kill Roy, George has to earn Roy’s trust and come up with a plan to save him or they might both end up dead.
Sounds exciting right?
This idea first started as a submission for Evernight’s Dark Captives anthology. It ran too long, mostly because George and Roy were too interesting to be contained a novella. Once Uninvited Love was accepted into Dark Captives instead I was free to write Roy and George’s story in full.
I spent about a year in Galway, Ireland and a lot of that local flavor made it into this story. I hope you get a chance to read it and enjoy experiencing it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I love Slash Fanfiction. I ship people in real life, so of course I got my start writing (and editing) m/m fanfiction. There’s an art to properly adapting to another author’s style and getting their character’s right, while adding appropriate sexiness.
For myself, I never keep it fanfiction. I find the kernal of the story and characters and let a new story and setting grow from the base.
Partly as an experiment, and partly because I have no publisher for these shorts yet, I’m making a contest. Right here. Right now.
Read my totally free stories from the category Shameless Slash Contest, and be the first to guess what novel/movie inspired this story in the comments and you’ll win a copy of my next book, The Dishonest Lover!
Find the stories here for the rest of December and January! Good luck.
Just found out in this latest round of edits, that my soon-to-be-released novel, The Dishonest Lover is an editor’s pick at Evernight Press!
I’m so excited to share this story with the world!
I’ll be honest… I’m not entirely sure what Editor’s Pick means. I asked Evernight. It’s that seal on the cover because an editor really liked the novel. Personally, I’m choosing to believe due to the season, that this is a major award and my particular story single-handedly ushered some highly-imaginative, dazed but clearly precocious editor into the dawning of her sexual life.