Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2) by Anna Butler
Release Date: July 22, 2015
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
Sales Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Kobo
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Anna Butler, author of Heart Scarab.
Hi Anna, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
First, thank you for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here.
Heart Scarab is the second of the Taking Shield series, which charts the life and loves of Shield Captain Bennet. Taking Shield is both a sweeping sci-fi story (old school sci-fi with spaceships and lasers, aliens and handsome heroes) and an equally sweeping love story. I should warn you, though, that it isn’t a romance in the sense that it won’t be what most m/m romance readers would expect.
Thousands of years after an alternate-universe Earth went dark, the people of one of her colonies, Albion, are struggling in a war that’s probably unwinnable, against aliens called the Maess. Although humans have been fighting the aliens’ cyborg drones for over a century, they haven’t seen a real, organic Maess. Set against the war, is the love story between Bennet and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. They meet in the first book, Gyrfalcon, but for various reasons theirs isn’t going to be an easy love. They meet and part several times before the end. In Heart Scarab, Bennet’s return after being declared missing in action, presumed dead, puts intolerable strain on his relationship with his long term partner, Joss, but paves the way for a reunion with Flynn.
As for me, I worked for the UK civil service for many years as a communications specialist, working on everything from marketing employment programmes to running an internal TV service. These days I’m concentrating on trying to make it as a writer, combining my love of old school science fiction and m/m themes. I live in London with my husband and our cockapoo, Molly. We’re currently house hunting, looking for a country retreat.
• Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?
That depends. I won’t say that I buy books *because of* either of those things, but if I’m trawling Amazon or a bookshop they do influence which books I’ll look into and which I’ll then consider buying.
I’m a very visual person, so the cover will catch my eye first. Truly, all the advice you read about getting a good cover that tells the reader something about the story, really holds true. Terrible cover, and I probably won’t even get to the blurb to see if it’s worth pursuing.
If the book comes to me as a recommendation, I’ll usually not let the cover influence me too much (beyond a wince if it’s dire).
Best possible tool – the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon, or the sample. That really gives you a feel for if you’re going to get on with this author and book.
• What does ‘romance’ mean to you?
‘Good storytelling’ and ‘strong characters’ and ‘lose yourself for an hour here’—heartfelt emotion and drama, eroticism, sex scenes in which the feelings and the relationship matter as much (more?) than the physical gymnastics, an ending that is happy/enriching/hopeful. Stories about love. Sometimes about loss. But ultimately uplifting stories that leave you feeling good.
• What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on the fourth Shield book, The Chains Of Their Sins. On the current timetable, it will be published around this time next year, so I have a little time to polish it up! In this book, Bennet and Flynn are thrown together again, but it isn’t all hearts and rainbows. In fact, it isn’t hearts and rainbows at all…
• What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
Not to edit as I go along. I have a terrible habit of tinkering with what I’ve written so far, trying to perfect it, rather than ploughing on to the end and then editing in its entirety. It is a bad habit, because I can spend hours dithering over word choices and syntax when I should be forging on with the plot. Scrivener helps because it’s a separate folder and document for each chapter, so going back to the beginning to read is several steps more complex than in a word processing programme like Word. Scrivener is breaking me of some bad habits!
• Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.
I’ve ridden in the circus ring.
I was about five, and my parents took my sister (then about three) and I to a small circus visiting a nearby town. The clowns brought in a Shetland pony, trained to do tricks as part of their routine, and at the end the Ringmaster asked for a volunteer to ride it. I was down in the ring almost before the man finished speaking. I can just about remember noise and light and a lot of people’s faces as I rode three times around the ring, led by the chief clown. He had a red coat and blue trousers and that’s all I remember about him. The pony was called Pickles.
Thank you, Anna, that was wonderful!
Now more about Heart Scarab.
Telnos is an unpleasant little planet, inhabited by religious fanatics in the festering marshlands and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines up in the hills. But the Maess want Telnos, and Shield Captain Bennet’s job is to get out as many civilians as he can—a task that leaves him lying on Telnos while the last cutter of evacuees escapes in the teeth of the Maess invasion.
Bennet is listed missing in action, believed dead on a planet now overrun by Maess drones. His family is grieving. His long-term partner, Joss, is both mourning and guilt-ridden.
And Fleet Lieutenant Flynn? Flynn is desolate. Flynn is heart-broken… no. Flynn is just broken
Pages or Words: 97,900 words
Categories: Gay Fiction, Science Fiction
Flynn liked kissing. In fact, Flynn considered himself something of an expert in the art. He’d tried it in all its forms, from the first tentative pressing together of juvenile lips that had you wondering what all the fuss was about, to the discovery that if you just opened your mouth and, you know, kind of moved everything, your tongue suddenly had a lot more positive uses than just allowing you to articulate clearly and swallow things without choking. Flynn got the hang of it, ran with it, and never looked back.
Soft kisses and hard kisses; kisses that were wet and slobbery with people who didn’t know exactly how to hold their lips to get the best and sexiest effect, and wet and sexy kisses with people who did. Kisses that turned the blood to molten lava and kisses that cooled you as you came down. Kisses that inflamed and kisses that soothed; feverish kisses and languid after-sex kisses. Kisses that meant only good fellowship and casual affection, and kisses that were desire incarnate.
Flynn had not only tried them all, he’d made them his own. He was considered by all the relevant authorities to be rather a specialist in the area.
Flynn really liked kissing. He had been gratified by the discovery that Bennet liked it too. Because now he could add slow kisses to the repertoire. Kisses so leisured and intense the world came to a stop while a hot tongue moved over his lips, explored each and every tooth down to the last molar, while teeth pulled at his bottom lip, biting it gently until it was swollen and hot and heavy, and he had to lick his lip to cool it and met Bennet’s tongue with his. Only then, would Bennet’s mouth close over his and start a real in-earnest kiss that lasted several more centuries. Those were kisses Bennet seemed to specialise in.
Flynn was always willing to take tips from another expert. A man should always try to extend his technique.
About the author:
Anna Butler was a communications specialist for many years, working in UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to running an internal TV service. She now spends her time indulging her love of old-school science fiction. She lives in the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockapoo.
Where to find the author:
Website and Blog
The Butler’s Pantry (Facebook Group)
Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize:
– a copy of my novella, FlashWired (epub, mobi or pdf) on every stop to one random commentator
– Chance to enter a rafflecopter for
(i) top prize of an Amazon gift voucher (is $50 overdoing it? It makes for a decent prize!)
(ii) second prize, winner’s choice of a Heart Scarab ipad cover or kindle cover
(ii) third prize, a Gyrfalcon iPad cover
Must be 18 years of 18 or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour Dates & Stops: Wednesdays July 22 – November 4, 2015
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