Author Name: Lynn Lorenz
Book Names: The Mercenary’s Tale, Jackson’s Pride,
Baymore’s Heir, His Duke’s Gift
Series: In The Company of Men,Books: One through Five
Release Date: September 2015 – December 2015
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Cover Artist: Georgia Woods
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Lynn Lorenz here this morning to talk about her series The Company of Men, her latest novel in that series, Silent Lodge, and give us some insight into her stories with a post on ‘Diversity in Characters’. Welcome, Lynn. we are delighted to have you here.
Diversity in Characters by Lynn Lorenz
Diversity doesn’t just mean having character with different races. It means having characters who have mental illness and struggle with it everyday, like Will in Jackson’s Pride and Baymore’s Heir.
And in Silent Lodge, Arvel, the young man who tends the lodge, is both mute and deaf. He doesn’t have the use of our modern sign language, and because of losing his hearing at as a child, any sounds he can make are not by any means words.
The fork to the left disappeared around a copse of trees, the one on the right headed straight, through flat fields.
From a distance, a shout echoed. He snapped his head up, turning so he could hear the direction. For a long moment, silence. Then another shout, this time louder.
The road ahead was empty for miles. It had to come from the left, toward the lodge.
He kicked his heels into the mare and urged her down the narrow lane. She broke into a trot, and they rounded the curve.
Ahead, a group of young men had another man surrounded.
They looked clean enough, but the hatred and disgust on their faces couldn’t hide their intent. All of them were large young men, but the man they’d turned their anger on was only half their size in height and weight. Truly an unfair fight if he’d ever seen one.
One of the men stepped out of the circle and kicked the legs out from under the man. He fell onto his back, his hands going up to protect his face. His attacker moved in, fists clenched, as the others goaded him on with shouts and curses.
Peter shouted, “Ho! What’s this?” and jerked his steed to a stop. He leaped off and strode forward as he pulled his sword.
“None of your business, now, is it?” one of the men called over his shoulder. The others shifted to one side, opening the circle and exposing the man on the ground.
“Get away from him!” Peter advanced. “Is this fair? Six men against one?”
Their faces flashed shame, except for the one still standing over the downed man. His look of hatred and anger hadn’t changed.
“You! Step away from him.” Peter stepped into the middle of the group.
The man blocked his way, red faced and frowning. “Who are you?” he barked. “This is none of your affair.”
“Who I am is none of your affair, but I won’t allow such villainy.”
At the flourish of Peter’s sword, the man backed down.
“Now, get along with you. Go on. I don’t know what this man has done, nor do I care. If it’s a matter for your village elders, let’s bring him before them. If not, then be on your way.”
The crowd moved farther away, leaving a gap between the attacker and themselves. Clearly, they were only following their leader. The man looked from them to Peter as if deciding his next course of action.
He pointed at the man on the ground. “Next time I catch you, no one will be around to save you.” He spat at the man, then strode to his companions.
They circled around him, absorbing him in their midst, and then without another look at Peter they fled.
So how does this affect Arvel? As you might think, he’s bullied by the other young men in the nearby village, to the point of fearing for his life. From being pushed, spit on, and cursed at, to being beaten, almost to death, Arvel has spent most of his life being punished for something he has no control over.
So he hides at the lodge, which Duke Logan’s father owns. Logan knows of the young man, and has allowed him to live there, caring for it, more for Arvel’s protection, than Logan’s need.
When I wrote this character it was easy to fall into thinking about Arvel’s thoughts and actions in respect to our world. But Arvel doesn’t know sign language other than a few rudimentary signs, like putting food in his mouth, or mimicking motions to describe things.
Also, his internal thoughts can’t be written like anyone else’s because his frame of reference isn’t built around language, but around the natural world around him. How he describes colors, for instance.
“I won’t hurt you.”
A pink tongue licked pinker lips. He blew a great breath, and strands of red hair flew up and away from his face.
“I’m going to get off now. Are you well?”
Peter shifted, got to his feet, and offered his hand.
The man took it, and Peter pulled him to his feet. He came up to Peter’s shoulder. Peter fought the urge to push the man’s hair from his face and pick the leaves from it.
“What’s your name?” He softened his tone.
Arvel tilted his head, inspecting the man’s face with the intensity of a hawk. It warmed him all over to look at this man, just like his Heart did.
But was he a friend? Would he be safe?
Something about the man made Arvel trust him.
He pushed the hair out of his face, then squatted and wrote his name in the dirt with his finger, as he’d been taught long ago.
“Arvel? Is that your name?” Something about that name sounded familiar.
The man nodded and gave him a shy smile.
“I’m Peter.” He pointed to his chest and squatted down to write his name just as the younger man had, in the dirt of the road.
Arvel watched him, then nodded.
“Are you hurt?”
Arvel got to his feet and brushed off his breeches and tunic. He extended his hand toward Peter, those lavender eyes glancing up and down Peter’s body.
Peter took the offered hand in his. Small, delicate. If he didn’t know this was a man, he’d have sworn the hand belonged to a woman. Everything about Arvel spoke of gentleness, delicacy, and grace.
But he still hadn’t said a word, just stared hard at Peter as if absorbing every word he’d spoken.
“Well. Can I escort you to your home in case the others come back?” Peter moved away and gathered his horse’s reins as she grazed along the side of the lane.
Arvel cocked his head and twisted his lips to the side.
Too many words at once and his lips moved too fast.
Arvel waited for the man to speak again.
Peter shrugged. It seemed the young man didn’t want his help. He climbed into the saddle as his mare grunted and tossed her head at the tightening of her bit. He gave Arvel a wave and turned the horse back to the lane. He needed to find the lodge before dark fell.
The young man ran forward and caught his boot. Peter looked down into Arvel’s upturned face, and his memory snapped into place. The caretaker of Marden Lodge?
Arvel mouthed his thanks as his hand clenched tightly on to Peter’s leg, pulling at him, willing him not to go. To stay.
He glanced down the road. The others might come back again to hurt him. They rarely gave up. He should never have left the safety of the lodge, his home, not even for the supplies he’d needed.
Not without someone to protect him.
Like this man.
“What is it? Can’t you speak?”
He shook his head and touched his fingers to his mouth, then to his ear and shook his head.
“You can’t speak or hear?” Peter’s eyes widened; then anger flooded him. Those bastards had not only attacked a man alone, unarmed, and outnumbered, they’d attacked someone deaf and mute. Had they no honor?
I couldn’t have him sounding like an idiot, because he’s not. In fact, Arvel is very clever and knows his own mind. He knows what he wants and how to get it. So his internal thoughts had to be simple in language, relating to his world, and show his humor.
Also, some might say I did too much head-hopping, but for this story, I wanted Arvel’s reactions to the action around him integrated into the story, like dialogue. Because he can’t speak, only motion with his face, body and hands, we don’t know what he’s thinking most of the time, and neither do the characters.
I hope it doesn’t bother you too much, but it’s how I thought the books should be written, and my editors agreed.
I hope you’ll give my medieval men a chance. You can find my books on my website. And of course, on Amazon, ARe, and all the other retailers.
And I’d like to thank you for hosting me on your blog!
The Mercenary’s Tale – Drake is a mercenary for hire. He values little other than his sword and his skill. Fighting his attraction to the young men he trains, he refuses to take any on. When Ansel walks into his life, Drake breaks all his rules.
But life for mercenaries is hard, brutal and deadly.
Can Drake take a chance on finding the love he’s denied himself for so long?
Can he have a second chance?
Jackson’s Pride – Jackson has been called to attend his father, Lord Baymore. The man has never claimed Jackson as his son and Jackson believes this might be his father’s intent. He’s left the Duke of Marden’s employ to discover his destiny—to remain a nameless bastard or to claim his father’s name.
When Jackson stumbles across a man, stripped, beaten, and left in a field to die a slow death, Jackson rescues the man. After all, he’s guilty of the same thing—wanting a man.
Will Holcombe gambled and lost. His meeting with a young, willing man went horribly wrong, and now he must pay for it with his life.
Until a man walks up to him in a frozen field and cuts him down.
Jackson is like no one Will has ever met before—a man strong enough to stand with him, perhaps forever.
But Jackson’s on a mission. Will his pride blind him to what his life could be if he chose Will and not his father?
Or will his pride lead him to a fate worse than death?
Baymore’s Heir – Duke Jackson of Baymore finally has all he’s ever wanted—his name, a title, and the man he loves by his side. Lord Will Holcombe couldn’t be happier. He’s Jackson’s lover, best friend, and manages all of Jackson’s affairs. For two years, their life together, although deadly if anyone knew of their forbidden love, has been perfect.
Until Jackson the day when decides the one thing he needs is an heir.
And the one person to find him a wife is Will.
Silent Lodge – Drake and Logan are worried about their friend and captain of the guard, Peter. After the death in childbirth of Peter’s wife, he’s a changed man. Unfocused, lonely, and devastated, Peter needs a new challenge, instead of going through the motions of living.
Logan sends Peter on a mission – to discover Duke Weathersby’s plans for invasion. Logan’s father has a small hunting lodge near the border of their lands, and it has a caretaker. Peter sets off alone, to make camp at the lodge and do some scouting.
But what he finds at the lodge just may be his future. Arvel is a fascinating young man. Red haired, deaf and mute from a fever as a child, he’s been living in the lodge and caring for it for years. It’s a safe haven for him. But he’s not alone. He has a protector, Gareth.
When Gareth, Arvel and Peter are together, sparks fly. Arvel belongs to Gareth, but he wants Peter too. Can Peter join their small family? And if he does, will he always be the third to their couple?
His Duke’s Gift – In this Yuletide story, Duke Logan is preparing the keep for the holiday. Twelve nights of feasting and gift giving to those in his favor. Gifts must be made or bought. Once mercenary Drake struggles to think of just the right gift for his love and liege, and for their sons.
Something isn’t right. A stranger has arrived at the keep and Logan refuses to let Drake into his bedroom at night. Angry and frustrated, Drake fears Logan has lost his love for the mercenary.
When the Twelfth night arrives, and Drake has received no gift, he begins to think he might need to take his son and leave what has become his home.
Pages or Words: Varies by book
Categories: Historical, M/M Romance
Ansel lowered himself with effort to the ground and leaned back on his saddle. From across the fire I could tell he still ached. I rummaged in my saddlebag and found the vial of oil I used to keep my leathers supple. It would work for Ansel’s back.
“That’s enough moaning from you. Take off your shirt and stretch out; I’m giving you a rubdown before you become so stiff you can’t move.” It came out more like an order, and Ansel obeyed.
He unlaced his leather vest, removed it, and then with careful motions, pulled his shirt over his head. Smooth chest met my gaze, lean muscles and wide shoulders. Dark hair trailed down his stomach to disappear beneath the strings of his breeches.
“Lay on your belly.” It was not the wisest thing I’d ever done, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. In truth, I wanted to touch him.
He stretched out on his cloak, his smooth broad back to me, arms over his head. There were no scars on his back or on his chest. Hidden scars, indeed.
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Meet the Author
Lynn Lorenz is an award-winning and best-selling author of over 30 gay romances. She lives in Texas, where she’s a fan of all things Texan, like Longhorns, big hair, and cowboys in tight jeans. She’s never met a comma she didn’t like, and enjoys editing and brainstorming with other writers. Lynn spends most of her time writing about hot sex with even hotter heroes, plot twists, werewolves, and medieval swashbucklers. She’s currently at work on her latest book, making herself giggle and blush, and avoiding all the housework.
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