Catching up with Matthew Lang! On Golems and his new release Dragonslayer (guest post, and excerpt)

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Dragonslayer (Twitterlight #1) by Matthew Lang

DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:

Amazon | Amazon UK Amazon AU| B&N | Kobo DSP Publications

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Matthew Lang back again to tell us what’s going on in his literary life  and fill us in on Dragonslayer.  Welcome, Matthew.

♦︎

 

Catching up with Matthew Lang – Where are my golems?

It’s been a bit over the year since we sat down with Matthew and his novella, Better with Bacon, and he talked a bit about his writing processes, his characters and his future plans. Now he’s back with a new book, Dragonslayer and we decided to catch up and see what’s been happening since we last spoke.

Last time you were here you talked about finishing up your Golem story. Your current book is called Dragonslayer. Did something happen to the golems? Are there golem dragons? Or do the golems slay the dragons?

Ha! No, the golems don’t slay the dragons, but now I’ve got plot bunnies. The golem story is actually a different story that’s under consideration at a few publishers. Dragonslayer was on the backburner last year, but well, it got published first. The golems are hopefully coming at some point though. There may also be more dragons.

You also talked about experimenting with writing a dating simulation game. Did that happen to?

I just started toying with it again, actually. I was looking at doing something with Bushrangers in Australia, but the amount of research that would require made me try something…simpler. At least until I work out what I can do in Twine or RenPy. Honestly, I’ve written less than 3000 words there just to try to work out how to branch stories out and bring them back in to make something manageable. It’s an entirely different to a novel, but I’m hoping that one day I’ll be able to bring you all a different way to experience a gay romance.

You say you had Dragonslayer on the backburner last year. What made you put it aside?

It had been sitting with Voyager for a while to see if they wanted it, but it had been a few years and I couldn’t get hold of anyone there. I was pitching the golem story and DSP weren’t looking for Urban fantasy stories, but they were looking for fantasy and well… now they’re publishing Dragonslayer. I did take some time to go over it again though. Most of it stood up, but I think my writing’s matured over the last few years and some of it needed refining.

Based on the blurb—and cover—Dragonslayer has a modern man as a protagonist in a medieval fantasy world and plot. Why did you make that choice?

Oh wow. Um. This is going to sound pretentious, but I wanted to interrogate the ‘rescue the princess’ narrative and other fantasy story tropes, and the best way I could think of to do it was to bring in a character outside of fantasy society with modern ideals who wouldn’t accept everything at face value. Of course, I didn’t think of it in those terms. I just wanted to see how a modern gay man would react to a rescue the princess quest. As in an actual female royal princess. I’m only really able to be pretentious with the benefit of hindsight. Or lots of pre-planning.

If you want the full story, that was actually something I talked about on the first stop of this blog tour over at MM Good Book Reviews, so people can check that out if they haven’t already.

Do you usually write to answer questions like that? To explore and explain how people react?

I guess? I mean, that’s what stories are at the end of the day, isn’t it? Take a specific person, put them in a specific place under specific circumstances and see how they react. And maybe it’ll be entertaining, maybe it’ll be emotionally resonant, maybe we’ll learn something. The best writing, I think, does all three. I just find that writing let’s me question things society considers normal. For Better with Bacon I wanted to look at bisexuality, bi-erasure and to lesser degrees the way romance as a genre dwells heavily in miscommunication or poor communication and wanted to see what would happen if my characters were actually able to adult. Turns out it’s a much shorter story when everyone can adult, but that’s okay. For Dragonslayer I wanted to look at things like damselling of princesses, and in a sense I wanted to write a story where dragons were scary again. There’s a long standing trend that I’ve noticed where we as a culture take scary things and make them our friends. We make them cute. We make them not scary. Maybe it’s a way to live with the fear – we imagine that we could befriend it. Tame it. Harness its power. I wanted to write a story where the monster was a monster, and being afraid was survival.

Are there any scenes that didn’t make it into the story?

Absolutely. I think I’ve redrafted Dragonslayer more times than any other story I’ve written. My initial draft was written when I was watching lot of Man Vs. Wild and I made Adam far too competent because I thought it would be great to show him doing cool survival stuff. Not necessarily straining elephant poo though a sock for drinking water, but you know, hunting and building shelters and all that. Turns out having a competent, survival wise and combat ready hero made for a very dull story. It wasn’t quite Gary-Stuish but him being too competent and having time to plan at the beginning meant he didn’t get much of a character arc originally. I threw out that draft after about 60,000 words of going absolutely nowhere. There were entire chapters in the Caverns of Aergon—the place where Princess Esmeralda is from—and we don’t see inside of them in the finished book. It just wasn’t needed.

We did some spying on your new bio on the DSP Publications site, and it mentions people being able to have their own adventures in the world of Twitterlight—which is the setting for Dragonslayer. What does that mean, exactly?

Ah, well. I’m a gamer nerd, as I think I mentioned last time. And since Dragonslayer was sitting on the backburner for ages and I wasn’t sure if I was going to pitch it elsewhere, I started using it as a setting to run some games of Dungeons and Dragons for some of my friends. Since Dragonslayer now coming out as a book, I’m probably going to release a version of the world for other people to play their own games in. I like the idea of there being an explicitly queer friendly and inclusive setting for people to inhabit while they play a game, and I’ve created one almost by accident. I don’t know if people know much about D&D, but it’s essentially collaborative storytelling. I find it’s a great way to challenge yourself as a storyteller, and I like to think it’s made me a better writer. I’ll have more of that on my website when it’s ready. The nice thing, I suppose, is that my friends really seem to like the world of Dragonslayer and most of the pre-ordered the book to scour for world lore. Even the straight guys. I hope I don’t scar them for life with all the mansex.

EXCERPT

Many bumps and swipes from branches later, the group finally emerged at the top of a cliff, next to a thundering waterfall. The break in the vegetation was so sudden that Adam reared back, tugging at the reins frantically as the lizard thundered toward the brink, causing Zoul to turn and chirp at him quizzically. At the sound, the others reined in just ahead.

“Come, we’re nearly there,” Darius said, raising his voice to be heard over the sound of the waterfall cascading over the edge of the precipice.

“Nearly where? It’s a sheer drop!” Adam objected, forcing himself to relax his death grip on the reins long enough to rub the sweat from his eyes, leaving a muddy smear across his forehead.

“We have a waystation at the foot of the cliff,” Darius said patiently. “It’s used by our scouts, so there will be supplies there.”

“And we’re going to what? Walk straight off the cliff?”

“Not off. Over,” Xavier said, urging his mount forward. “Just hold on tight and make sure you’re clipped in.”

With that, the magister leaned low over his lizard’s back and disappeared over the edge of the cliff, the others in tow.

“Did they just…? They didn’t just…? But that’s….”

“They’re cave lizards,” Duin said, his voice low and strangely gentle. “Look at Zoul’s feet. He will not fall, and if you do not panic, you will not fall either. And if you do not panic, I will not fall with you.”

Adam glanced down at the great lizard’s feet and noticed for the first time that they were sprawled like outspread hands and, instead of claws, ended in bulbous toes more reminiscent of a frog’s than a lizard’s. Pausing to check that he was still securely fastened into his saddle, Adam took a deep, steadying breath.

“Hold on tight, all right?” he said.

“As if my life depends on it,” Duin replied gravely.

“It sort of does, you know.”

“Yes, I know.”

Adam laughed at that, a short sharp laugh, tinged with hysteria at the edges. “This is crazy. I can’t believe I’m seriously about to ride off the edge of a cliff.”

“Not off, over,” Duin repeated. “Or down, to be more precise.”

“I don’t know how you can be so calm about this.”

Adam felt the furred man shrug. “It was a normal part of growing up,” Duin said. “I rode a hatchling up and down the cavern walls for hours on end when I was younger—before I was cast into the light, I mean.”

“Cast into…. You mean here, the surface?”

Duin nodded. “Yes. Trust me, we will be fine.”

Some of the furred man’s calm must have rubbed off on him, because Adam’s legs trembled only slightly as he squeezed his knees gently, urging Zoul into a slow walk that took them step by reptilian step closer to the edge. For a moment, Adam saw only the lack of ground that was fast approaching, and then the view opened up, with the red of the sky and the sun hanging over the horizon in the exact same place it had been when they started their trek. Below them, a sea of never-ending foliage stretched out to meet the dusk, the wending curves of the river disappearing into the mass of green. Strange bellowing cries rang out from the forest below, and small flights of the rhomboid fliers were flitting through the foliage. Then the pressure of Duin’s body on his reminded him that gravity would soon be coming into play, and he dropped down so he was nearly flat against Zoul’s back.

“That view was beautiful,” he murmured as Duin’s grip on his belt firmed and the man’s body pressed more closely against his own.

“It was? I… suppose it was. I never thought of it that way before.”

“Maybe you just see it too often,” Adam suggested.

“No,” Duin said slowly. “I do not think I ever have. When I look at the land, I see ambush sites, hunting grounds, places to forage, and cover where I can travel without being seen. I have never stopped just to look at the view.”

“Oh.”

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“Helping me see it.”

Adam smiled tightly. “Keep me alive long enough to keep seeing it and I’ll consider us even.”

~*~

Thanks for reading and sticking it out this far down the post! As part of the launch celebration, I’m giving away an ebook from my backlist here. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below and tell me about a monster or creature that used to be scary, but has now become softer, fuzzier, and friendlier. Bonus points if you think it’s one that could use a reinvention as its original scary self! One random commenter will win a book here—and I’ll be over at Love Bytes tomorrow, the 27th of September with another chance to win.

Dragonslayer

A Twitterlight Story

Kill the dragon, marry the princess, and rule the kingdom. It’s a fantasy come true… if you’re straight.

Adam is a chemistry student and martial artist, active in his local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism. But none of that prepares him to be the savior of a faraway land locked in perpetual dusk.

In a world of shape-shifters, necromancy, and religious politics, Adam is fated to slay the golden dragon, Khalivibra, and defeat its mind-controlling sorcery to help Princess Esmeralda of Aergon retake her city. Tradition dictates he’ll rule by her side—but Adam is much more interested in Duin, a warrior who changes to beast form in the light of the sun… or fire.

Adam hopes he and Duin might end up together when their ordeal ends. But first, the reluctant hero, the spell-casting heir to the throne, the beast-shifting object of Adam’s desire, a six-legged cave lizard, and any allies they can gather must do the impossible… and live to celebrate their victory.

Amazon | Amazon UK Amazon AU| B&N | Kobo DSP Publications

 

 

About the Author

Matthew Lang likes being on the run. Sometimes for health, but more often to see another country or culture. Preferably in person, but more frequently in his mind’s eye through the written word. Matthew likes his men hot and spunky, his focaccia more Italian than British, and his vampires to combust when exposed to sunlight. His nurses say that rumours of him escaping his straightjacket are absolute nonsense and he definitely hasn’t been let loose amongst the population of Melbourne, Australia, no matter what the internet says.

Connect with Matthew: Twitter | Facebook Website

 

Follow the Tour!

18th September MM Good Book Reviews – The Origin of Stories

20th September Sue Brown Stories – Why Fantasy?

25th September Nicki J Markus – The Offering

26th September Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words – Catch up with Matthew Lang

27th September Love Bytes – How to Cook Tarantula in 7 easy steps

28th September My Fiction Nook – The Winged Traveller Guide to Aer Goragon

1st October DSP Blog – Do Haerunwoln Have Pouches?

TJ Nichols on Expanding the World and their new release Rogue in the Making (Studies in Demonology #2)

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Rogue in the Making (Studies in Demonology #2) by T.J. Nichols 
DSP Publications

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon  | iBooks | B & N | Kobo

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host T.J. Nichols here today on tour for Rogue on the Making. Welcome, T.J.

✒︎

Expanding the world by TJ Nichols

When writing a series, especially on that centers around the same characters I think it’s important to offer the reader something new. That means the difficulties the characters face need to be different, bigger and more dangerous. The characters need to continue growing.

I knew how the series was going to end so I had a vague idea about how the characters would need to change over each book.

The other thing I did in each book (the third book, Blood for the Spilling, is in edits) was to expand the series world, giving the reader new things to explore with the characters.

In book one, Warlock in Training, the world I introduced was Demonside. I wanted the desert and the demons who lived there to be real. The human world is much like ours, but with warlocks and magic and I didn’t need to go into too much depth in the book, it was enough to know that the Warlock College was the big bad and our human hero was going to get into trouble if he didn’t start to figure things out. The reader figured things out along with Angus.

In Rogue in the Making I went back to the human world and peeled back the layers. More time is spent in Vinland looking at the Warlock College, and what has gone wrong. The hints that were there in book one get pulled open and the horror is revealed.

For each book I had to research various things. In book one it was how desert civilizations lived. In book two I looked at desert survival, what happens to deserts in the rain—life happens fast—but I also looked at modern countries where media is controlled, what happens to people who discover the truth and how the takeover happened without bloodshed. The Warlock College didn’t start out wanting to control all magic, but somewhere along the way it became corrupted and when it went unchallenged the corruption spread until they effectively run the country, and everyone believes that demons are the bad guys who are threatening another war. I don’t think any of the warlocks in charge would call themselves evil, they believe they are making magic safe by removing demons.

In book three I expand the world beyond the Vinnish boarders. There are hints in the first two books about book three. The cover (which I have seen a draft of) gives another major hint. Another way of using demon magic is explored, and I researched jungles and a past civilization, so I could bring it back to life in a world where magic is real.

If I’d put all of this world building in the first book there would’ve been no room left for magic and lust and it would’ve made for a very dry read. One of the advantages of having a series is the ability to dig deeper and widen with each book. As an author I love being able to expand my story world and as a reader I love the way long running series bring in new things—as long as they don’t become so sprawling the point of the story doesn’t became lost. Character arcs and plot shouldn’t get swallowed up in favor of lush world building IMHO.

 

Rogue in the Making (Studies in Demonology 2)

The blood sacrifices have brought rain to Demonside, but across the void, the Warlock College of Vinland is still storing and gathering magic, heedless of the warnings of the international magical community. The underground is full of warlocks who disagree with the college, but do they care about wizards and demons or only about snatching power?

With a foot in each world, Angus is no longer sure whom he can trust. The demons don’t trust humans, and even though he is learning more magic, he will never be one of them. He is human and only tolerated. Some demons would be happy to slit his throat. It’s only because his demon is powerful in his own right that Angus is alive.

Saka only has a year to prove that Angus’s people can change and that the magic taken will be rebalanced, but the demons want action. His affection for Angus is clouding his judgment and weakening his position in the tribe. Time is running out, and he must make a choice.

About the Author

TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer, TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels, it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily, writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the every day.
After traveling all over the world and Australia, TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.

Website: tjnichols-author.blogspot.com

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/TJNichols

Twitter: @TobyJNichols

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TJNichols.author

Newsletter: http://www.eepurl.com/cO-YRz

Lyn Gala on the Many Expressions of Love and her story ‘Tap-Dancing the Minefields’ (author guest post)

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Tap-Dancing the Minefields by Lyn Gala
DSP Publications
Cover art by Anne Cain

Buy at DSP Publications |  Amazon 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words welcomes Lyn Gala here today on her tour for Tap-Dancing the Minefields. Welcome, Lyn.

 

I write romance, so clearly I’m obsessed with people falling in love or being in love or struggling to make love work.  But sometimes I miss seeing a wide range of love.  In Romeo and Juliet, everyone talks about the young couple, but what about Mercutio’s love for Romeo? 

In Frankenstein, I am obsessed with how much the creature struggles to find brotherly love with all these imperfect people.  For one shining moment, he has it, sitting in a hovel with a blind man who talks to him like an equal, and then the family returns and reveals the truth about the monster’s horrible appearance.  That breaks my heart.  And I maintain that Huck Finn’s redemption comes when he learns to love Jim.

So I want a romantic love interest, but I also want deep, abiding love in all its forms.  Tap-Dancing grew out of that desire. Back in New York, Tank lost too many people he loved.  He took those broken connections and used them as an excuse to run as far and as fast as he could—ending up in the northern wilds of Alaska running supplies to a remote Army base.  Once there, Tank finds himself in the center of an alien conspiracy, a military unit struggling to defend the planet and a group of people who share the sort of camaraderie Tank desperately needs.

Lev is shy with a core of steel and a big heart, and Tank is immediately attracted to him.  But this story is also about Aldrich who is the mentor and father figure Tank needed.  It’s about Brian Hoffer who tried to be the big brother Tank needed and John who actually filled that role. It’s about how these people all love each other, and yes, Lev and Tank are the centerpiece because they have the romantic love, what the Greeks called eros—sexual passion.  And they do have a lot of passion.

But I wrote this with a list of the Greek words for love sitting in front of me.

I love the fact that the Greeks identified a number of different ways that love can develop in the human heart, and I want to explore all of them.  Philia, deep friendship, motivates these people as much as their desire to protect the world.  When Aldrich is talking to John or Deborah, who are technically under him in the chain of command, the ludus, playful love, shows as they tease each other.

These soldiers have agape, a love for all people that drives them to protect others, even when their own lives are at risk. Deborah and her husband show pragma, a deep longstanding love. More than any of my other books, I think this one has a happily ever after in that Lev and Tank develop that pragma by the end.  They have patience for each other, and love that comes from a place of compromise and patience can survive anything.

But more than anything, this is about philautia—self love. Tank hates himself for not being perfect and being helpless to stop evil in the world. Much of this book is about his struggle to forgive himself for being imperfect—for losing friends to a fight he couldn’t hope to win.  He is damaged in ways that only another warrior could recognize, and much of the book is about his struggle to forgive himself and rediscover his philautia because until he can open his heart to himself, he can’t truly allow Lev into it.

I will admit that I am stupidly in love with these characters.  I love how broken and flawed they are and how they keep fighting no matter what.  The love running through these guys isn’t about hearts and flowers. This love is steel and fire.  And sometimes the fire does burn too brightly.

Blurb

Sometimes the fiercest battle a man faces is against himself.

In the hidden alleyways of New York City, George “Tank” Tankersley defeated what he believed were demons. But the victory cost too much. Tank joined the Army in the hope of outrunning the guilt haunting him—only to stumble into a vast and deadly conspiracy, the enemies he’d hoped to never encounter again, and the arms of the brilliant, eccentric scientist tasked with saving humanity.

In a world where the line between dark magic and alien science is thin, Dr. Lev Underwood must reverse engineer recovered alien technology to give humans a fighting chance against the extraterrestrial beings who consider Earth nothing more than a petri dish. His old friend, Colonel Clyde Aldrich, wants to protect Lev from entanglement with the scarred and emotionally volatile young soldier, but Lev cannot help the pull he feels toward Tank. Still, his first loyalty is to the secret government program, and love might have to take a back seat to protecting the world. But if he can find a way, Lev wants both.

Excerpt:

The connecting door opened, and Clyde looked up as John stood in the doorway, silently watching. He had no censure on his face, but he stood as a mute witness as Tank’s cries gradually faded. It took over an hour, but eventually the stiff muscles and hard tremors faded until Tankersley lay limp in Clyde’s arms, either asleep or too worn out to keep grieving. Clyde didn’t fool himself. This was the first step on a long journey. But at least Tankersley had the balls to start down it. Plenty of men could never face their own fears.

“You want to give me a hand?” Clyde asked softly. John moved into the room, a silent shadow as he walked over and knelt down to scoop Tankersley up. He was really out of it. His eyes didn’t even flicker as John lifted him and moved him to the bed.

Clyde sat on the floor feeling nearly as exhausted himself. Watching Tankersley fight through all the pain made his own wounds feel rawer than they had in a while. Losing people. It wasn’t easy. And the officers for whom it became easy weren’t worth spit.

John frowned at him, and Clyde made a production of standing with his stiff knees. Usually he was exaggerating when he talked about his old legs, but Tankersley had put his weight onto Clyde’s left leg, and he had a raging case of pins and needles. Sitting on the edge of the bed, Clyde rubbed his sore leg.

“You guys wouldn’t hurt so much if you weren’t so willing to give your love to so many people,” John commented.

“Yep,” Clyde agreed. They’d talked about it on the gladiator ship—the danger of loving others and the way it stole a man’s soul when those people died. Clyde figured that neither of them needed to talk about it, because both of them had seen their share of men struggling to carry the emotional burdens the world required of them. Really, Lev should have found someone with fewer scars.

Author Bio:

Lynsey “Lyn” Gala started writing in the back of her science notebook in third grade and hasn’t stopped since. Westerns starring men with shady pasts gave way to science fiction with questionable protagonists, which eventually became any story with a morally ambiguous character. Even the purest heroes have pain and loss and darkness in their hearts, and that’s where she likes to find her stories. Her characters seek to better themselves and find the happy (or happier) ending.

When she isn’t writing, Lyn Gala teaches history in a small town in New Mexico. Her favorite spot to write is a flat rock under a wide tree on the edge of the open desert where her dog can terrorize local wildlife. Writing in a wide range of genres, she often gravitates back to adventure and BDSM, stories about men in search of true love and a way to bring some criminal to justice… unless they happen to be the criminal. Find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lyn.gala

Lina Langley On the Inspiration Behind Her Characters and her release Welcome to Crash (DSP Publications Promo Tour)

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Welcome to Crash by Lina Langley
DSP Publications
The cover artist is Anna Sikorska
Available for purchase at DSP Publications

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Lina Langley here today on her Welcome to Crash tour.  Welcome, Lina.

✒︎

Sam Riordan is a minor but important figure in Welcome To Crash. Part of the reason for that is the frame of reference that he provides for Damien as a character. When Damien gets a job at Crash, he’s ridiculously excited. It’s the equivalent of getting a job at Andy Warhol’s studio. Of course, Sam Riordan is supposed to be long dead, and everyone around Damien acting as if he was still alive and simply around is completely dismissed by Damien. It’s just something that artsy people that he doesn’t get would do. And Damien is, in effect, right. That is absolutely the kind of stunt that Sam Riordan would pull off, if he wanted to. Damien isn’t wrong in thinking that. Sam Riordan is more than just a painter, he’s an artist (and an artiste), hugely influential in Damien’s worlds in ways that don’t simply influence the story, but rather the entire cultural framework that encompasses it.

Sam Riordan is an amalgamation of various artists who were hugely influential, mostly in the twentieth century. He’s heavily based on both David Bowie and Salvador Dali.

The thing about these artists is that not one of them was perfect as people, but they were both hugely influential in their mediums. In Welcome to Crash, Sam’s presence is seen as something of a myth. Even when people speak about him, even in the studio, they do so in hushed tones. Long after Riordan is supposed to be dead, his presence lingers–John has a job at his studio, Damien thinks he’s extremely lucky to have landed it, and Levi is writing a book about it.

Sam Riordan’s relationships closely resemble those of Salvador Dali’s. He’s married, to someone who he considers the love of his life, but unlike Dali, he’s openly bisexual. While Salvador Dali denied that he had any homosexual inclinations, it was rumoured until the end of his life that he had a passionate love affair with Garcia Lorca. Federico Garcia Lorca was a legendary Spanish playwright and he was openly in love with Dali. While Dali denied claims that the two were involved romantically, many of his peers contend this. Whether or not the playwright and the artist were involved, Dali and his wife were deeply in love and they had a long, fulfilling marriage. Their relationship, first as artist and muse, and then as artist and wife, was complex and often complicated, but they were madly in love. The relationship with Sam Riordan’s wife, while only briefly touched on in the book, is extremely similar to the one that Dali had with his wife. When it’s looked back within an academic and historical framework, Sam Riordan’s relationship with his wife is matter-of-fact, just another facet of a modern art genius who dared to break the norms of what society dictated a marriage between a man and a woman had to be at the time. Unlike John, however, Sam Riordan is not a punk in the slightest. His convictions are a lot more whimsical and he’s only anti-establishment when it serves a purpose. He is who he is, and he’s proud and unapologetic, but he’s also shy and prefer to communicate through his art.

Which brings me to the second artist that Riordan was based on: David Bowie.

David Bowie’s influence on modern pop music cannot be understated. He told the world that he was gay, then as bisexual, in the 70s, and he pushed performance boundaries with androgynous make-up, dresses and other concepts which weren’t as accepted at the time. He was firmly part of gay culture while he was at the top of the charts in the 70s, releasing songs like “John, I’m only dancing”. Bowie’s sexuality was thoroughly questioned at the time and he spoke publicly about it through the years, often changing what he said. Bowie pushed hard against the boundaries of gender representation and what gender was. Some academics argue that it was done carelessly, in ways that only hurt the queer community (especially the gay community, which at one point, believed they had found an ally in the huge rock star and just as quickly lost it), but the influence of David Bowie’s androgyny and cross dressing in more mainstream pop culture remains far reaching to this day.

His sexuality–or the public persona surrounding his sexuality–wasn’t what influenced Sam Riordan’s character the most. David Bowie’s personas weren’t designed only to push boundaries, they were there because he was famously shy. David Jones could never perform in front of an audience, but Ziggy Stardust was the kind of star that would announce he was quitting to a packed stadium at the very height of his career. This is the kind of artist Sam is, famously shy and willing to adapt as long as he gets to push boundaries.

Sam is a background character through the story, but his existence is complex and he plays an important role, both for Damien’s story and in the context of his cultural framework. That’s the reason that Damien thinks, well, if anyone is alive even though they’re supposed not to be, of course it’s Sam Riordan.

Blurb

At first, Damien feels lucky to land a job at an influential art studio, but it soon becomes obvious that something’s not right. His gorgeous boss, John, is interested, and he’d be the perfect man for Damien—if Damien wasn’t already in a relationship. It isn’t long before Damien is at the center of a love triangle, forced to choose between hot, punk John and his secret affair with his professor, Levi. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because something impossible is happening to Damien—and it’s having a drastic effect on his health as well as his perception of reality.
Each time Damien goes to work, things grow more bizarre, starting with Sam—an artist who has been dead for years and now somehow… isn’t. Damien’s unusual circumstances also free him from the restrictions of monogamy—or so he thinks. Levi, who cannot believe Damien’s claims, fears for his sanity. John also has strong doubts when Damien reveals knowledge of a catastrophic event looming in John’s future. Whether the men he loves believe his wild claims or not, neither can deny Damien is languishing, and if they cannot save him, he’ll be lost. More importantly, they must convince Damien to save himself.

About the Author

Lina Langley is a first-generation immigrant. She currently lives in sunny Florida and spends her time slashing hot strangers while getting coffee.
Her past is haunted by spies, thieves, tyrants, and murderers. A resident of the world, she’s lived on three different continents. She first saw a radiator when she was twenty-two years old, and one time she followed a cat instead of going to a house party.
She likes to read, watch TV, and play video games when she’s not developing them. The rest of her free time is spent recreating her own characters in The Sims and hoping that people don’t look at the back end of her games.

Ravon Silvius on Characters, Writing and The Storm Lords (DSP PUBLICATIONS Author Guest Tour)

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The Storm Lords by Ravon Silvius
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Where you can find the book 

DSP Publications |  Amazon  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ravon Silvius here talking about writing, characters and their latest fantasy release, The Storm Lords. Welcome, Ravon.

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview With Ravon Silvius

Hello everyone, Ravon Silvius here! Thanks so much for interviewing me! I’m here to promote my newest book as well as talk about my career as a writer!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Honestly? Very little. My life is rather boring and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, so nothing much of my life makes it into my stories. The one thing that might make it in is my curiosity–I’m a researcher in my day job, so some of my characters will likely have a healthy scientific interest.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Interesting question. I think sometimes having real life experiences influence things is for the better. In The Storm Lords, Rowen is mute, and if I was also mute I maybe could have written him even more accurately. Having real experiences to fall back on can often make those experiences feel more real and tangible to the reader. But I could also argue that you don’t necessarily need real life experience to write about something, especially in fantasy. After all, I’ve never summoned a storm, but I can still write about Kristoff using his power. It depends on context, I think.

Of course, the Mary Sue/Gary Stu question comes up if you write a character based entirely on yourself, and never portray the character in a bad light. Think of self-inserts in fanfics. I’ve never done that, thankfully. Like I said above, if I wrote a character based on myself, it would be a really boring character.

 

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

A bit of both. Writing fantasy is fun because you can do anything, but things also have to make sense within the world. For The Storm Lords, I made up the cultures and geography and magic system and everything about the world, but I did do research on weather systems and how they could conceivably work. There’s a lot of fantasy, but I think having the most fantastical things (summoned storms) feel somewhat real (like using the proper terminology and the basics behind how hot and cold fronts work) makes the story more immersive. I think the general rule with fantasy, though, is that you can do and make up anything as long as its consistent within its own world. 

For science fiction, a bit more research is usually required, of course. For my sci fi stories, I did a lot of research on space travel and what sort of cybernetic enhancements might make it easier. I also looked up a lot of information on the theory of a space elevator for my upcoming anthology collection featuring cyborg erotica. 

 

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

As a kid, I read a lot of animal fantasy–things like Watership Down or TailChaser’s Song. I liked the fantasy aspect and the uniqueness of the animal world. As I got older, I started reading more traditional fantasies–things like Wheel of Time and Valdemar. I got into science fiction even later than that, with books by Ben Bova. I enjoy reading almost anything, but my favorites have always been genre. Its both escapist and gives people a caricatured look at the world, with genre writing sometimes able to tackle subjects in an oblique, interesting way. The Enforcers series is like that, a look at inequality in a world with those who can use magic and those who can’t. Plus, who wouldn’t want magic to be real?

 

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

I always have a rough idea in my head of where I want a story to end up, so I don’t often run into a problem where I don’t know where the story is going to go. I did have a slight problem while writing the Storm Lords where Rowen’s motivation for a while was to ignore his memories of his old home and strive to forget it. It was an unhealthy way to deal with what he had lost, and it had to come back and bite him–but that part was hard to write!

 

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?


I prefer Happy For Now over Happily Ever After. With HEA, I always wonder “What’s next,” especially with younger characters. Nothing stays happy forever. Maybe that’s a cynical way of thinking, but HFN feels more realistic, like the story we see is a part of a character’s life and not their entire existence. It makes the characters feel more real.I think the saddest story I wrote was Remembrance–it was very much a HFN, with the characters finding love, but the reader knows the world is going to end sooner rather than later. But I liked  ending it that way–the characters’ story was complete, but they and the world they live in had more in it to experience. I like leaving things a bit open for readers to imagine the future.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?


Ebooks are the future! In all seriousness, though, I love Ebooks. As a child and teenager, my only options were the hardcover books in book stores, and while I found a lot of my favorites this way, I also began noticing quite early on that a lot of them were very derivative. You’d see a lot of the same stories over and over, and what was worse, books came out so slow, and I read so fast, that I often couldn’t find new books in my favorite genres! 

Ebooks changed all that. I can go to Amazon and find unique works, either self-published or put out by publishers like DSP, who cater to my exact tastes (like genre with healthy doses of romance!). Ebooks can be released more quickly, and give authors who may not have been discovered traditionally a chance to shine. Of course, I still like paperback, but I am very glad Ebooks have made their mark. 

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)


It depends on the cover. I am not a visual person, so I usually just fill out the cover art form and let the artist do their thing. Most of the time I’m happy with whatever they provide–cover artists are good at their job! I will usually provide a sentence or two of things I’d like to see–with the Enforcers series, for example, I usually request steampunky-type things, and for The Storm Lords I requested a storm somewhere in the art. I think it turned out great! 

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

This is a tough question! I love all of my work, from the shortest of the cyborg erotica stories to my longest work, the entire WaterLord trilogy. If I had to pick an absolute favorite, it would likely be Remembrance, which was discussed above. Its a science fiction story set in the future of a dying world, and it follows Aldric, a soldier who’s been traveling since the war ended. Its very bleak, but I think its a beautiful story.

Of course, I also love The Storm Lords, my most recent book from DSP. I love Rowen and Kristoff, and I hope others do too!

 

What’s next for you as an author?

 I have a few things coming out soon, and a few other things in development. Book 8 of the Enforcers Series, Allies, is coming out soon. Coming in October is an anthology of erotic short stories featuring cyborgs–there are 6 stories, all very hot. And of course, The Storm Lords has just come out! Check it out if you like fantasy with M/M romance. 

In the works I have book 9 of the Enforcers series, which will likely finish the series. I’m also working on a paranormal story feature a vampire. And finally, I hope to write the sequel to Freshman Blues, my first book with Dreamspinner.

Book Blurb:

The Storm Lords

The heat took everything from Rowen: his parents, his voice when the local cure for heatstroke poisoned him, and the trust of his fellow villagers, who branded him a water thief. It would have claimed his life when he was deemed unworthy of precious resources and left in the sun to die, had not a strange man named Kristoff ridden in on the wind and told Rowen he had power. 

Rowen works hard to become a Storm Lord, one of a secret magical group that brings storms to break the heat waves overtaking their world. But Rowen is starting his training at a disadvantage since he cannot speak and is much older than the other novices. The desire to please Kristoff inspires him to persevere even more than the threat of being sent back to his village to die should he fail. Still, he cannot gather rain, and when his abilities manifest, they are unlike anything known to the Storm Lords. Unless Kristoff can help him control his deadly powers, the entire world will be in danger.

Kristoff might be among the mightiest of the Storm Lords, but he’s never been a mentor before. For a chance to be with Rowen, he’s willing to risk everything.

About the author:

Ravon Silvius lives in a tiny apartment with two tiny cats in a tiny town in the United States. Despite the cramped living quarters, Ravon enjoys coming up with big ideas for novels, with some plots coming from Ravon’s findings as a neuroscience researcher and others coming purely from Ravon’s imagination.

Where you can find me:

My website: ravonsilvius.blogspot.com

My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ravon.silvius

I’m on twitter too, sometimes: https://twitter.com/ravonsilvius

And please check out my goodreads page!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4897217.Ravon_Silvius