Guest Post: Jay Robin on ‘The Taste of Her’

Today, I have something rather special lined up for you, my dear readers (all five of you!) Instead of me blathering on at you, somebody else is going to do it. That’s right, it’s a guest post! *gasp*

This super special awesome guest writer is Jay Robin, whose debut story The Taste of Her was released today as part of LT3’s Proud to Be a Vampire collection. So now I shall hand you all over to her (:

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‘I expect you’ve read all the Anne Rice books,’ someone at work said to me the other day.

‘No,’ I answered, ‘I’m not really that interested in vampires.’

This isn’t technically true. To me, saying, ‘I’m interested in vampires’ is like saying, ‘I’m really into food right now,’ or ‘mammals are just great’. The vampire has been subjected to so many interpretations that it’s difficult to get excited about them all. You’ve got your classic Nosferatu, your contemporary sparkling vampires, your daywalkers, your psychic vampires. Up until a few years ago I was sure that the vampire genre had been exhausted, that there was no longer any way to invent an original vampire concept. Then I read Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and then Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons. The vampire genre is sharp, seductive and, against all the odds, very much alive.

I am very picky about my vampires, and the delectable, exotic vampire buffet laid out before me seems to encourage this.

For my own vampire story I decided not to mess with the mythology too much. I wanted to think more about classic vampires and why we as readers find them so seductive. Vampirism in The Taste of Her is an escape from humanity, from tradition, from life. For the heroine Iris, that’s a good thing. She’s unable to feel human until she becomes something more than human. It would have been easy to make The Taste of Her a cautionary tale, but it was more fun to have Iris give into temptation and moral ambiguity.

The most difficult thing to research about The Taste of Her was the ship, which I named the Wet Witch. I fretted about nautical terminology, the feasibility of a tea clipper knocking around at that point in history, and so on. I phoned a marine biologist friend of mine, remembering him spending a lot of time on boats when we were students together.

‘So, if I said, “she descended the companionway,” would that sound alright?’

‘I don’t know,’ he said, ‘we just called it “the stairs”.’

I really wanted the Wet Witch to be a clipper because of the captain’s association with opium and the Victorian era, but sailing ships were an anachronism by the time WWII broke out. I worried about this a bit. The crew of the Wet Witch were supposed to be inconspicuous, after all. Luckily, I discovered that the Cutty Sark, Britain’s most famous tea clipper, remained useful until 1954, so the Wet Witch stayed. The more I wrote about the Wet Witch and her crew the fonder I became of them. To celebrate the release of this story I bought a tiny silver clipper for my charm bracelet. I hope it’s the first of many.

World War II is over and Iris Cole is betrothed to a handsome Captain—but the future is hard to enjoy when she still secretly mourns her lost lover, Lillian. At a military base in Germany she meets the mysterious Beth and becomes something other than human, swept up in Beth’s grim cause, and determined to learn what Beth has to do with Lillian.

If you would like to purchase The Taste of Her, then you can do so here.

If you’d like to hear more from Jay Robin, you can follow her on twitter and goodreads.

Guest Post: Jay Robin on ‘The Taste of Her’

Free Fiction: Hanging

It’s story time!! This one’s a little 1k m/m fluff thing.

 

Nate groaned in protest, the insistent beep of his alarm paying him no mind. Finally, grudgingly, he swung an arm out of bed and whacked down the snooze button, buried his face in his pillow. His head hurt, stomach churned, and the room felt tentative, like it could tip over at any moment; staying in bed was certainly the best option.

He hadn’t realised how much he’d been drinking last night, how wasted he’d been, but he had hazy memories of throwing up in the bushes outside Amanda’s house, stumbling into the road on the way home and lying face down on the kerb, hoping home would come to him. How he’d eventually gotten back was beyond him.

Ten minutes later, and the alarm was off again. Snooze. Another ten minutes. Beep. Beep. Beep. Nate hit the off button and pushed himself up to sit. He felt shivery, and his hands were shaking as he peeled back the covers. Tea. He needed tea. And a fucking cigarette.

In his t-shirt and boxers, Nate made his way quietly into the kitchen, unsure who was out and who was asleep. If Jeremy was in, he’d be feeling just as bad as Nate by now.

Heaping sugar into his mug, he waited for the kettle to boil, holding his hand out in front of his eyes and watching it tremble. Water boiled, tea in one hand, cigarette packet and lighter in the other, Nate pushed open the kitchen door. He took a seat on the outside step and watched the sun play through the leaves of the old sycamore that stood just outside their yard.

Continue reading “Free Fiction: Hanging”

Free Fiction: Hanging

Prompt Party!

I’ve been trying for the better part of two hours to come up with a half-decent blog post, and sadly, I’ve been failing rather badly. So instead of talking about boring shit that no one actually wants to read, I’m going to be taking prompts for, let’s say, the next week or so.

So, all you have to do is leave me a little one-sentence prompt in the comments, specifying genre (if it’s romance, specify m/m, f/f, f/m, etc). You can use keywords or pictures instead of sentences if you’d like, and it doesn’t have to be romance. If you want horror, crack, etc, I’ll try my best (although I do tend to curve waay off course with these things). Then I will reply to your comment with a nice (or horrible, if you’d prefer) little 500 word story.

I’ll probably close this one on the 4th of August (mah birfday!) so you have until then to leave a prompt.

Get thinking, guys. I wanna write!

Prompt Party!

The Lightning Moon

So far this year I’ve been sadly lacking in productivity when it comes to writing. The one thing I have written, however, was accepted back in March and I’ve just been sent the cover for it, which makes me very happy. It’s so dark and moody ^_^ Also it gives me a good excuse to chat a little about the story itself.

The Lightning Moon is a story about a lonely widower who spends his days doing household tasks and working in a little shop that caters exclusively for witches. His life is uneventful, perhaps even a little boring, but he’s been trying to hold together the pieces after the death of his husband.

When his brother Michael shows up with his new fiancée, however, the settled life Quinn has been living is thoroughly shaken up, especially when a certain dark-haired stranger shows up hot on their heels.

Lightning Moon

The Lightning Moon is set in a universe close to our own where magic abounds and suspicion and fear follow close behind it.

This is my first non-anthology or collected story, and will be available in e-book format sometime in January. I’m sure you will be hearing more about it here closer to the release date (:

The Lightning Moon

Shiny Rock Stars!

So way back in 2012 I started writing a story. A story for LT3’s Rocking Hard submission call about, you guessed it, a rock star. Well, she wishes she were some big star, really, but she could totally be one; she has all the finer qualities of a true rock star, even if the majority of her gigs are local. But she’s also pretty happy with where she is right now, doing what she loves. I think it’s fair to say Alisha’s pretty content with her life.

Sian has never really thought of anything much besides her grades and her family, and how much trouble she’ll be in if her dad ever finds out she and her friend sneak out late at night to bars and gigs. She always thought she was happy with her life, that she had everything she needed, just not as much independence from her parents as she’d like at 19.

And then she meets Alisha, and they both realise that something pretty big has been missing from their lives. And now that they’ve found it, the only question is whether they can keep it.

Rocking Hard 03

This week I got a lovely e-mail with the cover art for the anthology and the release schedule. I love this cover. It’s so bright and colourful and it makes me very happy.

Keeping it Together will be the last story to come out of the last volume of the Rocking Hard serial anthology. It feels like a long wait ’til the 2nd of April, but I’m sure I’ll be writing plenty to keep me occupied ’til then, and there are so many awesome stories running in this thing that are definitely worth checking out (:

Shiny Rock Stars!

Free Fiction: Detention

Mrs Hunt stood in front of me, one hand splayed on the table, the other brandishing a piece of checked paper in my face. “See these squares?”

I nodded. It was hard not to see them when I could practically taste the paper.

“Good. Now I want you—and you too, Mike—” I turned in my seat to look at him, some Pavlovian trick; hear Mike’s name, stand on tiptoe to scan the crowd for him. If I thought Mike was nearby, I had to know where. Apparently that still applied even when I knew exactly where he was. Mrs Hunt coughed, deliberately, obviously, and I turned back to her, an apologetic smile on my face. “Right. Now I want you both to take your pencils and place a nice, precise dot dead in the centre of each square.”

I gaped. Literally gaped. I’d had some shit detentions before—writing lines, litter picking, even once cleaning the underside of my desk for sticking chewing gum there—but this? This was really taking the piss. What was the point? I just couldn’t see it.

Seeing that we understood, she left us to it, telling us she’d be back to check on our ‘progress’ later.

I glanced around at Mike. “Is she fucking with us?”

Continue reading “Free Fiction: Detention”

Free Fiction: Detention

Free Fiction: Around the Corner

Words: 2,400
Genre: M/M Romance
Notes: Written for the LT3 GR group challenge #14, here.
Prompt: I’m no good at Goodbye …

 

Raj raised the beer to lips, sipping slowly, watching Michael as he did the same, his head tipped back against the plywood wall of the treehouse, one knee bent, the other stretched out, the toe of his boot brushing Raj’s knee when he moved.

Again, Raj was struck with the knowledge that this moment, this little pocket of time that sooner or later, had to burst, wasn’t infinite, that after tonight there would be no more drinking beer and getting stoned with Michael. No more sharing earphones and listening to the music on Michael’s iPod. No more Michael.

He leaned forward, shifting onto his knees, pushing the beer across the floor. “Michael—”

Michael shook his head. Don’t.

Raj persisted, hand brushing over Michael’s knee, denim and skin, his jeans full of holes. The words broke from his mouth before he had a chance to pull them back. “I don’t want you to go.”

Continue reading “Free Fiction: Around the Corner”

Free Fiction: Around the Corner

Up in That There London.

Well, this week has been somewhat eventful and a little bit crazy. The gist of which is this:

Sunday I went up to London on the ever-so-classy megabus for an interview on Monday. I got the job, but what it turned out to be was a really dodgy sales job rather than the proper lettings agent job I thought it to be, so I spent three days (unpaid, by the way, and without so much as a fifteen minute break in what turned out to be ten-hour days) doing this before I decided there was no way I could keep at it, and it wasn’t worth the money I was spending on all-zone travel cards, and quit.

london-rats 109

I did, however, get to see some of London, although mostly it was the inside of tube stations and one really dodgy area where the house I had to sell was (there was actually a police car blocking the road when I was trying to show clients around x_x).

Other than that though, London was pretty good. The office was very cool and full of Polish and Spanish people (which is very exciting for someone who grew up in a town where about 98% of the population is white British). And the tubes! Oh my god, I think the longest I ever had to wait for transport within London was three minutes. Of course there was the downside of being hemmed in like sardines and trying not to touch people or breathe in one lady’s overpowering garlic breath, but I did remember to stand on the right side of the escalators this time and didn’t get in anyone’s way too much ^^

All in all, it was an interesting experience, and I feel it was the kind of break I needed from my life; a week of being somebody else, somewhere else, makes the everyday so much more bearable. Although of course, I am now once again skint, despite working so much overtime this month. I was so glad to get back to Plymouth though, with my own bed and my rats, and my shitty job which suddenly doesn’t seem quite so bad. At least it’s more or less honest, anyway.

And in other news, Something Happened on the Way to Heaven, which contains my F/F story, One for Sorrow,  is now also in paperback!

Unfortunately this week has pretty much wiped out all my time for LT3’s Proud to be a Vampire submission call, but maybe I’ll finish that story some other time. Right now, I have a couple of new ideas I want to play with instead ^^

For today though, I’m going to do absolutely fuck all except veg in front of the laptop with crisps and tea. See, there is an upside to not having a proper job =P

Up in That There London.

Something Happened!

Today Something Happened on the Way to Heaven was finally released as an e-book anthology!

There are 10 stories all told and because they’re all a little bit different, there’s something for everyone. They’re definitely worth checking out, and I’m looking forward to finishing Watch as My World Ends by Kayla Bain-Vrba, which I started reading in serial but never finished, not because it wasn’t good—it was amazing, but because I’m terrible with finishing my reading if I don’t do it all in one go.

My story, One for Sorrow, is F/F, and centres around Suriel, a reaping angel, and Corrine, who has just lost her brother and isn’t quite ready to let him go.

Here is a short extract from the story:

Suriel has been around death for a long time. Reaping souls has never been an easy job, but it’s all Suriel has ever known. There have been times when her purpose has been brought into question, when she has looked at a mother with her face raised to the clouded sky, begging for her child’s life, and Suriel hasn’t wanted to have to take that soul away; but she never relents, because death is eternal and every living being, including herself, belongs to it.

There are others like her, angels of death, reapers and ferrymen, working across the world. Suriel has her favorite haunts and this place is one of them. The church itself is old, first built in the 1540s, burned down in 1658 and rebuilt from the ruins a hundred years later. The graveyard is older than the church. When they dug the foundations, they found the bodies of sacrifices to ancient gods. Suriel doesn’t know what happened to the souls of those people; perhaps another angel took them or perhaps they belonged to someone else, some other god that demanded blood in payment for his favor. Suriel knows little of such mysteries.

She watches from the trees as a little girl in a blue dress, hair uncombed and pulled back in a messy ponytail, lays down a bunch of sunflowers on her mother’s grave. Her father watches her with reddened, deeply shadowed eyes. Suriel knows the look well. The small baby in his arms starts to wail and he looks lost, stares down at it as though he doesn’t even know what it is, let alone what to do with it. The girl takes the baby from him and bounces him gently in her arms, looking as though she’s had as little sleep as her father.

The baby goes quiet and the girl sits down with him in a sunny spot, while her father kneels beside the grave. For a moment, Suriel’s heart goes out to the girl and she wishes things were different for her. The girl turns to look into the trees and seems to stare right at her for several moments, until her gaze passes over her and she turns back to the baby in her arms.

Suriel sees the girl a few times between her parents’ deaths, as she waits in the trees for dark to fall, so she can reap souls unseen and unheard. The girl, Corrine, often sits in the graveyard, scribbling furiously in a brown leather notebook. It’s as peaceful a place for her as it is for Suriel; unlike most people Suriel sees in graveyards, she seems almost happy here.

Fifteen years after her mother’s death, Suriel watches Corrine bury her father, the baby, Alec, now grown and standing beside her. They take comfort in one another and Suriel almost feels as if she knows them. She held their mother’s soul as a part of herself once and she knows their names, knows Corrine’s love of books and animals and pretty clothes. Corrine is beautiful, and her heart is pure and full of love. Suriel doesn’t need to hold her soul to know that; she can see it in the way she cares for her brother, in the way she moves, in the way she speaks. For Suriel, it is only a small spark of feeling, but it is enough to make her wish that things were different.

You can buy Something Happened on the Way to Heaven here, as well as read a couple of excerpts from stories by other authors, and the goodreads page is here, for those of you who like to rate the books you read or see ratings before you buy.

Something Happened!

Shiny Update

The first story I ever wrote for publication was One for Sorrow, about a reaping angel and a grieving human. I wrote this one straight out of uni, in 2011, and it was accepted for LT3’s Something Happened on the Way to Heaven serial anthology.

In just under three weeks’ time, on the 20th of February, Something Happened on the Way to Heaven will be available as a collected anthology. I’ve read a couple of the stories while they were in serial, and they’re pretty damn good. I have to admit I’m not one for serials—I have a short attention span and am easily distracted these days, so I’ll start reading and then just stop, usually right before the end—but I’m looking forward to having the collected version and catching up with the other stories.

I’ve also had a story accepted for LT3’s upcoming serial anthology Rocking Hard. It’s F/F, and about 30k in length, and it is, so far, the hardest thing I’ve written. I absolutely love Alisha and Sian, and enjoyed writing them, but the plot, and especially the ending, gave me so many headaches that I was rather glad to finish it.

It’s late, and Sian should be tucked up in bed when she meets Alisha Hart—beautiful, talented, and the star of a band that’s on its way up. Alisha doesn’t have to worry about curfews or homework or overprotective parents; in fact, she doesn’t seem to care about any rules at all. She makes her own, and lives life her way, something Sian can only dream of. Needless to say that Sian is drawn to her—who wouldn’t be? But love is complicated, something they’re both learning, and if there’s such a thing as fate, it seems dead set against them.

It’ll probably be quite some time before it’s out, and I don’t know exactly when, but I’ll update as and when I learn things.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get off my arse and go over this galley proof, since it’s due tomorrow (procrastination apparently isn’t something that ends when uni does).

Shiny Update