MLR Press Authors' Blog

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Author Post: Starlit by J.V. Speyer

by on May.04, 2017, under Author Posts

Starlit by J.V. Speyer


Starlit is due out soon, and I’m excited to share Sahak and Azat’s story with you.  When I sat down to write it – well, I sat down to write something else, in response to a call for submissions someplace else, and it was terrible and I hated it.  What I wanted to write was a fun, romantic adventure in the stars.  I wanted there to be action, and some close calls, and a happy ending with strong lovers who could build something new together.

I wrote that instead, and here it is.

Of course, a person can’t write a swashbuckling boy meets alien romantic adventure in the stars without putting humans into the stars in the first place.  Starlit is set in the far future, when humans have escaped the confines of our current solar system.  I’d love to say we did that because exploration is just that important, and maybe some of the earliest advances took place out of scientific curiosity.

People don’t tend to leave their homes and their families, and the places they and their ancestors have known, without something strong pushing them forward.  In the Starlit universe, Earth was dying.  People had enough warning that they could work together to get away, and they did.  They built generation ships and filled them with people of childbearing age, at least one ship from each country and ethnic group on the planet.

Then they scattered the ships throughout the universe.  Humanity, in all of its forms, would survive.

Those ships reached their destinations.  Some found planets with few resources, other than good quality soil.  Others found mineral rich environments, and others found worlds awash in oil.  They built new societies, retaining some traditions from the past and losing some to the mists of time.

Technology evolved, and humans were able to move from planet to planet without having to make use of generation ships.  They expanded beyond their initial planets and made colonies for themselves, thriving in their new environments.  They named their new worlds after places or historical figures from the past.  Starlit takes place mostly in systems named for kings from pre-Islamic Iranian history, for example.

Some groups saw the advantages of banding together, at least in part.  The Federated Systems, who are the enemy in Starlit, is a federal system of quasi-independent systems.  They grew out of an Arabic-speaking system, so the standard language of the Federation is Arabic.  (I chose it because it looks pretty.)  People still speak their own languages as well, but not in any kind of official capacity.  We see Sahak and Siran speaking Armenian amongst themselves and with Azat, for example.

The Feds aren’t the only game in town.  The Rebels are fighting against the Feds, of course.  As the Federated Systems expand, the Rebellion expands as well.  Another large player is the Holy Empire in the Stars, known colloquially as the Holy Rollers.  The Rollers are a theocracy born of an English-speaking system at some distance from where the action takes place in Starlit.

“But what about the aliens?  There’s a big purple guy running around, there was another short gray dude, what about them?”

As I was building the Starlit universe, I tried to look at population movements through history.  Some of them have been hostile.  Some of them haven’t been overtly hostile, but the new “neighbors” haven’t been all that cognizant of the fact that there were actual people living in the place they were now occupying.  I didn’t think it would be all that different if humans moved into space already inhabited by non-humans.

Some alien species became extinct.  Humans are hardy, we’re adaptable, and we’re patient.  I figured we’d be likely to outlast most other species.  Some species retreated, such as the Arascids.  Some adapted, and found ways to live among humans.  Some don’t want any contact at all.

And I don’t blame them, honestly.

The world behind Starlit was fun to create, and it was fun to live in while I wrote.  Any time I look up at the stars these days, I can’t help but wonder.

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Author Post: His Omega by A.C. Katt

by on Apr.27, 2017, under Author Posts

His Omega by A.C. Katt

His Omega, the first book in the Werewolves of Manhattan Series is now out in audio. The book is narrated by the talented Joel Froomkin, who makes His Omega come alive with his interpretation of the accents of an international case. Dimitri, the Russian villain sounds appropriately ominous, as if he arrived from Moscow, yesterday. Armand, The Alpha of French origin comes across as sexy and Sean, the young American caught up in the drama is portrayed as young and uncertain.

His Omega as the first book of the series starts to build the world the loup garou inhabit. It introduces the loup garou concept of Betas and Enforcers, letting the reader know that Betas are assigned to their Alpha at their majority and unlike other werewolf books, you are born to your position and will retain that position for all of your time on life’s wheel. The series follows the eight Alphas who sit on the Loup Garou governing council in their quest for Mates and their Mates’ journey to their Alphas.

Here’s an excerpt:

He wasn’t sure he wanted to do this; but it was either sell himself or stay out on the street. Sean was frightened; but too hungry to care and enough of a pragmatist to know what had to be done. He had to talk himself into it. Prostitution, simple, he was going to make himself into a rent boy. Tears dropped from his eyelashes and down his high cheekbones. He never understood before why someone would sell themselves for money. Now he knew, rent himself out or starve; those were his choices. Leroy, one of the boys on Chelsea Pier he knew through a friend at NYU, told him that he could make good money at the trade.

“You’re small, blond with fair skin lacking freckles, dude. Your lips are full, your eyes a brilliant green. You look a lot younger than you are. You could make a fortune in this business, the perfect twink, but I think we need to find you a pimp to be safe.”

“This isn’t a life choice. All I want is money to eat and get a place to sleep until I have enough for a bus ticket to Boston. My friend Tony lives there with his wife. He’ll take me in and I’ll get a chance to make a few bucks at an honest job so I can finish school.”

“I’ll watch out for you until you land on your feet. You can crash with me on the sofa; but I can’t afford to feed you.”

“Thanks, I owe you.” They walked down to the pier together.

A huge man lurked at the edge of the pier looking over each boy as he arrived. He appeared dark and menacing.

“Oh shit, we gotta go hide. Run behind that dumpster in the alley and don’t come out until I come and get you. That Russian is into rough trade. The boys he likes disappear and he goes for twinks. If you want to stay healthy, run.”

“What about you?” Sean looked around in a panic.

“He doesn’t want me, so I’m safe. Now go—trust me.” Sean ran. Leroy didn’t have to tell him twice. He was about to prostitute himself, but he was no fool. He hid behind a large green dumpster on the right side of the alley. He pulled garbage bags and garbage in front of him for cover.

“I saw him, the blond. Where’d he go?” Sean listened as the huge Russian interrogated Leroy. “You talked to him no more than five minutes ago so you must know him.” The Russian grabbed Leroy by the front of tight black T-shirt and shook him. “You told him to leave, you little rat bastard.”

“He asked me for a joint then, disappeared.” The big man slapped Leroy then held his fist out menacingly. “Okay, Okay. I know him from NYU. He’s green. Look, he isn’t in the trade. He has no experience, you wouldn’t want him.”

“I saw him and I want him, tell me where he went, or I’ll beat the shit out of you.”

“He went over there, toward the pier,” Leroy said, turning way from where Sean hid behind the dumpster.

The Russian went into a rage. “What? You think I’m a fool? He slid into that alley.”

“No, no, he went back home. He’s not into this. He’s uh…waiting for someone else, he made an appointment.”

“I thought you said he wasn’t for rent. You’re fucking with me Leroy. I don’t allow anyone to fuck with me.”

Sean heard and watched in horror as the big man pulled a knife and shoved it into Leroy’s gut. Too frightened to call out, he saw Leroy fall to the ground. The man moved away from the alley, down toward the dumpster; for a minute Sean thought he saw the guy’s eyes turned red.




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Author Post: Smart Alex by AKM Miles

by on Apr.06, 2017, under Author Posts

Smart Alex
AKM Miles

Can I write about Smart Alex? Oh, yes, I can. This is the first book I wrote back in 2007 when M/M was all so new to me. I’ve said before that I saw Brokeback Mountain and loved it, ordered the DVD, and got the manuscript with it. While reading that I thought that I could do write about guys in love. I went back online looking for more, not knowing of the whole M/M genre. I found books on online and was thrilled. I read them, ordered more, and I was hooked. Soon after that I heard that there was a drag show in my town. Mind blown! Here? Really? I had to go. (The funny part is that when I walked into the smoky dark room a young guy came up to me and asked, “Didn’t you use to teach at ?? Elementary?” OMG. Yep. Busted. Hilarious.

Anyway, while there I watched this couple dance in between the acts and I fell in love. I used that scene in Smart Alex. That right there started my writing in the M/M genre. That smaller guy holding on so tightly to the back of the taller guy’s shirt as if he’d never let go was an eye opener for me. “This is mine,” is what he was saying. He danced with others, but not like with this guy. They were so clearly a unit.

I started writing Smart Alex. I like that Smart knows he’s gay but has never had a chance to act upon it. He’s so excited to be going to college and hoping he’ll meet someone. Right off the bat, he meets Tommy and Mike and through them he learns what he wants for himself. The three become fast friends and the story develops from there.

Tragedy comes in the form of a fierce beating to the most vulnerable of the three and through that trauma he meets Alex. Through the story Smart and Alex become close and they all work together to help their friend recover. There is parent drama, police drama, sweet hot love, a cool dog, and a happy ending. And now, in the reissue of Smart Alex, there is an epilogue that shows where they are after graduation years later.

A neat little aside. Kris Jacen, at MLR read Smart Alex, loved it, and went to the owner and they decided I needed to write for MLR. It remains one of her favorite books to this day and I couldn’t be happier because that first endeavor has brought me so much. I love what I do and I hope you all love it, too.


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ILLUSTRATED Men – You’ve read the reviews

by on Dec.03, 2010, under Author Posts

…Now here’s my latest blog post about the book, featuring the beauty
and brains behind the publication, Laura and Kris. And they both have
both, if you know what I mean :).

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Authors’ Meme: Amber Green

by on Apr.25, 2009, under Author Posts

01. What are your nicknames?
FCD, Ambergris…I have rather a lot of them.

02. How does your hair look currently?
Dripping wet. But at least I got the cough syrup out.

03. What’s new in your life right now?
My novella, One Good Turn, came out a week ago in paperback (SMART ASS: Close Quarters) and not long before that in ebook form (TURNER & TURNER: One Good Turn). The ebook made the top ten sellers list at All Romance eBooks, which is gratifying, and has garnered a couple of nice reviews.

04. How many colours are you wearing now?
Two: beige and periwinkle. (Nothing matches periwinkle.)

05. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
I finally read an explanation of this dichotomy that made sense. Introverts are enervated by crowds, while extroverts are energized by them. I like being around people, but crowds exhaust me. (continue reading…)

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