Wednesday Briefs #16: Ghalib’s Decision, Part 6


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Decision incoming in 3… 2… 1…

And once he makes the decision… then what?


Ghalib swallowed, then decided that a bit of wine might not be a bad idea after all, and took a drink. He cleared his throat. “I believe so. I… I…” He sighed, unable to make himself say it.

Bathsar breathed a sigh of obvious relief. “Thank you, love.” He paused to take Teman’s hand and kiss it then turned back to Ghalib.

Need to serve. That summed it up pretty well. Ghalib hadn’t put it like that before, but that was about as accurate as it could get. I’m best at taking care of people. He wasn’t far off in what he’d said, even if the way he’d said it wasn’t exactly right. Ghalib focused back on Bathasar when he spoke again.

“I can… well, I don’t exactly understand the need to serve,” Bathasar said. “But… I recognize that some people have that it. What I do understand is that the type of service you give now in the palace doesn’t come close to filling that need.” He paused and considered Ghalib again for a long moment. Then, finally asked, “Do you want to go into pleasure slavery, Ghalib?”

He took a deep breath. The question hung in the air as if suspended on a string between them. The idea that’d been teasing him for some time. And now that it was presented to him, the butterflies went from fluttering to rioting, his heart pounded, his palms moistened and his throat dried completely. Could he do this? Was this what he wanted?

  1. That answer rang clearly in his mind. So, he knew he wanted it. But… could he? “I… I…” He swallowed hard, staring into his wine.

He hadn’t heard any movements, but a moment later, Teman was squatting next to his chair. “Ghalib?”

He glanced over at the man who’d befriended him, swallowed around his dry throat and dug up the ability to speak. “I…”

“Perhaps I should ask another question and make a few things clear,” Bathasar said, drawing Ghalib’s attention. “Are you unhappy in the palace?”

Ghalib quickly shook his head. “No, Your Highness!” Ghalib’s cheeks heated but he forced himself to look up at Bathasar. “Your… Highness, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for what I’ve been given here. I am very glad that my sister has a home, that I have food—”

Bathasar shook his head, holding up a hand. “I don’t think that, not at all.” He smiled gently. “And it’s not given. You most definitely earn it. No, I want to make sure you like the palace itself. As a part of the pleasure slaves, you will be forced to stay inside most of the time. We do allow them out on the grounds, but they cannot leave the palace completely. Though, if you did do this, if you found that you were truly unhappy… I would not make you stay.”

Ghalib’s eyes widened. “You… you wouldn’t?”

Bathasar smiled. “I prefer to think I’m not a tyrant.”

Ghalib blushed. “I didn’t mean—”

Bathsar sighed. “I can’t even make a joke. Anyway, no. If you choose to become one, you may also choose to leave. I would ask you give it some time, get through the training, give yourself a real chance to see if you’ll be happy there, but… if, in the end, you aren’t… you will be free to go back to your former duties.”

Ghalib stared at Bathasar for a long time, then dropped his gaze to his wine glass. Teman laid a hand on his leg and he met the brown eyes that were focused on him. “I… I… what if I am horrible at it?” He flicked a glance at Bathasar, then Teman. His cheeks burned brighter and he dropped his voice. “I… uh… I have never… um…” He cleared his throat and looked away.

Teman’s hand tightened. “It’s all right. I think you will do beautifully, I think you’ll… bloom there. They will teach you all you need to know. And you will have a chance to… practice… your skills before they pronounce you ready to be requested.” Ghalib looked up again and Teman nodded. “But I really don’t think you have anything to worry about.”

Ghalib met Teman’s gaze for another moment, then took a deep breath and, around his pounding heart, finally forced the words out. “Then yes. I would like that.”

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You can visit the Wednesday Briefers home page HERE for opening snippets and links to all the briefs. Or you can go from this list:

Music Monday


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MusicMondayI would like to blame this particular post on my beta Sara. She’s the one that suggested Music Monday, so today is both blamed and dedicated to her. ;)

It’s no secret by now that I love music. My upcoming novel, No Sacrifice is full of it and a lot of the story is about music. (Chance, one of the MCs is  songwriter.) It’s no leap, then, to see that much of my fiction is inspired by music of all types.

When I sat down to write Choices, I already knew what flavor of music I wanted. All of the Golden Collar series is set primarily in a medieval desert/Middle Eastern world. The first place, then, for me to go was Loreena McKennitt. If you haven’t heard her, then get your behind over to Quinlan Road and get exploring. The woman’s got an amazing voice and the music she puts together is absolutely beautiful.

As soon as I understood who Teman was, his theme song came easily to me. Teman has a lot of me in him. I am, like him, a wanderer. I like to roam, travel, just go. I have moved, I shitteth you not, some fifty times in my life. I have no doubt I will move again, probably several times. (For the record, I hate the actual moving part. I just love new places.) But the wanderer in me always responded to one particular song from Loreena. I give you Caravanserai:

Click here for the lyrics.

For those of you who write, do you listen to music? Does it inspire you? Do you have songs that go with your stories?

Sexy Snippet Sunday


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As part of my new attempts at bringing you more here, like the Fangirl Friday posts, I’d like to introduce Sexy Snippet Sunday. I borrowed the title from… someone (I can’t remember who, I’m sorry!) though I m sure it’s one of my fellow authors. So I present to you the first Sexy Snippet Sunday.SexySnippetSunday

As my current WIPS (uh, three of them!) don’t really have the sexy bits yet I’d want to share, I’ve pulled a bit out from a freebie I’m working on, called Firsts which explores a bit more the polyamorous relationship that Bathasar, Teman, Cyrus and Nadir ended up in at the end of Deception. Nadir and Bathasar, like Cyrus and Teman, fell in love – and fell hard. This happens sometime after Deception ends. And in this bit, we have Bathasar and Nadir spending time together.

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“Then show me,” Nadir whispered before their mouths crashed back together. His hands went into Bathasar’s hair, threading through the soft black strands. He moved in to straddle Bathasar’s lap when he remembered Bathasar’s pants. He pulled back long enough to attack the ties. Bathasar shifted to pull them off and toss them aside, then they were back together again.

Nadir never quite got used to being the focus of Bathasar’s attention. The way he moved over Nadir’s body, kissing every inch, teasing spots Nadir didn’t even know were sensitive… playing him like a fine instrument, it was all enough to make Nadir completely crazy. Or so he thought. Until Bathasar took Nadir’s cock into his mouth. Then Nadir truly knew what it was to lose all sense of everything. He could focus on one thing and one thing only: Bathasar’s amazingly talented mouth.

As thorough as Bathasar was with the rest of Nadir’s body, he was even more so here. He ran his tongue along the length tasting crown and ridge then following the veins, before moving on to tease Nadir’s balls. Just as Nadir thought he’d stop for a short break, he went even farther, over taint to the tight muscle guarding Nadir’s entrance.

Nadir had to downright beg before Bathasar would have mercy and sit back up. Nadir followed, kissing Bathasar, pouring everything he felt, everything he loved about this man into the kiss. When they finally broke apart, he whispered, “Please, my love. Let me show you my love, now.”

Bathasar smiled and settled back on the cushions. He looked up, heat, need and love filling his eyes and Nadir swallowed at the expression, having to pause to gather his emotions. To see that expression of love aimed at him from Bathasar never ceased to warm him, thrill him. When he’d managed, he leaned down, brushing his lips over Bathasar’s once, twice, a third time before moving to nip and tease an earlobe. He paused to inhale deeply, savoring the scent. “I love the way you smell,” he murmured then kissed his way over neck and chest.

He took his time, tasting everything, bringing to mind everything he knew, everything he’d learned of Bathasar’s body to give all the pleasure he possibly could. He thrilled in the hands moving over him, unwilling to stop touching, in the moans and gasps Bathasar let out, all evidence of the effect he had on this man. And when he bent down and took Bathasar into his mouth, the sound of his name in a shout in Bathasar’s voice was some of the most beautiful music he’d ever heard.


I hope you enjoyed! I am excited about Firsts, and hope to finish it up soon. :)

Fangirl Friday!


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Good morning!

So, I’ve been trying to find more ways to entertain my lovely readers (all… two of you. ;) ) and thought I might add in a Fangirl Friday. As most of you know, I like to have visual inspiration for my characters. I’ve had quite  few over the years now and I thought it might be fun to share them with you. I tend to get just a WEE bit obsessed with them. LOL So, introducing… Fangirl Friday.

For the first Fangirl Friday, I’d like to introduce you to someone you already know. XD I actually struggled with this guy because when I first created the character he ended up being my dream cast for, I’d had  firm idea in my head of what he looked like. Because he started as a character from an anime. Teman, the main character in my first novel, Choices, began life as Kamizuki Izumo from Naruto.Izumo_Kamizuki

I’ve made no scecret of the fact that I started my writing life (well, the latest portion of it, anyway) in fanfiction. I fell in love with the world Masashi Kishimoto made and I had a lot of fun playing with his characters and world. So, Teman started out as Izumo, but he very quickly became his own person. So it was a little tough to find someone that fit him exactly. I hemmed and hawed and went over a lot of people before I finally found the one that fit.Teman - Orlando Bloom (5)Yeah, maybe a little easy and someone I *should* have thought of first, but I have spent a lot of time thinking of him as an elf with long blond hair. Quite a difference from my brown-haired middle-eastern gypsy. Still, he works, doesn’t he?

And just for a bit more eye candy:

Teman - Orlando Bloom (9)

Does he get sexier?

Guest Author: Teegan Loy


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Hockey! I come from a hockey town (Pittsburgh). And as a kid growing up, my mom and I were glued to the tv for just about every figure skating show or event on tv and I just fell in love with it. So I am excited about the author we have for today and her upcoming book, Picks and Pucks.  Take it away, Teegan!

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Thanks for having me on your blog, Grace. I guess this would be considered the first official introduction of my upcoming release called Picks & Pucks, and it’s the absolute perfect day for me! Today is the semi-finals of the NCAA Frozen Four tournament. AND by coincidence, my wonderful alma mater is playing in the semi-final game tonight. GO UND! Release date for the book is April 21, 2014.

Hopefully, most of you can tell what the book is about from the title. Picks refers to those jagged teeth on figure skates and pucks represent the game of hockey.

People always like to give advice to writers, and one of the most often quoted piece of advice, is write what you like and what you know. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to skate. When I was a youngster, I took skating lessons and performed in shows in sparkly costumes. I adored the ice. But as I got older, I had to make choices. And when it came down to choosing between volleyball and skating, I opted for volleyball. Not because I didn’t love skating, but because I despised getting up at 5 a.m. in the bitter cold of winter, and playing volleyball meant more time spent with friends. Singles skating can be a lonely sport.

But I couldn’t stay away from the ice. A few years later, I was back as a figure skating coach. I taught a lot of little boys and girls how to skate. Some went on to compete in skating, and others went on to play hockey. I will always believe that a great hockey player has to learn how to skate before he or she picks up a stick.

So, I’m writing what I know and what I love, and I can honestly say that when Justin skates his programs in my story, I can see every connecting step, jump, and spin in my head. I picked his music and choreographed his programs like he is a real person. I hope I can bring him to life for you.



Rising men’s figure skating star, Justin Corrin, is coming home to train for the upcoming season and face his demons. The last thing Justin needs is to fall in love with a hockey player. Instead of getting rid of his demons, Justin is collecting more. He tries desperately to control his growing feelings for CJ Daly, but finds being with CJ keeps his nightmares away.

Justin isn’t the only one with problems, and hidden fears and secrets threaten to separate the two. With the pressure mounting, CJ starts to pull away, and Justin doesn’t know why. His skating suffers, and he decides to stop wasting his time on love and focus on winning the nationals.

If Justin can destroy his demons, he might have a chance for happiness on and off the ice. But if the demons win, Justin’s life could be ruined.



Jack threw another puck at me, and I snagged it out of the air with my stick so it settled on the blade. Jack shook his head, trying to hide his awe.

He had another puck clutched in his hand, but he let if fall to the ground and hung his head. “I bet if you went to a tryout, they’d send you to the fucking pros.”

“Probably,” I said and stuck my tongue out at him while I continued to bounce the puck on my stick. “Did I tell you the coaches from Denver, Michigan State, and St. Cloud called me this past week?”   

“You’re only fifteen fucking years old and you have college coaches scouting you?” I’m going to end up playing hockey for a Division III school. Some days I really hate you.”

I shrugged and flipped the puck high in the air before I batted it at his head. “I hate you too.”

“Do you mind,” Janae shouted. “I can barely hear my music. Shut up so I can concentrate!”

The memories fogged a little, so I wasn’t really clear on what happened next, but somehow we got into a huge argument about figure skating and hockey. I remember opening my big mouth, proclaiming neither was very hard. Janae and her coach, Marina Kirolova, scoffed at me. Jack shook his head and looked like he wanted to stuff a puck down my throat.

Before I knew what was happening, Marina and Janae had me in figure skates. At first the toe picks messed me up, but after a few laps, I was racing around the rink. Out of the corner of my eye, I could feel Marina watching me closely.

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Thanks again, Grace, for hosting me. Picks & Pucks is available for pre-order on Dreamspinner Press.

Please join me on April 21 over at the Dreamspinner Blog for giveaways and … I really have no idea what I’m going to blog about, so it should be interesting.

Photo on 2013-01-28 at 20.18Meet the author:

Teegan Loy began writing a long time ago. Notebooks filled with ideas were stacked around the house. One day, she sat down with renewed ambition and something fantastic happened: she completed a story. Now most of her time is spent writing, but she takes occasional breaks to go to the movies, where she imagines her stories on the big screen. She also enjoys watching hockey, filling her iPod with music, and driving her daughter around town to various activities.

You can find Teegan at

Twitter: @teeganloy

Wednesday Briefs #15: Ghalib’s Decision, Part 5


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In which Ghalib is embarrassed, Bathasar is comic relief and Teman runs interference…


He blushed at the thought. But when he’d been in the slaves’ wing a short while before, no one had seemed to even make an issue out of being naked and he wondered if he wouldn’t simply get used to it the way the others had.

He frowned as he tried to work through all the questions in his head. There was so much to consider. There was his sister. Would he ever be able to see her? Would he want to, if he was naked? She was in good hands, she certainly didn’t need him, anymore. She was very happy with her new family.

He stood up and paced to the window, though the shutters had long since been locked against the storm. He closed his eyes and listened to the wind blow and the sand batter against the wood.

…Trained to accept pain…

He let that thought work through his mind. He’d certainly experienced plenty of pain over the years. Most of it, he’d certainly not liked. He remembered once a kitchen maid who’d mistaken him for another of the runners, thinking he’d been the one to pinch her ass and she’d slapped him. He remembered being very confused when, while it’d hurt, he’d rather liked it. He didn’t know what that said, if he was like Teman and Nadir, or not. But he suspected that, at least, the pain training would not cause him a problem.

So, if they offered him the chance, was he hesitating? Why?

Ghalib sighed, opened his eyes and paced back to the chair. Just as he sat—on the edge once more—Teman and Bathasar came out from the bathing room. Ghalib sprang to his feet, earning him a long-suffering sigh from Bathasar. Ghalib blushed, but couldn’t bring himself to sit back down.

“Really…” Bathasar shook his head and threw a glare at the snicker Teman let out. The glare only pulled a louder snort.

“Really indeed, my love. What do you expect? You are our ruler. We can hardly keep from showing you the proper respect.” Teman grinned.

“But we’re alone,” Bathasar nearly whined. “No one is around to care or think about it.” He waved a hand. “Never mind. Sit, Ghalib. That’s an order.”

Ghalib sat, though he stayed perched on the edge of the chair. He watched out of the corner of his eye as Teman went over to a table and started pouring wine. But Ghalib’s attention was drawn back to Bathasar when he took the chair opposite Ghalib, rolling his eyes. “Teman and I have been talking.” He tilted his head and Ghalib couldn’t decipher the look in his eyes. “Sit back. Relax.” He sighed. “I wish I could order you to do that.” This last was muttered, but Ghalib caught it.

Ghalib took a deep breath, scooted to the back of the chair and did his best to let go of the tension. He couldn’t stop the confusion and tension that was cause by why he was there. But he worked to relax a little and at least try to not appear like he needed to jump up and bow at any given second.

Bathasar watched this and nodded. “Good. Thank you.” He smiled and Ghalib felt himself relax even further. “I really like to think of myself as a fair, friendly, approachable person.” He chuckled. “Unfortunately, my title seems to get in the way of that.”

Teman came back then and handed a goblet of wine to Bathasar then turned and held one out at Ghalib. Ghalib widened his eyes, but took the glass, hoping to not upset Bathasar any further than he already had by refusing. He still felt uncomfortable at sitting with the malik like an equal, but he was beginning to learn that Bathasar rather preferred that. Not that he could ever get comfortable with that idea, but he’d at least try to pretened. After retrieving a third glass for himself, Teman took a seat in the chair next to Bathasar.

Ghalib smiled. “I… if I may, Your Highness… it is that very… um… attitude that makes us want to show the respect.”

“So I’ve been told,” Bathasar said, ruefully, shaking his head. “I am not about to turn into a tyrant or nasty person just to get people to not want to show respect.” He waved a hand. “Okay. Enough about that. My love has been telling me some interesting things, Ghalib.”

Butterflies Ghalib didn’t know he had woke in his stomach and fluttered. “Oh, Your Highness?”

Bathasar nodded. “He has indeed. He started by making me aware that you prefer men to women. I am… aware of the restrictions people of your station feel. If I could, I would change them now. But that is an ideal that takes time to happen. I’m afraid that even if I made it clear that who you are attracted to is none of the law’s business, it would not change the peoples’ view.”

Ghalib nodded, frowning. “Yes, I understand.”

Bathasar smiled. “I also understand that those of us in the higher ranks have a bit more freedom when it comes to that, especially when we choose pleasure slaves. I wish I could do something to make that easier on you, but I cannot. As for the other…” He frowned and glanced at Teman. “I confess, I’m a bit at a loss as to how to proceed.”

“Let me, love.” Teman took a sip of his wine and smiled encouragingly. “I think, as intelligent as you are, you’ve figured this out, haven’t you, Ghalib?”

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You can visit the Wednesday Briefers home page HERE for opening snippets and links to all the briefs. Or you can go from this list:


Guest Author: Julie Lynn Hayes


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Please welcome to the blog Julie Lynn Hayes today to talk about comedies! Who doesn’t like to laugh? Take it away, Julie.

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They don’t make comedies like they used to.

Harold Lloyd clock (sepia)Nowadays, you don’t see comedians like the Marx Brothers, or WC Fields, or the Keystone Cops. Groucho Marx could elicit belly laughs just by the way he rolled his eyes or waggled his thick painted-on eyebrows. The Keystone Cop films were famous for their chase scenes—just good old-fashioned fun—while Harold Lloyd swung perilously off the end of a clock hand.

As a kid, I watched the Marx Brothers and WC Fields, Joe E Brown and Mae West. One of my favorite scenes in the Marx Brothers many hilarious films comes from A Night at the Opera. The boys are in their stateroom on the ocean liner, and it’s one of the most famous comedy sequences ever in which any number of people end up inside this tiny stateroom, and you sit in the audience wondering who else can possibly fit.


There were also romantic comedies too, films like Jimmy Cagney in Boy Meets Girl, in which he presents the formula for every love story ever told: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl. Of course, it’s fun to turn that trope around and change it to: boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy. Because two men in love? You can never go wrong, right?

The-Glass-Bottom-Boat-doris-day-5171621-1024-768I loved Doris Day as I was growing up, and she made some very funny romantic comedies. In one, she was dragged out of bed by an irate Rock Hudson and carried through the streets in her pajames to the scene of the crime—the bachelor pad she had so viciously “decorated” for him, thinking he was nothing more than a playboy on the  make. In another film, The Glass Bottom Boat, Doris got a job with the Space Agency and met a handsome astrophysicist, played by Rod Taylor, who took a liking to her, but the suspicious people at NASA thought Doris was a Russian spy, and things just went crazy from there… Of course, all’s well that ends well. You can’t very well have a romantic comedy that ends badly, that makes it a tragedy, doesn’t it?

That’s what I’ve tried to do with Yes, He’s My Ex. It started out as a flash fiction on  my blog, a simple story about an ex-boyfriend who couldn’t seem to get it through his thick head that they were over. But then things began to happen. A cry for help leads Tim into a race to save Sonny. Goofy gangster, a dumb ex-boyfriend, and the FBI… what else can happen to Sonny and Tim? Read Yes He’s My Ex and find out!

Thanks for having me here today, it’s been fun!




Sometimes Sonny Scrignoli forgets he’s Tim Mansfield’s ex. He waltzes in and out of Tim’s apartment like he still lives there, driving Tim crazy. Is it really so hard to remember they’ve broken up? Then again, maybe Tim should quit having sex with him.

When Sonny disappears for two weeks, Tim can’t help but be concerned. A strange phone call and a mysterious cry for help leads Tim on a desperate search for his ex.

Sonny’s in big trouble, and it’s Tim to the rescue! He’s the only one who can save his ex from a fate worse than death. Bumbling gangsters, a thick-headed former boyfriend, and secretive FBI agents lead Tim and Sonny on a merry chase full of laughs and quirks.


Sonny’s real name is Mario, but he’s been called Sonny since he was a small bambino, as his mother puts it, so Sonny it is. Sonny stands almost six foot tall in his bare feet, which are surprisingly small for a man, almost dainty. He has chocolate brown hair that grows thick but not long, and generally looks tousled; blue eyes so dark that sometimes they look purple in the proper light, framed behind silver wire spectacles; a generous nose and wide sweet lips which have been known to give the most amazing head this side of anywhere. Put that with the body of an Adonis, and you have Sonny.

I had Sonny, but not anymore. He seems not to realize that, though. At least not most of the time. Hence the part where I see him more often than should be considered normal for someone who’s my ex. Which is where I began.

Sometimes I think he forgets that he has indeed attained that past participle ex-boyfriend status. Granted, it’s only been six months. His mother tells me he just needs time to adjust, please don’t be too hard on her boy. Yes, I still see her too. On a rather regular basis, in fact. Hard not to, when she’s my mother’s best friend. Lucky me. Lia’s a nice lady, I love her to death. But she has this deep-seated belief that Sonny and I are going to get back together again, a belief he seems to share. Along with my mother. And most of our friends.

No one seems to listen to me when I say snowballs rolling along the floor of Hell have a better chance of survival than our relationship. Least of all Sonny. I guess that’s why he keeps coming over here, because in some strange deranged naïve corner of his mind, there’s still an us, and he isn’t an ex. So he wanders over whenever he wants. Sometimes he calls, sometimes he doesn’t. Today he called.

Sometimes I just get tired of telling him no. Some days I don’t even get that far. Today, I didn’t want to waste my breath, so I just said, “Fine. As long as you promise to behave.”

By behave, I mean quit assuming we’re going to have sex. Even if sometimes we do. I know, I know, he’s my ex, right?

Sometimes I just don’t know where to draw that fine line, I think. No wonder the boy’s confused.

Meet the author:

Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she’d never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another’s arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after. She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and two cats, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. She enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross stitch, knitting and needlepoint and loves to cook. While working a temporary day job, she continues to write her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn’t mind. Marching to the beat of one’s own drummer is a good thing, after all.  Her published works can be found at Dreamspinner Press, Amber Quill Press, MuseitUp Publishing, Torquere Press, and eXtasy Books, and coming soon to Wayward Ink Publishing and Prizm Publishing. She has also begun to self-publish and is an editor at MuseitUp.

You can find her on her blog at, and you can contact her at


My links:

Twitter @Shelley_runyon
My Goodreads:
Dreamspinner buy link:

Guest Author: L.J. LaBarthe


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Please give a very warm welcome to L.J. LaBarthe who is in the hotseat today to talk about her new release, The Wind-up Forest. Welcome!

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Hi Grace, thanks for having me guest here on your blog.

I’m L. J. LaBarthe, and my current release which has only been out a short while is called “The Wind-up Forest.” It’s the fourth book in my series, “The Archangel Chronicles,” out with Dreamspinner Press.

I’ve finished nine books for this series so far, (so far! Ack! LOL!), and they can be divided into sets of three, like seasons on a TV show. So the first three books established the characters, introduced the universe that the books are set in, (Earth, 21st century), and began the main relationship, that of Archangels Michael and Gabriel. There are secondary relationships and romances, not all of them M/M. The M/M relationships are Archangels Uriel and Raziel; Archangel Raphael and Israfel the Angel of Music; the Grigori Angels Kokabiel and Baraqiel; Archdemon Ondrass and demon Markus. The M/F relationships are Archangel Remiel and Ishtahar; Lyudmila and Piotr who are shifters. In “The Wind-up Forest,” new relationships and characters are introduced, as we’re now in ‘season two’, and those relationships are Liam and Baxter (Necromancer and shifter), Declan and Angelique (shifters), Danny and Lily (shifters), and Minnie and Max (witch and computer tech genius). All the relationships and romances are important, though it’s Michael and Gabriel’s story that is front and center.

The background of “The Wind-up Forest” and the two books that come after it, which are out soon with Dreamspinner Press—”The Crystal Lake” and “The Bone Cup”—is the Holy Grail and its theft, working in Arthurian legend and magical and mythological creatures. I’ve loved the Arthurian legends since I was a child and I’ve wanted to write a book with that mythos for some time. I’ve procrastinated on that for various reasons, but I finally had the idea to tie the Arthurian stories into “The Archangel Chronicles.” The Holy Grail has been stolen, and now it’s up to the Brotherhood of Archangels and their allies to find it and return it to safety before reality rips apart.

“The Wind-up Forest” introduces a collection of ideas and characters that all seem to be quite unconnected, but by the end of the book, the reader will see that there’s so much more than meets the eye going on. Not only that, I finally took the plunge and gave Lucifer, aka the Devil, Satan himself, a romance. His lover is Adramelek, an Archdemon, who was once an angel and fell from  Heaven with Lucifer. Writing their relationship was a lot of fun, although it was also immensely challenging in terms of the sex scenes, as they’re not always corporeal when they consummate their intimacy. That sounds nice and cryptic, doesn’t it? I hope it intrigues people to read the book!

I’m very happy with these books and these characters, and while I have no plans for more books in this series, I can’t say that it’ll never happen. Never say never, after all. Who knows what the future will hold, and who knows what the muses will demand! Plot bunnies are nefarious creatures, and they breed.

“The Wind-up Forest” continues on from “No Shadows Fall,”  and marks a new raft of challenges and trials. The relationship between Michael and Gabriel grows and twists and turns as the story progresses, and so does the relationship and romance between Uriel and Raziel, Raphael and Israfel, and the first time, new love between Liam, a human who is a Necromancer, and Baxter, a shifter who works for Archangel Michael. I do hope readers enjoy it.


Wind-upForestSequel to No Shadows Fall
Archangel Chronicles: Book Four 

Archangel Gabriel is hoping for a quiet period in his life to enjoy his relationship with Archangel Michael, but someone has other ideas.

New dangers arise when the Holy Grail is stolen. Gabriel, Michael, and the rest of the Brotherhood of Archangels and their allies must somehow thwart the twisted desires of the thief.

Their search for the Grail takes them all over the world, calling on old friends like Uriel and Raziel, and forging powerful new alliances. Though they face a fresh set of perils in pursuit of the thief, the enduring comfort Gabriel needs so much, that of his beloved Michael, never abandons him.

Get it here:


L.J. LaBarthe is a French-Australian woman, who was born during the Witching Hour, just after midnight. From this auspicious beginning, she went on to write a prize-winning short story about Humpty Dumpty wearing an Aussie hat complete with corks dangling from it when she was six years old. From there, she wrote for her high school yearbook, her university newspaper, and, from her early teens to her twenties, produced a fanzine about the local punk rock music scene. She loves music of all kinds and was once a classical pianist; she loves languages and speaks French and English and a teeny-tiny smattering of Mandarin Chinese, which she hopes to relearn properly very soon. She enjoys TV, film, travel, cooking, eating out, abandoned places, urbex, history, and researching.

L.J. loves to read complicated plots and hopes to do complex plot lines justice in her own writing. She writes paranormal, historical, urban fantasy, and contemporary Australian stories, usually m/m romance and featuring m/m erotica. She has won a Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention and another award for Best Historical Gay Novel.

L.J. lives in the city of Adelaide, and is owned by her cat.

Twitter: @brbsiberia


Wednesday Briefs #14: Ghalib’s Decision, Part 4


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In which Ghalib is embarrassed, Bathasar is comic relief and Teman runs interference…


His heart started pounding at the thought. He’d certainly contemplated it often enough when he’d been alone at night, asleep on his pallet in the room he shared with the other male servants. He’d wondered what it would be like to be more… visible to someone than he was as a servant. Even temporarily, even for only a night, someone would call him by name. They would know him, he could serve them and only them.

He certainly hadn’t forgotten Teman’s words. He knew very well what the slaves gave up. But as he’d never actually had sex and wasn’t likely going to be able to unless he did something like this, he wasn’t entirely sure that was a bad thing. He thought he could live with that.

If you are requested by a mistress—a woman, you must please her. But… he thought, perhaps, he could handle that if he was taught how. And, just maybe, the conditioning he’d heard bits and pieces about might help with it. He didn’t know what all went on with that, but as he thought it through, his cock twitched, his heart sped up and he swallowed. Did he want this?

“Ghalib?” Teman asked and Ghalib pulled himself together. He might be wrong, it might not be what they were discussing.

Ghalib smiled. “I’m sorry, I was lost in thought. What is it?”

“Obviously.” Teman chuckled. “Let’s go back to His Highness’s rooms. We will talk there. He should be through with Lord Atherol soon.” Teman turned to Cyrus and the two kissed deeply then he also gave Nadir a very long, thorough kiss. “And I will see you soon, yes?”

Nadir nodded, kissing Teman again. “Yes, yes.”

Teman grinned and stepped back. “I better.”

Ghalib glanced at Nadir then to Teman then back and bowed his head. “Uh… Good-bye.”

Nadir smiled. “Good-bye, Ghalib. I’ll see you.”

“Bye,” Cyrus said. “Nadir is right. We’ll see you.”

Ghalib raised a hand in a wave. “Uh, yes,” he mumbled not knowing why that would be, but he didn’t know what else to say. With another head bow, he turned and followed Teman down the stairs.


“Please, have a seat,” Teman waved a hand at one of the chairs by the fire. Ghalib frowned, but perched on the edge. Teman shook his head. “Please, relax. I don’t bite. Not even if you ask.” Ghalib blinked at him and Teman rolled his eyes. “It was a jest.”

“Oh!” Ghalib blushed and he shifted back a little, but not much.

Teman tilted his head and considered Ghalib who shifted back onto the chair more. Teman gave a nod of satisfaction then took a chair of his own. “Tell me, Ghalib, are you aware that… some people like pain?”

Ghalib frowned. “I have heard that, yes. It is rather difficult not to, here in the palace.”

Teman nodded, smiling ruefully. “Indeed, that is true. Then you are also aware that some people like to give it, including many of the nobility here.”

Ghalib nodded. “That… does not surprise me.”

Teman raised his eyebrows and paused, eyes going to the fire crackling on the hearth. “When I first came here… it seems so long ago.” He shook his head. “When I went through training, I was, of course, trained to accept pain.”

Ghalib’s eyes widened. He wondered why the idea of pain made his cock twitch. Pushing it off to consider later, he nodded at Teman.

“It is… designed to help the slave learn to deal with the pain. People, even people who like to take it, do so in different ways. Nadir, that you met today, enjoys pain. Not all pain, of course,” he said and Ghalib guessed he had a disbelieving look on his face. “No. There are good kinds of pain and bad kinds, even for people who like it. But Nadir likes pain from the beginning. I enjoy it, too, but I work through it and find pleasure later. Others simply learn how to handle it to get through it. The slaves are conditioned to stay aroused though pain, even if they don’t enjoy it. It’s another aspect of the slavery to consider.”

Teman looked back from the fire and opened his mouth to speak when the door opened. Ghalib turned around to see Bathasar step in. He spang to his feet and bowed low.

He heard Bathasar sigh. “Please, Ghalib, that is not necessary.”

Ghalib looked up, puzzled. “Your Highness?”

Bathasar shook his head. “If you wish to bow, that is fine, but please, I do not stand on ceremony in my private quarters. I try not to stand on ceremony most of the time, but no one seems to listen. Especially, however, please, in my private quarters, be comfortable.” He smiled and Ghalib felt himself relax a bit. Bathasar nodded. “Good. Please, sit. I am guessing you were visiting with my love. I must go clean up. I will return.”

“Bathasar,” Teman said, standing to follow.

Ghalib wondered if he should leave but before he could decide, Teman turned around. “Don’t go anywhere. Stay. In fact, have some wine and sit.”

Ghalib blinked at Teman but nodded his head. “Yes, yo—uh, Teman.”

Teman grinned and rolled his eyes. “We will be back shortly.”

Ghalib sat back down. He still couldn’t quite bring himself to sit all the way back. And even if he felt comfortable having wine, he doubted he could handle it in that moment. He tried to get himself to sit back in the chair farther and work to relax at least a little.

He let the last hour work through is mind, trying to make sense of all that he’d heard and learned. He couldn’t pretend any more he didn’t know what they were discussing. He was very sure that, at that moment, Teman was talking to His Highness about the possibility of Ghalib becoming a pleasure slave.

Despite all he’d fantasized about, despite all he’d heard, seen, felt, the idea that he actually could become one had never really occurred to him. Yet, he had a feeling that he would be facing that decision in very short order.

Could he give up his freedom? He thought about never leaving the palace again, about never having the chance to leave Behekam, much less Neyem. Yet, he’d had plenty of opportunity and still, he hadn’t left the palace more than a handful of times since he’d arrived. He’d never been outside of the city. And when he thought about not having that ability, he felt… nothing, one way or the other.

He’d certainly already considered the conditioning. His cock hardened embarrassingly fast already. But he knew there was more to it, even if he didn’t understand all of it. He’d seen the cages. Could he wear one? A collar?

Could he be—live—naked?

* * *

You can visit the Wednesday Briefers home page HERE for opening snippets and links to all the briefs. Or you can go from this list:


Wednesday Briefs #14: Ghalib’s Decision, Part 3


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In which Ghalib is confused even further…


“I want you to talk to someone for a few moments. If what I suspect is correct, he will know and then I may be able to help you.”

“Help me?” Ghalib shook his head, still lost.

“Yes. But don’t worry.” Teman smiled at him then turned and knocked.

The door opened to one of the men that had been another personal slave of the malik the year before. “Teman!” he called, pulling Teman into the room and forcing Ghalib to let go of Teman’s hand.

Teman and the man embraced for a long moment, then the other man, slightly shorter than Teman with long, thick black hair, sparkling eyes and a pretty smile, leaned in and kissed Teman. Ghalib felt his face heat—and his cock start to swell—when the kiss deepened and turned quite passionate.

When they broke apart, the other man panted. “Well, what was that for?”

Teman grinned. “I missed you.”

Ghalib watched color spread on the other man’s cheeks but his smile grew as wide as Teman’s. “I missed you. We’ve been busy training a new slave but he finished today, so we will be free again. Oh!” He said, looking up and seeing Ghalib. “Hello.”

“Oops.” Teman turned and held a hand out at Ghalib. When he didn’t move, Teman leaned further and took his hand, tugging until he moved closer. “Nadir, you’ve seen Ghalib before. Ghalib, this is Nadir, His Highness’s other lover and my best friend.”

Nadir looked at Teman in surprise, eyebrows going up. “Best friend?”

Teman nodded, smile fading. “You’ve come to mean so much to me.” He raised a hand and brushed his finger’s over Nadir’s cheek. “We’ve grown so close. Is… is that okay?”

Ghalib was surprised to see the uncertainty on Teman’s face, but Nadir smiled, leaned in and erased it quickly with a kiss. “Yes, it’s very okay. It makes me feel good. I’ll be happy to call you best friend. What… what about Jasim?” Nadir asked, frowning.

“Jas has made friends in Tiantang. We’ll always be close, he’s as much a brother as friend. But… we’re days apart. And, you and I…” He trailed off and shrugged a shoulder, head bowed.

Nadir tilted Teman’s face up and kissed him again. “It’s alright. I’m happy to take over the role. Though… you know that there’s more than friendship from my side, right?”

Teman smiled widely. “As there is from mine.”

Ghalib wanted desperately to pull his hand away and slip out the door. He felt like he very much did not belong witnessing this scene. But as Ghalib tried to let go of Teman’s hand, Teman tightened his around Ghalib’s and refused to let go. “We will talk more of this a little later. Hmm?”

Nadir nodded. “Yes, definitely. Now, what can I do for you, Ghalib?” he asked, turning to Ghalib who felt like he’d just stepped out into the middle of a court session or something with the entire room looking at him. “Uh…”

Teman rescued him. “I’d like you to talk to Ghalib for a few minutes. I believe I recognize something in him that you will, too.”

Ghalib frowned. Something in me? Did he mean who I am attracted to?

Teman and Nadir exchanged looks. “Ah, yes,” Nadir said, nodding. He turned to Ghalib, smiling. “Ghalib? Let’s sit and talk for a few moments.”

When Teman came back a short while later to collect him, he was thoroughly confused. Nadir had asked him a series of questions, some he had answers to and others he didn’t. Nadir had, yet again, asked him what he was good at and Ghalib had given the only answer he had. But that had only seemed to satisfy some unknown-to-Ghalib criteria for something and puzzled him.

“So, was I right?” Teman asked.

Nadir nodded. “Oh yes. You have a knack for this. Perhaps you should be here instead of me.”

Teman laughed. “Hardly. I would be way too tempted to run some of the nobility through with a dagger, rather than deal with them.” Teman shook his head. “You have infinitely more patience than I do.”

Ghalib raised an eyebrow, surprised at how casually Teman discussed killing a member of the nobility. But then again, Teman was lover to the malik and not likely to be hanged for something like making comment like that. He also didn’t think Teman really would. But simply saying it can get a person arrested. Ghalib shook the thought away and turned back to them.

At that moment another man stepped into the room. “Ah, Cyrus, this is Ghalib,” Nadir said, holding a hand out.

Cyrus stepped forward, offering his hand. As Ghalib shook it, Cyrus smiled. “It’s nice to officially meet you. I’ve heard all about you from Teman, though I have seen you often, we simply didn’t have much occasion to talk.”

Ghalib raised his eyebrows. “You remember me, then?”

Cyrus smiled. “Yes, of course I do. You were with us up at Dhel al-Jebal last year.”

Ghalib nodded. “I was. I didn’t realize that you knew who I was.”

“Oh yes quite. We saw you in His Highness’s meetings, as well.” He turned to Nadir and Teman.

“So, what will you do?” Nadir asked, glancing at Ghalib.

Teman smiled. “Speak first with Bathasar. I sincerely doubt he would deny it, but it is something to discuss first. I don’t think this has ever happened before.”

Nadir shook his head. “No, no, I don’t think so either.” He smiled at Ghalib and brushed his hand over Ghalib’s hair. “He is very handsome.”

“Very,” Cyrus agreed.

Teman’s smile widened. “That’s what I told him.”

Ghalib’s cheeks turned red at the compliment and his eyes widened as he realized what they were saying. Were they discussing his comment about becoming a pleasure slave? Could he? Did he really want to?

* * *

You can visit the Wednesday Briefers home page HERE for opening snippets and links to all the briefs. Or you can go from this list:


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