As part of the festivities during launch weekend for Deep Plunge, Erin Kelley at The Lurker invited me to ruminate about where the SoulShares series started, where it is, where it’s going, and what I think The Meaning Of It All is. I had some fun with the project — so I thought I’d share it with you, with Erin’s kind permission!
Lurker Spotlight — September 1, 2013
Thanks for having me here to talk about the SoulShares, Erin! – I don’t really want to give away any spoilers, for people who haven’t read one, or two, or all three of the books that are out so far (though, really, what are you waiting for? – this post will still be here after you go to Amazon! *winks*) So I’ll summarize the books, but I thought I’d spend more of my time talking about how my Fae came to be, how they evolved, and what I think they’re trying to say through me.
Hard as Stone: Tiernan Guaire is a Fae in exile. Forced from the Realm into the human world for the unimaginable crime of a brother’s murder, he lives by a century-old vow, to trust no one, and never to allow himself to love or be loved. Kevin Almstead has just lost his future, to a vote of the partners at his law firm. Trying to escape for an evening, he ventures into Purgatory, the hottest all-male nightclub in Washington, D.C., where he allows himself to be seduced by a stranger with long blond hair and ice-blue eyes. Drawn into a Soulshare bond with his intended one-night stand, Tiernan soon learns that the most ancient and evil enemy of the Fae still walks the human world, and it will stop at nothing – certainly not Kevin Almstead – to possess the magick of a Noble Fae.
The Fae – MY Fae, anyway – were born on Facebook. I wrote up a Fae character for roleplay, and being the attention-to-detail sort that I am, I wrote a whole back-story for him. Where he came from, what he was doing in the human world, and so on. I’ve loved Irish legend and lore ever since I was old enough to read (which is a VERY long time), so I’m well acquainted with the Fae of Irish legend. Mine… aren’t quite those Fae. I played with the idea, had fun with it, changed a few of the basic assumptions just to see what kind of changes that might make in my character. I’m a great believer in creating a detailed and realistic world for my characters to play in, and letting it shape them. Then I entered a short-story contest that I couldn’t use my original Fae for, because of the theme of the competition, so Tiernan and Kevin were born. And the month after that contest’s deadline was NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writers’ Month, where you’re challenged to write 50,000 words in a month. I used the short story as the core of my project… which became HARD AS STONE.
Gale Force: Conall Dary is the most powerful mage born to the Fae race since the Realm was parted from the human world, over two thousand years ago. But that power condemns him to a lifetime of celibacy, because sex calls to power, and he has power enough to drain a world. When he refuses to use his talents for a Noble lady’s petty revenge, he finds himself shanghaied to the human world, his soul torn in half and his magick blocked. Josh LaFontaine is the beautifully inked owner of Raging Art-On, a Washington, D.C. tattoo and piercing parlor. While taking part in New York City’s Pride march, his world changes forever when the man of his dreams materializes at his feet. Josh’s sensual and loving touch, the first Conall has ever known, may be enough to give him back the magick he’s lost. But before they can complete their Soulshare, a terrible accident leaves Conall bodiless, lost, and invisible, to everyone except – maybe – the human with whom he shares a soul. But Josh will need to find him before the ancient evil of the Marfach does or everything they have – and more – will be lost.
I was stunned, to put it mildly, when I was offered a four-book contract by Ravenous Romance after they saw the first chapters of HARD AS STONE. I’d been prepared for years of slogging from one agent to the next, collecting rejection letters, the ‘normal’ author’s life. Now, all of a sudden, I had a ginormous playground I was responsible for filling up. ‘Terrified at the prospect’ sums up how I felt, pretty well. So I was pleasantly surprised when the stories didn’t stop coming. Conall and Josh had a compelling story to tell, so I sat down and started writing it. As I wrote, though, the story grew, and changed, the way all living things do, and I found myself in the position of wishing I’d built a better foundation for a few things in the first book. (This is not a problem that has gone away – while I was working on DEEP PLUNGE, I got myself a tattoo for a Mother’s Day gift, and spent the whole two and a half hours quizzing my artist about the ins and outs of tattooing. I would do a MUCH better job with Josh now. Did I mention my attention-to-detail personality?) And keeping track of who knew what about whom when caused me more than a few headaches. I would love a chance to go back through the first few books and re-write them. Maybe someday… And I started discovering all the additional things that come along with being a Published Author. Like the utter lack of time for anything other than working, eating, sleeping, and writing, not necessarily in that order. They say it’s essential to writing to read everything you can get your hands on — I’ve had to learn to keep my darn hands to myself. If I’m REALLY lucky, I can steal five or ten minutes before bed to read, but I don’t get lucky very often. I miss it…!
Deep Plunge: For the last six hundred years or so, the only things reminding Lochlann Doran he’s a Fae have been his faceted aquamarine eyes and the fact that he can’t die. He’s been a wanderer for so long in the human world – over two thousand years – that he’s lost his magick, including the gift of healing that goes along with being a Fae of the Demesne of Water. Finding his SoulShare might get it back for him. But it might kill him, too. Garrett Templar has been living on borrowed time, in a sense, since he was eighteen, when one of the johns he entertained to pay the bills while he danced at Purgatory infected him with HIV. It was always supposed to be a “manageable” disease, though, at least until a cure was found. Except he’s just found out that the virus in his system has inexplicably mutated into full-blown AIDS, and no known drug cocktail can even slow it down. And when Lochlann and Garrett find each other at last, on Purgatory’s dance floor, the only thing as urgent as their need for one another is the hunger of an ancient evil to do whatever is necessary to possess Lochlann’s magick…
When I first started writing the SoulShares, back in the fall of 2011, I wasn’t thinking at all in terms of a message or a theme. There were people in my head, Fae people and human people, who wanted their stories told, and that was about it. That’s changed, the more I write. The first notion I had of a “theme” dawned on me when a gay friend of mine, who I’ve known for something like 25 years and who is the only person I know I would trust to “fact-check” my erotic scenes, responded to my first draft with “Have you been a gay man in drag all these years, and I just never knew?” I love being able to write gay romance, and erotic fiction, in a way that I hope says something to the rest of the world about how love is love, period. When my Facebook banner is done, it’s going to have a motto on it: “Many Fantasies… One Love.” And the other theme that’s come to mean a lot to me in these books started by accident. (Except that there’s no such thing as accident, really.) The first incident of what I’ve come to call “SoulShare joy” just sort of happened, between Tiernan and Kevin, but it’s become a hallmark of all the erotic scenes in all the books. Love and delight, love and laughter go hand in hand, and even the hottest sex imaginable is heightened by joy. And as long as I still have anything to say on those themes, there will be Fae, and there will be SoulShares.
Thank you for having me, Erin! – and you can find all my books (including several anthologies I have stories in that I didn’t mention here) on my Amazon Author page, at