Anne Barwell: Family & Reflection

Today I’d like to showcase Anne Barwell’s re-release, Family and Reflection! It’s a 76k word story, part of The Sleepless City, a shared world with Elizabeth Noble.

When a rebel werewolf and a vampire thief fall in love, only one thing is certain—trouble.

For as long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has close friends who are vampires. The werewolf pack in Boggslake—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s association with vampires is barely tolerated, and another transgression will be his last. When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help even though his own life may already be in danger.

Declan has been away from Boggslake for ten years, but he isn’t surprised to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a vampire and professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible. With the council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out, and for Lucas and Declan, everything is about to change.

Authors Note: This story was originally released in 2015 by another publisher. This edition has been re-edited.


Excerpt:

“If someone had told me twenty years ago I’d be having a conversation about something like this with a vampire, I’d have told them they were crazy.”

“You’re having this conversation with a friend,” Declan corrected him. “It doesn’t matter what we are, but who we are.”

“Do you really believe that?”

“I want to.” Declan thought for a moment, wanting the right words. Why was this so difficult? He’d given advice to Jonas and Simon many times without any trouble.

“We’re both as bad as each other, yeah?” Lucas seemed sad.

“Why do you say that, and about what?” Declan let go of Lucas.

“I’m a werewolf, and you’re a vampire—”

“You’ve only noticed that now?” Declan interrupted dryly. He walked back to his chair, adjusting it so he was opposite Lucas and could see his face.

Lucas laughed, but this time it sounded natural, not forced. “I’ve gotten used to living at the castle. I love it here, and the guys are my friends. Most of the time I forget we’re different. They’re family. I don’t care what they are. It’s like you said. The important thing is who they are.” He sobered. “Then crap like this goes down… Why do I suddenly feel as though I’m a part of the pack again and need to follow their stupid rules?”

“You’re a part of whatever family you want to be, Lucas.” Declan knew what he wanted—needed—to say now. “One thing I’ve learned with having a long life is that family is who you choose. I didn’t get on with mine that well. I had a father who had expectations too.” He pulled himself up sharply before he went anywhere near those memories. Very little of what he’d done had pleased his father. “We might be different, you and I, mon ami, but in many ways we’re the same.”

“I kind of get the expectation thing with you guys.” Lucas paused and looked apologetic before continuing. “Simon’s not said much about his past, but I get the impression his father expected him to do stuff he didn’t want to do as well.” He scowled. “Be a good son and carry on the family name and traditions. I’m guessing Forge went through the same thing, but he’s never said anything about it. At least not to me.”

“Why do you get it with us?” Declan figured he already knew the answer but wanted to be certain he and Lucas were talking about the same thing.

“You’re a lot older than I am. I can understand this stuff going on a hundred, or even two—”

“Closer to three hundred,” Declan said.

“Yeah, that. You’re old. No offense.” Lucas waved one hand.

“None taken.” Declan couldn’t help but smile. “I know I’m old. But you know what they say about fine wine?”

“Yeah, and, hey, I’m not complaining.” Lucas took a long drink of coffee. “You interrupted my flow. I was making a point here.”

“Sorry.”

“So you’re old, so I expect that kind of stuff from you guys. It was a long time ago.” Lucas growled low in his throat. “But us… the pack… we… they’re carrying on like we’re still living in that society. I’ve told my father that he needs to move with the times or the pack will be left behind. Sure, they use technology, but for the rest of it, you’d think we’d only just gotten off the Mayflower or something.”

“It takes a long time for some people to accept change.” Declan leaned over and brushed a lock of hair back from Lucas’s forehead. “Some never do.” He’d seen vampires who couldn’t move past what their lives had been like as humans. Most of them hadn’t survived.

“Yeah.” Lucas swallowed. He shook his head when Declan started to move his chair farther back and away from temptation. “I don’t mind you touching me like that,” he said softly.

“I should…” Declan hadn’t thought, just reacted. He’d meant what he’d said about flirting and had no intention of leading Lucas on. “We’re friends,” he said finally.

“I wouldn’t be talking to you about this stuff if we weren’t.” Lucas looked like he was about to say something but cleared his throat instead. “I know you’re kind of touchy-feely and all that. So am I. So—”

A loud knock sounded at the front door.

“Now what?” Lucas muttered.

Boggs materialized in front of them. He looked annoyed. “There are two gentlemen at the door,” he said. “I don’t know who exactly they are, but I heard them talking before they knocked. They’re from the council.”

“I already apologized about that weird stuff in the garbage,” Lucas said.

“Not that council.” Boggs rolled his eyes. “The other one.”

About the Author:

:: Website & Blog—Drops of Ink : Facebook : Facebook Page : Facebook group : Bookbub : Joint Facebook group : Instagram : Twitter : Goodreads : Queeromance Ink Author Page : Sign up for my newsletter ::

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with Kaylee: a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning.

In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.  She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ.

thanks all round

And that’s the end of The Flowers of Time blogtour! Thank you so much to everyone who has hosted me, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to visit. Here’s a recap of the topics and where you can find me:

Plus! All these lovely people came and talked to me over the last few days on intersecting topics:

It’s been a lot of fun and an immense privilege to host such a wonderful set of people and I’m so grateful that they took time out of their busy lives. Thank you!

PS. If you’d like to buy The Flowers of Time that would quite frankly make me extremely chuffed.

Elizabeth Noble – the world is full of magic

Elizabeth Noble is here today to talk about the magic of her urban fantasy world and her upcoming release, Scintilla!

Thank you so much, Ally for including me. (You are most welcome! – Ally)

The world is full of magic.

Sometimes for me that magic is nothing more than having a pre-programmed coffee maker at work.

Imagine a world where some people were born with magical abilities. A world where magical humans come in four types, scintillas, aether, prisms and acoustics capable of manipulating elements such as electricity, air, sound and light.

There might be a cop who can alter the way light bends for a few seconds or minutes making it easier to catch a criminal in the act. Or, if that criminal had the same ability, they could slip past surveillance cameras. A man with the power to control electricity might use his gift to deep dive into the digital world or short out an alarm.

There are no potions or spells, but there is plenty of magic in my urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, El Corazon

When I was planning the first book, Scintilla, I wanted to use magic, but I didn’t want a lot of complicated rules or spells. Their society has rules governing what is considered ethical or illegal of course, but the basic magic is simple. My goal was to make the magic a natural, organic thing that was as part of an individual as their height or eye color. Yes, being magical is special, but no more so than being a talented musician or athlete.  

Magical people sometimes need specialized medical equipment. Other magicals, as they’re referred to collectively, are discriminated against because there are others who fear what they can do. And, of course, there is always some person or organization that wants to exploit those with magical ability.

What I tried very hard to do, was imagine what obstacles a magical person might encounter or what special needs might be required in unusual circumstances. For instance, the young man, Brandon, in Scintilla who manipulates and has power over electricity is Tasered. Not a good idea to do when someone has the power to push that energy back to you. Since this is a romance, there is sex and I was able to explore how an electrified body might react differently. Would it hinder improve his or his partner’s experience? Being a scintilla is a natural part of Brandon, but how much of that part of him can he, or does he share? 

Humans aren’t the only beings that can wield magic in this world, however.

There are the djinn.

Mythology gives us different types of jinni and so far, I’ve included two. One can cause havoc in computers and another sort likes to meddle in the affairs of people. Like anyone else, there are those that are honorable and good, and some that use their powers for crime.

Wait, there’s more!

My world has the magic of shifters. Technically, shifters aren’t magical in the same way as others, but the ability to look human and turn into something else is some serious magic in my opinion. Brandon’s love interest, Raul, is a werewolf, a Dom and a bounty hunter. That right there is darn magical! Werewolves are tough beasts and Raul can take more of what Brandon can dole out than a human could. That gives them plenty to explore, when they’re not fighting crime that is.

There are instances where one’s magic can be used against them. Without revealing spoilers, suffice to say, Brandon gets a harsh lesson in reality. His ability can’t always protect him and there’s always someone else who knows more about what he can do than is healthy for him.

Scintilla

How far is too far to go to save someone you love?

Brandon Lynch is magical. He’s a scintilla who can manipulate electricity. Leaving his structured, unexciting life and job at his father’s billion-dollar business in Boston and heads south for a vacation adventure in Rio Rico, Arizona. He’s living out a fantasy by traveling to the El Corazon adult entertainment club and has booked one glorious session with a werewolf Dom, complete with knotting.

Part-time Dom for his family business, the El Corazon, and full-time bounty hunter, Raul Fierro uses what nature gave him as a werewolf to bring pleasure to some, and justice to others. He hasn’t been in a real relationship for longer than he wants to think about and his gruff and growly exterior keeps any unwanted interactions at bay. He’s not against a partner, but he’s willing to wait for the person who sees the real Raul—and his wolf—who lurks beneath the surface.

A seemingly chance meeting with Brandon the day after their scheduled session leads to a week-long affair. Raul accepts it for what it is, a vacation fling for Brandon even though Brandon is someone Raul could easily fall in love with. When Brandon returns to Boston and Raul resumes his normal routine, they keep in touch until the time Brandon’s father arrives in Rio Rico, announces his son is missing, and he intends to hire Raul to find him. Raul wastes no time picking up Brandon’s trail. Rescuing Brandon from human traffickers is only the beginning and more adventure than either man wanted. Their hunt brings them together in an unexpected way. Can they bring down a powerful, international ring of traffickers all while protecting each other and their new-found love?

Excerpt

“We can run current through those barrels, magnetize them and create a barrier. All we have to find is enough copper.”

Raul nodded. “I like it. I’ll get the rods, see if you can find some copper piping, but stay in this area. If we have to go into the rest of the building, we should go together.” 

To Raul’s utter surprise, Brandon didn’t argue but simply nodded. “I’ll start over there. Looks like some sort of utility junction.” He motioned to a floor-to-ceiling metal locker that extended out about four feet from the wall and was at least another four feet wide.

Raul retrieved a half dozen of his iron rods from the van. They were three feet long and a quarter inch in diameter. He’d had them specially made and if needed he was strong enough to bend them. Holding them in one hand, Raul used his free hand to grab one of the metal barrels and carried everything to the ruined door. The rods were deposited on top of the barrel before he carried two more over and set them in a row by the first barrel. He turned to see what Brandon was doing.

“Should you be doing that?” Raul asked as he closed the distance between he and Brandon.

Brandon was poking at what looked like a circuit board, then he grabbed a hold of a bundle of wires and gave them a shake. “Eh, you probably shouldn’t, I won’t get more than a bee sting.” He shrugged. “As far as I can tell there’s no power.”

Raul stepped to the side and flicked a switch up and down, looking up at the ceiling lights. Nothing happened. “You appear to be correct. Bee stings hurt,” he grumbled. The interior of the junction was a mess of dials and wires, levers and smaller switches. There were two tanks in the center. Raul followed the copper tubing from the tanks until they disappeared into the ceiling. “Do you see a ladder or anything I can stand on?”

“Why don’t I stand on you?”

Raul glanced back at Brandon. “Can you yank these things free?”

Brandon rolled his eyes and heaved a sigh. “I’m human but we don’t have spaghetti muscles.”

“My apologies.” Raul nodded and laced his fingers together, offering Brandon a step up.

In one smooth movement Brandon was standing on Raul’s shoulders. Raul held his calves to brace him and watched as Brandon tugged on the closest copper pipe. It took them a half an hour of steady effort to pull piping loose, move to another section and repeat their task. In the end they a half dozen six to seven-foot lengths of copper tubing.

Brandon jumped to the ground still holding the last section of copper. “This should be plenty.”

Raul looked pointedly at the dark lamps. “No power, remember? Unless you’re suggesting we bang on them until they magnetize.”

Brandon heaved a sigh and cocked his head. “Seriously?” He held out his free hand and a narrow blue wave arched to the copper pipe. “Yet, you call me Sparky.”

“Can you actually generate enough power, long enough to accomplish what we need? That’s higher voltage.”

Brandon nodded. “I think so, yes. It’s not something I can maintain forever, but I think I can generate enough for a long enough time for our purpose.”

“What’s your plan?”

“Well, copper and iron and steel can be magnetized when electrified.” Brandon pointed to the door. “That door is metal. If we put one barrel on each side of the door and charge them it would be damn hard for anyone to get through,” Brandon said.

“A big version of those little electro-magnets kids make in science class,” Raul added. “And easy enough to find plans for if we need to.”

“Yep. It’ll take me a few minutes.” Brandon sprinted back to the van while Raul pulled the barrels to the door then retrieved the copper and iron.

They worked steadily setting up their barrier. Once it was ready and in place Brandon put both hands on the barrel sitting inside the building. He glanced back at Raul.

“Ready.” Raul backed up a few feet and watched while Brandon took a few deep breaths, closed his eyes and leaned into the barrel.

Buy Links:

Scintilla releases on March 10. It’ll have wide distribution for a week before going into Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon : Universal link

Bio and Social Media Links

Mystery, action, chills, and thrills spiced with romance and desire. ELIZABETH NOBLE lives by the adage “I can’t not write.” She doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t make up stories and eventually she learned how to put words on a page. Those words turned into books and fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M fiction. A part of every day is spent living in worlds she created that are filled with intrigue and espionage. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural.

When she’s not chronicling the adventures of her many characters, Elizabeth is a veterinary nurse living in her native Cleveland, Ohio. She has three grown children and now happily shares her little, brick house with an adorable mixed breed canine princess, a spunky Cardigan Welsh Corgi and their sidekick, tabby cat. Elizabeth is a fan of baseball, basketball (go Cavs and Indians) and gardening. She can often be found working in her ‘outside office’ listening to classic rock and plotter her next novel waiting for it to be dark enough to gaze at the stars.

Elizabeth has received a number of amateur writing awards. Since being published, several of her novels have received Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Jewel Cave was a runner-up in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Ringed Love was a winner in the Gay Fantasy Romance category of the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

Website : Newsletter sign up : Circles websiteVampire Guard website : JMS Publishers : Amazon : Facebook : Facebook Author page : Twitter : Pinterest : Goodreads : QueeRomance Ink : Gay Romance Readers Club : SmashwordsBookstrand:

You can read more about my own Lost in Time magic system over at Joyfully Jay! I’m writing about the Green Book of not-spells today.

Visitors! Quick! Tidy up!

I’m tidying the sitting room and shoving dog-toys under the sofa with my foot and generally making sure my high-brow books have their spines prominently visible here at Lester Towers this week. I’m going to have visitors!

To celebrate the launch of The Flowers of Time this week, I have some fantastic guests coming in to talk about aspects of their own work on the themes of magic, journeys, landscape and gender.

The linked posts won’t go live until the day of the interview, but just to give you the head’s up:

Mon 24 FebZaya Feli is talking about the importance of both physical and mental journeys in her books. This ties in with me talking about Edie’s journey to Srinagar, a deleted scene from The Flowers of Time, at Love Bytes Reviews. Zaya’s post.

Tue 25 FebJeannelle d’Ferreira is here to talk about hero(in)es in breeches and I am at Drops of Ink with a deleted scene about Jones’ inner thoughts on gender. Jeannelle’s post.

Wed 26 FebElizabeth Noble has written about the urban fantasy world of her upcoming release Scintilla and I’m talking about the magic in the Green Book at Joyfully Jay. Elizabeth’s post.

Thu 27 FebM. D. Stewart is here talking about the magic of her Fae-Shifter world and I am over at Stories That Make You Smile talking about the Lost in Time magic system. MD’s post. I’m also at MD’s blog later today talking about the Lost in Time series.

Fri 28 FebDaniel Aegan is here talking about magic and time-travel and I am at Mirrigold’s Mutterings talking about my works in progress. Daniel’s post.

Sat 29 FebSarah Remy/Alex Hall talks about writing gender diverse characters. I am at Xtreme Delusions, talking about Jones and Edie’s journey over the mountains. Sarah’s post.

Sun 01 Mar Emily Carrington interviews her non-binary character Ash, from Yew & Thorn, #3 in her upcoming Hartwood series and I am talking about Jones and her dislike of petticoats, with an excerpt from The Flowers of Time at Valerie Ullmer’s blog. Emily’s post.

Today, I am at My Fiction Nook talking about life, the universe and everything.