Hello, and welcome to another great Genre Talk hosted by The Novel Approach Reviews. Today we’re delighted to have DSP Publications author A.J. Marcus. He’s here talking about his newest book DSP PublicationsMoose Fever. Gotta love that title! And the cover is spectacular.
Before the question and answer portion of our post a bit about Moose Fever.
The Blurb: Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officer Brock Summers and his fiancé, wildlife rehabber Landon Weir, are preparing for their wedding when someone starts killing moose along a creek in the northern part of Teller County. As the moose casualties rise, human bodies turn up, and the case is taken over by the sheriff’s office. When a Forestry Service Ranger is killed, the service joins the hunt.
All signs point to one of the many photographers who have been taking pictures of the moose. Then Landon discovers a small piece of gold in the creek and they believe they have a motive, but they’re still lacking solid suspects. Bullets fly as they seek to track down the perpetrator while trying to get everything wrapped up in time for their marriage.
Elizabeth:Now, let’s hear more from A.J. and learn about Moose Fever.
Tell us about your genre.
A.J.:I’ve read mysteries for years. I always enjoyed the Tony Hillerman books as well as some of the more urban fantasy mystery series like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I love the unknown and unexpected aspects that show up in mysteries. There’s always something cool and interesting at the end. I’ve found adding the excitement and action of a mystery or thriller helps me really connect with the characters. I get to stop and examine how their minds work and what actions they would take when put in certain, unpredictable situations.
Elizabeth: Tell us about Moose Fever.
A.J.: Moose Feverwas inspired in a way by an incident that happened a couple of years ago here in Colorado. It wasn’t in Teller county, but at the time, I was working on the second book in the series, “Grizzly Discovery” and thought it would make the basis for a great Brock and Landon adventure. Then I had to sit down and figure out a motivation for our bad guy and my father-in-law’s current gold prospecting obsession provided what I needed. He even helped me work out some of the details. That’s just one of the reasons why the book is dedicated to him.
Elizabeth: Tell us how you define “diversity” in your writing, and how you explored it in this book.
A.J.: For me, diversity is a bit more subtle than a lot of people. I don’t make a huge deal out of it, I think in Moose Feverwe see the guys dealing with the way people react to their sexuality more than we have before. They’re getting married and that can bring out the best and worst in many people. But they handle everything well and folks are fairly accepting. Most of my books are about a lot more than just being gay. My characters have a lot more to them than that.
Elizabeth: Moose Feveris being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press’s imprint for genre novels that don’t necessarily focus on or even contain romance. Tell us about the relationship in Moose Feverand why it doesn’t fit the accepted definition of Romance in the M/M genre.
A.J.: I was actually really excited when DSPP opened. The first book in this series, Eagle’s Blood, was written as a romance as much as a mystery. During the editing process of Grizzly Discovery, DSPP opened and I jumped at the opportunity to move the series over. I want to tell stories that are much more than just a romance. Sure there are romance aspects to the story. Our main characters, Brock and Landon, are getting married in this book, if they can live through the adventure. Each one of these books advances their relationship a little further. Readers love the fact that they never know what is going to happen to the guys, but they do know at the end of the day, they’re going to hug out any horrors they’ve seen and then curl up in bed with their big loveable dog Bear. I’m hoping the readers keep reading these books so I can keep writing. Brock and Landon have a lot of adventures left in them.
Elizabeth: Now, the lightening round!
Elizabeth: What do you do for fun? Do you have a pet who supervises your writing?
A.J.: Fun, there’s so much I do. Does splitting logs count as fun? I guess it is to some people. We’ve got lots of critters around here. Right now we’ve got a goofy big black mutt puppy who we named Bear. My mother was the one who pointed out that’s the name of Brock’s dog. I didn’t even realize it when we named him. But the name fits so we don’t really care.
Elizabeth: Excellent choice of dog name. I had a wonderful lab/retriever mix for years named Bear.
Elizabeth: Do you write in different genres and if so how difficult is it to do?
A.J.: I love writing in a bunch of different genres. It’s fun. Sometimes a new character pops up and announces he’s an Elf, or he’s a magical detective. I think writing different things, like reading different things, helps keep life interesting. I’ve talked to people who get burned out by writing the same thing time and time again. I hope that never happens to me, and by writing different things I think I’ll keep that at bay.
Elizabeth: And because everyone likes to talk about what they’re doing the old standby: What projects are you working on now and what is coming next from you?
A.J.: There’s so much going on. I’m doing a lot of co-author stuff right now. A fair amount of it is shifter romances, but I’m about to start a high fantasy book, just finished up a contemporary family drama, I’ve got a science fiction book that keeps hollering at me to get written. Plus Brock and Landon have more tales to tell. What I really need is a few more hours in every day to get more work done.
Elizabeth: Thank you for joining us today and the best of luck with your new release. I know you’re all waiting for a little taste of Moose Fever.
Excerpt: Landon sat next to Brock on the couch as Brock finished recounting how he’d found the body near the creek. “You think a moose might’ve killed him?”
Brock shrugged. He’d already taken off his uniform shirt, and with the summer heat still permeating the un-air-conditioned house, had chosen to stay shirtless.
Brock shirtless wasn’t something Landon could ever image getting tired of seeing. The bulging pecs covered in soft blond hair always held Landon’s attention.
“I don’t know. It’s hard to really say. There were definite moose tracks on him. Whether the moose killed him because he got too close, or the moose just walked on him after he was dead, it’s hard to tell.”
“I doubt a moose would walk on a dead body,” Landon said.
“Why?” Brock looked confused. It was cute on his rugged features.
“Most hoofed animals don’t like stepping on things when they don’t know what they are. Particularly if the body was behind something like a fallen tree, it would’ve been awkward. Not to mention that the scent would’ve thrown them off.”
“I don’t think the body had been behind the fallen tree long. I think the bear pulled it there.”
Landon pursed his lips and shook his head. “But then why was the camera right there? That doesn’t make sense. I’d like to know if the camera belonged to the body.”
Brock shrugged again and then put a strong arm across Landon’s shoulders. “I don’t know. Actually, with everything else that’s going on right now, I’m glad that we don’t need to worry too much about this case. It’s a human body. That leaves it in the county’s hands. All I had to do is make sure they knew about it. If they decide it wasn’t killed by a critter and it wasn’t an accident, should they catch someone, I’ll have to show up at the trial and say I found the body. Beyond that, not my case.” Brock sounded grumpy, tired, and something more.
Landon cuddled in tighter to him. “Something’s wrong. More than just finding a human body. What’s going on?”
A long, slow sigh escaped Brock. “I talked to Mom today.”
“Okay. When are they arriving for the wedding? I don’t know how much space we can make here for everyone, but I want your folks and my folks at least to stay with us.”
“About that. Mom’s not real sure they’re going to make it.”
Landon sat up and looked at Brock, not bothering to hide the shock that coursed through him. “What do you mean, they aren’t real sure they’re going to make it? Is someone sick? I thought you said they were fine.”
“They are.” Brock sounded miserable. “Mom’s worried about what my grandmother is going to say. I told you a while back that they’re fairly old-fashioned. She doesn’t want to upset them by saying the whole family’s coming. She was thinking it would just be better if they all stayed home in Tennessee.”
“Stay home in Tennessee?” Landon hugged Brock tightly. “How do you feel about it?”
“I don’t know. I don’t want to disappoint you. You’re all excited about our families meeting and having a nice, happy wedding. I’m not sure that’s going to happen.” He paused and paled. “Well, at least the families meeting. We’re going to have a nice, happy wedding. I’ve told you I’m not real close with my family. Most of it’s because they don’t believe in who I am.”
Landon didn’t let go of Brock. He wanted to show his love in the face of Brock’s family’s absence. “Well, I don’t care about that. Do you really want your folks here?”
A faraway look crossed Brock’s face. He nodded. “I do.”
Meet A.J. Marcus: A.J. has been writing to pass the time since high school. The stories he wrote helped him deal with life. A few years ago, he started sharing those stories with friends who enjoyed them and he has started sending his works out into the world to share with other people. He lives in the mountains with his extremely supportive husband. They have a lot of critters, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, and rabbits. When not writing, A.J. spends a lot of time hiking, trail riding, or just driving in the mountains. Nature provides a lot of inspiration for his work and keeps him writing. He is also an avid photographer and falconer. Don’t get him started talking about his birds, because he won’t stop for a while.
The delightful Michael Rupured is up next on April 26. I’ve already seen some of his post and you’re going to LOVE it!
Until next time,