Hullo, everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of Genre Talk. This week we’ve got DSP Publications author Deja Black in the hotseat, and she’s brought an excerpt from her new release, Broken Bones, to share. But first, let’s have a look at what it’s all about and get to the grilling. 😉
Dan Tolliver, the adopted son of alpha pack leader Jeremiah Tolliver, has suffered his last moment of abuse by his lover Keith Mulligan and finds himself in the hospital. There he meets dark and sharp-tongued Dr. Aiden Kavanaugh, who believes Dan needs some of his straightforward kind of medicine. Still, there is something different about the doctor.
Aiden is a sandman, a weaver of dreams, and has been on earth far longer than even he knows. He’s at the end of his time, ready to transition, and needs a human mate to keep him connected to the world he’s grown to love. Only he hasn’t found a special person who makes him want to stay. He doesn’t despair, because not every sandman has the chance to choose, but he knows if he doesn’t find a partner, he will soon lose his physical form and exist only in dreams.
When Aiden realizes Keith is a far greater monster than Dan has any idea, they grow and work together using the support of the pack—and Dan’s inner strength—to overcome impossible odds.
Carole: Sounds like you’re really mixing it up here, with lots of intrigue and paranormal genre elements. So let’s start there. Tell us about your genre.
Deja: I write paranormal suspense/mystery. I love my supernatural beings, but love them more when they’re fighting crime or some type of demonic adversary, whether it’s of the mentally horrific persuasion or the heinous physical kind. I like my reads with all types of flavors—a little sweet, a little gritty, a little twisted. My genre allows me to give all of that with the promise that there will be a happy ending. My requirement for my main characters, as with any book I choose to read, is that two men better be falling in love. There must be the opportunity for me to introduce a completely new or untouched being, or play around with a bit of the old. There must be passion, struggle. The battle they face and the enemy they overcome will bring them together, unite them in such a way that their lives and the impressions they have made on the reader will not be easily forgotten. Writing paranormal suspense/mystery allows me to do exactly that.
Carole: You mentioned “two men better be falling in love”. Why two men?
Deja: Well, there is simply something mouthwatering to me about two men falling in love, vulnerable yet empowered. It’s scintillating imagery that I want so desperately to immortalize in word. Men love differently. They love differently with women. They love passionately with men in a way that their physical prowess, their power, is that much more impressive because they don’t have to hold back. Still, that release may be tempered by the restrictions and vices of a warped society, but conquering the limitations that the world may try to throw against them inspires me to reach above and surpass my own obstacles. The physical beauty of two men entwined is, to me, artistic. It’s a symbol of freedom, the ability to love, to hope regardless of circumstance. It excites me, and it challenges me to capture it in a way that is artistically authentic. As a woman, it requires talking to men, researching, finding out what works and what doesn’t. It requires me to learn more about a subject that never fails to make me burn with interest.
Carole: As it will with your readers, no doubt. So, tell us about Broken Bones.
Deja: Broken Bones brings together the explored paranormal world (werewolves/shifters) with the unexplored (sandman). It is a story of overcoming fears and adversity, while also finding love and acceptance.
Though hard to take in, readers need to understand the introduction is necessary. That moment for Dan is his turning point in a life that has nearly destroyed his spirit. It is where the reader can not only empathize with his suffering, but honestly connect, and though it’s terrible and horrific, it’s written so that readers might truly appreciate how far Dan is able to rise to become what Aiden needs.
I wanted my readers to enjoy meeting a different supernatural creature, to see Aiden as both a man and as the glorious being he can become. I enjoyed bringing Aiden to life, building his world, aiding him in finding someone for him—someone who would help him, love him, be the family he needs when he feels lost and alone. I wanted readers to appreciate and cheer for Dan and Aiden in their battle to vanquish someone so evil, something so sinister, whose mission it was to destroy them both. I want readers to be able to shout with joy as they prevail against their shared enemy together.
Carole: Broken Bones is being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press’s imprint for nonromance genre novels. Tell us about the relationship in Broken Bones and why it doesn’t fit the accepted definition of Romance in the M/M genre.
Deja: DSP Publications is a branch of Dreamspinner Press that promotes nonromance genre novels. Why is this the perfect fit for me? Hmm. While I love a great romance, my stories tend to lend themselves more to the writings of James Patterson or even Steven King. Yes, I have two men (sometimes more) who will fall in love, but the story itself is so much more than the romance between them. My plot is filled with action, supports a storyline that will capture the reader’s attention, make their blood rush while the hunt is on for the villain, draw them into the story, and never truly release them as they anticipate the next read, the next step in the characters’ lives. There’s horror, tragedy, suspense, and humor, both dark and light. These all blend to make a read that reaches beyond the traditional romance. DSP Publications allows me the opportunity to blend my romance with a storyline filled with energy and complications not often faced by the main character. And yet, we still have two men who fall in love.
Carole: Tell us about the evolution of this story. What was its earliest incarnation as a concept and when did it begin to take the form of Broken Bones?
Deja: The first few lines of the story itself came to me while I was working on something else actually. I still need to complete that piece, so I won’t mention too much about it right now. Anyway, creating the demon for that work led me to Dan, which in turn gave me Aiden, the sandman. Before I realized it, I had already moved on to writing the first chapter, placing the other work on the backburner because I had to tell Dan and Aiden’s story, make them real. I couldn’t let them go without completing it, without bringing them to life and helping them have their happy ending. I visualized my men, how they would look, how they would love. I knew who Aiden would be, what he would be. I knew what he needed. I knew Dan would have to be broken in order to become the steel that Aiden’s creature would require for balance, to give him a home. Keith was there in the beginning, a sleek and powerful presence the two of them would have to face. Dan would have to challenge his fears. Aiden would have to choose to be loved. And, there we have it. Broken Bones was born.
Carole: Organic evolution—my favorite kind! 😉 Okay, so you’ve talked about why you write M/M in general—now tell us why you felt this story in particular needed to be told with the M/M dynamic.
Deja: Well, it’s sort of the way I think. For so long I believed I was the only one who loved M/M writing. Imagine my joy to discover a world of readers who enjoyed the romance that could be shared between two men! Nirvana! I’ve actually been writing M/M romance ever since I was young, and to unearth an audience that would treasure my men as much as I do has been one of life’s greatest moments. Why does this story have an M/M dynamic? It’s what I read. It’s what I love. It’s a story that needs my men to make it whole.
Carole: Will there be more of Dan and Aiden?
Deja: Yes, there will be. I will continue their story through the lives of others. There’s more for these two men, more for them to experience. The Broken Series already has a sequel in the making, and while many of you have asked about Kristoff, his story will be in Broken Promises. Peter’s story will help to introduce Kristoff’s story in Broken Pieces.
Carole: And will there be more unique supernatural beings?
Deja: Yes, there most certainly will be, along with variations of the tried and true classics. My men have their own stories to tell, their own powers and abilities to thrill you. Not stereotypical, not a carbon copy. Variety. It’s the spice of life. I’m here to ensure you enjoy the many flavors.
Carole: How do you manage the balance between main characters and side characters?
Deja: I treat my characters as people with stories to tell. Real people know others, interact with them. I give that to my characters. They know people, some more than others. They live and breathe, sharing their pain, facing obstacles, and they grow. My main characters need the side or secondary characters for that to happen, to make their world real, the story cohesive. In my mind, I see their lives and the people they know and love, or even hate. My mission? To make sure you do, too, which means giving everyone a story to tell.
Thank you for reading the thoughts behind Broken Bones. May you enjoy reading Dan and Aiden’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Carole: And thank you, Deja, for spending some time with us today. I’ve no doubt our awesome readers are intrigued and looking forward to sinking into Dan and Aiden’s world.
And to you, Awesome Readers, thank you for hanging out with us. Stay tuned for buy links, but for now, please enjoy the following excerpt from Deja Black’s Broken Bones:
EXCERPT: BROKEN BONES:
As time passed, with Dan continuing to see Aiden vividly in his dreams, he could no longer put off discussing how Aiden was involved in Dan’s psyche.
“You’re holding back, Daniel. You’ve yet to share where I fit in, in those dreams of yours.”
The question stole his breath. Dan had wanted to avoid this. Yeah, he knew it was going to come up, that his father would not have neglected to tell Aiden of his name being cried out by Dan as he slept. Was Jeremiah aware that, instead of those cries resulting from pain, they were in fact cries directly connected to the emptying of his balls, blissful visions of his dick encased within Aiden’s scrumptious ass? The more time he spent with Aiden, the more the fantasies increased, and the more the kneading spread over his body, the more Dan hungered for his touch. If Aiden reached any higher, he was going to encounter a hard dick with a specific destination in mind. In fact, Dan was starting to want those fingers wrapped around his mushroom cap as he spilled into Aiden’s waiting hand.
“Ugh.” Dan groaned as he stood abruptly, moving away from Aiden. He needed space from the source of these thoughts. He didn’t know if he could fight the impulse to jump Aiden’s bones, straddle him, and kiss the fuck out of those juicy lips that teased him. Oh, what he wanted to do with that tongue, what he wanted to do with his own. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
“Daniel?” Aiden moved to stand, but Dan placed his hand out to ward him off. Aiden eased back onto the bench. “Okay….”
The day was nice, one of many they had enjoyed in the gardens. The sun was bright, eager to give light to Dan’s hidden secrets. Was he ready for this, ready to share what had been tying him in knots every day he saw him?
With Aiden’s assurance that he would remain seated, Dan took a second to count down until he could breathe a little easier. It was all or nothing. True, he needed to get everything off his chest, but did he want to tell Aiden what role he was playing in Dan’s fantasies, that when he took a shower, Aiden’s face covered in his cum was what made him get off?
“Daniel, your dreams about me? What do you see me doing in them?”
Aiden had decided to help him along? Okay. Dan could do that. Answer Aiden’s questions. There was a chance he might feel the need to limit how much he would actually say, though. He wasn’t quite ready for much more. Just thinking about it was making a noticeable impression against the fly of his jeans. In fact, Little Dan was trying to make a break for it as they spoke. Spinning around, Dan gave himself time to adjust, shifting his leg with the hope of changing his manhood’s position at least.
“Sometimes you’re talking to me, just talking.” Just a minute more, and he would totally look at Aiden, not completely wimp out. “And other times….”
Aiden was nearer now. Dan felt the heat of Aiden’s body against his back, one hand sliding down his thigh, mapping his flesh. Those lips that had often mesmerized Dan were at his ear, wet and traveling.
“Other times? I… we… we’re making love. I’m leading, or you’re leading. We’re drenched in each other’s cum. There are moments when….” Dan had to pause before he could share the one that had shaken him to his bones. The fantasy or dream, whatever it was, when he had awakened and sat erect in bed, breath pumping like he had just finished a marathon. He could almost taste the blood in his mouth. The shock of that was what forced him out of sleep. It was vivid, tangible. They had drunk from each other, shared each other’s blood. Dan remembered being so hungry for it, gorging himself on Aiden’s carotid artery like he was a starving man and Aiden was his first meal. It was—he was so good. Dan ran his tongue along his teeth as if he could recapture the nectar, the honeyed taste. It was light, like wine… sweet ambrosia. He wanted it now, could almost taste it. Just thinking about it, remembering it, was driving him out of his mind. It didn’t help that Aiden’s touches were building a fire within him he felt powerless to contain.
“Well, I wouldn’t say no to that, Dan.”
Aiden licked him softly against the shell of his ear, then used sharp teeth to nip at him, stoking the flames. He sighed, leaning into Aiden as he welcomed him, made him feel at home. Aiden gently turned Dan in his arms, drawing him closer. He bent down to Dan’s lips, reached his tongue out for a sample first before placing them hotly against Dan’s to enjoy the whole meal. Immediately Dan’s cock was granite. He could even feel the precum wetting the inside of his boxer briefs, his dick pressing against the zipper, eager to rut against Aiden’s own. Lips locked together, Dan crushed Aiden to him, trying to crawl inside the marrow of his bones.
It was good, fucking good. He had been waiting, torturing himself with thoughts of Aiden. It was real skin, real flesh he was grasping needily, real cloth Dan was rending apart with eager hands, desperate to get to more skin, to feel Aiden’s nakedness against him. He wanted Aiden. He wanted him, and Dan was going to take him right here, right now, on this ground. He was going to sink between those glorious globes and spear that tender hole. For once, he would be the one in control. The gasps of breath Aiden heaved now would be nothing compared to the cries he would make as Dan thrust his hungry cock inside him, owned him. They would slow dance to their own blended rhythm, and he would savor every step.
“Danny Boy! What. The. Fuck.”
Oh, shit. Conner. Dan spun to see his Celtic brother marching toward them, a cell phone in hand, target in sight, battle ready. The pink case practically glowed in Conner’s paws, so clearly the phone was not his.
Arriving next to the two, Conner faced Aiden down. “This is what you are being paid to do, is it, Kavanagh? Maul my brother,” Conner growled.
“Maul him, Mr. Tolliver? I would chance to look at him and then to me.” Aiden glanced down toward his powder blue Ralph Lauren cotton dress shirt, buttons missing, petal-soft fabric torn open to reveal tanned flesh. Face flushed from Dan’s passionate assault, red welts standing out along his neck from Dan’s teeth.
Dan was trying to catch his breath. What had come over him? He wasn’t alone in it, though. Aiden had touched him, had hungered for those kisses as much as he wanted to feed them to him. He could feel the roughness of his tongue as he tugged on Dan’s lobe. Not just Dan. They shared equally whatever this was between them, overpowering them both.
“Conner,” Dan called, louder when his brother started squaring off. True, Aiden looked like he could probably hold his own, but with Conner’s martial arts training and combat experience, Dan didn’t want to chance it. Besides, he was as much at fault as Aiden. “I did it. I… uhm… I kissed him.”
Conner turned to face him, eyes wide. “You… you started this? You’ve never….”
DEJA BLACK had fantasies of men loving men, men who felt strongly, loved hard, and needed a hero. Then one great day she came across a book and discovered the world of M/M writing, encountered others who shared her obsession as much as she did, and found a world where she could not only be accepted for the lives and loves she envisioned, but she could create them too. So why not? Why not take the stories she would write and throw away as a teenager, grow them, dream them, and make them a reality where she could know her own characters, let them live their story, and make them real for someone else? And she did. Now, with the support of her hubby and some intense time management, she is learning to balance her family of two children at home and the many others she teaches each and every day with her passion of writing what she loves to read.
That’s all for this edition of Genre Talk. Please join us next time when Rick R. Reed will be visiting again to talk about his upcoming Horror/Romance release, A Demon Inside. (You know you can’t wait!)