We spent last week visiting family in Palm Desert. It’s a long drive–over 420 miles–and a good chunk of the return journey is along the same route Jimmy takes at the beginning of Rattlesnake. I did not have an expiring car or a dead man on my trip. Although the SUV just hit 137K and has experienced recent parking lot trauma, thanks to the teen driver. And my husband has a cold, which meant he was much less fun to drive with than a corpse.
I thought you might like to see Jimmy’s trip in pictures.
We begin in the Mojave desert. It’s a big place with a beauty of its own. And lots of Joshua trees.
Jimmy picks up Tom here. It was night, of course. I passed through around noon and the joint was jumping.
Jimmy and Tom leave the desert via Tehachapi Pass. There was a little snow up there last week, which was exciting for my kids.
On the other side of the pass, Jimmy drops down toward the Central Valley. The terrain and vegetation are very different on the west side.
And then Jimmy passes through Bakersfield. I have to admit, Bakersfield is not my favorite city, perhaps due to a traumatic incident involving a flat tire and the Bakersfield Sears. Also, I was once recruited for a job there, and the recruiter tried to tell me that Bakersfield is an hour from LA. Which is a pretty huge stretch of the truth, and also not a big attraction since I’m not LA’s #1 fan. I probably could have taken a more flattering photo of Bakersfield. Maybe.
Next, Jimmy heads north on Highway 99. I have spent far too many hours on that highway.
Of course, Jimmy then has some adventures of a sort in Fresno. I didn’t take any pictures of Fresno, a city whose motto should be “At least we’re not Bakersfield!”. In Merced, Jimmy headed east toward the foothills, while I continued north. Of course, I don’t have a photo of the fictional town of Rattlesnake. Will this do?
And, in case you haven’t heard, Rattlesnake just released on audiobook, with the incomparable K.C. Kelly narrating. It’s available from Amazon, Audible, and iTunes. I’m listening to it right now, so I can tell you that K.C. totally nailed this one.
I hope your holidays are treating you well. My family and I are in Palm Desert on vacation this week. I’ll have photos for you later. But for now I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all these Goodreads M/M Romance Member’s Choice nominations. I’m a little overwhelmed by your support!
When his memories begin endangering his happily-ever after on Celos, Jimenez is forced to choose between forgetting his lover Teo, or accepting the sometimes painful gifts of Spindrift.
Scars and a tattoo may be the only physical reminders from his years as a slave, but when Jimenez suffers a setback in his medical treatment, the only option is a therapy that will wipe away all his memories of the past including his time with Teo. Teo, torn between supporting his lover’s decisions and the good intentions of his family, sets out to teach Jimenez about Spindrift Gifts and how memories are celebrated on Celos even when they are painful. Can Teo and Jimenez weather the storm to find their happily-ever-after on Celos?
Teo set it on the table with a clack. “Same principle. It’s our Spindrift gift for the rev. We each put a memory in one to add to the family collection. And then at the gala they all glow on the lighted tree.”
“Tree? Do you grow trees on Celos?”
Teo chuckled. “Not really. It’s a light-painted representation of a tree, like one of those from old Earth. It’s a family tree. Each branch holds the most important memories for the rev from that branch of the family.”
“A shared memory?” Jimenez ran a finger along the smooth top of the tiny cube. It blushed a delicate pink at his touch.
“No. It’s personal, a gift, a painful or a pleasant one. One you share because it hurts, and you smooth the edges by giving it away, or one of your favorites you want others to experience. But you give one from the past rev.”
Their conversation grew hushed. Teo attempted to lighten the mood. He grabbed the leftover paper from his package and folded it into the shape of a little boat.
“I’ve been trying to think of one that would be suitable for family viewing.” He wiggled his eyebrows.
Jimenez glared at him. “That’s not the all we’ve done this rev.”
He picked up the cube and activated it. Teo stared transfixed as Jimenez pulled it close to his mouth and breathed a puff of air over it, his fingers whitening at the tips as he remembered.
Teo wondered which memory put that serene smile on his lover’s face, smoothing the furrows lining his brow. Was it onboard his ship in the Nothing? Or maybe one with Teo on Switchpoint?
“What did you record? Can I see it?” He whispered, unwilling to break the spell of Jimenez’s memory.
Jimenez opened his eyes, and his fingers clutched the small cube. But he smiled at it like it held a secret.
“I’m not sure this is one to give away. Do you have extra cubes?”
Kevin Rettinger is the visual model for the Pod, Teo, the bartender of the Klockwerk Kracken who falls for a spacer and then takes him home to meet his family and celebrate the Celosian holiday of Spindrift. Teo, like most people on Celos has four tentacles in addition to his human standard body. These extra arms are a result of his ancestors undergoing genetic modification in order to give them advantages when settling the planet of Celos. He left home after finishing school and bummed around the galaxy before settling on the Switchpoint Waystation where he opened his bar, The Klockwerk Kraken. Although most people on Celos rarely leave planet, Teo yearned for a little adventure. Some of that was a result of the stories his godfather told him—Teo’s godfather is a two-armed human who came to Celos as a visiting scientist but stayed when he fell in love, marrying into Teo’s extended family. Teo has a smattering of his mother’s talent for painting, all the kraken paintings on his old bar were painted by him personally. When he bought The Klockwerk Kraken, it was an old warehouse on the edge of the port. He fixed it up and made it a safe place for customers to have a drink near the docks. He offered food because he learned to cook from his Dad who’s an amateur foodie on Celos. Teo grew up playing several instruments (although he’s no professional like his sister Carlsa) and has a very nice baritone singing voice. One of the things he loves to do on Celos is go swimming. There were several bacteria outbreaks in the pools on the Switchpoint Waystation so he was afraid to swim there. He is one of only four children in his family (considered an extremely small family on Celos). He is also the only one of his siblings that is not married with children. But since meeting Jimenez, that might change in the future…
Iker Casillas Fernández is my visual model for the spacer Jimenez, a man tortured by his past and trying to make a brighter future for himself. Jimenez was born a slave in a crèche where children are bred from anonymous germ cells. Slave behaviors were grown into his brain and taught during his childhood. At adolescence the pleasure centers of his brain were connected to a tattoo above his ankle, designating him a body slave. He was sold to a miner on a distant outpost and used not only for sex but also as a laborer. He was freed after a takeover of the colony company by an abolitionist corporation. The new company cleaned out the slave population. At this point, Jimenez was so injured by his master that he was sent to Celos both for reprogramming and for rehabilitation. He’d been mutilated and nearly died. During his treatment, a nurse asked him what he wanted to do as a free man and he said he wanted something as far away from people as he could get. As a Celosian loneliest thing she could think of was away from family and friends, hauling cargo through the Nothing, a blank part of space near the galaxy arm. He liked the idea of the solitude, so he asked for navigation ports to be placed in his brainstem. He then spent several revs as navigation crew on various cargo ships until he’d saved enough money to get his captain’s port and buy his own ship, The Freedom’s Wing. He learned to fight during his time as a nav operator for a small fleet. Hand to hand martial arts were a hobby of one of his shipmates who taught him so that he’d have a sparring partner. The first time Jimenez ported into a ship’s navigation system was the first time he could envision the future. Space was so wide and he was able to go anywhere. He learned to read as an adult via download, however, it’s still not his most proficient skill. As a result, he’s a poetry lover because poems use small words with big meanings and the cadence of the words is calming.
When the right space pilot walks into his bar, a desperate bartender uses all his wiles (and tentacles) to talk the man into business and his bed–but the spacer is still enslaved by his past and isn’t sure he can deal with a two-handed lover, much less one with six.
As the supply shipments stop coming, Teo Houdin needs all his tentacles to keep his waystation bar open. Facing a riot by thirsty miners stranded in the backwater of the galaxy, Teo helps a greenie space pilot buy a ship in return for a regular haul of liquor. But he longs for the courage to invite the enigmatic spacer to fill his lonely bed as well.
Still smarting from his newly implanted navigational ports, Jimenez knows owning his own ship will prevent him from ever being bought and sold again. For a former slave, transporting cargo through the emptiness of space sounds like paradise, but after meeting the compassionate and sexy Teo, his heart feels empty, too.
At the edge of the galaxy’s spiral arm, can Teo convince Jimenez that the heart has its own tentacles and theirs should be entwined forever?
About the Author
Aidee Ladnier began writing fiction at twelve years old but took a hiatus to be a magician’s assistant, ride in hot air balloons, produce independent movies, collect interesting shoes, and amass a secret file with the CIA. A lover of genre fiction, it has been a lifelong dream of Aidee’s to write both romance and erotica with a little science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, or the paranormal thrown in to add a zing.
That’s me with my high school boyfriend in 1983. That boy turns 50 today. So if you want to assist me in being evil, send him an appropriate birthday greeting: email@example.com . Lest you think maturity comes with age, he’s laid up today with a bad wrist–obtained by overdoing it on PlayStation.
Do you still have some last minute shopping to do? Remember that I donate all the proceeds from my self-published books to Doctors Without Borders. The two most recent releases would make especially good gifts such as gift baskets from Broadway Basketeers:
Do you have holiday plans? My family and I will be driving down near Palm Springs to visit the inlaws. It’s a long drive, but part of it inspired Rattlesnake, so that’s good. I saw an old guy in a faded jeans jacket hitchhiking in the middle of the Mojave, and you know how that turned out. I’m hoping we’ll get in a visit to Joshua Tree National Park, and we’re all planning to see the new Star Wars movie in IMAX. How about you?
Whenever possible, I stay home from the day job on Fridays so I can maybe get some work done. In the office I get interrupted constantly, so Fridays are my chance to accomplish something–like wading through a mountain of exams and working on the (boring academic) chapter that’s due at the end of the month.
So here’s what my day has been like:
Monthly maid service shows up 30 minutes early
Secretary texts, then calls, with complicated questions
A dozen students send emails asking if I will round up their grades
Junior high principal calls about issue with Kid 2
Husband comes home early with hurt arm, blasts TV
Doorbell rings twice with packages
Phone rings multiple times, mostly robocalls
Software miscalculates student grades, a problem that takes an hour to fix
Administrator emails me to tell me you can’t assess “understanding”, so a course proposal needs fixing
Brother and SIL send very distracting and delicious package full of goodies
Two faculty members from my department email with urgent questions
Good grief! The worst of it is that what I really want to be doing is dealing with the round of Stasis edits that arrived yesterday or writing a novella about aliens. Both those will have to wait.
How do you feel about holidays? I alternate between Scrooge and Cindy Lou Who, depending on the day and my mood. So when I write holiday stories, sometimes they may be a bit dark (um, “Alaska”) or sometimes definitely not. What did we get this year? Hanukkah with whipped cream and sprinkles.
“Grateful” is out now as a standalone short story, so you can buy it by itself. It’s discounted 30% through December 5. If you bought the Advent Calendar package, it’ll arrive on your bookshelf sometime this month.
Here’s the blurb:
Nate Roth’s latest dumb stunt has left him with a broken arm, black eye, and stitched chin—and extra trepidation about visiting his family for Hanukkah. He fears his relatives will put him through another round of criticism for his foolish choices and his nonexistent love life. Several mishaps during his short journey to his parents’ house don’t bode well. But along the way he meets impossibly gorgeous Gio DiPietro—and maybe it’s time for Nate’s risk-taking impulses to turn out well for a change.
I have to tell you, Nate and Gio were really fun to write. So these guys could be your go-to for a quick little bit of holiday cheer.
All of Dreamspinner’s other holiday stories are also 30% off right now. Time to cuddle up with the ereader and hot chocolate, don’t you think?
He fascinated me. One line, one command hardened my cock almost painfully, my balls tightening. I’d swear, even though I’d never seen him before, much less heard his voice, if he’d commanded me to come, I would have sprayed right then and there without touching my dick once, which I’d never done.
He was every gay submissive boy’s wet dream. His dominance filled the air around him, calling to the submissive in me in a way that should have frightened me, but didn’t. I wanted to be on my knees at his feet right that very second. Not in the cage waiting. He’d won me even if he hadn’t bid yet.
Broad in the shoulders, he was just tall enough to make me feel my submission. He had a thick, muscular chest, lightly dusted with hair that I wanted to run my fingers through and bury my face in. It’d take both of my hands to wrap around his biceps, and I’m not sure I’d be able to get them all the way around his thighs. I’d have bet my next paycheck they were rock hard too.
The leather he wore hugged everything and left absolutely nothing to the imagination. My asshole had clenched when he stepped up to my cage, the outline of his cock filling my vision. I had no idea if it was hard or soft, but I almost hoped for hard because it looked huge to me, and I’d never felt anything like that before. The pants could’ve been misleading, but I didn’t think so. My cock leaked when I tried to imagine him buried inside me.
I would’ve been the first to admit I wasn’t the most experienced gay man in the world. Having been closeted for so long, it took forever for me to venture out to a club. It wasn’t until after leaving my parents’ house and starting college that I felt like I could breathe. I’d been exploring my sexuality over the last four and a half years, and I shocked the hell out of myself when my friend Mike brought me to this club for the first time. My cock had been hard the entire evening. I’d wanted so badly to be the one strapped to a spanking bench or St. Andrew’s Cross, feeling the flogger or hand or whatever.
It took me nearly six months to finally work up the nerve to approach Mike about learning more. He wasn’t comfortable teaching me—I learned later that was mostly because he was a sub himself—but he introduced me to a friend of his who was a Dom. Master Nash was straight, but he had been willing to show me the ropes. It was his encouragement that had me in a cage tonight.
* * *
If Kyle can get past his fears, he could see what his beloved Master Mal does: a beautiful boy that deserves his collar–and heart.
Malcolm Tate hung up his flogger when his submissive sought out another Dom and landed in the hands of a serial killer. Convinced his lack of dominance sent his sub away, Mal has spent two years blaming himself for what happened. But when his best friend finally convinces him to go back to the local dungeon, Mal’s grateful. Especially when he wins beautiful, submissive, firmly-closeted Kyle Bingham in a charity slave auction.
College grad Kyle hasn’t earned enough to move out of the loft his conservative, homophobic parents bought, much less to buy any of the other things still in their name. When he’s won at auction by the hot, amazing Mal, he’s shocked that anyone would want him. No one else seemed to—not his parents, his former Doms, or any of his disastrous dates.
But Mal does want him and Kyle lets his guard down, only to be outed to his parents. With his world crashing down, he must find a way to trust Mal—and their developing relationship—or risk losing everything.
Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.
A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.
As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.