Please welcome Eli Easton!

Please welcome Eli Easton! Eli wrote a wonderful historical romance for the Goodreads Love Has No Boundaries event (which means you can download for free!). Eli is also the talented artist who made the lovely cover for Treasure.

Going Medieval on Your Ass – “The Lion and the Crow”
By Eli Easton

Like many writers, I have this super-duper list on my computer called “story ideas”.  Anytime anything with the least molecule of potential springs into my mind, I type it in there.  If the world never ends, and I gain immortality, I might just write a story for each idea in that document.  One of the things in there was “Medieval period – two knights (m/m).”

Ideas, like fruit, eventually have their day to ripen.  So when I decided to write a story as part of the “Love Has No Boundaries” event on goodreads, and I saw a medieval knight prompt among the story pictures submitted, I grabbed it faster than you can say “Is that a halberd in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?”   

Hence was born “The Lion and the Crow”, a 32K word novella about two medieval knights, Sir William (aka the Lion) and Sir Christian (aka the Crow) who find themselves on a journey together to rescue Sir William’s sister.  Alone on the road for weeks, both men must face, in very different ways, their lifelong desire to love another man.  I wanted to make the story as realistic as possible, both in the medieval setting and in the slow burn relationship.  This is not an erotica piece that ignores the historical realities, but a real attempt to imagine what it would have been like to have been a man born with a same-sex preference in that day and age of macho warriors to whom honor and valor were everything.
But what inspired my interested in the medieval period in the first place?  Here are some of my most favorite films and stories:
Ladyhawke:  A shifter romance set in the medieval period—very romantic, tragic, and beautifully shot. Starring Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer.

The Name of the Rose:  Both the book by Umberto Eco and the movie starring Sean Connery are terrific.  Mysterious deaths at a monastery are being blamed on the devil, but a more literal-minded investigator tries to see past the superstition.

Braveheart:  Although primarily a battle movie, I loved the gritty realism of the villages and culture as depicted in this Mel Gibson movie.  And medieval Scotland!  That’s the height of romance.  I even worked William Wallace into my epilogue.

A Knight’s Tale:  This is more Hollywood spin than reality-based, but it’s still got hunky knights, jousting, and a lovely romantic plotline (though m/f, more’s the pity).

Game of Thrones:  Super hot HBO series full of violence, betrayal and love.  Brilliant!

You can read my take on a medieval m/m romance FOR FREE as part of the Love Has No Boundaries event.  The links are below.  I hope you enjoy it!
Eli Easton
About Eli Easton
Eli Easton is a new nom de plume for an author who has primarily published mystery thrillers in the past.  As an addict of m/m romance, she decided to tip her size-nine toe in the water and write in the genre herself.  “The Lion and the Crow” is her first published m/m novella.  She has two short stories out now and three new m/m romance books coming out from Dreamspinner in 2013. You can get news about her books on goodreads here:
Or visit her blog:
The Lion and the Crow links:
Read online or Download ebooks here:
Eli Easton’s website:

Inspiration post #7: Futons

If you’ve read Good Bones, you know that among the challenges facing Dylan is to design a house for Cassidy and Pomegranate, the futon queens. Their futon factory plays a part in my (free!) short story, The Gig.

While Cass and Pom are purely fictional, the inspiration for their business is real: my sister-in-law has sold futons for years. She’s always manufactured them, but a couple years ago she opened a factory. It was a tour of the factory that made me think of The Gig.

 When the photo above was taken, the factory was still under construction. There are more shelves now, and a section where people assemble and sew the mattresses.

And there’s the machine.

Bales of raw cotton go into this beast and eventually neat, clean pads come out. It’s enormous and noisy. It’s many decades old and requires its own machinist to keep running. It sprays cotton fluff everywhere. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

For the sake of scale, here’s my 10-year-old standing in front of part of the machine.

And here’s a short clip of the machine in action:

This machine once lived in a factory in Seattle, but my SIL bought it, took it apart, trucked it to Portland, and reassembled it. And as soon as I saw it (and met the machinist), I thought, Wow! What a great job for Travis! Here’s the machine shop:

The factory has other great machines too, like this quilting machine from the 1940s:

 But the futons still require hand assembly. Here’s an action photo, complete with child labor:

 It’s okay. They were making a futon for Older Daughter’s bed. The guy in the background is operating the tufting machine.

 And that’s the view from the factory, augmented by Younger Daughter.

Next week:  The Speechless dream


I’ve been in Iowa City to attend the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. I’ve had a wonderful time with a couple of workshops–and come up with some plot bunnies I’m really excited about. Which makes sense, given the number of rabbits hopping around this city’s lawns.

That’s the old capitol (from before Iowans decided to legislate from Des Moines). The best thing about it is the inscription over the doorway:

I especially love that period after the A.

Iowa City is very literary in general. They have these cute little mini libraries:

This one dispenses dog treats as well as books.

I’ve lived in the Midwest, but have spent very little time here over the past 20 years. So Iowa has gifted me with some of the things I’ve missed: fireflies, a good thunderstorm, Hy-Vee grocery store, lemon custard ice cream, and yesterday a tornado warning.

I was all set to fly back to the West Coast today, but apparently Delta Airlines had other plans, so I get an unexpected bonus day. We celebrated with a visit to Prairie Lights Books and crepes:

Yes, it tasted as good as it looked.

Inspiration post #6: Brute

I fall in love with all my characters–even the villains. But some have a special place in my heart. Brute is one of those.

He was created a bit by accident. I’d begun with the idea of a blind prisoner who dreamed people’s deaths. Then I began to imagine what sort of man might serve as that prisoner’s guard. He’d be big and brutish, very much in accord with the stereotype of a guard. But I realized that was only the shell. Inside, he’d be gentle and kind, but lonely and low in self-esteem.

A lot of my inspiration came from my thoughts on stereotypes and our tendency to pass judgment about people simply because of the way they look. But how much do looks really tell us? (For a humorous take on this idea, see the “Prof or Hobo?” quiz.) And not only do these judgments affect how other people perceive us, but they can even cloud our own views of ourselves. Sociologists and psychologists acknowledge this when they talk about labeling theory.

So I wanted a character who looked big and stupid and scary, but was in reality sweet and a little childlike, and who desperately wanted someone to be his friend, to love him. So Brute was born.

I didn’t think about this consciously at the time, but probably Brute was influenced a little by one of my favorite giants, Fezzik from The Princess Bride. And maybe he was influenced by my favorite breed of dogs–Saint Bernards. Saints look big and tough but mine were the gentlest babies you could ever hope to meet. But Brute has a lot of quirks that are purely his own.

Maybe my love for Brute came through in the writing, because I think he’s a reader favorite too. And that makes me happy, because he deserves a lot of love.

Next week: futons

Inspiration Post #5: Elwood the cat

In my novella Speechless, Travis has a cat named Elwood. The two have a lot in common. They’re both half-blind, they both had kind of tough beginnings before they found each other, and neither is a sensitive type, at least on the surface. And eventually they both fall for Drew.

Elwood was inspired by a real cat:

Okay, I have to let you in on a little secret: the real cat is female and her name is Xena Warrior Princess. She’s lived outside my office building for years. An infection when she was a small kitten blinded her in one eye, and a couple years ago she lost the eye completely in a fight with a fox. But she doesn’t let it get her down. She leads a good life, well-fed by faculty, staff, and students. She gets regular veterinary care. She stalks the grounds for rodents and sometimes she lets people pet her, but mostly she takes long naps in the sun.

Elwood doesn’t actually appear in The Gig, but he is mentioned. You can download The Gig for free from Dreamspinner Press.

Next week: Brute

My novella Treasure is now available for free!  Pirates, a lonely invalid, and a loveable rogue. 🙂

Inspiration Post #4: Doughnuts!

One of the things I enjoy when I write is including little details that set the mood or place, or that tell us something about the characters. Many of these details are inspired by things I happen to come across. A good example of this is doughnuts.

In both Good Bones and Buried Bones, the guys visit a doughnut shop. Ah, but it’s not just any doughnut shop–it’s Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut. My older daughter insists we make a pilgrimage there whenever we visit Portland, and to be honest, I don’t take much persuading.

I’ve never tried one of their famous bacon maple bars because I don’t eat mammals. But I’ve been told they’re delicious. I’ve also never ordered one of their cock and balls pastries (filled with Bavarian cream, of course). But I’ve had Tang doughnuts and Captain Crunch.

And of course I’ve had voodoo doughnuts, complete with the pretzel stick “pin” and raspberry jelly “blood.”

It is also possible to purchase this beer. My husband tried it and was not a fan. He’ll stick to doughnuts with beer on the side.

Next week: Elwood the cat!