Vote early and often?

Okay, you can actually vote only once.

I am very honored to have been nominated in several categories at the Goodreads M/M Romance group’s Members Choice awards. You have to be a member to vote–but membership is free and it’s a great group. I’d appreciate your votes! all-time m/m author
#7-Best paranormal–Motel. Pool.
#8-Best enemies to lovers–Guarded
#9-Best hurt/comfort–The Pillar
#15-Best book of the year–The Pillar
#39-Best fantasy–Guarded
#40-Best Love’s Landscapes story–Guarded
#42-Best historical–The Pillar


Blast from the Past: The Trust


Thanks, Kim, for hosting this Blast from the Past! I thought I’d share one of my more unusual books – this one written with my good friend, Venona Keyes. The Trust is probably best described as a gay James Bond meets “The Matrix.” It’s a romance (HEA, of course, since I won’t write a book without one!), but it’s even more an edge of your seat thriller where it’s hard to figure out who the good guys are sometimes. There’s a mystery to be solved that takes “executive” Jake Anders on a journey halfway around the world.

The book was based on an idea by Venona about implantable microchips that “speak” to the host. Artificial intelligence that encapsulates a human personality. Some of the microchips are purely invented personalities. But one in particular is based on Jake’s former mentor, Trace Michelson, who was assassinated six years before. Or was he? That’s the mystery Jake must solve.


The Trust, by Shira Anthony and Venona Keyes

Publication Date:  June 18, 2012, Dreamspinner Press

Blurb:   Eight years ago, Jake Anders was a college kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Then Trace Michelson recruited him into The Trust, a CIA-backed agency whose “executives” eliminate rogue biotechnology operations. Trace was everything Jake ever wanted in a man: powerful, brilliant, and gorgeous. But Jake never admitted his attraction to his mentor, and Trace always kept Jake at arm’s length.

Now Trace is dead and Jake is one of The Trust’s best operatives, highly skilled and loyal to the organization. But the secret agent has his own secret: six years ago, before he was assassinated, Trace designed a Sim chip containing his memories and experiences—and now that chip is part of Jake. It’s just data, designed to augment Jake’s knowledge, but when Sim becomes reality, Jake wonders if Trace is still alive or if Jake really is going crazy like everyone claims. He doesn’t know if he can trust himself, let alone anyone else.

To learn the truth about Trace and the chip, Jake embarks on a dangerous mission—except he’s not the only one looking for the information. Some of the answers are locked in his head, and unless he finds the key, he’ll be killed for the technology that’s become a part of him.

Now, more than ever, Jake wishes Trace were here to guide him. Too bad he’s dead… right?


Chapter One: The Hitman is Hit

Shit. Shit, shit, shit!

Blood gushed from his leg, and for just an instant, he watched it with growing anger. Watched it, that was, until the adrenaline kick-started his brain and he realized he would die if he kept bleeding like this.

Gotta stop the bleeding, he thought with desperation.

He dragged himself to the women’s bathroom, pushed hard on the door, and stumbled in. Between the sound of the door slamming against the wall and the sight of all the blood, the startled women inside screamed and ran out.

Blood coated everything he touched. He leaned against a stall door, and it swung open under his weight. One hand applying pressure to the gunshot wound, he elbowed the toilet-paper holder. He fell to the floor and the roll sprang free. He placed the cheap one-ply paper over the wound and pressed down hard—it only took a minute before the roll was a deep crimson.

He tapped the microphone on his chest and shouted, “Agent down! I need an extraction, now!”

“Who’s down?” came the calm, even voice in his earpiece.

“I am. Sandoval fucking ambushed me. Caught me in the leg. Hit an artery.”

“Anders, where are you?”

“I—” He broke off, looking up to see a slender man leaning casually against the stall door, grinning at him. The Silver Fox, Jason Sandoval. Sandoval wasn’t Jake’s target, but it seemed as though Jake was his. Jake had always detested Sandoval. Now he knew why.

“So… there you are. Thanks for leaving me a trail of bloody breadcrumbs to follow.”

“Agent Anders, where are you?” the voice in his ear persisted. He ignored it.

“Looks like ya got a bleeder there, Anders.”

They had never been friends, but they had been colleagues. Now, Jake wanted nothing more than to blow the smirk off the other man’s face.

Fucking traitor.

“I’ve had worse,” Jake lied. If Sandoval wanted him dead, he’d probably only have to wait a few minutes for him to bleed out. But that wasn’t Sandoval’s style—he had never been a patient man, and Jake knew it.

“Not sure that’s true, but I admire your bravado.”

Again, the voice in his ear. “Agent Anders, who’s there with you?”

“What do you want, Sandoval?” Jake asked. He’d pretty much always suspected Jason Sandoval was insane. Now he was sure of it.

Who the hell is he working for? Foreign government? Private concern?

They had come here as a team, their mission to intercept a scientist who was in town for a conference. But things had gone horribly wrong. It had been a setup, the entire scenario. Three of their own agents had turned their guns against him and his backup team. But why?

Fucking traitors. All of them.

“Well, I could watch you bleed to death. Or I suppose I could just end it for you now. Seems a shame, though. You really were a first-class ops guy, Jake. Now your life is fading away, and I get to witness it.”

Jake slowly reached inside his pants.

“Now, now, Jake,” drawled Sandoval, “no cheatin’. Take that hand out of your pocket.”

“I’m trying to stem the bleeding at the pressure point.”

“Like hell.”

Jake withdrew his hand and flicked his wrist faster than the other man could follow, impaling him in the right eye with a knife. Sandoval staggered backward and out of the stall without uttering a word. Jake reached for his gun, but it was missing. When had he lost it? He needed to finish Sandoval off before he was the one lying on the floor with his brains blown out.

He heard the distinctive muffled “pflnk” of a silencer. With the last scrap of his energy, Jake pushed the stall door open in time to see Sandoval fall backward, hitting the tile wall and sliding onto the floor. He was dead.

“Jake,” came a familiar baritone voice. “Reduce your heart rate, just as I taught you. It will slow the bleeding.”

Jake closed his eyes, and in spite of the ice that flowed through his veins and the drowsiness that threatened to pull him under, he forced himself to meditate. He envisioned the frantic beating of his heart slowing down, imagined the damaged artery closing, the blood clotting, and the wound beginning to heal. The thundering rush of blood in his ears began to ebb, and the dizziness subsided. He slowed his breathing, and his heart steadied.

“Good work, Jake,” he heard the soothing voice say. “It isn’t your time to be with me. Not yet.”

“Agent Anders! Agent Anders!” He wanted to swat the microphone away, but he didn’t have the strength.

He blinked, trying to focus his uncooperative eyes on the figure that stood before him. “Trace?” he whispered as he passed out.


“Fucking traitor Sandoval,” Ryan Roberts growled from nearby.

“If Jake hadn’t killed him, I’d’ve gladly done it myself.” John Carson—Jake recognized the voice.

“He’s a damn lucky bastard.” Ryan’s voice again.

“Un-fucking-believable. Got that tourniquet on and still had the presence of mind to write the time on his leg,” added Carson.

“I gotta hand it to ’im—got Sandoval once in the eye, then turned around and shot ’im to make sure he was dead—all while he’s fuckin’ bleeding to death.”

“Gentleman, Agent Anders needs to rest.” A woman’s voice this time: soothing, no-nonsense, and familiar.

“Sorry, Dr. Carroll.” Carson sounded embarrassed, but Jake could hear the note of concern in his gruff voice. “We just wanted to be here when Jake wakes up.”

“He will regain consciousness when his body’s ready. He’s lost a lot of blood, and he’s been in surgery.”

“We’ll wait,” Ryan replied. Jake almost smiled to hear the stubbornness in Ryan’s voice.

“Agent Roberts, Agent Carson, the director has called a meeting, and you both need to be in attendance.” Stephanie Carroll’s voice was now commanding.

Jake felt a strong hand squeeze his shoulder. “You better get your lazy ass outta here, Anders, or I’m gonna have to beat the crap outta ya.” The sounds of chairs scraping the floor and fading footsteps followed Ryan’s words.

“It’s all right, Agent Anders. They’re gone,” Jake heard a few minutes later.

The dim light of the room was too bright. Jake squinted, blinked several times, and slowly opened his eyes. He had a splitting headache.

“Welcome back to the world of the living, Jake.”

Jake attempted to smile back at the gentle-voiced doctor, but it came out more like a grimace.

“Are you in pain?”

“My head feels like it’s gonna explode.”

“I’ll give you something.”

Jake watched as the tiny woman took a syringe and injected it into the IV in his arm. He felt warmth radiate from the site of the line as his muscles relaxed and the pounding in his head began to lessen.

“Thanks. I think I feel less ‘vincible’ now,” he said, managing a lopsided grin.

She smiled at him. “Jake, I really can’t tell you how impressed I am with the skills you exhibited under the extreme pressure of the situation.”

“I had help.”


“The Trace Sim. He told me to slow down my breathing and meditate. I imagined my artery knitting itself back together.”

“Impressive. I didn’t think the simulation microchips were so detailed in their programming.”

Jake shrugged. “Neither did I. It’s like he was right there in front of me.”

“When our bodies are under acute stress, we often imagine things,” she replied in a kind but patronizing tone.

Jake guessed that she’d heard the recording of his call for help and had wondered why he’d spoken Trace Michelson’s name.

“He seemed so real. Not like the usual Sim.”

Her answer was what he’d expected and hoped for: reassuring and kind. “The brain is an amazing organ. In times of severe stress, it can be a powerful tool to ensure survival.”

The tension in his shoulders abated with her words.

She’s right. It was probably a combination of the Sim and my own imagination. Either way, it worked, right?

She offered him a sympathetic smile. “You need to rest.” She checked the IV and made a notation on the chart at the foot of his bed.

She turned to leave, then paused as if considering something. “You know, Jake,” she said with a contemplative hand to her chin, “applying a tourniquet made from the toilet roll spindle and your torn shirt was quite remarkable, given the extent of your injury. But you didn’t really need it—the artery had already begun to heal on its own. It appears Dr. Michelson’s techniques are more effective than we originally thought. Quite fascinating.”

“Tourniquet?” It was the second time someone had mentioned it since he’d regained consciousness. But he didn’t remember a tourniquet, let alone applying one to himself in the heat of the moment.

“The one you placed on your leg before you lost consciousness.”

“I don’t remember that. The last thing I remember is Trace.”

“Writing the time you placed the tourniquet on your leg required true presence of mind, Jake,” she continued, undaunted. “We were able to quickly ascertain how long the circulation had been compromised.”

“I don’t remember that either.” He frowned.

She gave him another reassuring smile. “You really must get some rest now. I’ll be back to check on you later. Would you like something to drink?”

“Something more than ice chips?” he asked with a hopeful expression.

“I’ll see that you get some water.”

“Thanks.” He closed his eyes. He heard her walk out of the room and close the door behind her.

Tourniquet? Writing the time on my leg? And who killed Sandoval? I couldn’t have shot him; I didn’t have my gun….

It made no sense. An image of the man with dark hair and slate-blue eyes filled Jake’s mind. He’d seen that face many times while training with his Sim. He had known the real man himself years before—Trace Michelson had recruited Jake into the Trust. But for years, it had been only a virtual Trace who had inhabited his mind, training him, sharing his knowledge with his host as all Sims did.

This was different. He was so… real.

He forced his eyes open again and stared up at the ceiling. The gray acoustic tiles provided him with no answers.

“Idiot,” he muttered as he fought the overwhelming urge to sleep. “Of course he wasn’t there. He’s been dead for nearly five years.”


About Shira:  Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle. Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 35’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.

Shira’s Blue Notes Series of classical music themed gay romances was named one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Word’s “Best Series of 2012,” and The Melody Thief was named one of the “Best Novels in a Series of 2012.” The Melody Thief also received an honorable mention, “One Perfect Score” at the 2012 Rainbow Awards.

Shira can be found on: Facebook: Goodreads: Twitter: @WriterShira Website: E-mail:


About Venona:  Venona Keyes is a modern woman who believes in doing it all; if doing it all is only in her head. She amazes people that she can be wholly unorganized yet pack a perfect carryon suitcase for a ten-day trip to Paris. Ms. Keyes is a believer in the just in time theory, and can be seen sprinting to the airport gate before the plane door closes.

Venona has experienced love and loss at the deepest level, and is thankful for writing and daydreaming, for it kept, and still keeps, her sane. Writing also introduced her to some of the most supportive and wonderful people, to which she will always be grateful.

Venona is a voracious reader, loves her feline boys, volunteers at an animal shelter, attempts to cook everything in her CSA boxes, is an accomplished speaker, is a seasoned triathlete, and enjoys swimming, biking, hiking, skipping, and her beloved overgrown garden.

You can find Venona Keyes: Facebook: Goodreads: Website:



Black Friday deals for you!

In the spirit of the season (sigh), I have Black Friday deals for you–and they’re free.

November 28 through November 30, two of my books are absolutely free at Amazon:

stasis cover final b






Joys R Us



And while you’re downloading your freebies, I hope you’ll consider buying The Festivus Miracle and/or the sequels to Stasis, Flux and Equipoise. I give 100% of my royalties from these books to Doctors Without Borders. I’d love it if you’d help me make a nice fat end of the year donation! And please, spread the word!


Ooh! That’s Interesting!: Yes, Deer


My family recently took a weekend trip to the Sierra foothills. While on a walk, my daughter and I saw lots of black-tailed deer, including these guys.

I looked up some facts about black-tailed deer. They’re a type of mule deer, which is kind of obvious when you see their really big ears. They live in Northern California (clearly) as well as Oregon, Washington, BC, and Alaska. They like forest edges–which is pretty much where we found these guys. Who also are fond of the nearby golf course. According to Wikipedia, they’ll eat poison oak, which is interesting.

According to this hunting article, these deer are secretive. I guess the ones I saw haven’t read the article. I mean, really. Does this look secretive to you? They were almost close enough to touch. And when we waited patiently for them to cross in front of us so we could continue up the sidewalk, they just stood there. If they manage to hide from hunters, their average lifespan is 22 years.

Deer feature in lots of mythology. My favorite is the Hindu goddess of learning, Saraswati. She sometimes takes the form of a deer, so traditionally scholars sat on deerskin mats. I bet my students wish they could learn through their asses too.

Please welcome Lily Velden!

Title: Hunter or Hunted

Author: Lily Velden

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Genre: gay romance, contemporary romance, MM


Any hunter worth his salt will tell you that in order to capture your prey, there are few simple rules you must follow…

HUNTER OR HUNTED? is also a part of the LOVE, LOSS, LAUGHTER & LUST Anthology

Hunter or Hunted Cover

Buy the short story:

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon AU:




Buy your copy and get a bonus short story – Life According to Buddy! To get your complimentary story, email Wayward Ink Publishing after purchase.



RULE # 1


I RECOGNIZED his type the moment he first approached me—a typical love-’em-and-leave-’em. His kind swoops in, sweeps you off your feet, fucks you stupid, and before you’ve even had time to gather your wits, they’ve pulled up their pants and zipped their flies at the same time as they rush toward the nearest exit.

Now, don’t get me wrong—I have no problem with being fucked stupid. Rather like swapping roles, actually, when it’s the right guy. The right guy being older and more experienced, just like this guy is—but I want to be memorable. I want to be more than another notch on the bed post. You want to fuck me, you’re going to have to earn the privilege, and you’re damn well going to remember it. Fuck, you’re going to want to repeat it… again and again. Whether I let you is another story….

In the interim, I’ll hunt down for myself some cute, but forgettable, little twink to fuck stupid.

Which is exactly what I’ve been doing all week…

About the author:

Lily Velden lives on the east coast of Australia, her family having emigrated from Holland when she was a child.

She’s both a left and right brain person, holding qualifications in both Finance and Fine Arts. She tells her friends that her way with numbers will make her a profitable artist and writer… one day.

Lily has always had a love of language and a beautifully crafted sentence, and admits to having a fetish for collecting quotes, poems, and song lyrics. What she won’t admit to is how many notebooks she’s filled with those quotes… Her fascination carries on into her artworks where she often incorporates text. When a shoulder injury slowed down her art practice she decided to explore her love of the written word more fully and began writing. “I’ll paint my pictures with words.”

Not that she’s abandoned artmaking in its entirety—Lily collaborates on the designs for all her book covers.

There are many things Lily loves, here are just a few of the PG rated ones: a good laugh (all the better if caused by a naughty joke), the smell of freshly baked goods and mown grass, a smile from a stranger, rainbows after the rain, and witnessing a promise kept.

Social media links:



Twitter Name: @LilyVelden



What’s Kim Reading Now?: The Slave by Kate Aaron

I do so love a good slave story. The Slave by Kate Aaron is told from the point of view of Tamelik, who’s been a slave since he was a boy. He’s come to love his master very fiercely, so he’s more than a little conflicted when he’s ordered to buy a second slave. Tam chooses Kai, a former soldier who has not taken well to captivity.

I liked all three main characters here: Tam, Kai, and the master. Kate Aaron does a great job making the reader understand what’s going on in Tam’s head and, though his eyes, letting us see Kai’s transformation. The master is more of an enigma, at least for now. The writing is beautiful, but what really shines here is the world-building, which is outstanding.

I always have to suspend disbelief a little to accept slaves who are happy with their servitude, but Aaron deftly enables me to do so in this book.

This is the first book in a trilogy. The second, The Soldier, is told from Kai’s POV. It has more plot and less sex and romance. The third book, The Master, released today I believe.

The Slave by Kate Aaron is available from Amazon.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Please welcome Xena Semikina!

Avalanche - Grisha's Cover - 1

Xena Semikina – Avalanche Blog Tour

Thank you very much, Kim, for hosting me today. It’s the second stop of my blog tour for my book Avalanche. As before, I will start with a short blurb to introduce my book to those who are joining us for the first time and then I will move on to today’s topic.


Blurb for Avalanche


This is a novel about friendship, maybe in its unusual, extreme form. The two main characters, Mike and Nick, meet in the Alps on a scientific expedition. They become very close, but struggle to place their relationship in the context of their lives. They fear that the bond between them will not survive outside their research hut, and that the outside world will present challenges impossible to overcome. But then a tragic accident changes their lives forever… This story is an investigation into the nature of ties between people, the limits of loyalty and the power of conventions.


 Love vs. Circumstances



This story is an enquiry into the nature of affection between people. I take friendship as the starting point, because this is the only type of relationship between two unrelated individuals where affection exists in its unadulterated form – free from sexual desire. This is a type of relationship where the two parties don’t look at each other as a means of sexual gratification, or in other words a means to an end.


This is the second stop of my blog tour and this is the one where I will try to answer the age old question – what is stronger love or circumstances? I will actually try to argue that right circumstances are absolutely paramount to spark affection between two people in the first place. It seems that in the real world it’s not enough to be ‘meant to be together’. It requires a certain set of circumstances (and the first meeting being one of those) and a considerable effort on both sides for the feelings to flourish and develop.


In this book my two main characters meet on a scientific expedition and the first part of the story is set high up in the mountains, where there is nothing much, but the snow all around. This setting was chosen quite deliberately and meant to detach my characters from the complex environment they were surrounded by in the real world, to bring their minds to a near blank state before they could start writing over them from scratch. That seemed to be the only way they would be able to accept what was going on between them.


They are away from their families and their routine activities. There’s no one here to question their attachment to each other. They are together most of the time, simply because circumstances warrant it. They sleep in one small room. They work in the house they sleep in, almost always doing everything together. Very soon they begin to complement each other perfectly and rely on each other in everything. And the attachment between them becomes so strong that eventually every separation gives them considerable anxiety and makes them question the source and most importantly the validity of their emotional dependency. They are almost painfully aware that nothing of the kind could have happened to them back home, and they fear to go back there, being unable to imagine how this form of attachment can adapt to the world outside. At this stage they are prepared to fight for their relationship, but they don’t know where exactly the danger is coming from… That until the time they see it right in front and they are absolutely unprepared to face it.


Have you ever forged a bond with someone away from your familiar environment, on a holiday or a work trip? A bond you didn’t believe would survive once you’re back home? Do you agree that finding a soul-mate is only half of the quest?





Avalanche is available on Amazon US at $2.90 –; and on Amazon UK at £1.81 ePub is available at the Apple store and Kobo at £1.99 and the equivalent in $ (sorry, don’t know the exact price as I have never caught a glimpse of the US respective stores).



Blog tour stops for Avalanche


1) 20 November 2014     Lane Hayes


2) 22 November 2014     Kim Fielding


3) 24 November 2014     Anne Barwell


4) 26 November 2014     Sophie Bonaste


5) 28 November 2014     Shae Connor


About Xena Semikina

Xena is a novelist and a lawyer in criminal practice, with a distant background in computer science. Writing has always been her passion, which she has been pursuing actively for well over a decade. She has written four novels and has published one, entitled Avalanche. She lives in London with occasional trips to the South of France and the North of Russia.

Xena can be found on Twitter at Xena5000 and Facebook as Xena Semikina. Her blog can be found here:



Blast from the Past: Violet’s Present

I’m starting several new features. Most Fridays will be Blast from the Past days. Other authors and I will highlight a book that was published at least one year ago. I’m hoping this will help you discover some overlooked or forgotten treasures.

VioletsPresentFSViolet’s Present” by Kim Fielding

When Matt’s Great-great-aunt Violet dies, she leaves him a precious gift: a photo album he loved as a child. Then Matt starts having dreams—very good dreams—about Joseph, one of the men in the pictures from the 1940s. One morning when Matt wakes up, the bruises are still there. Could there be more to Violet’s present than he thought?

Originally released June 2012.

Available from Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.

An excerpt:

Somehow, Matt wasn’t surprised when he looked up from his plate and saw Joseph standing beside his table, Aunt Violet at his side. “You don’t mind sharing with my bratty cousin, do you?” she asked.

Joseph’s eyes were even more amazing in person, in color. They were somewhere between gray and blue, a shade that Matt hoped he could reproduce with his paints. Joseph wore blue jeans and a red-and-white-checked shirt and looked both annoyed at Violet and intrigued by Matt.

“Sure,” Matt said, his mouth suddenly so dry that he had to take a quick swallow of the cooling coffee.

Joseph plopped down in the opposite seat and grinned. Matt’s heart almost stopped. “Pancakes and bacon,” Joseph said to Violet. “With the bacon done—”

“Really crispy. I know.” She cuffed him lightly on the shoulder before she walked away.

“Where are you from?” Joseph asked. His gaze was so piercing that Matt felt a little like an exhibit at the zoo. “And does everyone there have hair like that?” He gestured at Matt’s head.

Matt ran his fingers self-consciously through his waves. He’d never had the patience for goos and creams like Brandon used, and he tended to go too long between cuts. “California. And yeah, a lot of guys do, I guess.”

“California! I always wanted to visit there. Can you really pick oranges right off of trees? Do you know any movie stars? Do you lie on the beach all day?”

“Yes on the oranges but no on the celebrities. And the beaches near me are damn cold.”

Joseph leaned back in his chair, not even looking over when Violet plopped a glass of milk in front of him and then sailed away. “What’re you doing in the middle of nowhere? And how come you ain’t in uniform?”

“I’m… passing through. On my way home after a funeral in Omaha. And I’m… I’m disqualified from the military.” Which was true enough, he supposed. In 2012 they might be celebrating the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but back in 1942 he would not have been welcomed into the military, wartime or not.

Arctic eyes narrowed in confusion, then widened in realization before narrowing again speculatively. “Disqualified, huh?” Joseph said.


There was a brief pause. Joseph sipped his milk, giving himself a very faint mustache that Matt longed to lick away. Three farmers at a nearby table erupted into hacking laughs at some joke while Violet slammed plates down in front of an older couple who looked like they hadn’t smiled since the previous century.

“I’m going in next week,” Joseph finally said, very quietly. “Army.”

Matt’s heart clenched and his gut twisted. Could you puke in a dream? “I guess you have to,” he said.

“I wanted to get a deferment while I went to college, but Mom and Dad couldn’t afford the tuition and… and here I am. Ready to do my duty. I guess.”

“You’ll get to travel. See places way more interesting than California.” And bleed your life away onto foreign soil, he didn’t add.

Joseph’s eyes went dark, as if he knew exactly what Matt was thinking. Then he shrugged slightly. “Yeah.”

Ooh, That’s Interesting!: The Retired Emperor

I’m starting some new regular features on my blog. Most Wednesdays will be Ooh, That’s Interesting! days. I’ll post some bit of trivia or news or… something that caught my interest. Expect randomness.

Diocletian was Emperor of Rome from 245-311 C.E. He was born under very humble circumstances and worked his way up. He eventually delegated some of his authority, appointing 3 co-emperors. And when he became old and ill, he became the first Roman emperor to retire. He returned to his home in Dalmatia (on the coast of modern-day Croatia) and had a palace built.

After Diocletian died, he was buried there and the palace was abandoned. But several centuries later, some of the locals moved into the palace to defend themselves against invasion. Thirteen hundred years later, people still live in the palace, which is in the city of Split. Diocletian’s mausoleum is now a cathedral, which is ironic, considering he wasn’t fond of Christians.

I’ve spent a few days in the palace. It’s a beautiful and very vital place, full of cafes and shops and kids playing soccer on the ancient limestone sidewalks. Klapa groups sing in the peristyle. We saw a flower show in the cellars. My daughter chased lizards. You should go.

Please welcome Taylor Clavelli!

Title: Sleepwalking

Author: Taylin Clavelli

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing


Devastated by loss, Matthew sleepwalks through life, existing but not living.

Can someone rescue him from his waking nightmare and help him to live again?

Sleepwalking cover

Buy the short story:


Amazon UK:

Amazon AU:



I stood there in the empty hallway, hearing nothing but the echoes of faraway voices as I faced the wall of fallen heroes. Looking upon his handsome face, he smiled into the camera, standing proud, his chest puffed out, showing off his uniform to its full potential. How I wished he were here now. Instead of just a photograph, with his badge below it.


Running the tips of my fingers over his outline, I remembered his strong muscles over my skin. How his body was so big he could totally encase me; it made me feel safe. How my splayed hand only covered half his shoulder. Hell, my thigh was the size of his bicep—and yet he handled me as though I was the most precious thing on earth, both in life and in bed.

I’d run my fingers through his cropped, straight black hair, scratching his scalp with my short nails, making him purr like a cat. He’d lower his lips to mine, devouring me before making passionate love to me. Even now, I can feel the strength of his body within me, and the feel of him between my thighs.

My heart ached. I couldn’t stop the tears. I couldn’t walk away. I stood, rooted to the spot, while all the stitches that held me together snipped open one by one, releasing all the memories, the pain.

“Sam,” I whispered, before I sank to the floor, sobbing.

About the author:

Taylin Clavelli lives in the United Kingdom, about 15 miles south of Birmingham, and a short journey from the world famous Cadbury’s Chocolate factory. She’s married with children and loves her family with all her heart.

Her love of books has been a long standing affair, with Taylin liking nothing better than to lose herself in an imaginary world.

Until she met Lily Velden, she never considered trying her hand at writing. However, after talking ideas, Lily encouraged her to put pen to paper—or rather, fingers to keyboard. Since, with a few virtual kicks in the right place, she hasn’t stopped. Her confidence eventually led to her writing an original work for submission.

Her first published work was Boys, Toys, and Carpet Fitters, developed for the Dreamspinner Press Anthology – Don’t Try This At Home.

Now she absolutely adores immersing herself into the characters she creates, and transferring the pictures in her brain to paper, finding it liberating, therapeutic, and wonderful.

Outside of writing, her interests include; martial arts (she’s a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-do), horse-riding, all of which facilitates her love of a wide variety of movies. Her action heroes include Jet Li and Tony Jaa—finding the dedication these men have for their art combined with their skill both amazing and a privilege to watch. If pressed, she’ll admit to thinking that the screen entrance of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl, and Shadowfax in LOTR, to be the greatest screen entrances ever. Her all-time favorite movies are Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

The simple things in life that make her day, putting a smile on her face are:

Laughter – especially that of her children.

The smell of lasagna cooking – it makes her mouth salivate.

The dawn chorus – no symphony ever written can beat the waking greetings of the birds.

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More from Taylin Clavelli

Dakota Skies

Born in the wrong time…

In 1875 Dakota, Sheriff Jamie Carter has to hide his interest in men, even from his gutsy twin sister, Anna. On a good day, the truth can mean a bullet between the eyes, and on a bad, one in the back.

A man on a mission…

Jamie leaves Anna in charge of Blackrock and he hits the bounty hunting trail, along with his faithful equine companion, Houston. Five territories, scores of ‘Wanted’ posters, and many bullets later, his path unexpectedly converges with that of enigmatic loner, Kit Brooks.

Two men with one soul…

Will the smoldering fire between them rage into an inferno and break down protective barriers, allowing them to find love? Or will it separate and kill them?

Beneath Dakota skies…

Jamie and Kit’s story is a sweeping saga of cowboys, Indians, persistent broads, and vengeful villains, where the cowboys aren’t always the good guys, and love can’t be taken for granted.

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