Hello everyone! I’m ecstatic to have Romance Author Grace R. Duncan with me today. Please say hi and leave her a comment or two below.
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Grace R. 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. She also teaches information technology classes at a local college.
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.
Choices by Grace R. Duncan
Born and raised a gypsy in the late eleventh century, Teman values freedom over everything. He and his best friend, Jasim, are thieves for hire—until one night they’re caught and their precious freedom is revoked. Given the choice between the dungeons or palace pleasure slavery, they become slaves, but Teman vows to escape someday.
Bathasar doesn’t want the throne. He supports his brother instead, which suits their sadistic father, Mukesh. When Teman, the handsome slave Bathasar has secretly been watching, saves his life, Bathasar requests a slave for the first time. Before long, Bathasar and Teman fall in love. But all is not well. One day Mukesh brutalizes Teman before the court, angering the empress of a neighboring nation. To appease her, he then offers her Jasim as a gift, and Teman decides to stay with Bathasar for now—despite the abuse he may suffer.
The peace doesn’t last. Mukesh plans to invade Jasim’s new country, and Bathasar must find a way to stop the destruction. But if he succeeds, he’ll ascend to the throne and have the power to grant Teman his liberty. Then Teman will surely leave him. What other choice could a gypsy make?
A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.
You can preorder from Dreamspinner Press
Available March 4th 2013
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What do you find the hardest part of being an author?
I find that it is very difficult to balance the rest of the things that we need to do besides write. I’m not really talking about editing and the like (though that’s not much fun, either) but the promotion is big. Balancing social media and advertisement and all the other stuff that comes with it is probably the worst.
When we envision being a writer, we imagine ourselves possibly locked in our little offices, surrounded by paper, books, references, inspirational pictures, the glow of the computer screen the only light half the time as we pound away at our keyboards. But that is really the smallest part of writing, not the biggest. We spend so much of our time working on blog posts, Twitter updates, researching advertising or swag prices, deciding, even, on conferences and the like. It seems like finding the time to write the books to promote takes second place most often.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
That would be seeing someone appreciate my story. There is nothing like it, to me, to find someone who tells me how much a story touched them or got them thinking or whatever. I am sure that when I get my first royalty check that will make a difference. But knowing that I’ve affecting someone with my writing is the best thing there is.
Just how H.O.T. are most of your books?
Oh dear. I’m afraid that I usually end up breaking all those "flame" scales. I’ve had my stuff banned before for it being too explicit. I like to write sex, my men (and my characters are usually very much *men*) love it, so I find myself writing a lot of it and most of them are kinky bastards, so it ends up pretty heated. *laughs*
Hot sweet or romantic do they tend to be?
Now, I said that about the heat rating, but I try to balance it out, too. There is usually angst (I’ve bawled at my own stories. *cough*) and I try to make sure there is some fluff/sweet/romantic stuff, too. Too much of anything and a reader will get bored, so I work to find a balance between all of the above.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I am sure I do, that there is something about mine that’s different than others, but I’m not sure I could give it a name or label. When it comes to sex, I tend to be quite frank, preferring to use words like "cock" and "dick" rather than purple-prose euphemisms, so that might count. I’m not sure about the rest, though. 🙂
Which is your favorite storyline/angst situation and why? What inspired you to write about it?
There are two, actually. Neither is in "Choices" but both were actually parts of fanfiction I wrote before. In the first, my MC loses his lover to a drive-by shooting. I didn’t actually write the death scene, we pick up at the funeral after the fact and writing his grief was probably one of the things that I am most proud of. I still cry when I read it. It was the first grief I’d written after my mom died and so I guess you can say she inspired it.
The other is actually a complicated love… square of sorts. Four characters, all of which were in love with two others of the same group of people. At one point, they decide to break up with their lovers and go be with their best friends instead. And the scenes that I wrote with them trying to deal with all of that were some of my favorites. It was definitely challenging, but I got some amazing comments about it, so I think I succeeded in what I set out to.
Both stories ("Comfort", part of my "Firsts" series and "Illusion & Dream" can be found on my Archive of Our Own profile here: http://archiveofourown.org/users/Serani)
Boxers or Briefs? I know which I prefer . . . *wink*
Hmmm. This is actually a tough one. I like boxers for easy access. *grin* But the look of briefs – especially the skimpy ones … I just love the way they hug and… unf. Right, next!
I have thought about this before and it changes with the tide, almost, but the one I keep coming back to is J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve loved a lot of other authors and had a ton of other influences, but the one world I’ve never been able to leave behind is Middle-earth, so I’ll have to go with Tolkien.
This actually goes with my book. "Our choices make us who we are." from J.K. Rowling. There are many things that we can choose throughout our lives, but the hard ones, the ones we don’t want to make and do – those define us and show what’s real inside of us.
What’s next for you?
I am currently working on the sequel to Choices, called Deception, and also have a novella series in the works. There will be one more after Deception in that world, then… on to the some 15 other books I have notes on! O.O
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Now, how about a little excerpt from “Choices”…
Neyem – 1095 A.D.
THE cold night air bit at his nose and he yanked the thin black cotton of his face covering higher. Nighttime in the desert, even in summer, even in the city, had a sting to it that made these types of jobs miserable. He tucked his gloved hand back inside his cloak and mentally scolded himself for thinking about it. At least they had a job. Those had been scarce enough recently.
The wind kicked up a bit and sand blew in small dervishes that danced across his tiny hiding space. He thanked any being above that would listen that the sandstorms had stayed away that night. He was looking forward to finishing their task and getting to the Spitting Camel for a warm drink.
He melted into the shadows a bit further to watch for the signal. One flash. His eyes were trained just off the spot, slightly higher. His partner was already on the roof, watching. Waiting.
Patience. That was the name of their game, the way they won, and they won almost all the time. In fact, in all the years they’d been doing this, they’d only been caught twice.
That was twice too many, in Teman’s opinion, though his best friend and partner, Jasim, didn’t have the same worry he did over it. They had one more chance before they’d find themselves in the damp, dank underbelly of the city, never to see the light of day again, and Teman had no intention of ever going down there. He’d do whatever it took to stay out.
Jasim was convinced they’d never end up there. But his easygoing nature and quick humor meant he took things in stride a lot easier than Teman did, which was why it was usually up to Teman to keep them on track.
He shook his head and pushed the distracting thoughts away. Against the pale moonlight and navy sky, he could just make out Jasim’s figure moving slightly as Jasim looked for their target again. He pushed a bit farther back into the alcove and checked to make sure that the black of his cotton robes and leather boots weren’t easily seen.
He loosed the throwing knife from its sheath and readied it, his eyes once more fixed on the silhouette of his partner. A few seconds later, he made out the sharp head turn then the flash. They were coming.
He lifted the knife, still hidden by his sleeve, and readied it for the throw. His face lifted, still shrouded from his hood and covering. One dark-brown eye was covered by his hair and the other was focused on the approaching horses. There were more than there should be, and the trickle of awareness slid up his back, warning him that they should abort, but then Jasimwas off the roof, landing on the last horseman, and there was no time to stop.
The throwing knife left Teman’s hand without thought, embedding itself in the front rider’s shoulder, and he toppled from the moving beast. The two behind him reigned in their mounts to avoid trampling their comrade, looking around for the attack, but Jasim had already taken the extra man on the right, and it was now up to Teman to move in and retrieve their prize before the first woke.
Except it wasn’t there.
After subduing the second man, Jasim retreated and searched his first target. Teman went through every pocket on the man he’d knocked from the horse, and still no luck.
The necklace they’d been hired to recover was not there.
Teman knew he should have listened to his instinct that the whole thing was foul, but it was too late for that now. He was still squatting over the second man when he heard the scrape of boot on sand, a sound that didn’t belong in the supposedly empty alley. He glanced over to see Jasim standing up, looking ready to run, but they were out of time.
“Step away,” the soft, deadly voice said. Teman slowly stood then straightened as he lifted his hands. The voice continued, “Good. Now turn around.” The command was unnecessary; he didn’t need to see the man to know who it was. Teman knew that voice, and would know it until his dying day. He’d run across it twice before and had hoped they’d be lucky enough to never hear it again.
Apparently their luck had run out.
He turned around, Jasim moving up next to him. The Lieutenant of the Palace Guard and Head of the City Guard stood a few short feet from him, scimitar extended.
The lieutenant had good reason to keep the point aimed at them. Teman andJasim were well known for being able to get out of tight scrapes. They’d only been caught twice before, but they’descaped many times. This time, however, the lieutenant was smart and brought plenty of men with him.
Which was enough to tell Teman they’d been set up. His intuition had been bugging him for the entire job, but he’d shoved it aside because they needed the money. He should have known better by now than to ignore his instinct.
“Teman ibn Basara and Jasim ibn Ganem, you’re under arrest.” The lieutenant was barely a few inches taller than Teman, but no less imposing for the fact that he was built, muscular, and, in this moment, held the power over their fates.
“On what charge?” Teman asked, hiding the nervousness he felt. They would have to talk their way out of it, because there were way too many guards to escape. Not without a murder charge on them and they’d thus far managed to avoid actual murder. Theft, assault—there was plenty of that. They’d killed in self-defense a couple of times, but they’d stopped shy of intentional, premeditated killing, and Teman had no intention of starting that now.
The lieutenant smiled, an expression that made Teman’s blood run cold.“Attempted murder,” he said, and the smile widened. “And if that’s not enough, there’s theft and the contract you made for the theft.”
Teman’s eyes widened. “That was not attempted murder!”he nearly shouted. “You know perfectly well that I hit what I aim for.”
The lieutenant shrugged a shoulder. “I know no such thing,” he said with a smirk, then chuckled, making Teman’s cold blood boil. The man had seen Temanfight plenty of times and knew that to be quite true.
Teman glanced at his partner but, for once, Jasim was silent, letting him do the talking. His friend seemed to realize how serious things were.
Fighting the urge to launch his other hidden knife at the man—which would only add to their crimes and possibly get them killed—Teman gritted his teeth and forced himself to think logically. He couldn’t admit to any of it—that would guarantee the dungeons for both of them. He took a deep breath and decided to say nothing. It looked to be the safest course of action at the moment.
The lieutenant seemed to recognize that Teman wasn’t going to speak.Teman hated the look on the man’s face as he turned to his guard and ordered them to be brought along. Yet there was nothing Teman could do except bide his time and wait.
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Hey everyone! I’ve got a great interview and sneak peek of CHOICES from Grace Duncan over at my site… stop by… fb.me/2DL5J6t3S
— Tempeste O’Riley (@TempesteO) February 28, 2013