Hello everyone! I’m ecstatic to have M/M author L. J. LaBarthe with me today. Please say hi and leave her a comment or two below.
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L.J. LaBarthe is a French-Australian woman, who was born during the Witching Hour, just after midnight. From this auspicious beginning, she went on to write a prize-winning short story about Humpty Dumpty wearing an Aussie hat, complete with corks dangling from it when she was six years old. From there, she wrote for her high school yearbook, her university newspaper, and, from her early teens to her twenties, produced a fanzine about the local punk rock music scene. She loves music of all kinds and was once a classical pianist; she loves languages and speaks French and English and a teeny-tiny smattering of Mandarin Chinese, which she hopes to relearn properly very soon. She enjoys TV, film, travel, cooking, eating out, abandoned places, urbex, history, and researching.
L.J. loves to read complicated plots and hopes to do complex plot lines justice in her own writing. She writes paranormal, historical, urban fantasy, and contemporary Australian stories, usually m/m romance and featuring m/m erotica.
L.J. lives in the city of Adelaide, and is owned by her cat.
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What do you find the hardest part of being an author?
Titles. Titles are the bane of my existence. Sometimes, they come very easily to me, although that’s really rare. Most of the time, working out a title is like pulling teeth. For instance, the first of my Archangel Chronicles novels, "No Quarter," went through THIRTEEN changes before that one. It probably would have had more, if my good friend, Meredith Shayne, hadn’t suggested "No Quarter," and I said, "A-HA! That’s it!"
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Expanding what’s in my head into a proper, full-length story, with fleshed out characters and locations. And research. I love research. I’m a bit of a research junkie!
Just how H.O.T. are most of your books?
Middling? I think? I’m not the best judge of that in my own work. There’s explicit sex in them though.
How sweet or romantic do they tend to be?
See above. I can’t judge my own work. Some of my characters are more sweet or romantic than others. Misahuen, in "City of Jade," is extremely romantic but Gallienus, his lover, isn’t quite so much.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Past tense, third person. Other than that, the ‘voice’ of my writing varies depending on the setting. Historicals tend to be written with a more formal style, while paranormals tend to be less formal.
Which is you favorite storyline/angst situation and why?
In my books? Hm. In "City of Jade," I loved writing about the journey and the things that Misahuen and Gallienus saw—the road between Constantinople (Istanbul) and Chang’an (Xian)—before they parted ways with the merchant caravan they were working for. In the Archangel Chronicles, the first time Michael and Gabriel spent the night together, and in the ones in that series that are due to come out soon, there were so many scenes that I loved writing, but I think the most favourite was when new characters Liam and Baxter first met.
I enjoy writing the journey that a character(s) take, the research to figure out where they’d go or if my vague ideas would be feasible. I’m also fond of writing first time sex scenes and I have no idea why!
What inspired you to write about it?
I don’t know. A love of history, a love of mythology, having dreams that didn’t leave my brain upon waking up—a combination thereof.
Boxers or Briefs? I know which I prefer . . . *wink*
I hate this question, LOL! I don’t want to forget anyone! So, I’m going to go for authors who are long dead. Sheridan Le Fanu, Jane Austen, David Eddings, Philip K. Dick, Charlotte Bronte, Anna Comnena, Emile Zola, W. Somerset Maughan, and a lot of poets to name a few.
I tend to collect quotes, so there’s no single quote that I love above all others. But I really love this one: What matters an eternity of damnation to someone who has found in one second the infinity of joy? – Charles Beaudelaire
What’s next for you?
More Archangels Chronicles. I love writing the characters and as long as I do, I’ll keep writing them. I’m also working on a historical, set in 1895, during the Belle Epoque, in Paris, telling the story of the love between a Russian minor nobleman and a French male prostitute. There are other things I’m toying with, but those are the ones at the front of my mind.
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City of Jade
1131, The Silk Road
Gallienus of Constantinople, a scarred soldier who used to work the city gates, enters a new phase of his life when he meets and falls in love with Misahuen of Gyeongju. But prejudice of same-sex relationships dominates Byzantine society, and both the Emperor and the Church denounce such love. Should Misahuen and Gallienus be discovered, the punishment is castration or death. Fearing he’ll lose Misahuen, Gallienus decides to go with Misahuen when he leaves the city forever.
A former farmer, Misahuen fled war-torn Korea and journeyed to Constantinople with a merchant caravan. He didn’t expect to take such an interest in a wounded soldier at journey’s end. But he understands the danger, so he and Gallienus join another caravan as guardsmen and begin a two-thousand-mile trip along the Silk Road. Now all they have to do is persevere to their final destination without the truth of their relationship being discovered and being killed because of it… or by the other dangers along the Road.
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Excerpt: City of Jade
Moving aside to take his place as guard of the encampment, Misahuen at his side, Gallienus shook his head and laughed. He was happy, he realized, even as he was extremely amused at Stephanos’s attempt at pomposity and showing off as a Byzantine nobleman.
“Jagi?” Misahuen looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
“It is nothing. I am happy, that’s all,” Gallienus said. “I have traveled further and in far better company than I ever did as a part of the emperor’s army, and I have done so with the true love of my life. I am well content.”
Misahuen’s expression changed to a happy one. “I am glad to hear that. I confess that I am also glad not to be paraded around Stephanos’s shop as a part of his wares, dressed up in my military finery like a sword-wielding ornament.”
Gallienus burst out laughing again. “That is a very good way to describe it, and I, too, am glad not to have to do that today. It does mean that I will have to clean my armor and weapons with special care this evening, however.”
Misahuen snorted in amusement. “Jagi, your armor and weapons are in pristine condition. Too much cleaning and they will shine so bright that you could use them as mirrors.”
“That may be what Stephanos wants,” Gallienus said.
“Perhaps. Still, he is being a little bit ridiculous here.”
“I think so too.” Gallienus lightly bumped Misahuen’s shoulder with his own. “Though perhaps it is expected when trading here in Samarkand. The more pompous one looks, the better one does in trade.”
“Hm, that might be the case.” Misahuen shook his head. “It is still a little bit ridiculous.”
Ahmad approached them, shaking his head. “Stephanos thinks to do business with the wealthier residents of the city,” he said. “He hopes that his Byzantine glass will be popular with the nobles. He is inflating the price considerably.”
“So that is why he has dressed as if he is intending to go to court?”
Ahmad nodded. “Yes. He looks like a peacock.”
Gallienus guffawed at that. “He does! Although I am just as glad not to be guarding the stall today.”
Ahmad rolled his eyes. “As am I. I do not have this formal attire he seeks us to wear. I have armor, I have robes, tunicas, and vracha.”
“I wager he will be satisfied with polished armor,” Gallienus said. “And polished mouzakia.”
Misahuen looked down at his feet. His military mouzakia were spattered with mud, dust, and sand. “I did not think of the mouzakia,” he said. “I will have to clean them.”
“We all will,” Ahmad said. “I had forgotten them as well.”
“I can do an inspection of the guards, if you wish,” Gallienus joked, but Ahmad took him seriously.
“That is a good suggestion. I will tell the others.”
Before Gallienus could protest, he was gone, jogging over to another group of guards and talking to them earnestly. Gallienus pulled a wry face and shrugged as they looked in his direction.
“I did not think he would take me at my word,” he said to Misahuen. “I was not entirely serious.”
“Well, now you must be our general and inspect us.” Misahuen looked at Gallienus with a guileless expression. “I hope you will be thorough and pay close attention to my body attire.”
Gallienus spluttered a little and then laughed again.
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No Surrender, No Retreat
Archangel Chronicles: Book 2
Seventy years after it began, the war between angels and demons is over. Archangels Gabriel and Michael reunite at last, but a dangerous new challenge stands in the way of their happiness: someone is kidnapping angels and selling them as trophies on the black market. When Raphael, Archangel of Healing, goes missing, his tearful lover joins with the Brotherhood of Archangels and their lieutenants to rescue him.
Without Raphael’s healing touch, disease spreads quickly through the world’s human population. The situation only worsens when the angel Agrat is kidnapped: the number of sex crimes begins to rise and her husband, Gabriel’s lieutenant, loses himself to his grief. As they mount a rescue mission, Gabriel and Michael’s relationship will be put to the test. With the threat of the world dying around them and tragedy looming overhead, can Gabriel and Michael keep love and hope alive?
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