Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cover Reveal & Excerpt for A Spartan Love

Kayla Jameth is here today to talk about her new book A Spartan Love and share a little tidbit. Yay. :D

Welcome Kayla!

Cover Reveal for A Spartan Love

When I conceived of the idea for A Spartan Love a couple of years ago, I had no idea that the story line would expand to become a trilogy. In fact, the current novel entitled A Spartan Love began life as a short story called Taming Theron and was intended to be the prequel/backstory for A Spartan Love.

Taming Theron began as a short story for an anthology. However, no matter what I did, I couldn't keep the thing under the 7K limit. Kind of like those cartoons when the box won't stay closed no matter how many times they put the lid on it and jump up and down. I finally gave up and it is now a 77K word novel.

It was just intended to give you the necessary background to understand the subsequent novel, the original A Spartan Love. But that story has grown until it will be two additional stories in the series: A Tested Love and A Shared Love.

Why A Spartan Love? The title is actually a bit of a pun. The story takes place in ancient Sparta, between an elite Spartan warrior known as a kryptes and a unique Spartan slave known as a helot. These two social classes were natural enemies. Hence, any love between members of these classes would be sparse at best.

Helots were unique to Sparta. Slaves in the ancient world were chattel—possessions not persons. In Sparta, helots were more like medieval serfs. They belonged to the land, not an individual, and could not be bought or sold. The rural helots enjoyed a lot of freedoms, being able to wed and have families without fear of being sold away from one another. As long as they produced the required "tribute" every year for their Spartiate, they were pretty much left alone.

The Spartans (citizens of the city-state, not just people living in the polis) were vastly outnumbered by the helot slave population. In order to keep the helots in check and limit the possibility of a slave revolt, the ephors ritually declared war on the helots every fall (after the harvest was in, of course). This allowed any Spartan to kill any helot without risk of ritual pollution/bloodguilt and avoid any resulting punishment for their deaths. Making it an act of war, not murder.

With nothing more than a knife and a cloak, the kryptes were expected to learn stealth, how to live off the land, and steal anything they needed to survive without being seen. But there was a darker side to all this scout training—think Marines and Black Ops. The kryptes roamed the countryside and killed any helots who looked too strong, were respected enough to be possible leaders, and anyone they found outside after dark.

Now imagine, if you will, what would happen if a helot set out to tame a kryptes.

Alone, Andreas toils on a remote farmstead for a Spartan overlord. When a kryptes enters his world, Andreas fears for his life. The dread warriors stalk and kill helots—like Andreas' father—as part of their training.

Andreas sees only one way to save himself: he must tame the fearsome warrior.

But what began as self-preservation develops into attraction. Yearning for the company of someone other than his ferret Ictis, Andreas decides to trust the Spartan warrior and risk the fate that claimed his father.

Born to rule by the sword, Theron sees the world as his and acts accordingly, taking everything Andreas offers and reaching for more. However, love between men in Sparta is considered shameful and requires either exile or suicide to redeem Sparta’s honor. Now, only the gods can save them from the terrible price Sparta extracts from men who desire other men.

"ANDREAS! GET in here right now. How many times do I have to tell you that the kryptes will kill you if they catch you outside after dark?" He could hear his mother's voice as if she were still alive, calling to him from the safety of their house.
"I'm trying, Mother!" he muttered to her shade. He would never forget that one of the Spartan warriors had slain his father for nothing more than being a helot. Andreas crossed his fingers and flicked them away from his heart in an attempt to ward off a similar fate.
Andreas scanned his surroundings, his gaze veering between his home and the tree line beyond the goats' enclosure. The mud-brick hut with its tidy little garden dominated the otherwise smooth grounds. Silhouetted against rosy clouds, safety beckoned. However, the encroaching darkness under the trees drove a shiver up his spine.
He was all alone. Or hoped he was.
A spur of the forest behind him jutted between his house and his nearest neighbor. Petros lived on the far side, his dwelling hidden from Andreas' sight. Petros' family would already be safely bundled under their roof, locked up tight as twilight approached. No helot was foolish enough to brave the dark and risk death.
Even though the hut didn't look like much, Andreas wanted to be within the shelter of his home.
But Pan, the aptly named offspring of mischief, had other ideas. For some reason, when Andreas brought his flock home, the big buck had resisted entering the enclosure. The rest of the goats were milling about, following his obdurate example as the last of the daylight bled from the sky and Andreas grew more desperate.
"Curse you, Pan! If you don't get in there, I'll have you for dinner. How would you like that?" Knuckles white, he raised his staff and shook it.
Almost as if he understood, Pan bolted inside the lean-to with a startled bleat, his harem quick on his heels. Not a moment too soon. Nerves pushed to the snapping point, Andreas might have been willing to leave them to fend for themselves. He muttered imprecations as he shoved the brambles into the opening, blocking their exit. Though disgruntled, he was glad he hadn't been forced to choose between their well-being and his life.
Leaves rustled in the nearby forest despite the lack of so much as a breath of wind, and Pan bleated uneasily. Andreas strained to hear anything else, anything at all. What was out there? A rival buck? Wolves? One of the kryptes?
Andreas shivered as cold sweat covered him. Please don't let it be one of the deadly kryptes stalking me, intent on proving himself. The young warriors, the best Sparta could produce, killed helots for sport and to hone their skills.
The final rays of sunlight faded, leaving muted colors and hushed twilight in their wake, weighing down his heart with apprehension. Andreas hoped the kryptes who had been haunting the area didn't consider sunset to be the definition of "after dark." By decree, the warriors killed any helot they encountered at night, holding the subjugated population in check and using terror to quell any revolts before they started.
Glancing warily around, Andreas wondered if he could reach his home before being attacked. It isn't dark yet. I can be inside before the last light fades. He couldn't see anyone, but a good kryptes would be nigh impossible to spot. Drawing a deep breath, he sprinted toward the hut, his heart pounding.
Nearly there! A branch snapped, and he lost his footing as he attempted to look over his shoulder. He scrambled to get on his feet and back inside before….
In his mind's eye, a red-cloaked figure strode calmly up behind him, a sword held in one fist. "Theos save me!"
Andreas made the last bit on his hands and knees, too shaken to regain his feet. The statue of Priapos with its obscenely large phallus jutting before him guarded his doorway. The god stood ready to protect this boundary against any trespassers, wielding his prodigious cock like a club. Having never been in this position before, Andreas had no idea if the deity would be able to protect him.
He clawed at the door for a moment before he managed to slip inside. Back pressed to the thick mud-brick wall, he forced himself to draw one deep shuddering breath after another.
The sound of another twig snapping came through his open window.
Oh Hades! Someone is out there.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Book Bling Giveaway: Rhi Etzweiler's Blood & Peyote Dreamcatcher

Book Bling Giveaway!

In honor of Rhi Etzweiler's fantabulous new story, Blood & Peyote, coming out on the 14th as part of the Unconditional Surrender M/M Military Bundle, I am hosting Rhi with a special shiny giveaway.

Yaaaaaay Giveaway!

heehee, those are fun.

The giveaway is for a sterling silver, Moss agate and Tiger Eye dreamcatcher I just had to make after falling in love with Rhi's new lovelies, Apisi & Char. It's not every day you read a story and out pops a shiny, but ... I couldn't help myself. They had to have one. So, here ya go. Want it?

Of course you do! Leave a comment on this post to enter. Easy peasy. Oh, and make sure you give me a way to contact you, in case you win. Tis vera important.

Giveaway is open worldwide and will run thru release day, 10/14. :)


“I almost did it, Api. I had the Glock in my mouth and my finger on the trigger.”
Blood & Peyote is about two Montana National Guardsmen who’ve recently returned from their third combat deployment, their first OEF tour in Afghanistan. One of the main characters is Apisi Howling, a Kainai Native American who has a job as a Game Warden in the eastern regions of Glacier National Park, just west of the Blackfoot Reservation he calls home. His battle buddy is Chartreuse Beaudrou, a redheaded bear and a large animal veterinarian who services the beef ranches in the area and struggles with Survivor’s Syndrome.
When they redeployed home from Afghanistan, Char requested space and Apisi complied, limiting contact to regular phone calls. As the story opens, their platoon sergeant alerts Apisi to a “code black” situation with his battle buddy. Attempted suicide. Apisi throws out all the rules, and their agreed boundaries with them. Can these two battle-scarred veterans find a way to live with their demons, including their mutual attraction?

The book bling is a dreamcatcher design handcrafted of sterling silver, moss agate, and tiger’s eye by Freia Inguz Artisan Jewelry
First Nation cultures use dreamcatchers to trap the negative energies of nightmares, allowing only the positive energy to flow down through the feathers and into the one it protects. Moss agate is a power stone among First Nation cultures, with a strong affinity for water and weather. It represents Chartreuse by conveying the color of his eyes, as well as the strength of his emotional bonds. Tiger’s eye encourages stability and peacefulness, and represents Apisi’s grounding nature and communion with the Earth.
Giveaway runs through release day!

The Unconditional Surrender bundle is a limited release anthology of brand new stories from 13 different bestselling authors of gay romance. Release date is 13 October, and availability is scheduled to end in March. The 600-page ebook is currently available for pre-order for 99 cents through Amazon USAmazon UKAll RomanceiTunesBarnes & Noble, and Kobo

About the author:
Rhi enjoys creating characters and worlds with a speculative mixture that defies easy genre labels. For Rhi, storytelling is an artistic medium, and there's rarely such thing as a short one. “Sometimes luring or bribery of muses is required. Once they realize I’m listening, they don't stop.”

Goodreads: Rhi_Etzweiler
Twitter: @musefodder

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Post Shiny Show Plan - I haz it

Well, I must say, that show shit is sure fun. :D That's party every day fun there.

I've spent the last 3 days licking my wounds and going thru my process of... I don't know what to call this... process of... digesting what has transpired with my first show.  What it all means. And what I'm going to do about it. Or ... not do.

The problem is not that the show was fail. The problem is, I don't know how to avoid the fail. I don't know what the hell I missed to land myself in the twilight zone. And if I don't know, how do I do better next time?

I've gone over everything that happened, everything I've been told. Everything I've... learned. I understand that there is a difference between art shows and craft shows, and that I belong at an art show. This was a craft show.


I understand that there are festival booking websites that you can use to tell you what kind of shows are out there. They tell you art/craft/beer/wtfwhatever event. I understand it is a very useful tool in telling the difference.


Juried. Juried is important. Means they only let certain things in.


I did all that. I did all that and more. x10. I was so careful it I drove myself bonkers.

To learn from my mistake, I took the advise I'd been given by people at the show and put it to the test. I looked up the AWESOME places I DID belong (according to them) and I compared the information to the way farkin' awesome Sisters Artist Marketplace at the Quilt Show. Know what? IT SAID THE SAME EXACT THING! It cost the same, had the same requirements, same categories, same everything.Same, same, same.

I don't... huh? No. No. It should say something different, right? Seems it should. There were no categories or options for crazy quilt ladies with torches and pitchforks heading up city war with event to choose but come on. Surely "nice art show with jewelry" should say something different than...than... whatever in the hell they just passed off as a show.

It didn't.

Now what?

This crap ain't cheap. Learning from my mistakes is great and all, but I can NOT keep learning at $250-$500 per lesson. Can't do it. And I sat down and ran the numbers tonight of what the damn thing really cost. I had the 250 fee in my head this whole time. YEah, there was a LOT more too it than that. Forgetting the booth and everything that will be used for future 'shows',  just the show: entry fee, days off work, food, water, gas, and misc whatever else to get thru hell...I didn't even cover 1/2.

Responsible me that wants to think she is running some kind of business here, small as it is...yeah, she just totally shaved my buzz. Wasn't that great of a buzz to start with. Bitch.

Anyway, this didn't work. What now?

I've decided... I'm not ready to deal with this. It's ruining everything. Not /just/ this. It's this... on the heels of the gallery deal. It's all bigger than just a stupid show that was total whack. It's a whole year of whack. Whack that wasn't my fault, but whack nonetheless. And worse than just whack, it's whack I can't figure out a reason for. I need something I can hold on to so I can try again and have a chance to succeed. Some thing I can do different next time.

Whatever. I'm done. For this year.

I'm cancelling the September show. Lesson learned: if someone walked up to me right now and offered me nonrefundable fee amount to go sit thru last weekend again, would I do it? The fucking hell no no shitfuck no fukkoff no way fucking hell no. No. So I figure, even if he doesn't give me any of my money back... whatever. I'll get over it.

I had been advised by pottery guy to get into the October Harvest faire. That was the one I needed. Ok. Looked in to it. Looked really promising, if I could meet the jury requirements I've never done uber quick, and they still have room.

Yeah, well, went to the bead store today. Retail therapy. Turns out, the bead lady had done that show several many times. She did not have good things to say. One of which was that her highest gross was $600, lowest... $35.00.

Um... refer to lesson #1 for the answer to whether or not I'm doing that.

So that leaves me with ... I'm done. Lessons are great and all but at the end of the day, I don't want my major win to be 'at least I did it, and I didn't blow up'. I mean, come on. Let's be honest. That's a sucky fucking win.

So, I'm stepping back. I'll concentrate on filling up my Etsy. I haz stuff. And go back to what I want to be doing, which is learning new ways to /make/ shiny. I have new areas I want to go, my head is clammering (usually) with new ideas and ... and... I can't do anything because I'm too busy and stressed out trying to go all tents and stores. It's blowing up on me for a reason.

It just isn't my time. And I'm forcing it.

Anyway, while I'm doing that, instead of doing more shows, I'm just going to /go/ to more shows. I'm going to hit the ones that look promising. Actually get off my ass and go to them, scope them out. Get a feel for where I want to be and be ready to apply for next year. I have 2 or 3 in mind already.

I'm also pondering a wholesale jewelry gallery downtown. Went today and they're full right now, but I could try to get in line... maybe. And a gallery downtown I've been referred to several times... couldn't hurt to just check them out.... maybe...

Anyhoo. I write long blog posts. Would you believe they've been shortened greatly before I post them? Used to be novels. Still long, there's another.

Go me.


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