Exclusive Excerpt: Lethe Press presents: Prince of the Sea by Jon Michaelsen

I thought I’d offer a taste of the thriller/suspense aspect of Prince of the Sea for those who’ve not yet read my latest novel. This excerpt has never been seen before, so I hope you enjoy!

Short blurb:

Island myth or guarded secret?

Jonathan Lemke thought spending two weeks with his partner, Paul, in a beachside cottage on Tybee Island would rekindle the lost passion of their ten-year union, but a vengeful assailant intent on exposing the island’s secrets soon sets his sights on Jonathan and his mysterious childhood friend.

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Jonathan approached the northern tip of the island before dusk for his rendezvous with Lucius. Climbing onto the boulders of the breakwater, he sat and watched the waves at his feet lap the jetty. Sea foam churned through the crevices, bubbling up through the breaks in the rocks. The ocean smelled of salt and seaweed and a hint of fish. He watched the broad beam from the lighthouse sweep the gloomy surface in rotary precision.

Inhaling the ocean’s scent, Jonathan loosened his shoulders and arms, letting the gentle breeze brush against his skin through his open shirt, trying to relax before his friend arrived. Not long after as Lucius appeared beside him like a chameleon from the shadows.

They made small talk for a while, reciting memories from their childhood together, hours of carefree adventures and the many misadventures of note, both glancing out into the abyss when Lucius asked an unexpected question.

“Are you happy, Jonathan?”

Had Lucius sensed his argument with Paul? he wondered. Happy? How does one respond to such a question? Sure, Paul had pissed him off, but he didn’t want to think about it as he hugged his knees and contemplated an answer of his happiness. Had he rushed to judgment before giving Paul a chance to explain? His partner likely had a very good reason for lying, for not wanting to come to the island in the first place. Ten years was a long time with the same person. At least in gay years, he thought.

“Yes…I am happy.” Jonathan flashed a smile that held a moment. He plucked a shell caught between the rocks and rubbed its inner surface between his fingers. “I’m only thirty-two, so I’d like to think there’s much more ahead to achieve in life.”

Tybee Beach2

Lucius appeared dour as he gazed out to sea. Same as last night, he’d shown up wearing white cotton chinos rolled to the calves and nothing else, the fabric fluttering in the breeze like his hair. The glow of the moon bathed his caramel skin in a luminescent sheen, a striking ruddiness that summoned the god of light.

Hugging his knees and turning his head, Jonathan admired the sheath of corded muscle layering his friend’s broad shoulders. Lucius’s back flared like a manta ray, wide at the top and narrow at the waist. Jonathan moved his eyes over the gentle giant, appreciating the sculpted body earned from sheer physical exertion, and not from some gym stocked with high-tech gear or a syringe. The kind of labor required to perfect such a physique eluded Jonathan as he clutched his knees tighter to disguise his growing approval.

He’s fucking gorgeous.

Lucius turned his head and flashed a heart-melting grin. Warmth spread through Jonathan’s cheeks as his embarrassment ignited. If what Lucius had said about reading each other’s emotions and thoughts was true, then Jonathan felt incredibly self-conscious. He struggled to suppress his grin like a goofy teenager out on his first date.

He felt young and virile again when he was with Lucius, livelier than he’d been in a very long time. In fact, his manner bordered on euphoric while they perched on the boulders of the breakwater shoulder to shoulder. They sat in the darkest region of the island near North Beach beneath the light of a thousand stars, glistening like tinsel hanging from the sky. Lighted structures sprinkled the shoreline for miles inland on either side of them.

The giant eye of the lighthouse swept across the water for miles.

“What about you, Lucius?” Jonathan asked. He spoke in a hushed tone, a soft melancholy settling over him. “Have you achieved all you’d hope?”

Lucius frowned, bringing his large hands together. “Jonathan, I have something to acknowledge, an important part of me I should have shared with you long before fate has brought us together again.” He swallowed hard, and Jonathan sensed a tightening in his chest, felt the pain of his friend’s confession.

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“I should have revealed my secret when we were young pups still in the care of our elders, but I feared the anguish learning my secret would have caused you at the time. I am sorry to have betrayed your trust.” Lucius blinked away the moisture in his eyes. “I yearned to share my secret with you, Jonathan, to open my soul like a weeping siren caught on a jagged rock. Alas, my immaturity prevailed.” He swallowed. “You should understand, in my youth I feared my own shadow, unaware of my condition, of my own heritage.” He turned and the moonlight caught a flash of green in his eyes. “Selfish yes, but I feared losing your friendship should I disclose my secret.”

Jonathan listened quietly, the torment of his friend’s words like a mallet to his heart. Lucius had said they could read each other’s thoughts, and yet he felt nothing beyond the misery and despair of his friend. Listening to Lucius spill his truth made Jonathan want to pull the man into his arms and forever soothe his worries. Nothing Lucius could reveal would ever alter Jonathan’s love for the man. He was sure of it.

“Once I matured, my desires grew ever stronger, tougher still.” Lucius turned away and stared ahead. The muscles tensed in his thick neck. “I avoided revealing my troubles to my family. I should have gone to them sooner, but I didn’t understand what I was going through.” He lowered his chin to his knees. “I needed to unburden my heart, and confiding the truth eventually to my family helped banish my soul of its burden.”

Jonathan placed his hand on his Lucius’s shoulder, a gesture of comfort that produced a spark singeing his arm. “It’s okay,” he offered, grinning wide to reassure Lucius. Still, the sensation trailing his arm lingered. “Relax, will you? I think I know what you’re going to say.”

“Do you?” Lucius turned toward Jonathan with brows furrowed, fear and anguish shaping the features of his angelic face.

A spark flashed from behind them. Jonathan started a second before the rock nearest him spit bits of gravel and dust into the air. The next crack sent something sailing past Lucius as it split the water with incredible speed.

Did somebody just shoot at us?

Jonathan didn’t have time to react before Lucius hooked him under the arms and chucked them both into the waves with the speed of a harpoon. The shock of cold water biting his skin paled in comparison to the power now propelling them through the ocean at incredible speed. He had not grabbed enough air into his lungs before plunging beneath the surface and fought to hold onto to the precious little oxygen he had.

What the hell?

***

Fuck. Damn. Shit-fire!

Billy Wayne dove behind the pillars supporting the boardwalk. The walkway led out to the jetties from the public lot at the end of Gulick Street. His back flush against the rough, weathered wooden supports, he sucked the blood oozing from the wound on his hand. The rifle’s trigger had nicked his skin and jammed before he fired off another shot at the two men sitting on the jetty. No matter, he’d seen what he came for.

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After taking a couple of wild shots at the men, the larger of the two, the darker skinned, long haired one, had pulled both men into the ocean with unbelievable agility. They had quickly disappeared beneath the water. Despite the pain pulsing through his hand, Billy Wayne grinned and savored the thought of getting the proof his daddy never got

He’d never doubted his old man, not one bit, but Billy Wayne had needed to see the abomination with his own eyes. All his life he’d heard about what could happen when they were provoked, and now he’d seen it with his own eyes. No human could have leapt from the boulders with such lightning speed and sprinted through the water like a barracuda.

Billy Wayne had to confirm his father’s legacy more than ever. He peered beyond the boardwalk, out toward the jetty. The two men hadn’t surfaced as he’d figured. He zippered his rifle in its gun case and trotted back to his old Ford truck. Pumping the gas pedal, he started the engine after a couple of turns of the key. He slammed the vehicle into first gear and shot out of the lot, fishtailing onto Gulick Street then taking a left onto Meddin Drive. He sped past several cross streets, hung a right onto U.S. 80, the island’s main thoroughfare, and then headed for Tybee Island Marina.

The dock crawled with deckhands in from the days’ haul when he arrived. They were weighing their catch as captains of the boats barked orders. Billy Wayne made his way to a small runabout boat moored in a slip far away from the chaos of the larger vessels. He was known to troll the waters for clams and shrimp to sell to the town’s restaurants, so no one paid him any mind. He glanced over and grunted toward the men working. Most had simply ignored him over the years, fingering him as the senseless offspring of the town crazy. He often arrived at all hours of the day and night, so his appearance after midnight tonight went unnoticed.

Billy Wayne checked out the pouch containing the harpoon gun and several stainless-steel-barbed rods. He sat down hard on the ragged cushion at the stern of his boat and pulled the crank-cord. The motor sputtered to life in a burst of blue smoke when the engine caught and he clicked it into gear. Passing Cockspur Lighthouse at Lazaretto Creek, he headed out the mouth of the Savannah River to the wide shadowy ocean. He was intent on proving once and for all the ancient island myth that had haunted his family for years was real.

Hot New Releases From His & His Kisses At LYD

 

Breathless

Breathless
Breathless

Corey Shaw has been trained as a paranormal detective, developing abilities such as telepathy and telekinesis. He is summoned to Provincetown during the annual Mates weekend, a huge leather gathering, when the naked body of a young man is found. The victim had been tied up before being strangled. The police say cold-blooded murder but Corey thinks it is more than that. He suspects that a BDSM scene got out of control. Touring the town’s dark dungeons, looking for a murderer preying on young men, he becomes immersed in the local scene and discovers a never before explored side of himself. In a sea of muscular leather masters and slaves, he realizes hidden urges in an environment where every fantasy can be fulfilled. He must set aside his sadomasochism desires and use his powers to locate someone who takes the bdsm to the extreme before he kills again.

Can Corey find him before becoming a victim to the ultimate BDSM fantasy of execution?
 

ISBN: 978-1-60054-336-4
Genre: Gay Lit / BDSM Paranormal Thriller
Length: 23,500words
Rating: Total Eclipse
Formats: pdf, prc, lit, html, zip, lrf, epub
$4.00
 

Portrait of an Artist

 The painting was literally like nothing painted on Earth. But can the mystery behind it really save Peter’s relationship?

Peter’s an artist, but even his success can’t blot out the physical pain he has to endure. He’s sinking into despair and there’s nothing his lover, Aaron, can do except watch. But then a strange legacy from a distant Uncle on a far-off planet changes everything. As Peter pieces together the mystery behind the painting and the journal, he also uncovers a passionate love story that crosses boundaries, time and space. 

 

ISBN: 978-1-60054-386-9
Genre: Gay Fantasy
Length: 115 pdf Pages /56,000words
Rating: Moonshine
Formats: pdf, prc, lit, html, zip, lrf, epub
Cover Price: $6.75

Author Kayelle Allen chats about editing her novel

 

Editing the Perfect Novel

                            

I recently finished editing my new novel, Surrender Love, due from Loose Id on February 17, 2009. It’s erotic M/M Science Fiction Romance. When I finished it — that is, prior to my editor getting her first look — it was over a hundred and forty thousand words. We had to cut it to a hundred and twenty thousand for it to fit the outer edges of Loose Id guidelines. Twenty thousand words. My first thought was, “But it’s perfect! I can’t take out anything!” How do you cut that many words you’ve sweated to produce?

 

Michelangelo was once asked how he could sculpt such beautiful pieces of marble into lifelike creatures. Paraphrasing his words, his response was that if you want to carve a horse from a huge block of marble, you simply chip away anything that didn’t look like a horse. In writing, you chip away any words that don’t portray exactly what the reader needs to enjoy and understand the story.

 

Easier said than done? Too, too true. I followed a few steps I’d learned from previous books and soon cut it down to the right size. I can’t take all the credit. My editor, Hollie Hollis, guided me and provided excellent ideas on where to cut, but the actual snipping and trimming was mostly my own. It went back and forth between my editor and me several times, before going to another level, the line editor, back to my editor, and then to me. Each time, I cut more, polished more. So, what exactly did I cut? Here’s a basic list any author can follow and apply.

 

A) Look for sub-plots that don’t move the story forward, or can be developed in a sequel or another book. My strong suggestion is that you never cut anything more than a sentence or two without saving it to a document called Ideas for _______ , using the series name, or “other books”, etc.

 

B) Passages I particularly loved but didn’t fit for whatever reason went into Cuts I Love.doc. These were passages that could be adapted for any book I wrote, whereas the Ideas document is strictly for story-related material. An example from the Cuts doc is “Let yourself want it. Let yourself enjoy the lust, the heat. Let yourself rest in my arms while I pleasure you.” I cut this from another book because it didn’t work for my beta hero, but would be great in an alpha love scene.

 

C) Characters not necessary to the story. In Surrender Love, Luc had a dungeon in his penthouse, nearly an entire floor with rooms designed with every type of pleasure and punishment in mind. When he meets Izzorah “Rah” Ceeow and falls for him, he knows immediately the way to Rah’s heart is not through pain, but with a gentle hand. I wrote a scene where he calls in a designer and orders everything on that floor ripped out, and changed over to a private nightclub and areas for Rah’s rock band, Kumwhatmay, to practice and record. The designer also held appeal for another minor character, and I knew I couldn’t let them get together or sparks would fly. There wasn’t going to be time to chase that bunny trail, but it could end up launching a new book. I decided to cut and save it, eliminating several pages and nearly two thousand words.

 

D) Look for words that end in “ing”. This ending is proper for words used within a passive framework, but not for active. An example from Surrender Love is when the alpha hero is the passive recipient, and “ing” helps reveal that.

 

Luc shook his head, throat too tight, panting so hard he couldn’t speak.

“You’re starving for it, t’hahr. I can taste your hunger. Let me give myself to you.”

Luc didn’t trust his voice. Can’t lose control now. Can’t. Can’t. He shook his head, fighting for mastery of his emotions.

 

If you find “ing” words where the scene should be active, it’s easy to change to active. Here is the same passage, altered from passive to active. Note the slight change in wording.

 

Luc shook his head, throat too tight. He panted, speech past him.

“You’re starving for it, t’hahr. I can taste your hunger. Let me give myself to you.”

Luc didn’t trust his voice. Can’t lose control now. Can’t. Can’t. He mastered his emotions and shook his head.

 

The first paragraph is fifty words; the second is forty-seven. Three words doesn’t sound like much, but multiply that by eliminating three words per page in a three hundred page document, and you have nine hundred words. Averaging two hundred fifty words per page, you’ve cut almost four pages.

 

The key point is that “ing” words often reveal passive phrases. Hunt them to sharpen the action and reword to make the sentence stronger. Small reminder: not all such words are going to help, i.e., thing, sing, string, during, something, anything, ring (noun), and so on. If you look, however, you’ll find plenty of places to change structure and write in a more active tense, often saving words.

 

These are the fastest way to cut, and there are many more. I’d love to hear ideas from you!

 

The book I referenced in this article is Surrender Love, coming from Loose Id on February 17, 2009. http://loose-id.com

Excerpt – Cowboys’ Christmas by Carol Mckenzie

Cowboys’ Christmas

By Carol McKenzie

http://carol-mckenzie.com

http://xanga.com/mckbooks

 

As of today, Friday, December 19th, 2008, Cowboys’ Christmas is ranked the #1 best seller at Fictionwise for loveyoudivine, it is the #1 best seller for loveyoudivine at All Romance Ebooks and ranks #15 at AllShortStories.com

 

It is the first story to be released for the coming print anthology in 2009, Men On Holiday.

 

Ebook ISBN / Price: 978-1-60054-283-1

Length: 56 pages / 14,400 word count

Genre: M/M

Category: His and His Kisses

Rating: Shooting Star

Price: 3.75

Buy link: http://tinyurl.com/4u2yz8

Video Trailer: http://tinyurl.com/59anuw

About

Cowboys’ Christmas

 

The First Release from MEN II: On Holiday from Carol McKenzie – DEC 1st

It’s December and it’s cold. Blake’s back aches from busting broncs and he wants to settle down, maybe do some ranching. Blake loves his sister, who doesn’t know he’s gay. But he loves Riley, too. If he breaks the news, will his sister accept Riley into the family?


Thirty-year-old Blake finishes his obligations on the rodeo circuit for the year. It’s December and it’s cold. He calls his sister, Katy, in Rufus, Oregon, and tells her that he is getting too old to bust broncos. His back and bones ache. He mentions he may come home for Christmas. Katy ís delighted because she needs help with the Kinglsley Ranch; it’s falling apart, and her boyfriend is too much a tenderfoot to help.

Blake can’t wait to meet up with his “friend” in their usual camping area. Katy doesn’t know about his flame, Riley S. Campbell. What will she say or think when she finds he’s taken Riley, a man, as his lover? Will Riley’s family accept Blake?

Excerpt:

 

Blake Kingsley pulled his truck and fifth wheel into a vacant island of Huck’s Gas Mart in downtown Longview, Washington, and stopped the engine. He climbed out and put his gray Stetson on his head. Heavy, cold rain beat down on the overhang and the air smelled of gasoline. He lifted the nozzle, pressed the mid-grade button and pumped forty dollars worth of gas into his tank, mumbling his displeasure the whole time. When he finished, he put handle back and ambled toward the pay station, the soles of his boots smacking in puddles.

A sleepy-eyed, brunette attendant behind a counter looked at him over her gold-rimmed glasses and blinked long, curling lashes.

Tipping onto his toes, he drew a couple of wadded bills from his tight jeans’ pocket and placed them on the steel counter.

The attendant took them without a word.
“Thank you, Ma’am,” he said and returned to his truck.
He climbed into the cab, closed the door and within the minute, drove toward Kalama, Washington, taking the interstate north. Pangs of loneliness entered his system again. He thought about his family; those alive and dead. I need to make a call. He retrieved his cell phone from the center console. Without swerving off the road, he dialed his sister in Rufus, Oregon.
“Katy, this season’s done. Thank God.”
“I hope you come home.” Her voice sounded creaky. He imagined her soft, freckled face and auburn, curly hair. “It’s been quiet here since mom and dad’s died.”

A picture of their parent’s crumpled automobile, with blood on the seats the day after their head on collision in Medford played in his mind. The horrible call from the emergency room had come announcing their demise. He gulped air in his sadness.

His sister sighed, bringing him back to the here and now. “Things are fallin’ apart around this ol’ place. Frank’s not into ranchin’. He can’t even ride a horse.”

Blake wiped a tear from the corner of his eye and the remembrance ended. He clucked his tongue, recalling her tenderfoot boyfriend, Frank. “I’ll bet.” A misplaced smile quirked at the corners of his lips. It’s best I change the subject, or she’ll cry. “What do you want for Christmas, sis?”

“Just get here safely. We’ll have a nice holiday, if you come. I’m invitin’ you, you know.”


“I’ll spring for the turkey, if I was to come,” Blake said and placed his Stetson on the passenger seat.


“So, how are you doin’ otherwise, little brother?'”


“It’s best you not ask, ’cause right now, I’m in a piss poor mood.”


“Why’s that?”


“These friggin’ gas prices suck. They’re high as hell. It costs too much drivin’ the circuit anymore. I’m twenty-eight and gettin’ too old for bustin’ broncs.”


“Get a different job, then. Stay home, settle down. Maybe get a job as, I dunno, be a cop.”


“I’ve done ruint my back.”


“Maybe it’s time to quit.”


“I’ve got to think about it. See you.”


“Tell your buddy hi. Oh, and call when you get close.”


“Will do.”

Once he put the cell phone back in the case and closed the console lid, he took a left onto a different highway and began thinking about what Katy didn’t know—his ideas on sexual preferences. It’d shock her to death. He thought about his job situation, too. Maybe I’ll work the farm. Or become a cop. At a stoplight he lit a cigarette and slid the Bic back into the pocket of his blue western shirt. Right now, all I do is get out there and risk life and limb…for what? To give the audience thrills, and all I get is a few measly dollars. Shit. I must have rocks in my fuckin’ head. What the hell am I goin’ to do? Should I rodeo another year, or quit? Cops’ lives are always in danger. Maybe my back ain’t in good enough shape to do that kind of work.

He coughed, took another drag off his Benson & Hedges and glanced at the speedometer. The dial read he was going five miles per hour over the speed limit. He raised his foot a bit on the gas pedal until the needle stopped just over sixty-five. An elongated sigh left his lips.

He passed several dense, vast forested areas. The dark green fir trees alongside the road forked upward toward a gloomy, cloudy sky. Rain splattered on the windshield as the wipers thump-thump-thumped. When he stopped at a sign, he flicked his cigarette out the window into a mud puddle. He turned the satellite’s radio knob to a country-western station and hummed along with George Strait who sang Easy Come, Easy Go.

As he started driving, his thoughts turned to a better subject. Yeah, I’ll park this thing and take a rest. Gettin’ a mess of Riley will make me feel better. The U-Shine Car Wash caught Blake’s eye. Maybe I should unhook this thing and wash the road dust off my pickup. He decided to keep on trucking, wanting to get to his destination before dark and get a space rented. I’ll wash it tomorrow.

Mid-afternoon, driving along on I-5, he gazed out upon the sparkling Columbia River near his exit. Slow barges made their way north and west; a breathtaking sight.

Once off the interstate and in town, he drove down the main drag looking for the old, peeling sign that read Campground–Marty’s Trailer Spaces–Weekly and Monthly Rates. Blake passed the launderette and the post office. He traveled two blocks past the totem pole, the Lone Pine Cafe and made a right just like he had at previous season’s end.

I’ll rest. Maybe spend part of the winter with my ol’ buddy.

He pictured his pal, Riley S. Campbell, when he last saw him over a year earlier. He stood five ten and had a slim, strong build. Blake never thought to ask his exact age, but he guessed it to be around twenty-eight. He’d worn hand-tooled boots and a belt that sported a silver Texas longhorn buckle. Riley’s onyx gaze seemed to penetrate his soul and mind. Worn jeans, most of the time faded, encased a well-shaped ass. Blake began to feel the slide of him coming inside his body. Damn, I’ve missed him. He’ll be a sight for sore eyes.