Thursday, December 31, 2015

7th Day of Christmas Author Spotlight: Erin O'Quinn

Author Bio:
Erin O’Quinn earned a BA (English) and MA (Comparative Literature) from the University of Southern California. Her life has been a pastiche of fascinating vocations—newspaper marketing manager, university teacher, car salesperson, landscape gardener—until now, in relative retirement, she lives and writes in a small town in central Texas.

Erin has published six M/M novels and three novellas with AmberQuillPress and two independent M/M novels.

Her series titled “The Gaslight Mysteries” includes Heart to Hart, Sparring with Shadows, To the Bone. and Thin as Smoke.

Erin's indie books are NEVADA HIGHLANDER and THE KILT COMPLEX, both very well received.

In addition to these Amber Quill Press and indie books, Erin has thirteen other published novels. Of those, two are M/M historicals published by Siren Bookstrand, set in the Ireland of badass clansmen, cattle drovers, druids, Saxon mercenaries and St. Patrick himself.

KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  B&N  /  ARe

Noble, Nevada #1
Drifter Rick Hendrickson has a secret, one he’s tried to keep even from himself as he moves along the spine of California’s great midsection, working as a migrant field hand. Unconsciously running from memories of an abusive father, Rick leaves California for Nevada, where he thinks he’ll find work.

Tony Grazzo has just graduated from Nevada U with a Poli Sci degree. A would-be law student, he suddenly finds himself back in his hometown of Noble, Nevada to attend his mom’s funeral and to look after his grief-filled father. He has gladly left behind a smothering girlfriend who has become dependent on him, all the while shutting out every friend he has tried to keep.

Then one night in a seedy bar, Rick and Tony meet.

Tony sees Rick as an immensely attractive man, a cowboy-hatted stud who no doubt dangles a string of beautiful women. And from the moment Rick lays eyes on the handsome Tony, he wants him. Not for just a night, but maybe forever.

But as luck would have it, their pasts return to shatter their dreams. Can these two men find happiness together, even while steel bars and the prison of anguished memories separate them?

The Chase #2
Brew Lloyd, openly gay, returns to his hometown of Noble, Nevada, to live in his parents’ home while they travel to see his dying uncle. Brew’s been gone since graduation, avoiding his gay-hating father, yet all the while taking the money offered to him almost as a bribe from his father for not accepting him or his sexual orientation. Upon his return, his lawyer-father maneuvers him into securing a summer job at a ranch called The Chase. There, Brew finds himself face-to-face with an old fantasy—the rancher’s son Chase, former football hero at the local high school, a soft-spoken and dynamite-looking young man.

Chase has struggled with his sexuality for years, and has shunned dating in favor of staying on the ranch. Unable to come to terms with his frequent fantasies of a young man he’d secretly admired in high school, Chase pours his emotions into hidden erotic writing. But now, when he sees Brew again after many years, he’s forced to confront his hot desire for the glib guy who’s not shy about his own sexual preference.

As these two men grow closer, two other men stand in their way. The first is a federal agent, who taunts Chase with the news that part of the ranch is being reclaimed by the BLM, the agency that owns most of Nevada’s rangeland and mining concerns. The other man is Brew’s lawyer-father, who’s been helping long-distance in the fight against the BLM, and who cannot guess that his own son Brew is having an affair with a manly ex-football player.

Can two sensuous young men expose the crooked federal agent, cope with a hateful parent’s prejudice, and still find unbridled joy together?

A Hard Place #3
Nevada game warden Shawn Murphy is a man of principle, an experienced agent who sets out to do his job in the rugged Paiute Mountain range. Sent to track down a poacher, Shawn eventually discovers the perp—a falconer, illegally shooting wildlife for his bird.

Dylan Morgan—a hippie-looking man with long, lustrous hair—has lost his falcon and is hurt. In helping Dylan overcome his injury, Shawn begins to learn how to see the wildness and hunger in himself and the other man as well.

Soon, in a remote cabin, the two men begin to develop a relationship. The falconer explores Shawn’s strange tattoos—a stag beetle and a howling wildcat—and Shawn tries to understand the nature of falconry, and of the unique man who trains the wild birds.

Can these two men, hungry, yet never satisfied, find closure in each other’s arms, especially when sudden peril in the pitiless desert puts them between a rock and a hard place?

NOTE: This book is also part of the Brand Me series.

Cowboys and Kilts
Lanky Hugh MacPherson wears his tattoo and his cowboy boots all the way from Nevada to his ancestral home in Scotland, only to find a clansman named Graeme Guthrie has a subtle way of claiming the boots, the tattoo, and the man who wears them.

On a tour to the sites of Pictish stones, Hugh meets the Laird of the Castle in the oversized, handsome body of Graeme, a man who traces his ancestry back as far as the tattooed Picts who carved those very stones.

What happens when two gorgeous men first lock eyes, then bodies, and at last their very spirits as foretold in the mysterious tattoos they wear?

NOTE: This book is also part of the Brand Me series.

Heart to Hart #1
Michael McCree is one with a mysterious past, who ends up as a newspaper man, thereby meeting the strikingly handsome Simon Hart, who comes to his shop to turn in an obituary notice.

Simon’s flat-mate and former business partner has been killed, and Simon, a private investigator, needs to track down the murderer. Michael, immediately smitten with the sulky and sexy man, lays a plan to first become his new roomer, then his business partner.

But Simon, stricken by his recent loss, is having none of Michael’s undisguised interest.

Not a man to be deterred easily from a goal, Michael sets about winning Simon’s affection. That particular battle is almost as difficult as tracking down the murderer of his predecessor, a nosy detective who was getting too close to the crimes of an evil person.

Simon spends more time ducking Michael’s advances than actually finding clues and solving the mystery. Inquiring minds want to know—how hard is Simon really trying to avoid Michael? And Michael isn’t hiding his forthright urges, but what secret is he hiding?

Sparring with Shadows #2
Simon Hart, private investigator, has always thought of himself as a regular fellow. He’s standoffish and a loner with a sullen attitude—yet surely a normal bloke. And then he meets the randy Michael McCree.

In short order, Michael has become his flat-mate, his business partner, and his wannabe lover. Now Simon must look deeper, into his own hidden desires, if he wants to survive.

There’s something about Michael’s secret vocation that invites trouble. Simon finds himself sparring with shadows: in the hidden bedrooms of a roaring twenties version of a gay a chained wall decoration in the flat of a thief and sexual deviant...and as the quarry in a deadly confrontation in an exhibitionist’s bed and then in a sewer tunnel beneath the streets of a 1923 city somewhere in Ireland.

Above all, Simon is sparring with the shadow of his own secret urges. Michael will not allow him to turn away from a kind of private investigation of which he has not even dreamed. Until now.

Follow a fastidious, surly investigator and his horny yet secretive partner through the very cracks in a city of gaslights and vintage motorcars, into a hidden homosexual culture, as the men find themselves sparring with shadows...

To the Bone #3
The time is 1923, and the place is a fantasy city in Ireland. Two unlikely men have formed a partnership: good-natured Michael, who keeps a serious secret, and sulky Simon, who has plenty of reasons to be angry at the world. Michael has stalked the standoffish Simon from the beginning, and Simon has consistently rebuffed him...yet not enough for Michael to give up a dedicated pursuit of the handsome investigator.

As private eyes, the men have a case to solve: to find more than a score of stolen paintings, and especially one small valuable work of art worth more than all the others. But the case grows more complex the deeper they look into it. Soon Michael and Simon find themselves searching not just for a thief, but for a city-wide ring of criminals. And the closer they get to the paintings, the closer they find themselves to a killer.

Into this mix steps a man named Moshe—a pesky, secretive, nosy man who is nevertheless a brilliant investigator himself. He gives both the men fits, burrowing like a tick into their very private affairs, so close they have a hard time evading him.

Can the investigators solve a series of crimes, take care of the interfering Moshe, and drive their own intense relationship all the way to the bone?

Thin as Smoke #4
In 1924, the PI team of Michael McCree and Simon Hart are on the trail of missing motors—a mundane case that turns deadly when they discover the link between their case and that of Samuel Dashiell Hammett.

The writer of hard-boiled crime is scratching to earn a living, and his work as an undercover Pinkerton operative lands him on the shore of the Irish Sea, in the city of Dun Linden. In one of a series of coincidences, Hammett finds himself paired with his old friend Michael, a man he knew in the U.S. before he left for the World War.

“Sam,” as he’s known to Michael, unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that separate the two partners and sometime-lovers. Working on his own, Simon finds himself on both ends of a Smith & Wesson revolver. Meanwhile, Sam and Michael discover that the perilous connection between motors and Mafia bootleggers also means a shattering of former alliances...because Michael and his old friend share a secret, one that threatens to end both his career and his complex relationship with Simon.

Burns to Deep #1
The story of an Irish detective and a mysterious Scot. Two men meet on a stretch of highway between nowhere and Dundee, Scotland. What secret does each man hold? And what will happen if those truths are ever revealed? Both men have much to lose. And something crucial to gain, if only they can stop running.
Close-mouthed CID Detective Thomas Fitzgerald has just finished a harrowing case. He’s traveling the highway between Arbroath and Dundee, Scotland. Now all he wants to do is go to his flat, strip down and soak before catching a good night’s sleep. But a stranger on the side of the road changes everything.

The quiet man named Burns is a puzzle—a dark-haired, sensuous enigma whose harmless invitation to a drink he decides to accept.

Before the next twelve-hour phase of the moon has come and gone, the lives of both these men will change profoundly.

Can they stop running long enough to find each other?

The Dundee Law #2
A solitary Irish detective and a reclusive Scottish academician … hardly a match made in heaven. Blond and dark, yin and yang, perhaps even angel and devil. 

In fact, sometimes Thomas Fitzgerald wonders whether the mysterious Burns is not a figment of his lonely nights, a creature evolved from an idealized portrait of the poet Robert Burns. 

Real or not, the university teacher-curator teams up with him to solve a murder involving an ancient burial site and a voice from Scotland’s bloody past. 

Join two unusual sleuths at the ancient mound called “The Dundee Law” as two men merge their talents, and much more.

Red, Red Rose #3
Two men, opposites in every way, have somehow found each other. The attraction between blond detective Thomas Fitzgerald and the sable-haired “Professor Burns” is instant and all-consuming.

Even cops and scholars take a holiday. When they bridge the physical distance between themselves and finally spend time together on Burns’ own turf, Thomas finds that his mysterious “poet” is a shadow behind another shadow.

There’s something about Burns’ past that hangs on him like a shroud. Always a cop, Thomas cannot help looking past his lover’s charms, delving into the heart of him. What he finds is chilling.

A tight-lipped Irish cop and an enigmatic Scot come together in a place of sorrow and hidden passion. Can a “red, red rose” from a poet named Burns solve the unknowable mystery of love itself?

A Kilted Christmas #4
For a hard-nosed undercover cop, love is a rare treasure to bring out when he can, to polish off, and to tuck away for a time when he’s not tracking the bad guys. But the enigmatic, sultry Burns is not a man to wait until Thomas has a day off.

This Christmas, it’s all about kilts and commitment for detective sergeant Thomas Fitzgerald and his lover, university professor Burns. Meeting in a place of monster horses, the men track down a lawbreaker while taking their love affair to a new level.

Can these men’s love survive the physical distance … and the more subtle, more challenging differences … between the two of them? It’s a matter of clashes and kilts, as a cop and a scholar collide in a storm of passion.

You may also want to follow the clues to the first three Burns-Fitzgerald romance-mystery novellas: Burns Too Deep … The Dundee Law … Red, Red Rose … all part of the Nevada Highlander universe of stories.

Maelstrom by Jordan L Hawk

Between his father’s sudden—and rather suspicious—generosity, and his own rash promise to help Christine plan her wedding, Percival Endicott Whyborne has quite enough to worry about. But when the donation of a mysterious codex to the Ladysmith Museum draws the attention of a murderous cult, Whyborne finds himself in a race against time to unlock its secrets first.

Griffin has a case of his own: the disappearance of an historic map, which quickly escalates to murder. Someone is sacrificing men in dark rituals—and all the clues lead back to the museum.

With their friends Christine and Iskander, Whyborne and Griffin must discover the cult’s true goal before it’s too late. For dark forces are afoot at the very heart of the museum, and they want more than Whyborne’s codex.

They want his life.

Click Here to Check Out the Whyborne & Griffin Series #1-5

As usual, I was blown away by Jordan L Hawk's Whyborne & Griffin, of course, I never expected not to be.  The entire series has me on the edge of my seat but there was something about Maelstrom that had me perched on the edge that I might as well have sat on the floor because it took everything I had to stay on the chair.  As always, Christine adds her unique brand of friendship and determination.  I don't do spoilers but I will say there came a point that I was yelling "NO! NO! NO!", the rest I will let you discover for yourself and trust me, you will want to find out.  Can't wait to see what she has planned for their next adventure.


Chapter 1
I stood amidst the press of bodies at the Nathaniel R. Ladysmith museum, desperately wishing I were elsewhere. Preferably back in Alaska; although I’d despised the cold climate, at the moment the memory seemed heavenly compared to the stuffy heat of the crowded grand foyer. Sweat crept down my back beneath my layers of clothing, and I longed to slip outside and remove my gloves. In previous years, I might have at least escaped to one of the open windows in hopes of catching a bit of a breeze.

Unfortunately, the days of my anonymity were over. Almost as soon as I arrived this evening, Dr. Hart and the museum’s president Mr. Mathison cornered me. We’d soon been joined by the head librarian, Mr. Quinn, whom I couldn’t remember ever seeing outside of the Ladysmith’s library before, let alone in formal wear.

The gathering tonight celebrated a rather large donation of rare books to the museum’s library. Although my philological expertise tended to the deciphering of more ancient languages, the source of the donation made it of more than usual interest to me.

Two years ago, my husband Griffin and I had traveled to Egypt to assist our dear friend Dr. Christine Putnam. Christine’s sister, Grafin Daphne de Wisborg, had joined us, ostensibly in mourning for her dead husband.

In reality, Daphne had used the books in the late graf’s library to find a way to communicate with the spirit of Nitocris, Queen of the Ghūls, lurking Outside our ordinary world and awaiting her chance to come back. Daphne, possessed by Nitocris, then murdered her husband and came to Egypt with the intent of turning the world into a wasteland of the dead for her ghūls to rule over. My left shoulder still bore the scar of the bite she’d inflicted with her jackal teeth, as we fought for our lives in the Egyptian desert. As for Christine, losing her only sister in such a terrible fashion…well, she didn’t speak of the incident, but it couldn’t have been easy.

The letter from the current Graf de Wisborg had taken Christine by surprise; that much I did know. The young graf had found himself in possession of a crumbling castle he had little interest in maintaining, and an extensive library he cared for even less. Daphne’s connection with Christine, and thus the museum, had inspired him—and if his generous donation came with the chance to travel and meet rich American heiresses, so much the better.

I’d come tonight not only to please the museum director, but to offer my support to Christine. Her nerves were already stretched thin from the stress of planning her upcoming wedding; this had certainly done them no good. Unfortunately, I could think of no way to politely extricate myself from the director and president.

“This is quite the triumph, don’t you think, Mr. Quinn?” asked Dr. Hart. His balding head shone with sweat, and his face flushed red with the heat.

“Indeed.” White tie and tails somehow failed to make Mr. Quinn look any less like an undertaker. His silvery eyes went to Dr. Hart, then to me. He then proceeded to stare at me without blinking. “I suspect we’ll find many tomes of great value within. Perhaps Dr. Whyborne would care to assist when we open the crates.”

His suggestion caught me off guard; cataloging new arrivals wasn’t remotely one of my duties. Still, it would give me an excuse to look for the truly dangerous tomes and suggest they be kept under lock and key, before they had a chance to find their way onto the general shelves. “Of course, Mr. Quinn. I’d be glad to assist.”

Dr. Hart rubbed his hands together with glee. “The Wisborg Collection will finally wipe the smirk off the faces of those fellows from Miskatonic. Their paltry library will be nothing compared to ours!”

“Now, now,” Mr. Mathison said with a good-natured smile. “Let’s not forget Miskatonic University is Dr. Whyborne’s alma mater.”

“Dr. Whyborne belongs to Widdershins,” Mr. Quinn said, giving Mathison a rather poisonous glare. “His allegiance, I should say. To the museum.”

“Er, yes.” I cast about for some means of escape. Once again the elite of Widdershins crowded the Ladysmith’s grand foyer, nibbling on canapés beneath the looming hadrosaur skeleton, exclaiming over the carefully curated displays from Nephren-ka’s tomb, and silently judging one another’s clothing, demeanor, and heritage. “I say, has anyone seen Dr. Putnam recently?”

“Last I saw, she was speaking with the graf,” Mathison said, taking a flute of chilled champagne from a passing waiter. I snagged a flute of my own.

“No, no, the graf is being set upon by every heiress in the place,” Dr. Hart replied. “The ones with enough money to desire a title to accompany their fortune, that is.”

“He looks like Orpheus stalked by the maenads,” Mr. Quinn observed wistfully.

I edged away from him—but I also took a quick look about to make certain the graf wasn’t actually being torn apart. I assumed as much from the lack of screams, but…well, the former Graf de Wisborg had been killed and eaten by his own wife.

I didn’t see the new graf, but I finally spotted Christine near the Nephren-ka relics. Iskander stood beside her, in earnest conversation with my father.

My heart sank. God only knew what Father might be saying to them. To suggest I’d been shocked when Father offered Whyborne House as the venue for Christine’s wedding would be an understatement. Obviously he must have some sort of ulterior motive, but what he had in mind hadn’t yet become clear. Most likely he thought doing favors for my friends would convince me to abandon my career, return to the fold, and take up my position as the heir of Whyborne Railroad and Industries. It was, I suspected, the same reason Father settled a large amount of stock on Griffin for his birthday last month.

“Excuse me—I need to speak to Dr. Putnam.” I hurried away without waiting for an answer. As I wove through the crowd, I caught sight of my friend Dr. Gerritson and his wife. Unfortunately, they appeared to have been cornered by Mr. Durfree and Mr. Farr, a pair of art curators known for their passionate disagreements on anything and everything. I hurriedly ducked behind a gaggle of heiresses to avoid being drawn in.

My champagne had grown warm in the stifling heat. A whisper of magic chilled the glass, frost forming briefly on the outside of the flute before melting. I lifted it to my lips and was promptly jostled from behind. Champagne splashed across my chin and down the front of my shirt.

“Oh, sorry Percy, didn’t see you there,” drawled Bradley Osborne. He didn’t sound sorry at all.

I took out my handkerchief and began to dab ineffectively at my now-wet clothing. “Quite all right, Bradley,” I gritted out between clenched teeth. “Accidents do happen.” Not that I imagined for an instant this had been an accident.

Bradley observed my efforts at drying myself with a smug smile. “You really ought to watch where you’re going. Been drinking a bit more champagne than good for you, eh?”

The old familiar anger ached in my chest. I straightened my spine, which forced Bradley to look up at me. “Actually, I’ve been speaking with Mr. Mathison and Dr. Hart.”

His jovial mask slipped—just for an instant, but enough to let me know I’d struck home. Bradley had spent his years in Widdershins trying to claw his way higher into society. When we’d first met, he’d held me in contempt, for…well, for all sorts of reasons, but not taking advantage of the class I’d been born into was certainly one of them.

Bradley’s right hand tightened around his champagne flute; his left he tucked at the small of his back, perhaps to conceal a fist. Then he relaxed and put on a false smile. “I’m sure they found your father’s money and name—I mean, your conversation—most fascinating.”

I forced my expression to remain neutral, even as I seethed within. It wasn’t just Father’s money that had brought me to the attention of the museum’s board and president. Most of the blame lay with my wretched brother Stanford, who’d held Widdershins’s upper crust hostage in this very foyer, forcing me to save them.

“Among other things,” I replied coolly.

“Ah, yes, other things.” He continued to smile, but his eyes were cold and dead as knives. “By the way, how is Mr. Flaherty?”

“I’m quite well,” Griffin said from just behind Bradley. “Thank you for your concern, Dr. Osborne.”

I felt a thrill of savage satisfaction when Bradley started in surprise. Griffin stepped to my side, his green eyes fixed on Bradley and a smile no more genuine than Bradley’s on his lips. The man I called husband always cut a handsome figure, but the tailcoat and white tie suited him very well indeed. His chestnut hair, worn longer than strictly fashionable, curled around his collar.

Unfortunately, Bradley recovered quickly enough. “I’m glad to hear it, Mr. Flaherty,” he said even as his lip drew into a sneer. “After all, if I recall correctly, you were shot right over there. I take it the wound no longer troubles you?”

Goosebumps prickled on my arms despite the heat, and I felt as though the marble floor had shifted beneath me. The night Stanford had taken the museum staff and donors hostage, he’d also tried to kill me.

But first he’d shot Griffin, with the clear intention of hurting me. After first calling me a sodomite.

The implication had been obvious enough. But Stanford was a madman who had tried to murder the most powerful people in Widdershins. Polite society put his insults and actions down to lunatic ravings.

Whether anyone really believed that or no…well, Griffin had quietly received an invitation to various museum functions, including this one, with no real explanation as to why. If pressed, no doubt it would be pointed out he’d tried to save everyone at the Hallowe’en tour and been gallantly wounded in their defense. Surely that was worth a few invitations to exclusive events?

And perhaps it was the real explanation. I honestly didn’t know and certainly would never ask. But I had no doubts as to Bradley’s opinion.

Would he try to use it against us? He hadn’t so far, but that didn’t mean the day wouldn’t come when we’d find police knocking on our door. Or my name in some headline from a tawdry New York paper, as no reporter in Massachusetts would dare risk Father’s wrath.

My hand tightened on the champagne flute, the scars beneath my white glove pulling tight. The great arcane maelstrom that underlay Widdershins turned beneath my feet. A breeze ruffled through the gathering, bearing on it the scent of the nearby ocean.

“As I said, I’m quite fine,” Griffin replied. “Come, Whyborne—you need to dry your shirt.”

He touched my elbow. The breeze died away, and my sense of the maelstrom receded to the back of my mind, in the same place that kept track of my heart beating and my lungs breathing.

“Yes,” I said, and let him steer me away.

Author Bio:
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in the wilds of North Carolina, where she was raised on stories of haints and mountain magic by her bootlegging granny and single mother. After using a silver knife in the light of a full moon to summon her true love, she turned her talents to spinning tales. She weaves together couples who need to fall in love, then throws in some evil sorcerers and undead just to make sure they want it bad enough. In Jordan’s world, love might conquer all, but it just as easily could end up in the grave.