Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Release! Vyper by Kiernan Kelly

My newest novel, Vyper, is now available, and you can find your copy here!


Vyper is a dashing pirate whose name strikes fear in the hearts of blackguards and civilians alike. A fortuitous message in a bottle leads Vyper to the island of Jamaica, but soon entangles him in a web of lies, deceit, and double-crosses, and introduces him to the man who may plunder Vyper's heart and destroy his world.

Byron Caldwell is a handsome, titled British landowner, whose holdings include a thriving plantation on the island of Jamaica. The only shadow on his otherwise brilliant future is his shrew of a sister, Elizabeth. It's his intention to marry her off as soon as possible, if only he can find someone willing to take her off his hands.

Elizabeth wants one thing and one thing only, the key to the Caldwell fortune, and she'll stop at nothing to get it, including arranging the kidnapping and eventual death of her brother by hiring the most ferocious pirate she can find.

The events spurred by a seemingly innocuous message found in a bottle washed ashore on a tiny island in the Caribbean soon set Vyper's life on its ear, and may ultimately bring about his demise.

Here's my book trailer created to promote Vyper!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Angels and Demons on the Wing!

I've been following the "Hot Angels and Cool Demons" blog tour, and I agree with everything my esteemed colleagues have said regarding the attraction of angels and demons in erotic romance. The struggles between Good and Evil, Innocent and Decadent, the whole polar-opposites-with-more-in common-than-they' d-like-to-admit thing angels and demons usually have going on, the overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles...all these themes resound with writers and readers alike, lure us in, keep us riveted to the page, and combine to make the angel/demon theme addictive and sizzling hot.

For me, there's one other thing about angels and demons that gets me every time – the wings.

There's just something about a man with wings I find incredibly sexy.

Maybe it's the notion that with them, he can up and fly away to escape danger, or swoop in from the sky to save the day. Or perhaps it's the the idea that they make the man more than merely human, something special, unique, that gets me. It might be the massive upper body strength (gotta love those shoulders and biceps!) that a humanoid would need to support a set of wings large enough to enable him to fly (physics and biology aside, of course). Or maybe it's the symbolism of wings, that with them we can overcome adversity, ascend to a higher level of being.

Or maybe I just have a feather fetish.

In any case, I find them sexy and have written several angel/demon pairings over the years, ranging in theme from apocalyptic-slightly-irreverent (Dancing on the Head of a Pin) to humorous (Demonology 101 in the Wicked Good anthology).

Dancing on the Head of a Pin tells the story of Malak, an innocent, slightly bewildered angel, and Cael, a selfish, narcissistic demon (actually, a fallen angel) with sex-on-the-brain. A rash decision on Cael's part leads to a contest imposed on them by the Powers That Be. If Cael can seduce Malak within a certain time frame, he'll be allowed to remain on Earth until the End of Days. If Malak remains pure, Cael goes back to Hell forever. When circumstances force them to cohabitate and cooperate to stave off the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and their own destruction, it becomes a test of wills to see who'll break first.

Excerpt from Dancing on the Head of a Pin:

Barely kissing the horizon, the sun glowed a fiery crimson over the purpling waters of Islamorada, casting orange shadows over the storm-shuttered windows and whitewashed wraparound porch of their beachfront home.

Warm, salty breezes promised an evening thunderstorm and rippled the tall sea-oats that covered the dunes, surrounding the house with a green-and-gold carpet.

Standing barefoot on the second floor balcony, dressed in nothing but a loose-fitting pair of thin, white cotton pants, his tanned, flawless skin stretched over a chiseled body and his long dark hair blowing wild in the evening breeze, Malak was himself as much a work of art as anything his talented hands created.

With a flick of his wrist, Malak added a touch of vermillion to the wide swath of color that stretched across his canvas. When he stepped back and eyed his work, a small frown creased the skin between dark eyebrows.

To anyone else Malak would appear to be only slightly dissatisfied with what he saw, but Cael knew him better than that and ducked just as the canvas came whizzing through the air. It flipped end over end, sailing over the balcony railing, spiraling onto the dunes below.

"What was wrong with that one, Mal?" Cael asked, peering down at the wreckage of Malak's latest creation. Coarse sand clung to the wet paint, lending it the consistency of colored grits.

"It was shit."

Only Malak's voice, deep and smoky, could make defecation sound sexy. Cael smirked and swung himself up onto the balcony railing, straddling it. Leaning back against one of the posts supporting the overhang, he crossed his arms over his chest, watching Malak angrily swish brushes around in a mason jar half-filled with murky turpentine. "You say that about everything you paint these days, Mal."

Below Cael, half-buried in the sand, were the remnants of at least a couple of dozen of Malak's canvases, in various stages of completion. Pieces of the stretched canvas and broken frames stuck up through the sand like paint-splattered bones. Malak refused to allow any of them to be picked up and thrown away, inspiring Cael to nickname the area surrounding their porch St. Malak's Cemetery.

"Don't you have something else to do?" Malak grumbled, carefully cleaning his brushes and placing them bristles-up in another mason jar. He dried his hands on a paint-splattered rag, keeping his back to Cael. "Someone else to do?"

"Not at the moment," Cael answered, grinning. He could see the muscles tensing across Malak's shoulders. It was so easy to provoke him that it barely provided Cael with a challenge anymore. He flipped his mane of golden hair behind him and smiled impishly. "Why? Got someone in mind?"

"Go fuck yourself, Cael."

"A physical impossibility, Mal. Believe me, if I could I would -- constantly, and with great enthusiasm." Cael laughed, jumping down from the railing. He walked up and ran his hands over Malak's strongly muscled back, feeling the silken skin twitch under his palms. "You're tense, Malak. That's why you're having a hard time creating anything worthwhile. You've held out too long and it's affecting you physically."

"The only reason I'm tense is because you're still here," Malak growled, shrugging Cael's hands off his shoulders.

Undeterred, Cael returned to caress Malak's smooth skin. "I could relieve your tension in an instant, you know," he purred, sliding his hands around Malak's trim waist. He traced his fingers lightly over the ropy muscle of Malak's stomach, before slipping them under the drawstring waistband of Malak's pants, smiling at the sharp gasp when his fingers brushed against Malak's pubic hair. "I'd do whatever you wanted me to do. Touch you. Kiss you. Devour you. I'd even bend over the railing for you; let you take me hard and fast, or slow and sweet. Or would you rather bottom? You'd like to feel my cock push its way into your sweet, tight ass, wouldn't you? All you need to do is tell me what you want, Mal. That's all it would take."

"Knock it off, Cael! You already know what my answer to that is." Malak twisted away and opened the sliding glass door that led into the upstairs living area. He slipped inside, closing it behind him. Cael watched him round the corner into his bedroom, the resulting bang as Malak slammed the door shut echoing throughout the house.

Still smiling, Cael fingered his erection through his cargo shorts, adjusting himself. Damn if he hadn't given himself another boner. It was a wonder he never learned -- thinking about fucking Malak did that to him every time.

Touching any part of Malak's body had that same effect on Cael, the heat from Malak's skin going straight from Cael's fingertips to his groin. He sighed deeply as his erection grew painful. A body would think he'd have grown immune to Malak's charms by now, but no.

It had been that way for the past three thousand years -- why should today be different?

Flinging himself over the railing, Cael let his blood-red wings shimmer into view, membranous and leathery, flapping slowly to ease his fall. He landed lightly on the sand below, his feet barely indenting the grainy surface.

Bending, he plucked Malak's latest creation from the ground. A slow grin creased his cheek as he contemplated the sand-splattered painting. The canvas showed two figures entwined, one light and one dark. Although their faces were indistinct, no more than smudges of color, it was clear to Cael who the subjects were.

Malak's subconscious was trying to break through the wall he'd erected between them. His desire was manifesting itself in his paintings, had been for centuries now, which was why Malak was unhappy with everything he painted. He didn't want to admit that he wanted Cael as badly as Cael wanted him. But Malak's wild, bold brushstrokes and his sensual use of color, in addition to his subject matter, told a different story.

He was losing control.

And none too soon, as far as Cael was concerned. Time was swiftly running out for him. If Cael didn't get Malak between the sheets soon, Cael was going to find himself right back where he'd started, with a pitchfork stuck in ass and a permanent case of the hornies.

That was a totally unacceptable outcome. Cael would not go back, refused to even consider the possibility. Three millennia had done nothing to dim the memories of his life before he'd met Malak. He remembered all too clearly what it had been like, how much he had suffered.

Humiliation. Degradation. Subjugation. Deprivation. All tempered with a healthy dose of pain, they'd filled his every waking moment. And since Cael never slept, that translated to being miserable every moment of every fucking day.

No way.

He was not going back.

His hands clenched involuntarily, crushing the canvas with a splintering sound as the wooden frame cracked in his fingers. Letting it drop back onto the sand, he struggled to regain his composure.

Calm yourself, he thought. You have everything under control. He's going to snap any moment now, like a twig in a tornado. Cael took a deep breath, filling his lungs with clean, fresh air, willing his muscles to relax.

A few more days and Malak's resolve would crumple like tissue paper. That's all it would take, Cael told himself. A handful of hours and he'd have Malak naked, writhing underneath him. And once he'd had his fill of Malak's delectable flesh; once he'd spilled his seed deeply inside Malak's perfect body, or had Malak's semen fill his -- it didn't matter to Cael in the slightest which way it went down -- Cael would be safe until the end of time. A few more days and it would all be over.

It had better be.

A few more days were all Cael had left.


In Demonology 101, opposites rule because the demon is the hero of the story. It's a humorous erotic romance, but also a somewhat cautionary tale about the dangers of having blind faith.

Xyle is a demon with a penchant for good barbeque. Xyle works as a professor of demonology at a university, where he seeks to enlighten the minds of the rather thick-headed human students and do his part to education a new generation.

Roger is a human whose family are Hunters. They believe all demons are evil, animalistic, dangerous creatures that should be destroyed, despite all evidence to the contrary.

When Xyle discovers Roger and realizes who Roger is and what he has planned, Xyle decides to teach Roger a lesson. What follows is a crash course in Demonology 101 that proves opposites really do attract.

Excerpt from Demonology 101 (in the Wicked Good anthology):

Xyle tossed the brown paper sack containing two full orders of baby back ribs with extra sauce on the side to the passenger seat as he slid his long frame into the car, and ignored the familiar discomfort when he settled back. Bucket seats were not built for demon physiognomy, and although he kept his wings folded and tucked up tightly against his back, the leather seats squished them flat, making them cramp. The pain was a small enough price to pay for the pleasure of driving the Mustang, though.

He paused with his hand on the gearshift, the small hairs at the back of his neck standing up. Something was wrong, out of place. He sniffed the air and immediately recognized the scent of human. Partially obscured by the smell of pine-scented air freshener, leather, and barbeque sauce, it was there nonetheless. He analyzed the information his sensitive nose gathered. He detected a metallic odor underlying the others, and realized whoever it was, he was hiding in the back seat and was armed to the teeth.

Goddamn fucking Hunters, he thought, baring his fangs to the rear view mirror in a silent hiss. He had a good mind to incinerate the man concealed under the blanket on the floor behind his seat. One thought was all it would take him, and poof! Instant human charcoal. The gods knew the Hunters deserved to be put down. They'd persecuted demons for centuries now, hounding them, making their lives a living hell. Hunters were the chief reason Xyle had taken the teaching job in the first place—he hoped to enlighten young minds and rid the world of prejudice against demons and misinformation, ending the violence against his people once and for all.

The Mustang was truly cherry, though, and no matter how much he wanted to fry the Hunter, he couldn't bring himself to scorch the luxurious, gray leather upholstery. He could control the flames, but once the stink of burned human flesh got into leather, you could never really get it out again. There had to be another way.

An idea occurred to him, and his grimace turned into a smile. Of course! Although technically, humans weren't permitted in Hades—at least, not while their souls were still wearing their fleshy remains—he would bring the man, Mustang and all, to his home in the Underworld. Surely, the Demon Alliance would understand the necessity of his actions, once they understood his plan—particularly if it worked.

The Hunter didn't know it yet, but he was about to get a crash course in Demonology 101, and if he didn't ace the class, well…Xyle did have a barbeque pit in his backyard.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Where M/M Writers Find Inspiration...

I recently posted a series of images on Facebook regarding "Where M/M Writers Find Inspiration," and thought I'd share them here since my blog has been seriously and sadly ignored for quite a while. Here, baby. Have a post. Good boy.

Where M/M Writers Find Inspiration #1: Fantasy Football

Where M/M Writers Find Inspiration #2: I think that's called "getting to third base," gentlemen.

Where M/M Writers Find Inspiration #3: You know what they say about the size of a man's feet? Three words: Floppy Clown Feet. Just sayin'.

Where M/M Writers Find Inspiration #4: Cowboys, because those are TEN GALLON hats, folks.

Where M/M Writers Find Inspiration #5: Probably not from this guy.

Where M/M Writers Find Inspiration #6: Just wait until you see their hat trick.

Where M/M Writers Find Inspiration #7: I'm not sure that's what the coach meant by a "rim shot," but it works for me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gather closer children, and I'll tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a kingdom called Publishing which was ruled by Giants. These Giants were cruel, hard, and greedy, and wielded enormous power, dictating every facet of the lives of those who lived in or visited their kingdoms. The subjects had no choice but to live under the thumb of the Giants, eating and drinking only what the Giants deemed appropriate for the masses.

One day, in an obscure little hamlet called Internet, far from the kingdom of Publishing, a baby was born. Its parents named him "E-publishing," or "E-pub" for short. The Giants hardly deigned to notice Epub, dismissing the child as inconsequential and weak, and of no threat to them. They went about their Giant-business as they had every day for time out of mind, ruthlessly dictating the lives of their subjects without qualm.

Nestled, protected, and nurtured in his little hamlet of Internet, E-pub grew quickly. He began to make his presence known outside the boundaries of Internet, reaching out to those who lived under the Giants' rule. People were drawn to E-pub because of his open-mindedness and approachability, and were not intimidated by E-pub. He didn't seek to limit the people's choices, but rather offered an endless variety of material for them to choose from, day or night, and for far less than the Giants charged for their services.

The Giants laughed at E-pub, and occasionally threw a caustic barb in his direction, but generally ignored him, seeing him as no threat to their power.

But one day a curious thing happened. The Giants were in their treasure room counting their coin when they realized the tithing of their subjects had dwindled. While they had been busy ignoring E-pub and denouncing him as an insignificant peon who would quickly fade away, E-pub had built a kingdom for himself right under their Giant noses that included many of the Giants' subjects. Some of the Giants' tax collectors even claimed that E-pub had collected more from the subjects than the Giants had! Suddenly, some of the Giants' largest supporters, huge marketplaces that had supplied the masses with the Giants' goods for so long, were disappearing.

The Giants were outraged and secluded themselves inside their war rooms to plot a new strategy. As incredible as it sounded, this wretched little upstart, E-pub, was threatening their rule! They could not allow this to continue. They formulated a plan, a wicked one that they believed would ultimately allow them to consume E-pub completely and return the world to the way things were before.

On tiptoes, the Giants crept into Internet, the birthplace of E-pub, and began breeding their own lineage of electronic children. They hoped their fame and familiarity would bring the people of the kingdom back under their rule. They began to quietly infiltrate some of E-pub's largest supporters, sometimes consuming them whole.

Sure enough, the people of the kingdom happily bought the Giants' wares alongside those of E-pub. For a while, everyone seemed happy and looked forward to a New Age.

But the Giants weren't happy. They didn't want to share their kingdom. They wanted things to go back to the way they were before E-pub's birth when they ruled the world.

They realized the only way to do this was the old-fashioned way - by stringing up a noose and sticking the heads of the subjects firmly inside it. So, they took their electronic children and began taxing the most popular of them at a higher rate than their children of old. No longer was it less expensive to take in one of the Giants' electronic children. Instead, it cost more.

They tightened the noose.

We've reached the end of this tale, although not the end of the story. The Giants of Publishing are seeking a strangle hold on us, their subjects. Will we allow them to destroy all that E-pub has created, or worse, consume E-pub entirely? Will we allow the Giants to stomp every iota of freedom and choice in Internet out, transforming it into a copy of their old kingdom?


I wrote this little fairy tale because of an experience I had today that outraged me.

Besides being an author, I'm also an avaricious reader. Having a road trip coming up in the next couple of days (I'm driving to Atlanta to participate in OutlantaCon/Gaylaxicon), I thought it would be nice to have some new reading material on hand.

I went to Barnes and to score a few books by my favorite authors for my Nook. Need I say how shocked and disgusted I was to find that the price for the Nookbooks (Ebooks) were the same as, or HIGHER than the cost of the print books?

I don't understand it. E-books cost FAR less than print books to publish. There's no paper, for one, no printing or shipping costs. Make one copy, and with the press of a few buttons, an infinite number of copies are made.

There's only one reason for it. GREED. Brick and mortar publishers seem to think that by charging more or the same for Ebooks, people will opt to go back to buying print books. And for those Ebooks they sell, well...they've just made a fortune on a product that costs nearly nothing to produce.

The noose is tightening, folks, but I refuse to stick my head in it. As much as I, as an author, support my literary brethren, I will NOT buy an ebook that costs more than a print book, nor will I be forced to fork over my hard-earned cash for a print copy if I don't want one. I'd rather wait to buy a used copy, or get it from my local library.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Covers Facebook Would've Deleted,..50 Years Ago

With all the kerfluffle over book covers being deleted over at Facebook, I decided to take a peek at paperback cover art from years ago. After all, these so-called "offensive" covers that are being deleted are something new, right? Our parents would NEVER have allowed risque covers to be seen by the public at large, right? I mean, they would've been offended, and forced publishers to remove them from the drugstore book racks, right?

Yeah, not so much. In fact, it seems like the rule of thumb was the sleazier the better. The one common denominator among these covers seems to be half-naked people. I had so much fun digging up these old covers, I think I may make this a weekly theme. Btw, the publishers of some of these covers are still around today, including Bantam.

I want to know what these guys were doing before they started fighting, especially since the man with the chain has his pants unzipped. And I don't even want to know why the guy in the red shirt is holding a Barbie doll.

Evidently, the early concepts of spacesuits involved underwear and gladiator boots.

So..., is he going to sacrifice the baby to the mantis-people, or is this the earliest known fictionalized account of male pregnancy?

I believe the artist time-traveled and watched Pirates of the Caribbean, because if that pirate isn't Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, I'll eat my keyboard.

Is that a naked man she's pulling up out of the water? Why, yes. Yes it is.

Mommy, why are they giving Tarzan electroshock?

There's nothing that sells books faster than a maniacal grin plastered on the face of a half-naked man slaughtering Native Americans.

Because everyone knows the Eerie Canal was built during a frat kegger.

It's a PUZZLE book! 'Nuff said.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Going Home Again

There's an old saying that goes, "you can't go home again." Not true. Well, not exactly. Of course, you can go home - to the place you grew up, to see the people who populated your world. I mean, unless your face is on a wanted poster on the wall at the post office, or the city of your birth met with some catastrophic event that wiped it from the map, chances are good that you can return to the physical place where you were born and raised.

The problem is that nothing and no one will be as you remember them. They've changed.

And so have you.

I've just returned from such a trip. My family and I left the warm sunshine of Florida and made the trek into the blustery northeast to see relatives in New Jersey. I needed to go - I hadn't seen my three elderly aunts in years. Two are in their mid-to-upper eighties, the third is ninety-one. My mother's sisters, they still live together in the house in which they were born and lived all their lives.

They are the single exception to the rule and have not changed an iota in the intervening years. Not a wrinkle among them (somehow, I was sadly shorted that familial gene). Their smiles made the trip worthwhile.

I cannot say the same about the area in which I grew up. It was an odd feeling, going home again. Have you ever seen the episode of The Twilight Zone where the scientist goes back into the past and changes the future? He didn't change it completely, but just enough to make things...not right. That's what it seemed like to me.

Many things looked the way I remembered them, but strangely different at the same time. In the old neighborhood, many of the homes I remembered were torn down to make way for monstrous Mc-houses. These cookie-cutter mansions were strewn side-by-side among much more venerable, humble homes like gaudy, paste rhinestones set alongside tiny, precious gems. They seemed cold and out-of-place.

Most of the smaller stores and boutiques I remembered, the family-run businesses, were gone, replaced by Walmarts and convenience stores. Oh, there were landmarks aplenty that I remembered, for instance, the three Catholic churches that were the cornerstones of the community in this deeply religious, Old-World Italian neighborhood, but two of the schools were closed, the buildings rented out.

The faces on the street were different, too. Strangers now lived in homes that belonged to people my family knew for generations.

Many of the neighborhood traditions are gone now. I remember that every year on the Feast of St. Ciro, parishioners (most of whom spoke Italian and little English) from our church would march in a mile-long procession that led from the church, through the streets, and back again - many of them walking in their bare feet as a sign of devotion. They carried banners with images of the saint on them, to which people would pin dollar bills. They also carried a litter bearing a statue of the saint through the streets, and a three-piece band would play unrecognizable hymns.

I find it sad to think traditions like this one have disappeared. They were part (along with the people) of what made my hometown what it was - a unique and charming place.

You can go home again, but chances are you'll return just a little sadder.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

When Did I Get So Freaking Old?

I knew it was coming. I was warned repeatedly (usually by people older than me) that it was inevitable. Someday, somehow, I was going to get...old.

Surely, this wouldn't happen to me. I might be wrinkling up enough to qualify as a spokesmodel for the raisin industry, but inside I was still juicy.

Until today, that is. Today, I feel like the turkey in the movie Christmas Vacation. You know...the one that exploded into a dust storm of dried turkey bits when they cut into it. Seriously, I may henceforth be required by law to have the words, "Caution: Extremely Flammable. Do not allow near open flame" tattooed on my forehead.

What happened, you ask? I went and got my hair cut, that's what happened.

Now, I've had my hair cut many times. Every four or five weeks in fact. But today for some reason, it just dawned on me how much the experience has changed in the past, oh, thirty years or so.

Used to be, there was a local beauty parlor in the neighborhood (yes, that's what they were called, beauty parlors, not salons, or hair-atoriums, or whatever the hell else they call them these days. Oh, and a man wouldn't be caught dead in a beauty parlor - unless he was gay and doing the cutting - they went to the barbershop). This beauty parlor had been in existence at that same location for as long as you could remember, probably since the invention of the scissors. Not only did you go there, but your grandmother, aunts, mother, sisters, cousins, and everyone girl you ever knew since grammar school went there as well.

Everyone knew everyone else. The beauty parlor held the distinction of not only being the only place in town to get your 'do done, but the best place to get your gossip fix as well. You had a standing appointment, and woe to the woman who missed it. Squeezing you in required you be read the riot act in full hearing of whoever was in the parlor that day, but it would get done, even if the beautician (not stylist, mind you) had to stay late. in after hours. Nowadays, you'd have a better chance of winning the lottery than to get an after-hours appointment. In fact, back then, if you were sick, the beautician might just make a house call.

I remember the parlor in my neighborhood. It was on the corner, right next to the funeral home (and yes, I think some of the beauticians earned a little extra money doing color and sets for the recently departed).

There were three chairs in the parlor and only one wash station. There was also a sink in the back of the parlor behind a curtain that I think may have been a converted bed sheet, where perms were applied to lessen the stench in the parlor. Also in the back were two dryers which looked - and sounded - like jet engines. Good luck trying to hear anything short of a nuclear explosion while under those babies. There were always two elderly women parked under them, their hair pulled up into giant rollers the size of toilet paper rolls.

The thing is, getting your hair done back then wasn't a chore. It wasn't something you fit into your schedule - your schedule was built around your hair appointment. It was an afternoon out with the ladies, gossiping and trading photos of your kids and recipes. In other words, it was a social event.

Nowadays, with all the chain hair salons around, it's no different from coasting through the drive thru at Mickey D's. Ten minutes tops, from wash to blow dry, assembly-line format. Chances are good that the person who cuts your hair this month will not be at the same location next month. Every time you walk in, you take a chance that you'll walk out looking like Don King on a bad hair day.

Back then, you went in and got a hair cut. That included the wash, product (which amounted to hair spray, or if you were lucky, a little mousse), style and blowdry.

Today, everything is separate, like an ala carte menu. Oh, you wanted conditioner? Tack on another three bucks. Blow dry? Another five. I keep waiting for the day they start charging you by the snip.

Thinking about all this was what forced the astonishing revelation on me. I'm old. I realized I remember the "good old days." You may as well set me down on the front porch with fifty cats and a basin of snap peas on my lap.