Many thank yous to the very lovely Maggie Blackbird. I’m so chuffed 🌹❤🌹
Thank you to Two Chicks Obsessed for having me…and for the opportunity to write a guest post on switching sub-genres. ❤🌹❤
The full post may be found here
‘I just love words. I squirrel them away to snuffle…from Shakespeare to Sappho, Trollope to Tonlet. Then waft them about with gay abandon…’
Thank you so much to everyone below for having me…and as always, to Gay Book Promos ✨😊✨ For being beyond brilliant.
To Padme’s Library for the wonderful interview
Thank you to Love Bytes for the opportunity to write a guest post.
Thank you, Lily 💙
Book Title: Darkness Dawns
Author: Zakarrie Clarke
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre/s: Contemporary/Humour/MM/Disability (Blindness)
Length: 65 000 words/150 PDF pages
Release Date: February 1, 2019
It’s a novel with a sequel. The first 43 chapters form Darkness Dawns; it concludes on a HFN and the sequel completes the novel.
I’ve written both, but thought it best to split it, or it would be over 140 000 words long.
Darkness Dawns is a love story. It also tells the tale of one man’s war with himself, brought onto the battlefield of his blindness. Leo Ferrar suffers from diabetic retinopathy and lost his sight two years ago. Unable to bear the scrutiny of strangers or the impact of his blindness on those he loves, Leo has determined on shutting the world out ever since. This is the man Ben meets on his first day at work as Mr…
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Hiya, Darkness Dawns has been released, but ’tis still only available on Smashwords and at MLR Press, as I write. It should appear on Amazon at some point…mehopes. Sales stuff is beyond my control, so I’m sorry it’s not available more widely at the mo. These are the only links I have:
I’ve booked a blog tour with the fabulous Gay Book Promotions starting on the 19th.
Thank you to all the lovely people on the list below for having me:
Introducing Cassie Tam
The Cassie Tam Files is a science fiction/mystery series set in the fictional new future city of New Hopeland, Utah. As you might have guessed from the title, the main protagonist of the series, and indeed the POV character for each book, is Cassie Tam. But who is she? Well, let’s take a look at some of her key characteristics.
Cassie was born in Vancouver, Canada. While both her parents were also born in the city, her father comes from a Chinese family, making Cassie part of the Chinese-Canadian community. She followed her father into law enforcement, but ended up working as PI rather than joining him in the police force, and eventually moved to New Hopeland after a case went bad for her back home.
Cassie has a love-hate relationship with modern tech. Some things, she can tolerate; For example, her robot gargoyle Bert acts as both a pseudo guard dog and a constant companion for her. Other things though? She’s not so fond of. She rarely touches virtual reality equipment, because the immersive nature of it has seen it become as big an addiction problem as drugs are in our world, and the way it’s used by businesses makes addiction a given rather than a possibility for most people. Given that the city she lives in was built to be the worldwide hub of technological advancement, it’s not a great trait for her to have.
This also isn’t helped by her tendency to lean on paranoia as a tool of the trade. Her reasoning is that since the initial tourism boom for the city died down, it’s fallen into a state of corruption, with criminals holding positions of power. As such, if something feels wrong, it often will be. As Cassie is known for taking on the cases that the police won’t touch, she can on occasion find herself facing off with some nasty people too. In that respect, paranoia is absolutely her friend rather than a hinderance.
Like many of the old pulp fiction detectives, Cassie has a strong moral compass. It may not always synch up with the way the city works, but once she’s decided what the right outcome is, she will doggedly chase that conclusion. This stubbornness also carries over to how she treats her world view; once she’s convinced herself about something, it’s going to be hard to shake it. And if you anger her? Expect snark. Or possibly to get punched. And yes, she does know how to fight. Her dad was a cop, and she herself did go to the academy, so she learned to take care of herself. She is well aware that there are bigger dogs in the yard, but that doesn’t mean she can’t hold her own.
Outside work, Cassie is a big fan of horror films, even though watching them all but guarantee that she’ll have nightmares that night. This isn’t always a bad thing though, she puts a lot of stock into dreams as a way for her to pick up on things she’s missed in the waking world. In keeping her lack of love for the modern world, she mostly listens to retro rock music and jazz. Despite not holding any strong religious beliefs, she does let some older traditions guide her at times. In particular, she has a selection of black ties that have black embroidered designs on them that are near invisible unless you look closely. The designs are all animals, and Cassie often picks her ties based on what the animals means in Chinese folklore in the hopes of the clothing aiding her in her cases.
In terms of clothing, Cassie has a set uniform for herself: plain black trousers and shoes, white shirt, and black tie. It helps her focus on work and create a clear divide between work and non-working situations. Not that she spends much time not working; between spiralling bills and how closed up she is socially, what use would she have for spending too long not working?
And that’s about it. Of course, Cassie grows and changes a little as the books go on, but at the start, those are her key characteristics. If she sounds fun to you, why not give the books a shot and meet her properly.
reality junkie, she thinks it will be easy money. In New Hopeland, VR
junkies die every day, and the local PD already declared it an
accidental overdose on synthetic stimulants. But the more she digs,
the more that things don’t add up.
sister Lori, is a Tech Shifter – someone who uses a metal
exoskeleton to roleplay as an animal – and Cassie has always been
wary of that community. That wouldn’t be a problem if Lori wasn’t
fast becoming the first person she’s been genuinely attracted to
since splitting with her ex.
busy schedules with a night out at the theatre to watch the Tech
Shift performer Kitsune, the last thing they expected was for Cassie
to get a job offer. But some people are never off the clock, and by
the end of the evening, Cassie has been drawn into a mundane but
highly paid missing pet case. Unfortunately, in New Hopeland City,
even something as simple as little lost dog can lead you down some
isn’t the only place that likes to blend technology with folklore.
Now, a new nightmare is stalking the streets…
police to get involved. What she doesn’t expect is to be forced
into acting as bait to lure out a lunatic in a tech-suit
that’s literally out for blood. But past actions have consequences, and doing so may be
the only way she can get a clean slate from the city’s law makers.
and genderfluid. Matt has spent a great deal of time chasing dreams,
a habit which has led to success in a great number of fields. To
date, this has included spending ten years as a professional
wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing
multiple works of fiction.
for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
My new novel, Darkness Dawns will be released by MLR Press on February 1st.
Here’s the synopsis and an excerpt:
Darkness Dawns is a love story. It also tells the tale of one man’s war with himself, brought onto the battlefield of his blindness. Leo Ferrar suffers from diabetic retinopathy and lost his sight two years ago. Unable to bear the scrutiny of strangers or the impact of his blindness on those he loves, Leo has determined on shutting the world out ever since. This is the man Ben meets on his first day at work as Mr Ferrar’s care assistant.
A former heroin addict, Ben was sentenced to six months community service as punishment for his crimes by a judge entitled to condemn him to a seven-year stretch. Far too charming for his own welfare, Ben proves unaccountably brilliant at ‘bulldozing the blind’.
When fate sees fit to dispatch Ben to the home of the man he has dubbed Mr Ferrarcious; it is with the words of the last five unfortunates who’d dared darken Leo’s doorway ringing in his ears. A door that is opened by a man who might be Lord Byron himself. Drop dead gorgeous and as hot as hell, Leo Ferrar has the most beautiful eyes Ben has ever seen.
Never has an irony seemed so cruel. Nor fate so fortuitous.
Leo knew he should have opted to use the cane, instead of the arm Ben offered him for their unexpected walk. Should. Every time that word left someone’s lips, Leo wanted to scream; fists clenched in a screech of hopeless, helpless rage. The fact that everything he should do was For-His-Own-Benefit, made it so much worse, which was as ludicrous as it was true. Independence was the only thing he had left to aspire to. So, why the fuck did should rub Leo so raw it obliterated any inclination he may have had to do whatever it prefaced?
He ought to want to do the things he should. But what if he tried…and failed? What if Leo couldn’t master any of them? Then he would lose even the hope that he might, one day, be able to. Even more galling, that loss would be down to him, because he was so bloody useless. He did want to show Ben that he was quite capable of managing…didn’t he? Very much, although why that mattered, Leo had no idea.
Why care what this latest in a long line of functioning eyeballs thought of him? It was probably more politic to say, ‘visually unimpaired’. Visually Impaired. Leo had to stifle the urge to punch people who described him thus. Impaired? Adj: weakened or damaged. Weak. Weakened. F’fucksakes. He was still chewing that particular wasp when Ben asked for his wrist.
Does he intend to lead me by it, as if I’m a toddler?
Leo found himself holding it out anyway. Christ knows why he was going along with all this. It was just that…being in Ben’s company was rather like sitting in the passenger seat of a snow plough driven by a drunk. Far preferable to standing in its path…and yet, somehow more appealing than staying behind, wherever the hell it was off to.
Nevertheless, he was still relieved when Ben clasped the proffered wrist—not to cart Leo off as he’d feared—but to plant his hand on top of Ben’s head. The fact that Leo could have changed the lightbulb without stretching a whole lot further, did seem to suggest he’d been addressing Ben’s nipples for the last half hour.
Quite how Ben then contrived to claim fault for something that was Leo’s mistake was less clear, but this was pulled off with such disarming charm, it would’ve been churlish to argue otherwise. Why the hell did the notion of calling Ben’s bluff feel as brutal a prospect as drowning his cat? If he had one, of course. Cat? More to the point…nipples?
“Thank you,” Leo managed to mumble, which was something of a result itself. Half an hour with Ben and he’d started to feel several sandwiches short of the proverbial picnic. He’d also begun to suspect that Violet had been a sweet little old lady—and quite sane—when she’d met Ben.
So off they went. The blindingly daft leading the blind off on a stroll around Camden.
In a bid to distract himself from well, pretty much everything he’d thought for the last five minutes, Leo decided to ask Ben to describe himself. For some reason he was intrigued, not only to know what Ben looked like, but to hear the picture he drew. Leo had an inkling this would prove more unmissable than an aural tour around the National Portrait Gallery. Unmissable? It was a bloody masterpiece. There most definitely were not any renderings of Steptoe’s six-four daughter there. The last two years might have felt a damn sight less soul-destroying if Ben had voiced Leo’s DVD visual descriptions.
Walking outside had lost all its appeal when the world became a giant landmine lying in wait to blow up in Leo’s face; every step into the unknown, a potential public humiliation. Despite this, and Ben’s partiality to lamp posts, they somehow arrived in Gloucester Crescent, alive and well. Even more shocking, was that Leo hadn’t fretted about…anything really, along the way. He’d just drifted along, listening to Ben weave words too beguiling to question where embellishment waved farewell to the truth. But who the fuck would want to, when that would feel as blasphemous as punching a fist through a Picasso?
Happy New Year
Happy New Year…I hope you had a wonderful Christmas/Happy Holidays.
My new MLR novel ‘Darkness Dawns’ has gone off to be formatted and will be released on February 9th, mehopes. Now that’s done & dusted, I’ll get back to work on Book 3 of the Duke & Dandy series.
In the meantime…here is chapter 1…
The Incorrigible & The Count
Lawks. Padraic’s plans didn’t oft pan out with such splendid aplomb, he had to admit. They were a mite more inclined to bolting for the nearest nettle patch when he wasn’t paying attention—or when he was—but he’d never quite fathomed why.
Ne’ertheless, it seemed that carving a way into Raff o’the Rookeries’ heart was a task upon which his own was set. So much so, that nary a notion, nor wisp of whimsy, could flit through Padraic’s head to divert him from his worst intentions. Unless, o’course, it served their purposes. The moment he’d managed to summon Raff to the fore, Padraic had known full well what would ensue afore too many more minutes had elapsed. Hmm, a morn well spent, indeed.
Fortuna, in the form of the Lady Lotte, had seen to it that Padraic could depend on spending two more in similar splendour, before il Conte left town. Thus, it fell to the Duke of Waterford to make the most of his stay. Such a simple turn o ’phrase…
“Afff?” ’Twas a tad tricky to enunciate, but that mattered not, Padraic mostly wondered if his scoundrel would still answer to it. Or, reprimand him for (attempting) its utterance.
“Y’can take it off…” Raff chuckled. A fact almost as staggering as…the sublime sweep of his spine. An alternate simile may have taken some time to rustle up, it must be owned.
Padraic would have whipped it off a wee while back, if it hadn’t made such sense, in the scheme o’things. That noted, it had seemed a piquant supplement to proceedings, at the time…akin to adding slice of lemon to one’s gin.
“Is that all you require me to remove, dear Raff? I must reek to high heaven.”
“I would be much obliged if you’d remove the lot, but that has bugger all to do with your scent, which does not offend me in the slightest,” Raff smirked.
“I might not niff as bad as a rookery gutter, but your oh, so noble hooter must surely—”
“I’m going to gag you again in a minute, if you don’t stop spouting nonsense,” Raff cut in, spearing Padriac with a flinty glint o’green. Neither of these things surprised the Duke a jot, but the rogue’s next declaration was astounding. “I find that I’m far too fond of your scent for my own…comfort.”
Comfort? In the physical sense, surely? It didn’t seem feasible that such a trifle could ruffle Raff’s feathers—his partiality to it—not the niff itself. Padraic really did reek like a whorehouse, it must be admitted. Now, there’s a thought. Oh, what the hell…
“Mayhaps you should bestir yourself to the bawdyhouse, as soon as you return to the Rookeries—”
“Desist with this nonsense, you jingled-brained blackguard,” Raff snapped, swiping a half-hearted backhander across the ducal derrière en route to flopping down beside him. “I have no wish to avail m’self of a blower’s charms, and well you know it. Nor those of a dilly-boy, before yer start.”
How rude…as if Padraic would e’er be so impertinent. He was about to inform Raff o’this, when the scoundrel turned to arch an eyebrow at him, lips atwitch with a knowing smirk.
“Not half hour ago you took me to task, for thinking you fickle. Now, you tar me with the same brush, and deem me an utter rake, t’boot. What’s good for the goose…Yer Grace.”
“Fair’s fair, indeed. Yet, I have also told you true that I want you, no other. To which you informed me that you doubted I would flinch from stabbing you in your sleep and scarpering, the moment I found you wearisome. I beg your pardon, but I feared that such a tryst might prove my come-uppance for being presumptuous,” Padraic sniffed.
Good grief…’twas not oft that he found himself upended so summarily. The Duke would have to keep his wits about him should their proposed fencing bout transpire. Il Conte must wield a lethal foil on the counter-parry front.
“You’ve made it clear that you will return to the Rookeries when ‘you are done with me’.” Padraic pointed out. “I doubt that you plan to join a monastery. So, if you don’t intend to visit a vestal o’Drury Lane—nor dally with a dilly—what else am I to presume? Unless, you keep a mistress of whom I’m unawares…
It was with a soft snort that Raff turned to reach for the pot of pipes on his nightstand. Deflection, or delay, while he rustled up a pithy retort? After filling their bowls with deft fingers, he directed the stem of one Padraic’s way.
The glint agleam in the green was so fierce that a match to light it would prove superfluous, if Raff kept glaring in such a flinty fashion.
“I have not ‘kept a mistress’ for many a moon, yer grace, having had no wish to answer for myself, nor my movements. Mayhaps, I might have been willing to, had met my…match,” Raff shrugged with a wry glance at the one he’d struck to light his own pipe.
Padraic couldn’t quite recall how this conversation had taken such an unexpected turn—nor knew quite where Raff was steering it—which was most odd. The Duke wasn’t oft so tardy on the uptake…but then, he’d ne’er found himself so thoroughly upended before. He should, perhaps, have considered the predicament of the ducal carriage a portent o’things to come.
“Yer Grace, whenever do you expect me to find time to pay a visit to a nuggin-house? It can’t have been five and twenty minutes since…” Raff trailed off in favour of shooting a pointed glance at Padraic’s gaping breeches. He had tugged them back up but neglected to button them.
“You are speaking in riddles, Raff. You know full well that I am speaking of after you’re done with me.”
“Why do you persist in continuing this Canterbury tale? You know damn well what—who—I want,” Raff abruptly barked, tossing his pipe onto the nightstand afore springing up to straddle Padraic’s lap and clasp a fistful of hair. Stone the crows…’twas a wonder the Duke’s bloomers didn’t burst into flames. Again. The blighters must be incombustible.
“Now.” Padraic emphasized.
“Know this. You are mine.” Raff’s tone was akin to the clang of a portcullis. That part may have been wishful thinking, but his words did sound more than a smidge definitive Despite the Duke’s penchant for poesy. “If another man so much as lays a finger upon you, he will never see another dawn, or I ain’t Raff o’the Rookeries. He will be dead before daybreak. I detest that you are duty-bound to wed, but accept it, I must. I have no choice. Marry, if you must. Mistress of Waterford House, your Duchess might be, but I will never surrender you to her…” The rogue rasped afore crushing their mouths together in a kiss so fierce Padraic tasted the tang of copper on his tongue, or Raff’s…’twas impossible to tell.
His head was awash with husky scent, his body aflame with want. His skin felt like a silent scream; aching for the soft scrape of scratchy hair and silken skin, rather than a rasp of starched cotton, sanding it raw. Burrowing a hand into Raff’s tousled hair, Padraic wrapped the other arm around his waist to tug him in tight. His own hips strained upwards, need clawing at his guts, every tendon taut with want, like an overstrung lute.
“Lawks…I can’t stand this,” Raff snarled, snatching himself from the kiss to reach over the edge of the bed. His hand reappeared barely a breath later, clutching a dagger.
Quite what he could no longer abide and had decided to dispense with, Padraic knew not. Was Raff entirely sure? It seemed certain that the Duke was about to lose either his life or shirt, but it was perhaps a toss-up which might meet its end. First.
’Twas neither. Raff grasped the knot of Padraic’s cravat and cleaved straight through it with a single swipe. Lawks, ’tis sharp. When the silk surrendered to its steel kiss, Raff snagged a trailing end and tugged until it slithered free with a swift swish. The Duke was going to have to start purchasing them by the gross; Raff would soon be bound to his elbows as if he were sporting opera gloves. Unless he intended to employ it elsewhere. For the present, Raff let it fall unheeded to slice the buttons off a second waistcoat (ditto) before plucking at the collar of Padriac’s shirt to slice a clean line down its centre. Upon tossing the dagger aside, the scoundrel grasped two fistfuls of muslin and yanked its fronts asunder.
“Lawks…” Raff’s gaze remained riveted to Padraic’s chest as he wrenched his own waistcoat apart, then shrugged it off before dragging his shirt over his head. It emerged in a rumpled tumble of hair and eyes ablaze with emerald fire. Mine…had he meant that? Or, was Raff intent on a purpose beknownst only to himself?
Padraic knew he must never forget that the rogue was exactly whom he’d called forth this morn; Raff of the Rookeries, the most conniving cove to stalk the highways since Darkin deprived them the pleasure of ending his reign. Mine. A word with much the impact of opium fumes on Padraic’s senses, obscuring all but the intoxicating life-force of the man kneeling astride his lap. Topless…and more than a mite askew elsewhere.
Their chests crashed in slam of hard heat and sinewy strength when Raff clasped the nape of Padraic’s neck and crushed their lips together. It scarce seemed possible that being cleaved thus; skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth could feel more intensely erotic than full sex with anyone else. But ’twas still true. He’d no sooner observed this, than Raff tilted his hips. Padraic had somehow forgotten that his breeches were gaping, being still sort-of-clad, beneath the waist, so was utterly unprepared for the clash of erections that clanged through his body as if ’twas a dinner gong.
“Tssss…” The hiss Padriac sucked through his teeth was swiftly followed by a low groan when Raff pulled back, ensnaring his gaze with glinty green as he rolled his hips, very deliberately.
“Y’ready to cease cutting your shams and flummery now, yer Grace? I want the truth.”
“You will throw it back in my face,” Padraic sighed.
“Am I not worth that risk?” he swished. Asked.
“You know your own worth, y’scoundrel. Well, one of you does…”
“Demon,” he snorted, then Raff’s eyes abruptly narrowed to glinty slits. “Say it,” he glared.
“I love you.” Three words the Duke had begun to believe he might never mean, even had convention obliged him to voice them.
“I would not have insisted…had I not needed to hear it, Padraic.”
’Twas p’raps the first time Raff had not yer-graced him since they entered his bedchamber. In truth, the hated address didn’t bother him in the slightest, when uttered in chronic cant. For Raff was the only person who sneered it with such contempt…and yet, its insult had come to feel somewhat akin to an endearment, which was as rattlepated as ’twas true.
“Need to hear it? ’Twas always yours for the taking, had I e’er imagined you might wish it to disgrace your eardrums. Where are you going?” Padriac frowned, when Raff abruptly started shuffling backwards.
“Nowhere…or at least, only to the end of the bed, but I’m taking your breeches with me. I want you naked.” Those roguish lips twerked up in a devilish grin as Raff did just that, pausing only to undo the buttons at Padraic’s calves and whisk away his stockings and shoes too. “Better…”
The green grazed the length Padraic’s body like ghostly fingertips, a sensation so tangible his skin prickled to awareness beneath the glide of Raff’s gaze. The Duke had never felt so tall in his life…by the time the rascal was done perusing his person, Padraic felt fit to burst into flames. Raff rose up on his knees and tugged his breeches down afore promptly denying the Duke the sight he’d been denied far too long, by plonking himself on it, to dispense with his own sundries.
“Raff…” The Duke’s focus was too fixed on the man crawling the length of his legs, to realise he’d sighed that aloud, until the rogue’s lips twitched in recognition of it.
When Raff deigned, at last, to bend his elbows, a low moan rumbled in his throat when their chests smudged together. A helpless sound as incendiary as his flinty glint, but in tandem? They were as combustible a clash of contrasts as Raff himself. The scoundrel slid up his chest until their faces were level, then stopped, lowering himself to his forearms. An onslaught of lean muscle and rigid heat Padraic would have sworn unsurpassable…about a breath before Raff began to speak.
“When I first set foot in the Rookeries, I swore blind that I would never again bow before a man. Yet, you brought me to my knees with barely a goddamn blink.”
Padraic’s heart was hammering so hard it felt like ’twas trying to claw its way out to get at the rascal. It damn near stopped dead when Raff unleashed an utterance as lethal as the reputation that preceded him.
“I love you, yer demon.”
Book Title: Full O’Festive Spirits
Author: Zakarrie Clarke
Genre/s: Contemporary romance
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 40 000 words
Release Date: December 16, 2018
Gabriel is staggered, upon overhearing two old dears declare that only 21 shopping days remain ’til Christmas. He hadn’t even noticed that December had dawned, far too busy being grim ‘n’ grumpy to be bothered. This, after losing his job—again—leaving him too fed-up of enforced thriftiness to differentiate days that did not. Let alone recall the date on the calen— A thought that sends Gabriel scuttling off the bus, in a belated bid to secure his favourite part of the festive season…an advent calendar. If they have any left. Upon clattering into the nearest shop, he finds himself coshed by the most splendid sight he e’er did see. A Christmas Feast for…
View original post 677 more words
Full O’Festive Spirits | Zakarrie C
Genre/s: Contemporary, romance
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 40,000 words
Release Date: December 16, 2018
Gabriel is staggered, upon overhearing two old dears declare that only 21 shopping days remain ’til Christmas. He hadn’t even noticed that December had dawned, far too busy being grim ‘n’ grumpy to be bothered.
This, after losing his job—again—leaving him too fed-up of enforced thriftiness to differentiate days that did not. Let alone recall the date on the calen…
A thought that sends Gabriel scuttling off the bus, in a belated bid to secure his favourite part of the festive season…an advent calendar.
If they have any left. Upon clattering into the nearest shop, he finds himself coshed by the most splendid sight he e’er did see. A Christmas Feast for the eyeballs so sublime, it…
View original post 658 more words