First and foremost, I’d
like to thank RJ Scott for giving me the opportunity to join in on
the Saturday Essays. Thanks RJ!

****

As I sit to write this post, a thousand and one thoughts swirl
through my magpie mind. I wonder if my new book will be banned next
week, or if it will once again be on the up side of the
flippity-floppity dance that PayPal and the third party distributors
have been engaged in of late. I wonder about why so many who read
and write romance which occurs between two men seem to have such
deep-seated antipathy towards women. Especially when most of the
readers and writers of this genre are themselves women. And then I
remember that I live in a world where a very short time ago women
everywhere were considered chattel. I recall that in the language I
speak, English (and yes, it is American style, but still, English),
the most pejorative slurs refer to women’s body parts.

Oh, yeah.

That’s right.

When I keep those things in mind it no longer comes as a surprise
that a genre dedicated to romance between men would seek to strangle
the life out of its female characters and make mockery of or gasp in
horror at the authors who dare to have strong women in their books.
Who have a sister or a mother or a friend of the gay main character
have a brain and show it on the page. Even more astonishing are the
authors who actually let a woman save the day.

At least these authors, poor deluded fools, have not committed the
ultimate crime. They have not dared to write a gender fluid
character who is satisfied being female from the waist up and male
from the waist down. Oh, the horror of a character who does not care
to transition 100%.

*this is the point where you should swoon at the awfulness of it
all*

They have not written a trans-man or trans-woman’s story and they
have not written/committed the gravest sin of all, a character who
falls in love with a PERSON and not with a set of genitalia.

*Wait a tic, just have to dodge the thought police here… whew.
Dodged them this time.*

Okay, so all sarcasm aside… why I write is to entertain. But that is
not the whole of it. I also write to educate, and to quiet the
demons of my soul, and to feed my family… I have a thousand
different reasons. I’m sure that every writer does. But I’m getting
off topic. Let me point myself back in the right direction. I write
stories because the characters in my head demand to be heard. I
write the world that is and the world that I wish to be and the
world that never was. And in my own little sandbox I am God and
Goddess and most badass Smut Sprite out there, sprinkling love and
happy bunnies any damn place I want to. I write to reach the lost
and I write to heal the wounded. I write stories for the voiceless,
that they might be heard, and if that gets my books banned then so
be it.

Everybody wants to read the banned books anyway. We just have to be
sneakier about it. My book that just released from Silver has been
getting the flippity-flop jerk around of yes it can go up, not it
can’t, yes it can… because of one scene. A rape occurs in that
scene. It’s not glorified, and it’s not sexy. It just happens. And
it’s crucial to the over-arching political landscape of the world on
which it occurs, and eventually to all the worlds that are
influenced by that world… and that’s enough to leave my little
(well, at 458 pages, not so little) book out in the cold. Thank
goodness my publisher has my back, and that my characters are all on
my side, or for fuck’s sake, I might be a total wreck over something
like this.

I’m not though. Because I just write what the characters need. What
they whisper in my ear. And I really don’t think I’ll ever feel the
need to apologize for that. If you go looking at my books, be sure
to check to see if the particular one you are getting ready to pick
up is for you. I write about people. I like to write about people
who fall in love, and I like to give them all happy ever afters,
because in my world(s) I am God/Goddess and I can make that happen.
I don’t pay much attention to what shape their bits and pieces take…
well, except when they are taking notice, or –ahem— utilizing them.
Heh.

No.

Wait.

That’s not entirely true.

I have a daughter.

I want her to be proud to be exactly who she is. She tells me all
the time that she likes boys (sheesh couldn’t the kid be asexual
until age 30 or something?) and that she wants to be a wildlife
conservationist. Oh, and she loves to shop. So if my stories are a
little heavy on the strong women, and if my gay characters still
like women, be they friends or daughters or wise old grannies… well,
you can bet I did that for the kidlet. Because when I give her the
edited to be YA friendly versions of my stories I want there to be
women she can model herself after. I want her to feel happy in their
company, and accepted by all the folk of my worlds. 
 Because I love her. So if you want two dimensional women in
your M/M romance, don’t pick up one of mine. I’d hate to see you
disappointed. If you want stereotypical heroes… well, see above.

My
guys are mean and dirty and light and fluffy and some of them (like
my real life ex-boyfriend) have girls names. Read the warning
labels, folks. And if you don’t like any of this, do not worry.
There’s a thousand other stories out there you can find that come in
lovely cookie cutter shapes with nary a trans-sexual, strong woman,
bisexual or other alien life form. It’s your money, babies. Buy what
you like. But seriously? Don’t come asking for a refund. Cause I’m
telling you right now that I make no promises. Some of my stories
will be all about men falling in love with other men. Some will have
nary a woman in sight. Some will have strong females and some *gasp*
will have girly bits jiggling all over the page. Some of my heroes
will be abrasive, like Lewell’yn. Some will be sweet and hapless and
need rescuing time and again. Some will be average Joes.

Whomever
pushes their way to the front of the queue and demands their story
be told will get their chance. Check them out. If you like your
characters strong and bold and real right down to the ground, then I
just might be someone whose works you’ll enjoy. Here’s a little
taste of the guys from Tian’s Hero for you to sample and see what
you think.

oOo

Blurb: 

A spy posing as an assassin finds himself riding the ragged edge
of sanity during his latest mission; a frantic search for fabled
lost colonists who fled his planet steps ahead of a devastating
plague. The possibly mythical pre-plague migrants hold the only
key to survival for his entire race.

Lewell'yn’s situation would be difficult enough without receiving
deliberately false information, and now he’s light-years from
reliable help and saddled with the two huge complications: a
fiercely passionate healer, and a sweet, innocently sexy chef.

The bombs are in place. The detonators are set. The chrono is
ticking. Caught between two men desperate to escape the clutches
pirates and an insidious, hidden enemy, can Lewell'yn find a path
to become Tian's hero?

BUY LINK FOR TIAN'S HERO

Excerpt

“Lewell'yn, where's Kay?”

Lewell'yn handed Tian two of the smallest carisaks. Pointing
towards the enclosed area at the back of the sickbay, he replied.

“He's in there. Put those on the gurney with him.”

Tian hurried into the walled off area, expecting to see Kay hooked
up to a mobile sustainment pod. Kayron lay on one of the gurneys
used to move dead bodies. Tian froze in place. Kay's face was grey
and he wasn't moving, and someone was screaming.

A sharp crack sounded. Tian raised a shaking hand to his cheek and
stared up at Lewell'yn.

“What in the fuck are you screaming about, Tian?”

Tian closed his mouth. He hadn't realised he was the one
screaming. He looked at the gurney again. Kay was dead. Tian
turned to Lewell'yn, tears streaming down his face.

“My fault, it's my fault, all my fault—he's dead!”

Lewell'yn slung his carisaks under the bottom of the gurney.
Turning, he grabbed Tian's shoulders and shook him lightly. He
smiled at Tian even as he rolled his eyes.

“Little idiot. He's not dead. He's drugged. We have to get him to
a secure location though. He's in danger here, Tian. Do you
understand? We've got to get him out of here, and anyone who sees
the vid of us moving him needs to think he's dead. These pirates
will treat him—very badly if they find out what's wrong with him.
You have to help me get him to safety.”

“You mean they'll rape him if they find out he's pregnant—if they
find out he's an Akanti like me, but not part of the Kyrth
contract, right?”

Lewell'yn looked shocked for half a second, and then a deadly
sharp smile spread across his face. Tian gulped. Lewell'yn's
expression caused a wave of sensation to run over all Tian's skin
at once. His stomach knotted even as his cock twitched in
interest.

“Ah Peaches, I like to be reminded there's a sharp mind behind
your pretty face. We're taking him to a—safe room—I have down by
engineering. You'll wait there with him while I take care of a bit
of business.”

Tian spun various possibilities through his mind.

“Will Jeram and the other Akanti be safe?”

“As safe as I can make them, Peaches.”

Minutes later, hurrying through deserted corridors, Tian wondered
exactly what the dangerous man in front of him was up to.
Lewell'yn seemed to have some larger purpose in mind. Tian
couldn't fathom what the man's big idea might be. He was certain
whatever the plan was, his best chance to save himself and
possibly a good many of the other Akanti, lay in following
Lewell'yn. He just had to hope to Brightness Lewell'yn could get
them all safely through this.

Over the last two weeks, Tian had noticed guards assigned to watch
the Kyrth-bound Akanti changing until they were nearly all new
men. They all seemed—not cleaner exactly—but perhaps more
professional? And they all seemed to be far more loyal to
Lewell'yn than to the captain.

Tian held onto the back of the gurney and ran as fast as he could.
With his shorter legs, his quickest pace was not going to be fast
enough. He kept stumbling and nearly falling. Lewell'yn slowed the
gurney slightly, and depressed a button allowing the equipment
poles to extend upwards from their bases.

“Grab onto the poles and brace your feet against the bottom.
There's room for your feet if you push the carisaks slightly
forwards.”

Tian grabbed the poles and gave a little leap up and forwards,
wedging his feet in with the carisaks. Awkward, yes, but he could
tell they were already moving faster, which was probably a good
thing, given the way Lewell'yn was swearing. The man had come up
with some very creative things for a man he called Boss to stuff
into various orifices. He also seemed to have some seriously
conflicting ideas about just what the man's parentage was. He was
however very clear on the issue of what he would like to do to the
man, all of which sounded rather painful.

“Dark-hearted son of a Trithigan whore… silver-eyed plaguing
bastard… I'll make him eat his own fucking entrails!”

One of Tian's hands slipped. He grabbed the pole again, clasping
the metal as tightly as he could with the slippery glove of the
contamination suit. He started chanting one of the prayers for
protection Father Arnik from the monastery had taught him. A few
moments later, the entire ship was wracked with a series of
violent explosions. Tian found himself flat on his back in the
middle of the corridor, gasping for air. He hoped Lewell'yn
realised this time really wasn't his fault. The huge
explosion—somewhere very close—and subsequent shockwave had
knocked him off his perch.

“You fucking prick! How dare you send me out with sub-standard
shite-arsed equipment on top of everything else? I'll make sure
you die slowly…”

Tian couldn't hear the rest of what Lewell'yn was ranting about.
His ears didn't seem to be working as well as usual, and the
farther Lewell'yn got away, the harder it was to hear him.
Thankfully the man took enough time away from his vitriolic tirade
to look around and check on Tian. He wrestled the gurney to a stop
and ran back for him. Lewell'yn smiled wryly down at him.

“Trouble. Knew it the first time I laid eyes on you.”

oOo

Cherie NoelAbout the author:  

Butcher, baker,
candlestick maker…ummm, eww, every chance I get, and I surely
would if these damn characters would ever shut up. Born in West
Palm Beach, Florida and raised…er, is all over the damn place a
sufficiently descriptive term? No? Then how about this? Tinker,
tailor, Indian chief…Ooooh, especially when smexy men are involved
(!), only under duress, and did the cheek-bones give it away?

Seriously? I’ve lived in Washington D.C., Virginia, Upper
Michigan, Texas, New York, California, and Alabama in the United
States; Hessen in Germany, London in England, Masirah Island in
Oman and…sometimes it was in a house, sometimes in a tent, and
sometimes anyplace I could find to lay my head.

I’ve been in love with words since before I drew breath, and I
don’t see that ever changing. I write stories. Sometimes I write
music with them, sometimes they’re poems, and lately, to my great
delight, M/M erotic romance. Yum. Smexy man to the second…or third
power…now that’s the kinda math I can get behind!!

The hair curls or frizzes as it will, the eyes are green and tend
to look in two different directions—no, really—and the rest is
subject to change. You know the guy who didn’t know if he was a
butterfly dreaming he was a man or a man dreaming he was a
butterfly? Yeah, that’s me, but substitute drag queen for
butterfly and wacky, wild ex-Army chick for man.

Contact details for Cherie: