Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Laylah Hunter for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Gabriel’s City
Author: Laylah Hunter
Cover Artist: Imaliea
Genre/Sub-Genre: Historical, M/M Romance
For spoiled young aristocrat Colin Harwood, the port city of Casmile is a buffet of easy pleasures. But when he steps into a pub brawl to help a dangerously outnumbered young man, he is drawn into the seedy underbelly of the city the young man calls home.
Gabriel is a cutpurse and a knife for hire, practically an urban legend. His vision of Casmile is touched by a strange combination of faith and madness, driven by fairytale logic and a capacity for love that he often must suppress to survive. He’s always worked alone, but when a dashing dragon who calls himself Colin saves him in a bar fight, he pulls Colin into his world.
Gabriel’s city is nothing like the refined, socialite existence that bored Colin senseless. Colin finds adventure and excitement there—and maybe even love. But with his layers of finery stripped away, nothing remains to protect him from poverty or danger—except Gabriel. So he must choose: go back to the civilized young man he once was, or fly free as Gabriel’s dragon.
Hi, everyone, thanks for having me on this tour for Gabriel’s City! Don’t forget to leave a comment at the end of this post to win a chance at the ZOMG Smells giveaway!
Spoiled young aristocrat Colin Harwood has always enjoyed flirting with danger, but he’s always been able to retreat to safety—until bad decisions and a chance encounter plunge him into a world far more savage than his own. Gabriel is an urban legend, famous in the underworld for his unpredictability and violence. He’s also a believer fairy tales, and quick to decide to the handsome stranger who came to his aid must be good luck. With few other options remaining, Colin will need to keep his wits about him to learn to survive in Gabriel’s City.
The Dragon’s Tale:
That was the original title for this book—The Dragon’s Tale. “You’ll have to change that,” one of my first readers told me. “I get why you want to use it but it’s going to give people the wrong idea about the story.” I ignored him and submitted it under that title anyway. My editor, after saying other helpful things, told me, “You’ll need a different title. This one will give your readers the wrong idea.”
Sorry about that, James. You were right.
And Gabriel’s City is a good, solid title that latches onto an important theme (without building in those misplaced expectations!) but somewhere in my heart it’s still The Dragon’s Tale. Because I’m a storyteller, and this is my book about telling stories. A lot of us seem to need one. (Some of us need several—Neil Gaiman, I’m looking at you.)
There’s a magic in storytelling. It makes the world seem exciting, meaningful, instead of leaving us adrift in a series of mostly-random events that go on without a care for our place in them. It gives us anchors, arcs and turning points and conclusions, an actual pattern in all the chaos. To turn an experience into a story is to decide what matters in it, where it begins and ends, whether it has a moral and if so what that moral is.
Gabriel’s power rests substantially in the realm of stories. Some of those are the stories told about him, the urban legends about a killer who’s larger than life and whose viciousness holds Casmile’s underworld in morbid thrall. But while he knows those tales, and uses them, the ones he tells about himself are of a different tone. His own stories are fairy tales, the old and savage kind where the clever triumph and the incautious are devoured by monsters. The story-world he lives in is his lifeline, his armor against the ugliness of his life. It’s a world where the bravos who corner him alone can be deadly hunting hounds, and the help he gets from an unexpected quarter can be a dragon, cleverly disguised as a handsome young man.
Gabriel’s quest, in a very large part, is to fit that dragon into his stories—to open up his world and make room for a second storyteller. As Colin takes on the role of Drake, he’s learning how to behave like a hero in Gabriel’s stories and how to build those stories himself. Each step he takes on that path brings them closer to each other. Some of those moments are obviously emotionally important, but one of my favorites is offhand, woven into some more pressing (and nasty) business:
“Not enough chance he’ll be found if we leave him here?” Drake guesses.
“Not nearly enough. The rats would get him first for sure, and they don’t tell stories.” Gabriel stops. “Not in taverns, anyway. Maybe they tell each other things.”
“About old Graywhiskers, who went to see if the humans were dead or only sleeping?” Drake steps over a small pile of wet red things and doesn’t look too closely at what they are. “The next day all anyone could find of him was his tail and a few burned pieces of bone.”
Gabriel reaches under the body on the other side to help lift it. “If you go back there on a moonless night, though, you can hear the skitter of his claws on the stone.”
The stories they tell each other have become the story they tell together, trading easily back and forth. From where I’m sitting, that looks like love.
About the Author:
Laylah Hunter is a third-gendered butch queer who writes true stories about imaginary people in worlds that never were. Most of hir work deals with queer characters, erotic themes, and the search for happy endings in unfavorable circumstances.
Hir mild-mannered alter ego lives in Seattle, at the mercy of the requisite cats and cultivating the requisite caffeine habit, and dreams of a day when telling stories will pay all the bills.
Laylah is Riptide’s Featured Author for November: http://riptidepublishing.com/authors/laylah-hunter
Laylah Hunter has kindly offered I have the good fortune to be friends with the charming people who run ZOMG Smells, who make, as their tagline says, “Fine nerdy scents for fine nerdy people.” They have created a set of perfume oil blends inspired by the characters of Gabriel’s City, and I’d like to give some away at the end of this tour! You’ll get seven 5-ml bottles,
Locally held contests will end 7 days from original posting date at 8pm CDT. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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