Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Lissa Kasey / Sam Kadence for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: Hidden Gem, On the Right Track, Unicorns and Rainbow Poop
Author: Lissa Kasey / Sam Kadence
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Various
Genre/Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, M/M Romance, Young Adult
Prism recently reviewed Hidden Gem and Unicorns and Rainbow Poop.
Misaki “Aki” Itou is a psi—a person with mutated DNA granting him psychic abilities. He’s also a contracted companion—a whore. It may not be the perfect profession, but having a roof over his head, food to eat, and not being subjected to torture is a dream come true. He is the top companion at the Hidden Gem, and it makes him enough money to buy the prettiest, most sparkly shoes he can find.
Shane McNaughton is an Irishman who survived the Third World War and works as a cop. Head of Missing Persons, he’s good at finding people, but after the plague of the Third mutated his DNA, he has a hard time letting anyone see the monster inside. He’s been paying for Aki’s services for two years, both the psi and the sexual kind, but he wants more from the companion.
Shane needs Aki’s ability to see into another person’s past to track down a serial killer murdering the children of rich and powerful men, but the more they work together, the clearer it becomes that they are linked through a darker past than either of them realizes.
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Vocal Growth: Book One
Ryunoski “Ru” Nakimura knows all about the trappings of fame. Expelled from a boy band for coming out as gay, he still wants to continue his career in music. Too bad his ex finds nothing better to do than exploit their relationship in the press, so Ru leaves California behind to lie low in Minnesota for a while.
Adam Corbin attends a Minnesota high school and wants to coast through as a typical student. He’s friends with an openly gay student, Bas Axelrod, but while Adam plays football, he also stays away from much socializing. Blending in and not outing himself has been easy because he’s never really been seriously interested in any of the guys he’s encountered.
When Adam meets Ru in a library, Adam begins to think he’s found that special young man who might make it worthwhile to just be himself. And for Ru, Adam looks like someone he might trade his fame for, if they could be together. Ru and Adam will both come to realize that courage and love must go hand in hand if they are to have a future.
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Vocal Growth: Book Two
Ex-boyband member Dane Karlson is struggling to overcome an eating disorder and a body dismorphic disorder. His fall through a glass table puts him in rehab and on the road to recovery. Then a friend dies. When depression causes him to lose ground, he calls for the only person he trusts—former bandmate Tommy. But Tommy doesn’t know how to help. He begs his friend Sebastian “Bas” Axelrod to aid them through the emotional struggle.
Bas, an openly gay high school student who’s recently lost his grandmother, is trying to survive his last few months of school before escaping to Stanford. Having just lost the only person in his family to care for him, he is victim to the cruelty of the others. His younger brother bullies him, and his parents are suing him for his gran’s inheritance. When Tommy calls, Bas can’t help but run to his side.
Together Dane and Bas find a middle ground, supporting each other through the lows, dancing together during the highs. They build friendships and plan for the prom and graduation, thinking positively as long as they are together.
Writing YA versus Writing Adult Fiction:
I had a discussion with an author friend recently who helped me work out what I am. For a while I was a split personality. I had two names, two very different sets of books, and a lot of confusion. But he asked me if I wanted to be known as a YA writer or just a writer who happens to write YA. I prefer the later. Let me talk a bit about the difference.
I’ve been writing forever. The romance portion is somewhat new. Sure there has always been an element, but I’ve never really considered myself a romance writer. I only figured out in the last year why that was, but that’s another post. What I discovered about writing for the two different genres is that it’s not really about ages, it’s about plot.
In the “adult” books a lot of things are assumed that we wouldn’t necessarily assume for younger people. Like the fulltime job, the bills, relationship troubles, etc. The problems are more often external since as adults we don’t much like to focus on ourselves (since that’s so depressing) so we look outward to solve a bigger problem. Of course there’s usually internal conflict and dialogue but the main plot is an external source.
YA writing is more internal. Now before you protest, let me explain. Young people—and ya often means from 12 to 16—are focused more on who they are and how the world affects them. How they affect the world comes in a few years later. But in the younger range the plots are more simplified, less is assumed, and any small thing that an adult would shrug off can blow their world apart.
Now I don’t consider myself a YA writer. I write NA, which is new adult and the age range of 16 to 22. These stories straddle the line between ya and adult. The plots are beginning to be more external, but like their ya brethren small things make for big issues. The NA stories aren’t usually focused on living in the real world with the nine to five job and making a way in the world. They are still about the MC finding their place. I think that’s the big distinction.
That’s how I write it at least. My adult stuff is assumed the MCs are living an adult life and just making their way in the world. The NA stuff they’re trying to find what path to walk. Do other see it differently? Maybe. Probably. No two people have the same perception of any of the concepts so I guess that’s what makes writing so interesting, eh?
As a writer of both I find the NA stuff takes more structure and focus. I think that’s because I sort of let my brain go crazy when I write which is how we end up with wings, lynx, and soon to be mer-creatures. I have to rein myself in for the NA stuff. Wild can be good. But it can also be too much. Hopefully I’ll get better at the distinction as I gain more experience and complete more books.
First Glimpse by Lissa Kasey
Aki swept up a bottle of McNaughton’s favorite scotch and headed toward the broad Irishman. The man’s shoulders were arched forward, back tense, hair a sexy mess, and face covered with a couple days’ growth. Obviously the cop was on a difficult case. The detective hadn’t yet asked for him, just for his usual meal—almost bloody steak with a baked potato.
“You look like you could use a drink,” Aki told him as he slid into the chair beside him. He turned an empty glass over and poured three fingers of the golden liquid.
McNaughton sighed, his dark eyes roaming over Aki’s small body, platinum blond hair pulled up and styled with sparkling pins, see-thru knit top, and super-short skirt, then over his bare legs down to the gleaming heels. The shoes were a silver mesh of crystals that slid up just past his ankles. A gift from McNaughton. The cop sucked in a deep breath and slid his hand over the covered part of Aki’s thigh. He knew better than to touch bare flesh to bare flesh. Aki was a cognitive psi, could see entire lives of horrors with a single touch, and he was sure McNaughton’s past was filled with a lot of nasty memories.
“Wish you had time for me tonight. But I’ve got a feeling you’re booked up tight.” He glanced back at the room bustling with companions and potential customers. Aki was the only psi in the room, his pale-pupiled blue eyes telling the world that he was different.
“I’m sure Bart can fit you in.” Aki’s eyes scanned the room until he found his boss, who was engaged with negotiations with another client. “Looks like you need some trouble eased tonight.” He leaned in close enough his breath ran across McNaughton’s cheek.
McNaughton turned his head, lips nearly close enough to touch. “Would love a bit of time with your shine.”
“Words like honey, McNaughton.”
The cop flashed him one of his rare, heart-stopping smiles then nodded as Bart appeared beside them. “Table seven is ready, Aki. Number one.” Bart told him.
Aki grabbed Bart’s wrist with a gloved hand. “The cop needs some time tonight. You can make that happen, right?”
“Of course.” Bart nodded to them and took Aki’s vacated seat and Aki made his way to his next client of the evening. There were only two services Aki performed. A hand job and a blow job, one and two.
This client wanted number one—which meant he was cheap since rarely did anyone ask for a hand job from him. But his prices were astronomical anyway.
“Hello,” Aki smiled at the man as he slid into the chair opposite him. The client was dressed nice, button down shirt, pressed pants, but he was bald and a little heavier around the waist. A politician probably. “If you’re ready we can head upstairs.”
The man barely spoke, but he leered, eyes tracing over Aki’s form more like he was cattle than a night of entertainment. Even in his worst moments McNaughton had never done that. It wasn’t appreciation, but something darker. Aki sighed internally and hoped this would be fast. He knew a thousand ways to get a man off in minutes. Something about him just set off Aki’s creep radar.
“I hear some wait months for the pleasure of your time,” the man said with slightly accented speech.
Not usually. The only ones who waited weeks were because their schedule and Aki’s conflicted or because they’d done something to upset him or Bart. Most clients got in within a few days if not the same day of requesting Aki’s time. And regulars were always given precedence over someone not yet vetted like this client. “If I don’t please you I can see if Preston or Royce is available.”
“I was hoping for Candy originally.”
Was always good to be told he was second choice. Aki gritted his teeth. “Candy only serves a special kind of client. And he does have a wait list.” Mostly because he took clients who wanted a little more kink than any of the other male companions preferred. Aki was going to recommend this client be removed from the premises after the service was over.
“I guess you’ll have to do then. Won’t you?” He gave Aki a chilling smile.
Bastard. Aki got up from his seat and offered his gloved hand to the man who followed closely. They’d reached the stairs when the man grabbed him, yanked Aki against him and shoved his hand up Aki’s skirt, groping him and sending him into a spiral of nightmares.
A dark room. The metallic stink of blood. Screams. The sound of knives being sharpened. Metal bars clanking. Crying. Pain. The music of an ice cream truck. How odd. It was all ripped away a moment later, but Aki’s stomach was already heaving. The small plate of fruit and yogurt he’d had for dinner was not going to stay down.
Someone carried him unceremoniously to the private companion bathroom near the kitchen and set him in front of the toilet just as the mash of fruits and dairy came up. Aki heaved a couple of minutes, his brain swirling with the images that thankfully began to fade just as quickly as they’d come. With any luck he’d be able to brush his teeth, wash his face and go about his work day.
He glanced up to find Manny, the head of security standing at the door. McNaughton knelt beside Aki. Had held his hair back and even used his jacket to cover Aki’s bottom. The skirts really were too short.
“Bart is already having the guy removed. He should never have touched you like that. Sorry I didn’t get to you quicker,” Manny told Aki. “Grateful to you, Detective, for responding so quickly.”
McNaughton stroked Aki’s back, using the soft material of the sweater to run circles over his spine. “Want to talk about it?”
Aki sighed. “Same crap. Just weird. Darkness, crying, smelled blood. Heard knives.” He shook his head. “The guy could work at a butcher for all I know. The memories get so jumbled.” Often with his own horrific past. “Thought I heard a kid. And bars rattling like in a jail. And the music from an ice cream truck.”
McNaughton nodded like it made perfect sense to him and helped Aki get up and make his way to the sink where there were spare toothbrushes and endless varieties of paste. The cop leaned over and kissed Aki’s hair. “Gotta go. I’ll have Bart reschedule me sometime this week though. Love that you wore my shoes.” He was gone a moment later.
Aki cleaned up and made his way back to work. At least the night was almost over. He was sad that McNaughton hadn’t stayed. Would have liked to see that smile another time or two. At least the rest of the night flew by without incident, even if the detective didn’t return.
“Sleeping with me tonight?” Candy asked as he stripped out of their work clothes, leaving just a pair of bright pink underwear and crawled into bed. His purple hair was already brushed and eyes heavy with sleep.
“Please,” Aki whispered. He stripped off everything but his underwear too. After putting his shoes and pins away, he washed his face.
“Heard that guy touched you. What a jerk.”
“He wanted you to begin with.” Aki curled up beside his best friend.
Candy flicked off the light. “I would have brought him down a few pegs.”
Aki smiled, but he didn’t want to think of the horrible man at all. Those memories just needed to go away. He had enough of his own to battle with each day. He fell asleep hoping to wake up with less nasty memories each day.
The next afternoon Aki was up early and at Artie’s for breakfast—best 24/7 diner in the area—when McNaughton arrived. The man sat down at his table without asking and pushed a pair of slim, jeweled, yellow flat sandals into Aki’s hands. “What’s this for?” Aki asked.
He just shook his head. He threw a stack of cash on the table and motioned to the waitress. “Anything he wants is on me.” He then got up from the table and headed for the door.
“Well that was weird,” Aki said to LuAnn, the waitress.
She pointed at the Vid screen. “He had a rough night. Caught the guy who was killing kids.” The Vidscreen was turned to the news. Something about a man named the “Ice Cream Killer” had been captured. Apparently he used an ice cream truck to lure kids in, kidnapped them, raped them and killed them. Real monster.
A picture popped up of the guy. It was the client from the Gem. Maybe that’s why McNaughton was at the Gem. No matter what he hoped the detective visited him tonight. The new yellow shoes would need a new skirt to match…
UNICORNS AND RAINBOW POOP EXCERPT:
“So I was thinking since you and I both care about Tommy, we have something in common. See, Tommy is stressed, and I thought we could do something nice for him.”
Dane sat but glared at the man suspiciously. “What sort of nice thing?”
Bas motioned to the bags. “We’re going to make him cookies.”
Dane gulped. “I don’t like food.”
“You won’t be eating it. Tommy will. He canceled a class to come here. Did he tell you? He was taking a theater class at the community college back in Minnesota. Had to withdraw to be here. And with college, you know that means giving up any money paid. Not that money matters much to you guys. Though as young as you all are, I hope you’re well invested.”
Bas shrugged at him and began taking things out of the bags. Flour, eggs, sugar—both white and brown—food coloring, butter, vanilla, and lemons.
“I didn’t know,” Dane said quietly. He’d thought Tommy would be the least affected by his problems. Of course he’d been wrong about that too. Couldn’t he do anything right? “I don’t know anything about cooking.”
“That’s okay. I got this recipe online. It’s pretty easy. We’re making unicorn poop cookies.”
“They are sugar cookies with food coloring in them to make them all rainbow-like. Unicorns are good luck and all that. Supposed to be the embodiment of goodness and purity.” Bas picked up his tablet, tapped the screen, and flipped it so Dane could see. The cookies really did look like a big pile of rainbow poop.
“Looks tasty,” Dane grumbled.
“We shall see, right? Think you can measure for me?” He pulled out a couple of cookie sheets and turned on one of the many ovens. “I got permission to use the kitchen here, but we can’t get too rowdy or they’ll kick me out.” He winked at Dane. “I’m pretty sure the orderlies outside are to make sure I’m not burning the place down.”
Dane got up and moved around the counter to stare at the list of ingredients. Bas plugged in a big mixer and took the mixing bowl out of it, bringing it to the counter for them to fill.
“This is really for Tommy?”
“Sure. We can send some to Ru and Adam too if you’d like. I heard they are only an hour or so away.”
“I don’t want Ru to know I’m here,” Dane said immediately. He didn’t need to mess up anyone else’s life.
“No worries. We need tell them nothing other than that they are from you.”
EXCERPT FOR ON THE RIGHT TRACK
RU’S phone pinged with a new message from Tommy.
Looks like another one, sorry.
The text was attached to a photo of the cover of a magazine featuring Ru kissing his ex-boyfriend Kris and then a smaller picture of Kris kissing another guy. Headline for that one was Vocal Growth Star Jilted! Six months and still front page news.
He sighed. Even leaving California hadn’t helped. Here he was in the cold autumn of Minnesota, alone, but still stalked by the conservative media who thought anyone under eighteen didn’t deserve to recognize their sexuality. Sure he was gay. He’d known for years. Had even made the mistake of telling his father when he was eleven. Why did that make him a bad guy?
As part of a boy band that had traveled the world a few times and won a hefty number of awards, he was required to maintain a wholesome image. At least that’s what his former recording studio had told him. And wholesome didn’t mean kissing another guy, even when he and Kris had been exclusive for almost two years. So, while it was okay for other celebrities to come out and show pride, anyone under the magical age of eighteen was ridiculed, cast out, and treated as a pariah of the community.
Do you need me to come stay with you? Tommy texted again. He was a former bandmate but still a good friend. Tommy hadn’t cared when Ru told him he was gay. He did offer to kick the crap out of Kris after the guy had set them up to be photographed together, outing Ru to the whole world, only to then cheat on him. Would Ru’s heart ever stop breaking at the memory?
Ru texted back He never really loved me, did he?
On the right Track (audio)
Amazon.com: On the Right Track (Audible Audio Edition): Sam Kadence, Michael Stellman: Books
On the Right Track (Book)
About the Author:
Sam Kadence has always dreamed about being someone else, somewhere else. With very little musical talent, Sam decided the only way to make those dreams come true was to try everything from cosplay at the local anime conventions to writing novels about pretending to run away to become a musician. Sam has a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, sells textbooks for a living, enjoys taking photographs of Asian Ball Joint Dolls to tell more stories, and has eclectic taste in music from J-pop to rock and country. All of which finds its way into the books eventually.
Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.
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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