Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Amy Lane for taking the time to talk with us today about their retro title from Dreamspinner Press Various Titles. Prism Book Alliance® recently reviewed Various Titles. You can find the review here.
We are here today to talk about Some of your older titles: Gambling Men (yellow), Bewitched by Bella’s Brother (yellow), A Solid Core of Alpha (purple), The Locker Room (orange), Keeping Promise Rock (orange), Clear Water (yellow), Truth in the Dark (purple), Talker (orange), Sidecar (orange), Under the Rushes (purple).
Yes—I’ve been writing M/M for nearly six years, come August, when I finished my first M/M stories—the short stories for The Curious Anthology and If I Must, my first Christmas short. I have sort of a huge backlist under my belt, and these are some of my oldest. I think we picked a pretty diverse lot here—the yellow titles are humor or light drama, the orange titles are contemporary drama, and the purple titles are alternative universe titles. I think the most recent release here is Under the Rushes which came out in 2012, so yeah. After Beneath the Stain, The Bells of Times Square, and Candy Man all came out, there might be a few readers who haven’t read these.
Tell us more about our Main Characters? Most authors have their types, and although I try really hard to diversify, I’m no exception.
I have a couple of seriously alpha males in this collection—Asa from Bella’s Brother, Deacon from Keeping Promise Rock, Aerie-Smith from Truth in the Dark and Dorjan from Under the Rushes come to mind. Deacon was one of my first M/M alpha/caretakers—I don’t write those every book, because they don’t happen in every romance, and Deacon just sort of spoke to me. We all want someone who will love us regardless and care for the people in our life—how do you write that guy and make him human? Deacon was my first try.
I’m also a big fan of caretakers who aren’t alphas—C.J. from A Solid Core of Alpha, Quent from Gambling Men, Whiskey from Clear Water, Brian from Talker and Joe from Sidecar are some of my best nurturers—Joe in particular, who was a male nurse at a time when that wasn’t so easy.
I love smartasses—Sebastian from Bella, C.J. from Alpha, Patrick from Clear Water, Taern from Under the Rushes, and Casey from Sidecar are some of my favorites. Patrick especially—he’s famous for a rant about sex that people have sworn to me has resulted in soda sprayed on Kindles. I’m pretty proud of that.
Although most of my guys are communicators, I also have a fondness for guys who can’t communicate—shyness, lack of education, lack of confidence, lack of words, or sometimes sheer stinking anger can get in the way of communicating, and some of these guys fail “Full Disclosure” with an F++– Deacon, Xander, Brian, Dorjan, and Anderson (pre-“breakthrough”) are gloriously dysfunctional communicators, and I adore them—but they’re not the most dysfunctional people of the bunch. (Okay—maybe Xander fits in the dysfunctional people category—that’s a tough call.) For me, the complete dysfunction award here goes to Naef from Truth in the Dark and Tate from Talker—although, yeah—there’s going to be some overlap, you know?
And let’s not forget the category for smart people who just do dumbshit things—Crick from Promise Rock, anyone? How about Christian from Locker Room—these two guys almost blew their entire lives on two different, stupid mistakes, and thank God for their mates who stood by them!
Okay—that was harder than I thought. I wanted to classify by brokenness, but most of them are broken to one degree or another—we could be here all year. I wanted to classify by quirkiness, and, hello, same thing. I didn’t mention my golden boys—Christian, Aerie-Smith, Joe—or my walking wounded or my pissed off and awkward, or my geeky and clueless, or my snarky and sarcastic, or my…
Okay. I have a lot of guys. And a lot of different types. And if I put them all in a room, they probably wouldn’t all get along. (Naef and Crick, for example? Would kill each other. There would be no quarter given, and no—not sexual attraction, pure, unadulterated loathing.)
I like that. I like different types of people, and I like that my guys don’t all fit under one umbrella. That makes me proud.
What about these titles makes you the proudest?
I think that they are all beloved. Every one of these titles has gotten fan mail or a FB post or a Twitter contact from someone who said, “This book makes me unreasonably happy. Thank you.” Also—they’re pretty diverse. I love that some of my harshest critics are the ones who can’t figure out how the person who wrote Gambling Men also wrote Under the Rushes.
If you could change one thing in each of these titles what would it be and why?
Under the Rushes—the cover. Although beautiful, and awesomely executed, I don’t think it represents the book’s content to its best.
Keeping Promise Rock—I kind of wish I hadn’t killed of Crick’s friend in Iraq. Dude. So much sadness.
Bewitched by Bella’s Brother—I was working under a word constraint with this one—but I think if I could have fleshed it out to a full novel, it would have been a better book.
Truth in the Dark—Same as with Bella’s Brother. I was working under a word constraint—50K or less. There was so much I wanted to do with the world building and the epilogue and the elves and fairies on the island, but I had to keep it really streamlined for the prompt.
The Locker Room—I would have mentioned Chris involved in an alcohol abuse program. I know whenever I think of a sequel, that needs to be brought up.
Gambling Men—I may have cut a few of the poker metaphors. I love the hell out of them, but yeah—I caught some critical flack.
A Solid Core of Alpha—I don’t know—some people wanted to see Anderson in therapy, and I sort of felt like it would be overkill. Because he would have needed to relive the whole “planet dying” thing, which would have put the reader through it three times, and dude. But alternative universe romance is a tough tightrope to walk—with titles like Alpha, Rushes, and Truth in the Dark, you can go through the critical mass and find one review praising the world building and loathing the romance and another review loving the world building and despising the romance. It’s hard to talk about changing these titles at all, because in order not to just suffer brainstem vaporlock from the outset, you sort of have to resolve to write the book that makes sense to you, the writer, and resolve to fuck all the critical mass. Otherwise, the book wouldn’t get written, and that would be a shame. So, although I respect the opinions of everyone who thought these books should be changed one way or the other, if I start second guessing them now, I’ll never write another purple title again!
You have a new color coded system to help readers determine which of your titles to enjoy. What can you tell us about it?
Okay—so if you start talking to people who like my work, you’re usually going to get one of the following responses:
A. You know, I’ve heard of her—but she’s supposed to be all about the angst, and I don’t really like angst.
B. I really love her dramatic stuff, but I just don’t get her sense of humor!
C. I love all her contemporary stuff, but I do not like her fantasy/sci-fi/steampunk.
Because the thing is, the three places I’ve made my mark – contemporary drama, contemporary humor, and alternative universe drama—can be, for some people, totally exclusive categories. Some people will only read alternative universe, some people never read angst, and some people think that anything that isn’t drama means an author isn’t trying. Often a writer will use pseudonyms to categorize their work, but my stuff all has such a strong voice to it, that didn’t seem like it would work very well.
What we decided to do was come up with a logo that would make my different “flavors” easy to categorize. We came up with this new logo—and so far, people seem to like it. Those who like comedy mostly read the yellow, and don’t expect anything that’s going to rip their hearts out of their bodies. Those who enjoy alternative universe can simply identify a purple title, and angsty orange is for those who like their contemporary drama. The tagline is “Choose your lane to love,” and I think it’s very apt!
I know that every time I release a new work, I have to have the same conversation on the internet—that this is a book like… Keeping Promise Rock? Gambling Men? Under the Rushes? And new fans end up getting a whole lecture on which Amy Lane they’ll like best—and seriously, how much fun is a lecture? Hopefully this will make it a whole lot simpler, and maybe make me not so scary to new readers!
Tell us more about the world in which A Solid Core of Alpha and Under the Rushes are each set?
Ooh… well, for one, they’re both set in different universes.
For Alpha, colonization meant a very Star Trek sort of world building—space stations above planets, small governments on the space stations, a different sort of mindset planet-side, and all sorts of technical problems causing difficulties in the setting. I enjoyed this—I loved Star Trek and the sci-fi of C.J. Cherryh and Isaac Asimov, and this was my homage to them.
For Under the Rushes I went with Star Wars sorts of colonization. The primary species was the descendents of the human colonists, but they had evolved into sort of a steampunk world, Victorian era technology, and a symbiotic relationship with the native species and variances of the planet. So, The Empire Strikes Back had Cloud City, and Under the Rushes had the asteroid fields. Return of the Jedi had Ewoks, and Rushes had niskets. Star Wars introduced X-Wing Fighters, Rushes introduced crickets and rabbits—you can see the parallels in the approach, even if the world I created was very different, very steampunk, in the details.
Will we be hearing more from any of these characters?
God, I hope so. I’ve had sequels planned for Clear Water, The Locker Room, and Under the Rushes forever!
Tell us about some of your other titles.
Well, my most recent “orange” release was Deep of the Sound, which came out from Riptide this June, and it’s set in their Bluewater Bay universe—a fictional town up near Seattle. It’s dark and painful, and deals with mental illness, which isn’t something we find a lot in romance, but I think it needs more attention.
My most recent “purple” story is either Immortal, which came out in May, or the re-release of The Little Goddess series. Immortal is dark—a very dark fairy tale, much in the same way of Truth in the Dark. It has dialect and world building and, like most of my purple, it tends to painful, twisted looks at the world around us. The Little Goddess series is an M/F/M (and other variations) full fledged urban fantasy series. I finished the fifth book in the series in May, but before it’s released, we’re releasing the other books in the series—recovered, re-edited, and hopefully retrofit for a new audience!
My newest “yellow” is coming out at the end of July—it’s called Bitter Taffy, and it’s a lighthearted contemporary—the sequel to this Christmas’s novella, Candy Man. Actually, if you buy the paperback of Bitter Taffy, Candy Man is included, and I don’t know why, but this tickles me yellow!
Rapid Fire Time
Sweet or Savory? Both at once.
Shave or wax? Wax
Jocks or Nerds? Definitely nerds
Red Heads or Blondes? Red-heads
Hamburger or Hotdog? Hot dogs
TV or movies? STORIES.
Cat in the Hat or Horton Hears a Who? Horton Hears a Who (or Seussicals the Musical)
Pasta or potatoes? Potatoes
Favorite Color? Favorite colorway- purple/orange/green/turquoise/magenta
Cook or bake? Cook
What are you working on? What is next?
Well, right now, I’m working on Lollipop, which is the sequel to Bitter Taffy. And after Bitter Taffy, my next book will be a Christmas novel called Winter Ball.
Title: Various Titles
Author: Amy Lane
Genre: Bisexual, Contemporary, Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
Gambling Men: The Novel
Quent Jackson has followed Jason Spade’s every move in business and in poker since their first day as college freshmen. Eight years later, when Jace finally decides Quent is the one man he can’t live without, he sees no reason for that to change.
But as much as Jace believes that poker is life, no one gave Quent the same playbook. After their first passionate night, the real game of love and trust begins, and Jace has been playing alone too long to make teaching the rules easy. Jace only speaks two languages: one of them is sex, and the other one is poker. Between the two, he needs to find a way to convince himself to take a chance on love—and Quent to take a chance on him. It’s a lucky thing they’re good at reading the odds, because they’re playing for keeps, and this is one high-stakes relationship that’s definitely worth the gamble.
Bewitched by Bella’s Brother
Sebastian Craig and Isabella Bryne have been best friends for five years in the Neverland of academia, and that’s where they’re planning to stay. So when Bella’s brother, Asa, offers them a rent-free summer in his gorgeous home before they move to their next college and degree, they jump at the chance. It looks like a good deal at first… but there’s more to Asa than meets the eye, and Sebastian finds himself suddenly hip-deep in complicated, grown-up problems and the frightening, bemusing prospect of having a family that will miss him when he’s gone.
When the best summer of his life finally ends, Sebastian has to make a difficult decision between staying in perpetual childhood forever, and facing adulthood—with all of its joys and fears. It seems that when Sebastian and Bella came up with a master plan for the future, they didn’t count on Sebastian being bewitched by Bella’s brother.
A Solid Core of Alpha
In an act of heroism and self-sacrifice, Anderson Rawn’s sister saved him from the destruction of their tiny mining colony, but her actions condemned the thirteen-year-old to ten years of crushing loneliness on the hyperspace journey to a new home. Using electronics and desperation, Anderson creates a family to keep him company, but family isn’t always a blessing.
When Anderson finally arrives, C.J. Poulson greets him with curiosity and awe, because anyone who can survive a holocaust and reinvent holo-science is going to be a legend and right up C.J.’s alley. But the more C.J. investigates how Anderson endured the last ten years, the deeper he is drawn into a truly dangerous fantasy, one that offers the key to Anderson’s salvation—and his destruction.
In spite of his best intentions, C.J. can’t resist the terribly seductive Anderson. Their attraction threatens to destroy them, because the heart of a man who can survive the destruction of his people and retain his sense of self holds a solid core of alpha male that will not be denied.
The Locker Room
Xander Karcek has only wanted two things in his life: Christian Edwards and basketball—the man he loves and the game that let him escape a childhood he’d rather forget. His two obsessions have served him well. He and Chris beat the odds and stayed together through high school, college, and right on to the NBA.
But life under fame’s microscope isn’t easy, especially when two men are pretending to be frat-buddies so the world doesn’t know they’re the next best thing to married. Their relationship survives the sacrifices they make and the lies they tell to stay together, but when their secret is exposed, the fallout might destroy them when nothing else could.
Chris and basketball are the two things holding Xander together. Now the world is asking Xander to make a choice. Is there an option that includes a future with the man he loves?
Keeping Promise Rock (Promises #1)
Carrick Francis has spent most of his life jumping into trouble with both feet. The only thing saving him from prison or worse is his absolute devotion to Deacon Winters. Deacon was Crick’s sanity and salvation during a miserable, abusive childhood, and Crick would do anything to stay with him forever. So when Deacon’s father dies, Crick puts his college plans on hold to help Deacon as Deacon has helped him.
Deacon’s greatest wish is to see Crick escape his memories and the town they grew up in so Crick can enjoy a shining future. But after two years of growing feelings and temptation, the painfully shy Deacon finally succumbs to Crick’s determined advances and admits he sees himself as part of Crick’s life.
It nearly destroys Deacon when he discovers Crick has been waiting for him to push him away, just like Crick’s family did in the past. When Crick’s knack for volatile decisions lands him far away from home, Deacon is left, shell-shocked and alone, struggling to reforge his heart in a world where love with Crick is a promise, but by no means a certainty.
Meet Patrick Cleary; party boy, loser, and spaz. Patrick’s been trying desperately to transform himself, and the results have been so spectacular, they’ve almost killed him. Meet Wes “Whiskey” Keenan; he’s a field biologist wondering if it’s time to settle down. When the worst day of Patrick’s life ends with Whiskey saving it, Patrick and Whiskey find themselves sharing company and an impossibly small berth on the world’s tackiest houseboat.
Patrick needs to get his life together and Whiskey wants to help but Patrick is not entirely convinced it’s doable. He’s pretty sure he’s a freak of nature. But Whiskey, who works with real freaks of nature, thinks all Patrick needs is a little help to see the absolute beauty inside his spastic self, and Whiskey is all about volunteering. Between anomalous frogs, a homicidal ex-boyfriend, and Patrick’s own hangups, Whiskey’s going to need all of his patience and Patrick’s going to need to find the best of himself before these two men ever see Clear Water.
Truth in the Dark
“I am not beautiful…”
Knife’s entire existence has been as twisted as his flesh and his face. The only thing beautiful in his life is his sister. When Gwennie is obliged to turn a suitor down because she fears to leave her brother to the brutality of their village, Knife is desperate for anything to ensure her happiness.
Her suitor’s cousin offers him a way out, but it won’t be easy. Aerie-Smith has been cursed to walk upright in the form of a beast, and his beloved village suffers from the same spell. Aerie-Smith offers Gwen a trousseau and some hope, if only Knife will keep him company on his island for the span of a year and perform one “regrettable task” at year’s end.
Knife is unprepared for the form the island’s curse takes on his own misshapen body. In one moment of magic, he is given the body of his dreams—and he discovers that where flesh meets spirit and appearance meet reality, sometimes the only place to find truth is in the darkness of a lover’s arms.
Tate “Talker” Walker has spent most of his life hiding his scars under a bright punk facade, and until he sat next to Brian Cooper on a bus, it worked. But Brian has spent his whole life being the invisible man, and he’s used to looking below the surface. What he sees in Talker is a fragile and lovable human being.
Brian is outwardly straight, but Talker is desperate for love, and when Talker’s behavior leads to some painful consequences, Brian is forced to come out of his closet-in dramatic fashion. He’ll do anything to make sure Talker sees that he’s the Prince Charming Talker has always needed.
The year is 1987. The boys wear pink Izod shirts, the girls wear big hair, everyone has a stash box, and AIDS is just an ugly rumor rumbling like a thunderstorm from the cities. A teenage runaway wanders the side of the road, a heartbeat away from despair, and is rescued by a long-haired angel on a Harley. But that’s just the beginning of their story. Josiah Daniels wanted peace and quiet and a simple life, and he had it until he rescued Casey from hunger, cold, and exhaustion. Suddenly Joe’s life is anything but simple as he and his new charge navigate a world that is changing more rapidly than the people in it. Joe wants to raise Casey to a happy and productive adulthood, and he does. But even as an adult, Casey can’t conceive of a happy life without Joe. The trouble is getting Joe to accept that the boy he nurtured is suddenly the man who wants him. Their relationship can either die or change with the world around them. As they make a home, negotiate the new rules of growing up, and swerve around the pitfalls of modern life, Casey learns that adulthood is more than sex, Joe learns that there is no compromise in happy ever after, and they’re both forced to realize that the one thing a man shouldn’t be is alone.
Under the Rushes
Ten years after Dorjan trusted a boy’s word over his superior officer’s, he and his best friend, Areau, are still living the aftermath—and trying to stop the man responsible. Locked in a careful dance to bring down a corrupt government, Dorjan struggles to balance his grief with Areau’s anger. Just when Dorjan reaches the end of his rope, he sees a familiar face in the shadows, and the boy he trusted a decade before offers him unexpected kindness.
Taern remembers the soldier who found him under the rushes and listened to his pleas to save his family. When Dorjan reappears in his life, Taern is both captured by his commitment to justice and terrified by the risks he takes. All Taern wants to do is fix him, but the oncoming destruction has been ten years in the making, and Dorjan doesn’t want his help. Not if it puts Taern at risk.
Powers clash and a world’s fate dangles between Areau’s madness and Dorjan’s nobility. While Dorjan fights to save the world, Taern joins the battle simply to save Dorjan, knowing everything hinges on the heart of a man in armor and the strength of the man who loves him.
About the Author
Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
One lucky commenter will win their choice of any Amy Lane back list title.
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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