Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Rory Ni Coileain for stopping by today on the 2016 GRL Author Spotlight Tour. Please give them a warm welcome.
Teaching Old Fae New Tricks
It’s been just over four years since I signed my first contract for publication, for the first four books in the SoulShares series. As a matter of fact, my book birthday will be right before GRL. pauses as a booksquirrel runs by with suggestions for GRL giveaways
shoos away squirrel
Ahem. A lot has changed in four years – I’ve done something I would never have dreamed I could do. If you’d asked me back then if I could write a nine-book series, I would have been sorely tempted to, as one of my characters puts it in my current WIP, “hold you down and take your temperature the hard way.” But here I am, with SoulShares #7 just out, working on #8, and #9 gestating in the back of my head.
If I’d even given any thought to the possibility of nine books, back in June of ’12, I would probably have worried about ideas getting old. Getting stale. But I’m delighted to report that that isn’t happening, not at all. In fact, the most recent SoulShares book, UNDERTOW, is, in a lot of ways, the most unique installment yet.
First, with the exception of a few short stories, I generally write on mythic or legendary themes. Even when I’m writing urban fantasy, like the SoulShares, there’s a strong mythic element – by now, seven books in, we’ve seen quite a bit of the Fae Realm, and are getting a progressively clearer idea of what life is like there, and how the Realm interacts with the human world. (And of course, Fae are Fae, no matter what world they find themselves in, and carry around a little of the Realm with them.) This means that at least one of the main characters in each book is non-human, exotic, gorgeous, almost criminally sexy, and oh yes, insatiable. And their humans ain’t bad either, if I do say so myself.
Not that that’s a BAD thing. fans self
But in UNDERTOW, I got to do something I’ve never done in a full-length novel. Mac McAllan and his partner, Lucien, showed up at the very end of HARD AS STONE, SoulShares #1. They were originally written as (literal) walk-ons, but as walk-ons tend to do, they moved in and set up housekeeping. And it wasn’t long before Mac was announcing that he wanted his own book, thankyouverymuch. The trouble was, he was also partnered with Lucien – had been since 1979, in fact. And I love Lucien almost as much as Mac does. So no killing him off, or writing a Stupid Misunderstanding and breaking them up so Mac could go off and find his FEA (Fae Ever After).
The result? My first m/m/m. Mac, and Lucien, and their thoroughly yummy Fae, Rhoann.
And another first – Rhoann is my first demisexual character. I’m ace, myself – possibly demi, though for various reasons I haven’t been in a position to test that possibility for the last 20 years or so. And Rhoann has lived most of his life in an isolation he loves, a hidden ocean in the Realm called the Domhnacht Rúnda. Most Fae are a tad on the hypersexual side, but not Rhoann. And when he first encounters other Fae, and then humans, he really, really doesn’t get what all the fuss is about. Until he meets Mac, who got part of Rhoann’s soul when Rhoann crossed over from the Realm. (He hasn’t met Lucien yet at that point because Lucien’s in a long-term care facility after being put into a coma by an – whoops, big fat SPOILER looming!) So I got to write a Fae whose sexuality was awakening for the first time.
And the last first, and maybe the biggest treat of all – writing a couple close to my own age who have been together for 34 years and are still totally in love. Real guys. Mac is a Vietnam veteran who lost most of his right leg in country; Lucien is ten years younger than Mac, quite a bit shorter, bald, built like a tank or a turtle, furry from his neck to his toes, and – well, he’s described in one of the books as “the improbable love child of a bulldog and its favorite fire hydrant.” I adore Lucien.
Romance novels tend toward perfect protagonists – at least, mythic romances do. And that’s a good thing, it’s an escape, it’s a pleasure. It’s wish fulfillment, and God knows most of us could use some of that. But I finally got to write a different kind of fantasy, one that warms me all over, from the heart on out… two ordinary men, going through life each completely in love with the other. Each knowing what the other loves, and getting his greatest happiness from giving it to him. Most romances tend to focus on getting to the “Happily” – it’s been a delight to write the “Ever After” part for a change.
That’s actually been something I’ve really enjoyed about writing the SoulShares series as a whole, come to think of it. I’ve been living with my Fae and their humans for five years now, when you take into account the time it took me to finish the first book before I sold it. Each of the couples appear in the books after theirs, so I’ve gotten to watch the early couples mature (to the extent ‘mature’ is a word you can use when speaking about Fae and still keep a straight face). Josh and Conall in particular have been soooo much fun. Though every couple has been a joy to write, each in their own way. Tiernan, the quintessential bad boy, and Kevin, the lawyer he seduces without realizing they share a soul; Conall, the three-hundred-year-old master mage who’s never known a loving touch, and Josh, the tattoo artist who will move heaven and two earths to get him back; Lochlann, the Fae healer who’s waited so long for his SoulShare that he’s lost his magick, and Garrett, the dying pole dancer who can’t quite make himself believe in love; Cuinn, the perpetually delinquent Fae Loremaster, and Rian, the lost Prince looking to fill a void in the soul he thinks is human; Lasair, the plain-spoken (for a Fae) Master of Hounds, exiled for losing the infant Rian, and Bryce, who’s never known what it’s like to have a soul and discovers that having one creates more problems than it solves; Fiachra, who fled prejudice and hatred in the Realm and accidentally stole someone else’s body along the way, and Peri, rent-boy, masseur, and exquisite drag queen with a burden of guilt from his past threatening to drag him under; and Mac, Lucien, and Rhoann, who you’ve met. Come find me at GRL and get to know all of us a little better! winks
Author: Rory Ni Coileain
Publisher: Riverdale Avenue Books
Cover Artist: Insatiable Fantasy Designs
Genre: Fantasy, Gay Romance, Menage/Poly, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 07/19/2016
Rhoann Callte, Rhoann Half-Royal, is an impossible Fae. Shape-shifter, he carries the blood of Fae water elementals and has a once-in-a-generation healing gift. Which is his blessing, or his curse, depending on how you look at it – his gift is needed among the exiled Fae of the Demesne of Purgatory, and he’s coerced from his beloved solitude and sent on a one-way trip to the human world.
Vietnam veteran Mac McAllan has been through hell in the last few months, and not just because his new C-leg isn’t performing up to spec. He and his partner of 34 years, stocky bald muscle bear Lucien de Winter, were working at Purgatory when what the owner said was a gas explosion collapsed the building – and put Lucien into a coma back in August. Now it’s October, and an impossibly handsome stranger says he can heal Lucien. But there’s always a price…
A Fae who wants only to be left alone, SoulShared with a human who’s already found the love of his life… and the Marfach testing their incomplete bond, seeking the key to its watery prison. What could go wrong?
Rhoann’s aching fingers trembled, so fiercely did he try to grip the cracked and crumbled stone on which he lay. Moments ago, a whirlwind had hammered him through a different stone floor, a floor laced with silver-blue light. Light that had become blades, and when the traitor stone had vanished, those blades had severed soul from soul.
And world from world.
Rhoann didn’t need to open his eyes to know how different this place was from the place he had left behind. The smell of dirt, and of something burned — and still burning — seeped into his lungs even when he held his breath. It was dark, but somewhere off to one side of him a bright, raw light source glowed through his closed eyelids, turning some of the darkness a throbbing blood red. Which sorted perfectly with the memory of agony still quivering down his every nerve.
And the noise… Rhoann had nothing to compare it to, no way to understand it. Roaring, like animals, but never pausing for breath, always at a distance, coming closer and then drawing away. Sometimes punctuated by shrill, harsh sounds, and volleys of shouted curses.
The curses, at least, he could understand. Aine had promised him that he would understand every human language — not quite the gift of Air, to understand and speak every language carried by the air, but surely enough for him. And enough for him to be sure the roaring was, at least, no human language.
I have to see.
Rhoann opened his eyes.
He lay on what looked like grayish stone, shot through with the faint and delicate crystal structure of living magick. A crack in the stone ran almost directly under his face, smaller cracks spidering off as if a giant had stepped on the stone.
Aine said nothing about giants.
Alarmed, he raised his head, gasping as abused nerves and muscles protested.
He lay on the floor of a ruin, a square sunk into the floor of a larger pit. Parts of walls sketched out a small room around him; to one side, a gouge in the earth rose up, the height of several tall Fae, only to disappear into darkness. Rubble was scattered across the floor; some looked like stone, some looked as if it might have been other things. The light he had sensed was off to his other side, and was nothing he could look at directly; it was as if a small sun stood on a pylon, humming softly to itself and shining its rays off in yet another direction, to glance off raw earth and broken stone and show him the walls of the larger pit, and a rough earthen ramp angling down into it.
And beside him…
Foam rose up from the earth, crystal and air and smoke and mist, and something very like magick. And there was a faint, glowing tracing on the stone, near one clutching hand, echoes of the light, the blades he had left behind. The skin of that hand felt tight, stretched, burned instinctively, he drew that hand in, sheltered it under his body. Edged himself away from the silver-blue tracery, as far as his aching body would allow.
What there was not... was water. No scent of it, no sight of it, not even the touch of mist on his skin. He had been warned that this would be so. And he had been assured that he could survive. That he would survive; a water elemental could live out of water, just as a fire elemental could live without the kiss of flame. And he, himself, was only half Royal, half Water.
He would survive. Even if something had gone wrong with his transition, as Aine had said it did with all of them. The pain of transition would end. He had a purpose, his healing gift was needed. And once he had found the two he had been sent here to help, he could seek out some lake, some pool, some stream, on this side of the Pattern, and try to find again what he had lost. Surely even humans had quiet waters where a Fae could make a home.
He had spent most of his life alone. This was no different.
Yet it was. It was different.
This way of being alone, this was different.
And it always would be.
About the Author
Rory Ni Coileain majored in creative writing, back when Respectable Colleges didn’t offer such a major, so she had to design it herself, at a university which boasted one professor willing to teach creative writing, he being a British surrealist who went nuts over students writing dancing bananas in the snow but did not take well to the sort of high fantasy she wanted to write. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa at the age of nineteen, sent off her first short story to an anthology being assembled by an author she idolized, received one of those rejection letters that puts therapists’ kids through college (Ivy League), and found other things to do, such as going to law school, ballet dancing (at more or less the same time), and nightclub singing, for the next thirty years or so, until her stories started whispering to her. Now she’s a lawyer and a legal editor, and the proud mother of an about-to-graduate filmmaker, and is busily wedding her love of myth and legend to her passion for m/m romance.
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