My guest today is Indra Vaughan, visiting to celebrate a new release – Halcyon Hush from Torquere – and to make me blush a bit – you’ll see why.
I just want to start out with a little bit of a fan-girl moment, because I can’t quite believe I’m on Elin Gregory’s blog. Kit from On A Lee Shore is one of my all time favorite characters. (I think I have a blog post somewhere which is basically an ode to Kit. Ahem.) I’m in a little group of friends who share the same taste in books and we often reminisce on how likable Kit is and how we want to strip him out of his waistcoat can’t wait for the next installment.
Actually I have a message from one of them, Elin. It’s from Lindsay, and she says: “Ask her when that sequel is coming out, because I need it in my life, like, yesterday.”
Anyway, on to the actual blog post (on Elin’s blog eeeee).
This year Torquere’s Charity Sip Blitz benefits Outserve-LSDN, which is an organization I hadn’t heard of until I saw the submissions call, so I thought it might be a good idea to talk a little bit about the good work they do. Or rather, I’d like to show you.
For those of you who can’t watch, this is the 2011 MSNBC news coverage of the repeal of DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) with an interview of Jonathan Hopkins, Outserve’s Managing Director. A man who was honorably discharged under DADT himself. This interview is an awesome example of exactly what Outserve did to make the coming out of LGBT military easier. To make it possible for everyone in the military to just do their job without a cloud of suspicion and fear of losing everything, hanging over their heads.
They even provide the means to get in touch with an attorney if you are experiencing harassment or discrimination due to sexual orientation. If you want to know how they helped the repeal of DADT you can read all about it here.
But what really made me want to write Halcyon Hush for this Charity Sip Blitz (as if I wasn’t convinced yet) was their dedication to make LGBT families real families. Until DOMA was repealed same sex spouses didn’t have the same rights as opposite sex spouses in the military and Outserve certainly did its part to make the change.
Apart from that, there is a huge amount of information that can be found about step-children, adoption, family care plans, moving, etc. All stressful issues at the best of times, never mind if you can’t just walk up to your supervisor and ask for the necessary information.
On to the story!
The theme this year was uniforms so I went with two doctors working in a post-apocalyptical town.
It’s an incredibly harsh world, a dangerous place even without the midnight gales strong enough to strip skin. In this world every man has the duty to father two children, and while Doctor Ira Ellis has done his duty, he doesn’t expect to find happiness because that would lie in the arms of a man.
Men loving men and women loving women no longer brings capital punishment, but banishment from Halcyon Hush, one of the only towns managing to survive and carefully thrive, is nearly the same thing. Outside of Halcyon Hush’s walls, dangerous raiders kill first and rob later, and that’s without the hopeless prospect of finding shelter for the night.
So Ira lives a lonely life as one of the town’s only surgeons, but he thinks he is content, if nothing else. Until he unexpectedly has to work together with Doctor Richard McLean and temptation proves too much for either of them.
I have such a thing for apocalyptical world settings. One of my all time favorite books is a fantasy novel where the protagonist faces a grim fate in a post apocalyptical world like this one.
If you want to hear more, I actually read an excerpt of Halcyon Hush on YouTube here. Now, I have to warn you, I’m a sponge when it comes to accents, and I’ve soaked up English from many places. If you need subtitles, I’ll add the excerpt below.
I’m giving away a $25 gift card for Adagio Teas instead of offering a free copy of Halcyon Hush (because I want to make money for Outserve!). To enter, please tell me in the comments below, if Halcyon Hush ever became a movie… who would you like to see as Ira and Richard? (What? A girl can dream, right?)
And even if you think, well, this story isn’t for me, there are 24 others in this Charity Blitz. There is literally everything in uniform you can possibly imagine, from paramedics to military people to firefighters, so please go browse the link below. It is after all for a good cause.
In the meantime, thank you for spending a little time with me and my story, and a great big thank you to Elin for having me. It really means a lot.
Excerpt of Halcyon Hush:
It wasn’t fatigue as much as the bad lighting that made him put his pen down some time around two in the morning. Ellis rubbed at his eyes and felt them sting behind their lids, the corners filling with dampness as he squeezed them shut. Sparks of all colors and intensity flickered against the darkness.
“I thought you were joking when you said you were going to do paperwork. You’ll ruin your eyesight.” For the second time that night, McLean made Ellis startle. It annoyed him. Ellis was perfectly aware why he was so on edge around McLean, but usually he had a better handle on it. “I was going to lie down while it was quiet for a bit but you look like you need it more than I do.”
While lying down was exactly what Ellis had been about to do, he waved a hand at the futon. “Go ahead. I’m good.” With a shrug McLean turned away, pulling the top of his scrubs over his head. The black hair at the back of his neck looked damp, and Ellis saw a droplet quiver at the end of a strand before it fell down McLean’s naked flesh. Small rivulets of water ran down McLean’s back, pebbling the pale skin into goosebumps. It looked like he’d had a refreshing dip in an ice-cold bucket, too. And hadn’t bothered to dry off very well after. Ellis lifted his face to the ceiling and closed his eyes. From the futon came a rustle of stiff-starched sheets and the sound of a pillow being thumped into submission.
“There’s room, you know.” Ellis’ eyes flashed open wide. There was an unsavory-looking stain on the ceiling tiles. “Not much, granted,” McLean went on when Ellis didn’t move. “But enough, if you need to rest.”
Slowly, as if moving too fast might aggravate the yearning Ellis had never allowed to surface, he straightened and looked at McLean. The corner of the blankets lifted in invitation exposed McLean lying on his side, leaning up on his elbow. His face, as always, was perfectly serene, but there was a twinkle in his eye Ellis couldn’t afford to examine.
“I’m fine here,” Ellis said. He expected McLean to let it go. On the rare occasions that they worked together, Ellis had never known the man to press a point if there wasn’t a life depending on it. This time, however, McLean dropped the covers, letting them pool over his narrow waist and leaving his chest exposed. The hand not propping up his head slid across the starched sheet and patted it once.
“Go on.” The smile he gave Ellis was beguiling. “You’d like to.”
The yearning left Ellis’ core and entered his bloodstream, a steady thrum of want pounding through his system. “Even if I did–” Ellis tried but couldn’t quite keep the regret out of his voice. “It is forbidden.” It wasn’t a capital offense any more for men to be with men, or women with women. Not like it had been when the most important task of any survivor was to ensure the continuation of their bloodline. The punishment now was banishment, but since survival alone out in the harsh, burned-up world was near impossible, it was hardly an improvement. The roaming tribes that dug their temporary homes underground had a tendency to kill first, rob later. And even that was a fate preferable to being caught outside in a midnight gale.
“Times are changing.” McLean didn’t let up the eye contact and Ellis found he could not look away.
When Ellis had declined to take a wife at the cutoff age of thirty-five, he hadn’t been tossed out of town. Avoided, maybe. His standing as one of the best town physicians had offered him a measure of protection. As well as the fact that he had already done his duty under the law and fathered two children. For this he was allowed to live alone rather than in one of the bachelor houses where two or three men shared their space. Ellis supposed having roommates was meant to be an incentive to move on and start a family. Still, McLean did have a point. “Maybe so,” Ellis conceded. “But not fast enough for the likes of you and me.”
The complete Charity Sip Blitz Package is currently 15% off at Torquere Books.
You can find each story separately here.
Halcyon Hush itself can be found here.
Torquere matches any proceeds again to give to Outserve, which is awesome.
(In case you were wondering, the Felix Felicis tea is my FAVORITE. It smells of chocolate and freshly moved lawn on an early spring day and chiseled abs and—*blinks*)
LOL, Facebook scares me too Indra, and thank you very much for the kind words about Kit. Please give Lindsay my love and tell her that Kit and Griffin will be back when I get their plot sorted out. 🙂