Eli Easton

Author of m/m romance books and stories

Welcome to Eli Easton!

October 30

PrairieDogAudioBook

 

Dreamspinner Press has produced an audio book version of my Christmas story from last year’s advent, “A Prairie Dog’s Love Song”. It’s really good!  Check it out here:

http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_hp_tseft?advsearchKeywords=eli+easton&filterby=field-keywords&x=14&y=19

Eli

Desktop: “The Bird” (in “bones”, gothika #2 anthology)

October 27

bonescover

Today is the release day for “bones”, the second volume of the gothika series — m/m romance with a gothic twist. This volume is all about Voodoo. There are 4 novellas by Kim Fielding, Jamie Fessenden, BG Thomas, and myself.  You can get it at 25% off for a short time on Dreamspinner.

My story is called “The Bird” and here’s the blurb:

“The Bird” by Eli Easton
Colin Hastings is sent to Jamaica in 1870 to save his father’s sugar cane plantation. If he succeeds, he can marry his fiancée back in London and take his place in proper English society. But Colin finds more than he bargained for on the island. His curiosity about Obeah, the native folk magic, leads him to agree to a dangerous ritual where he is offered his heart’s most secret desire—one he’s kept deeply buried all his life. What happens when a proper English gentleman has his true sensual nature revealed and freed by the Obeah spirits?

COLIN

First off, the story is set in the West Indies during the end of British rule.  I’ve always been interested in old horror movies set in the tropics like “Island of Dr. Moreau”, “I Walked with a Zombie”, “White Zombie”, etc.  So the horror side of this story was definitely influenced by those films.  On the romantic side, this story definitely owes a nod to “Wide Sargasso Sea”, both the book and film, which has a visceral sense of sweaty, muggy senuality. I love the film version starring Nathaniel Parker, so he is the model for my lead character, Colin.

wss MV5BMjU0MTE4NjkwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzcyMjY0NA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_

 

SUGAR CANE PLANTATION

The story is set on a sugar cane plantation in Jamaica owned by a British Earl.  His third son, Colin, is sent to set the plantation to rights after being mismanaged for years by a lazy overseer.  I found some great resources online for the workings of a colonial-era sugar cane plantation.

Cannes-sucre-Georgi_late_1800s Sugarcane_planting

planting sugar cane with 1 bud

 

TIYAH

One of the women who works on Colin’s family plantation is Tiyah, rumored to be a powerful Obeah woman. Below is a stock image I found that reminded me of Tiyah. She’s very beautiful. Colin ends up doing Tiyah a significant favor. And in return, Tiyah offers to give Colin “his heart’s desire” through Erzulie, an Obeah loa. Colin is curious and he agrees, but he has no idea what is about to happen.

stock-photo-12306002-jamaican-woman

 

THE BIRD

A bird features heavily in this story, as a metaphor and a magical conduit. The bird looks like the one below, which is a black-crowned night heron.

220px-Black-crowned_Night_Heron_RWD7

black crowned night heron

 

MAJOR JOHN PIVOT

John Pivot is a neighbor of Colin’s in Jamaica, an Englishman who lost his wits in war and has been exiled to Jamaica by his family to be hidden away. John’s fate is more linked to Colin’s than Colin realizes.

John_Brougham_-_Brady-Handy

RICHARD

Colin’s best friend since his school days and perhaps more.

style

 

 

MORE MOOD SETTING JAMAICA PICTURES

Jamaica

jamaica-blue-mountains

 

images

That’s it for this desktop!  I hope you enjoy reading “The Bird”.  Please leave a comment for me at goodreads or amazon if you do.

Cheers!

Eli

 

 

 

 

“Unwrapping Hank” is now on Amazon for pre-order

October 26

HankCover

 

This weekend I finished the editing and ebook formatting for “Unwrapping Hank”, my 2014 Christmas novella. It is going to be released Nov 14, 2014.  It’s already locked and loaded at Amazon, ready to go!  You can pre-order it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Unwrapping-Hank-Eli-Easton-ebook/dp/B00OWIQH5I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414334832&sr=8-1&keywords=eli+easton+unwrapping+hank

Eli

New page added for “bones” (gothika #2)

October 25

bonescover

 

Check out the new page for the “bones” anthology, coming out Oct 27th!  Spooky/erotic stories from myself, Kim Fielding, Jamie Fessenden, and BG Thomas. You can read an excerpt from my novella “The Bird” on the new page here.

Out

October 22

 

JaneJensen

Jane Jensen aka Eli Easton

 

Since I started publishing m/m romance in April 2013, my “Eli Easton” has been a name without a face and without a background.  At times I wanted to be able to talk about the other parts of my life on my blog or twitter or with my goodreads friends. But I kept Eli separate from my ‘real life’ identity, as many m/m romance authors do.

In my case, it wasn’t about my family, employer, or community disapproving. It was simply that I had another professional persona with its own audience and projects in the works. I didn’t want assumptions made about my other work, or for it to be colored by m/m romance glasses, or, indeed, for that brand to get garbled or dissed for reasons not associated with the work itself.

But recently I decided to just be open about it all so I could talk about anything anywhere.

Past

In real life, I have been a long-time computer game designer writing under the name of Jane Jensen.  I got my big break in game design in 1989 when I was hired by Sierra Online, a popular maker of adventure games like King’s Quest and Leisure Suit Larry.  With Sierra I got the chance to create my own game series, a paranormal mystery series called Gabriel Knight.  There were 3 GK games, 2 novelizations, and a host of other work done under Jane Jensen, including two original novels.

Millennium Rising aka Judgement Day came out in 1999 from Del Rey and Dante’s Equation from Del Rey in 2003.  My other games include Dying for Daylight (done with Charlaine Harris), three Agatha Christie hidden object games, three Women’s Murder Club games (with James Patterson), Gray Matter (my own original story) and, recently, Moebius: Empire Rising.

I’ve had many wonderful professional experiences working in games, including the joy of casting voice-over actors and listening to them read my dialogue, working on a live film production (for GK2), travelling to research story lines, meeting fans, and working with great artists, engineers, and producers. It was also the ideal place to hone my writing skills, particularly dialogue since there are acres of that in my games.

Present

Why do I write m/m romance?  Because I love reading it. I began reading the m/m genre during a particularly stressful period in 2012, and it was my magic bullet in terms of relaxation and escape.  I love writing books, but I’d given up on it after Dante’s Equation in 2003–a hugely ambitious book that took three years to write and was a disappointment to me critically and sales wise.

While I’ve enjoyed reading m/f romance since I was a teen, I never was very good at writing it.  I’m drawn to the idea of how two people meet and decide to spend their lives together–the give and take of personalities and relationship dynamics.  But I find it challenging to write a typical man/woman relationship. I think it’s because I’ve always rather sucked at writing very feminine characters. My own personality has many traits that would be considered masculine, and I’ve never been one for pink and lace.  I think we are all a balance of masculine and feminine in our deepest selves in ways that go beyond gender and sexual identity. It’s possible to be a woman with masculine personality traits who loves men (that is, not a lesbian), just as you can be a man with ‘feminine’ qualities who is nonetheless straight. We need a name for  those categories, please!

I dipped my toe back into the water in 2011 writing a few stories for submission to m/m anthologies.  By now, I’ve published 10+ stories in m/m including the novel The Mating of Michael, which was released in Jun 2014. I’ve gotten a lot of pleasure from writing in this genre, and encouragement from some very lovely people who enjoy reading it.

One thing is clear: being Eli Easton has given me back my pure fiction writing–my confidence in it and my productivity. And I’m grateful for that.

I also want to say that I have no embarrassment about what I write. I am a full supporter of gay rights, including the right to marry. So to me, romance is romance, no matter what the gender is of the protagonists. And as a life-long reader of romance, I know the pleasure it brings people. Unlike horror and mystery (both of which I’ve written), at the core romance is about passion and love, not fear. Plus, there’s always a happy ending. And sometimes, we just fucking need a happy ending.

Future

I plan to continue to write m/m romance as Eli Easton. I will also likely continue to write for games.  There are also some “Jane Jensen” books in the pipeline. I recently sold an Amish-themed murder mystery called “Kingdom Come” to Berkely and it will be released on the “Prime Crime” line under Jane Jensen.  Now that I’m ‘out’ I’ll be freer to talk about any and all projects as news pops up.

If you like games at all, you might want to check out one of my recent titles. Both of these have a free 1 chapter demo.

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary remake — an all new HD remake of my first big game. This is the first game in a paranormal mystery series with some similarities to Supernatural or X-Files.  Also on Steam and GOG.

Moebius: Empire Rising — A Dan Brown-ish conspiracy thriller involving a new theory of space and time. Includes a slashy bromance that will develop over the series.

 

That’s it for this confession. I will be at Romantic Times convention next year in Dallas in May and also the Rainbow Con in Tampa in July. Hope to meet some more of you there!

Eli

 

 

 

 

 

Cover and excerpt: “Unwrapping Hank” (due Nov 14)

October 9

HankCover

 

“Unwrapping Hank”, my 2014 Christmas story, is due to release Nov 14, 2014.  The cover by done by the talented Reese Dante, who did my Mistletoe cover last year.  This isn’t a sequel, but it does have a similar vibe.

Blurb:

Sloane loves a good mystery. He grew up as the son of two psychiatrists, so he finds most people tediously easy to figure out. He finds his way to Pennsylvania State University, longing for a rural experience, and ends up being lured into joining a frat by Micah Springfield, the hippest guy on campus.

Nothing in Sloane’s classes is as intriguing as Hank Springfield, Micah’s brother and fellow frat house member. Hank looks like a tough guy—big muscles, tatts, and a beard—but his eyes are soft and sweet. He acts dumb, but he’s a philosophy major. He’s presumably straight, but then why does Sloane feel such crazy chemistry whenever Hank is around? And why does Hank hate Sloane so much?

When Sloane ends up stuck on campus over Christmas, Micah invites him to spend the holidays at their family farm in Amish country. It’s a chance to experience a true Americana Christmas–and further investigate the mystery that is Hank Springfield. Can Sloane unlock the secrets of this family and unwrap the heart hidden inside the beefcake?

Here’s the first excerpt!  (this is pre-editor)

1

 

“Sloane, why don’t you get us some more sangria? In the kitchen. On the kitchen table. That’s the good stuff.” Micah Springfield winked at me.

“You know, Hank is—” Brian started.

Micah put an arm around Brian’s neck in a casual stranglehold, clapped a hand over his mouth, and patted it lightly, as if he was joking around. “Sloane?” Micah held out his glass to me.

“Uh… sure.” I took his glass, wondering if this was a pledge thing. If I, as a new member of Delta Sigma Phi, and a lowly freshman, was going to be a community gopher for the foreseeable future.

But so far, Micah and the Delts had been amazingly benevolent. When I and four other freshman rushed, there were no illegal pranks, panty-on-head wearing, belly-crawling through urine, or naked spanking. Which was good, because I would have laughed, ho ho ho, at least at everything except possibly the naked spanking. Then I’d have made a beeline for the exit.

I never thought I’d be the type to rush a frat. In fact, if my parents knew about it, they’d be lecturing me over the phone on peer pressure, the dangers of co-dependency in closed social structures, and the effects of one’s social group on GPA in a university setting. They were both psychologists, and I, I was their lifelong patient. Nothing in my life went undeconstructed. But when Micah, a TA in one of my classes, latched onto me and gave me the hard sell, I didn’t resist.

Micah Springfield is president of the Delts. He’s that guy who is hipper than you will ever be, even if you took master lessons from Bob Dylan and Will Smith. He’s genuinely smart but a thousand leagues from being a nerd. He’s good-looking but lazy with it, you know? He has wild curly brown hair that’s down to his shoulders, with these little braids in it, dread-style, and a remarkably unskeevy soul patch. He wears slouchy low-riding jeans, crazy-patterned shirts, and leather sandals most of the time, even in November. He’s a senior in environmental science, of course, because that’s what terminally hip people major in. And he has these insightful brown eyes, eyes that looked right into yours and say I’m touching your soul, brother.

Micah was warm. In other words, the opposite of my parents.

Besides, the Delts lived in a cool old mansion, which was so much better than sharing a dumpy dorm room with my perpetually anxious, tums-chewing, pre-med roommate. I was over all the hair-pulling. He pulled his own hair, not mine, but still. I was definitely ready to move into a room in the Delts house that first weekend in November.

And if I’d had some stirrings of attraction to Micah at first, it honestly had nothing to do with my decision. I figured out in the first ten minutes that he was straight, and that was the end of that. Tiny nubbin of interest nipped in the bud, and we were both the better for it.

“Kitchen,” I repeated, looking pointedly at the punch bowl not two feet away.

“Trust me,” Micah insisted, winking at me again.

I sighed and went off to find the frat house kitchen.

 

*                          *                         *

 

I pushed through a swinging door and saw a refrigerator. I’d found the kitchen. My sense of accomplishment lasted for about two seconds. Then I noticed the guy standing at the sink doing dishes.

The Delts I’d met so far were upscale-looking guys. Even with Micah’s slouchy hippiness, there was a sense of quality about him that shone. And the other frat members, like Brian, tended to polo shirts and button-downs and managed to tread that narrow line between respectable students and nerds. They were more prone to hacky-sack and ultimate frisbee on the front lawn than video games or football and steroids. It was a zone I felt comfortable in, if not one where I precisely belonged.

But this creature at the sink was something else.

He was a big guy, had to be over six feet and he was broad. He wore old, holey jeans that showcased a perfect, firmly rounded ass. On top he wore a white wife-beater tank top and nothing else, which left acres of huge muscles and tattoos exposed. He had a thick buzz cut and a full beard. One bare foot was propped up on the opposing calf as he washed glasses in hot, soapy water.

I clenched the stems of the glasses in my hands so hard it was a miracle they didn’t break. Black began to descend on my vision and it took me a moment to identify the problem—I wasn’t breathing. Silly me. I gasped in a mouthful of oxygen and the sound caused sink guy to turn his head to look at me.

“Hey.” Sink guy’s grunt was low and rough like a dog or a bear. He turned around and went back to washing dishes.

I love a good mystery. In fact, I find it boring how unmysterious life is most of the time. Study the material, get correct answers on tests, get a good grade, eventually get lots of good grades to get a good job. Point A to B to C. And people? Growing up the son of two psychologists, and furthermore being a huge fan of murder mysteries, I had a tendency to analyze people and put them in boxes fairly quickly.  For example, the pinch of my mother’s mouth can indicate long-suffering, irritated, or secretly pleased, depending on its exact tension. There’s a look a guy gets in his eye when he’s attracted to you and a different look when he finds out you’re gay and he’s disgusted by that. Most people are open books.

But standing in that kitchen my head was flooded with a dozen questions.

Who was this guy?

What was he doing in the Delts’s kitchen washing dishes? He didn’t look like a Delt, but he didn’t look like anyone a sane person would hire for catering or clean-up either.

He seemed young, about my age, yet I knew he wasn’t a freshman rushee, because I’d met all of them and we were currently being schmoozed out front in our ‘welcome to the frat’ party.

Why was he barefoot?

If he was a Delt, why was he hiding in the kitchen doing dishes instead of socializing with everyone else?

And why oh why did I have an overwhelming urge to run my hands over the plump muscles on those arms, shoulders, and back, when I’d never before in my life been attracted to muscle guys or tattoos? The guys I’d dated had been smart and fairly sophisticated. A guy like this should not move me. But he did, like Mt Vesuvius.

Oh God, was I going to hell? Would I end up living in Texas?

The guy looked over his shoulder at me again. His eyes were dark blue, with what looked like flecks of gold, and he had long, long black lashes. They were soft eyes.

How did a guy who looked like an ex-con have eyes that were that sweet?

“Need something?” he asked me with a slight frown.

Right. Because standing frozen by the kitchen door holding two glasses in a death grip was not weird at all.

I cleared my throat. “Refill.” I spotted the pitcher of sangria on the table and manage to fill up the two glasses. The guy had gone back to ignoring me, gently clinking glasses in the water and being ridiculously noir with the steam from the sink wafting around him like a figure in an old Humphrey Bogart film.

Some snooping was definitely in order. I left Micah’s glass on the table and wandered over to the sink with my sangria.

“Are you a Delt?” I asked, all casual.

He took his hands out of the suds and braced them on the edge of the sink. They were thick hands, flush with veins.

He looked me over critically, and I tried not to betray the fact that I found him incredibly attractive. Playing it cool, I took a  sip of my drink.

“Yeah,” he said at last. “I’m Hank. Who are you?”

Oh, God. Oh, no. “Sloane. Greg Sloane.”

“Oh.” His face closed off in a heartbeat. He went back to washing dishes. “Yeah, Micah mentioned you.”

As it happened, I’d heard of Hank too. Hank—the one guy at the fraternity who’d voted against my membership, a fact I shouldn’t know but did because Brian had let it spill. He’d also told me to “never mind Hank. Just stay far away from the guy and he won’t bother you.” The impression I’d been left with is that bothering me—maybe with his fists—was entirely possible should I accidentally annoy this paragon.

Hank, the one Delt I’d never met but had a vague notion was homophobic and thus hated me on principle.

That’s when I noticed the cross tattooed on his impressive left bicep. Without another word, I picked up Micah’s drink and went back out into the living room. My heart was beating fast and something like disappointment burning in my stomach.

“Hey,” Micah said. He took his glass and threw his other arm around me. “Come on, I want you to meet Sam Wiser. He’s a junior and in the vet sciences program too.”

“Sure, uh… There was a guy in the kitchen… Hank.”

Micah stopped and looked at me, smiling shyly.  “Yeah? What’d you think?”

What’d I think?

“He seemed really… domesticated. You know, for a white supremacist.”

I was being perhaps a wee bit judgmental, but Micah laughed, a big booming laugh that made everyone turn to see what was so funny.

“I guess you know the guy,” I commented, even more perplexed by Micah’s reaction.

“Oh, I know him.” Micah pulled me in by the neck to whisper in my ear. “Hank is my baby brother.”

EE

Review of the audio book version of “Blame it on the Mistletoe”

October 5

Thanks to The Blogger Girls for posting the first review of the audiobook version of “Blame it on the Mistletoe” with the fantastic narrator, Jason Frazier.  Check it out!

http://thebloggergirls.com/2014/10/05/audio-review-blame-in-on-the-mistletoe-by-eli-easton/

“Blame It On The Mistletoe” now out on audio!

September 29

mistletoe_br

 

Dreamspinner just released an audio book version of “Blame it on the Mistletoe”. The narrator, Jason Frazier, is fantastic. So much fun.  Here’s a link on audible with a sample.

 

Guest Post: Jamie Fessenden’s “Murder on the Mountain” blog tour!

September 21

Day Nine of the Murder on the Mountain blog tour!

nh-state-police-badge

 

Although Murder on the Mountain is what’s generally referred to as a “cozy”—a murder mystery solved by an amateur sleuth, fairly light on police procedure—I did do a lot of research on how murder cases are handled in my home state of New Hampshire.  I’m incredibly grateful to my friend, Austin, who took advantage of an opportunity to visit the summit of Mount Washington in February and talk to the rangers stationed there.

If somebody dies on the summit, I discovered, this falls under the jurisdiction of the State Park Rangers.  The park rangers are fully qualified to investigate crimes committed within their jurisdiction, including homicide, unless they choose to bring in the State Police.  Since I hadn’t planned on doing a series of State Park murder mysteries (though that’s not a bad idea, really), I had the rangers call Concord in my novel.

I first thought I’d have Kyle be a member of a local police force near the base of the mountain—perhaps out of Berlin—but it turns out we don’t do things that way in NH.  All homicide investigations are handled through the Major Crime Unit in Concord (http://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/isb/majorcrime/ ).  So Kyle and his partner, Wesley, have to drive an hour and a half north from Concord to Bretton Wood, where the Cog Railway takes them to the summit.  Autopsies are also handled in Concord, at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (http://doj.nh.gov/medical-examiner/ ), so Stuart Warren’s body is taken down on the Cog and transferred back to Concord.

Since I wanted Jesse to have access to the crime scene and Kyle from the beginning, I fell back on the Ride-Along.  This is where a citizen fills out a form and gets approval to ride along in a police cruiser for a day or more.  Under normal circumstances, that probably doesn’t include getting close to a crime scene, and the form takes several days to get approved.  I fully admit I fudged that in order to keep Jesse from being shut out of the investigation from the beginning.

One thing I stand behind, however, despite several comments from readers about it, is Jesse signing himself into the Mount Washington hotel so he can talk to the murder suspects.  I discussed this with some retired police officers in a forum and, even though it seems as though it would be illegal… it isn’t.  There is no law that prevents a citizen from talking to a murder suspect.  If there were, reporters wouldn’t be able to interview them, and that happens all the time.  The police can only restrict access to person after an arrest has been made.  Kyle could have thrown a fit, of course.  He could have threatened to dump Jesse and never see him again.  But he couldn’t force Jesse out of that hotel.

For the next four weeks, Murder on the Mountain will be touring the blogs of several MM Romance authors, providing . If you leave an email address in the comments or email me at jamesfessenden@hotmail.com, you’ll be entered into a drawing for either a free copy of Murder on the Mountain or a $40 gift certificate to Dreamspinner Press!

Check out the other stops on the tour at: http://jamiefessenden.com/2014/08/22/murder-on-the-mountain-blog-tour/

Murder on the Mountain400x600

When Jesse Morales, a recent college grad who aspires to be a mystery writer, volunteers to work on the summit of Mt. Washington for a week, he expects to work hard. What he doesn’t expect is to find a corpse in the fog, lying among the rocks, his head crushed. The dead man turns out to be a young tourist named Stuart Warren, who strayed from his friends while visiting the mountain.

Kyle Dubois, a widowed state police detective, is called to the scene in the middle of the night, along with his partner, Wesley Roberts. Kyle and Jesse are instantly drawn to one another, except Jesse’s fascination with murder mysteries makes it difficult for Kyle to take the young man seriously. But Jesse finds a way to make himself invaluable to the detective by checking into the hotel where the victim’s friends and family are staying and infiltrating their circle. Soon, he is learning things that could very well solve the case—or get him killed.

BUY LINK: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5335

 

 

 

“Bones” is due Oct 27th — Cover reveal!

September 16

Bones_Cover6

Are you in the mood for Halloween this year?  I have a new release coming October 27th. It’s called “bones”, and it’s the second gothika anthology. (The first was “stitch”).

Last time, in “stitch”, four of us m/m romance authors wrote a story about a Frankenstein-like creature. That book included a novella by myself, Kim Fielding, Sue Brown, and Jamie Fessenden.

In “bones”, the novellas are all around the theme of Voodoo.  The anthology includes a novella from myself, Kim Fielding, Jamie Fessenden, and BG Thomas.

Here’s the blurb for the anthology:

Vodou. Obeah. Santeria. These religions seem mysterious and dark to the uninitiated, but the truth is often very different. Still, while they hold the potential for great power, they can be dangerous to those who don’t take appropriate precautions. Interfering with the spirits is best left to those who know what they’re doing, for when the proper respect isn’t shown, trouble can follow. In these four novellas, steamy nights of possession and exotic ritual will trigger forbidden passion and love. You cannot hide your desires from the loa, or from the maddening spell of the drums. Four acclaimed m/m authors imagine homoerotic love under the spell of Voodoo.

And for my novella, “The Bird”:

Colin Hastings is sent to Jamaica in 1870 to save his father’s sugar cane plantation. If he succeeds, he can marry his fiancée back in London and take his place in proper English society. But Colin finds more than he bargained for on the island. His curiosity about Obeah, the native folk magic, leads him to agree to a dangerous ritual where he is offered his heart’s most secret desire—one he’s kept deeply buried all his life. What happens when a proper English gentleman has his true sensual nature revealed and freed by the Obeah spirits?

Jamie’s novella “The Book of St Cyprian”:

“When Alejandro Valera finds a book of black magic in New Orleans, he ships it to his friend Matthew in New Hampshire so he can read it when he gets home. Unfortunately, Matthew’s dog, Spartacus, gets to the package first, and Alejandro returns to find Matthew locked out of his apartment by the suddenly vicious pit bull. The boys call on all the magic they know to free Spartacus from the evil spirit, but they might need to accept that they’re in over their heads.”

I don’t have the blurbs for Kim and BG’s stories, but I can tell you can I really loved reading them!

More about the anthology later….

Eli

 

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