Eli Easton Author of m/m romance books and stories
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Desktop Post: Snowblind

March 1

Mar 1, 2017 is the release day for “Snowblind”. This is a contemporary m/m romance suspense story published under the Dreamspun Desires line by Dreamspinner Press.

Here’s the blurb:

Snow, steam, and secrets.

The latest snowstorm carries something unexpected to the doorstep of Hutch’s secluded Alaskan cabin: a stranger named Jude, the most beautiful man Hutch has ever seen. Jude says he’s in the area for a ski trip and that he fled a domineering lover, thinking he could make it into town. But Hutch is a suspicious SOB and treats his unwanted guest warily. The problem is Jude isn’t just gorgeous, he’s funny and smart and flirtatious.

Two gay men snowed in for three days—things happen. Really good things. By the time the storm clears, Hutch finds himself a little too attached to Jude Devereaux, San Francisco-based male model. But is Jude what he claims to be? Or is he entangled in the secrets Hutch moved to Alaska to escape?

<Note: To avoid spoilers, the blurb doesn’t go very deeply into the plot.>

DESKTOP POST

This is a very plot-intense romantic suspense story with two hot alpha males. I don’t want to give any of the plot away, so I’m going to stay very vague with my descriptions. This will probably make the most sense to those who have already read the book.

Here are some visuals to go along with the story that I researched or used for inspiration while writing. These are Googled images and they don’t belong to me, nor are they published in the book.

HUTCH

Hutch is an ex special forces guy living in a remote Alaskan ski town. He’s a big guy, very tough, sort of like the larger man in this photo below. I didn’t really have a specific face in mine when I wrote him, though I can see him in my head. He’s a bit beaten up, like an older boxer.

JUDE

Jude was inspired by Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders. Peaky Blinders is a BBC drama about a family of gangsters in Birmingham (UK) in the early 1900’s. Cillian Murphy plays the head of the family. It’s a terrific show if you haven’t watched it.

ALASKAN CABIN

The first third or so of the novel is set in a cabin in Alaska during a snowstorm. The photos below show cabins in about the right size with steep roofs, like in the story. (Yes, the roof is important. You’ll see.)

Hutch’s Alaskan cabin is in an area with spectacular aurora borealis.

Weapons

I’m not much of a gun person (or at all), but for this story I had to research lots of weapons, because Hutch definitely is a gun person. Here are some goodies from his arsenal.

Flash bangs

Hand gun and clip

Mini grenade launcher

M41 rocket launcher (used in the story when Hutch wants to make a big impression)

Hutch’s “Whites” — military uniform to blend into snowy landscapes

 

Spanish Villa

Later in the story, there’s a Spanish-style villa on the coast in Brazil. It’s of new construction and fairly ostentatious. Some visual inspiration I used:

Epilogue

Here’s a quiet beach in Cuba that helped inspire the epilogue.

 

That’s it for this desktop. I hope you enjoy the twisty-turny plot and suspense in Snowblind as well as the very hot Hutch and Jude!

Here’s a link to the Amazon Page.

Eli

Desktop Post: Falling Down

November 9

Nov 9, 2016 is the release day for “Falling Down”. This is a contemporary m/m romance set in New Hampshire in the fall. As is my tradition, this is my release day “Desktop” post, where I share images that inspired the story.

fallingdown_br

Here’s the blurb:

Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

Desktop Images:

Josh Rivers

Josh, 18, is from Alabama. He’s been living on the streets for three months, having left home after his mother died. Josh was extremely close to his mom, who was a single mother for most of Josh’s life. Her sudden death left Josh emotionally traumatized and without any financial or emotional support. Not seeing an easy way off the streets, or any point in trying, Josh is planning to take his own life at the begining of the book. But then he meets Mark.  Josh’s exterior was inspired by Adam Driver. He’s very thin but has a large frame and big features.

images

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Mark Sullivan

Mark, 24, is New Hampshire born and bred. The youngest of five boys, Mark grew up trying to emulate his macho older brothers and father and in denial about being gay. He went into the Marines to prove himself, but instead learns he can’t stand combat and loathes everything about war. After being discharged , he questions his own courage and everything about himself. He’s still in the closet to his family.

When I was looking for visual inspiration for Mark, the closest I found is Jeremy Renner.

jeremy-renner-side-profile_zpsd5419957 jeremy-renner-diet3

Bigler’s Pond

Most of the story is set at Bigler’s Pond in a fictional town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This photo was the inspiration for Bigler’s pond, with its covered bridge and surrounding gold leaves in the fall.

fall-road-trips-2015-michigan-covered-bridge-jpg-rend-tccom-1280-960

The White Mountains

Josh decides to travel to New England to see the fall leaves since it was one of his mother’s long-cherished dreams. He ends up in Gainsville, New Hampshire in the White Mountains. This is a fictional town but  the area is based on Jackson, New Hampshire, pictured below.

wentworthhotel-jackson

jackson-bridge-fall

I’m not even sure where the photo below was taken, but it still inspired me! I immersed myself in fall vibes to write this book.

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Mrs. Fisher’s house

Mark hires Josh to help him paint a huge old Victorian house with tons of gingerbread trim, like the house below.

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Gregory Crewdson and Richard Tuschman

Josh has ambitions to be an artist (though he doesn’t always admit it, even to himself). At one point in the book he thinks about a series of paintings that would have a similar feel to photos by these two photographers (whom I love).

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The hike at Mount Chocorua
Mark takes Josh on a local hike.  This is a real hike/location and I wish I was there!
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mount-chocorua3

The rescue

I had some help with my rescue/medical scenes from Claire, who is an EMT in New Hampshire. Below is a photo I found online of an emergency tent of the sort the police in the area might carry.

tent

Also, this extremely well-written article for Outside magazine gave me a lot of help researching hypothermia.

 

That’s it for this desktop. Although “Falling Down” is one of the more angsty tales I’ve written, I tried to give it a melancholy sweetness. And of course there’s an HEA!

This book will be on kindle unlimited for 90 days, then on all platforms.

Eli

Desktop: “A Second Harvest”

July 1

July 1 2016 is the release day for “A Second Harvest”. This is a new contemporary romance featuring a May-Dec couple. It’s set in Lancaster County, PA, where I live, and is the first in a new series called “Men of Lancaster County”. This is a stand-alone story and doesn’t have a cliffhanger ending. Future books in the series will feature different couples and unconnected story lines.

SecondHarvest[A]FS

Here’s the blurb:

David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm. He married, had two children, and goes to church every Sunday. Now with his kids both in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now that he’s thirty years old, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city and get his life back in order. His aunt left him a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and he heads there to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring, despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s exuberant creativity latches on to cooking, and he started gourmet-ing up a storm, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd-couple find they enjoy spending time together. A lot.

Christie challenges all the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he’d buried long ago. Can he find the courage to break free of the past and take a second chance at happiness?

Desktop Images:

As is my habit on release day, I’m posting images that inspired me while I was working on this story, or images that just remind me of the story. Here we go.

David Fisher

David, 41, is a Mennonite farmer. He feels much older than he actually is, having been widowed and having two grown kids in college. He lives alone on his Pennsylvania farm and has no idea what to do with the rest of his life. Below is a stock image I found that reminded me of David.

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Christie Landon

Christie, 30, is a sophisticated New Yorker and a graphic artist who works for an advertising agency. He’s a rather infamous gay party boy in the Manhattan club scene until he relocates to the country temporarily to settle his late aunt’s estate–and moves in next to shy, serious David. Christie is fierce, stubborn, and knows his own mind. He’s also has a kind heart and is a generous and loyal friend.

The visual I had in mind for Christie is based on Max Carter, a star with Cocky Boys. Max is amazing! Look him up.

maxcarter3

David’s Farm

Well, once again, I have written our own 20 acre farm into a story. 🙂 Here it is with snow, like in one of the scenes in the book.

winterbarn

You can see more pictures of our farm in this guest post I wrote for my Amish murder mystery. David’s farm is based entirely on our farm, though he has a lot more acreage of fields.

The birth of the calf

I wrote a guest post about this event with photos of me attending at our calf’s birth IRL. I’ll post the link here when the article goes live.

Bora Bora

David was born and raised on the Pennsylvania farm where he still lives. Being a farmer it was hard to ever get away from home to travel. So he feeds his closeted adventurer with a collection of National Geographic magazines. His favorite place in the world is Bora Bora. And eventually this makes for a rather special evening. Here are some photos from that (fictional) article on Bora Bora in David’s magazine.

BoraBora_French-Polynesia-6

BoraBora_French-Polynesia-5

The Maori Exhibit

During the story, Christie takes David on a surprise trip to Philadelphia to view a travelling exhibit on the Maori of New Zealand. This was based on an actual travelling exhibit. Some pictures below.

maori maoridancer maori3 Maori Art2 maori exhibit auckland Maori Art (1)

Philadephia Art Museum

Here are some photos of the gazebo at the Philly art museum they visit, and the exterior of the grounds.

sol-lewitt-aerial-645uw the-second-gazebo-near-the-art-museum.752.502.s

The Duplex in Brooklyn

The end of the book features a duplex in Brooklyn. Here are some reference shots I found online for the duplex.

brooklyn duplex3 brooklyn duplex 2 brooklyn duplex

 

 

That’s it for this desktop. “A Second Harvest” is one that came from the heart. It’s about finding a second chance for happiness in life. I hope you enjoy it! You can read an excerpt and find purchase links on my page for A Second Harvest.

Eli

Desktop: Midwinter Night’s Dream

November 25

Nov 25, 2015 is release day for my Christmas novella “Midwinter Night’s Dream”. Here’s my desktop of images that inspired me.

MICAH SPRINGFIELD

First, of course, is Micah Springfield, one of the MCs in the story. Micah is Hank’s brother from “Unwrapping Hank”. He’s a laid-back, hippy kind of guy with dreads. The images that inspired me for Micah are pictures of SAMUEL LARSON from Glee. (yes, before he cut his hair)

2_samuel-larsen images

LEO DAYSON

Micah’s love interest in “Midwinter Night’s Dream” is Leo Dayson, a senior theater major, gay activist, and general OCD hard ass. For visuals, I found the picture below of a young Chris Hemsworth. The young part is key, because in the photo below, he’s not the hugely muscled Thor version, but a thinner, more sensitive looking guy (but still intense).

ChrisHemsworth-1chrisHemsworth214x350_0

MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM:

As might be apparent from the title, the plot of the story is inspired by the Shakespeare play, Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Leo is producing a version of Midsummer Night’s Dream (the play) and he’s going to be holding it in the Springfield family’s barn.

The story also mirrors the play a bit, with Micah crushing on Leo, a girl named Yasmine crushing on Micah, and Leo’s bff, Helen, crushing on Yasmine.

midsummer-2

(above: From the 1999 film version of “Midsummer Night’s Dream”)

Sloane and Grinch make up our story’s “Puck”.

PuckEverett

hipster grinch

And a lot of the action is set, once again, on the Springfield family farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It’s a snowy Christmas in the story.

winterbarn

I hope you enjoy this holiday romance. Merry Christmas!

Eli

Desktop: “The Black Dog” (in claw anthology)

April 18

It’s my tradition to do a desktop post when I have a new story release, showing images that inspired my story.

“The Black Dog” is in “claw”, the 3rd gothika. It’s a gothic m/m anthology with three novellas by myself, Jamie Fessenden, and Kim Fielding. The theme of the claw anthology is beast shifters. Jamie and Kim’s stories feature werewolf shifters and mine, a massive black hound.

INSPIRATION:

I love gothic stories and horror movies. Both of my previous gothika stories were influenced by some of my favorite books or movies. (“Wuthering Heights” and “Frankenstein” for stitch’s “Reparation” and “I Walked with a Zombie” and “Wide Sargasso Sea” for bone’s “The Bird”).

The inspiration for “The Black Dog” comes from “Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Conan Doyle.

the-20hound-20of-20the-20baskervilles

 

I love this Sherlock Holmes story, the mood and atmosphere of it. Though I have to admit always been a little disappointed that the ‘solution’ to the mystery ends up not being paranormal at all.  In “The Black Dog”, that’s not the case. SAY NO MORE.

Initially, I was going to do a modern take on “Hound of the Baskervilles”, sticking true to the original plotline. But as I began working on it, I wasn’t satisfied with that and I decided I needed to pull in some other influences and go my own way.

LOCH NESS MONSTER

nessie

I liked the idea of having a legendary creature in my story, and a small town where monster-hunters might go to try to track down this legend. I’m a fan of TV shows where people are trying to track down Big Foot and other fabled beasts.  “The Black Dog” is set in Scotland and the legend of the Black Dog (which is fictional) is the only thing bringing in dribs and drabs of tourists to the tiny Northern Scotland hamlet where my story is set. The Black Dog is like a poor cousin to the Loch Ness Monster.

SCOTLAND AND HAMISH MACBETH

Hamish2

 

Gothic stories are defined by their setting. It’s critical to have someplace that feels mysterious, spooky, and isolated, where the normal safeguards and rules don’t apply.

I decided to set “The Black Dog” in an isolated region on the northern coast of Scotland. Why? Well, first I felt the story had to be on the British Isles because the original inspiration, “Hound of the Baskervilles” is a very British story. But I wanted someplace that would still be very remote in the current day.

I decided on Scotland, primarily due to my love of the TV series “Hamish MacBeth”. Hamish is a constable in a small town in Scotland and I loved the rural, isolated feeling of the show. What a great place for a spooky tale! The show was also the inspiration for my main character, Hayden, who is a constable in the small Scottish town of Laide.

More pics of my setting:

castle_lg plockton-main-street Mountain-Road-Through-Applecross-Peninsula1

HAYDEN MacLAIRTY

Hayden, my main MC, is a huge “almost ginger” Scotsman, a police constable, patient and steady. Simon calls him “Mount MacLairty”. Yes, he’s big. He’s the seventh son of a seventh son, and he loves living in the tiny hamlet of Laide and wouldn’t have it any other way, despite the fact that all his older siblings have moved to big cities and the modern world.

I don’t really have a picture that does Hayden justice, but not to leave you hanging, here’s a lovely Scotsman for you…

Hayden

SIMON CORTO

My other MC is a writer from New York. Simon is intelligent, sophisticated, he loves to travel, doesn’t mind roughing it, and has made a career writing fictional stories around real monster legends. I picture him looking like a younger Neil Gaiman.

neil-gaiman

And last, but not least, some inspirational beast pics I grabbed off the web while writing:

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That’s it for this desktop. I hope you will give “The Black Dog” a read!

You can read an except and find ORDER LINKS here.

Eli

Desktop: “Unwrapping Hank”

November 14

My 2014 Christmas novella, “Unwrapping Hank” released today!  Here’s my traditional desktop post in which I share images that inspired me while I was writing the story.

THESE IMAGES ARE TAKEN OFF GOOGLE and do not belong to me. They do not appear in the book itself but only in this post. If anyone has an issue with one of these being in this post, please email me at eli@elieaston.com and I’ll be happy to remove it.

SLOAN:

I Googled a lot to find this guy. He has the sort of smart ass, intelligent, slightly Euro look. Sloan!

hipster

 

HANK & MICAH:

My husband just told me today there’s a new thing called a “lumbersexual” — a guy who has a beard and wears flannel and likes to build things. That’s Hank all right (well, maybe not the building things). His brother Micah is slightly more on the hippy side. Here are a few images I found that remind me of Hank and Micah.

Hank Springfield Example me-and-ron

stock-photo-26447289-handsome-guy

 

PSU (Penn State Uni in State College, PA)

Here are some mood-setting location shots.

penn-state-university-campus-6 snow01 nittany lion inn woods

DEAD SANTA PARTY:

I mocked this up and then decided not to include it in the book.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-scary-santa-claus-skull-illustration-image34761677

LILITH AND KARMA:

The parents of Hank and Micah are lovely hippy, homesteading peeps.  Here are a few images I found for inspiration.

mark-anna-lucy-big brooklyn-homesteader-honey

 

THE TURKEY:

I was too soft-hearted to write the turkey-killing ceremony. I’m sorry.

RidleyTom09

AMISH COUNTRY CHRISTMAS:

Actually,  the Springfield’s farm turned out to be very autobiographical. It’s based on our real farm in Lancaster County, PA. We do have 3 cows (named Trueheart, Tinkerbell, and Bessy) and chickens. Our barn similar to the one in the book.

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cows

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GRINCH:

Our bulldog, Lucy, walking out by the cornfields along the lane by our house. Lucy was the cover model for Wrapping Hank.

lucy_august

grinch

 

TALLY HO tavern in Lancaster

Is a real place.

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That’s it for this desktop!  The story is live today!

Here’s the Amazon link.  (kindle edition)

Here’s the link for ARE (epub, pdf, kindle editions)

 

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.

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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.

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RICHARD

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

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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

 

 

 

 

Desktop: The Mating of Michael

June 30

TheMatingOfMichael_EliEaston

“The Mating of Michael” launches today, Jun 30th, 2014!  That makes me exceedingly happy.  “Michael” is the first full-length novel I’ve written in m/m romance (it has 73K words).  So if you’ve been looking for a ‘longer’ Eli Easton story, this is it.  It’s the 3rd in my “Sex in Seattle” series but features a brand new couple and can be read as a stand-alone.

Link to buy “The Mating of Michael” at the Dreamspinner site.

It’s my tradition to do a ‘desktop’ post showing images I used for info and inspiration while writing a book, so here are my images for “The Mating of Michael”.

MICHAEL LAMONT:

Of course, first and foremost is Michael himself. He’s a gay sex surrogate who works with the Expanded Horizons sex clinic in Seattle.  Michael is fairly small and beautiful. He has a flirtatious nature and a gentle soul.  The inspiration for his ‘exterior shell’ came from Isaiah Garnica, an LA based model.  Here are a few of my favorite shots:

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JAMES GALLWAY (aka J.C. Guise)

Michael’s love interest is a reclusive science fiction writer who is in a wheelchair thanks to a childhood bout of polio.  I describe him as having a large and rangy, almost ‘Lincoln-esque’ face and body. Below is a reference shot I liked, though my James’s legs are withered by the polio.

stock-photo-13301009-young-man-in-wheelchair face

EXPANDED HORIZONS SEX CLINIC (Where Michael works part-time)

It’s located on Capitol Hill in Seattle (my old stomping ground). It’s fictitious, but I picture the building like this:

seattle-remodel-urban-animal-01

 

ELLIOT BAY BOOK STORE (Capitol Hill, Seattle)

Michael meets James here when he’s doing a book signing

elliottbayout

LEM (one of Michael’s patients)

Lem is a sweet man, an older accountant with terrible shyness issues.  Here’s my photo reference for Lem:

bald man

 MARNIE:

Marnie is a regular (non surrogacy) patient of Michael’s in his work for an in-home nursing company.  She’s a total hoot!  I searched for the most outrageous old lady shots I could find — imagine this times 10!

marnie2

 

MOUNT RAINIER PICNIC

Michael decides to act as ‘muse’ to James, and he takes him to several beauty spots near Seattle.  They have a picnic here:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-summer-landscape-paradise-vista-mount-rainier-image20693844

 

STEAMBOAT ROCK AND COULEE DAM (Central Washington)

Two more places Michael takes James

steamboatrock800px-Grand_Coulee_Dam_Panorama_Smaller

 

MEDGAR EVERS POOL

James and Michael have their second meeting at this pool in Seattle, which has a lift for disabled swimmers

06medgareverspool PERMALIFT

 

That’s it for this story. I’m looking forward to seeing your reviews and comments on “The Mating of Michael”!

Eli

Desktop: Heaven Can’t Wait

June 1

HCW_website

 

“Heaven Can’t Wait” is a 17K word m/m romance novella that is being published as part of Dreamspinner’s Daily Dose for 2014.  It’s also available as a stand-alone novella here.

You can read an excerpt on my site on this page.

Here’s the blurb:

When Brian Matheson dies at nineteen, his soul is in limbo. He has one chance to redeem himself before he’s thrown into a nasty pit. All Brian has to do is save the life of Kevin Anderson, a boy he and his friends tormented for being gay. 

Kevin thought he’d finally escaped bullying. But his college roommate, Chuck, and his homophobic pals, prove him wrong. Now he can only wait for another room to open up—and try to keep his eyes off sexy, uber-straight Chuck. 

Chuck is struggling to keep up the tough-guy façade everyone expects, but being trapped in a dorm room with the prettiest twink he’s ever seen isn’t helping him keep his feelings hidden. 

If Brian can untangle this mess, he’ll deserve his wings

This is my traditional “desktop” post, where I share images I used for inspiration during the writing of “Heaven Can’t Wait”.

Kevin & Chuck:

MyGayUS_CockyBoys_TyRoderick_MaxCarter_0005

Above was my visual inspiration for Kevin and Chuck.  These guys are Ty Roderick and Max Carter in a scene from Cocky Boys.  I really love these two together and the contrast between them physically, so I had them in my head for Chuck and Kevin.

Cole Hall, University of Madison, Wisconsin

My story is set in heaven and on the U. Madison campus.  My niece went there and I enjoyed a long walk around the campus one fine spring day.  Below is the dorm where Kevin and Chuck share a room.

cole_hall

Peter

I think my favorite character in this story is Peter, the no-nonsense, highly impatient judge that Brian faces in heaven. I knew if I was going to include heaven in a story I couldn’t approach it too seriously as it would quickly get deep and maudlin. So my approach is very lighthearted and humorous–and Peter provides that (and also the title of the story).  Here’s my idea of what Peter looks like–Alan Rickman (if he were wearing white robes).

Alan-Rickman

 

And finally, a little ‘mood’ inspiration.

Stairs-to-Heaven

 

That’s it for this time.  Hope you enjoy reading “Heaven Can’t Wait”.

Eli

Desktop: “stitch: Reparation”

April 19

The anthology “stitch” releases Apr 21, 2014. It contains four novellas by m/m romance authors including Kim Fielding, Sue Brown, Jamie Fessenden, and myself.  You can read about all the stories and an excerpt of “Reparation” here.

PURCHASE LINK on Dreamspinner Press website.

 

This post is a ‘desktop’ post in which I share my inspiration and visual images I used while writing the story.

Inspiration for Setting & Mood:  Wuthuring Heights

Even though “Reparation” is a sci-fi dystopian novella, set on a different planet, it was inspired by Wuthuring Heights.  I’ve always loved the setting of Wuthuring Heights–the sense of desolation and isolation of the moors, the wild weather, and the primal feel that gives to young Heathcliff and Kathy.  Wuthuring Heights inspired my barren planet of Kalan and the sort of eighteenth-century English feel to the characters. Below are some of the Wuthuring Heights-ish images I used for tone.

flat,550x550,075,f images pete-barnes-768161 wuthering (2) wuthering-heights-L-tCfyzw wuthering-heights-bantam-1974-detail1 (2)

 

Edward Palmer

Edward was born the second son in a family of spore farmers on the planet of Kalan. It’s a very privileged position because the Federation values the spores highly and they only grow on one planet.  Edward both loves and hates the barren Kalan, a place where almost nothing grows except for the spores. He was never meant to take over the family farm.  He’s not hard and ruthless like the other Kalanese farmers.  But he’s forced to take over when his father and brother are both killed.  Struggling against the harsh conditions, and his own too-sympathetic nature, Edward is in desperate need of an ally.

“Reparation” has a somewhat Edwardian feeling and I used Jeremy Irvine from BBC’s “Great Expectations” for inspiration for Edward.

images (4) Great Expectations, 2011 great-expecations-still02 Jeremy Irvine

 

Knox

Knox is a huge humanoid, a “recon” or reconstitute. Recons are labor slaves on Kalan, and they’re part robot and part the remains of executed Federation prisoners.  Knox exists in a sort of mindless haze of drudgery until one day he saves Edward’s life and is pulled into the curious young man’s orbit.  Edward needs help to survive the harsh winter and Knox can provide it, but being around someone who treats him like a human being again, who gives him books, and expects him to carry responsibilities, causes Knox to remember things from his brain’s past life that threaten his current stability.  And it doesn’t help that Edward is genuinely kind, very attractive, and seems to want Knox.

I love Frankenstein characters and I had fun with Knox. His body is simply huge, muscled and masculine while his mind is a far more delicate thing.  I based his general looks (dark hair, face etc) on Tom Hardy in Wuthuring Heights.

Heathcliff-poor-and-angry-2kua0wt (2)

For his body, I used a number of sports images for inspiration including Jeremy Shockey and Clay Matthews:

male_tattoo29l clay-matthews-shirtless

Trevellyn (tray-VELL-an)

It’s a bit of a spoiler to say who Trevellyn is, but he is important in the story.  I based him on Ralph Fiennes in Strange Days.

strange-days-original

The Spores

The spores, which are farmed on Kalan to make life-saving pharmaceuticals, are an important character in the story.  The families that hold the huge farms and harvest the spores are exempt from the Federation military service, are wealthy, and have other privileges.  It’s a very harsh life though, and if a farmer slips up and loses too many of the precious spores, his land can be taken from him.

The spores in “Reparation” are from a type of lichen that grows on the rocky purple surface of Kalan.   Below are some research images.

spores2 spores

 

If you’re curious about “Reparation” you can read an excerpt here.

Or check out the Goodread entry here.

Eli Easton