I've been asked many times over the years where the idea for Finn came from. If my dear pooka friend and I were in a relationship? We'd have to use the "It's Complicated" status on Facebook. I've told bits and pieces of Finn's literary journey, but there are, perhaps, only two people out there who know the whole thing.
See, once upon a time, there was a lonely science fiction writer. She was lonely because she didn't have any other writers to play with and didn't have a clue about getting published. Critique groups were nice, but they were full of romance writers who wrote steamy stuff. Who would've thought? Since the SF wasn't getting a hearing, she decided to write some adult stuff, too, But she thought she should practice first...
There was a lovely fiction site at that time (we're talking about 2004-ish) called Double Moon where writers could share original fiction in the medieval castle setting and write scenes in pairs or groups. Sadly, Double Moon was abandoned shortly after one of the owners of the site passed. No trace of it left. But I did have a lot of fun there and one of the characters I wrote was the bastard son of a Spanish noblewoman and a river pooka. When I decided to try to write gay fantasy for publication and was casting around for something different (Elves? Nah, lots of those. Werewolf? Tons of those.) because of the playing around writing at Double Moon and because of an old amusement park ride that featured a pooka (Corkscrew Hill in Busch Gardens, VA, also no longer there) I returned to the Irish shapeshifter. Finn is a much different person than the powerful, elemental Ribero (the original character's father) was and more interesting, in my opinion.
So Finn was born. I was between publishers - my very first, Forbidden Publications, had closed due to the poor health of the owner. When I finished Finn and shopped him around, there were quite a few rejections. Not what we're looking for, sorry. Beginning to despair, I tried a last batch of queries and received an enthusiastic yes from Red Rose Publishing. (Cue the Sally Fields moment, "They like me! They really like me!") Did I do my publisher research? Yes - but I was stupid. I ignored some clear warning signs. By the time they had published Diego, the second in the Endangered Fae series, I knew things weren't right. During a well-publicized, drawn out meltdown, Red Rose's reputation tanked, and I hired a lawyer to wrest my rights back. Red Rose, several years later, has finally shut down.
But during this well-publicized meltdown, several other publishers were watching. One of them came to me and said "When you get Finn free, we want it." Silver Publishing. (Cue the ominous music.) They were new, but I did my research. They had a good team. I knew some of these people. I knew a lot of the authors signed with them. Good. This looked good. Well, you all know how that ended with Silver. I did get Finn free before the final implosion. My poor pooka was traumatized by now.
Then there was GRL 2013. The ever-busy, omnipresent Kris Jacen from MLR Press wanted to talk to me. To me? Really? But we scheduled some time during pitch sessions and yes, I was working on something for them. And yes, they were interested in Endangered Fae - the two Silver refugees, and the one I had briefly self-pubbed - if I promised a fourth one by June of the following year. I can do that, I said. Finn was much relieved and told me he liked Kris.
Here we are, a year later, and we have all four Fae books available for you, the whole story arc from Finn and Diego's first meeting to Diego's chance at redemption. The road has been crooked and strange, but the readers are why I've kept going. More Finn. Yep. I promised. Always good to have more Finn.
A Gallery of Finns. From Red Rose to Silver to the current lovely cover from MLR.
A similar progression of Diegos...
The two Semper Fae iterations - please note that the wonderful Sara York took pity on me and made the first cover after I managed to make a couple of really horrid ones myself.
The newest addition to the series? Here we are:
No Fae Is An Island
Endangered Fae 4
cover by Winterheart Designs (Lex Valentine)
Three years ago, Danu banished Diego for a time from the human world. Three years and three days doesn't seem that long to be away from home but living among the wild fae can change a man and the human world returns the favor by changing while he's gone. There's a vampire on Tearmann Island's security force. A curious selkie's followed him home. So much to do to keep the world safe...but Diego's no longer sure he has the right to interfere.
Theo Aguilar started his vampire life on the wrong side of the law. He's killed and knows he's dangerous if he doesn't stay in control every moment. But the fae took him in and Prince Lugh has given him a position of trust. So when Diego and Finn are arrested on a diplomatic mission far from home, he knows his duty. He's striking out on his own to rescue them, a lone vigilante once again, this time for the good guys. The only glitch? The selkie, Limpet, can't seem to understand the alone par
Buy a Fae book, support a pooka and his author ;)
It's that time! No Fae Is An Island: Endangered Fae 4 releases tomorrow, Friday 9/5/14!
The link will go up at MLR first thing, but we usually have Amazon and All Romance links within 24 hours.
No Fae Is An Island
Endangered Fae 4
cover art by Winterheart Designs (Lex Valentine)
Three years ago, Danu banished Diego for a time from the human world. Three years and three days doesn't seem that long to be away from home but time among the wild fae can change a man and the human world returns the favor by changing while he's gone. Human governments haven't all had humane reactions to magic users. There's a vampire on Tearmann Island's security force. A curious selkie's followed him home. So much to do to keep the world safe...but Diego's no longer sure he has the right to interfere.
Theo Aguilar started his vampire life on the wrong side of the law. He's killed and knows how dangerous he can be if he doesn't stay in control every moment of every day. But the fae took him in and Prince Lugh has given him a position of trust. He owes them more than gratitude, so when Diego and Finn are arrested on a diplomatic mission far from home, he knows his duty. He's striking out on his own to rescue them, a lone vigilante once again, though this time for the good guys. The only glitch? The selkie, Limpet, can't seem to understand the alone part.
A little while ago, Will from Pride Promotions asked if the folks at Fallen Angel Reviews and I would consent to a fiction-based battle of wits for the souls of all mankind (or something.) We both said "Sure! Why the hell not!" What transpired in that epic and harrowing battle lies below - a word for word transcript. This could get ugly...
Our esteemed panel of judges, hand-picked by Will himself, will be the ultimate arbiters of any and all decisions. (I'm stealing the one on the lower right after we're done here. Don't tell Will.):
Welcome Will, our host and master of ceremonies!
In this corner, weighing in at (mumbles) pounds, Angel Martinez, author of ‘Finn’! And in this corner, weighing in at (mumbles again) pounds, Fallen Angel Reviews! (Apologies to the audience members, I was threatened with bodily harm if I gave any numbers for weights. It was purely an instinctive reaction to keeping my boy bits. My family jewels may have lost their luster, but I would prefer to keep them in the family.)
This will be a winner take none competition! The rules are simple. The Angel which answers the most questions correctly and in the shortest period of time, will be crowned Archangel from now until eternity. Or 5 pm when they have to have the costume returned to the rental place or we lose our deposits…(and they’d better not leave pit stains.)
Question #1 comes from Silvia Violet: Can you name all six members of Ty Grady's Force Recon team?
Fallen Angel: So….
Angel Martinez: I think so, um, as long as we don't need real, full names for all of them - B. Tyler Grady, Nick, Kelly, Digger, Sanchez (who died) and the sixth guy who has a little bit of an issue with Ty being gay and damn it, I don't remember his name.
Winner: None. The correct answer (per Silvia Violet who knows these boys a little too well…) Ty, Nick, Kelly, Digger, Sanchez and Owen.
Question #2 comes from an anonymous person: Can you name the lead characters in SJD Peterson’s Plan B?
Fallen Angel: Crap! I haven’t read that yet. But it is on my wish list. Does that count?
Angel Martinez: think Dave and Lance? No, wait, Danny and Lance. Yes. Final answer.
Winner: None. While Angel Martinez did eventually have the correct answer, there isn’t a second chance when you’re in the running for Archangel.
Can you name the lead characters in Someone to Keep Me by KC Wells and Parker Williams?
Fallen Angel: I read this, I swear I did! Go ahead, ask me what it’s about. Name the characters…I got nothing.
Angel Martinez: OK - this one I've actually done promo for, so I should know it. Ben and...and...Scott (once again, don't ask me for last names.)
Winner: None. Though Angel Martinez got the first names, the question was for the names, which means the first names alone were not acceptable. The actual answer is Ben Winters and Scott Keating.
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Fallen Angel: The woodchuck would upchuck if it chucked much wood.
Angel Martinez: Woodchucks couldn't care less about chucking wood. Really, they find this rather offensive. But if they did care, they'd chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck. That is, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
Winner: Both, because you made me snort.
K-Lee Klein wrote a story about Devon and Scott. Name the book.
Fallen Angel: *I haven’t Googled once yet. I get points for that right, Will?* I have no idea. But I’ll go buy it if you tell me.
Angel Martinez: Lazy Bastards? Wait...wait...Lazy Sunday, I think it was.
Winner: None. Once again Angel Martinez tried to sneak in with a second guess. And sorry, Fallen Angel, this was an open book test.
Would Will Parkinson eat a steak. If not, why not?
Fallen Angel: Will and meat…nah, too easy. :-P
Angel Martinez: If Will Parkinson ate a steak his head would implode and the universe would end in a fiery ball of agony. No. Will is a vegetarian. I'm not even sure he could point to a steak in the supermarket.
Winner: Fallen Angel, even if she was too shy to say it. Tube steak was a perfectly acceptable answer. (And for the record, Angel Martinez, I’m vegan, not vegetarian, so you would have lost no matter what.)
What animal fits Freddy MacKay’s personality?
Fallen Angel: All of the above? Wait! C, the answer is always C. Right?
Angel Martinez: Squirrel. I have the memes to prove it.
Winner: Angel Martinez. Freddy is a squirrel. Proven by the fact she’s constantly looking for nuts. (Which is why I hide when she’s around.)
Buffy: Angel or Spike and why?
Fallen Angel: I’ve seen a Facebook meme that has Spike draped over a cross and it says, “Angel was cursed with a soul and had to live with it. Spike, however, fought for his soul. He wanted his soul. I think this makes Spike the better person and guy for Buffy.” What a load of crap!!! Spike didn’t “fight” for his soul. He went to the demon so he could go back to being what he once was. So it turns out his “greatest desire” was to have his soul back. Doesn’t count. That’s so not why he went there.
Oh, right. Angel, totally.
Angel Martinez: Some folks might make the argument that one was better for Buffy or one was the better person than the other. Ha! Who the freak cares? Spike is way hotter, cooler, (seems like a contradiction, but it's not) snarkier and more fun to watch.
Spike, all the way.
Winner: Fallen Angel because DUH! And as an Angel, Angel Martinez, you should totally have known better.
Who makes up the Pulp Friction group?
Fallen Angel: I’m guessing this isn’t the movie with John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, etc.
Angel Martinez: Oh, I know these folks! (Very nice bunch of people, by the way.) Laura Harner, Tom Webb (w/a T.A. Webb) Lee Brazil and the ever-vivacious Havan Fellows.
Now for my next trick, I'm off to prove that time is a liquid and that the universe is actually dodecahedron shaped.
Judges, your decision please….(crowd waits with baited breath)
Will takes the envelope…his fingers tremble slightly as he opens it, knowing that the judges answer is final.
The Winner Is: Oh my gosh, it’s a tie! The judges have decreed that because of the tie I will be the de facto ruler of the universe! This was so unexpected. (Stop saying I rigged it. I did no such thing. (Dabs corner of mouth and winks at the judges….) Me, the winner. Go figure! This was totally unexpected.
(Okay, who didn't see that one coming? *grumble grumble Will grumble*)
Oh well - while you're here, don't forget to check out the new releases:
Three lovely novels for the Endangered Fae Series:
And the 6/11/14 release from Mischief Corner Books - Vassily the Beautiful!
Vassily Belikov, composer and pampered son of privilege, suffered neurological damage in the accident that killed his father. Resentful of being treated as an invalid, he lives as a recluse, dependent on his mother. That changes the day she brings home a new husband with two sons of his own.
When deep-space pirates capture Vassily's mother, he's left to the mercy of his cruel, amoral stepfather. Fighting addiction and his physical shortcomings, he's forced to seek out the criminal mastermind Baba Yaga for a crucial piece of equipment. While she agrees to deal with him if he beats his Exoticus addiction, paranoia and mysterious intentions infuse her household. Drawn to her fierce, suspicious youngest son, certain his actions are all carefully observed, Vassily must find the courage to face both his fears and his desires if he expects to survive.
And don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter at all of the blogs on Finn's Blog Tour!
Tour Dates: June 2, 2014 – June 13, 2014
June 2: Tara Lain
June 3: Parker Williams
June 4: Kimi-Chan, Jade Crystal, Talon SO
June 5: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, MM Good Books
June 6: Nephylim, Hearts on Fire
June 9: Prism Book Alliance
June 10: Love Bytes, My Fiction Nook
June 11: Fallen Angel Reviews
June 12: The Novel Approach
June 13: Amanda C. Stone, Velvet Panic
Most people of my generation (and movie buffs of all generations) think of Harvey the white rabbit when someone says “pooka.” Fair enough. Unless you’re steeped in the myth and folklore of the British Isles, you may never have run across a pooka (pookha, puca) otherwise. But this elusive creature is not merely a giant white rabbit bent on making Jimmy Stewart go a bit mad. So what is he?
The short answer is: opinions differ. In folktales, the pooka takes numerous forms and his habits vary depending on the story and the teller. A few things we know for certain:
Pooka/human relations have been rather dysfunctional for many centuries. In the pre-Christian past, the pooka was revered and respected as part of the Irish horse cults and as a nature spirit, brought offerings, asked advice. He obviously misses that and resents being shuffled into the realm of folklore. Meeting the sleek, black horse with the glowing eyes at night means being swept up and dumped in the nearest bog rather than having a civil conversation. Forgetting to leave out offerings of grain or milk means the Irish farmer may find his fences knocked down, his livestock scattered, his hens too frightened to lay and his cows’ milk curdled.
It’s important to note that the pooka never actually harms humans. His mischief may be malicious and frightening at times but he stops short of anything more serious than vandalism or a good scare. When treated with respect, he has been known to answer questions and give sound advice. He even seems to crave human company from time to time, appearing out of the dark as a weary traveler who will come in if invited and spin fantastic tales for his hosts before disappearing again into the night.
The only man ever to tame the pooka horse was the High King Brian Boru, who made a magic bridle using three hairs from the pooka’s tail so he would not be thrown off, and rode the poor thing to exhaustion. He then demanded that the pooka promise to stop vandalizing Christian property and to leave Irishman traveling at night alone so long as they were sober and not abroad with evil intentions. He got his promise and, for a time, the mischief stopped. Eventually, the pooka returned to old habits which could mean he simply lied so Brian would leave him alone, that he forgot his promise, or that he believed he had made the promise only to that one human, which became null and void after the death of the High King.
So from all these bits and pieces was born Finn, my own favorite pooka. Since the pooka can take any shape, why not tall, dark, and handsome? And from all the stories, why not one who is both largely puzzled and helplessly fascinated by humans? Add to that a fertile imagination, a prodigious sex drive, a sense of curiosity any cat would be proud of, and a wicked sense of humor, and we have our Finn.
Finn still insists that King Brian was a bit of a bully, but he does admit that maybe some of the things he used to do weren’t quite cricket.
Come read more about him (and, oh, yes, Diego, too) in the first installment of Endangered Fae:
Finn: Endangered Fae 1
Lost and starving, Finn wakes to a poisoned world, but a man comes to him, a white light in the darkness---can a centuries old pooka find what he needs with a heartbroken, modern man?
When Diego rescues a naked man from the rail of the Brooklyn Bridge, he just wants to get the poor man out of traffic and to social services. He gets more than he bargained for when he discovers Finn is an ailing pooka, poisoned by the city's pollution. To help him recover, Diego takes him to New Brunswick where Finn inadvertently wakes an ancient, evil spirit: the wendigo.
While they struggle to find a way to destroy the wendigo before it can possess Diego or kill nearby innocents, Diego wrestles with his growing feelings for Finn. Kill the monster and navigate a relationship between a modern man and a centuries old pooka. Piece of cake.
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.