Keep Me In Mind Tour: M/M ~ Heart Scarab by Anna Butler ~ (Character Interview, Author Guest Post, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author Name: Anna Butler
Book Name: Heart Scarab
Series: Taking Shield
Book: Two (series should be read in order)
Release Date: July 22, 2015
Publisher: Wilded City Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
Buy the Book:
From Wilde City Press as an ebook or paperback.
Telnos is an unpleasant little planet, inhabited by religious fanatics in the festering marshlands and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines up in the hills. But the Maess want Telnos, and Shield Captain Bennet’s job is to get out as many civilians as he can—a task that leaves him lying on Telnos while the last cutter of evacuees escapes in the teeth of the Maess invasion.
Bennet is listed missing in action, believed dead on a planet now overrun by Maess drones. His family is grieving. His long-term partner, Joss, is both mourning and guilt-ridden.
And Fleet Lieutenant Flynn? Flynn is desolate. Flynn is heart-broken… no. Flynn is just broken
Categories: Gay Fiction, Science Fiction
Flynn liked kissing. In fact, Flynn considered himself something of an expert in the art. He'd tried it in all its forms, from the first tentative pressing together of juvenile lips that had you wondering what all the fuss was about, to the discovery that if you just opened your mouth and, you know, kind of moved everything, your tongue suddenly had a lot more positive uses than just allowing you to articulate clearly and swallow things without choking. Flynn got the hang of it, ran with it, and never looked back.
Soft kisses and hard kisses; kisses that were wet and slobbery with people who didn't know exactly how to hold their lips to get the best and sexiest effect, and wet and sexy kisses with people who did. Kisses that turned the blood to molten lava and kisses that cooled you as you came down. Kisses that inflamed and kisses that soothed; feverish kisses and languid after-sex kisses. Kisses that meant only good fellowship and casual affection, and kisses that were desire incarnate.
Flynn had not only tried them all, he'd made them his own. He was considered by all the relevant authorities to be rather a specialist in the area.
Flynn really liked kissing. He had been gratified by the discovery that Bennet liked it too. Because now he could add slow kisses to the repertoire. Kisses so leisured and intense the world came to a stop while a hot tongue moved over his lips, explored each and every tooth down to the last molar, while teeth pulled at his bottom lip, biting it gently until it was swollen and hot and heavy, and he had to lick his lip to cool it and met Bennet's tongue with his. Only then, would Bennet's mouth close over his and start a real in-earnest kiss that lasted several more centuries. Those were kisses Bennet seemed to specialise in.
Flynn was always willing to take tips from another expert. A man should always try to extend his technique.
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Shield Captain Bennet, from Heart Scarab by Author Anna Butler, but first let's talk to Anna about the book!
Hi Anna, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
First, thank you for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here.
Heart Scarab is the second of the Taking Shield series, which charts the life and loves of Shield Captain Bennet. Taking Shield is both a sweeping sci-fi story (old school sci-fi with spaceships and lasers, aliens and handsome heroes) and an equally sweeping love story. I should warn you, though, that it isn’t a romance in the sense that it won’t be what most m/m romance readers would expect.
Thousands of years after an alternate-universe Earth went dark, the people of one of her colonies, Albion, are struggling in a war that’s probably unwinnable, against aliens called the Maess. Although humans have been fighting the aliens’ cyborg drones for over a century, they haven’t seen a real, organic Maess. Set against the war, is the love story between Bennet and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. They meet in the first book, Gyrfalcon, but for various reasons theirs isn’t going to be an easy love. They meet and part several times before the end. In Heart Scarab, Bennet’s return after being declared missing in action, presumed dead, puts intolerable strain on his relationship with his long term partner, Joss, but paves the way for a reunion with Flynn.
As for me, I worked for the UK civil service for many years as a communications specialist, working on everything from marketing employment programmes to running an internal TV service. These days I’m concentrating on trying to make it as a writer, combining my love of old school science fiction and m/m themes. I live in London with my husband and our cockapoo, Molly. We’re currently house hunting, looking for a country retreat.
- What do you find attractive in a man?
Loyalty. Someone to trust. They can be amusing, elegant, sophisticated, daring, brave… doesn’t matter if I can’t trust them.
Ironic when I think back on my years with Joss, where I basically tried to make up to him for my being in Shield (he hated that and wanted me at home all the time) by pretending I didn’t care that he had lots of pretty consolation prizes while I was away on Shield missions. I never asked him who they were, and he never saw them when I was at home. They were just to stop him from being lonely, he said. They didn’t matter.
But if you mean initial attraction, the stop-in-my-tracks, whoa-I-like-him reaction, then I’m as shallow as anyone else and good looks turn my head as quickly as the next man’s. For anything to last, though, that doesn’t really matter.
- The first thing that went through your head when you saw Fleet Lieutenant Flynn?
He’s all gold. Everything—skin, hair—is tawny gold, a sort of overlay on the brown beneath. Sun-kissed. Leonine, in its truest sense. Even his eyes have gold flecks in the green. He’s half-Macedonian, and the genes have done him huge favours. Huge.
He made me laugh, too. He was funny and subversive on that first day back on the Gyrfalcon, wanting to be noticed. I noticed him. Mind you, with Flynn, as long as you’re breathing you can’t miss him.
- Do you think you’ll insist the author visits you again?
Oh yes—she will. There’s a long story to tell here and we’re just getting started. Next time around, though, the story doesn’t end so well. What I find on an infiltration job behind Maess lines… . No. That isn’t going to end well for us humans.
- Before you met Flynn, what was your ideal man?
I was with Joss from just after my eighteenth birthday and we stayed together for nearly nine years after that. He’s older than me, a lot older. When I was 18, I thought he was the most sophisticated and intelligent man I’d ever met. He was so… elegant. That’s the word. Elegant. Refined. I thought he knew everything: how to live, how to have everything he wanted, how to be good-looking and graceful. He knew about things, such as the best places to eat, what wines to drink. I didn’t know that stuff, and I felt such a klutz beside him. But still he saw me. He noticed me. He made me feel important.
I guess, since we were together for so long, Joss was my ideal then. Someone to look up to. I think I was a little bit dazzled, to be honest.
5. You’re going out for dinner. What’s your favorite food?
I’m not sure you have many Albion foodstuffs on your planet, but I’ll try and explain what I’d prefer.
We brought many things with us from Earth when we left it, and we were able to grow most of them here. There’s a kind of cereal, a wheat, that makes a smooth dough we shape and cook, then serve with a little oil taken from the crushed fruits of a tree we call Olea, salt and other spices. I like mine with grated cheese, and to drink a rather gutsy red wine from the Arbuzzo region of Galatia with it. Something very simple like that, rather than smothered with spices like Illurian cuisine, or sauces like the food in Dacia.
Special Guest Post from Anna Butler:
BLOG POST TITLE: #authorresponsibility
A few weeks ago, we had another Fifty Shades Twitter furore. Some bright PR person thought #askELJames would be a great marketing ploy. Twitter about imploded.
I’m not going to get into the Fifty Shades issues. It’s a polarising book with a polarising author, and that sort of discussion never ends well. But I was struck by one thing: the huge number of tweets, thousands of them apparently, that basically said, “How do you live with yourself for telling young, impressionable women that an abusive relationship is good, is something to aspire to? How many girls are going to fall for that crap and be abused because of you and your books?”
I do wish I could put in emoticons here. Because seriously? Where’s the jaw-dropping emoticon when you need it?
One of the more tricky questions I had to ask myself when writing the Taking Shield series was how to deal with sex. The books don’t have a lot of sex scenes, but the few that are there are reasonably explicit. The series isn’t contemporary, but set on a world halfway across the galaxy, thousands of years into an alternate future where Earth is dead and dark. AIDS doesn’t feature in it.
The issue for me was simple: do I have a moral obligation to write the sex scenes as if AIDS did indeed exist, and therefore not write anything that would undermine safe sex messages? Or write it and just sort of skate over the issues? Or ignore it altogether?
In the end, I don’t make mention of it. AIDS, HIV or safe sex are not issues in Shield-world.
I concluded that a novel isn’t a good way of proselytising and, if it doesn’t sound too pretentious, it isn’t my job to write role models but to depict the characters as they unfold themselves to me. Being true to them, if you like.
What’s more, I trust my readers not to need me to tell them, with big flashing warning lights, that books aren’t real. My readers know that Earth is still here, that we don’t have faster-than-life space travel, that we aren’t fighting for our lives against Maess drones. It’s fiction. It’s all made up.
After all, if I’m reading about a drug addict, I’m not going to take him or her as a role model for my own life. I recognise that their lives are within the constraints of the book. So I don’t expect any of you will be thinking “But why aren’t those two space pilots ten thousand years in the future, fishing about for the condoms? Maybe I can be that adventurous too…”
The same way, I’m not going to jump into an abusive relationship because E L James wrote about one. She wrote a novel. Fiction. She wasn’t writing a Life Manual.
Authors don’t have responsibility for the life choices of their readers. They only have responsibility for their own.
And believe me, that’s heavy enough.
About the author:
Anna Butler was a communications specialist for many years, working in UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to running an internal TV service. She now spends her time indulging her love of old-school science fiction. She lives in the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockapoo.
Where to find the author:firstname.lastname@example.org
Website and Blog
The Butler’s Pantry (Facebook Group)
Tour Dates & Stops: Wednesdays July 22 – November 4, 2015
- a copy of my novella, FlashWired (epub, mobi or pdf) on every stop to one random commentator
- Chance to enter a rafflecopter for
(i) top prize of an Amazon gift voucher (is $50 overdoing it? It makes for a decent prize!)
(ii) second prize, winner's choice of a Heart Scarab ipad cover or kindle cover
(ii) third prize, a Gyrfalcon iPad cover