Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Good With Dragons - ponderings

I've been fortunate enough to have some people review my angsty fantasy gay romance story "Good With Dragons," and I'm very grateful.  :)  One thing I do find curious, though, is that everyone who reviewed it seemed to feel that the couple were apart for most of the story.  And I felt that way when I wrote it, too, because a lot of time passes when they're apart.  But going by word count, they are together for about fifty percent of the story.  Actually, I think it's more than that, but I've estimated instead of being extremely scientific about calculating it.  :)  Anyway, isn't that interesting?  Readers probably mentally estimated the time spent apart instead of the length of scenes.  I wonder if there's some sort of writing law or application here, such as 'time flies when you're having fun,' perhaps?

New cover art!

I have new cover art for "Good With Dragons."   Isn't it amazing?  I think the emotions of the story really come through now.  I'm very grateful to my cover artist.  :)

Winton's Strays - free tomorrow

Winton's Strays will be free on Amazon.com on February 13, 2013.  Check it out!  :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

Good With Dragons - Free

Currently "Good With Dragons" is on sale for nothing on Amazon.com.  This sale lasts two days (February 4 & 5).  If you download it, I hope you like it!  

Lyle races dragons for a living—if you can call it living, being a slave. Then he meets Saul. A slave has no rights, but that can't stop him from falling in love. Even though maybe it should.

A fantasy-themed gay romance or m/m romance.
Length: approx. 9,000 words
Heat level: low
Tearjerker or angst level: medium
Happy ending: Yes


Good With Dragons
by Hollis Shiloh

They were at it again. Grunting and straining together in the next stall. You'd think they'd be tired out after a long day of racing dragons, the way I was. I curled smaller in the straw, pulling my ragged blanket around my shoulders. Dragon number 34 was asleep next to me, her scales warm. I closed my eyes and tried to join her in sleep, but to no avail. Now they were groaning. I tossed back the cover, leaped to my feet, and strode from the barn. 

Out here, the air was cooler, and I could breathe. Far away, a star sparkled in the night. The light of a cigarette glowed in the dark, and I glanced over at the shadowy form of the person smoking it. A man? Yes, and bigger than me. He probably wouldn't be much of a racer, then.

"You new here?" I asked. "Stable help?"

"A racer." He took a long drag and then moved towards me. I stiffened, getting ready to defend myself, but he just handed the cigarette over. After a moment's hesitation, I accepted it and took a long drag. It tasted of warmth and smoke and his breath; it covered the smells.

"You're too big." 

"No taller than you are." He sounded offended. But he had a nice voice. I handed the cig back.

"Come on. I'm light. You're solid. If he told you he bought you for a racer, he lied." I'm kind of long-legged and tall, but they keep my weight down by not giving me much to eat. 

"I'm damned good," he insisted, sounding slightly wounded. 

I snorted; it came out as smoke. "How come I've never heard of you then, a man bigger than me and a racer?"

"I'm from the south. Up on all the news, are you? Bet you can't even read."

"I read. A bit." I reached for the cigarette again, and he let me have it. "So why are you out here?"

He was silent a moment, and I realized something had changed in the air between us. I wished it hadn't. 

"Can you sleep with that racket?" he asked, softer now. "Made me feel like a sad sack listening all alone." He shifted back against the wall and finished his cigarette with slow deliberation. I wanted more, but I didn't ask. I leaned back against the wall too, one foot raised to rest against it. I felt all hard edges, hot and cold at the same time. I wondered if I was about to do something foolish.

"Goodnight." I turned and left, feeling disappointed but also relieved. At least nobody was hinting, inside.

"Lyle," he called softly, and something twinged inside me. He knew my name.

I stopped. "What?"

"Wasn't going to ask. It's fine. Just stay and talk to me for a minute. I've got another smoke."

I turned back with a show of reluctance. He let me have first drag, lighting it for me with my hands cupped around it. He was leaning close, but not touching. His fingers were careful, and I thought, he would be a kind lover, it wouldn't be so bad. I smoked hard, and put the thought away. It still made me squirrelly inside, thinking about sex, with anyone.

"What d'you wanna talk about?" I slurred the words, flopping the cigarette at the side of my mouth, not taking it out to speak.

"Give me that." He gave me an incensed, affectionate look and snatched it away. He took a deep, jagged breath like a sigh. "Wondered about you. That's all." He sounded so lost and lonely. "What's it like here and all that? Bad place to belong or a good one?"

I snorted. "You know by now there's nowhere really good, or you should." I slid down the wall till I sat. The ground was hard and cold on my bottom, which lacked the padding to make it comfortable. He slid down beside me, a soft sound against the wall, and looked more comfortable.

Moths and Men, sweet gay romance by Hollis Shiloh

Now that Dave's tour of duty is over, he just wants to forget about 'Nam--and stop the nightmares. A new friendship and a new job offer him hope. Especially when Dave's growing feelings for his friend just might be mutual....

A sweet gay romance or sweet m/m romance set during the Vietnam War era.

Length: approx. 76 pages or 19,000 words
Heat level: Low


"You can stay with me tonight?" Jesse still stood with his hips tilted just a little. His jeans were tight, showing a nice package in the front, nice as his bottom was in back. 

Dave tried not to look, tried not to ogle. He nodded. "I'd appreciate that."

He felt clumsy and overlarge and as if he didn't know what to do with his hands. He followed Jesse to his red pickup truck. A humming sort of excitement filled his veins, made him feel alive again.

"You think you'll stay here, or you just passing through?" Jesse glanced at Dave hesitantly.

Dave shrugged. "Don't have anywhere to go. Is there work here?"

Jesse grinned. "Yeah. I work for my uncle," he said, getting into his pickup and shutting the door. "He owns a mill. He's got openings, so I'm pretty sure you can get a job there, if you want. The pay's not great, but you can afford a little apartment with it, and you won't starve. My aunt might even invite you round sometimes for Sunday dinner. She likes feeding men who look like they need it." He grinned.

Dave found himself grinning back. "And you always look like you need it, is that it?"

Jesse nodded proudly. "She keeps trying to fatten me up, but it doesn't take." He patted his flat stomach smugly.

"So you get to eat even more. I see how it works."

"Well, it does. Do you think you'd like to work at a mill?"

"I'd be glad to give it a try. Is it dangerous?" It had to be better than the mines, didn't it? For one thing, you couldn't get stuck underground and die, like his father had.

Jesse shook his head. "Not too bad. You've got to be careful around the saws. But a lot of the work is just moving lumber and logs. It's fairly safe if you run a careful shop, and my uncle does. Stay on your toes, and you should be fine. You look solid enough to haul a lot of wood without dropping it on your toes."

"Thanks." Dave found himself grinning. The image of himself as seen through Jesse's eyes made him smile. Solid. Well, he was. He stood just under six foot in his socks, but it was solid muscle, all of it. Sure, he'd lost some weight in 'Nam, but he was still damned sturdy. Jesse had a couple of inches on him but he seemed all lean, sinewy strength, nothing of the brick wall about him.

"Great," said Jesse. "I'll talk to him tomorrow about hiring you." He tapped the wheel as he drove, smiling a little.

They rode on in the pooling night. The truck's headlights cut the darkness. A few moths and other insects showed up in the light, fluttering witlessly to their oncoming destruction. Near the road, a cricket chorus shrieked. The truck's wheels thumped up and down over little dips in the road and swished round turns, guided by secure hands.

"Jesse?" asked Dave. It felt safer, talking in the dark.


"Why you doing this? Helping me out?" He clenched his hands together on his lap in the dark. Now or never: if this beautiful man was leading up to something, it would be good to know now. And if he wasn't.

"Milk of human kindness?" offered Jesse, with a wry, smiling sound in his voice.

"Yeah, okay," said Dave. He guessed the world could use some more of that. He certainly could. But it kind of felt like the whole cow, not just a little milk.

"Well," said Jesse, "you walked into that diner and I thought, 'That could've been me.' You looked like you'd been through hell and just needed a place to rest. I'll be glad if you stay in town and if I can help you get a job. It's the least I can do, when guys like you went over there and fought that goddamned war, in place of guys like me who couldn't."