A little excitement today, a week earlier than expected:
Now, realistically, there are just a tiny handful of people who love me especially well who will even consider buying a physical copy, but I’m thrilled that it exists!
The print version of A Most Personal Property has A Superior Slave included as an extra in the back. Because ASS is a free story, I never planned to do a separate print version of it, but I thought it would be nice to bundle it with AMPP.
(Seriously, if I’d been thinking straight, I never would have named a book something that would result in an acronym like ASS!)
If you have a moment, please consider reporting the lower price at Amazon, which still has it at 0.99. It has always been my intention to give this book away, and it’s frustrating Amazon won’t set a book as free without a competitor doing so first.
Go to A Superior Slave @ Amazon, scroll down to the details, choose to tell them about a lower price, and use this B&N address:
A Most Personal Property (Ganymede Quartet Book 1) is available for preorder at Amazon for download on September 24.
Here is the first of the main series books in the Ganymede Quartet.
In the heat of August 1900, Henry Blackwell—rich, handsome, and painfully shy—anticipates the purchase of his companion slave, that most personal of properties, with equal parts excitement and dread. There are limits to what a gentleman might do with his slave and still remain a gentleman, and what Henry craves goes far beyond what’s allowed.
Martin, a slave from House Ganymede, is the most beautiful young man Henry’s ever seen, and he’s ready and willing to do as Henry commands, but Henry’s afraid to ask him for what he really needs. A master needn’t care what a slave thinks or how he feels, but Henry can’t help wanting Martin to like him anyway. If Henry could be certain Martin wanted the same things he does, he might be bold enough to reveal his secrets.
Unfolding against a backdrop of progress, privilege and turn-of-the-century amusements, the four installments of the Ganymede Quartet present an erotic coming-of-age fantasy of Gilded Age New York in which young men from the richest families form intense bonds with the slaves who serve them.
After breakfast, outside in the cool of the morning, waiting for the carriage to be brought around, Henry was full of nervous energy and stood bouncing on his toes. Father looked Henry up and down and frowned; perhaps the green suit had been a bad idea—Father disapproved of what he saw as Henry’s dandyish notions. But nothing was said, and in any event it was too late to change. Jack drove up in the Clarence and Henry climbed in after his father to sit on the rear-facing seat while Timothy sat at Father’s side. Henry’s stomach was in knots and his hands twisted and fidgeted in his lap. Father champed on a cigar and looked sharply at Henry’s twitching fingers until Henry realized what he was doing and forced himself to stop.
As the carriage began to roll, Father cleared his throat in preparation to speak, and Henry sat up self-consciously straight in order to hear him. “About today, Henry…it’s important to choose the right slave for the job, son,” Father began. “Especially important when it comes to the companion slave. It can’t just be a pretty face, you understand.”
Father paused here, a long pause before Henry recognized a response was required and hurriedly said, “Yes, sir.”
“You want a slave who’s clever and shows initiative, of course, but not one who’s going to challenge your authority. He’ll be with you for the rest of your life, so of course he must be someone whose company you’ll enjoy. You’ll necessarily be close, but you must never allow your slave to feel that he is your equal, Henry. You must never allow him to be overly familiar with you or make a joke at your expense.” Again, Father waited for Henry to respond.
Henry cleared his throat. “Of course not, sir.”
“Boys your age…I know there are, er, certain aspects of ownership that you’re particularly interested in,” Father said, reddening and fixing his gaze at a point somewhere beyond Henry’s left ear. “That’s to be expected, but there are limits, and you must work within them. There are…certain intimacies that must be avoided.” Father cleared his throat and looked away. “Kissing is reserved for the marriage bed, no matter how caught up in the moment one may be.”
Henry flushed a horrified red. “Father! I know this!”
But Father had apparently prepared a speech and was going to get through it. “There is nothing improper in a slave deriving pleasure from performing his duties, but a master must never do anything toward satisfying a slave’s needs. It may be an intimate relationship, son, but it is not a romantic one.”
“I understand, sir,” Henry mumbled, head down, eyes averted, cheeks burning. He felt he could sink through the floor of the carriage.
Father turned to Timothy, seeming relieved that the uncomfortable portion of his talk was over. “Tell him what you think, Timothy. What should he be looking for today?”
Timothy gave Henry a mild-mannered smile. “Well, Sir, most important, I think, is that we choose a boy who appeals to you. Someone whose looks appeal, someone with similar interests. All of the candidates will be of exceptional quality, well-educated and of good temperament, or they wouldn’t be offered as companions.”
“We’ll go to Ganymede, of course,” Father said. “We’ll have to see what the others are offering, I suppose, but every male slave in our household thus far has come from Ganymede.” Father patted Timothy’s arm. “I have no complaints.” Timothy gave Father a fond smile.
For a long time, Henry had been squeamish about the idea of his father and Timothy being…together. Father was so fat and florid, and Timothy was so proper and mouse-gray, and the few photographs he’d seen of them as younger men didn’t make the idea any more palatable. However, Henry had recently learned that Father didn’t buy Timothy until he was in his twenties, a grown man. Father had been born into poverty, and it wasn’t until he had made a great success of himself that he’d been able to afford to have quality people around him. So it was possible, even likely, that Father and Timothy had never had an intimate physical relationship. Henry did believe, though, that Timothy was his father’s closest friend, despite what everyone said about slaves not being real friends.
Preorder A Most Personal Property @ Amazon
With Ganymede Quartet, I tried to make all the things that weren’t slavery in the 20th century as historically accurate as possible, and that included the language I used. Here are some words that would have come in handy but were not appropriate for the time period.
- “Sexy.” You don’t realize what convenient shorthand this word is until you can’t use it. Modern usage of sexy dates from the 1920s. Apparently “sexful” would have been all right in 1900, but I wasn’t about to refer to any character as sexful for what I think should be obvious reasons!
- “Asshole” as derogatory term/insult. Calling people assholes didn’t see common usage until the 1930s.
- “Jerk” as a noun/derogatory term, though it could be used as a verb, as in “jerk off.” Referring to people as jerks also dates from the 1930s.
- “Wank.” Dates from around 1950.
- “Come” as a noun, as in the product of ejaculation, though it could be used as a verb. The verb form actually dates from the 1650s, but referring to semen as come is as recent as the 1920s.
- “Blow job.” This one really wasn’t a surprise. Dates from about 1948.
A gentleman by the name of Jonathon Green, creator of an English language slang dictionary, has made extremely handy timelines of sex terms, which you can access from his page. Very useful for historical smut :)
I’m pleased to share the first story in the Ganymede Quartet, a gay coming-of-age historical fantasy. The fantasy aspect involves a version of Gilded Age New York City that is quite recognizable except that slavery exists in a form that differs in significant ways from historical slavery.
There are four books in the main series (thus Quartet) and there will be several side stories in addition to this one. While this is not required reading to enjoy the series, it’s FREE, and it offers an in-depth introduction to one of the main characters.
Martin of House Ganymede, trained as a companion slave, is eager for a master of his own. Everything he’s done in his short life has been to prepare him for auction day, and now all that waits is to be chosen. In being sold, he’ll be separated from the boys he’s lived and trained with his entire life, and it’s possible he won’t see them ever again. Goodbyes are hurried and emotions are raw as the slaves go on display for prospective masters. Martin has ideas about what he’d like in a master, though of course he’ll have no say in who will buy him. When he meets tall, handsome Henry Blackwell, he’s found the one he wants, but does this shy master want him?
A Superior Slave is a prequel introducing the books of the Ganymede Quartet, a fantasy of Gilded Age New York in which young men from the richest families form intense bonds with the slaves who serve them.
Charlie, who was a notoriously fast eater, finished his sandwich and said, “Do you think it’s bad luck to talk about what sort of master we’d like?”
“Yes,” Noah said firmly.
“No,” Georgie said at the same time. “What do you want, Charlie?”
Charlie thought about it a moment. “I just hope he isn’t actually ugly. Hideous, I mean. It would be nice if he was handsome, but we’ve been warned so often that most masters aren’t that I’m pretty well reconciled to my master being homely.”
“I hope he’s clean,” Stuart said, making a face. “We all keep so clean for each other, but I don’t imagine free boys even think of such things.”
They all contemplated gamy cocks for a minute, noses wrinkled in distaste.
Georgie said, “I just hope he’s not a mean little bastard. I don’t want one who’ll be bossing me around for no other reason except he can.”
“Yes, I want a kind master,” Charlie agreed. “A nice boy, more or less. He doesn’t have to be an angel or anything, but a decent guy. That’s what I want.”
Noah cleared his throat self-consciously. “Not too fat.”
They all looked at him.
Noah blushed. “I don’t want some great huge boy squashing me,” he said, sounding somewhat defensive.
“Well, of course not.” Georgie put his hand on Noah’s arm and gave him a reassuring squeeze. “No one wants that.”
“In that case, you get on top and ride him,” Stuart pointed out. “Let him just relax and enjoy you, and no one gets squashed.”
“It would be nice if he wasn’t terrible at sex,” Charlie said. “I know I’ll have to teach him everything, but I hope he’ll learn. I hope he’ll listen to me.”
Martin thought the things his friends hoped for were very reasonable, very modest. He did not want to share his hopes because they were not reasonable at all. He wanted a handsome master, kind and affectionate, who’d touch him like a lover and treat him like a friend, and these wishes were desperately, unrealistically romantic. He’d been taught as much at Ganymede and it had been made very clear: his master would be an ordinary boy with an extraordinary bank account, and he would be under no obligation to think of his slave as a person.
Download A Superior Slave @ Smashwords for FREE
It’s also up at Amazon, but it’s still $0.99 there. If you want to download it from Amazon for free, scroll down to the Product Details and click the link to tell them about a lower price. The Smashwords URL to enter is: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/477137
I’m not sure what the threshold is for Amazon to lower prices, but I would guess that the more people who report it, the better.
Writing is my full-time job. I write pretty much all the time. Like, probably 10-16 hours a day, I’m in my chair typing and researching. I had a very extreme writing block for a number of years and was unable to write anything at all, so now that I can write, I’m a little afraid to stop. I break for food, sleep and yoga classes, and I take vanity breaks, as well.
Every week, I get a blow-out. I hate washing and drying my own hair. It takes me 45+ minutes to dry it, and it’s never as smooth as I want, so now I just don’t bother. I have thick hair, so I can get away with washing it once a week. It takes my stylist just as long to dry it, but somehow I don’t mind it as much, and she gets a better result than I ever do.
Roughly each week, I take an hour or so to give myself a pedicure. Even though I’m somewhat ambidextrous, that facility doesn’t extend to painting my own fingernails. I can get one hand neat and nice, but the other is a slapdash mess, so manicures aren’t fun. It’s much more satisfying to do my toes and have them all look good. In recent months, I’ve been all about the glitter topcoats. I’ve got a fairly sizable polish collection and haven’t even used them all, but that doesn’t stop me from getting more. Zoya polishes are my staples, and I’ve only recently branched out into indie brands like KBShimmer and Cirque Colors, specifically the glitter polishes.
I don’t do a full face that often, but I went crazy and got about 30 sample shadows from Fyrinnae, and I’ve been randomly giving myself makeovers just to try things out. All of the shadows have some degree of shimmer, from subtle to dazzling, and the colors are absolutely unique. They’re a small operation and seem to get frequently overwhelmed by order volumes, but their products are beautiful, of excellent quality, and so worth trying. The samples are very generous, enough for multiple applications. Everything is vegan, if that’s of concern, and the company makes a point of saying they’re “dedicated to serving customers of any gender and any skin tone,” so, yay for that.
It’s easy to not take care of myself at all while I’m in the midst of a writing project, so having regular appointments and shiny distractions keeps me a little more aware of my physical self and a little less likely to devolve into an unwashed troglodyte, though I still spend a lot more time in my pajamas than is good for me.
I knew early on that I didn’t want photography for my cover art. It was in large part a practical decision. Because it was important to me that my covers reflect the books’ turn-of-the-century setting, it seemed likely that I’d have to go to great trouble and expense hiring models, costumes and props and, of course, a photographer. Admittedly, I didn’t actually check, but I’m fairly confident that there isn’t a lot of m/m Edwardian-themed stock photography out in the marketplace.
I decided I’d commission illustrations not just because they’d be less expensive than elaborate photography set-ups, but also because I thought they might actually be the best choice for a fantasy series. If I see a photograph of someone, well, that’s what they look like. A drawing of someone, however, has some of the artist in it, as well, and is open to interpretation in a way a photograph is not.
I first saw Ulvar‘s work posted unattributed on someone’s tumblr some months before I finally stumbled across her Deviant Art profile, and I fell in love at first sight. For cover illustrations, I wanted something that would be a little reminiscent of Robert McGinnis (I see similarities in brushstroke-y technique very clearly, though McGinnis certainly paints a lot more nude women!), a little bit manga-ish, and somewhat different from what I saw other people doing with their covers. I stalked her for several months while I was writing, hoping she’d open up commissions, and then finally I just got my nerve up and asked her if she’d be interested in doing it.
It’s amazing what being direct can get you :)
I’m hoping to have completed covers to share soon.
I’m proud of myself: I finished a big project. I’ve spent the last seven months writing a book, or, rather, a series of books. This as-yet-untitled series is, for lack of a better way of describing it, a m/m romance which takes place in an alternate version of the year 1900, at the height of the Gilded Age. The current plan is to divide it into four books as it’s quite long – approximately 900 pages, 527K words. I’m discussing covers with my dream artist. It’s in the hands of beta readers. If everything continues to go well, I’m anticipating a September or October release.
Because I’m interested in Victoriana and pulpy stories, I was watching Penny Dreadful anyway, but then this happened:
gifset by telebi
Really, this could turn into the Dorian-and-Ethan show from this point forward, and I would be very content. Forget about the other story lines. Forget about the rest of the characters. Well, except for Vanessa. Vanessa can stay and watch if she wants.