Thursday, August 16, 2018

Classic Jordon Davis from The Temple of Heaven


Jordon has been in my head since 2010. He is the youngest of the Davis brothers. The two older ones basically raised him—even before their mom threw Jordon out for coming out to her church group. Their attention and love didn’t replace Jordon’s need for parental affection but reinforced he was worthy of love.

We meet Jordon Davis in his eldest brother’s book Finally Fallen. His brothers are trying to convince him to stop sextexting strangers. We see him in Lock and Key as the absent-minded artist. In his own book, The Temple of Heaven he struggles to move past the bratty overprotected teen his brothers see him as to become independent. He wants to do that without hurting his brothers.


Excerpt from Finally Fallen:
(This snippet comes later in the book. Jordon is with his brothers playing paintball. He’s sixteen years old. It’s classic Jordon.)
Jordon whipped around the hay wall and yelped, “Ah-ha! Got you!” When he went to shoot he was out of paintballs. “Aw, no fair!”
Dusty laughed. He could have easily pulled his trigger. Instead, he handed Jordon his gun and put a finger to his mouth, indicating the kid should shut up.
He spread his arms wide in a big brotherly sacrifice so Jordon could tag him. He bit back an ‘ow’ when Jordon nailed him in the boot... twice.
Jordon pursed his lips before mouthing, “Sorry.”
Dusty waved off the apology and gestured for them to go opposite directions. They could circle around behind Zack so Jordon could get him.
“Who was shot? Jordon, did you bite the dust again?” Zack called out.
With a nod, Dusty and Jordon twirled around the barrier Zack hid behind. Dusty faked a sneeze to draw Zack’s attention long enough for Jordon to ping their middle brother about ten times, though Jordon missed the same amount before he pelted Dusty a number of occasions.
Jordy’s enthusiasm wasn’t dampened in the least by how he’d claimed his victory. “I won! I won! I won!”
Zack snatched Jordon’s borrowed weapon and took off his goggles. “Thanks, Dust. Now I have to hear this for the next six years.”
“No worries, Zack. I’ll bet it drops off after the first five.” Dusty chuckled. Hey, it made the kid happy.
Jordon giggled as they piled into Dusty’s car.
“Hey, use the tarps. I just had the leather redone.” Dusty handed Zack the plastic fabric out of the trunk, ignoring the major eye roll. Dusty pulled on his Boston cap and his sunglasses.
On the way home, Jordon chortled. “Hey, Zack.”
“Yes, Jordon?”
“Remember that time I beat you in paintball?” Jordon was on a high.
“I think this is what you both should call the start of the Jordon Dynasty.”
 “Dusty, seriously, man, can’t thank you enough.” Zack glared at him.
“Oh, not to worry, Serf Zackery. I’ll be a benevolent ruler.” The kid continued to happy dance in the car without pause.
“Drive thru?” Dusty asked as he pulled up to the menu board.
The kid wiggled over the top of Dusty to speak into the box. “Hi, I hope you’re having a great day. I’ll have a number one and a big cup of cola.” A scratchy voice said, “Why, thank you. I hope you’re having a great day. That’s one number one and a huge cola.”
“Oh, I am having a great day. I just beat my older brothers at paintball.” “Well, congratulations,” the box said.
“Thanks. I...” Jordon’s words were lost as Zack pushed him into the backseat so he could order.
At the window, the woman took Dusty’s money. She returned his change and handed them the food. “And this is for Mr. Paintball King.” Jordon took the crown with as much reverence as if he were named the King of England. He placed cardboard on his head and gave a royal wave to the cashier. As soon as Dusty drove off, Jordon filled the car with a squeal fit for a teen princess.
Jordon reached over the front seat to pat both Dusty and Zack on the shoulders. “Thanks, guys. I had an epic time, and not just ‘cause I’m the greatest paintball player who ever lived.”
Zack glanced over at Dusty with a grin he couldn’t quite hide. Yeah, the littlest Davis was a handful, but he was theirs. 




Here’s an excerpt from Lock and Key Jordon is almost eighteen. It’s dawn and Zack calls him for assistance. (Jordon is full on in artist mode)
“Zack? Where the hell have you been?” Jordon growled into the phone.
“Good morning to you, grumpy one!” Zack injected some happy into his voice.
“I’m not grumpy. I can’t make the exact color I need.... Wait, where are you? What time is it?”
Zack pushed sweet into his voice. “Almost time for breakfast. I’m outside a diner. You’re up working anyway. Meet me.”
“Why can’t we have breakfast here at home?”
He’d stoop to bribery. “I’ll buy you breakfast.”
“What’s going on?” Jordon demanded.
“I need you to bring me some clothing.” The request wouldn’t allay worry or suspicion, but there was nothing to be done about it. He couldn’t stand the idea of the weekend being over. If he could just avoid it a little longer, he could deal with the sinking feeling of loss threatening to overwhelm him.
“Why do you need clothing? Just come home and change. Can’t we do lunch? I’m having trouble with this piece....”
“Jordy, please. I’m not going home yet and I need you to bring me some clothing and a few other things.”
“Why? Why don’t you come get them yourself?” With barely a breath, Jordon’s questioning turned into conclusion-jumping. “Wait! Are you in trouble? You’re in trouble? Oh my God! What did you do? Did
188 Z. Allora
you kill someone? Christ on a cupcake! My own brother on the lam, a fugitive from the law.”
“What? No.” Jesus, his brother’s imagination scared him. Chuckling, he shook his head to try to follow Jordon’s line of reasoning, getting lost quickly. “Insane much? I just need you to bring me a few things.”
“Like your passport, right?”
“No! I don’t need my passport.” Zack checked his pocket to make sure he had his wallet. All he needed was his driver’s license for ID. “Meet me.”
“This piece is really....” Jordon became silent, and what sounded like paint being slapped onto canvas became louder.
No. No. No. Strangling him was out of the question because it would make Dusty even more pissed. Plus, a dead Jordon wouldn’t be able to do his bidding. He couldn’t lose his accomplice to his brother’s art.
Zack groaned. “Jordy, please. I need your help.”
His younger brother grumbled, “Fine. Why do I have a feeling you don’t want me to mention our breakfast plans to Dusty?”
“’Cause you’re the brightest crayon in the entire box.”
“Dusty’s going to kick my ass for this, isn’t he?” The excitement that tinged the kid’s voice was distressing. Damn, any little bit of intrigue.... Jordon needed more friends.
Zack rolled his eyes. “He won’t. If he finds out, I’ll tell him I swore you to secrecy.”
*****
These classic snippets show where Jordon has been and in The Temple of Heaven we see him struggling to be seen as who he is now and not who he was when he was a kid. He wants to be independent for his future husband but he hopes to find a way that won’t hurt his brothers. 



The Temple of Heaven’s Blurb
Music is Tian Di’s life and his love, and he’s made plenty of sacrifices. His career is finally taking off with his band, Made in China, and he’ll continue to put music first... until he meets Jordon. Then insta- lust becomes insta-love and a commitment to the future—no matter how difficult it might be.
Jordon lives in a bubble constructed by his overprotective older brothers, who are so controlling that they’ve kept him from dating. A talented artist, Jordon managed to keep his success with a Japanese manga publisher a secret from his family, but now he fears discovery. It’s easier to let his brothers handle everything, but Jordon has reached his limit. He’s ready to draw some boundaries so he can be his own man and face all the challenges that come with that.
Their families and careers aren’t the only obstacles. Jordon must accept his identity as a gay man who doesn’t top or bottom. Fortunately, Tian Di—and his special talents—help Jordon open up to his sexuality in an erotic adventure that spans Japan and China, and with love, luck, hard work, and open minds, will end in a happily ever after.
BUY LINKS;

Thursday, August 9, 2018

In 2011 I teased Ally Blue about me not liking zombies. They just weren't sexy... Although if I wrote zombies they'd be hot and young and looking for their mates. They wouldn't search for brains...  

Zombies suck but mine would swallow...

I agreed maybe I'd write a few paragraphs... maybe just a short story... well a novella might work...

Finally, three books in I got to the scene that embedded itself in my brain. A cheerleader with crooked pony tails landing into the arms of a man... 




Meet Erick Mc Grath. Here's gender queer and gay. He's walking into Club Zombie. God if his brother was alive he'd have been proud.... 


Zombies Coming

Club Zombie is a safe haven for people like Cassidy Frost. Zombies suck—but they’re not after brains! Forget mindless rotting corpses shuffling along. These zombies are young, hot, and looking for their mates.

Cassidy, who wrote everyone else’s happily ever after, had all but lost hope he’d ever find his own. Every night he sucked until his jaw hurt, praying for his other half more out of habit than faith his mate was out there. He didn’t dare hope fate would drop his mate into his lap.

Erick McGrath stumbled and landed in the arms of a beautiful angel. Though he must be dreaming, because he learned how cruel and short life could be when he lost his brother. Despite his parents’ toxic attitude, Erick starts to accept his nonbinary gender identity. Going to Club Zombie’s Drag Night is his first attempt at embracing his new grasp at freedom.

But Cassidy and Erick will have to take risks to have what they desire.


(Zombies Coming is part of the Club Zombie series but can be read as a standalone for a perfectly happy and satisfying ending.)



Thursday, August 2, 2018

Club Zombie #3 Zombies Coming



Zombies Coming Blurb

Club Zombie is a safe haven for people like Cassidy Frost. Zombies suck—but they’re not after brains! Forget mindless rotting corpses shuffling along. These zombies are young, hot, and looking for their mates.

Cassidy, who wrote everyone else’s happily ever after, had all but lost hope he’d ever find his own. Every night he sucked until his jaw hurt, praying for his other half more out of habit than faith his mate was out there. He didn’t dare hope fate would drop his mate into his lap.

Erick McGrath stumbled and landed in the arms of a beautiful angel. Though he must be dreaming, because he learned how cruel and short life could be when he lost his brother. Despite his parents’ toxic attitude, Erick starts to accept his nonbinary gender identity. Going to Club Zombie’s Drag Night is his first attempt at embracing his new grasp at freedom.

But Cassidy and Erick will have to take risks to have what they desire.

(Zombies Coming is part of the Club Zombie series but can be read as a standalone for a perfectly happy and satisfying ending.)



Thursday, July 26, 2018

Fanservice: Queer Baiting or a Step Toward Acceptance?

I was sitting in the Shanghai Pearl Market which is filled with souvenir shops, restaurants, massage places and nail places. My driver was going to be late so I decided to get my toes done. Why not? I needed to kill time.

I usually read or tried to use my Chinese on the nail techs... but not this time.

On TV was a band playing rip tear. A gorgeous visual Korean pop band was ripping pieces of paper using only their mouth and teeth... lips pressed together oops! Again and again... and I was enthralled as were all the other women in the salon.

"Why can't Chinese bands be like this?" "I didn't know two boys could like kissing each other."

From their lips to an author's finger tips! I wrote out the Suck Blow scene years before the band was even fully formed.

Here's one of those KPop TV Shows:


The shock and embarrassment is an expected as part of the game. I know many people will see this as queer baiting.

Queer Baiting: "In a fannish context, queer baiting (or queerbaiting) is a term used to describe the perceived attempt by canon creators (typically of television shows) to woo queer fans and/or slash fans, but with no intention of actually showing a gay relationship being consummated on screen. This is done either by introducing a character whose sexuality seems, early on, to be coded as something other than one hundred percent heterosexual, or by indicating -- be it ever so slightly -- that two same-sex characters might possibly be attracted to each other." (quoted from https://fanlore.org/wiki/Queer_Baiting)

In many cases I'd say yes. But after having lived there I can see this as a possible first step toward acceptance.

Unlike the West China was completely closeted. I had friends who didn't think homosexuality existed in China.

This type of fanservice (while not the best in terms of presentation or education based on our Western filters) it is a baby step to admitting there are people who like to kiss people of the same sex. It's a tiny turn to see how or why two girls or two guys could fall in love.

Sometimes the road to acceptance isn't always a politically correct one.

Seeing a TV program like this allows someone who is on the rainbow the ability to hope and to dream of potential and possibilities.

Many hugs, Z.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Temple of Heaven's Cover Art


The Temple of Heaven was drawn by PL Nunn. I captured the scene where Jordon and Tian Di are visiting the colorful Temple of Heaven in Beijing. This building is part of the imperial complex where emperors have gone to pray during two dynasties. 

As most of you know I lived in China for six years and during that time went to Beijing numerous times. Since we took most of our visitors there we had a set Beijing tour: The Great Wall at Mutianyu, the Panjiayuan Antique Market (mix of old and new treasures), the Laosho teahouse show, the Forbidden City (rush to get to the back where the garden is and walk toward the front to avoid the hords), the night market, and the Temple of Heaven. 
Here's me and my love during our 1st visit.

Music is Tian Di’s life and his love, and he’s made plenty of sacrifices. His career is finally taking off with his band, Made in China, and he’ll continue to put music first... until he meets Jordon. Then insta- lust becomes insta-love and a commitment to the future—no matter how difficult it might be. 

Jordon lives in a bubble constructed by his overprotective older brothers, who are so controlling that they’ve kept him from dating. A talented artist, Jordon managed to keep his success with a Japanese manga publisher a secret from his family, but now he fears discovery. It’s easier to let his brothers handle everything, but Jordon has reached his limit. He’s ready to draw some boundaries so he can be his own man and face all the challenges that come with that. 

Their families and careers aren’t the only obstacles. Jordon must accept his identity as a gay man who doesn’t top or bottom. Fortunately, Tian Di—and his special talents—help Jordon open up to his sexuality in an erotic adventure that spans Japan and China, and with love, luck, hard work, and open minds, will end in a happily ever after. 

((Follow the buy links to an excerpt))
Dreamspinner Press Buy Links:



Thursday, July 12, 2018

C-Pop (aka China Pop)

Handsome Youth.... ACrush


Yes I realize Vice questions whether this is "genderless" is progress. To me this visibility/acknowledgment is bigger acceptance of the rainbow that I ever experience in the 6 years I lived there. I truly believe this is as far as they've ever gone and I applaud them!

Not to mention ACrush ROCKS!



Two days ago The Temple of Heaven went live. It's the second book of the Made in China series.




Music is Tian Di’s life and his love, and he’s made plenty of sacrifices. His career is finally taking off with his band, Made in China, and he’ll continue to put music first... until he meets Jordon. Then insta- lust becomes insta-love and a commitment to the future—no matter how difficult it might be. 

Jordon lives in a bubble constructed by his overprotective older brothers, who are so controlling that they’ve kept him from dating. A talented artist, Jordon managed to keep his success with a Japanese manga publisher a secret from his family, but now he fears discovery. It’s easier to let his brothers handle everything, but Jordon has reached his limit. He’s ready to draw some boundaries so he can be his own man and face all the challenges that come with that. 

Their families and careers aren’t the only obstacles. Jordon must accept his identity as a gay man who doesn’t top or bottom. Fortunately, Tian Di—and his special talents—help Jordon open up to his sexuality in an erotic adventure that spans Japan and China, and with love, luck, hard work, and open minds, will end in a happily ever after.




Hugs, Z.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview Questions



Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I have done both.

In The Great Wall, I share the experiences I had while living in China. It was silly but while I was in edits for this story I got quite homesick for Suzhou. Let me share with you some of the locations Styx and Jin’s story takes place in.

Locations:
Yintang: This is Styx and Jin’s hometown and where I spent a good deal with time. Yintang is not modern, like Shanghai. It has one big shopping center, numerous tiny shops and countless stalls. While I was there they still advertised community TVs because not everyone has their own. Access to the Internet was spotty at best, if you could afford it. Spending some much time here I understood how closeted Styx would be. Gay wasn’t even a possibility in the world of Yintang. The town also helped me understand how Jin needed to leave, and how his work in massage spas helped give him hints that the rest of the world might be different than Yintang.

Suzhou: The band lives in my apartment. (Yes, we were crazy enough to buy there. BTW: When you buy an apartment in China you buy a shell with concrete walls and only a few rooms walled out, pipes, windows and a dirt/cement floor. You need to design and contract everything else. Toilets, sinks, ceiling, walls are added along with walls, appliances, paint, flooring, etc.)

Suzhou is where I spent most of my time while I was living there. So, I know where the farmer’s market is and I know how expensive the Japanese market in comparison. I used to go to the German Restaurant across the street from our apartment weekly. I sat in the pavilion Jin does his Gong Chi in. I would meander through one or more of the eighteen gardens of Suzhou, at least two or three times a week. I even attended a wedding.

Beijing: I rode the night train to Beijing. It’s like trying to sleep during a slow extended earthquake. I was driven down the pothole ridden road to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall (I was bounced so high out of my seat I actually hit my head on the ceiling of the van). The band goes to some of the attractions I visited while touring Beijing.

One of their band members Indigo is from L.A. so he’s the shocked version of me going WTF? Why can’t I get hot water, Internet & cable on the same day? What do you mean they don’t take credit cards? What do you mean there is no LGBTQIA community here?


Have you ever had to put an 'in progress' story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn't know how to proceed?

I wrote The Great Wall while I was living in China. Suzhou’s closet is so deep I didn’t find the only gay friendly club until I had been there for five years. Since I only write happily ever afters I’m not going to lie I struggled trying to find out a way to happiness with The Great Wall that was realistic.  Living there altered the potential and possibilities I saw because the limitations were intense.

An American reader might see the path to their HEA without difficulty but I’ll tell you I sat in my (their) my apartment for hours (crying) unable to plot their happy ending. All my friends who were Chinese married regardless of their orientation and would readily tell me there was no gay in China… that was a Western concept. I racked my brain for several months trying to find a path forward that would be true and possible in Suzhou.

I’m thrilled to report I found a way to give a satisfying happily ever after that would be realistic outcome to Jin and Styx so they could have their true happily ever after.


What's next for you as an author?

I’m working on Club Zombie #3. It’s contains the original scene that blossomed into the sexy zombie plot bunny that evolved into the Club Zombie series. I had to write the first two books to get to the scene that started it all but finally made it to this point!

Then before there was Yuri On Ice there was a YouTube video two of my friends showed me. So, I’ll be working that delicious plot bunny. (A skater and a hot rocker…) I’ve been taking notes on this story for about two and a half years.

And by June, I hope readers will join me for another visit to China.


With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widened our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write to promote equality. I truly believe we can change hearts and minds with every page we turn/write. I’m grateful readers allow me to share my stories with them.


The Great Wall Blurb:
Destiny will be decided by a battle between heart and mind….

Jun Tai “Styx” Wong loves two things: playing the drums and his best friend, Jin. But being a good Chinese son means he can’t have either—he’ll have to marry a girl of his parents’ choosing and settle into a traditional job. His move to the bigger city of Suzhou is both a blessing and curse, as living with Jin makes it harder for Styx to suppress his desires. Nearly dying while trying to eradicate his feelings serves as a wake-up call for Jin, who takes extreme measures to keep Styx safe from harm.

When given a second chance at life and happiness, will Styx be able to claim the future he wants with Jin, his bandmates, and his music? Can love and hope grow with the constantly looming threat of Styx’s parents ordering him home? Great things await—if Styx finds the courage to break down the wall that stands between him and everything he wants.

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