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swquill

Just a reminder that I have a few short stories out there for only $0.99 which readers might like to check out:

Festivities – contemporary/Christmas: ARe Books   Smashwords

Home For Valentines – contemporary: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=SW_HMVAL

Treasured Possessions – contemporary:  ARe Books   Smashwords

Throw Me a Bone – contemporary: ARe Books     Smashwords

More Than Sex – contemporary: ARe Books     Smashwords

Conversations – contemporary: ARe Books     Smashwords

Roll of the Dice – contemporary: ARe Books     Smashwords

Tutelary – contemporary/fantasy: ARe Books     Smashwords

The Wrong Path – fantasy:   ARe Books     Smashwords

The books are also available for purchase from Amazon Kindle, but Amazon has upped the price a little to around $1.25 – not my choice I assure you:)

For more information about my publications, please visit my website:

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swquill

MeanderingThoughtsHere’s another dip into my Meandering Thoughts – this short piece was written a few years ago after an online conversation about the religion and homosexuality, just jotted down some ideas in my head at the time.

TO DRAW BREATH

Is it wrong? This feeling, this need, this… desire?  Is it wrong to want to be with him just because of his gender? Does it matter, really?  So he’s a man, I’m a man and I love him. He’s just a person after all, a human being… and to me it is as natural to love him as it is to draw breath. I find I can’t live without either. So how can it be wrong? I didn’t create this need to breathe any more than I created the emotion that flows through me, heightening my very perception of life. My need for him.

Whatever – if you believe in God, whoever – created me, created this capacity in me to love a person irrespective of gender. So it’s as natural as breathing. A human being was created with the need for companionship, emotional love, sexual love. That’s all we are, human beings doing what comes naturally, whatever gender we are, whatever gender we love. Oh yes, I feel the need to touch and to be touched by him. I long to feel his mouth on mine, his hands exploring my body, for him to express his need physically, to know that he needs me as much as I need him.

Is it wrong to feel this way?

Not unless it is wrong to draw breath.

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swquill

Lust_in_Time_Cover200x300Rob Rosen, the editor of the gay historical anthology, Lust In Time - in which I have a story called 794 A.D. - has just posted on Twitter about another review received from Book Reviews & Therapy for the anthology.

“Well. I've finished this anthology and I'm sad it's over. I could have kept going. This is the best anthology I have ever read. It is well edited, in every sense of the word, the stories all well written. They may have been short but not one missed the mark.”

The reviewer commented on each story and then gave an overall comment which included the above quote:)

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swquill

First_Reflection_200x300Brief Encounters Reviews has just posted a very well thoughtful review on my vampire novella:

"For those readers who like vampire novels this will be a good one to pick up. The setting may be a bit vague but Andreas is a strongly drawn and interesting character and I would recommend the story."

To read the full review go here

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swquill

MeanderingThoughtsI thought I'd post another of my Meandering Thoughts - a short piece of writing that has never before been seen outside of my living room:)  This piece, which I call Castles in the Air, was written a few years ago as an exercise in free writing in present tense. I hope you like it!

CASTLES IN THE AIR

He stirs as awareness returns but he simply rolls over, sliding further under the covers.  Then he thinks he hears a sound and slowly he peaks over the top of the bedclothes.

“Hi there, sleepyhead,” the man says – John says. 

He’s fairly sure his name is John.  He likes to think of him as John.  For a moment he’s happy, he’s always happy when John is there.  But he never stays.  If he closes his eyes, John will most likely be gone when he opens them again.  So, not surprisingly, he is afraid to close his eyes.  John rises from the chair by the window and walks over to him, smiling.

“It’s okay, I’m here.  You know I’ll always be here for you.”

“If only that was true,” he says.  John takes his hand and squeezes.

He can feel it, John has to be real if he can feel it, doesn’t he?  Providing he is real of course.

His eyes feel heavy.  No!  He doesn’t want to sleep, not so soon.  He tightens his grip on John’s hand.

****

Drifting awake again, he wonders how much time has passed.  He realizes his hand feels cold.  It lies outside the covers; he’d been holding John’s hand.  Gingerly he opens his eyes.  There’s no one there.  He feels tears prick his eyes.  He should’ve known.  Damn it, he had known; that was why he 'd tried so hard to hold on to John’s hand.  John is his only anchor, without John’s strength he is adrift.

The door opens and the nurse asks breezily as she sweeps in, “And how are we today, Martin?”  She takes in his appearance and clucks at him.  “Come on, things are not as bleak as that.”

How would she know?  It is so easy for her.  She takes his temperature and checks his blood pressure.  The door opens again and a tray of food is shoved onto his overbed table.  He turns away, ignoring it.  The very idea of food makes him feel sick.

“Come on now, you know you have to eat,” the nurse coaxes.

“Don’t want it,” he mumbles into his pillow.

With a theatrical sigh, the nurse says, “You know the Doc will not be happy with you.”

He just shrugs.

“Well, I did warn you.  I’ll have to put this on your chart for the doctor’s round later.”

He just snuggles lower and lets himself drift.  Perhaps John will come back.

****

He hears the rustle of paper and quickly opens his eyes.  John is sitting in the chair by the bed reading a magazine.  When John realizes he is being watched he drops the magazine and, smiling, takes hold of his wrist, absently rubbing it.

“How are you feeling now, Martin?”

The love he sees in John’s eyes warms him as nothing else ever can.  His eyes dart to the door; surely it must nearly be time for rounds and visitors can’t stay during the doctor’s round.

“It’s okay,” John says softly, “It’s almost half an hour until it’s time for her rounds.”

He sighs with relief and holds on to John, afraid to let go.

“I miss you,” John says, “It’s too quiet at home.”  The smile fades and John looks very serious.  “Say you’ll try, do what the doctor tells you.  I know it’s hard but please…” John stops speaking and lifts his free hand to wipe the tear that has spilled onto Martin’s cheek.  “Don’t cry Marty, I’ll wait for you, however long it takes, you know that.  I just want things back the way they should be.”  John caresses his cheek and he leans into the tender touch.

“I will, I promise,” he says.  “I’ll do anything for you, anything to get my life back and spend it with you.”

John kisses his temple and says, “Rest now, you look tired.”

****

He wakes when the door opens to admit the doctor.  Other than the two of them the room is empty.  He feels bereft.

“Don’t be upset,” the doctor says softly, obviously recognizing the signs.  “What is troubling you?”

The nurses always talk about the doctor in a threatening way, but he always finds she is gentle and kind with him.  Perhaps it is because he is so ill, he ponders.

“John never stays long enough.  I miss him all the time.  I feel so much better, stronger when he is here,” he admits.

“I know.  I understand how much you need him.  But, Martin, you must understand that as long as you allow yourself to rely so greatly on another, you will never really be well.  As wonderful as it must seem to be able to lean on someone as caring as your John, you need to find the strength in yourself, to figuratively stand on your own two feet so you can walk out of here.  Surely John wants that?  For you to be able to go to him on your own?”

“Yes.” He smiles. “So I can go home where I belong.”

“That’s right,” she says, stroking the hair back from his forehead.  “You need to let him go, so you can find your way home to him,” she adds softly.

She moves back a pace or two and slips the hypodermic needle into the port on his drip, watching as his eyelids begin to droop and finally close.

He feels reality slip away and he smiles knowing he will dream of the time when John comes to visit again.

***

The doctor watches the once brilliant, charming man fall asleep, suspecting he will dream yet again of John, the man he loves.

She sighs thinking how sad it is that Martin feels so lost, so alone that he has to create an imaginary companion, someone who has become so important to him that Martin can no longer separate fact from fantasy.

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swquill

First_Reflection_200x300Yep, if you wanted to buy First Reflection but were waiting for it to be available to read on your Amazon Kindle, it's now for sale!

BLURB:
Andreas is a wealthy young man, scion of a noble family, but frustrated by his father's demands for more acceptable behavior. Out with his friends for a night on the town he is shocked when they are attacked by a vampire. His friends are killed, but he is taken by the vampire to become his new plaything. Forced to kill to survive, all Andreas wants now is revenge on the creature who turned him. Meeting up with another vampire, Valente, Andreas finds salvation of a kind, but is still haunted by his desire for revenge.

http://steviewoods.com

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swquill

Healing_medThe first chapter of my SF/fantasy novella, Healing, can be read today on the First Chapters Blog.

Pop over there and have a look how Audin and Tener meet up again a dozen years after an argument and learn how each man feels about what happened.

http://drb1stchp.com/2013/03/healing-by-stevie-woods/

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swquill
First Reflection

First Reflection

By: Stevie Woods | Other books by Stevie Woods
Published By: MLR Press, LLC
ISBN # MLR1020130035

Word Count: 16000
Heat Index

Available in: Epub, Adobe Acrobat, Mobipocket (.prc)

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About the book

Now all Andreas wants is revenge on the vampire who turned him.

Andreas is a wealthy young man, scion of a noble family, but frustrated by his father's demands for more acceptable behavior. Out with his friends for a night on the town he is shocked when they are attacked by a nightwalker - a vampire. His friends are killed, but he is taken by the vampire to become his new plaything. After being changed and left for dead, Andreas is forced to kill to survive, and all he wants is revenge on the creature who turned him. Meeting up with another vampire, Valente, Andreas finds salvation of a kind, but is still haunted by his desire for revenge.

An excerpt from the book

The fresh air helped to gradually improve Constantin’s condition and though he was still far from sober he was more in control. He stood upright, pushed away from Andreas and Ettore, staggered for a couple of steps before straightening his back. He turned around to face the others, gave a small bow and a sweep of his arm. Andreas watched him carefully and soon decided he was capable of walking unaided though he would keep a close watch on him just in case. Constantin succumbed to the effects of alcohol sooner than either he or Ettore.

“It’s quicker if we go through the park,” Ettore said.

“It always looks spooky in there at night,” Constantin said.

“Oh come on, it’s fine if we stick to the path,” Andreas added. “Anyhow, didn’t know you were scared of all those old wives’ tales.”

Constantin pulled a face but turned into the gate with his friends. “Legends, not old wives’ tales and there’s always a smidgen of truth in legends.”

Andreas laughed. “You sound like my great aunt Sibelia. She would always mutter under her breath as we left the Temple after prayers. Said it was always wise to ask for help against the evil the Temple said didn’t exist. That never quite made sense to me, but she swore there was more that Divinity could protect one against if you bothered to ask.”

“Crazy old bat,” Ettore said.

“Maybe, but it does make one think,” Constantin said. “There are many things now that the Temple says don’t exist, yet once there were prayers of protection against those non-existent things.”

“What kind of things?” Ettore asked, now looking vaguely concerned as he glanced at their dark surroundings. There were very few torches in the park at night to illuminate the paths through the trees; some of the older ones were huge with branches spreading over half the park. An owl hooted and Ettore jerked as he swung around.

Andreas edged closer and said, “Nightwalkers who suck you dry of blood and eat your heart, bone men who steal your soul, spectral departed who won’t leave the world of the living, men who turn into beasts when the moon is full, women who—”

“For Divinity’s sake, stop!”

Andreas laughed. “Oh, you’re so gullible.”

A man suddenly stepped out from the darkness and Constantin came to a halt, his face a picture of shock. Andreas belatedly realized that in fact the man was walking on another path that merged with the one they were on and relaxed. Ettore laughed at Constantin’s over-reaction to the abrupt appearance of the stranger, a handsome looking man indeed, Andreas couldn’t help but notice. Tall, with black hair and dark eyes, dressed all in black too, which was probably why his skin looked so pale.

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swquill

First_Reflection_200x300FIRST REFLECTION, the prequel to my paranormal/vampire novel, On Reflection, is released today by MLR Press. This novella introduces us to the young Andreas and tells how he was first turned into a vampire.

BLURB:

Andreas is a wealthy young man, scion of a noble family, but frustrated by his father's demands for more acceptable behavior. Out with his friends for a night on the town he is shocked when they are attacked by a vampire. His friends are killed, but he is taken by the vampire to become his new plaything. Forced to kill to survive, all Andreas wants now is revenge on the creature who turned him. Meeting up with another vampire, Valente, Andreas finds salvation of a kind, but is still haunted by his desire for revenge.

EXCERPT:

The fresh air helped to gradually improve Constantin’s condition and though he was still far from sober he was more in control. He stood upright, pushed away from Andreas and Ettore, staggered for a couple of steps before straightening his back. He turned around to face the others, gave a small bow and a sweep of his arm. Andreas watched him carefully and soon decided he was capable of walking unaided though he would keep a close watch on him just in case. Constantin succumbed to the effects of alcohol sooner than either he or Ettore.

“It’s quicker if we go through the park,” Ettore said.

“It always looks spooky in there at night,” Constantin said.

“Oh come on, it’s fine if we stick to the path,” Andreas added. “Anyhow, didn’t know you were scared of all those old wives’ tales.”

Constantin pulled a face but turned into the gate with his friends. “Legends, not old wives’ tales and there’s always a smidgen of truth in legends.”

Andreas laughed. “You sound like my great aunt Sibelia. She would always mutter under her breath as we left the Temple after prayers. Said it was always wise to ask for help against the evil the Temple said didn’t exist. That never quite made sense to me, but she swore there was more that Divinity could protect one against if you bothered to ask.”

“Crazy old bat,” Ettore said.

“Maybe, but it does make one think,” Constantin said. “There are many things now that the Temple says don’t exist, yet once there were prayers of protection against those non-existent things.”

“What kind of things?” Ettore asked, now looking vaguely concerned as he glanced at their dark surroundings. There were very few torches in the park at night to illuminate the paths through the trees; some of the older ones were huge with branches spreading over half the park. An owl hooted and Ettore jerked as he swung around.

Andreas edged closer and said, “Nightwalkers who suck you dry of blood and eat your heart, bone men who steal your soul, spectral departed who won’t leave the world of the living, men who turn into beasts when the moon is full, women who—”

“For Divinity’s sake, stop!”

Andreas laughed. “Oh, you’re so gullible.”  

A man suddenly stepped out from the darkness and Constantin came to a halt, his face a picture of shock. Andreas belatedly realized that in fact the man was walking on another path that merged with the one they were on and relaxed. Ettore laughed at Constantin’s over-reaction to the abrupt appearance of the stranger, a handsome looking man indeed, Andreas couldn’t help but notice. Tall, with black hair and dark eyes, dressed all in black too, which was probably why his skin looked so pale.

http://steviewoods.com

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swquill

MeanderingThoughtsThought I'd try something different on my Blog for a change. I decided to post the occasional free fiction, short dips into my writing that haven't appeared in any of my published work. Some of them might be writing exercises, just a way to get the juice flowing when things weren't going so well with whatever current WIP I was working on, some were ideas that I thought might develop into stories but never quite worked, some just ideas I wanted to jot down. I decided to call these Meandering Thoughts and this first one, called Observation, was written a few years ago when I was first experimenting with writing in First Person, and I'd just been prescribed my first pair of spectacles:)

OBSERVATION

I have to wear glasses otherwise I can’t see properly, that’s the general consensus. Can’t argue with that, no glasses and everything is just a blur.

Still, it never ceases to amaze me how people with supposed perfect vision just don’t see. Not even things right under their noses; talk about not seeing the wood for the trees. Then again, that’s become somewhat easier for me to understand since I recently realized I was just as guilty of that as the rest of the human race.

I sit here now across the table from him, the cause of my epiphany. I’ve known the man for three years and yet it was only recently that I really saw him, saw the way he saw me. Then I realized that I was, for a time, thankfully a very short time, afraid. Not of him, never of him; of me. Could I accept what he was offering me?

It only took one touch, one particular brush of his fingers to know. I not only wanted what he was offering, I needed it, and I needed him. Also, I realized that he not only wanted me but he needed me and that filled my heart with joy. I’d missed that, being desired and, more importantly, being needed.

That was when I really began to look, to watch the man I’d come to love. You see, I wondered what else I’d been missing. It took me a while to understand why that one touch had communicated so much to me when Steve had always been tactile, always little touches, my arm, my shoulder, a ruffle of my hair, a hand to the small of my back. I never could let anyone else get that close to me, something else I’d never bothered to question, it just was.

So why this time, why this touch? I worked it out, simple really, because I understood what the touch meant to him; I saw. Not just with my eyes, but with my heart. It meant something to Steve so it meant something to me. The warmth that ran through me was invigorating.

My next thought was how much I’d missed during the last three years. How long had he felt like that? Steve admitted to me that he’d been falling in love – God to hear that word from his lips – for quite a while. It crept up on him until even he wasn’t sure when it really began; but there was no way he could say anything. Not until I was free, until my divorce was final, and even then Steve admitted to some fear himself; fear of rejection, fear of losing my friendship. Steve said he just couldn’t face that, so he waited.

So long, it had been so long. I’d been blind for so long. So much for wearing glasses! So now I look, I watch, I see.

Like now; when we’re taking part in a meeting as we have done most weekdays for the past three years; the same, but oh so different. He’d always leaned back in his chair with eyes half-closed, appearing bored and never seeming to take account of the presentations. I had long since recognized that wasn’t really the case because he always knew exactly what was involved down to the smallest detail. Now I understood what he was really doing when he was pretending not to pay attention.

He was observing me.

Whenever I turned my back to point out something on the large screen, he was watching my ass. I think I’m glad I never knew that back then, I’d have been as embarrassed as hell. Now I like that he can’t keep his eyes, or his hands, off it.

I also discovered when I’m talking and he slides down in his seat slouching and playing with his pen or doodling, what he is actually doing is watching my face. He told me he loves to watch my lips, but also if I get really passionate about something my eyes light up. I got kind of embarrassed about that. I could never have imagined just how romantic Steve really is.

Like during our visits to the gym. It was Steve who convinced me that as someone who spent most of my day stuck behind a desk I needed to exercise regularly. I always imagined that he kept an eye on me in that protective way of his while I learned to use the gym equipment, but he still watched me closely even after I was well versed in its use. He didn’t only watch over me, he studied me. He watched as I lay flat out, or when I stretched up or as I bent over. He watched the way my body moved, the definition of the muscles in my back or thighs. The gluteal muscles as they moved under my shorts.

I remember that evening, lying in his arms on his sofa as he confessed his feelings to me. I remember how aroused I became by his description of his own arousal. The more I learned of him, the more I began to know myself.

I’d had sex with others, male and female. Thought I’d been in love before and it had been wonderful, but I had to admit to myself that I never achieved the heights of passion with anyone else that I did with Steve. I also knew I was falling more in love with him day by day and I was so grateful we’d have a lifetime to spend together. I was already so close to Steve, more known by him than I’d ever felt before. I knew that Steve was truly the other half of my soul.

There’s another reason I watch Steve. He told me how much he loved me, and please believe me when I say that I don’t doubt that, but as I came to the realization of his love for me by observation, I felt that perhaps I could judge its depth the same way. Perhaps that was naïve of me, I can’t argue that possibility but still, I observe.

I observe the way he nervously twirls the pen when he knows I’m watching him. He can’t hide from me anymore the way he used to. I know he keeps his hands moving like that because his hands would rather be busy elsewhere. Touching me. He daren’t look at me either, that’s why his eyes are darting everywhere. If he looked at me he couldn’t look anywhere but at my mouth, unless perhaps it was at my eyes. He really has a thing for my eyes. I can’t help but smile. Good thing I’m sitting at the moment or I might blush at what I’m pretty sure he’s thinking and how it’s making me feel. We made an agreement to keep this out of the office, to behave perfectly normally while at work. We do, at least physically we do, but mentally that’s a whole other ball game as Steve might say; for both of us.

Just as I observe him now, he still observes me. Can’t help it, either of us. Not sure we want to anyway.

As I sit here now watching him, my mind drifts back to last night when we were making love and I was buried deep inside him as he squirmed beneath me. Just as he reached climax our eyes met and I saw my joy reflecting back at me from his eyes. How much more did I need to see?

http://steviewoods.com

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