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Friday, May 9, 2014

Company at Vastine's...Welcome, Angel Martinez!




Oh, sugars. Trying not to gush and grin but it's damn hard. Because today Author Angel Martinez is visiting!

Most of you know Ms. Martinez, I'm sure, as she's established herself as a very gifted storyteller. To me, there's also the delight in her elegant prose, her ultra delicious characters.

And...speaking of characters. It just so happens she's sharing one of my very, very favorite characters of hers----FINN. Who is a Pooka. And, no, dolls, I am not going to spill the goodies. You'll have to read the book, Finn: Endangered Fae 1. 

So, before I gush myself silly, let me move over and make room for Ms. Martinez...

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Deferred Dreams, Untaken Roads, and a Pooka

“I want to squash the dream my child carries in her heart, to snuff out that one true light inside her” says no parent, ever. Yet…and yet…we, as parents, do this all the time. With well meaning advice, with hopes that our children will do better than we did, make more of themselves, not have to struggle as much.

Screw doing better than us. Our children should be happier than we were.

My parents were good parents. They listened to our interests, provided a well-rounded, intellectually rich environment, and nagged us to practice the piano. They tried to instill in us the importance of hard work, of perseverance, of being honest and compassionate. These were all good things. But in little ways, lots of little ways or which they were probably unaware, they tried to steer us toward that elusive goal – success.

Success – as in being independent and owning your own house, as in having a family and being able to bring said family up in a good neighborhood with good schools. To stray from this path was fraught with unseen peril. They worried for us. They wanted us to do well in life. So writing fiction was not a career choice. Oh, you could write fiction in your spare time from within the walls of academia, sure. But as a career? No.

To be fair, there were many voices echoing this pronouncement – teachers, professors, guidance counselors and so on. All right, I was a smart kid. I would be…a veterinarian. No, a biologist. No, wait, a high school teacher. The confusion resulted in a less than stellar undergraduate experience and a lot of shifting and changing of majors and classes. I ended up with a degree in English Lit and all the previous voices screaming at me that I must go to graduate school or I would destroy my life! At this point, I was so beaten down and unhappy with academia, I certainly couldn’t see myself spending my life there.

Did I find success? Of a sort. I worked at a long string of ever-changing jobs and finally fell into banking, working up from teller, to loan officer and eventually into a corporate office with one of those meaningless job titles and a ridiculous salary. We had the money to buy the nice house in the nice neighborhood with the good schools and money left over to save for son’s college and our retirement. Success. So why was I so miserable?

Because I had ripped my heart out to achieve it. Abandoned writing, abandoned storytelling to live what was, for me, someone else’s life. Generally, if you keep something under too much pressure in too small a space, there will be an explosion of one sort of another. Luckily for me, (and all the people around me) when the explosion came it was a creative one.

Thing is, I think about how things might have been different, but I’m not certain they would have been better. If creative writing had been an acceptable college major back when I was in school and I had begun early, would that have been better? Probably not. I had no life experience, no real roots in the world’s songs and I do think a storyteller needs those roots or the stories will be shallow. If I’d gone to graduate school, would it have been better? Again, it’s doubtful. I would have been caught up in the politics and the gamesmanship of academia, my creativity slowly drained for the sake of conformity. If I’d woken up earlier in my varied and strange work career and started writing sooner? No. Again, no. Everything I’ve seen and done has made me what I am. Every cent of blood money earned I claim so that now, now I have a chance to evolve.

I’m finishing my half-century year. Yes, I turn fifty in June, but it is the end of my fiftieth year (we Westerners have that all screwed up.) I quit my day job last week and have now settled in to the full time business of writing. Yes. It’s wonderful. Thank you for asking. I’m taking morning walks, working in the garden, getting some reading done, and writing. I even baked cookies this week. I feel oddly whole again.

And the pooka? Getting to that…

Early in the years while I was still working for the banks and writing in hurried spurts of free time, I feared that I would never see anything published. I nearly gave up because no one was interested in my stories, not even a nibble. Romance, everyone told me, you should try that. It’s a completely different world. There are e-publishers! (What? E-publisher? What the hell is that?) But I had no romance stories. I couldn’t write the boy meets girl stuff. So I started to look through things I had on folklore…and there he was.

The pooka. Finn. Just sitting out on the lawn, grinning and waving at me. You know you want to tell my story, he said. He has been with me ever since, whispering in my ear, laughing at my jokes.

As imaginary friends go, he’s been a damn good one, and was there when I needed him most.

Finn: Endangered Fae 1





Blurb:
When Diego rescues a naked man from the rail of the Brooklyn Bridge, he just wants to get the poor man out of traffic and to social services. He gets more than he bargained for when he discovers Finn is an ailing pooka, poisoned by the city's pollution. To help him recover, Diego takes him to New Brunswick where Finn inadvertently wakes an ancient, evil spirit: the wendigo.
While they struggle to find a way to destroy the wendigo before it can possess Diego or kill nearby innocents, Diego wrestles with his growing feelings for Finn. Kill the monster and navigate a relationship between a modern man and a centuries old pooka. Piece of cake.

Excerpt: PG-13

The ordeal of the shower seemed cruel, but Finn was filthy and smelled like a dumpster during a garbage strike. Diego placed one of his plastic kitchen chairs in the middle of the shower and installed Finn there, but he only slumped against the chair back, eyes closed, face turned into the spray.

Too exhausted to even flinch.

Diego fought down the little shiver of revulsion at the stench, stripped to his boxers, and stepped into the stall with him. He attacked the tangled mass of hair first, positioning Finn so his head hung back over the chair. No lice—a good sign. He might have been homeless, but he probably hadn’t lived on the streets too long. The nest of midnight snarls unwound under the caress of water and shampoo. If Finn stood, his hair would reach at least to the top curve of his butt. A strange blue-black iridescence shone in it, his natural coloring as far as Diego could tell rather than bottled special effects.

The rest Diego washed with a loofah, shoving away modesty out of a need to get Finn to his rest. An ache lodged around his heart to see how malnutrition had ravaged what probably had been a lean-muscled frame. An athlete, perhaps, before he went off the deep end, an impression reinforced by the absence of almost all body hair. Waxed or electrolysis-denuded—only Finn’s crotch sported a black thatch of soft hair. Swimmer, perhaps. The Olympic competitors often shaved it all off for every small gain in streamlining.

He turned off the water and tugged at Finn’s arm. “Come on. Let’s get you settled. You can’t sleep in the shower.”

Finn staggered to his feet and Diego all but carried him to Mitch’s room. The spare room, he corrected himself. He usually kept the door closed so the stark, unfurnished space wasn’t glaring at him.

He sat Finn down against the wall, brought him a pair of flannel pajamas, soft with age, and went out to the front closet to retrieve the air mattress and vacuum. Six boxes lay stacked against the wall; all that remained of Mitch’s things. Diego ran a hand over one, and then shook his head against the temptation to open the top and look at its contents. When he returned, Finn hadn’t moved from where he sat, naked and dozing in a patch of sunlight.

“You might want to put those on.” Diego toed the pajamas closer as he dragged the air mattress into place. When Finn’s only response was a long sigh, he added, “We need to get you warm. I don’t want to have to take you to Emergency.”

With a puzzled frown, Finn unfolded the material and managed, after looking back and forth between the pajamas and Diego’s jeans a few times, to pull the bottoms on. His efforts with the top, though, were sabotaged when the vacuum roared to life. He startled and scuttled sideways, wide-eyed and panting.

Diego hurried to switch it off. “Sorry. Should have warned you.”

“Is it some sort of small dragon?”

For a moment, Diego stared in blank surprise before he caught himself. At least the nature of Finn’s delusion was becoming clearer. He might even share his history later when he had the energy, perhaps some tragic story of an exiled prince. For now, Diego thought it best to play along.

“Not a dragon. Just a machine. It blows out and sucks in air with great force.”

“Ah.” Finn seemed disappointed, but waved a hand for him to continue.

Mattress inflated, Finn dressed and installed in bed, Diego thought he should get something in him before he drifted off. He tried tap water first but Finn jerked his head away, the color draining from his face.

“Tainted,” he gasped. “Great Dagda, it reeks.”

Diego sniffed above the glass, puzzled. New York City water, piped in from the mountains, was cleaner than most but it was treated. Chlorine. Fluoride. Maybe Finn had an allergy to one or the other.

Bottled water produced a less violent reaction. Finn smelled it, nose crinkled, but he downed half the bottle in desperate gulps before Diego could take it back from him. Hydration, at least, wouldn’t be an issue.

The hurdle of food remained. Starvation often did terrible things to the body’s ability to accept nourishment. Not the best time to offer a hamburger and fries. Diego decided he should start with the foods one was supposed to give sick kids: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, minus the applesauce, since he didn’t have any.

Finn wouldn’t touch the boiled-in-tap-water rice. He nibbled a corner of the toast and set it aside with murmured apologies. The banana completely stumped him. He turned it over and over in his hands and finally tried to bite through the skin.

“You eat these?” He handed it back to Diego with a grimace.

All right, so his reality doesn’t include New World fruit. Diego peeled the banana for him and handed it back. “You don’t eat the skin. Try the inside.”

Finn took a careful bite and his eyes widened. “That’s not bad.”

Diego could only watch anxiously, praying his guest wouldn’t choke, as the rest disappeared in three bites. With a contented sigh, Finn handed the peel back, gathered the covers into a circle in the center of the mattress, and curled into a tight ball inside his nest. By the time Diego brought an extra comforter to cover him, Finn was fast asleep.

Clean and at rest, his face had a childlike quality with his hair tucked behind one finely-curved ear. Diego wasn’t certain it was a handsome face, almost unearthly in its delicacy, and though Finn stood six inches taller, he had the odd feeling he could scoop that long frame up in his arms without much effort.

He backed out and closed the door as quietly as he could, confident Finn wouldn’t die on him. Tomorrow he would see about finding the right agency to take his guest, preferably one that wouldn’t hand him right over to immigration.

A few hours of peace while Finn slept should let him at least get through the current chapter he was writing.

The moment he sat ready at his desk, fingers poised over the keys, the phone rang.



About the Author:

While Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres, she writes both kinds of gay romance – Science Fiction and Fantasy. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author's head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.
For more information on Angel’s work, please visit:

Website: Erotic Fiction for the Hungry Mind
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Angel.Martinez.author
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1010469.Angel_Martinez
Email: ravenesperanza@yahoo.com


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 Angel, thank you so much for visiting! I thoroughly enjoyed your words and, as a parent, related so to them. And, in a completely different way, related as an author as well. And I can't tell you how good it was to re-visit Finn. You know he's one of my favorite characters. Just one of those characters one always remembers. 


2 comments:

Paula Loder said...

Angel I just finished Rarely Pure and Never Simple and I was astounded by the story. I loved it and I'm queuing up Finn now and I just can't wait. Thank you for sharing your gift of storytelling. I'm so looking forward to reading what you will create now that you're free to spend your time doing what you love most. Your parents must be so proud :)

Angel Martinez said...

*hugs* Thank you, Paula! I'm so pleased that you read Rarely Pure :) (There will be more from Blaze and Damien - now that I do have the time!)

My parents were bemused to say the least at my choice of writing material, but my dad reads all of them ;)