Jan 31, 2011
*** UPDATE ***
Contest now open thru the Saturday 2-5-11
Happy Monday everyone! Today for AAD Meet and Greet I have 2 wonderful people! I had the opportunity to meet and chat with them last year at AAD, and Can't wait to chat with them again! So help me give a hell of a welcome to Augusta Li AKA Gus, and Eon!
Eon (left) & Gus (right)
JJBC-Do you have any hobbies?
Gus: I like to make all kinds of things: masks, costumes, dolls, or anything that occurs to me. I like to draw, particularly soft yaoi/shounen-ai. I read manga, watch anime, and play video games a lot more than I should.
Eon: I enjoy cooking. I also volunteer and act at my local theatre. I love comics, movies and video games. I enjoy sewing costumes and cosplay. I also make sock creatures.
JJBC-What do you like to read?
Gus: I am open to anything with a good story and interesting characters. I prefer some aspect of adventure, and so I gravitate toward paranormal, fantasy, steampunk and things like that. I'm not squeamish about violence or horror either. The only books I really dislike are those that seem to be rehashing the same types of characters again and again. After a while the genres get so saturated that the books aren't different enough from each other to be engaging. I love fiction that is unique and daring.
Eon: I love to read a variety of genres, particularly fantasy, horror and humor. Some of my favorite writers are Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I also enjoy the occasional non-fiction book. I just finished reading three biographies of the Beatles.
JJBC-Can you tell us some of your favorite books you've read?
Gus: My favorite book of all time is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I enjoy Cherie Priest's steampunk novels. I'm absolutely in love with HamletMachine's stellar comic Starfighter. I'll read just about anything by Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, or Terry Pratchett.
Eon: My favorite books are the Harry Potter series. I'm a sucker for Sherlock Holmes as well. I like the Lord of the Rings books, anything Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett write. Also I'll read anything by Mike Mignola, Alan Moore or Frank Miller.
JJBC-Who are some of your favorite authors?
Gus: I can't. I have too many. I'll fill the whole page and still leave out somebody I shouldn't.
Eon: All of the contemporary authors previously mentioned and many classic authors as well. Edgar Allan Poe.
JJBC-If you can meet any author in person dead or alive, who would it be and why him/her?
Gus: Can I say Sephiroth? My second choice would be Yoshitaka Amano, because he's such a brilliant artist.
Eon: I would love to meet Neil Gaiman. He just seems like a great person.
JJBC-What part of AAD are you most looking forward to?
Gus: I look forward to spending "real life" time with friends I usually only get to talk to on-line. I would be lying if I said I wasn't really excited about all the opportunities to get dressed up!
Eon: I love being able to sit down and talk to other authors and readers. It's also a fantastic excuse to get dressed up and I'm already thinking about my costumes for the parties.
Eon: The whole weekend was great but I guess my favorite part was finally being considered a real person and not just a figment of Gus' imagination.
JJBC-Are you on any panels? if so can you tell us which ones to look for you on?
Gus: As of right now we are on the yaoi panel, of course, the partnered writing panel, a panel on subgenres, a paranormal panel and a steampunk panel.
Eon: Same as Gus.
JJBC-How did you first get into writing? Has it always been your dream?
Gus: I just have a need to make things, and books are one of the things I like to make.
Eon. I have a deep need to tell stories. If I didn't write books or create comics my head would explode. So it's a medical thing.
JJBC-What genre do you write?
Gus: I would not necessarily call it romance, but rather fantasy/adventure with strong erotic elements. This is not to say that the characters aren't in love, only that them falling in love, while integral to the plot, is not the entirety of the plot. I think the best romantic writing involves the emotions of the characters being intertwined with the rest of the story. All of our stories feature gay protagonists.
Eon: I write a smattering of sci-fi, fantasy, action-adventure and humor. Many of my stories have a strong romantic/erotic element.
JJBC-Do you have any must haves when you sit down to write?
Gus: Some red wine is always nice...
JJBC-Can you tell us how a typical writing day for you is?
Gus: I have no typical day. Sometimes I get inspired and will work for like twelve hours without even food, other days I just can't feel it and do nothing.
Eon: Most nights I come home from my day job, play a video game for a bit and then have some wine and do some writing.
JJBC-What is one thing you think sets you apart from other authors?
Gus: Originality, or at least I try! While I like fantasy, there are some types of characters I won't touch, because they've been done to death and if I can't add anything really unique then, in my opinion, I shouldn't add anything. I think because of the influences on our generation, anime, video games, etc., our material is more fast-paced, more violent at times, and just not afraid to be a little more bizarre than traditional romance. Also Eon has a fantastic sense of humor and an uncanny ability to parody conventions that I think makes our work very different.
Eon: I can't say. I just write what I'd want to read and hope others will like it as well. They seem to. If I had to point to one thing it would be a delightful wackiness.
JJBC-Can you share with us anything you are currently working on?
Gus: Right now I am putting the finishing touches on a steampunk novel that we co-authored, Boots for the Gentleman. We are already also working on a sequel and some spin-offs set in the same world. I am also finishing up an urban fantasy that takes place in the 1970's.
Eon: I'm almost finished with the sequel to Amorela Veritath, the story that appeared in Gus' anthology, Lemon Kisses. It's a farcical fantasy adventure. I've also started writing a pirate book but just in my head for the moment.
Lemon Kisses: http://www.yaoimagic.com/lemonkisses.html
JJBC-Can you share with us your first book ever published?
Gus: Haha, aside from our award-winning fiction in our middle-school journal, the first story we wrote together was Lockdown, a short about a young super-hero living in his father's shadow and in the closet about his sexuality. It features our flamboyant, half-demon international criminal and sorcerer, Taro Miyake, still one of my favorite characters to write. He is also the star of Beholding the Moon. He's super fun to work with because he doesn't feel that human laws or morals apply to him, he's impetuous and his motivations are unfathomable to the people around him. I don't know if he's even "good," deep down.
It’s been hard for Brian, known to the world as the super-hero Invinci-Boy, to the fill the shoes of his father, the venerable Captain Invincible. Forced to keep his sexuality secret, Brian has taken on more and more dangerous missions in the hopes of winning his father’s approval. Help comes from an unexpected source when Brian finds himself trapped in a nuclear power facility with Captain Invincible’s greatest rival.
Blurb for Beholding the Moon:
Taro Miyake, half-demon sorceror and flamboyant international criminal (and star of Lockdown) is accustomed to getting exactly what he wants. What he wants is control of Shanghai's underworld and the love of the beautiful assassin, Qi Lu Bai.
Those books are here:
Lockdown - http://www.king-cart.com/Phaze/product=Lockdown/exact_match=exact
Beholding the Moon - http://www.king-cart.com/Phaze/product=Beholding+the+Moon
JJBC-Can your share with us your most recent release, or a soon to be release?
Gus: Here's a blurb and excerpt from my latest novella at Dreamspinner Press, Neskaya.
Every nine years, on the winter solstice, Prince Neskaya's people conduct a ritual called the Midvinterblot, sacrificing nine horses, nine bulls, nine hogs, and nine men in the hopes of the return of light and fertility. With crops failing for the third year in a row, the sacrifice to win back the gods' favor is especially important. But the gods are demanding more than the usual tribute: they demand the life of his only son, Neskaya.
Lars, Neskaya's best friend and secret lover, is willing to fight for the life of the man he loves, despite Neskaya's odd complacency. Lars has no choice but to seek supernatural aid to save him, and he'll have to somehow convince Neskaya to fight beside him against the entire hungry village if they are to have any chance to survive.
Here's an excerpt. Please enjoy!
I KNEW what the others said about Neskaya: that his name held no meaning in our language, that without the names of his ancestors he could inherit none of their traits, that his sorceress mother had seduced our king, and that his coloring was strange and wrong. Warriors and old women alike gossiped that Neskaya held too little interest in feasting, mead drinking, and wenching for a healthy young man. They spoke of his long, silent spells and of his days missing from his father’s grand hall. Many speculated on where he went, though no one knew for sure.
But none dared say he did not love and excel at battle. None dared to question his courage. I had stood shoulder to shoulder with him on many fields, his swords moving in arcs so fast and graceful that my eyes could scarcely follow. I wondered if any others lived who had heard his little chuckle when an enemy fell at his feet and the warm blood painted his white cheek? Of all of our people, Neskaya alone could fight with a sword in each hand, instead of a single blade or axe. He wielded them so beautifully that when he fought; it looked more enchanting than a dance. He was a fine warrior, deadly and quick, a man any other would happily take on a raid, and yet a man no other could sit comfortably with around the fire afterward. As for me, I had known Neskaya long, half of my life, and while I could not refute what others said of his strangeness, I didn’t feel ill at ease with him. He was the best swordsman, the best archer, and the fastest runner of our people. For these reasons, and many others, some I had no words to name, I loved him.
I’d followed him as he’d slipped away from his father’s table. The other men, distracted by knife throwing, arm wrestling, or just drunkenness, did not see us leave the feasting hall. Neskaya, in his blood-red cloak, moved like a shadow over the snow. I worried that my own clumsy feet would alert him to my pursuit, but if Neskaya became aware of me he neither stopped nor turned. Though cold as the grave, the night was at least still, with no wind to bite my face or pelt me with the ice from the roofs and eaves. Even so, I missed the fire and spiced drink already, and I wondered why Neskaya hurried so recklessly from these comforts. To find out, I stayed a good bit behind him as he descended the hillock from his father’s gates to the village. I hid in doorways and behind carts as he passed the little wooden houses and shops. When he entered the woods, the sacred grove where we offered to the gods, the holy trees wrapped me in their shadows and obscured me from his sight.
Sacrilege though it was, I hated this grove of twisted trees, fed for centuries on blood. Even in the perfect stillness, their boughs creaked and moaned, and it seemed to me that the stench of death clung to the soil that nursed them. Why would Neskaya come here? I shuddered as a wolf bayed and hid myself behind a thick trunk to watch him.
Neskaya cast his hood back and shook his dark hair. His black locks were one of the many things that aroused suspicion among our fair-haired people. None had ever seen such a thing. His hair fell across his face, mirroring the silhouettes of the trees that striped the snow. Neskaya pulled off one of his leather gloves and laid his bare palm against the wood of a tree. Next he went to the nearest tree and touched it the same way, skin to bark. Moving in a circular pattern, he touched every tree, his quickening gate spiraling further and further from the temple. These woods stretched far; I feared I would lose him, or that the wolves would find him, or me. It did not take long before he melted into the dark. I could no longer see him flit from tree to tree, nor hear the crunch of his boots on the snow.
“Neskaya!” I yelled.
To my surprise, he’d been standing only a few feet off, regarding me with his shoulder resting against a trunk and his ankles crossed. “Lars,” he said in greeting, and he then turned and walked to a long, wooden bench.
He sat down, and I sat beside him. I found I could see well, with the moon nearly full and the snow reflecting her light. Neskaya’s black eyes glittered. His lips were full in a way I’d only seen as a result of injury, though Neskaya’s lips swelled without losing their fine shape. Also, they were red—an unnatural red that couldn’t be explained away as ruddiness or health. No, his face was as white as a bone and his lips the color of blood. Though I’d done so before, I removed my glove and touched his lower lip, sure that it would burst under the pressure. When it didn’t, I slid closer to Neskaya and thrust my two fingers beneath his upper lip, drawing it up and seeing the same stark contrast inside his mouth: white teeth against scarlet gums. I ran my fingertips over his top row of teeth and then over his bottom. He allowed this. I wriggled my thumb beneath my finger and then parted the two, forcing Neskaya’s mouth open. As I rubbed circles over his tongue, enjoying its texture, my other hand closed in his hair and inclined his head further back. A little gasp escaped him, and his lips fell further apart. My face moved toward his, eager to taste his mouth, devour his mounds of ruby flesh with my lips and teeth.
Instead I withdrew and pushed him off a little too forcefully with the hand that held his hair. He didn’t give me the satisfaction of shock or hurt, only looked at me with his steady, unreadable gaze. I’d known him almost ten years and still found myself unable to decipher his eyes most times. “Neskaya,” I hissed. “Why do you not come to my bed anymore? Why do you not ask me to yours?” And then, perhaps because I didn’t want to let him answer, I asked, “Why come to this forsaken place on such a night?”
“This is a holy place,” he said.
“That’s no answer,” I said, getting frustrated. I wanted to leave. I remembered the sacrifices hanging from these branches, strangling slowly: horses, hogs, bulls, and men. And soon it would be time to hold the Midvinterblot again, to buy the gods’, the ancestors’, and the alves’ favors with blood.
As if reading my mind (and I’d thought many times that he could) Neskaya said, “It’s almost time.”
“Every nine years,” I said.
“Do you remember last time?” he asked.
I’d been eleven and had just lost my father to a petty war with a nearby kingdom. I remembered men and beasts dangling above me and priests showering me with blood. Then somebody shoved a few chunks of roasted meat and a cup of ale into my hands, and I squatted in the gore-soaked snow near the fire. As the men and women grew intoxicated, as they coupled and fought, I watched around the edges of the circle of orange light, because now and then a boy with strange eyes that sloped up at the corners and a strange mouth like a berry ready to burst with ripeness appeared, watching me. As soon as I turned to look at him, he disappeared. A few times I’d run into the shadows to seek him, thinking he might be an alve I could catch and demand a wish from. But I never found him, and the thrashing of the dying bodies in the trees, the awful stuff that rained down from them, drove me back into the light. I feared the spirits of the dead and the other alves that lingered in the twilight on this night and had not the courage to be alone among them.
The next day my mother and I went to live at the King’s great hall. The King and my father had been closer than brothers, and with my father in Valhal, the King welcomed us in his home. My mother went off with the women, and the King took me to meet the sons of the warriors living on and around his estate. Many of them were boys around my age. One of them, to my bewilderment, was the alve-boy from the Midvinterblot. His name was Prince Neskaya, and he’d turned nine years old the night before.
“Do you remember?” I asked Neskaya in turn.
“Mmmm,” he answered, without elaborating.
“I remember seeing you, though I hadn’t met you yet.”
“Yes, I remember,” he said. “Lars?”
“Tonight,” he said, standing and draping his hand over my straw-colored curls. “Come to my bed. Come.”
He kissed my hairline, turned on his heel, and melded with the forest-shade. The scent of his hair, and of his body beneath his woolen tunic, lingered for a moment, and I wanted to grab hold of it and clasp it to my chest. But a breath of wind whisked it from me and no trace remained of my Neskaya nor his smell. Alone, I waited with only my cloud of frozen breath as a companion. I did not want to rejoin the feasting in the hall, if it could even be called feasting now that the crops had failed for the third summer in a row. I wanted to go straight to Neskaya’s bed and not be held up by a dance or wrestling match. I would be cross if detained, and so I waited to trek back to the King’s Hall.
It is available here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2124
Eon: My most recent release was in conjunction with Gus, Onikoroshi, a Halloween story that's the sequel to last year's Tree Fingers. My next release with Gus will be Boots for the Gentleman and then my as yet untitled sequel to Amorela Veritath.
JJBC-What has been your favorite book you have written so far? why is this one your favorite?
Gus: As cliche as it sounds, I love all of my characters. My favorite is usually whatever I am working on the time. Cole, Cammy and Bobby from Cole to Diamonds have a special place in my heart because I understood them so instantly and so well. Also I have a soft spot for magic-users.
Coal to Diamonds: One wouldn’t expect to find magic and evil in a rural Pennsylvania town, but that’s just what Cole discovers in his attempt to find a nice, quiet place to write his novel. After years apart, Cole’s childhood friends, disciples, and first loves return to him from brilliant lives that each took sudden turns for the worse. Cole is torn between the joy of being reunited with his lovers and the frightening possibility that he may have inadvertently caused their misfortune. If the friends cannot escape the machinations of the sinister wizard dwelling at the center of it all, none of them may live to find out. Cole’s only hope is to sacrifice himself, or risk losing them once again.
Eon: My favorite book that I have written so far is Amorela Veritath. It was so much fun to write and I included a LOT of humor in it.
JJBC-Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
Gus: Just thanks for having us, and I look forward to meeting everybody in August!
Eon: Can't wait to see my old friends and meet my new ones.
Where can readers find you?
Our website: http://www.yaoimagic.com/
Gus's Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Ninja.Gus
Our Twitter: http://twitter.com/#%21/GusAndEon
Gus's Blog: http://augusteli.blogspot.com/
Gus's DeviantArt: http://augustali.deviantart.com/
JJBC-Do you have a link to your book list?
Gus:They are all here, with links to lots of hot excerpts!
JJBC-Would you like to stop by and chat Today?
Gus:I would love to!
* WORLD WIDE / 2 Giveaways! *
Giveaway 1 - Gus & Eon: We will give away a pdf ebook of the commenter's choice worldwide. Choose from here http://www.yaoimagic.com/prose.html , and email the choice to augusta li 3 @ hotmail (no spaces).
Giveaway 2 - Within the US I'll give a copy of the Nerdvana anthology I contributed to (more on it here: http://www.yaoimagic.com/nerdvana.html) as well as some stickers and bookmarks featuring our original art work.
- Must leave a comment for Gus and/or Eon. They are stopping by today so chat and say hi!
- Must leave a valid e-mail (please do not add your complete e-mail. we do not want it picked up by spammers. for Exp: leave DOT instead of . , or AT instead of @ )
- PLEASE leave what country you live in for giveaway purposes ( EXP: US, CA )
*** UPDATE ***
Contest now open thru the Saturday 2-5-11
Thank you Gus and Eon for stopping by and sharing with us today! Can't wait to see you again in August!