Author Name: Anna Butler
Book Name: Heart Scarab
Series: Taking Shield
Book: Two (series should be read in order)
Release Date: July 22, 2015
Telnos is an unpleasant little planet, inhabited by religious fanatics in the festering marshlands and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines up in the hills. But the Maess want Telnos, and Shield Captain Bennet’s job is to get out as many civilians as he can—a task that leaves him lying on Telnos while the last cutter of evacuees escapes in the teeth of the Maess invasion.
Bennet is listed missing in action, believed dead on a planet now overrun by Maess drones. His family is grieving. His long-term partner, Joss, is both mourning and guilt-ridden.
And Fleet Lieutenant Flynn? Flynn is desolate. Flynn is heart-broken… no. Flynn is just broken
Pages or Words: 97,900 words
Categories: Gay Fiction, Science Fiction
Flynn liked kissing. In fact, Flynn considered himself something of an expert in the art. He’d tried it in all its forms, from the first tentative pressing together of juvenile lips that had you wondering what all the fuss was about, to the discovery that if you just opened your mouth and, you know, kind of moved everything, your tongue suddenly had a lot more positive uses than just allowing you to articulate clearly and swallow things without choking. Flynn got the hang of it, ran with it, and never looked back.
Soft kisses and hard kisses; kisses that were wet and slobbery with people who didn’t know exactly how to hold their lips to get the best and sexiest effect, and wet and sexy kisses with people who did. Kisses that turned the blood to molten lava and kisses that cooled you as you came down. Kisses that inflamed and kisses that soothed; feverish kisses and languid after-sex kisses. Kisses that meant only good fellowship and casual affection, and kisses that were desire incarnate.
Flynn had not only tried them all, he’d made them his own. He was considered by all the relevant authorities to be rather a specialist in the area.
Flynn really liked kissing. He had been gratified by the discovery that Bennet liked it too. Because now he could add slow kisses to the repertoire. Kisses so leisured and intense the world came to a stop while a hot tongue moved over his lips, explored each and every tooth down to the last molar, while teeth pulled at his bottom lip, biting it gently until it was swollen and hot and heavy, and he had to lick his lip to cool it and met Bennet’s tongue with his. Only then, would Bennet’s mouth close over his and start a real in-earnest kiss that lasted several more centuries. Those were kisses Bennet seemed to specialise in.
Flynn was always willing to take tips from another expert. A man should always try to extend his technique.
From Wilde City Press as an ebook or paperback.
Hi Anna, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
First, thank you for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here.
Heart Scarab is the second of the Taking Shield series, which charts the life and loves of Shield Captain Bennet. Taking Shield is both a sweeping sci-fi story (old school sci-fi with spaceships and lasers, aliens and handsome heroes) and an equally sweeping love story. I should warn you, though, that it isn’t a romance in the sense that it won’t be what most m/m romance readers would expect.
Thousands of years after an alternate-universe Earth went dark, the people of one of her colonies, Albion, are struggling in a war that’s probably unwinnable, against aliens called the Maess. Although humans have been fighting the aliens’ cyborg drones for over a century, they haven’t seen a real, organic Maess. Set against the war, is the love story between Bennet and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. They meet in the first book, Gyrfalcon, but for various reasons theirs isn’t going to be an easy love. They meet and part several times before the end. In Heart Scarab, Bennet’s return after being declared missing in action, presumed dead, puts intolerable strain on his relationship with his long term partner, Joss, but paves the way for a reunion with Flynn.
As for me, I worked for the UK civil service for many years as a communications specialist, working on everything from marketing employment programmes to running an internal TV service. These days I’m concentrating on trying to make it as a writer, combining my love of old school science fiction and m/m themes. I live in London with my husband and our cockapoo, Molly. We’re currently house hunting, looking for a country retreat.
Really, I’m interviewing Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who stars alongside Shield Captain Bennet in the series. So, Flynn, tell me…
Q: What’s your job like?
A: I’m a fighter pilot on a dreadnought, the Gyrfalcon. No. Scrub that. I am the best fighter pilot on the best dreadnought in the entire Fleet.
We fly small space-atmosphere fighters called Hornets. They’re capable of short range faster-than-light travel using hyperspace windows, but please don’t ask me to explain the details to you. I’m a pilot, not an engineer. I’m more interested in the laser cannon nacelles than the engine specs.
We’re at war. We’ve been at war for over a century now. A lot of our time is spent on patrols, watching for Maess incursions into Albion’s space. Usually we’re up against Maess fighter drones: ship-shaped cyborgs powered not by a pilot, but a few Maess brain cells. Seriously creepy things.
We get into a fair few skirmishes, and every now and again we come up against a Maess battleship. They’re bigger than the Gyrfalcon, even, and carry hundreds of fighter-drones on board. That’s when things get exciting.
Q: Would you rather be respected or feared? Why?
A: Can I be both?
You know, we’re all scared to death of Colonel Quist. She’s the Gyrfalcon’s exec, running the bridge and the Flag Office for the entire flotilla. That woman has the brassiest balls in Fleet. Even I gibber when she gets that look on her face, the one that suggests the day your personal ancestral bacterium evolved out of the primordial slime was a sad, sad day for humanity. Seriously, the one time I saw her crack a smile, Hell was growing icicles. She’s great at management by terror.
Same time, she’s the one who has our lives in her hands, every time we launch. She knows what it’s like to be a pilot. She was the best of the best, twenty years ago. She knows what she’s doing. She came up through the ranks—the Commander’s a Seigneur, one of the elite, but not the colonel. She got to where she is on sheer balls and skill; fought her way up without influence or favour. I respect that.
I want to be Colonel Quist when I grow up. That way I get both.
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: I don’t read a lot, to be honest. Cruz, my best friend, would tell you she doesn’t think I know how to read anything other than porn. She might be right. I just had a look at the books on the shelf, and almost every single one of them has a picture of a naked girl on the cover. Usually she’s carrying a laser and claims to be a pilot. Or it’s a naked man, ditto. Thing is, you can’t really fly a military plane, naked. The harness would chafe in the worst places.
Q: If you could go anywhere, all expenses paid, where would you go?
A: Back home on Albion, the southernmost province, Galatia, has the best pleasure resorts on the planet. I went there once for a long weekend—all I could afford on a lieutenant’s paltry pay—and man, was that the last word in luxury!
Money buys you anything there. Anything at all. The finest food and wine? Yours. Designer clothes? Yours. Exciting games of chance at the casino? Yours, if you can afford the entrance fee. Pretty girls and even prettier boys? Yours.
It kind of reminds me what I’m fighting the Maess for. The preservation of our race and culture—and the chance for a bit of non-stop partying.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I was born on Thorn, one of the oldest of the settlement planets Albion founded. Thorn’s mainly farmers. I’d have been a lousy farmer, so maybe things turned out for the best.
I don’t remember my dad at all. My mother was Macedonian, but he must have been white, given my colouring. Dunno. She never talked about him. When I was a kid, I imagined he was probably in the military, fighting against the Maess when they invaded Thorn. Maybe he died then. I dunno about that, either. I never really got the chance to ask Mum. She topped herself when I was eight. Hanged herself. That wasn’t fun.
I got shipped back to an orphanage on Albion afterwards. It wasn’t bad there. They tried, anyway. I was a bright kid, and they pushed me for a scholarship to the Military Academy. That worked out just fine. I was the best pilot in the entire Academy, and on graduation, I lucked out and found a berth on the Fleet’s best dreadnought.
I think that takes us back to where we started…
About the author:
Anna Butler was a communications specialist for many years, working in UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to running an internal TV service. She now spends her time indulging her love of old-school science fiction. She lives in the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockapoo.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7037247.Anna_Butler
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas
- Chance to enter a rafflecopter for
(i) top prize of an Amazon gift voucher (is $50 overdoing it? It makes for a decent prize!)
(ii) second prize, winner’s choice of a Heart Scarab ipad cover or kindle cover
(ii) third prize, a Gyrfalcon iPad cover
a Rafflecopter giveaway
- a copy of my novella, FlashWired (epub, mobi or pdf) on every stop to one random commentator