by Lou Harper
The world always tries to stuff you into neat little categories, but in my experience most things in life are anything but neat. I’m reminded of this fact every time I self-publish a book. Most of my books are produced by Samhain Publishing, but I like to put out a few myself in-between. Self-publishing comes with more control but also more work, responsibility, and headache—like choosing categories.
My latest release, Dead Man and the Army of Frogs, is about two guys who are partners in more ways than one. Denton is a necromancer. Bran is a witch, herbalist, and half-demon. They are neighbors, lovers, and work together exorcising both spirits of the dead and rogue demons. The book is a contemporary paranormal gay romantic mystery. With humor.
See my problem? When you upload your book to retailers you have two, maybe three categories to chose from. All Romance eBook is the only retailer I know with a “gay romance” category. All others force you to check the “gay fiction” box for the men-loving-men aspect of your book to make the list.
However, when I search for “gay fiction” I expect it to be about the gay experience. Man and the Army of Frogs isn’t. It’s a sexy escapist fantasy featuring gay protagonists. Maybe it’s a gay urban fantasy. Although, when I hear “urban fantasy,” I expect a story much like the cover of a Jim Butcher book: dark. Dead Man isn’t, despite the subject.
Reader expectations cut many ways. Denton Mills, aka Dead Man, first appeared as a supporting character in another book of mine, Spirit Sanguine. That story was about vampires, but not the rich and broody kind. No, the bloodsuckers of Spirit Sanguine had jobs, sense of humor, and sexual kinks. A lot of reader comments I got went along the lines of “I don’t care for vampires, but I loved this book.” I fear a lot more readers didn’t give my story a chance simply because they’d had their fill of rich and broody vamps.
Not surprisingly, every time I submit one of my books to online retailers I feel like that portly cat in the youtube video, who tries to squeeze into a too tiny box.
About Dead Man and the Army of Frogs
All Denton wanted was a few minions. He got frogs instead.
Web developer by day and necromancer by night, Denton Mills is used to seeing things nobody else can. When he starts hallucinating frogs, he simply assumes they have something to do with his boyfriend Bran’s obsession.
Bran Maurell is a witch, who in a youthful outburst, accidentally turned his then-lover, Peter, into a croaker. Bran has been trying ever since to reverse the spell. A fresh amphibian encounter only spurs him to double his efforts.
As if Peter’s ghost coming between them weren’t enough, Denton and Bran are forced to deal with several errant spirits stalking the citizens of Chicago. Between a French chef who refuses to admit he’s dead, and malevolent creatures bent on causing mayhem, jealousy may be the least of Denton’s problems.
Available at: Amazon, All Romance eBooks, Smashwords
Don’t forget to check out Heather C’s review of Dead Man & the Army of Frogs to see what she thought of it!
An Excerpt from Dead Man and the Army of Frogs
“What in the name of Hecate are you wearing?” Bran’s tone teetered between bafflement and alarm.
Denton had anticipated Bran’s reaction, and secretly reveled in being able to surprise his generally unflappable boyfriend. He had promised to buy them a pair of kilts months ago but he knew Bran hadn’t taken him seriously. Taking two steps into the living room he twirled around in a totally non-girly way. “It’s called a utility kilt.” He swiveled his hips to show off the side of the garment. “See, it even has pockets for storing stuff. You know, keys, wallet, a bag of graveyard dust. Whatever you got. Practical, eh?”
Technically, his kilt had gone well beyond mere utility with its steampunk-inspired design of straps, buckles, and other embellishments, but Denton had always liked extras. He’d wanted the kilt the moment he laid eyes on it at the online store.
Bran stared at the tan fabric first, then at Denton’s bare legs showing between the hem and the orange socks puddling around his ankles. “It looks like a skirt to me.”
Denton eagerly clarified the situation. “Nah, it only would be a skirt if I wore underpants.”
With a pained expression Bran closed his eyes and kept them shut for several seconds—possibly counting to ten. When he opened them again they brimmed with resignation. “You’re going to freeze your balls off.”
“We’re driving, aren’t we?”
“My balls will be fine.” Denton did a quick shimmy with his hips. The swoosh of the thick cotton against his skin was anything but unpleasant. “You should try this; it feels so…liberating.”
Bran’s jaws set in a stubborn line. “I’m not going to a dinner at your friend’s place wearing a skirt.”
“Kilt. And Joy’s your friend too now. Anyway, I meant around the house. Instead of those baggy jeans. The kilt I bought for you is tasteful and black, just how you like your clothing, but still functional with a pocket on one side for your eyes of newt or whatnot.” He closed the few steps separating them till they were toe-to-toe. He wrapped his arms around Bran’s waist. “It would be much more comfortable for your tail.” Denton wasn’t talking euphemistically. Bran had a perfectly formed, hairless, and surprising agile tail. Apparently, stuff like this happened when you had a demon for a father. Denton slipped a hand down to Bran’s backside, over the spot where ordinary people had the beginning of their coccyx and pressed his finger at the root of Bran’s bonus appendage. “Just think about it,” Denton said quickly to cut off possible protest.
Bran sighed. “Fine, I’ll think about it.”
Denton grinned. “Good, because I have a pornucopia of fantasies of you in a kilt.”
About Lou Harper
Under a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. There was never a time when stories weren’t romping around in her head. She is currently embroiled in a ruinous romance with adjectives. In her free time Lou stalks deviant words and feral narratives.
Lou’s favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings.
Lou has misspent most of her life in parts of Europe and the US, but is now firmly settled in Los Angeles and worships the sun. However, she thinks the ocean smells funny. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk.
Check out Lou on her Website or Blog.
Lou has graciously offered up an eBook copy of Dead Man and the Army of Frogs to one lucky winner!! The giveaway starts now and ends August 15, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. To enter, just click the link below!
Please be aware that the only way to enter the giveaway is to click the Rafflecopter link above. Any comments on this post will not count towards entering the giveaway, except to verify your Rafflecopter entry.
Don’t forget to check out Heather C’s review of Dead Man and the Army of Frogs to see what she thought of it!