L.J. is a queer author, a feminist, and a geek with an MFA in writing Popular Fiction. L.J. has an annoying tendency to ship everyone, disappear if no-one is supervising, and struggles with everything except making up stories.
Welcome, L.J. I’m happy to have you visiting my blog today. Please introduce us to Freeing the Witch.
I’ve written the entire Heart of the Mountain series to prove to my partner and roommate that I can write more than super dark m/m fantasies. So, if they’ve had to listen to me complain for six months about shy people in love, it’s their fault. The challenge was to take an Enemies to Lovers and explore it with genuinely sweet people. Watching this witch and wolf learn to love not just each other but themselves has made this one of my favorite stories (and probably my best to date).
Where did you find your inspiration for the story? Was it a person, a current event, something you witnessed, or something else?
Freeing the Witch: Heart of the Mountain 2, like most of my Evernight stories, originally came out of an anthology call. Evernight was looking for shifter stories and I brainstormed up a whole wolf pack. I ended up not getting in the anthology, but the first story, Hiring the Tiger, was published as a Romance-on-the-go. This opened me up to write the rest of the series and I started thinking about the rest of that shifter pack seriously.
Did you face any obstacles or challenges while writing the story and if so, what were they?
Three big obstacles.
- I’ve never written a sequel or series book, so I wasn’t sure how to balance the amount of telling/world-building.
- Since I got my erotic writing career started as a combination of fanfiction writer and explicit shorts for gay magazines, I have next to no experience in writing about ladies having sex. Writing F/M is a brave new world for me.
- Shy people suck at falling in love.
What have you learned from the main characters in your story?
Emaula and Porter are both people who have a lot of anxiety making their own decisions, either because they’ve had stronger personalities making the important calls for them or because they prioritize the happiness of the group over their own. Since I’m a contrary bitch who starts fights for the fun, this was a weird head-space to get into, but one that has helped me grow as a person. After writing these characters, I find myself listening more to my more… beta friends and trying to take their non-verbal cues more often. Unless I want to have my way, then I steamroll them as usual.
How much emphasis do you put on supporting characters to move the plot of your stories along? Have any of your supporting characters ever gotten their own story?
Yeah, this is a problem for me. I’m a huge anime fan, so I’ve gotten really into the idea of big sprawling narratives with total side-tracks into other character’s stories. Much of my process is honing down to just the main story and the main people. But with Heart of the Mountain, I finally get the chance to take each side character and fully explore their role in any situation. It’s been a blast taking a character with two or three scenes in one book and making them into the star of their own show.
Do you write in other genres and if so, what are they? What genres would you like to try that you haven’t already?
Under other pen names, I publish YA. As myself, I recently won honorable mention in the Writier’s Digest Pop Fiction contest for Horror. Someday I’d like to write a full length horror story, but knowing me it will end up being closer to an erotic thriller.
What is your writing process? Are you a patnser or a plotter, or a little of both?
I don’t begin writing a story until I know the end, but I will take notes and organize and outline (which often leads me to the end of the book). Many of my friends in NANOWRIMO and in workshop tell me this makes me a plotter.
However, that outline is stupidly detailed, often involving full written out scenes, dialogue blocks without any action or tagging, and only occasional sections that resemble and outline of plot (usually I follow either the hero’s journey or the five-act structure). Since these “outlines” take me weeks of frenetic work, the pantsers in my writer’s group insists I’m one of them, careening out of control, letting the characters dictate what happens, and relying on revision to make order of the chaos.
So, I believe the technical term for what I am is a planster.
I’m a fervent believer in rewrites and revisions. I rewrite a novel completely at least once during the process, which is a great way to cut out extra material.
What do you do in your down time to feed your soul?
Watch a ton of Anime, take long walks, explore wherever I’m living at the moment (I’ve moved seven times in the past nine years in such exotic locations as Wildwood, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, Galway, Ireland, New York, NY, and in January I move to Shanghai, China.)
What’s next on your literary horizon?
Writing the next Heart of the Mountain Book, and hopefully having a new M/M story in the new Evernight Anthology.
Emaula Whispel thought she’d be happy if she could live outside her mother’s magical stone tower, but when Emaula starts working as a chef at her friend’s trading post, she becomes smitten with Porter, her co-cook. Now Emuala’s magic is obsessed with possessing this quiet, charming wolf, and the budding witch has to fight to control her powers and her lust, to prevent her new friend from becoming her accidental victim.
Porter was created to serve witches by opening doors into their dreams, and he is neither surprised by nor afraid of Emaula’s magic. What startles him is that this powerful witch genuinely seems to care for something as lowly as a wolf. Now all Porter has to do is prove his love for her is not an enchantment, before her mother takes away everything Emaula holds dear.
Time was strange in the dreams. Minutes could be hours. Hours could pass in seconds.
And somewhere someone was trying to reach him. Someone wanted him and had taken measures to have him. Was is the little girl? The Munawn’s daughter. She’d be all grown-up now and remember him fondly. She must have extraordinary power to reach him.
A light came on under a door, hemming the edges with a low purple light and filling the room with that melancholic tint. The one who had shaved her hair and wore black gemstones that glowed purple. Porter knew her name, but he refused to think it. He wanted nothing to do with them. He had been turned out. He wasn’t allowed to think of them anymore. He didn’t have too.
The door creaked open, and Porter winced. Whether he wanted them or not, one of them was coming through. He didn’t have much choice. Or at least, he wouldn’t when he saw her.
The light poured into the room, flooded it with the scents of spring, vanilla, and lavender and bluebells. Intoxicating, lulling. The smell of a beautiful woman who wanted him. The fragrance of an herb sachet dropped into cold water on a hot day and stirred.
“Oh, Emaula.” Porter hadn’t smelled any magic in the tea he’d sipped as a sign of good faith. Just like him to misread a person and get bespelled. He wished Sock had come down with him. Sock wouldn’t make that mistake.
Porter struggled against the weight of her dream world and lifted himself slowly on one arm. She hadn’t fully opened the door, yet. Was just peering through, shyly.
Emaula was not a woman; she was the moon. The shadows of the world curled around and concealed half her face, leaving only the paleness around her starlight blue eyes and the soft darkness of the purple light.
Now was the time to stop her. To say something mean. To beg her to stop. To remind her of her oath. Or to … to—
Emaula divested the darkness. Unveiled her lovely face. Freed her hair, such a fine pale gold that it shone in this dream world, illuminated her thin pink lips. Porter had forgotten how beautiful the witches could be. How the sight of them stole breath, sanity, free will.
The woman could swear there was no harm in her. How could he be harmed by her? When now all he ever wanted in the world was her.
She met his gaze and smiled timidly. She stepped into the sea of sheets and pillows, delicately moving through the luxurious silks toward his body. The black silk wound around him shimmered under the radiance of her body. His stiff cock suffocated and strained under the sleek material.
The witch would get what she wanted. He had enough experience with witches to know they always did. These women could be cruel. They could be unbelievably kind, as well. And he honestly didn’t know which was worse.
He did know there was no point in defying her. No point in not taking what pleasure he could. No point in being mean to the mistress. Had that been one of The Munawn’s mantras? Or another wolf’s good advice?
Emaula knelt beside him in the bed, her hands modestly on her knees, her eyes big and earnest. “Porter, is this all right?”
He didn’t understand.
Was she asking permission? No witch did that. Had to be a trick.
He wasn’t sure what she was so embarrassed about, but she was damned cute when she was. She twisted her hands through the sheets as if she had to keep herself from touching him. “Is … is this all right?”
Was it all right? What the hell kind of question was that for a witch to ask a wolf? He wasn’t going to upset her by saying no.
The witch stroked his thigh through the sheet. His cock, already damningly stiff, pulsed at the nearness of her hand. That ought to answer her question.
He didn’t even think he wanted to say no, but how could he know the truth here? When she controlled the world? When just watching her come into the room had reduced him to nothing but a hard cock and the inner monologue of a scared puppy?
“Porter. Will you say something, please?”
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