ABIDING HEART

By A.J. Llewellyn

My new book Abiding Heart is out today and this third installment of the Pearl Harbor series is probably my favorite. Tinder and Jason are together, united in their desire to protect Hawaii and help rebuild their precious island home in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I’ve immersed myself in history to write the love story of Tinder and Jason, two gay men living in war-torn Honolulu. When I was in Hawaii in September researching Book 4, Avenging Heart (which will be released April 23, 2012 by Total-e-Bound) and my upcoming December 18 release Christmas in Flip Flops (Amber Allure), it was a very different Honolulu I visited from my previous one.

The Honolulu of this very minute actually gave me a small glimpse into what the island city must have been like after Pearl Harbor. Anyone who reads my books knows I love Hawaii and I am guilty of romancing its past…wishing I could have experienced it before ‘we all came there’. The truth is there wasn’t really a gentle past. In King Kamehameha’s time the kapu system was so rigid it was easy to commit a fatal offense. Even looking the king in the eye guaranteed a death sentence.

In Tinder and Jason’s time, with America’s entry in WWII, neighbors feared one another. Food was scarce, martial law was in effect… Gossip, slander, unfounded rumors, the threat of Japanese internment camps…all of it was real.

The islands swarmed with servicemen…and today they do as well. I noticed a huge surge of armed forces on my most recent trip. Some 15,000 families have recently come to the islands, their men and women preparing to ship out from the various military bases scattered around the islands to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hawaii today is experiencing a deprivation I’ve never witnessed before. Whole families are losing their homes and camping on beaches. Ewa Beach, for example, has a two-mile tent city that is heart-breaking to see.

On the flipside, what is uplifting is the way the islands have rallied behind these many military families – all of whom are sacrificing for our country, for our freedom. Movie theaters, the snorkel bay of Hanauma, restaurants, cafés, supermarkets all have special discounts for them. And so they should. When I first started working on my Pearl Harbor series and talked to the families of Pearl Harbor survivors and a few remaining ones still with us, I learned to thank them all for their sacrifices, for what they are doing for our country.

At Hanauma Bay, as I stood in line to go snorkeling, I met a young military family newly arrived from Texas. He was a new recruit and seemed excited. He was so young and sweet I couldn’t help but pray he comes back to his family when so many don’t.

I am grateful to this young man and all the other brave men and women who’ve given so much in the war against terror. I thank them all and their families who are also sacrificing by having to cope without their loved ones. I thank them for their priceless gifts.

For more information on this book and the Pearl Harbor series, please follow this link:

http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1433

Aloha oe,

AJ

Abiding Heart

Book three in the Pearl Harbor Series OUT NOW!
Tinder and Jason are back in Honolulu, determined to face the future…but an unexpected friend from Tinder’s Hotel Street days turns their lives upside down.

Now that Jason is home, safe from his horrific mission aboard the SS Malama, he and Tinder once again return to Honolulu to help in the rebuilding of Pearl Harbor. Jason, who faces a military tribunal on the fate of the cargo ship’s lost crew members, suffers from traumatic nightmares as a result of his ordeal. Tinder, determined to nurture and protect his lover, is devastated when the truth of the crew’s capture and Jason’s dramatic escape is revealed.

Determined to face the future with renewed determination and courage, the two men also soon learn that fate has some other new surprises in store for them. In the ensuing months of WWII Honolulu, Jason and Tinder grow closer and closer in spite of hate—and help—from unexpected quarters, their abiding hearts rediscover the meaning of aloha.

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series and contains a discussion of off-screen rape and torture.

Purchase Link: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1433

Coming Clean

By A.J. Llewellyn

The past few days have been an exercise in pain..as if somebody is ripping my heart out of my chest without anesthesia. I have been in despair and total agony. I have fantastic friends who have all given me advice but I simply have to address the big fat elephant sitting on my chest.

A former co-writer chose to tell people that I am a woman and the whole thing has exploded into a vicious vendetta that yes, was of my creation, but honestly was not meant to harm anybody.

When I started writing M/M four years ago I was advised to do so as a man. I chose initials instead of a name and found very quickly that I was very comfortable being A.J.

I relished the freedom being A.J. meant for me as a writer and person.

I very much identify as a man and no, I have not had surgery but I live as a man and my former co-writer knew this.

I feel as if a deeply personal struggle is being challenged and questioned…even ridiculed. It is nobody’s business, but I feel now that the next thing that will happen is for my detractors to reveal my real name.

I have an alternative career that would be destroyed if this were to happen. I feel as if this is what the detractors want.

When I started writing four years ago very few M/M authors did public appearances. My friend Michael did ONE appearance for me signing books at an event, an experience I chose not to repeat. I maintained his pics on my site, fb and twitter accounts because people who came to the signing knew him to be me.

Over the last few years people have suggested coming clean, getting rid of the pics…or even replacing the photos with somebody else so I could do more signings.

Of course, I did not do that.

I chose to do nothing. Partly it was because I feared a lack of acceptance. I feared rejection.

I haven’t exactly set the world on fire with sales but I found a niche, a voice, and then I partnered with DJ Manly, a fantastic person and brilliant author who doesn’t deserve any of the stuff that is happening as a result of all of this.

I cultivated AJ from my own experiences and feelings. I am AJ. I just don’t have a penis…yet. There are plenty of people writing in our genre who are not men and I feel their silence as all of this is happening.

When I did that book signing in 2008 I was not comfortable in my body, nor did I feel like I could come out as a woman. I liked being a man. I felt, like so many others that I was a gay man trapped in a woman’s body.

Part of why I have never revealed myself as ME is both because my work has already alienated my family who call me a prostitute and because it has also affected my career. I lost a job I love when I told a fellow co-worker what I write. They fired me because I quote, write porn.

My friend Michael appeared as me for ONE book signing. I was so excited about having my first paperback published.

The whole POD thing was new and my book was not available in the stores.

I was desperate to sell some copies and organized my own book signing.

Michael was kind and did his best as AJ. He was there for me but obviously it didn’t go very well… and AJ went incognito.

In a way it’s a relief to not have to hide behind Michael’s pics anymore but the viciousness of this attack still has me shell shocked. I can’t sleep or write. I simply don’t know what to do. I have removed his pics from my site etc but I don’t know what else to do except to say I am sorry to all my readers who feel lied to. Believe me, everything I have written in blogs and private emails is true. I love you all and love the emails, cards and IMs I receive…I am sorry if any of you feel duped but believe me it’s weighed heavily on me for a long time. I feel my work is strong enough to stand on its own whether I am male or female.

Yes, I am a biological female but I identify as a man and wish to be known that way. This is my personal preference and my hopeful desire in the future.

I apologize to DJ and Serena who are my treasured friends and co-authors. I love you both more than words can say and hope you can forgive this explosion that was not my choice…but in the end, is all my fault.

I sincerely hope my readers will forgive me and will keep reading my books. The past few days have been so agonizing I have felt suicidal. I want to thank my wonderful friends who have shown support. I am sorry I let you all down. All I wanted was to write…it’s all I still want to do.

with love,

A.J.

Passages

By A.J. Llewellyn
The past few days have brought about a huge change in California weather. We have gone from 90 degree temperatures of last week to 50-60 this week. Some people are grumbling…me, I’m singin’ in the rain.
I love the changes of season and yes, we do actually get them here like I said. I’m like a kid in school who is happy to hunker down and write…not like the summertime when everybody else is out playing and I’m stuck doing homework.
Deadlines schmedlines. Bring ’em on!
Passages.
I’m observing things slowing down…my beautiful, aging dog is showing increasing signs of fragility. I hang on to every moment with her. I watch her death-like sleep, relieved when I see her chest rise and fall. She is like a falling leaf, a spectacular, dazzling, brilliant creature I cannot, will not give up on. I coax her every movement, willing her to go on. For me. I need her and I love her.
She still has her usual ebullience, wanting to go out in the rain. She wants to walk, but her body gives her aches and pains. She wants my attention. I give it. I watch her struggle to lie down and I learn so much from her. She does it all with no complaints.
And yet I hear adults moaning about clouds and a bit of rain.
People cancel lunches, business appointments and dates because of potential rain.
Passages.
I’ve lost so many people I love recently. My darling friend and neighbor, Gia, died in childbirth. Her death also took her baby son, Samson.
The grief still clings to me. I wish its leaves would fall. Nursing my heartbreak feels like a harbinger of doom.
I don’t want to lose anyone else…especially not my dog. I find myself bargaining with God. I won’t shop online. I won’t play Diner Dash. I will take 30 days of non-stop rain. I will write longer days…I will do anything.
Just let me, please, please, have my dog.
Passages.
An old aunt died last week. I feel so guilty because my cousin and I promised her numerous times we’d go visit. We didn’t. And now I will never know what wisdom, what wonderful tales she might have told us.
This season, about to bring my favorite times of the year – Thanksgiving and Christmas – reminds me to take the time to slow down. Savor each leaf.
Passages.
I wonder how soon I can start playing holiday music without my neighbors going bonkers. I love the sight and smell of warm spiced cider in the market stores.
These seasonal foods too are like falling leaves. I love them as I eat them, mourning the fact they won’t come around until next year.
Oops… if the Mayan calendar is wrong and we don’t all perish then.
Passages.
The rain has come back. My dog has lifted her head to the sound. Content to be inside, dreaming of…what? Mobility? I hear her happy sigh as she shuts her eyes, her head on her paws.
Passages.
A friend of mine tried to take his own life a few weeks ago. I’ve stayed in touch with him each and every day, trying to remind him of all his reasons to live. This is not his first attempt and I hope his leaves aren’t falling.
I love my life. I love this weather. I will make a bargain with God. I’ll sweep up leaves for the rest of my life if he lets my friend find joy.
And if he please, please, please…just lets me have my dog.
Aloha oe,
A.J.

The Morning After Candy

By A.J. Llewellyn
Growing up in Australia, I grew up without the benefit of Halloween. To us back then, it was one of those holidays we envied as kids since anything that involved getting loads of sweets was a fantastic thing. I had cousins here who lived on their Halloween hauls for weeks…
Perhaps those years of deprivation have caught up with me because I am now obsessed with candy.
Last night I went trick-or-treating for the first time ever. I escorted my friends’ kids around the block and really got an eyeful, as the saying goes.
Since I moved her in 1984, I’ve largely ignored Halloween. I am still hurt that my beloved black cat, Winnie was stolen from my backyard two days before Halloween that year. I still think about her and hope her demise was not as shocking and grim as my mind insists it was. I had no idea people did such disgusting things. I’ve never let a cat of mine outdoors for any reason ever since. Whoever took that beautiful animal knew me and knew I had her. She never ventured out front….
See, I torture myself still.
It’s taken a lot for me to semi-embrace Halloween. We Australians still think it’s all pretty bizarre but what I saw last night made me realize just how bizarre. I saw families wielding baby buggies up and down neighborhoods they don’t live in, just to grab free sweets.
I saw kids in great costumes and kids in lame costumes. I saw kids whose parents had no money for costumes, but still took them out prowling for candy. I pitied these kids because they felt the need to protect their parents when people questioned their lack of a guise and believe me, they do.
“Who are you supposed to be?” I heard over and over again…
“A little kid,” one girl said defensively.
I don’t care how poor you are, even a sheet thrown over the kid and claiming him to be a ghost is better than nothing. Just my humble opinion.
I saw a woman balancing her kid and his plastic orange jack-o-lantern in one hand and a can of pest spray in the other.
“Is that part of his costume?” I asked her.
“No,” she replied. “Somebody sent me an email saying this is the best self-defense tool a woman can carry. Spray this stuff in somebody’s eyes and they’ll regret every trying something.”
Oookay, then. Nice way to approach a total stranger asking for free stuff…
I was astounded at the pushiness of people, the rudeness when parents felt that homeowners were being Scrooges by handing out only one or two pieces of candy. I thought this was just…unreal.
I saw people trick-or-treating late into the night, hammering on doors of homes where it was obvious the occupants were done for the night.
Where was it written that the world owes these people candy?
I thought about this last night as I watched the new episode of Hawaii Five-O. In the opening seen Danny Williams takes his daughter trick-or-treating around the seedy hotel where he’s staying (really??) and when one guy opens his door and insists -twice – that he has no candy, Danny gets aggressive.
“Get her some candy, man,” he says, then acts irate when the guy caves in, slopes off to the kitchen and comes back with mini-bottles of booze and plunks them into the kid’s candy bucket.
What the hell did he expect?
I saw this behavior over and over again last night. People grading the size and quality of candy. Griping over bubblegum not being an acceptable candy…
What?!
It’s funny that at the annual Gay Halloween Parade in WeHo last night, the predominant theme was the government’s greed.
We are all guilty of this, my friends. Even on an individual scale. I saw adults act like spoiled children over little pieces of candy, setting a very bad example for their kids.
We want, we want, we want. And, we expect. Wah wah wah wah wah...
I like candy as much as the next person, perhaps more. I don’t think I am any closer to adoring Halloween than I ever have been, but at least I do know it hasn’t and never will turn me into somebody I would be ashamed to be…the morning after candy.
Aloha oe,
A.J.

BLOOD SLAVE: NIBIRU VAMPIRE WARRIORS CHAPTER 8

|Nibiru Vampire Warriors - Chapter EightBook eight in the Blood Slave: Nibiru Vampire Warriors Series by A.J. Llewellyn and D.J. Manly

In their most passionate installment yet, Stride and Zero are reunited but is it all a trick? With Stride ruling the underworld, his demonic side is only a breath away…

After landing on a tropical island and encountering one of history’s most enduring, haunting missing women, Zero and Stride soon find themselves on a plane surrounded by famous missing people. Their strange flight also seems to be flying in circles…

Stride, who still has little memory of his deep connection and developing love for Zero, soon finds a way for them to get off the eerie plane but they are quickly separated, tumbling through space to different fates. When the vampire queen gives them a chance to reconnect, sparks fly and passion rules…but for how long?

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series. It also contains scenes of graphic violence.

For an excerpt and purchase please click this link:

http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1401

STAVROS

OUT NOW!!
STAVROS

by A.J. Llewellyn

When Theo went to Mykonos in search of sun, sand, and sex, he got more than he bargained for – immortality.

Theo Scully meets the man of his dreams on the gay-friendly Greek island of Mykonos at a time when Theo, deeply depressed over a breakup, believes he will never find happiness. Haunted at night by strange dreams of hooting owls, he can find no explanation for them, until he comes to know Stavros.

One of the most hypnotic, sexiest men Theo has ever met, Stavros goes from being charming yet aloof to ever-present, joining the strange owl in Theo’s dreams. Then a series of young men are found drained of blood washed up on the island’s beaches, and Theo begins to worry when the locals whisper of striges, ancient Greek vampires.

He has to fight his own disbelief even as he becomes more involved with Stavros, who seems to fallen deeply in love with him.

With the local islanders anxious to rid their Mediterranean idyll of the creatures of the night, Theo soon finds love is entwined with blood…Stavros’s blood.

Publisher’s Note: This book contains enticing descriptions of Greek island food, not to be read on an empty stomach.

Book Details
Genre Gay MM/ Paranormal/ Vampire/Owl Shifters
Purchase Link: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1423

Leaving Well Enough Alone

By A.J. Llewellyn

Writing is a funny thing. I can go back over each and every book I’ve written and find places where I could have improved things. I’ve asked other writers this and all agree…especially when it involves our earliest works.
As a college professor once told me and the rest of our class, “even Casablanca isn’t perfect” but I am not sure about that!
I turned in a new story over the weekend and it’s a very personal one…I guess they all are, butIf Come, which is based on a situation that just happened to one of my dearest friends is one of those that I…well…just cannot leave alone.
If Come came to me when my friend Lizzie signed an If Come deal with a major movie producer. I’d never heard of it before but loved the name. An If Come deal is when a writer signs a contract with a producer who will shop his or her screenplay and if it comes to pass that it’s produced, he or she will get extra benefits for having signed such a deal.
It’s like a dream…will you wake up and find it’s a) real, b) a dream or c) a nightmare?
I had fun writing this story and fell in love with my characters but dammit, I’ve now sent two updated drafts to my editor who has been very gracious about the updates.
However, I wonder why this book won’t leave me alone.
I’m not sure if it’s because the whole rigmarole of pitching screenplays to studios is so personal to me since I’ve based the scenes in the book on my own experiences…or if it’s that…well…I just want to keep hanging out with these characters. I grew to love Zam and Dominic and they will not get out of my head.
I think this is why we authors write series. We fall in love and never want the dance to end.
These men keep chattering in my mind and they keep…doing things to each other. I can be driving and Zam and Dominic do something so cute it has to go in my story. Am I crazy or is this normal?
How about you? Do you feel this way? Just curious…

Aloha oe,

A.J.

The Blancmange

Book two in the Elemental Superpowers Series – OUT NOW at http://www.total-e-bound.com/

Finn wants justice in the Water Court’s controversial murder trial – but two jurors have already been killed and now an assassin is after him and won’t give up…

Finn Garrison is a Water Mage who lives in Bermuda and teaches swimming to water-phobes, assists in the salvage of ship wrecks and rehabilitates local wildlife in his spare time. When he gets called to be a juror in a high profile Water Court trial and his life is endangered, he knows he needs help.

Ty Anglin is an experienced Water Marshal who doesn’t really want to become someone’s glorified bodyguard. When he meets Finn, he’s not only attracted to him, but also suddenly very protective. Two attempts on Finn’s life later, they are both sure there is more going on than meets the eye.

Will they be able to find out who is behind the assassinations? Was the sea monster on trial really framed? And are freshwater people really being discriminated against by their saltwater cousins?

Reader Advisory: This story contains scenes of terrifying sea creatures and delectable blancmange variations.

 For purchase and a cool, delicious excerpt please click this link: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1392

A Test of Faith

By A. J. Llewellyn

I had a wholly different blog planned today…but in hindsight, perhaps it isn’t so different. I’d planned to address the issue of faith and how everything we do daily, as writers tests our boundaries.
I think each thing we do with our lives really is an act of faith. 
Last night I had a discussion with a dear friend who agreed with me, saying how amazing it is that each time we get in our cars and hit traffic lights, it’s an act of faith that EVERYBODY will abide by the rules. How utterly astonishing it is that we all sit there waiting for the lights to change, Of course there are people who don’t, but that’s a whole other blog. Besides…
He’s right!
I find my notions of faith are tested constantly as an author and that was going to be my subject here…and then my dog was attacked by a pit bull this morning.
My elderly, frail, but valiant girl is doing fine though neither of us has stopped shaking. I believe divine intervention saved her.
Taking her for a walk every day and arriving home safely I suppose can be seen as an act of faith, but I refuse to dwell on fear or random acts of violence.
As an author, every day I work on writing, editing, promoting, reading, emailing, blogging…all of it geared towards reaching readers and other authors, sharing ideas, entertaining people (one hopes) and really, isn’t it all an act of faith?
I keep thinking how lucky I am to be published when not so long ago, I collected rejection letters and dreamed of actually selling something.
I love what I do but the whole process really is a beautiful act of faith. When it works, when it gels, how lucky we all are, and yet this very fragility of existence reminds me never to assume. Never take it for granted and never stop working my hardest to produce the best stories I can.
Each and every day, like taking my dog for a walk is a test of faith.
The one thing I realized as Venus and I stumbled home today is that I could honestly say if I had lost her today, I have cherished every second of being her doggie parent. I never want to live without her but one day, I will. If my life were a romance novel she would never be old, infirm and of course, she would never die.
I won’t take her for granted and will remind myself how lucky I am that there are medical advancements that have helped her live longer and more comfortably so we can be together. I think faith is fate in action. I don’t know how else to explain it except to say make the most of every moment, whatever it is that you are doing. It’s a lesson I keep learning.
But as ever, I roll with the punches and lead with my heart…
Aloha oe
A.J.

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