Book Name: Finn: Endangered Fae One
Author: Angel Martinez
Author Bio: While Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres, she writes both kinds of gay romance – Science Fiction and Fantasy. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.
Cover Artist: Lex Valentine
Publisher: MLR Publishing
When Diego rescues a naked man from the rail of the Brooklyn Bridge, he just wants to get the poor man out of traffic and to social services. He gets more than he bargained for when he discovers Finn is an ailing pooka, poisoned by the city’s pollution. To help him recover, Diego takes him to New Brunswick where Finn inadvertently wakes an ancient, evil spirit: the wendigo.
While they struggle to find a way to destroy the wendigo before it can possess Diego or kill nearby innocents, Diego wrestles with his growing feelings for Finn. Kill the monster and navigate a relationship between a modern man and a centuries old pooka. Piece of cake.
The ordeal of the shower seemed cruel, but Finn was filthy and smelled like a dumpster during a garbage strike. Diego placed one of his plastic kitchen chairs in the middle of the shower and installed Finn there, but he only slumped against the chair back, eyes closed, face turned into the spray.
Too exhausted to even flinch.
Diego fought down the little shiver of revulsion at the stench, stripped to his boxers, and stepped into the stall with him. He attacked the tangled mass of hair first, positioning Finn so his head hung back over the chair. No lice—a good sign. He might have been homeless, but he probably hadn’t lived on the streets too long. The nest of midnight snarls unwound under the caress of water and shampoo. If Finn stood, his hair would reach at least to the top curve of his butt. A strange blue-black iridescence shone in it, his natural coloring as far as Diego could tell rather than bottled special effects.
The rest Diego washed with a loofah, shoving away modesty out of a need to get Finn to his rest. An ache lodged around his heart to see how malnutrition had ravaged what probably had been a lean-muscled frame. An athlete, perhaps, before he went off the deep end, an impression reinforced by the absence of almost all body hair. Waxed or electrolysis-denuded—only Finn’s crotch sported a black thatch of soft hair. Swimmer, perhaps. The Olympic competitors often shaved it all off for every small gain in streamlining.
He turned off the water and tugged at Finn’s arm. “Come on. Let’s get you settled. You can’t sleep in the shower.”
Finn staggered to his feet and Diego all but carried him to Mitch’s room. The spare room, he corrected himself. He usually kept the door closed so the stark, unfurnished space wasn’t glaring at him.
He sat Finn down against the wall, brought him a pair of flannel pajamas, soft with age, and went out to the front closet to retrieve the air mattress and vacuum. Six boxes lay stacked against the wall; all that remained of Mitch’s things. Diego ran a hand over one, and then shook his head against the temptation to open the top and look at its contents. When he returned, Finn hadn’t moved from where he sat, naked and dozing in a patch of sunlight.
“You might want to put those on.” Diego toed the pajamas closer as he dragged the air mattress into place. When Finn’s only response was a long sigh, he added, “We need to get you warm. I don’t want to have to take you to Emergency.”
With a puzzled frown, Finn unfolded the material and managed, after looking back and forth between the pajamas and Diego’s jeans a few times, to pull the bottoms on. His efforts with the top, though, were sabotaged when the vacuum roared to life. He startled and scuttled sideways, wide-eyed and panting.
Diego hurried to switch it off. “Sorry. Should have warned you.”
“Is it some sort of small dragon?”
For a moment, Diego stared in blank surprise before he caught himself. At least the nature of Finn’s delusion was becoming clearer. He might even share his history later when he had the energy, perhaps some tragic story of an exiled prince. For now, Diego thought it best to play along.
“Not a dragon. Just a machine. It blows out and sucks in air with great force.”
“Ah.” Finn seemed disappointed, but waved a hand for him to continue.
Mattress inflated, Finn dressed and installed in bed, Diego thought he should get something in him before he drifted off. He tried tap water first but Finn jerked his head away, the color draining from his face.
“Tainted,” he gasped. “Great Dagda, it reeks.”
Diego sniffed above the glass, puzzled. New York City water, piped in from the mountains, was cleaner than most but it was treated. Chlorine. Fluoride. Maybe Finn had an allergy to one or the other.
Bottled water produced a less violent reaction. Finn smelled it, nose crinkled, but he downed half the bottle in desperate gulps before Diego could take it back from him. Hydration, at least, wouldn’t be an issue.
The hurdle of food remained. Starvation often did terrible things to the body’s ability to accept nourishment. Not the best time to offer a hamburger and fries. Diego decided he should start with the foods one was supposed to give sick kids: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, minus the applesauce, since he didn’t have any.
Finn wouldn’t touch the boiled-in-tap-water rice. He nibbled a corner of the toast and set it aside with murmured apologies. The banana completely stumped him. He turned it over and over in his hands and finally tried to bite through the skin.
“You eat these?” He handed it back to Diego with a grimace.
All right, so his reality doesn’t include New World fruit. Diego peeled the banana for him and handed it back. “You don’t eat the skin. Try the inside.”
Finn took a careful bite and his eyes widened. “That’s not bad.”
Diego could only watch anxiously, praying his guest wouldn’t choke, as the rest disappeared in three bites. With a contented sigh, Finn handed the peel back, gathered the covers into a circle in the center of the mattress, and curled into a tight ball inside his nest. By the time Diego brought an extra comforter to cover him, Finn was fast asleep.
Clean and at rest, his face had a childlike quality with his hair tucked behind one finely-curved ear. Diego wasn’t certain it was a handsome face, almost unearthly in its delicacy, and though Finn stood six inches taller, he had the odd feeling he could scoop that long frame up in his arms without much effort.
He backed out and closed the door as quietly as he could, confident Finn wouldn’t die on him. Tomorrow he would see about finding the right agency to take his guest, preferably one that wouldn’t hand him right over to immigration.
A few hours of peace while Finn slept should let him at least get through the current chapter he was writing.
The moment he sat ready at his desk, fingers poised over the keys, the phone rang.
© Angel Martinez
June 2: Tara Lain
June 3: Parker Williams
June 4: Kimi-Chan, Jade Crystal, Talon SO
June 5: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, MM Good Books
June 6: Nephylim, Hearts on Fire
June 9: Prism Book Alliance
June 10: Love Bytes, My Fiction Nook
June 11: Fallen Angel Reviews
June 12: The Novel Approach, Rainbow Gold Reviews
June 13: Amanda C. Stone, Velvet Panic
Guest Post by Angel Martinez:
Do writers really inspire other writers?
When asked, “What writers inspire you?” I often fall back on writers I admire. There are scads of those, in all sorts of genres. So many of the writers I truly admire, though, are the opposite of inspiring for me. I read their words, their beautifully crafted stories and essays, and fight a sick feeling of envy. Clever turns of phrase, imaginative metaphor, transcendent images—I am intimidated. This is the opposite of inspiration. Anti-inspiration. To answer the question honestly, I have to think a little harder. So. A few authors who have actually inspired me, for good or ill:
Lewis Carroll – While much of what Carroll wrote was social and academic commentary, you can’t miss that the man had a seriously tilted brain. His writing let me see that you could be amusing and still say serious things. That it was perfectly respectable to be a little twisted. That poetry could be all-fired strange and people would still recite it. He awoke in me an early love for the structure of language as well as its sound. Lastly, you can all blame Mr. Carroll when I start singing “The Lobster Quadrille” while standing in queue for something.
Lois McMaster Bujold – Sure, we could go the easy route and say that Ms. Bujold inspired me because she’s a woman writing Science Fiction, good, technical SF that is nevertheless character driven. All that would be true, though the intimidation factor rides close behind since she’s so freaking good at it. Her work inspired me from a different angle, though. Through her, I’ve been inspired to write physically challenged heroes, the ones who aren’t always perfect, who have issues that some might construe as physical weaknesses. Her central, most famous hero, Miles Vorkosigan is a man of incredible courage, drive, and infinite curiosity. He outshines the models of physical perfection around him because of his brain and he is sympathetic and even desirable in his manic drive to prove himself worthy. That is inspiration – not only for the writer but for me as a person. Physical challenges do not define who we are. They do not limit what we can accomplish.
Catherine Bybee – This may seem like an odd choice for someone who writes GLBT fiction. Catherine writes boy/girl romance, mostly contemporary. She’s one of the few traditional romance writers I read and I do enjoy her stories very much. Are they complicated masterpieces of intrigue? Are they super steamy extra hot? No. I like her characters. They’re not the same types you get in so much m/f romance. Catherine and I met years ago when we both had stories with a publisher who will not be named and ended up in the same critique group. Though our styles and our methods are oceans apart, we hit it off. She called me on my crap and I called her on hers. Here’s the inspirational part though – a tireless marketer who understands her audience, Catherine went from a couple of shoddy contracts and a couple of little self-published items to huge advances and series contracts and the New York Times bestsellers list. She did this by being persistent and tenacious, not because she had any contacts in the industry. This. This is inspiration.
J.R.R. Tolkien – Another obvious one, you would think, and the man who made it safe for authors like George R. R. Martin to use dual, repeating initials. But I don’t write high fantasy. How could Tolkien be inspirational? Here’s why: When I was growing up, there were plenty of Science Fiction novels geared toward adults. All sorts of serious, awe-inspiring stores. But fantasy was for kids. There just weren’t many writers out there crafting fantasy for grownup readers (or precocious youngsters tired of being talked down to.) There were fairytales and folk stories, myths and legends, old chansons and tales of brave knights. You couldn’t find much else. Until Tolkien. This. This—an incredible world that wasn’t here with magic and dragons and elves, with battles and heroics and quests and did I mention elves? And. It. Was. For. Grownups. It created in me, and in several generations of fantasy fans, an incredible hunger for more.
Inspiration comes from everywhere. Surprisingly, not as often from other writers as one might think. But the ones who do inspire us are for absurdly specific, personal reasons. We are in awe of other writers. We admire them; sometimes stalk them (in the good, reader kind of way, of course. Ahem.) But inspiration is a narrow bandwidth, a specific set of light frequencies that illuminate new countries in our brains. I hope some day to be an inspiration, too, when I grow up.
Win a copy of Finn here:
Check out Tanja´s review of Finn here