‘As We Are’ (Soulmarked Book 4) by @willaokati #LGBT #BlogTour


Oodles of…What, Now?


Willa Okati

True confessions time: I’ve been carrying on a guilty love affair with Ramen.

No, seriously. Over the past few years, I’ve just about become a connoisseur. It’s hot, it’s filling, it’s extremely affordable, and it doesn’t require me to step away from the keyboard. I’ve learned which flavors do it for me. Regular varieties generally taste like salt and poor life choices, so I avoid those. Spicy chicken can have a weirdly schmaltzy mouthfeel—nice if that’s what you want, though. Spicy shrimp includes actual rehydratable shrimp, which is like playing tag with eighteen-wheelers when you’re not sure if you feel lucky, punk. Spicy beef is the way to go. I am passionate about spicy beef.

Mmmmmmm. Even if while writing this my breakfast noodles went stone-cold. Damn.

So, let’s talk about the Soulmarked series. Coffee is life, but spicy beef works pretty well as fuel, and my brain’s up and running now. Sort of like it was when I first got the idea for this cycle of stories. I think I was eating a cuppa at the time, now I come to think of it.

It really wasn’t meant to go anywhere, is the thing. Just mental snack food. Soulmates, fun times. I’d read a few, and fell head over heels in love with the concept. I toyed around with it just for fun for a handful of years. Saw a couple of movies, and began to germinate the seed of an idea. Maybe it’d been done before, but what if I could come up with my own flavor?

Hotcha. I jumped in headfirst.

Not without a few stumbles. Originally, I’d conceptualized it as a futuristic sci-fi, and then steampunk (which I have got to get back into someday), and then swords ’n sorcery. But as I went on, it centralized into the world that I know with just a few differences. Magical realism is what I call it. It’s our world, with bonus features.

Now we’re cooking with gas, I thought. Soulmates know each other when they meet. A mark with only one match appears on their skin, the seal on their fate. It can look like anything, but with it comes the drive to consummate the bond with their mate—though of course, it’s never just that easy.

And now that I had my world, who populated it?

No clue. I played around with a roughneck and I dabbled with a renegade, but they weren’t lifting off the page. Nothing worked until Robbie (Soulmarked 1: Now and Then) came to the forefront of my mind. A quiet man with workworn hands and a tired but patient outlook on life. A man who hadn’t forgotten how to hope, or what it felt like to love so intensely he wasn’t sure if he’d survive it, but who had learned to live with the choices he’d made. But where he went so too did Ivan, and suddenly Robbie had a second chance to fix the mistakes of his past. And then there came Ivan’s friends Nick and Barrett. And Jesse. And Cade, and Nathaniel, and Abram. Each of them had a tale to tell. Each came with their own quirks and virtues and flaws.

That was the spice I wanted. Suddenly, we were off to the races. I haven’t looked back except to boggle just a little bit at how far it’s come. And forward, at where I think it might be going. There’s other men who want to have their stories told, and I’m itching to hit the keys again.

With a fresh cup of Spicy Beef at my elbow, of course. Yum.


Blurb for As We Are, book four in the Soulmarked series:

Can the rebels with a cause change their ways, or will they miss their chance?

Wild, rebellious, and rakish, Cade’s been a bad boy since the day he was born. Don’t get him wrong—he’s as aware of his faults as he is his virtues, and he thinks he’d be better off without a mate of his own. He’d be a hell of a handful to keep up with.

Then a chance encounter brings Cade into Dennis’ path. Blind since birth, Dennis prides himself on being plainspoken and knowing how to have a good time. He isn’t looking for a soulmate either, but after meeting Cade he’s tempted to change his mind.

Can the rebels with a cause change their ways, or will they miss their chance?

Like the sound of As We Are? Buy it here: Totally Bound


About Willa Okati:

Willa Okati can most often be found muttering to herself over a keyboard, plugged into her iPod and breaking between paragraphs to play air drums. In her spare time (the odd ten minutes or so per day she’s not writing) she’s teaching herself to play the pennywhistle.

Willa has forty-plus separate tattoos and yearns for a full body suit of ink. She walks around in a haze of story ideas, dreaming of tales yet to be told. She drinks an alarming amount of coffee for someone generally perceived to be mellow.



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