We are so happy to welcome Ari McKay to Rainbow Gold Reviews. They have written a guestpost for us, so you can get to know them and their books and brought an awesome giveaway (details below) and an exclusive excerpt for their upcoming novella ‘Letters From Cupid’.
Letters from Cupid (2nd Edition) by Ari McKay will be published by Dreamspinner Press on February 14th, 2017. It is about 93 pages long.
After breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common. Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?
Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?
Hi, everyone! I’m Ari of Ari McKay, and I would like thank the lovely folks at Rainbow Gold Reviews for hosting us on their blog today. It’s always exciting to be able to reach out to new audiences and discover new friends!
For those who may not know us, McKay and I have been writing together for a long time, starting way back in 2003. We met through Harry Potter fandom and both of us were writers before we hooked up. It’s funny, because we had been fans of one another’s works for quite some time before we ever “met”, but once we did, that’s when things really got going for both of us! We loved writing together, because we each have different strengths. McKay teaches English at the university level, while I’m an engineer, so we bring very different backgrounds to everything we write. Somehow, it seems to work!
So, what do we write? Well, our most popular work is our Herc’s Mercs series of novellas, which are all about strong, protective men and how they find love. There are six novellas in the series so far, covering a wide range of different men. We really tried to bring something different to the bodyguard trope. For instance, not all our bodyguards fall for their clients! We do love writing tropes — who doesn’t? — but we hope we bring a fresh spin to the table. 😀 We also have a Gothic romance, “Call of the Night Singers”, the paranormal rom-com “Ghost of a Chance”, and two historical westerns, “Heart of Stone” and “Finding Forgiveness”.
Many of our other works are in the process of being republished after the closure of one of our publishers, so 2017 promises to be a very busy year for us. We will hopefully be re-releasing the Children of Gaia novels, Blood Bathory: Like the Night, Blood Bathory: Absence of the Sun, and Blood Bathory: Be Not Proud, in addition to several new works through Dreamspinner and a couple of new self-published works that we’re very excited about!
Our upcoming release, which will be on 14 February, is actually a second edition of our novella “Letters from Cupid”, being published by Dreamspinner Press. This is one of our favorite works we’ve ever done. It follows the romance-by-correspondence of English professor Derek Chandler and his secret Cupid, coworker Macon Pinney. The two men believe that they have nothing in common, but as they open up to one another through their letters, they find common bonds that draw them together. The only problem is, Derek has no idea who he’s falling in love with, so what will happen when and if Macon decides to review his identity?
We have an exclusive excerpt for you, which we hope you enjoy!
Macon didn’t have classes the next day, but he went into his office anyway because he’d scheduled a Skype conference with his editor about the release of his short story collection and about getting extra copies to sell after his reading at the university. He’d had numerous short stories published over the course of his career, and he’d won a few awards, but this was his first collection. Afterward, he could check some of his students’ work.
That was when he spotted the note to Eros. He did a double take when he saw the name written in big bold letters, and at first he thought it couldn’t be what he thought it was. Then he realized it couldn’t be anything else.
Derek had responded to Cupid.
Glancing up and down the hall to make sure no one else was around, Macon furtively unpinned the note and stuffed it in his pocket. He retreated to his office and closed the door, then waited until he was settled before retrieving the note and unfolding it.
I wanted to thank you for your kind words, which gave a much-needed boost to my self-esteem. Alas, I’m beginning to believe it might require some sort of divine intervention to help me find my Mr. Right, if he exists at all. Nor am I certain that a passion for the Bard necessarily translates into passion of another kind. But your act of kindness has reminded me that I have much to be thankful for, so I resolve to spend less time bemoaning the things I lack and more time appreciating what I have.
Of course, if you happen to encounter the man you consider perfect for me in your travels, I promise to give you all the credit you deserve.
Macon stashed the note in his desk and gnawed on his thumbnail as he tried to figure out what to do. He hadn’t intended for things to develop into ongoing communication, and he wasn’t sure he wanted it to. He supposed he could let it drop. Derek did say he realized he had much to be thankful for, after all. But Macon didn’t like that first part. Of course there was a Mr. Right for Derek. There always were for men like him. It was men like Macon who wound up perpetual bachelors.
He shifted the problem to his mental back burner until his meeting was over, and then he tried to focus on work, but the problem was still there, merrily simmering away. With a frustrated huff, he pulled out the note and read it again. He wanted to respond, but he didn’t have much experience with dispensing sage advice, especially about relationships. He’d done a good deed, and drawing this out might veer into creepy stalker territory, so he needed to move on.
He was satisfied with his decision until he went to the campus coffee shop during a break between classes and spotted Derek sitting alone at a corner table. Rather than reading or checking his cell phone, Derek was looking out the window, looking somewhat lost. When a couple of students stopped outside, laughing before exchanging a lingering kiss, Derek lowered his gaze to the cup in his hand, and Macon saw his shoulders lift and fall as though he’d sighed heavily.
Macon couldn’t go over and offer support or a listening ear, even though he wanted to. He and Derek were acquaintances, nothing more, and Macon wasn’t supposed to know about the breakup.
But he could respond to Derek’s note. He might not have any experience with relationships or giving advice, but he was a writer. Putting himself in the persona of his characters was what he did for a living. If he couldn’t write a plausible Cupid, then he needed to turn in his pen for good.
Still, once he returned to his office after his last class, the doubts set in. There was nothing obligating him to continue, and the chances of getting caught grew higher if he let this go on. Yet something in him wanted to help Derek. He couldn’t have explained why if asked. He only knew he couldn’t ignore it and pretend like everything was fine and normal.
Instead of opening his manuscript, he opened a new document and began to type.
I should be annoyed when you say you doubt there is a Mr. Right out there for you, because that implies you doubt me. But I find myself more dismayed than annoyed that you have reached this point. You have so much to offer a partner. You are intelligent and well-read, you are engaged in your work but not consumed by it, you are physically active and fit—you are a perfect package! There is a man out there who will see your gifts and treasure them as they deserve, and one day you will find him.
As for passion, I cannot see how it would fail to carry over from one aspect of your life to the next. Perhaps that is my own bias showing, however, for I can guarantee hearing you recite certain lines of Donne in the way you do is more than enough to incite passion in the right man.
Your humble servant,
Macon debated whether to delete the last line, but in the end, he let it stay in the hopes it would bolster Derek’s confidence. He read and reread the note, scrutinizing it closely to make sure he didn’t give away anything that could be traced back to him. When he was satisfied, he printed it out, drew a heart pierced with an arrow in red ink, and waited for a safe moment to pin the note to Derek’s door.
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The giveaway ends on February 14th at 11:59 PM CST. Good Luck!
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.
Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.