Only kidding... sort of...
So, pull up a chair, grab a cuppa and get to know author Kory Steed, as he answers all my nosy questions. :-)
Q. So who is Kory?
A. My name is Kory Steed I am a M/M romance author. Thank you, Doris, for inviting me to your blog to share my latest novel release, Love My Children First, the first in my Family Men Series. Writing this story opened up a new vista for me in that it allowed me to included a family with children in a M/M romance novel. It’s also the first novel I’ve written in which animals did not play a pivotal role. Love My Children First is my fourth release through Evernight Publishing, and it’s my longest novel to date, coming in just shy of 85.5K words. I’m happy as a clam in that it became an Amazon Bestseller within the first few days after its release.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A. I’m a gay man who discovered writing later in life and a retired paramedic. My partner and I have been together nearly fourteen years. Many of the medical components in my stories are drawn from my professional career experiences and most of the relationship components come from my personal life, however, there is also a significant degree of crossover. Who hasn’t experienced a medical emergency with a family member and who hasn’t also experienced working with a real … how shall I put this … difficult person? They make for great literary fodder. My favorite literary adage reads, “Careful how you treat me or you might just wind up as a character in one of my novels.” Many of those persons … have, and I am grateful to them for their difficult selves.
I’ve been both discriminated against by others and ostracized by family members for being who I am and there’s even been some betrayal thrown in from both. I not only take it all in, I own it for had I lived a dull, uneventful, easy life, I would have nothing to write about or the impetus to do so?
I write about underdogs and damaged people and about facing what life has thrown at you, only to discover the inner strength we possess, but only realize when the need arises. My motto is “Be kind to everyone you meet for you never know the pain someone is hiding beneath the thin veneer of their smile.”
Q. What made you write ‘this’ story?
A. This is a question I’ve asked myself again and again for I have never had children, however, when I was young, I helped to raise my siblings. Two of the greatest losses anyone can experience are the loss of a child or a life-partner. I wanted to explore this kind of loss while at the same time considering how it might possibly work within the parameters of the M/M romance genre.
When I have begun a new writing project, the first thing I often write down is the setting and the season or weather. With my first three novels this introduction was lost in the published versions, but with Love My Children First, the editors agreed with the opening. The story, begins in the stillness of a crescent-moonlit night, just before all hell breaks loose. Upon reflection, I realized I chose this opening because it reminded me of so many of the worst nights I worked when I was a paramedic. As they say, it’s always quietest just before a storm. So often, the greatest tragedies I have faced professionally began with an eerie stillness.
As I filled page after page, I was astonished by how the story began to unfold. As a pantser, most of what I write comes to me at the spur of the moment. Often, it is only after I have written a great chunk of a manuscript that I am able to begin to project forward. It is interesting that in this story, the ending, which is now the penultimate scene, came to me at approximately the midway mark.
Drawing from my experiences with discrimination as a gay man, I wanted to explore the strength that exists in men as nurturers, particularly where very young children are involved and in this case, a newborn. Many in society are not in tune with the potential for the real-life existence of this trait. Too often, when there has been the loss of a caregiver of children, a woman is the one to step in to make everything all right, but men possess this ability as well. Unfortunately, it is often underdeveloped or not developed at all as a result of societal pressures which have influenced how boys have been raised in the past.
I posed the questions, “Yes, but what if it was developed, what if it was because there was no other choice? What would happen then? What could the potential for this set of circumstances possibly be?” Love My Children First, answers these questions. I am glad to see that this began to change a few years ago, but it still has a long, long way to go.
Q. Tell us about your cover.
A. On the cover there are two men and an infant. One of the men has covered his eyes with the back of his forearms and the other is kissing an infant as he lifts it into his arms. They represent a grieving father and the male nanny who has come to care for his children. Below them is a blurred backdrop of other children playing together. As the story takes place in the spring, when everything is beginning to come to life, the colors are light and airy. The cover reflects all of the most important components of the story, and I am grateful to the gifted artist, Jay Aheer, for her insight and sensitivity towards my creation.
Q. Describe a typical day’s writing for us
A. My writing days vary tremendously. I can write from morning ‘til night, not at all, or anything in-between. If my writing becomes interrupted, as it has now with the release of this book, I can go weeks before I am able to start a new project or pick up again with a current work in progress.
I waited several weeks to receive my first edits for this book, once it had been accepted for publication. As time passed, and the edits didn’t arrive, I wrote a new novella, submitted it, and had it returned to me with an offer to rewrite and resubmit. I decided to put it aside and began another, unrelated story of which I have written about 25%. I hope to return to it soon.
I have tried in the past to work on more than one thing at a time, but I have learned that in order to write effectively, I must completely immerse myself in a single project, body, mind, and spirit. I am fortunate in that I am now retired and for the most part, I have this luxury. It is as common for me to write straight through until dawn and then sleep for a few hours before returning to a project as it is for me to wake in the middle of the night and write for several hours, because my dreams are often filled with my characters, their backstories, and what they are currently facing on the pages that have yet to be written.
I sleep on it, as they say, often working out scenes and listening to the characters dialogue in my mind. At times, my partner has found me staring off into the distance while I have sat at my computer with my fingers still for minutes at a time. He knows that I am either listening to my characters voices or watching the events of a scene unfold and working out how best to put that down on paper.
Q. What inspires you?
A. People, life, animals, nature, aspirations, unsung heroes, everyday kindness, the smiles of strangers, and the goodness that bubbles to the surface in people, often at the most challenging of times.
Q. If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
A. I have no idea. I am very shy, particularly in groups where I don’t know anyone. It think I’d probably be dead, because I would have no outlet for my imagination and no voice for my beliefs and feelings.
A. Do your characters ever surprise you?
A. Yes and it’s delicious when they do. It’s not uncommon for me to talk to them, out loud. When they do surprise me, I’ll say something along the lines of “I never knew you had that in you!” They’ll smile, nod their heads, and answer softly, “Ah, but you should have, because I came from you, down deep inside.”
Q. What could you not do without when you’re writing?
A. Ha! Ha! That’s easy, coffee and chocolate, but then I can’t go without them whether I’m writing or not! Aside from those two things and obviously for me, my computer, because I could never write the way I write in long hand. I’d have so many cross-outs and arrows, and parentheses, and brackets, not even I would be able to discern what I meant.
Q. What words of wisdom do you have for the aspiring authors out there?
A. Do it! Just do it! Don’t let anyone tell you different, but also, don’t become disillusioned by failure and rejection. Listen to your beta-readers or proof-readers (if you’re lucky enough to have them), your editors, and your critics, but also know yourself and have enough faith in yourself to listen to your inner voice. Don’t believe your family and loved ones no matter how much they tell you their love of your work is not based on the fact that they also love you. And I say this with all kindness, for God’s sake, grow a friggin’ backbone!
Writing takes work, determination, and a strong belief in yourself. If you’re lacking in skills, improve them. There’s no excuse for lazy writing and for not proof-reading your own work. Ultimately, you must own what you put out there! Yes, you’ll doubt yourself! Yes, you’ll want to give up sometimes! Yes, there may times you’ll get lost along the way. Everyone does!
Ask for help from other writers. For the most part, we’re a big, loving, nurturing family who want to see you succeed as much as we want to succeed ourselves. If you’re not part of this kind of family, find one. I’m fortunate in that Evernight Publishing is just this kind of family, and I consider myself lucky in that I found them first. I’ve heard some real horror stories from other writers.
Finally, there’s no one else like you! There’s no one else who has lived your life. And no one else has learned through your experiences. If you don’t write your story, it won’t get written!
Q. Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
A. If I’m still alive, hopefully sitting behind a keyboard, sipping coffee, chewing on the occasional chocolate, looking off into the distance while my fingers fly across the keyboard, imagining, creating, crying, smiling, and being inspired by my characters.
Q. Do you have a favourite quote?
A. I have many, and I’ve included my motto above, but I’ll share this one with you. “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.” ~ Gloria Steinem, American journalist.
Q. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
A. Yes, and it’s maddening.
Q. What other books can your readers look forward to?
A. As I wrote at the end of the Love My Children First, “The end? No, there’s so much more to tell. How about … Until we meet again.” The second book in my Family Men Series is currently in the works, but it’s taking a back seat to two new projects, one about a homeless man and the other about a man who was ostracized from his family by his father because he is gay.
In addition, I’m seriously considering focusing on the fourth book for my Lightning Series. It runs parallel to my Family Men Series with crossover of characters between both. While the Lightning series could end at the conclusion of book three, I have a very clear picture in my head as to what’s coming next for Jason, Aaron, Miss Charity, Braden, Shane and all the other characters. They still have Nathan’s Promise, Gypsy’s Grove, and their new corporate headquarters to build, Aaron’s gift of Jason’s greenhouse has yet to be added to their home, and Hank Thompson has left a spine-chilling threat against all of them. I don’t like to leave loose ends.
Q. And finally can you share the blurb and excerpt with us?
Toby Jacobson is a happily married father of four with a fifth child on the way, but a sinister illness lurks in the shadows. A month after the birth of his daughter, the unimaginable happens when his wife, Sydney, dies after suffering a brain bleed. Facing a future without her, Toby searches unsuccessfully for a live-in nanny to care for his children. Then a friend recommends a highly qualified but inexperienced former classmate. There is a catch, though. Cliff Turnbull is a man.
While managing life-threatening emergencies, emotional outbursts from grieving children, antagonistic parents, a meddling mother’s interventions, and memories of Sydney, images of a gay, youthful fling return to Toby. Physical yearnings begin to surface in Cliff. In the ensuing weeks, as a smoldering physical attraction begins to grow between them, Toby and Cliff travel a tumultuous path while they try to regain some semblance of order and a build new life for the family. Through it all, Cliff remains steadfast in his support of Toby and the children as they slowly discover a depth of love that no one could have believed possible and a passion than neither could have imagined.
Be Warned: m/m sex, oral sex, rimming
Toby stepped forward and rested his left hand on Cliff’s shoulder. “You said you wanted to kiss me.”
Cliff looked down at his shoes. “I did.”
“We could start with that.” Toby reached his hand to the back of Cliff’s head and pulled it down farther. He brushed his lips across Cliff’s and then kissed him at the corner of his mouth. “Is this okay?” He whispered as he brushed their cheeks together and then nibbled Cliff’s earlobe.
“Yes.” Cliff whimpered as fine tremors permeated his body.
Toby drew his cheek back and slowly brushed his lips past Cliff’s again and kissed him gently on the other corner of his mouth.
Cliff followed his mouth and met his lips with his own. His mouth opened as he let out a moan.
Toby slid his tongue in and held Cliff’s face in both hands as he pressed their lips together. As he moved away, he gently grasped Cliff’s bottom lip with his teeth and pulled it with him.
“Oh! Oh! Toby!” Cliff pulled his head away and reached for his groin.
“Toby when you did that, my body … I’m getting…” Cliff pressed his hand down against his growing erection. “Toby, I’m sorry. I can’t stop it.”
“Don’t. Do you trust me, Cliff?”
“Yes,” Cliff squeaked.
“May I touch you?”
Cliff nodded his head. “Mmm hmm.”
“I’m not going to hurt you, Cliff. You can tell me to stop at any time, and I will. I promise.”
“Okay. What are you going to do?”
Toby reached down and traced the outline of Cliff’s swelling penis. It extended well down his left thigh. When Toby squeezed, Cliff gasped. “Oh! Oh, my, G … G … God!”
Toby slid his hand along the growing member’s length as he worked it up behind the pocket until it rested just below the belt, then squeezed the head.
Cliff’s knees buckled, and he began to drop to the floor.
“Let’s move you to the sofa,” Toby said, as he grabbed ahold of him. He led Cliff by the hand and sat him down. “Unbuckle your belt and unbutton and unzip your pants.”
“Okay. Toby, I’m so nervous.” He fumbled with the buckle.
Toby moved in front of Cliff and pushed the coffee table back. Then he kneeled down. “It’s okay, Cliff.” He reached for the belt and undid it, then unzipped his fly.
“Now, lift your butt and pull your pants down to your knees.”
Once he’d done it, Toby pulled them down to his ankles.
“Oh, Toby, it’s getting bigger.”
“I can see that. Now, pull your shirt up to your chest and raise your butt.”
When Cliff lifted, Toby began pulling his boxers down, but the head of his penis got stuck in the elastic. Toby reached his hand in and freed it.
“Oh my God!”
“It’s okay, Cliff. You’re doing fine.”
“Toby, the sensations… When you touched me… I can’t believe how it feels. I … I…”
“Just let it happen, Cliff.”
Toby pulled his boxers down to join the pants. He reached around and turned up the volume on the monitors for a moment. There was no sound from the children’s rooms other than loud static, so he turned them back down.
“Now, pull off your shirt and slide your hips forward until your butt is at the edge of the sofa. Then put your hands behind your head and interlock your fingers.”
“Okay,” Cliff squeaked again. As he slid forward, he was forced to spread his legs apart, around Toby’s body.
“Now lean your head back and close your eyes. I want you to focus on what you’re feeling. You don’t have to do anything.”
Cliff did as he was told.
“I’m not going to hurt your, Cliff. I’m going to touch you in different places and in different ways. This can be intense the first time because the pleasure sensations can be overwhelming, so try not to cry out.”
“Okay. Okay, I’ll try.”
Toby placed his hands against Cliff’s groin, surrounding his penis and lifting his scrotum with his thumbs.
Cliff jumped. “Oh,” he moaned.
Toby moved his fingers down to beneath Cliff’s nearly lemon-sized balls. When he rhythmically raked the tips of his fingers beneath his sack, Cliff’s shaft lurched upward. Toby watched the shaft pulsate as it filled with blood until it stood erect, hugging Cliff’s abdomen.
Toby drew his fingertips up Cliff’s thighs, up his hairy, rigid abdomen, until he reached his chest.
“Your six-pack, Cliff … it’s so hard, like it’s made from cobblestones and your pecs are solid masses of muscle.” He circled his fingers around Cliff’s nipples and allowed them to linger there as he gently pinched them. One at a time he licked them, leaving a tendril of saliva to his mouth as he blew on them.
With each breath, Cliff’s torso lunged forward.
When Toby drew his fingernails across his nipples, they swelled and hardened, forcing Cliff to grunt with pleasure.
Toby stood up and kicked off his shoes. Then he dropped his pants and briefs and kicked them away. He was semi-erect. He kneeled onto the sofa and then scooted up and slid his butt along Cliff’s thighs. Ending in his lap, he thrust his groin up and down the rigid shaft as his own manhood continued to engorge with blood.
Cliff cried out. “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!” A bead or pre-cum emerged from the slit of his bulbous glans.
“It’s okay, Cliff.” Toby planted his mouth against Cliff’s parted lips. “Just let it happen.”
“Toby, it’s … it’s … I can’t describe it. Oh, my God! Is that your penis … touching mine?”
Toby pressed a finger to Cliff’s lips. “Hush.”
When Toby drew his fingertips out to just beneath Cliff’s armpits and down his flanks, Cliff moaned again. Then he slid the back of his right hand against Cliff’s belly and drew it forward until his palm pressed against the massive, turgid rod. Focusing his contact along the shaft, he slid it up from the base while pulling it slightly toward him until it pressed against his own.
“Oh, God! Oh, my God! Oh, Toby. Oh, my God!”
By the time his hand reached the glans, it was well above Cliff’s belly button just beneath his breast bone.
“It’s quite large, Cliff.” Holy fuck it’s a monster, Toby screamed to himself inside his head. “There’s a lot here to … how do I say it … to handle. Are you doing okay?”
“Toby. Oh, Toby. Oh, my God. Toby.”
“I’ll take that as a yes.”
The bead of pre-cum rose up as more began to ooze beneath it. Toby lightly pressed his palm over the forming globule and moved it in circles, spreading Cliff’s natural lubricant over, around, and under the bulbous head.
Again, Cliff’s torso lurched forward. He reached for his cock, but Toby pushed his hands away and then blew a tight stream of air across the glistening slit. Once he had completely coated the head, he wrapped his hand around the glans and slowly slid it downward along both of their shafts.
Cliff’s teeth closed over his upper lip. He grunted as his hips bucked up involuntarily, shoving his shaft through Toby’s barely clenched fist and against Toby’s erection.
As Toby slid farther down, his fingers began to splay apart. Their shafts were simply too thick to be encased by one hand alone.
“Are you okay, Cliff?” Holy fuck! Toby thought. How am I going to get my mouth around him?
“Yeah. Yeah. Don’t stop. Oh, God. Please don’t stop.”
Q. Where can we buy Love my children first, Kory?
Amazon US - Amazon UK - Amazon CA - Evernight Publishing - Smashwords - Bookstrand - Barnes & Noble - iTunes - Kobo
Q. Where can readers find you on the web?
Author Website - http://korysteed.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/KorySteed
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/KorySteed/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16591892.Kory_Steed
Thanks so much for stopping by, Kory.
Thank you again, Doris, for inviting me to spend this time with your readers. I truly appreciate the opportunity.