Nothing brings two men—or one man and an ancient god—together like revenge.
Private investigator Sloane sacrificed his career in law enforcement in pursuit of his parents’ murderer. Like them, he is a follower of long-forgotten gods, practicing their magic and offering them his prayers… not that he’s ever gotten a response.
Azaethoth the Lesser might be the patron of thieves and tricksters, but he takes care of his followers. He’s come to earth to avenge the killing of one of his favorites, and maybe charm the pants off the cute detective Fate has placed in his path. If he has his way, they’ll do much more than bring a killer to justice. In fact, he’s sure he’s found the man he’ll spend his immortal life with.
Sloane’s resolve is crumbling under Azaethoth’s surprising sweetness, and the tentacles he sometimes glimpses escaping the god’s mortal form set his imagination alight. But their investigation gets stranger and deadlier with every turn. To survive, they’ll need a little faith… and a lot of mystical firepower.
Book Title: Acsquidentally In Love
Author: K.L. Hiers
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Genre/s: Paranormal M/M Romance, Mystery, Tentacles
Trope/s: Solving Your Own Murder, Boy Meets God, Hidden Villain, Consentacles
Themes: Restoring Faith, Seeking Justice, Self-Sacrifice
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 60 000 words/ 188 pages
It is the first book in the series.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for over twenty years! The very first book I wrote was a very silly story about a little girl who could travel to a magical world with unicorns and goblins. It just kept going and going until I ran out of pages in the notebook I was using, but I was totally hooked on storytelling after that.
Before you started, had you written any fan fiction? If so, what fandom?
Indeed! Back in the AOL days, I was very much into Xena, Hercules, Anne Rice’s Vampires, and X-Men. These fandoms were my first real experiences with same sex couples, canon or otherwise, and it had a tremendous impact on my life. For someone that was young, very scared, and very much struggling with their sexuality and gender identity, fandom was my sanctuary. It was the first place I’d found where I was told that it was okay to be different, and it was okay to feel this way.
As I got older, I kept writing original works, but I also drifted in and out of other fandoms like FF7, Dragonball Z, Dragon Age, Flash, Hannibal, Gotham, and so on. I don’t actively participate in any now, but I still lurk occasionally. I don’t have the time to stay involved like I used to, and fandom has changed so much since I was a kid. If nothing else, I’ll always be grateful for all of the love and support those early fanboys and fangirls showed me.
Are you in agreement that writing fan fiction is a great way to hone ones’ craft – why or why not?
I absolutely am. Fan fiction is a totally valid form of writing. It still takes skill and time and a lot of love to put together. It’s a great way to get critiques and develop your writing style. It can be difficult to get feedback on original content, but there’s a familiarity and a comfort in fan fiction that readers are drawn to because they already know the characters. When I did try sharing original works, I never got a fraction of the comments, replies, or whatever as I did when I posted a new fan fic.
Recently, a writer sabotaged her career by answering a bad review on a blog. How would you have handled this and do you think authors should answer their reviews?
It’s easy – don’t do it. Don’t answer, don’t reply, and if you don’t think you can handle the critiques emotionally, just don’t read them. Have someone else screen them for you if it’s that much of an issue. Bad reviews can really hurt like hell, but it’s just that one person’s opinion. Not everyone is going to like what you write, and that’s okay. It’s just something you have to accept as a writer. It’s not all bad, though. Negative reviews do have some potential to be constructive. I know that I need to lay off my excessive adverb usage, for example, and it’s something that I’ve tried working on in my current projects.
What is your opinion on the “chicks with dicks” analogy? In your opinion, is it wrong for your males to be emotional or romantic?
I think it’s a transphobic slur and has no place in any discussion of literature. I’ve only ever known this phrase as an insult against transgender women, and I honestly had no idea that it had taken on this other meaning – which, let’s face it, is also an insult. My understanding now is that it’s being used to specifically target straight female writers and accusing them of not being able to write authentic male characters because somehow their womanly feelings are going to get all over them like cooties.
I don’t think the analogy is appropriate at all. It’s actually pretty disgusting in my opinion. It’s not okay to use such a mean phrase while blindly ignoring its cruel history, and I really don’t appreciate the sexist insinuation that emotions are somehow exclusive to females – much less the dig that it’s only straight female writers who are writing men like this. The identity of who is writing these stories is irrelevant because it’s glossing over the bigger issue here, which is that people have a problem with romantic and emotional males.
There is nothing wrong with writing emotional male characters. As an author who’s been accused of flipping M/F to M/M because I wrote a very emotional man, this irritates me. Men are allowed to cry and be afraid or upset and having feelings doesn’t invalidate their gender. It’s damaging to say otherwise. It perpetuates toxic masculine stereotypes to insist that males be strong and macho all the time or else they’re not real men. Plus, for me personally, it’s boring to write. I enjoy stirring up drama and angst in my little worlds, and I love a good emotional fallout.
Now, readers have the freedom to choose what they want to read, just as writers choose what they want to write. There are lots of people who enjoy manly men from both sides of the pages, just as others like men who are more in touch with their emotions. That’s just ducky. We’re not all going to like the same things. However, expressing one’s distaste on the flawed logic that men aren’t supposed to have feelings is sexist and using that kind of transphobic language is painfully ignorant.
What are you currently working on?
I’m in the process of editing the sequel for Acsquidentally, and I’m so excited for readers to see another part of that world. For my BDSM fans, I’m almost finished with a sexy tale of an embalmer and a florist. I usually don’t discuss my profession as an embalmer in great detail, and this particular book was the perfect vehicle to shake out some old demons and have some fun with it.
When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
I usually have very specific people in mind or weird combinations of them. A character may have Zachary Quinto’s face, but they’ll have Donal Logue’s unapologetic swagger. Perhaps they have Wentworth Miller’s eyes, but Alan Rickman’s velvety voice. Different aspects of real people inspire me in a lot of different ways. There are some characters that I’ve written that are partially inspired from people I know in real life. It’s usually all pretty fluid – except Maury the Mouth from Cold Hard Cash. He’s Bob Hoskins. Totally.
If you write gay romance or erotica, just how descriptive are you in their sex scenes?
Very. The love scenes are honestly some of my favorite parts to write because it’s so very cathartic for me. I want it to feel real, and I think that’s why I am so descriptive.
What is your opinion as to why publishers only want to group all man-love stories under erotica? Do you feel this is a hindrance to our genre?
I would say it all goes back to good ol’ fashioned ignorance. There are unfortunately people who believe that homosexual relationships are immoral or deviant, and that ignorant stance has hurt gay literature since its inception. We’re decades ahead of the times when newspapers and journals were blatantly blacklisting gay authors and their books, not to mention the outright censorship and refusal by publishers to even take on gay stories, but I think a lot of those bad habits are still around – including how gay books are classified. If you spend any time researching the history of gay literature, you’ll always stumble across the era of highly sexualized queer pulp fiction. This was after all the censorship bans on obscene content had been lifted, and there was a veritable tidal wave of these crazy little books.
Most of them had miserable endings, were pumped full of thoughtless smut, but they were one of the only commercially available literary representation that the queer community had for a long time. Years before we ever had gay romance, there was a freakin’ ton of gay erotica. The stereotypes of gay men being super promiscuous are rooted in the behavior described in these books, and its echoes were still felt by gay writers years later. David Bergman discussed how difficult it was for gay men to write about sex in his book, The Violet Hour: The Violet Quill and the Making of Gay Culture – if they talked about their sex lives, they were just reinforcing those stereotypes. But if they didn’t, then they were implying that it was dirty and shameful. So, they just went for it, unfortunately adding more fuel to the idea that all gay literature was all about sex.
As a result, publishers were classifying everything gay as erotica because it was like they really had no idea what else to do with it. The very word “gay” had implied explicit sexual deviance for so long, fueled by hundreds of queer pulp books and gay authors’ own stories, that it became the standard to categorize all of gay literature. It wasn’t until gay bookstores took off that there was finally this big network free of mainstream publishing restrictions for gay authors to get their stories out there without being choked by that ol’ erotica collar. There were also fantastic activists like Barbara Gittings – who is probably best known for lobbying the American Psychiatric Association to change the definition of homosexuality as being a mental disorder – but she also worked with the American Library Association to provide libraries with access to quality gay literature and not just those books claiming that being gay was a sexual perversion.
Even with all this awesome work going on to change perceptions of gay literature, there’s still a lot of work to do. Amazon didn’t even change its own classifications of gay literature to add a romance category until 2014 after authors had complained and Tracy Timmons-Gray sent off her infamous “Dear Mr. Bezos” letter. Before that happened, my understanding is that everything was crammed under Gay and Lesbian, but there still was an “erotica” category because of course there was.
I absolutely do feel it is a hindrance to the genre because not all gay literature is going to be sexual in nature. The assumption that it is going to be simply because it’s gay is ridiculous, and it feeds into the stereotypes of LGBTQ+ people being more promiscuous than heterosexuals. There’s nothing wrong with writing gay erotica, but it’s simply unfair and wrong to group every book with a gay person ever in this category. Queer people’s stories are more than our sex lives, more than the trashy pulp books of old and more than the gay authors who only wrote it because they felt pressured, and I hope that we continue to see more positive changes. Even though all gay erotica is gay literature, not all gay literature is going to be erotica, and that needs to be made clear.
Do you believe it’s important for you to know the gender of the author?
No. If they can tell a good story, make me laugh, whatever, I really don’t care.
Do you feel that celebs who are gay or bi should come out the closet?
That’s not a decision I can make for another person, famous or not. Coming out is a huge decision and for people that are in the public eye, it can be very difficult to make that step. Coming out for me was very difficult, and there are still members of my own family who don’t know my truth because I already know how they’d react. Obviously, it’s amazing when celebs come out because queer fans have someone new that they can look up to – but it’s also none of my business. They’ll come out when they’re ready or they won’t.
K.L. “Kat” Hiers is an embalmer, restorative artist, and queer writer. Licensed in both funeral directing and funeral service, she’s been working in the death industry for nearly a decade. Her first love was always telling stories, and she has been writing for over twenty years, penning her very first book at just eight years old. Publishers generally do not accept manuscripts in Hello Kitty notebooks, however, but she never gave up.
Following the success of her first novel, Cold Hard Cash, she now enjoys writing professionally, focusing on spinning tales of sultry passion, exotic worlds, and emotional journeys. She loves attending horror movie conventions and indulging in cosplay of her favorite characters. She lives in Zebulon, NC, with her husband and their six children, three of whom have paws and one who sometimes thinks he does.
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