Today's Author Spotlight features Rhiannon Ayers. Read on to find out more about Rhiannon and her latest book, Demons Within.
Q&A: More About Rhiannon Ayers
1. What inspired you to write your first book?
Depends on what you mean by “first.” My very first series---yes, series---was written when I was eight years old. It featured a character named George Groundhog, and it followed him and his friends on a number of interesting adventures. Well, interesting to an eight-year-old, anyway! The inspiration came from reading the Redwall series by Brian Jacques.
As to the inspiration behind my first published book, that came from a friend of mine who lived through some pretty horrible things when he was young. My main character, Allen, is based on him as far as his tattoos and the fact that he was abused. The journey that Allen takes in the story is different than that of my friend, but the overall feel is the same.
I have also always wanted to find an outlet for some of my personal views regarding sex, love, and ménage, and writing a romance novel was the easiest way to convey those concepts.
2. How did you come up with the title?
The title came from Allen’s explanation of the tattoo on his back, when he tells Sidri that the basic translation of the Latin words is “Angel Without, Demons Within.” I felt it was appropriate because all three characters have “demons” in their pasts, and the story follows their struggle to overcome those demons in order to be together.
3. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The biggest would probably be that there should be no limits placed on love. Gay, straight, crooked, sideways---labels only apply where you choose to let them apply. Too many people cut themselves off from opportunities to find true love simply because they fear the label that will be attached to them if they allow themselves to admit what they want. Secondly, I want people to realize that the past doesn’t define the future unless you allow it to do so. Allen went through some horrible, terrifying events in his young life, yet he pulled through to become a sweet, lovable man. You can choose to let your past define your personality, or you can choose to forge ahead and make your own future. Easier said than done, I know. But it is possible!
4. How much of the book is realistic?
The book is contemporary, set in Houston. The districts, buildings, and descriptions of Houston that are found in the book are 100% accurate. I would know, since I live there!
5. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Either Cameron Dane or Joey W. Hill. Both of them write evocative, contemporary romances that feature a lot of the same elements I am trying to convey with my stories. The two of them are my heroes in the romance genre. Someday I would love to be as prolific and well-loved as they are.
6. What are your current projects?
I’m working on books 2 and 3 in the For Love of Authority Series. Book 2 is about Allen’s sister, Amber, and her struggles with accepting herself as a sexual submissive. Book 3 features some old college friends of Sidri and Tatum and follows their struggle to form a lasting triad.
7. Do you see writing as a career?
I wish. I really, really, really wish. Writing is and always has been my first love. But, as much as I would wish to become a professional writer with no other job, I have too many other artistic venues to participate in. In addition to writing stories, I make jewelry, clay figurines, custom fondant cakes, paper crafts such as scrapbooks, and sewing projects, among other things. I’m an advertising guru by day, and my job consists of coming up with snappy headlines and making visual graphics for a wide variety of clients. Maybe someday writing will pay the bills, but even if it does, I will still pursue my other artistic outlets!
8. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sometimes I let my characters wax eloquent on topics that I’m passionate about. One of my biggest pet peeves about modern BD/sM novels is that most authors assume that vanilla readers will automatically understand the emotional reasons behind what’s happening between the Dominants and submissives. I wanted to add a little more explanation to my stories so that people who don’t understand the concept of D/s intrinsically can gain a little more insight. That said, I have a tendency to over-explain, which the editors at Siren Bookstrand have been wonderful helping me pinpoint. There’s a fine line between conveying a concept and beating it to death. Sometimes, I get WAY too wordy because I don’t know if my point has come across or not.
9. Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not as of yet. Maybe someday I will branch out and write a series that doesn’t take place in my home town. In that case, I would definitely travel, because it’s so much easier to write about a place you actually know. As of now, though, I have no travel plans.
10. Who designed the covers?
The talented artists at Siren Bookstrand create all the cover artwork. We authors get a questionnaire, which we fill out with our wants and suggestions. Sometimes the artists can make it work, and sometimes they choose something completely different. You never know what your final product will look like.
11. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Actually sitting down to write it. I had the story in my head for almost a year before I finally managed to find time to sit down and write the whole thing. Now that I’m published, I have made a commitment to sit down and write every single day, though having a family, two jobs, and my own business certainly make that difficult. But, writing is my passion, so I believe I will be able to make it all work out. Somehow.
12. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Branch out. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into a single genre. For most of my writing career, I wanted to write fantasy novels. I wouldn’t be a published author if I hadn’t branched out and taken a hand at writing romance. Writers need to spread their wings, tell as many stories as they can, and try different things. You never know what kind of manuscript will catch the eye of a publisher or agent.
13. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
BD/sM doesn’t have to be about pain. That’s probably the biggest thing I want readers to learn from my books. Most modern novels in this genre concentrate on specific acts such as whipping, caning, and spanking, and they make it seem like those acts are the end-all be-all. And yes, they are part of the lifestyle, but they are by no means the only expression of it. I wanted to bring back the gentler, psychologically-based D/s in my stories so that readers could see that it’s not always about masochism. Sometimes, a sub simply needs to know someone else is in control. I also want people to understand the basic dynamic of a true D/s relationship. The way Sidri and Tatum treat Allen in my story is the way it is in real life.
14. Were there any psychological or logistical challenges in bringing your story to life?
A few. I had two main goals: tell Allen’s story, and convey the concepts that I described in the previous question. I wanted to tell a fantastic story while also including some real-life experiences. Figuring out realistic timeframes for the main story arc was my biggest logistical challenge, simply because it’s such a temptation to have all the important events take place right at the beginning of the story. I had to figure out the best way to reveal Allen’s dark past without destroying the pacing.
Demons Within Official Blurb:
[Ménage and More: Erotic Consensual BDSM Ménage a Trois Romance, M/M/F, public exhibition, sex toys, HEA]
Allen Heras just landed his dream job, and he’s determined to make the most of this chance for a new life. Only there’s a problem: he can’t seem to stop lusting after his bosses. After suppressing his bisexuality his whole life, he can’t afford to let his hormones ruin his chances for success. Now, if he could just get his big head to convince the little one of that, he’d be just fine.
Sidri McKenna and Tatum McAlister have always known there was something missing between them: another man, one who could bear the love of two Doms. And they’ve chosen Allen to be that man. They’d always known it would be an uphill battle, convincing Allen that three people could make it in a long-term triad. But when the demons from Allen’s horrible past threaten their relationship, they realize that the real battle isn’t convincing Allen to love them---it’s convincing him he’s worth loving in the first place.
A Siren Erotic Romance
Allen could definitely come to love this place.
But that wasn’t the half of what he was coming to love. The man and woman who were quickly overtaking his entire world were climbing that slope with staggering ease. Which was amazing, when he started considering how little he actually knew about them. Sidri, he knew mostly from work and the few social encounters they’d had over the last couple of years. Tatum, he’d only spoken to via phone or e-mail. Sure, they’d had dozens of conversations over the years, and he had heard tons of stories about both of them. But he’d never had the opportunity to simply hang out with them, never gotten the chance to just talk to them. And he’d never had the experience of seeing them together—or seeing how they interacted with someone like Allen.
Allen smiled, laughing at himself silently. He honestly hadn’t known what to expect, what it would be like to be the sole focus of two über-Alpha individuals. He’d had brief, uncomfortable visions of being totally controlled, of having every thought and action dictated for him. Eat this, go here, do that—no decision left to himself. The thought had made him instinctively shy away. He’d fought hard for his personal freedom, after all.
Fortunately, those half-formed fears couldn’t be further from the truth. With the two of them watching over him, taking care of him, he could almost begin to feel…cherished. Respected. Desired.
He shivered, and Sidri caressed his biceps without looking over at him. She was curled on the couch like a contented cat, watching reruns of her favorite show, The West Wing.He glanced over at Tatum, who sat in the easy chair closest to the arm of the couch Allen rested against, and received a small smile. Allen grinned, sighing with pleasure.
They were nothing like he expected. In the grand scheme of things, what they did for him didn’t appear to add up to much. But for Allen, it was a revelation of how wonderful his future could be.
Small things. Simple things. Like when Tatum brought them food earlier. He’d heaped two plates with Asian delicacies, setting them on the table with a wink and a flourish, before retrieving the plate he’d made for himself. Allen’s mouth had watered as he discovered Orange Beef, Kung Pao Chicken, and Happy Family vegetable medley. Then he had noticed that all the beans and sprouts had been removed from his portion—he’d glanced at Sidri and Tatum’s plates, just to be sure. Apparently, Sidri had told Tatum how much Allen hated beans and sprouts, and the big man had taken it upon himself to pick them out, one by one, before serving Allen his plate. It was such a small thing, such a simple gesture. But it rocked Allen to the core.
There were other things. Like when they settled in front of the TV after eating and talking for a good two hours. Tatum had snapped up the remote, earning a death-glare from Sidri, which he answered with a self-satisfied smirk. He’d flipped through the channels, obviously looking for something in particular, and eventually settled on one of Allen’s favorite guilty pleasures—a BBC crime drama. Allen knew—again, via Sidri—that Tatum absolutely detested crime dramas unless they featured lots of hot chicks wearing very little. He would never voluntarily watch one. Yet he’d stopped on the show without a single sign of discomfort, settling into his chair with a contented sigh.
Throat tight, Allen had snatched up the remote after the episode ended, quickly locating a sports show he knew both he and Tatum liked. The big man grinned appreciatively, and soon all three of them were arguing with the commentators and heaping ridicule on each other’s favorite players. With the Super Bowl happening tomorrow, everyone was focused on whose quarterback would make the most plays, which defenders would make the most sacks. It tickled him, listening to Sidri detail each player’s stats and list her ideas on how different plays should be run. That she obviously loved football just as much as her men made him love her that much more.
After sports, it was Sidri’s turn to hog the remote, a fact both men argued against vociferously. Grinning, she’d flipped through the channels, stopping on every chick-flick she found just to hear them groan. When she finally settled on The West Wing, he and Tatum quieted, content to let her have her way for now.
It was fun. Easy. Relaxed. Except for the thick undercurrent of constant, evolving sexual tension, he could almost believe they were just old college buddies, hanging out.
But that sexual tension was always there, under the surface.
When he’d returned from the kitchen, lips swollen and swimming in a haze of lust and anticipation, Sidri had taken one look at his rumpled state and said, “Damn, I wish I could have watched that.”
He’d blushed profusely and mumbled something about changing clothes—with his jeans’ button now lost somewhere on the kitchen floor, his pants were riding disconcertingly low. But Sidri and Tatum, who had just walked into the room carrying three Cokes, both instantly forbid him from doing any such thing.
“You’re so fucking sexy right now,” Tatum had breathed as Sidri nodded appreciatively. Both pairs of eyes were fastened to his waistline, where the now-zipped jeans still gaped at the top.
Sidri licked her lips, looked up at him through her lashes. “I want you to wear those jeans the whole time we’re here. Understand?”
A blush heated his ears as both of them voiced their approval of the idea, closing the subject as far as they were concerned. So Allen had been forced to wear the evidence of Tatum’s inability to wait to get his hands on Allen’s cock, the evidence of the man’s sheer brute strength. And every time he stood up, sat down, or simply walked across the room, his jeans, which were now loose enough to slip down to the points of his hips, rubbed against his hard-on.
Tatum headed straight for the freezer instead of making good on his offer to get them all food. He yanked open the door and shoved his face inside, a hard gasp shuddering out of him as the ice-cold air washed over his over-heated skin.
Too much. He wanted Allen too much. He stood with eyes shut tight, letting the frigid air try to cool the raging inferno of lust inside him. God help him, how would he ever manage to control himself?
A tentative, light-fingered touch on Tatum’s shoulder had him jumping and whirling around instantly. Allen stood behind him, eyes soft even as his hands trembled at his sides. As Tatum watched, Allen licked his lips and swallowed hard.
“I may not understand all this,” the smaller man said in a deep, sexy rumble that had Tatum’s balls drawing up tight, “But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be here.” He paused, laughed self-consciously. “I feel like a teenager, out on a first date. I don’t know what to do with myself, what I’m supposed to do.”
Tatum melted instantly, but Allen cut him off before he could offer reassurance. “This is all new to me, Tatum. Until last night, I didn’t even think anything like this was even remotely possible. So I’m nervous, and jumpy, and scared as all get-out.” He took a deep breath. “But I wouldn’t be here if this wasn’t something I wanted. And right now…” Allen looked down briefly, then speared Tatum with suddenly hot, chocolate-brown eyes.
“Right now, I want you to kiss me, the way you kissed her,” he said in a hushed tone. Then he gulped, licked that bottom lip again, and whispered, “Please.”
He mashed their lips together almost violently, shoving both hands through Allen’s thick black hair so he could grip the man’s skull and control the angle of penetration. With deep, sure strokes of his tongue, he explored every inch of that hot mouth, the sweet taste mainlining sugar straight to his bloodstream. Allen whimpered, his trembling fingers threading through Tatum’s belt loops as he sought an anchor.
Tatum groaned, forcing Allen to step backward until he fetched up against the door to the pantry. Tatum used his greater weight to hold Allen captive against the unforgiving hard surface, kissing the man desperately. That Allen responded, kissing him back for all he was worth, just made Tatum that much hotter. Harder.
With both hands, he reached down and took hold of Allen’s muscular thighs. He lifted the smaller man straight up, raising him to a level where Tatum didn’t have to bend so far to reach those sinful lips. Then he slammed their chests together, holding Allen suspended between himself and the door, his feet off the ground. Allen gasped into his mouth, both hands flying up to circle Tatum’s shoulders as he held on for dear life.
Tatum reached up with one hand and pried Allen’s fingers from his collar, kissing him all the while. Then he guided that hand up and out, finally wrapping the other man’s fingers around a convenient hook on the pantry door. It was supposed to hold bags of potatoes, or other such ordinary kitchen items. Now it gave his soon-to-be-lover an anchor that wouldn’t move. When he had Allen’s fingers firmly in place, he squeezed gently, letting him know Tatum wanted them to stay there. Allen complied with a deep, guttural groan that Tatum swallowed hungrily.
With unencumbered access, Tatum ran his free hand down Allen’s arm, over his chest, and made for the button on his jeans. Allen convulsed in his arms, panting between kisses, obviously reeling from the savagery of Tatum’s assault on his mouth and body. But Tatum couldn’t stop, wouldn’t stop. He needed to do this.
With a growl of imperative male frustration, he ripped the fucking button clean off Allen’s jeans. They both heard the small piece of metal clang on the Italian tile floor, listened to it roll and hitch up against the far counter. With that out of the way, all that was left was his zipper. Tatum yanked it down in one swift motion and reached his hand inside Allen’s shorts.
Allen shouted into Tatum’s mouth as he finally, finally got his hands on that long, thick shaft. Jesus, the man was hung, his cock a perfect handful for a man Tatum’s size. Allen was painfully aroused, dripped pre-cum everywhere, providing Tatum with more than enough lubrication to begin the quick, fast hand-job he’d intended from the start. Allen’s whole body jerked with every hard stroke, his thighs clenching against Tatum’s legs where the taller man held him up. Tatum pulled ruthlessly, holding nothing back, jerking the man in his arms off as if his life depended on it.
Not once did he stop kissing him. Tatum was dizzy, light-headed from lack of air, but he couldn’t bring himself to release those intoxicating lips. He pressed his full weight against the man pinned to the door and growled with pleasure every time Allen jerked in his arms.
When Allen was panting, gasping, mewling, Tatum used his own hips to brace them both and used his other hand to yank his polo shirt up, exposing his abs. He pressed the head of Allen’s cock to his own stomach, tore his lips away, and whispered, “Come.”
Fiery blasts of cum decorated Tatum’s belly even as his own orgasm shot molten lava through his veins. He moaned, long and low, his forehead jammed against Allen’s as they both panted and shook with the force of their mutual release. He held onto Allen’s cock while the younger man pulsed and released wave after wave of hot, sticky seed all over Tatum’s body.
When it was over, they were both panting, trembling with the aftermath. At last, Tatum let the man slide down his body until his feet touched the ground. He stood there, panting, holding them both upright even though every one of his muscles wanted to melt into a puddle on the kitchen floor.
Ayers Rhiannon Ayers has lived in many cities over the years, having grown up the daughter of parents who suffered from wanderlust. Currently, she and her husband reside near the Gulf of Mexico with their children, both the two- and four-legged variety. An artist to the bone, Rhiannon spends her days dreaming up snappy headlines and creating eye-catching artwork for clients all over the world, though telling stories has always been her first love. After writing her first epic adventure series at the tender age of eight, she went on to garner several creative writing awards, including the prestigious Vanderbilt Award for Excellence in Creative Writing. Becoming a published author is her single greatest achievement to date.
Rhiannon loves getting feedback from readers. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.