Congratulations to Ivy, the winner of today’s post.

Hi, everyone! I would like to challenge you to answer a question, after reading my comments and considering your own reading and/or writing: Can lust become meaningful love? The winner receives a copy of my “scorching” new Strand novel. First, here is a blurb from the M/M historical Warrior, Ride Hard which may serve as an introduction to my remarks:

The armsman Gristle is aptly named, for he is tough and hard to swallow, not just to his former Roman soldiers but to his liege lady Caylith. Only once in his 40 years has he allowed someone to get close to him–the beautiful, sorrow-filled Tristus whose parents were murdered by Picts and who entered his Roman outpost in Cumbria, Britannia ten years prior to the present action.

Through a flashback, the reader learns that Gristle’s seduction of Tristus was uncharacteristically slow and tender, and that the two men formed a close emotional bond. One night Tristus disappeared from his sentry duty, pulled away by a brother he thought had been killed, leaving Gristle to think the worst.

The disappearance of Tristus resulted in a deep subconscious despair for Gristle, who as the story opens reminds himself that he will never again take a lover and leave himself open to the whims of fate. But his thoughts begin to fill with a young, sensuous pony trainer named Wynn. In spite of his reservations, Gristle takes the 21-year-old as a lover when he arrives in Hibernia (ancient Ireland), and the two begin to enjoy a passionate affair.

The stories of the three men interweave until at last they all three meet briefly in sacred Tara, home of the High King. Wynn is abducted by druids with sinister and lustful designs, and Tristus wants to follow another man–the famous bishop Patrick. Thus no sooner has Gristle found an old lover and a new one than they are all pulled apart by the one whom Gristle calls “the bitch goddess Fortuna.”

Writing the novel proved to be a challenge. It wasn’t the manlove part, which I found hugely exciting to write about, but the task of balancing the stories of three men, two of whom love the Alpha, without resorting to a menage. Even more challenging to me was the conviction that this story had to delve behind the straightforward lust of the men and into those cracks in the heart that allow real love to enter.

How could I show the deeply sensuous and emotional relationship of Gristle, the former Roman soldier, with not one, but two different younger men? How could Gristle, tough as his army-issue hobnail boots, possibly allow himself to feel love the second time around?

I worked out my dilemma by writing the novel in three parts. Part 1 tells the story of the attraction between tough-as-nails Gristle and the humor-filled Welshman Wynn. Part 2 sends tendrils back ten years prior to the current action when Gristle seduced another young man–his first real lover–the sorrowful Tristus. After Tristus disappears, I trace the story of what happened to Gristle and Tristus throughout the next ten years and up to the story’s present.

The third part of Warrior, Ride Hard hard tells what happens when this time Gristle’s new lover Wynn disappears. Of course, Gristle is bitter, thinking Wynn has deserted him. In truth he has been abducted by men with evil on their mind, and he is fated not to re-enter Gristle’s life for four months. Wynn is attacked, poisoned, and at last left to die–while Gristle continues from the Hill of Tara to the ancient settlement of Derry in the north of Ireland to begin a new life. The entire time, of course, Gristle is convinced that Wynn, still too young to understand him and his strict training, has simply left him for other adventures.

One more quirk in the story finds Tristus now in Ireland, determined to follow the ministry of the new bishop Patrick who has been sent by the Pontiff to convert the Irish pagans. Through the whim of “the bitch goddess Fortuna,” Tristus has already met and befriended Wynn, and he encounters Gristle just as he and Wynn are set to start a new life together.

I will leave it up to my readers to determine whether I have worked out the complex lives and emotions of these three men. The final resolution comes later, in the sequel Warrior, Stand Tall. But for now, have I created a “happily ever after” that readers will find satisfying?

As my tag line says,
For two passionate men, where does lust end and love begin?

Leave a comment and let Erin know Can lust become meaningful love? The best answer, in relation to her article as well as their own reading or writing, will win a copy of the novel.

About the Author: I adopted the name Erin O’Quinn as my pen name, because I have dedicated most of my writing to the setting of ancient Ireland. There, in a beautiful but wildass land, roam former Roman soldiers, sensuous clansmen, Britannic immigrants, cattle barons, druids, and St. Patrick himself. I try to incorporate as much history, language and culture as possible into my novels. In fact, my “straight” blog listed below is dedicated to the Gaelic spirit. I live in the drought-parched hills of central Texas, far from the Emerald Isle, with my husband and four snotty cats.

Erin O’Quinn’s Gaelic blog
Erin O’Quinn’s Manlove blog
Storm Maker
The Wakening Fire
Captive Heart
Fire & Silk
Warrior, Ride Hard