Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Guest post: Beckoning Blood by Daniel de Lorne

Beckoning Blood
Daniel de Lorne

Genre: Paranormal gay m/m romance
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Date of Publication: 1 May 2014
ISBN: 9780857991553
Word Count: 82,000

Book Description:

A gripping, blood‐drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies — no matter how many times you kill it.

Thierry d’Arjou has but one escape from the daily misery of his work at a medieval abattoir — Etienne de Balthas. But keeping their love a secret triggers a bloody chain of events that condemns Thierry to a monstrous immortality. Thierry quickly learns that to survive his timeless exile, he must hide his sensitive heart from the man who both eases and ensures his loneliness...his twin brother.

Shaped by the fists of a brutal father, Olivier d’Arjou cares for only two things: his own pleasure and his twin. But their sadistic path through centuries is littered with old rivals and new foes, and Olivier must fight for what is rightfully his – Thierry, made immortal just for him.

Daniel de Lorne, Falling Under Carcassonne’s Spell

Today I’m talking about Carcassonne, the ancient walled French city that is one of the settings in Beckoning Blood. To be honest, I’d never heard of Carcassonne until I took French classes a few years ago.

In the exercise book we were using, Frank is going to stay at the youth hostel in Carcassonne and he’s rung Philippe to ask for directions. There was a photo of the medieval city in the book and it looked just like your classic castle. I decided to investigate.

Carcassonne is located in the south of France, in the Languedoc region, not far from the Pyrenees. Its origins date back to the sixth century BC when a fortified city stood on the hill. It was held by Romans and Visigoths until its shining days under the Trencavel family. Over the centuries, its defences have been added to, becoming this seemingly impenetrable fortress overlooking the surrounding countryside.

In the 1200s Carcassonne was the stronghold of the Cathar rebellion but eventually fell to Catholic forces, so there’s plenty of bloody history going on there. After the heretics were rooted out (and slaughtered), Carcassonne became an important and wealthy town of trade. Unfortunately, during the Hundred Years’ War, the English Black Prince burnt the ‘new town’ to the ground in 1355, but leaving the main walled citadel intact.

The citizens rebuilt the town (which is where most of them lived) and for the rest of the Middle Ages it was an important market town, ideally situated on the edge of the kingdom of France. Eventually, trade failed following a change in border in 1659 and Carcassonne fell out of favour. The citadel was abandoned and quarried for its stones.

Viollet-le-Duc, a French architect in the 1800s, rediscovered the empty and crumbling town and recognised it for its historical significance and romantic potential. A fifty-year restoration project returned it to life. Now it’s the second most visited French city (after Paris) and is a UNESCO world heritage site (link: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/345).

I’ve yet to visit Carcassonne but I’ll get there one day and get to see where Olivier and Thierry were born.

So why did I decide to set part of my story in Carcassonne? Firstly, who doesn’t love an ancient walled city? And secondly, witch trials.

While undertaking research for Beckoning Blood, I was trying to find a suitable time to set the story’s beginnings. I searched for witch burnings, as the brothers’ sister, Aurelia, is a witch and I had an idea to set it around the time of witch trials and burnings. To my great surprise, there were witch trials in Carcassonne at the end of the 1300s and beginning of the 1400s. So, thanks to a bit of serendipity, I’d found my time period and my setting.

Have you been to Carcassonne? What medieval towns do you find the most evocative?
Beckoning Blood
Daniel de Lorne
This sick monster that wore his face
Carcassonne, France
The pig refused to die. Thierry’s blade only nicked the skin, but the animal bucked and fought beneath him. Stupid, squealing creature.
‘Christ’s balls!’ his brother spat behind him. ‘What’s the matter with you?’
Thierry ignored him and readied the knife for a clean cut, waiting for the moment the swine calmed a little, hugging it tighter as it tried to pull away. Its bristled hide stabbed him like dried sticks through the grime and blood coating his chest, but he held on. The pig screamed louder.
Why wouldn’t it just be silent?
A shadow fell in front of him, as much as a shadow could form in one of Carcassonne’s abattoirs, where light barely penetrated the wooden slats that penned them in.
‘Are you trying to kill it or fuck it?’ Olivier said.
The other slaughterers chuckled, then Thierry’s twin sighed, grabbing the pig’s ear close to its skull, yanking the head up and plunging a knife into its neck. He sliced forward and out, blood spilling onto the stone floor as death shuddered through the pig’s body. Thierry released the animal as it weakened and then stood when it collapsed to the floor.
He turned to his viscera-coated brother. ‘I had it.’
‘Like hell you did.’ Olivier shook free the flecks of blood in his black hair and smiled a smile familiar yet so different to his own. One that said, Admit it, you need me.
They might have been twins, but Thierry knew he never smiled like that.
‘Marcel, did Thierry have that pig?’
Marcel just laughed and went back to hanging the meat. The other workers snickered. Olivier smiled wider.
Thierry grabbed one of the pig’s back legs and dragged it past his brother. When he got to the hooks, Marcel winked at him before going to pull in another animal. Thierry hoisted the carcass and slid a metal spike through it. Olivier’s cut had been deep and the blood was mostly gone, but Thierry slit the throat wider to fully drain the animal, and then sheathed his blade by his waist.
He sensed his brother’s eyes on his back, that questing gaze sliding up and down the gore and sweat on his skin. And then he felt that…probing…inside him. Not a gentle touch around the edges, rather the full hammering of Olivier’s need to know what was going on inside his brother’s mind. Deep breathing usually blocked his twin, but summer in the walled city was always bad, and here in the abattoir the air was stifling. Flies buzzed around the meat or landed on the men and bit into their flesh. He tried to breathe through his brother’s intrusion, the hot, heavy stink filling his lungs doing nothing to prevent Olivier working the bond in deeper.
And Thierry knew, then, what he was really looking for.
Or who.
He turned and glared at Olivier who stood there, eyes bright even in the gloom, a liar’s smile on his face, convinced he was getting closer to Thierry’s secret.
Thierry snorted and headed out the back door to a yard filled with tethered beasts. The air there wasn’t much fresher, but he sucked it in anyway and Olivier’s presence lessened. It faded almost to nothing, and then another pig screamed.
A vacant smile didn’t fool Thierry. The bond worked both ways, after all, and he was far more sensitive to it than his heavy-handed brother. As gentle as a forest stream, he travelled back up Olivier’s diminishing connection and stole into his brother’s thoughts and feelings. His twin boiled and Thierry boiled with him. The deeper he went, the closer to one he grew, until finally he could see through Olivier’s eyes, feel the grip of his hand on the leather hilt of the butcher’s blade, and smell the blood spraying onto his brother’s chest. Underneath it all, arrogant and unguarded thoughts tumbled over one another.
Thierry. Thierry. Thierry…
He tried to swim out of his brother’s surging thoughts, but the torrent swirled and caught him. Thierry kicked to get free, panicked, and fell onto buckled legs against the outside wall of the abattoir, sweat pouring down his forehead and neck. And now he forced himself to breathe deeper, just to prove he wasn’t really trapped beneath the obsessive, greedy storm.
He didn’t want to return to the abattoir, but Henri would be back soon and he’d know, just by looking at him, that Thierry hadn’t done his share of the work today, and then he’d be as good as unconscious after the shouting was done.
God bless the Father.
He pushed off the wall and turned to go inside when the animals fell silent. All of them. No braying, no bleating. As if someone had shoved rags into their mouths.
The silence pressed.
Then something brushed his neck, subtle and discomfiting. Ugly enough to make him freeze when everything in him wanted to run. A gaze.
He wanted to believe it was Olivier, but his brother was inside, slaughtering. Though he couldn’t be certain, because the link between them was suddenly as quiet as the animals in the yard. That alone chilled his blood.
Who watched him?
As quickly as it came, and before he could spin and peer into the shadowed recess between buildings, the sensation passed. The world breathed again and the animals returned to their calling, louder than before.
Yet the rank darkness of the abattoir didn’t feel so hostile now.
He hurried back inside, his eyes taking a moment to adjust to the dim light. Olivier hunched over another pig, the muscles in his bare back tensing and relaxing as he sliced and gutted the animal. They had leather aprons, but in this heat it was better not to wear them.
About the Author:
Daniel de Lorne writes mostly about the loves and trials of hot and sexy paranormal men – and creatures.
He grew up in Perth, Western Australia, and developed a fascination for the mythical and magical early on. Daniel wrote stories from a young age but it was high school biology class he remembers fondly as providing an excellent cover for writing stories that were filled with teen angst and fantastical creatures.
From there it was just a short jump to creative writing in university, where Daniel really indulged his love for the gothic, particularly the vampiric. And plenty of essays on the topic gave it all an air of respectability.
After university he used his skills for good. He wrote about wildlife conservation for eight years before taking a break to explore Canada with his partner. It was while in this great northern frontier that Escape Publishing accepted his first book, Beckoning Blood, for publication.
Giveaway $25 Amazon gift Card and 1 e-copy of Beckoning Blood 2 runners up will win an ecopy of Beckoning Blood a Rafflecopter giveaway

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