Hi guys, we have Francis Gideon popping in with his upcoming release Never Lose Your Flame, we have a great guest post where Francis chats about his characters, and we have a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~
Never Lose Your Flame
Cop-turned-bounty hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.
Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.
Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.
On August 1st my novel Never Lose Your Flames comes out with Dreamspinner Press. The story is a slow-burn erotic romance set in a Canadian urban fantasy landscape where a criminal firestarter named Nat Wyatt is captured by the former cop-turned-bounty hunter Gabe Dominguez and both are sent on a quest narrative. It’s one of my favourite books I’ve written and I’m excited that it will be available soon.
When I really like a story, I start to cast different actors in the roles, as if I could one day make a movie. I do this with my favourite books by different authors, too (usually called “fan-casting”) and it can lead to many late nights spent on IMBD or on YouTube looking at music videos. Music is a huge part of this story (and I’ll post more specifically on what music I enjoyed while writing this in a later post for my blog tour), and I tended to draw a lot of inspiration from certain musicians when I casted certain characters in my mind.
For instance, I imagined the best friend to Gabe, the witch Tansy, as a combination of the singer Halsey and the actress Amanda Stenberg (who played Rue in Hunger Games). Tansy’s girlfriend, Imogen, is another one of Gabe’s friends and I often imagined her as a combination of Lindsey Way from Mindless Self Indulgence and actress Mila Kunis.
The cover (designed by the wonderful Angsty G) embodies a lot of how I imagined the two main characters as well. Gabe is a taller version of Oscar Isaacs and Nat is a young version of Paul Dano with glasses (especially from his role in Little Miss Sunshine, except without the black hair dye). The cover works well to capture both of these actors and make their appearances (as well as their characters) come alive.
Nat’s half-brother Atticus is ostensibly the villain in the story, and I imagine someone like Aaron Taylor Johnson, especially from the movie Savages where he looks a bit rough around the edges and much older. Atticus is a smarmy character, capitalizing off his brother’s firestarting power–but like all the villains I write, he didn’t start out intending to do harm. Though he becomes irredeemable as the story goes on, he’s definitely not a mastermind character. Not in the least.
There are so many other characters that I adore in this story–like Gabe’s boss Duke, Beatrix Jane who runs underground parties (and who I based around the singer Laura Jane Grace), and J who is the person to go for when in need of getaway cars. I don’t want to take up too much of this blog post with images of random actors, though, so I’ll leave the rest to everyone’s imagination.
If you do read the story, and find yourself thinking of other actors, definitely message me! I love finding new actors to explore anyway. Thank you for reading!
Nat pressed a brief kiss to Gabe’s mouth. When he stepped back, he unzipped his hoodie and hung it over his arm. “I’ll be waiting. Don’t take too long, biker boy.”
Gabe watched from the porch until Nat’s slender body disappeared into the living area and then became indistinguishable in the crowd. Fuck, Gabe thought. This is definitely my lucky night.
His phone’s muffled ringing against the porch’s wooden floorboards and jacket pocket startled Gabe from his thoughts. Duke. Shit. Gabe scrambled to find his phone in the jacket’s breast pocket and wondered if he could cook up an excuse. Sorry, boss. No one here. I guess the gang—because what else would you send me?—you wanted me to track doesn’t like the punk scene anymore. Really, if you want me to find smugglers, you gotta go to the industrial buildings. The raves. The smugglers love it there. Gabe had learned this the hard way when he was tracking a different gang but kept the info to himself when Duke texted him the orders tonight, because he missed Beatrix. Any excuse to see her was a good one in his book. Some nights he swore he missed Winnipeg more than Toronto now, though Gabe would never admit to that out loud. At least not without threat of torture.
By the time Gabe grabbed his phone, a second call had gone to voice mail. Several angry text messages were also there, all of them in caps and from Duke. CALL ME. WHAT DO I PAY YOU FOR? COME ON, DRAGON BOY. BEING THE JUDGE MEANS NOTHING UNTIL YOU CALL.
Gabe groaned. He glanced back at the house and wondered how long Nat would wait for him. Naked. Maybe Nat’d get hot and bothered in the meantime, touching himself when Gabe took too long. So when Gabe arrived, he could slide up next to him, and they’d be ready to go all night.
If Duke will let you go all night.
With a sigh, Gabe called Duke. He picked up on the first ring. “Dominguez. Fuck you.”
“Fuck you,” Gabe said right back. “I’m busy. I’m working. But let me tell you, gangs don’t like the punk scene. They like—”
“I know. I don’t care. I found someone else to go to the industrial parks in Toronto.”
“Oh. Well. That’s good, I guess.” Gabe brushed past the sting of a job being taken away from him. “So why bother me again? I’m busy.”
“Yeah, I’m sure.” Duke’s tone suggested he knew exactly what Gabe was about to get busy doing. “I still have a case for you. With one hand I take, but I’ll always give back. I’m a good boss.”
“Get to the point.”
“Well, the last lead we had for this new guy was in Winnipeg, so I think you may be in the right spot.”
“I’m not looking for another troll in the smelting plants. I smelled for weeks afterwards.”
“Calm down. Don’t reject until you read the case file. Do you remember nothing of what I taught you?”
“Fine. Send it over. I’ll text you if I’m into it. But don’t expect anything for a while. Not until dawn, at least.”
Duke huffed. “You work for me, Dominguez. I don’t work for you.”
Duke disconnected. His last words stung for several seconds afterward. Gabe really didn’t mean to offend him—and not just because Duke was one of the most power-hungry men he knew. Gabe could handle big egos. That wasn’t a big deal. It was disappointment, after he owed Duke so much. So much when….
Gabe’s phone buzzed with an e-mail before he could wander down darker thoughts. He clicked on it and scanned Duke’s first message as he slid open the porch’s screen door.
So I have a firestarter for you this time, a branch of elementals. Name’s Wyatt. He may be going by several different names, though, so use the photos to ID him. Firestarters can’t do any permanent body modification because of their blood chemistry, so he should look the same as ever, barring maybe hair color changes. I’ve attached the photos and the cases he’s involved in. You’re a good worker, Dominguez, so we really need you for this one. Fire can’t kill dragons, remember? So don’t reject it.
Take it easy,
Gabe groaned. Of course he’d be stuck with catching a firestarter. He’d done one a few years back when he was first brought into Duke’s ring of bounty hunters. The woman was nasty to catch; she nearly burned half of Halifax down in order to get away. But Gabe had caught her, with very few injuries, for the exact reason Duke cited. Fire can’t kill dragons. In the worst brawl with a firestarter, Gabe would have to shape-shift into his dragon form and take them out. Easy as pie, even if Gabe wasn’t so excited about being a dragon anymore.
And I was so close to being laid. Gabe’s erection was all but gone now from talking to Duke, and his mind was already back in work mode. Gabe skimmed the case files and Duke’s notes on Wyatt as he trudged through Beatrix’s house.
Wyatt was a serial arsonist, known for starting fires with his powers. The first two were in abandoned buildings in Ontario close to the high school or university the kid had been attending. He’d been brought in, charged, and eventually placed into a facility for supernaturals for his second offense. After two years, he was even discharged—but not more than a day after, another building went up. Then another in a different province. The largest following fire had been in an 8,000-square-foot warehouse and killed seven people—and that wasn’t even the last one Wyatt was charged with. Gabe let out a low whistle. The numbers and damages all looked pretty brutal. He could understand why someone had paid Duke to come after this guy. Even if this wasn’t a gang case, Duke often took on freelance work for corporations. Since the last few buildings were commercial enterprises, all of this checked out. Piss off enough witches, vamps, or other creatures who’ve become CEOs, and eventually they stop trusting the civilian government and go through the underground network—even the nastier sides of it, like Duke’s operation.
Well, I have my next week and a half, maybe even month, cut out for me.
When Gabe flipped through the image attachments, he stopped in his tracks. A pair of familiar gray eyes stared back at him from a color photo, though they were framed behind thick-rimmed glasses. The same blond hair, skinny frame, and sharp edges with attitude. Wyatt wasn’t a first name, but a last name. The first?
“Nat!” Gabe hissed. “Nat!”
Gabe barreled up the stairs two by two. The music throbbed over his cursing. Of course the one person I hook up with is a firestarter. Of course, of course. Gabe was about to start pounding on all the closed doors on the second floor when he tried to regain his composure. If Nat really is this firestarter, then you already have him. Possibly half-naked on a bed waiting for you, which means he won’t run and that he doesn’t know who you are. This case can be closed, and you can be done for the night. Gabe took another deep breath and steadied himself. He started to knock on all the doors, but quietly.
Beatrix was the first to answer. Her hair was messy, her dark eyeliner smudged around her lids. Gabe spotted another guy in the back of the bedroom with her.
“What are you doing, Gabe?” she asked. “Are you high? You’ve got the squirrely movements like you’re high.”
“You see a tall kid? Skinny. With a gray hoodie on…?”
Beatrix shook her head.
Gabe huffed. Fuck. “Are there any more rooms up here? I’ve knocked on all the others and there’s no one answering.”
“Oh, sweetie. You get stood up?”
Gabe slammed a fist into the wall. Beatrix blinked and furrowed her brows. “Hey, now. I know it’s shitty being stood up, but leave my house alone. Respect your transformative elders, dear.”
“I’m sorry. I just… I need to work a job and—”
Gabe stopped speaking when he heard the low rumble of an engine during a lull of the concert music.
“Isn’t that your bike?” Beatrix asked.
Gabe bolted toward a bedroom right over the garage. From the cracked window, Gabe watched as his beautiful black and gold Harley-Davidson cruiser rode out of the driveway and down the street. On the back, of course, was a guy in a gray hoodie. Nat Wyatt. Fucking Nathanael Wyatt, a firestarter known for killing at least half a dozen people and costing upwards of two million in damages.
“Fuck!” Gabe barreled out the bedroom and toward the front door.
“Gabe! Gabe!” Beatrix cried after him. “You need to calm down. Think of—”
Beatrix stopped at the foot of the stairs, seeming to know it was impossible to stop him. It always had been. At least tonight, Gabe hoped his speed was an advantage and not something that would draw too much unwanted attention from the wrong people.
Either way, I need this kid. And my bike. With another breath, Gabe ran through Beatrix’s door and into the night.
Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante. He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal.