Friday, August 1, 2014

Appearanances by T.M. Smith: Pre-release Blog Hop

Hello everyone, Tams here (TM Smith) let me start by saying thank you to all the bloggers that are hosting me today for this special event! 

Welcome to the Appearances pre-release blog hop, sneak peak and giveaway! Today I'm going to share the first two chapters of Appearances with you, a little behind the scenes while writing this book as well as going over my process for choosing some of the names in the series. And, there might be a little giveaway, maybe. The best part is, this is an all day event on Facebook as well, so be sure to join the event and check back throughout the day as I've lined up some pretty amazing authors and bloggers to help me host who will be having giveaways of their own.

Schedule (all times are CST central standard time zone)
Author TM Smith: 8-10AM CST
Charlie Cochet: 10-11AM CST
Alina Popescu: 11AM-1PM CST
Angel Martinez: 1-2PM CST
Author TM Smith: 2-3PM CST
Lucien/Raven: 3-4PM CST
J. Scott Coatsworth: 4-5PM CST
Crystal Marie: 5-6PM CST
Author TM Smith: 6-7PM CST
Carly Rose: 7-8PM CST

Lets start with the book that started it all, Opposites.
Opposites is an adult dystopian majorly M/M series set a few centuries in the future in a society where to be gay/lesbian is the norm. To be straight labels you an Opposite and makes you the outkast. 

Opposites, book 1 is available now through Amazon, ARe and Smashwords.

The Library, an Opposites novella, is available now through Amazon, ARe and Smashwords.

*WARNING* Opposites is an Adult Dystopian series that contains explicit sexual content and relationships between gay, lesbian and straight couples.

Something that I've been asked a lot over these last couple years, "How did you come up with the names for your characters?" I knew straight away that this was going to be an epic sort of story, even an author friend that read an early draft commented it was like a gay Game Of Thrones. So I knew that with all the names I'd have to remember already, I did not want to use last names as well. In that aspect, I took on a Dune quality where as everyone is known by their name and their house. 

Another question I've gotten is why so similar. I thought I was helping readers with that as well, but it may not have come across accurately. Take House Gaeland for instance. Fathers; Rian and Cirian. Mothers; Amaya and Amelia. Children; Aiya and Aiyan. There is a similarity in the names that made me think, these are all from the same house. I guess it didn't translate as well to some of my readers, sorry about that. 

I also tried to use names that were specific to that culture for certain characters. I researched popular and historic names of each culture and that is how I came up with Nadi, Kaden, Theresa, Taryn, Tanis and a few others. There were some names I knew I wanted to use before I even started outlining the story. I chose the name Aiya after hearing it on a sci-fi movie many years ago, it always stuck with me. Adding the 'n' to it for her twin brother was easy. Rian was a spelling I'd read in a book and I loved the uniqueness of it. One of my favorite movies is 'In A Child's Name'. The mom in that movie was Theresa, with an 'h', no one ever really spells Theresa with the 'h' anymore and I've always liked that more classic spelling. 

I wanted to pay respect to my family name, grandparents things like that somewhere as well. Gilley was my late Irish grandmother's maiden name, so it was a given that the house in Ireland or that part of the country would be called House Gilley. Dr. Anthony Smith... my grandfathers, Robert Antony and William Smith. I write under the name TM Smith not because I don't want people to know that Tammy Middleton is the author, but because it's the name my parents gave me. Tammy Michelle Smith is way to long to print out so I shortened it. 

{For a listing of names, Houses and their meaning, head over to TTC Books and more}

And now, meet the guest of honor today, Appearances...

Appearances, can be deceiving.

Raven and Tanis are trying very hard to merge their vastly different lifestyles, but Tanis's issues with his own past could prove to be more than their fragile relationship can handle. Is their love for each other strong enough to weather the oncoming storm? 

Aiya and Sawyer have fought hard to be together in a world where Opposite relationships are generally forbidden. Yet, they are still forced to keep their relationship a secret while they are outside the walls of House Gaeland. 

Everyone assumes that the only threat lies outside their walls, the group of rebels led by Cillian. But something is happening within House Gaeland, something that hasn’t happened since GWI. And with all the attention focused on that, their guard is down. An evil that was under their nose all along strikes, and someone will make the ultimate sacrifice to save another.

At the end of Opposites Cirian shared a secret with his children, the identity of the person known to them as Gorilla Man. Everyone was coming to terms with the relationship that was developing between Aiya and Sawyer, and Tanis proposed to Raven. 

Now it is time for Aiya and Aiyan to travel to their spouses homes and meet their people. But that is more the backdrop of this story, as this book concentrates more on the ever growing relationship between Raven and Tanis. The Priest from House Gaeland and his warrior from House Orion. Raven is wise but slightly naive. He never gave much thought to a family or a husband, not that it's forbidden, he just never thought he'd share his heart with anyone but God. But the inked upped, muscled upped man from Greece that Raven describes as all attitude, muscles and ink... well he rooted his way in there under the radar.

While the relationship between Raven and Tanis doesn't seem to be moving any faster than the twins, in actuality it is. Aiya and Aiyan have known about their matches for years, they know them even if only on paper. These two young men are learning about each other as they go. And once they get to Greece, Raven learns that the description of his fiance from before they met, "A man in every port", well there wasn't ever a truer statement. Tanis had always been promiscuous, and now it may come back to bite him in the ass, so to speak.

More secrets will be revealed and a new threat will emerge. But the root of everything that keeps these people and these relationships strong, their love and faith in one another, is the constant that will keep them all alive. 

I'm still hoping to release Appearances on August 31st, but right now that is a tentative date. I've had some personal issues these last several months, one of those being Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I've now had the surgery on both hands, but it has set me back quite a bit with my writing. So I wanted to let you all know that I am moving forward as fast as my body will allow, and also share the first two chapters with you. An appetizer, if you will. Do remember that this is still a work in progress and while it has gone through BETA and a round of editing, there is still some clean up to do before release. So ignore any mistakes and enjoy this exclusive look into Appearances. 

1 ~
Aiyan walked through the garden, violin case in hand, heading toward the bench that sat in the center. Sitting, he removed his violin and stroked the strings. He hadn’t played in days and needed to feel the instrument in his hands as he poured his pain into the music. It was the only outlet he could think of at the moment that wouldn’t cause someone else bodily harm.

His life had changed drastically over the past several months. He met and married his match who, thankfully, turned out to be his soul mate. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loved Kaden like no other almost from the minute he laid eyes on him. He realized just how much and how much he stood to lose when Kaden was kidnapped by his uncle. An uncle he didn’t even know he had until after they’d rescued Kaden and brought him back home where he belonged. 

He heaved in a deep breath and brought the instrument up to rest on his shoulder, running the bow across the strings a few times to adjust the tone. Then he closed his eyes and let it all go, let all of the pain and anger flow out of his body and into the music. He thought of Kaden inside the palace, in their room packing for their impending trip to House Devi. He thought back to the first time they’d made love after the incident. How loving, tender and gentle he was with his husband; who was still broken and bruised from his captivity. For a moment he felt the anger seeping back into him as his thoughts strayed to Gorilla man, his uncle, and the violin screamed out a note in agony. He released a breath and regained his composure, moving his thoughts back to Kaden and how they’d leaned on each other in those days and weeks when they first returned to the palace. The melody leveled out as Aiyan stopped trying to control the emotions and just let them flow freely,
the insanely beautiful whine of music filled the night air.


Kaden closed the last suit case and lifted it off the bed, carrying it over and sitting it by the door with the others. He stood upright when he thought he heard a shrill cry coming from outside their bedroom window. Their bedroom was just off one side of the garden when you

looked out the window, which made sense as the garden was Aiyan’s favorite place to be. Kaden walked over and threw the window open, closing his eyes and smiling when he realized what it was he’d heard.
Kaden quickly made his way out of the palace and out into the garden, hell, he would have just jumped out the window to make the trip quicker if he thought he could do it without hurting himself.

Kaden rounded the corner and stopped, soaking in the sight of his husband, completely oblivious and completely sexy. Aiyan’s eyes were closed and the tip of his tongue just barely escaped his mouth, as his head jerked to the side occasionally with certain notes of the song. Kaden could see how relaxed he was surrounded by the things he loved most. The garden that captured so much color and beauty, and his violin that shared not only the color and beauty inside of Aiyan, but the talent he held as well. Every emotion Aiyan was feeling played across his face as he felt them, Kaden just stood still and watched. The emotions blended flawlessly with the notes; anger brought on a loud shrill note
and a scrunched up face; happiness brought on a flowing, sharp squeal and a slight smile; and then sadness was the lightest note of all as a tear trickled down Aiyan’s cheek.

Aiyan’s eyes opened when he heard a low crack as Kaden moved toward him, stepping on a twig. “Oh, sorry, I was just letting off some steam.” Aiyan said, moving to put away his violin. Kaden moved quickly over to him, “No, please... don’t stop. It was beautiful my prince, please play more for me.”

Kaden slid onto the far corner of the bench, smiling slightly as Aiyan smiled back at him.

“You like to beg, don’t you?” Aiyan said playfully, that crooked grin taking over his face. It was true, Kaden had said those exact words to him the night they met, here in the garden, the first time Aiyan kissed him. “No, please... don’t  stop.” Aiyan put his instrument away and then just sat there, silent, staring at the ground. Kaden could not only see, but feel the war of emotions raging inside him. The bond they had seemed to have been there since that first meeting, when they saw the same vision of them kissing on the bed. And it only grew stronger when they were separated. Truth be told, their bond had saved Kaden’s life when Gorilla man had thrown him down that well.

Kaden reached up and pushed Aiyan’s hair back behind his ear, stroking the lobe with his fingers softly as he did. “My prince, tell me what troubles you.” Aiyan didn’t speak, didn’t look up at him, he didn’t even flinch. Kaden scooted a little closer and ran his hand down Aiyan’s arm, joining their fingers together. Still, Aiyan didn’t so much as squeeze his
hand back, not even acknowledging Kaden’s attempt to placate him. 

Kaden brought himself around in front of Aiyan, wedging himself on his knees on the ground between Aiyan’s legs, staring up at him, refusing to be ignored. They stared into each other’s eyes for several long, intense moments. Kaden toyed with the right words to say, and decided words weren’t what was needed right now. He leaned up and kissed his husband. He just held his lips to Aiyan’s briefly, not attempting to deepen the kiss. When he pulled back Aiyan’s eyes remained closed and he took a few shallow breaths.

“Don’t shut me out Aiyan, not now, we’ve been through too much for you to give me the silent treatment.” That crooked grin was trying to make an appearance Kaden thought, as the corner of Aiyan’s mouth twitched slightly. “There is nothing you can’t tell me. I know you want to deal with these emotions and this anger you feel on your own, but that is the problem Aiyan. Have you thought that the reason you can’t get past this is because you are trying to do it alone? You aren’t alone Aiyan, I am here, right here in front of you, begging you to…….” Kaden didn’t get the rest of his sentence out before he was grabbed and hauled up into Aiyan’s lap. Aiyan’s lips came down on his hard and fierce as Aiyan attempted to tongue fuck him right there on the bench.

Aiyans fingers dug into Kaden’s shoulders and he poured everything he was feeling into the kiss. Kaden moaned into his mouth and melted into his touch as the kiss ignited a fire inside him. The combination of his own hunger coupled with Aiyan’s left his head spinning. Aiyan pulled back, gasping for breath, when he opened his eyes Kaden saw that they’d turned gold around the rims and he smiled. Aiyan leaned forward until their foreheads were touching, still breathing heavy.

“Okay Kaden, okay. Let’s go back to our room and talk.” He panted out between breaths.

“Just talk?” Kaden whispered. Aiyan barked out a laugh and smacked his ass, which caused Kaden to yelp. They barely made it into their room before Kaden quickly divested them of their clothing. He pushed Aiyan back against the door and climbed up him, devouring his mouth. Aiyan spun them around as he lifted Kaden up off the floor, and slammed him up against the unyielding wooden door. Kaden wrapped both legs around Aiyan’s waist and thrust his hips up. Aiyan threw his head back and gasped when Kadens thick, hard cock rubbed up against his own. Aiyan kissed him again, his lips as unyielding and hard as the door Kaden was pressed up against. Then he proceeded to fuck Kaden into
oblivion, right there up against the bedroom door.

Kaden woke in their bed with the soft touch of Aiyan’s fingers, trailing down his back and over his ass, then tracing back up the path they’d just taken. “Are you awake?” Aiyan whispered.

“I am now.” Kaden just chuckled.

Aiyan didn’t speak again for a while. He just ran his hands along Kaden’s skin, setting it on fire. Finally, he let out a ragged sigh, “I’ve never felt the kind of anger I feel toward him Kaden, and it scares me. I swear sometimes I feel like the hatred will consume me. I want to kill him, I want him to suffer. What does that say about me Kaden, for Christ sake, he’s my uncle?!” Even if the touch of Aiyan’s fingers on his skin hadn’t gone from gentle to rough, Kaden could feel Aiyan’s anger inside him through the bond they shared.

Kaden rolled over onto his back and Aiyan laid his head on his chest, he ran his fingers through Aiyan’s hair comforting and calming him all at the same time. “It says that you are my husband, my partner and you will do anything to make sure I’m safe. I would do the same for you. Do you feel better, now that you told me this?” Aiyan nodded but didn’t speak. “Then that is enough for now. I love you Aiyan and we will deal with this together. Everything, always together.” Aiyan smiled and Kaden could feel the curve of his husbands lips on his skin, which made him smile in turn, remembering.

Those three words took Aiyan back to the past, to the night they decided to get their named tattoos. When Aiyan first broached the subject just days before their Mehndi ceremony, Kaden had balked at the idea. But then when Aiyan and Raven showed Kaden drawings of what Aiyan was suggesting they do, Kaden couldn’t deny the sentiment in the gesture.

“I want to get our names tattooed on our arms, here.” Aiyan spoke softly to Kaden as he withdrew his fingers from where they’d been wrapped in Kaden’s and rolled up his sleeve, showing the spot on his upper arm.
Kaden scowled at him, “Don’t you think that is a little grandious, my prince? And what would they say? Aiyan and Kaden, respectively. Or M’anam and My Prince?”

Aiyan turned that wickedly sexy crooked grin on his partner before he answered. “I think our given names, and in a calligraphy style of writing with maybe a celtic border?” Aiyan presented his answer as a question, it would seem he had put a lot of thought into this venture. Kaden still wasn’t convinced, until the next day after lunch, when Raven found him and Aiyan in the library and showed them the drawings he’d made in a likeness of what Aiyan wanted the tattoo’s to show.

“Wow, that’s really simplistic. I was expecting something more… just, more.” Kaden was pleasantly surprised with the simple, uniqueness of the designs. He had no ink anywhere on his body, having never found anything he wanted to permanently place on his skin. But this, this was a representation of his commitment to Aiyan, a way to show everyone he belonged to this man. So when Raven told them he could do the tattoos right then, Kaden didn’t allow himself time to reconsider, he just nodded in agreement and followed Aiyan and Raven.

It was a given that Aiyan’s tattoo would be placed on his left upper arm as he already had a large eagle, and a dragonfly on his right upper arm. 

Kaden thought his should go on his left arm as well, not only to mirror where his future husbands ink would go, but it was also the hand where their wedding rings would be.

Kaden followed as Raven led them to the area of the palace where the guards slept. “The Guardai and The Order are housed in this wing of the palace. And while Raven’s room is in the main area of the palace with the family, he still keeps a room here as well. He has artwork, instruments, some swords he’s collected and his tattoo equipment here.” Aiyan told Kaden as they walked through the never ending hallways within House Gaeland.

“Oh, and the collection of bibles.” Aiyan stopped mid stride and turned to face Kaden. “There are bibles dating back to before Anthony’s time, Raven has, what a dozen or so?” Aiyan turned to Raven who just nodded his response, before turning back to Kaden. “I’ve read several of them. It’s so interesting to see the different translations, how they are all different, and yet… the same.”

Raven entered the room they’d stopped at and Aiyan and Kaden followed him in. The walls were covered almost floor to ceiling with art and drawings, some of which Kaden was certain Raven had created himself. There was a small bookshelf that indeed held a dozen or so bibles, a rack that held several swords and in the corner sat the oddly made chair that could be molded and shaped to hold a person’s body in the correct position for whatever ink they would be getting at the time. Raven motioned for Aiyan to sit as he opened the case with the tools.

"You first Aiyan, so Kaden can see what I’m doing and how, since this is his first tattoo.”

Kaden watched as Raven took the wax paper he had drawn the design on and held it over Aiyan’s arm. His gaze continued to roam over Aiyan’s bare chest, those hard muscles and defined abs, up to his adams apple and then landed on that crooked grin. When their eyes met, Aiyan’s dominate brown eyes sparkled, full of love for only Kaden.

“All done!” Raven stated, turning and grabbing a towel from the table next to him. He ran the towel over the design and then applied some type of ointment from a jar. He noticed Kaden watching his every move, a question in his glare. “It’s just a precaution, some healing herbs mixed with the oils from the allive plant. Can you believe they used to apply tattoos with needles, driving the ink into the skin, and there was so much blood. The risk of infection then was much higher than now, the laser pretty much cordarizes the skin as I draw the image, so no risk of infection. But, better safe than sorry, right.”

Aiyan smiled up at him and twisted his body, holding his arm out for Kaden to see. There on his lovers arm was his name, Kaden, in a fancy script with a border across the top and bottom of the words that was somewhere between the design of barbed wire and a trinity knot.

“Your turn.” Raven waved his hand motioning Aiyan out of the chair and all but pushed Kaden into it. Kaden closed his eyes and rested his head on the back of the chair. He felt the tight grip of Raven’s fingers, digging into his arm to hold it still, the heat from the laser as it traced each letter into his skin. A.I.Y.A.N and then the faint trace of the border, but it was never uncomfortable or painful. He opened his eyes when he felt the brush of the towel on his skin.

Aiyan pulled him up and into his body and they were chest to chest, Kaden had to hold in a gasp when their naked nipples brushed together. Aiyan leaned down and kissed him, running his fingers over his name that was now permanently inked on Kadens arm, keeping time with his tongue that brushed over Kaden’s bottom lip. Aiyan pulled back but kept his hand on Kaden’s arm, gently tracing the letters of his name, Everything, always together.” He whispered.

Aiyan raised his head and smiled down at him, moving his body up and over Kaden’s. His smile widened when Kaden groaned and thrust his hips up, rubbing their groins together. They were both already impossibly hard, again. “Ready for round two? Want me to fuck you into the mattress this time?” Aiyan said, leaning down and running his tongue along Kaden’s collar bone. Kaden just laughed and rolled them on the bed where he was on top of Aiyan.

“Oh no my prince, I’m going to fuck you into the mattress.”

2 ~
Cillian sat at the table pushing the food on his plate around in circles, more interested in reinforcing his men than eating. The encampment he’d found shelter in wasn’t much more than a stones throw away from the palace, but in hind sight, he thought this would be the last place his family would look for him anyway. He sat and listened to one of the elders telling some of the other’s of how proud he was of the man one of their own had become. This Sawyer, son of Adam and Anna who were proud Outkasts. Apparently Sawyer’s mother died during child birth, and then his father died in a fire here on the grounds just over a dozen years ago. Sawyer was basically adopted by the Ambassador’s of House Devi, the house of that bastard Indian filth that his nephew had wed. Apparently his niece who was wed to the feisty little bitch from the greek house was, in fact, in love with Sawyer. He tucked that little morsel of information into the back of his mind for a later date. Soon, Cillian would have to weed out how many followers he had here, and if it was even worth staying or moving on to the next group of Outkasts.

Cillian held his knife in a tight grip, jaw clenched, drawing on every ounce of reserve he had to stop from climbing over the table and cutting the old man’s tongue out of his mouth. If for no other reason than to see him bleed. A gruff voice to his right drew Cillian out of his murderous thoughts.

“If you ask me, the whole lot of them should be burned at the stake. I mean, who are they to tell us who we should love. That I can’t have the same liberties, freedoms and opportunities they have because I’m a man that likes women.”

Cillian stole a glance at the stranger beside him. He was a big man, with arms the size of tree trunks, long dark hair pulled back in a ponytail with a weathered grin plastered on his rugged featured face. Next to him sat a smaller but toned younger man with redder hair than Cillian had ever seen in his life. “And who’s that, your girlfriend?” Cillian nodded in the red heads direction, drawing a snarl and a glare from the smaller man.

The big man threw his head back and bellowed, a full laugh that was so loud and boisterous, it shook the table. “No, Augie here is my best mate, a damn fine lad, even if he does prefer the company of a man to that of a large breasted female.”

“You know who I am?” Cillian questioned.

“Ah, yes, the bastard child of Kiernan and Gabriel. The former Ambassador’s to House Gaeland, and the current Ambassador’s to House Gilley. Dumped off here with the outkasts just hours after your birth when you failed your mapping test. Does that about sum it up?” the big man stated in a gleeful tone.

“Well, it seems you have me at a disadvantage. You are?”

“Hell’s Bell’s, how rude of me, names Robert!” the big man thrust his hand toward Cillian, who grudgingly shook, then reached over and shook the red head’s hand as well.

“So what can I do for you fine gentlemen today?” the clipped tone Cillian spoke in assuredly shown his patience was wearing thin.

“Word travels fast among those that are loyal to your cause Cillian. We should talk, but not here, somewhere more private. A group of us have a place a mile or so north of here where we prefer to spend our time, we just come here to the main camp for food, supplies and occasional company. Meet us at the stables in an hour and you can follow us there, meet the rest of our group, and… get to know us a little better.” 

Robert stole a glance at Augie and Cillian couldn’t help but be curious at what they were offering. He also had a niggling feeling of recognition in the back of his mind every time he met Augie’s green gaze.

Cillian simply nodded once in reply, to which Robert nodded in agreement before he and Augie stood and left the tent. What harm could come from hearing them out, Cillain thought. His mind ever wary of trusting anyone played out the various scenarios. Perhaps they were allies to his cause, but perhaps they weren’t and they meant to capture him for his brother. Just the thought of Cirian and his charmed life made Cillian’s blood boil.

No, Cillian brushed the thought aside, there was something in the red headed mans stare, an anger that swayed Cillian.

His gut told him the men were sincere and that he could at least trust their intent. Appetite renewed, he quickly downed his food before leaving the tent virtually unseen, to go and meet his new friends at the stable.

Did that wet your whistle? Anticipating the full story? Well just you wait! As it is right now I'm at 26 chapters (52000 words aprox) and there is still a bit more to add. So, again, I'm hopeful I can still bring this to you on August 31st, but I will definitely keep you all up to date on the official release date. 

Thank you all for stopping by today and continuing to support my efforts with this series. And a huge thank you to all the bloggers that are posting this today, I couldn't do it without all of you! Be sure to stop by the event today on facebook, I've lined up some pretty amazing authors and bloggers to help me celebrate and they are giving away some goodies throughout the day as well. And above all, remember, Love is Love!

No comments:

Post a Comment