A warm welcome to authors Ari McKay joining us today to talk about their new release “Letters from Cupid”.
Hi, everyone! We’re grateful to the wonderful people at Love Bytes for hosting us today as we continue our blog tour for our current release, Letters from Cupid! I’m the Ari half of Ari McKay, and I hope you’ll enjoy our little presentation.
Have you ever had a secret admirer? How would you feel if, in the midst of despondency over a break up, you suddenly received encouragement from an anonymous source? Would you worry that you were being stalked by a crazy person, or would it give you hope? Would you want to write back?
That’s the situation Dr. Derek Chandler finds himself in, as he deals with his feelings of failure in the romance department. Derek wants to find someone to love, but he feels as though the passion in his relationships always burns out eventually. He bemoans his loneliness to a friend, little imagining that he’ll be overheard by someone who wants to help.
Macon Pinney considers himself an unlikely Cupid — he’s no great shakes in the looks department, as well as being rather antisocial and introverted. He’s nursed an apparently unrequited admiration for his colleague Derek, and is both surprised and and dismayed to discover Derek considers himself unable to inspire passion in anyone. Taking a risk and moving far outside his usual comfort zone, Macon reaches out to leave Derek an anonymous letter of encouragement; and since he can’t sign his own name, he borrows Cupid’s.
We’ve always been enchanted with the idea of two people wooing one another via letters, baring their hopes and fears to each other from the safety of semi-anonymous exchanges. In some ways, the distance gives the two men the ability to be more frank and open than they might feel talking face-to-face, and so they come to know each other very well, even though Derek has no idea who his Cupid really is. It’s a slow romance, perhaps, but there’s also a sweetness to it that we think is rather unique. But there’s passion there as well — and when Derek and Macon get together, we think the passion they show makes the long, slow burn of UST worth it!
Of course you get to be the judge! So let us give you an exclusive taste of what our boys give one another — and we hope Derek and Macon’s story appeals to the romantic inside of you!
Derek leaned back in his chair, biting his lip as he considered his options again. He could end the correspondence, and life would go on. Or he could write back, and maybe Cupid would decide he didn’t want to carry on any longer. Or maybe he would write back, and Cupid would write back, and they might connect the way Jason had connected with his boyfriend. Their correspondence could fizzle out, of course. They might never meet, or Derek might learn his Cupid was a student, after all. They might even hate each other on sight. There was no way of telling what might happen, but Derek was unwilling to throw away this chance at a connection with someone as well-spoken and kind as his Cupid.
“I guess hope really does spring eternal,” he murmured.
Hoping he wasn’t simply rationalizing his desire to continue the correspondence, Derek pulled out a piece of paper and began to write.
Again, your kind words flatter me, and I appreciate them more than you probably realize. Yet as I approach forty, I find myself growing more and more doubtful that I’ll ever find a man whom I can move—and who, in return, can move me—to the level of feeling that can sustain a relationship for the long term. I don’t seek to disregard your assertions, my dear Cupid, or to doubt your wisdom, but hope is a very fragile thing for mere mortals. I’ve held myself open to the possibilities for many years, but perhaps it is time for me to bow to the inevitability of being alone for the rest of my life.
If my humble readings of a great poet have brought you pleasure, than I am most pleased. What higher compliment could there be for a man than to know his efforts stirred even a god?
Derek reread the note, then hesitated once more about the wisdom of leaving it for Cupid to find. But after he’d packed up for the day, prepared to head back to his home for an evening of nothing but his own company, he decided he had nothing to lose. So he pinned it to his board, locked his door, and turned to leave before he changed his mind.
“I really am pathetic,” he muttered, shaking his head ruefully. No doubt he’d end up regretting this, but he didn’t remove the note. Then, when he stopped by Macon’s office to say good night, he was disappointed to discover Macon wasn’t there.
Macon did not go in early the next morning because he wanted to see if there was a note for Cupid. No, he wanted to catch up on a few things before his first class. That was all. If he felt a little surge of excitement when he saw a note addressed to “Eros” pinned to Derek’s corkboard again, well, surely that was understandable. It wasn’t at all sad or depressing that this anonymous communication was the most intimate contact he’d had in quite a while.
Maybe if he told himself that often enough, he’d believe it too.
He waited until the coast was clear to snatch the note off the board, and he hurried into his office, his heart pounding as he opened the note. He’d thought his response would be the end of it, and he was wildly curious about what Derek had to say.
Macon dropped heavily into his chair as he read the note, a little pang shooting through him as Derek’s words hit uncomfortably close to home. All pretense of getting anything productive done was forgotten as he thought about the note and how to respond. This time it wasn’t even a question of “if.” But responding to this note the way he wanted to was dangerous. He’d have to be careful not to give away any clues that would let Derek figure out Cupid’s identity, but he wanted to be honest as well. He’d have to walk a fine line, but words were his life’s work, and he thought he could manage it.
I’m not trying to flatter you, only to speak the truth as I perceive it. We rarely see ourselves as clearly as others see us, and we tend to think the worst of ourselves. I thought perhaps an outside perspective might help.
I understand the temptation to give up hope better than you might imagine. If I may break the fourth wall a little, you and I are of an age, and I have wrestled with the same doubts you are wrestling with now.
Macon wondered if he was giving too much away, but he didn’t delete anything. Confiding in Derek, albeit anonymously, was cathartic, and he hadn’t had a confidante in a long time.
But you aren’t the kind of man who is meant to be alone. You are too personable, too vibrant not to have someone at your side. You have friends, I know, but sometimes friends aren’t enough, especially when they are happily coupled and you are not.
Besides, you are still young enough to find love. Approaching forty hardly means entering your dotage. You could still have decades of happiness with someone ahead of you.
I am no god, but your readings have given me pleasure. There is little I like so much as beautifully written poetry being read well. If you go fishing for a prospective partner and he isn’t moved by your recitations, cast him back immediately, for it means he has no heart.
Your humble servant,
After breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common. Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?
Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.
Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ari-Mckay/266185570179748