Title: Fangs Like Me
Author: Lyssa Dering
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: March 13
Genre: Romance, NineStar Press, LGBT, paranormal, shifters, vampires, kink, intercultural/interspecies, Alpha, knotting, light D/s, new adult, hurt-comfort, angst
Lane, a newborn vampire, still feels the pain of betrayal. Two years ago, a faithless boyfriend took his life, and now, Lane’s Maker has also left him behind. The pain of separation burns strong when all Lane wants are arms to hold him and enough warm blood to satisfy his voracious appetite. At a shifter party, Lane is drawn to a hunky Alpha werewolf who tries to console him.
Parker is more than a thoughtless hookup. Since his family disowned him for finding boys just as hot as girls, all he wants is someone to love and look after. The sweet little vamp calls to his protective instincts, but he sure is jumpy. Cuddling with boys is new and delicious, but when this boy also wants him as a food source, things get complicated.
Vampires and shifters aren’t supposed to get along, and Parker’s rough dominance triggers bad memories for Lane. But Parker’s wolf wants Lane, and he knows he can give Lane what he needs. Can Lane learn to navigate his past and give the thing growing between them a chance? Or will the very real possibilities of heartache, abandonment, and even death, keep them apart?
Interview with Lyssa Dering author of Fangs Like Me
When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?
I was probably around the age of five when I wrote my very first story. It was essentially fanfiction of the children’s book The Fire Cat by Esther Averill. My first “serious” story was a short story I wrote for a class my senior year of college, and it won me a very nice monetary award from the English Department. It was about a suicide epidemic on a college campus and a serial killer who operated under the radar by staging his murders as suicides. Rather dark, but it was my way of dealing with several suicides that happened on my own college campus and a critique of the extreme stress most college students experience as a result of a broken higher education system.
Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?
I set deadlines for myself for finishing drafts as I am very motivated by deadlines. But I don’t have a day-to-day schedule. I try to write every day but take a few off if the deadline I’ve set allows. Recently, I’ve been using a website called Pacemaker to make sure I stay on target.
Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?
I’ve tried many different processes: outlining every scene, using no outline at all, pinning down only a handful of events… But none of these worked because my writing is almost one-hundred-percent character-driven. What’s working for me now is getting a good handle on at least one main character and their goals and inner desires before starting to write. I tend to make a Pinterest board for each main character and maybe one for the setting. Then I start writing and let my characters guide what happens. My goal is to write the cleanest first drafts possible before editing, but at the least, I usually have to go in and add world-building elements and deepen some characters’ motivations.
Where did the desire to write LGBTQIA+ stories come from?
As a queer person myself, I’ve always been drawn to queer narratives. Like a lot of M/M writers, I’m heavily influenced by my fandom days, where a lot of queering happened via fanfiction. I’m not sure why I’m drawn to M/M more than F/F or other queer pairings (though I occasionally write them), but I suspect it has to do with emotional distance. As a person assigned female at birth, F/F draws more directly on my own experience, which makes it easy to trigger myself while writing. Writing about cisgendered queer men allows me a little distance, but I’m also far more connected to those narratives than heteronormative ones, which rarely hold my interest.
How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?
I do as little research as possible since it’s my least favorite part of the writing process. When the story demands it, I’ll do a Google search, but mostly I draw from my own life while keeping genre conventions and tropes in mind.
What’s harder, naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?
The title. Naming characters is my favorite. I look for names until my gut says which ones are right. Since I used to be a professional graphic designer, the cover design process comes pretty easy for me as well, both when I’m working with a designer and when I create it myself. But there is a lot of pressure to come up with a title that captures the essence of the story, is unique within the genre, and will intrigue readers.
How do you answer the question “Oh, you’re an author…what do you write?”
It depends on my relationship with the person asking. I might just answer “romance,” or I might go so far as to say “gay romance” or “gay erotic romance.”
What does your family think of your writing?
They are extremely proud of me. I’ve always had a very close relationship with my parents, so they know the nature of what I write and have even friended my author Facebook.
Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.
I’m currently working on a medieval fantasy (with vampires!) novel and the second installment in my erotic novella series FangFinder.
Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?
If you really want to be a writer, you have to put your writing career first. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you not to.
Fangs Like Me
Lyssa Dering © 2017
All Rights Reserved
Lane owed his Maker everything, so he had no right to be sad. Except the Maker/progeny Bond that had been a pain in his ass (not literally, unfortunately) since Theo had saved his life ensured that he would be sad, regardless. Theo had gone off to some vampire summit just last night, and he would be gone for a whole year. Lane, “babyvamp” that he was, was not important enough to go to a summit. As everybody in the den kept telling him, he had to learn to survive distance with his Maker eventually. It still hurt like a cracked sternum, though.
Maybe Lane had accepted the invitation to this shifter party as a fuck-you to Theo and his other denmates. Or maybe it had been Heather’s good-natured prodding that had brought him to the alley behind her house in Ferndale. She’d said he shouldn’t be alone right now, which was true. But he wasn’t sure if being in a house full of shifters was going to be all that helpful. He’d been to her house a few times before when other shifters were present. A good few of them hated vampires and had no qualms about giving him dirty looks whenever he showed. “They’re more open-minded than you think,” she’d told him over and over, but those looks said different.
Prime example: the shifter smoking on the back porch.
Brown and orange leaves crunched under Lane’s sneakers as he ascended the wooden stairs, and he shoved his hands into the pockets of his hoodie. He didn’t need the hoodie; he was impervious to the temperamental Michigan weather, after all, but it was best to keep up appearances.
The shifter was tall and fit, dressed in a flannel shirt and gray beanie. Lane had to edge past him to get to the sliding double doors that led into the living room. As he did so, the shifter’s confident gaze landed on him. Behind smoke tendrils, his eyes glowed orange.
Lane’s skin broke out in goose pimples—his vampire instincts telling him there was a threat here.
“Problem?” The shifter exposed his eyeteeth with a crooked grin.
Lane shook his head and hurried inside.
As soon as the soles of his sneakers hit the carpet, pleasant warmth washed over his cold skin, getting rid of those goose pimples. Shifters burned even hotter than humans, and there were a lot of them packed inside the house. A few of them were around the coffee table, playing what appeared to be Euchre, but most of them merely sat around talking.
Lane headed past them, looking for Heather and her head of dirty-blonde waves. He found her in the kitchen. She was spraying whipped cream into glasses filled with coffee-colored liquid.
“Who’s the guy smoking outside?” Lane knew Heather hated being around smokers; like many shifters, she disliked the smell. Lane didn’t mind it, even though he also had enhanced senses. His denmate Erica smoked out of a vintage cigarette holder like Cruella de Vil.
“Parker. He’s new. Want a shot?” Heather dipped a finger into one of the glasses and sucked whipped cream off her glossy nail.
Lane scrunched his nose. “No, thanks.” He preferred hard liquor. He opened one of the cabinets, found some vodka, and took several swallows straight from the bottle before wiping his mouth on his sleeve.
“Trying to get drunk?” asked Heather.
“Yeah. Fuck everything.” He’d have to wake up his heart to get drunk, but pouring the liquor down his throat was the first order of business. He needed to drown the ache in his chest. He needed to forget the hard line of Theo’s shoulders and the way his curls looked after he got out of the shower, dark and shining. How he’d lock eyes with Lane sometimes and—
“You should try talking to some people,” said Heather. “You need to make some friends.”
“You’re my friend, aren’t you?”
She gave Lane a knowing, playful look that probably would have melted some guys.
Lane screwed the cap back on the vodka bottle and headed toward the hallway, where the bathroom was. There were only two ways to get his heart to start beating, and he needed to be alone for one of them. Or with someone else, but that wasn’t happening. Not unless it was Theo, who was 1) not interested, and 2) on the other side of the world.
He was about a foot from the bathroom door when he stopped and gasped. The goose pimples sprouted back up, and his heart kicked into life. Wolf. Threat.
But this was a shifter party. Just because it usually happened much later at night didn’t mean they couldn’t shift now. Lane closed his eyes and took a slow breath. He registered the scent of cigarette smoke as the alcohol swam in his bloodstream, egged on by the heavy, unnatural thud of his vampire heart.
“Parker?” he said softly. The wolf’s orange eyes matched those of the smoker outside. “You scared me.”
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Lyssa Dering is an author of queer erotic romance. She writes about damaged characters in impossible situations who, despite often horrifying struggles, will always get their happy ending.
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