Love Bytes says hello and welcome to author Erik Swill joining us today to talk about new release “Too Many Temples”.
With the imminent publication of my latest e-book novella, Too Many Temples, I have a mix of emotions. Did I do enough? Will readers connect with the characters? The scenario and settings? Once it is published, though, it is all out of my hands. Whichever way it goes, I am happy that Dreamspinner Press decided to take a chance on the story and me. With this e-book, though, it also has me thinking about the nature of e-books in the market today and how I personally feel about them.
I remember when I first heard the term e-book. I thought the idea was silly. I mean, it’s not a book! No pages. No potential for a paper cut. And nothing to stick on the bookshelf. OK, admittedly, I have no more room on my bookshelf, so that last point is more of a blessing. But there is still that materialist aspect to it. And also an intellectual one, of sorts. “Look at all my books! There are so many. It must mean that I am smart and well-read!” Just don’t look too closely at the titles. Most of these books are guilty pleasures rather than those of the name-dropping variety.
I travel frequently. Long flights (no, I’m not talking about a New York to Los Angeles flight. That’s just an appetizer to some of the flights I take!) that require a good book. Now that most of these long-distance flights all have entertainment systems on the seatback, the on-demand movies can be stiff competition to book time. But I usually manage to fit in time for both.
Depending on how long I was going to be away from home, I used to stuff two or three novels in my bag. And I don’t read particularly fast either. When I’m reading for pleasure, I take my time and reread paragraphs or pages quite often immediately after reading them. I don’t want to miss any little detail.
But let’s face it. Three thick novels stuffed in the carry-on makes it heavy. Add to that all the typical electronic gadgets that also need to be in the carry-on and that backpack can get really weighed down. So after bringing my iPad AND several novels on a few flights, I decided that I would give in and try reading an e-book.
I loved it before I even read a single word of the book. At least, my back loved it. My carry-on was noticeably lighter than it had ever been. Then as the plane shut its internal lights off while I was reading, the screen was all the lighting I needed. No more fussing with the overhead lights, which really do disturb the people sitting next to you. And those little pen-size book lights! I still like them, but I really have no use for them anymore. But despite my affection for them, even I would admit that they were a pain to use and died way too quickly.
Transits at airports took on a new level of importance. I needed to charge the iPad before boarding the next plane or I wouldn’t be able to read my book. Even though certain airports can present charging problems, I’m at the point in my life now where the e-book has become the standard book format of choice. And my e-bookshelf is just as full–if not fuller– than the multiple bookshelves I have in my house. But somehow, there is less guilt in this fact.
And my e-library is filled with LGBTQ romance novels. My travels frequently take me to socially conservative (read: inhumane) countries that could exercise their laws and lock me up for reading such corrupting smut. But as an e-book, I don’t have any suspect covers to hide from the prying eyes of the so-called morality police in those countries. The e-book is for me to enjoy, and I don’t need to worry about anyone causing me any trouble because my choice of reading material. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for presenting a positive image of the community and not hiding in shame. But we also must pick our battles. And if the difference between reading a paperback rather than e-book “gay story” is jail time or deportation, I’ll take the e-book! No second thoughts!
“But e-books will destroy the publishing industry!” Or… “E-books are good for the environment.” Actually both views are incorrect. The industry has evolved and adapted to the inclusion of e-books on the market. After all, it is mostly the same publishers who publish physical books that are also publishing e-books. They wouldn’t do this if they didn’t see some (financial) benefit in doing so. E-books have been around for a while. Their sales numbers go up and down with the market. But so do paperback and hardbacks. In fact, hardback books take on an even more exclusive role, as they can act as good physical gifts. I still don’t feel right about gifting an e-book. It feels more like promising to give someone a gift. Theirs is nothing physical to give. But a nice hardback loaded with high-quality images, now that is a good gift. Oh, and the good for the environment line? Less trees are used for paper if physical book sales drop. True. But charging your e-reader uses electricity. What do you have powering your city? A coal plant? Hahaha! Nice try.
For me, I read whenever I get the chance. Which seems like it is almost never. Usually I read before I go to bed … while already in bed. Lights off except for the illuminating glow coming from my aging iPad. I know, they say it is bad to be staring into those screens just before sleeping, but the only reason I stop reading is because I DO fall asleep. And if I am really enjoying the book, I can continue in the morning without needing better lighting or to get out of bed. The call of the toilet is then the only thing that can pull me away from reading.
The other thing I really like about e-books is that I can use the search box to find something in the book. With physical books, I have spent hours digging through earlier chapters looking for some small little detail that I may have missed. But searching in an e-book is so easy and saves me a lot of time. Time I’d rather spend reading!
So as Too Many Temples approaches its e-publication date, it makes me wonder how many of my readers have the same thoughts on e-books as I do. When you are reading it, do you use the search box to find stuff from earlier chapters too? Do you need the privacy an e-book offers to be able to read LGBTQ romance wherever you live? Or do you think you’re saving the environment by not buying “paper books” anymore? Whichever the case may be, I hope you enjoy reading Too Many Temples!
Looking to spice up his stagnant sex life in Brisbane, self-professed player Adrian takes a week-long vacation in Bali, anticipating sun, surf, and plenty of no-strings-attached hookups. He doesn’t expect his attraction to the tour guide, Ketut, to become an obsession. As he travels around the beautiful Island of the Gods, Adrian is startled that he might be falling in love after swearing off relationships for good.
When Ketut opens a window of opportunity for a real relationship in Queensland after the vacation ends, Adrian retreats into his life of commitment-free fun. Unable to forget about Ketut, though, Adrian strikes out to the rural Queensland town of Rockhampton to find the man of his desires—hoping he hasn’t lost the chance for true love.
Erik Swill is a professional editor and a cheeky storyteller. He has spent half of his life living abroad and half of that time trying to convince friends that he is not an international fugitive or secret agent. He isn’t. Really. But it probably doesn’t help that he writes under several pseudonyms, moves house frequently, and rarely posts anything on his social media accounts. He has published short fiction in Gay Flash Fiction and erotica in the Nifty Archives. With his longtime partner, Swann O’Hara, he coauthored the novella Wild Goose. Erik likes to write contemporary fiction but will try any genre once. Because why not?
“The sea here is both beautiful and deadly. The color of the water and the temptation to walk out at low tide to the base of the temple… but when the tide comes in and you are left stranded out there, the currents are strong and poisonous sea snakes swim here in large numbers. It’s odd that something so beautiful can also be so deadly. Many people have died here.”
“So it is better to avoid it completely.”
Ketut thought for a moment before answering. “No, Adrian. That makes it all the more important to visit. That people have died to see something so beautiful, so holy, makes this even more special. Sometimes taking a risk can lead to a life-changing experience. Or at least one that you will never forget for the rest of your life. How long will you remember this moment, Adrian? Right here, right now?”
Adrian had been staring into Ketut’s striking eyes as he spoke. There was a depth to him that Adrian admired, something that he would never know based solely on their first encounter. For a moment, Adrian wondered how many of the guys who had served as one-off fucks for him over the years also had something more than a tight ass to offer him. But the thought was short-lived.
Ketut leaned in and pressed his lips lightly against Adrian’s, pulling back slightly after a brief kiss. Adrian refused to let go. He pushed his face forward to continue what Ketut had started. He wasn’t done. The moment was too immediate to settle for anything less.