Hello readers! My name is Tray Ellis and I’m excited to be here today for the opportunity to discuss my new story Pyresnakes, available through Dreamspinner Press.
Here is my gorgeous cover, which contains so many important elements of the story itself, and definitely lets you know this is going to be adventurous as well as amorous:
Pyresnakes is available through
And here’s the Pyresnakes story summary to get you up to speed:
There is another world existing alongside the one most see everyday, and although it is a place of magic and wonder, the dangers are very real.
Aran, an artist, grew up on his grandmother’s tales of the Side-by-Side world. He never expected his knowledge of folklore would aid his boyfriend, Brandon, in an arson investigation, but the snakes that burst into flames when agitated are something he recalls from those childhood stories.
When Aran vanishes, Brandon knows his time as a State Trooper won’t help find him, so he enlists the aid of Aran’s grandmother, Ruth, and they venture into the Side-by-Side world.
But Aran has no memory of his life prior to crossing between worlds, and he’s enjoying the company of his handsome new companion, Ren. Even if Brandon and Ruth reach him, convincing him to return to his former home won’t be easy. In a contemporary fairy-tale adventure set among forests and trails, Aran must choose between a mystical fantasy world and the man he loves.
I think it is important to spend a moment to talk on the subject of snakes. I know some readers are cautious about snakes, even literary ones, and I want to put those fears to rest. You might also think that as a writer with a book entitled Pyresnakes that I may like them quite a lot.
I do like snakes, but mainly more in that appreciation way where I marvel at how they can move without arms or legs, how they look so foreign and strange, how some of them create deadly venoms and carry that around in their mouths without harming themselves. I appreciate them for their ability to survive and thrive in the right environment, but I prefer to stay a healthy step or two, or three or four, away from them and appreciate at a distance.
Snakes really get to some of that primal fear that lurks in our sub-consciousness. Some people really love snakes and keep them as pets, but a bigger portion of us get the creepy-crawlies all over our skin when we gaze at them. Snakes make it onto the top ten lists all the time of things that we’re afraid of. They nestle in somewhere between spiders and rats.
I wanted this to be a romantic and adventurous story, but I also wanted to add in an element of horror, and snakes fit right in. Not only snakes, but snakes that can catch on fire! That’s ramping it up a bit, mixing in two things together off that top ten list of fears. The image of a snake bursting into flames is certainly eye-catching and memorable.
But even though pyresnakes grabbed the title of the story and are lurking on the bottom of the cover, they are a punctuation within the story itself, and not the entire main focus. There is a lot of action, adventure, romance between Aran and Brandon. Entire swaths of story are snake-free and are concerned with many other elements of the story, like the relationship between Brandon and Aran or Aran’s time spent with Ren learning about the new world he inhabits. I promise you that even if you have a healthy respect for snakes and like to admire from a safe distance, that while there are portions of the story that the snakes slither through, that reading the story is a very, very safe way to manage an encounter with a snake, and pyresnakes in particular.
He yanked open the driver-side door and grabbed the two fire extinguishers he kept under the seat. They were all-purpose dry chemical extinguishers and were extremely effective. He dreaded the thought of the fire catching onto the dried overgrown grass and spreading far and wide. Other homes, and people, would be situated not too far away, even with the relative privacy. Aran was out there. Brandon shuddered. “Aran!” he yelled again, his throat hurting with the force and volume he attempted. Panic was a luxury he had no time, nor temperament, for. He had to act, and even as he shouted, he kept moving.
He didn’t cherish the thought of having an investigative residence going up in flames during his visit. So going back into the house wasn’t his first choice, but it was necessary. He had to at least try.
With a fire extinguisher in each hand, Brandon pounded back to the house. As he reached the door, he heard Aran call out to him.
“Brandon?” Aran emerged from the scrub, looking quizzical and slightly muddy at the ankles. “Brandon!” he called again. “What happened?” His eyes widened when Brandon raised his hands, an extinguisher in each.
“The basement is on fire!” Brandon yelled.
“What?” Aran asked, striding toward him. His drawing pad dangled loosely in one hand and the papers fluttered as he moved. “How?”
“Snakes,” Brandon said. “They’re on fire.” As he pivoted and began to stride, he caught sight of images that sent fear coursing through him. Several more sinuous lengths of heat and flame writhed stark against the dark gray of the solid granite blocks. All the snakes were on fire.
Tray Ellis grew up across from an empty field, where she spun a lot of imaginary adventures, helping to prepare her for a lifetime of writing. When she isn’t writing, she stays active by hiking, cooking, stacking the odd cord of wood in the shed, baking, and being too busy to keep her home in any semblance of order. Currently she tries to find a balance between the logical way she thinks and the flights of fancy she often daydreams about. Mostly, the daydreams are winning.