Hey, y’all! I’m Eden Winters, and nearly three years ago I answered a publisher’s call for short, spooky, m/m stories for Halloween. I’d never written anything even remotely scary—could I even write a paranormal romance with a happy ending?
I kicked around various ideas: zombies, werewolves, vampires, etc., and decided to write about a ghost who haunts a man who was somehow his lover in a past life. Only…how can I get them back together again if one is dead? With only vague ideas of what I wanted to accomplish, I turned my ghost and human protagonists loose to see which direction they’d head.
Soon they started yelling ideas at me. One decided he’d be a sexy Highland laird in a kilt, the other a concert musician, and there’d be violins, and a mystery, and… and… a wise old Druid who cast a spell… and… and…
The resulting tale quickly outstripped the 8,000 word limit for the call, a frequent problem with my writing. I submitted Same Time Next Year in its place, and kept on writing. Duet grew to novella length with the story taking place in modern times.
And along came my betas. One read through and said, “Where’s the other half of the story?”
Oooookay. Back to the drawing board, armed with tomes on Scottish history, clan lore, and Highland customs of the 1700s, mixed in with accounts of the Highland Clearances and the Battle of Culloden. A name! I needed a name!
While fiction is full of MacTavishes and MacGregors, I wanted something authentic, but slightly less known, and settled for Callaghan. I took liberties and decided on green and red tartan, and placed Callaghan Castle as short distance from Inverness.
Then additional characters came into play, brothers of one of the MCs. The rest is history, or rather, a historical/contemporary/paranormal tale called Duet, written backwards, with the second half developing first.
Duet is the tale of men who overcome differences to forge a love that stands the test of time… all time. But don’t cry for your favorite characters from the past; if you look closely, you can say hello to them again. Hey! Recycling isn’t just for tin cans and plastic bottles!
After the initial publication, readers requested more of the story, so in this, the second edition, there’s more of Aillil and Malcolm in modern times. I’ve also learned a lot in three years, and appreciated the chance to update the original version.
Here’s the blurb:
A conqueror’s decree can’t separate Aillil Callaghan from his Scottish heritage. He wears his clan’s forbidden plaid with pride, awaiting the day he becomes Laird, restores his family’s name, and fights to free Scotland from English tyranny. An Englishman in his home? Abomination! Yet the tutor his father engaged for Aillil’s younger brothers may have something to teach the Callaghan heir as well.
Violinist and scholar Malcolm Byerly fled Kent in fear, seeking nothing more than a quiet post, eager minds to teach, and for no one to learn his secrets. He didn’t count on his charges’ English-hating barbarian of an older brother, or on red-and-green tartan concealing a kindred soul. A shared love of music breaks down the barriers between two worlds.
Aillil’s father threatens their love, but a far more dangerous enemy tears them apart. They vanish into legend.
Two centuries later, concert violinist Billy Byerly arrives at Castle Callaghan—and feels strangely at home. Legends speak of a Lost Laird who haunts the fortress in wait of his lover’s return. Billy doesn’t believe in legends, ghosts, or love that outlasts life.
But the Lost Laird knows his own.
Look for Duet to publish from Dreamspinner Press on February 18. Leave a comment on the post to get your name in the drawing for an ebook copy.
Eden Winters, ever curious about new places and people, lives a somewhat nomadic existence. Her earliest memories include making up stories for the family’s pets, and through her academic years she spent many happy hours writing short stories and poems. Dreams of writing professionally were realized, only not as planned, with a good dozen years spent as a technical documenter. From a young age she eagerly devoured every book that caught her eye, from biographies to sci-fi. Genre? What genre?
When she discovered m/m, she met characters she could identify with and scintillating plotlines that kept her riveted to the page. Somewhere around the 300th book her own imagination began making demands. From her fascination with, well, everything sprang stories as diverse as a 1700’s Highlander to a modern doctor in earthquake-devastated El Salvador.
Her first novel was published in 2010, and she’s never looked back. To date, five of her novels have been recognized by the annual Rainbow Awards, with one also gaining finalist status in the 2012 Lambda Literary Awards.
Currently, Eden calls the southern US home, and many of her stories take place in the rural South. She lives alone, having successfully raised two children, and divides her time between a day job, friends, grandkids, writing, trying different varieties of vegetarian cuisine, and exploring her world. Her musical tastes run from Ambient to Zydeco, she owns a TV she never watches, and she’s a firm believer that life is better with pets. She also loves cruising down the road on the back of a Harley Davidson.
Thank you, Charlie, for allowing me to visit your site today!
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