Merry Christmas Eve!!! It's a special day and we are thrilled to have author Cheryl Headford here to celebrate the day with us! She's written such books as Hostage, Draven's Gate, and so many more. She also writes under the pen name Nephy Hart. So, if you haven't read her as Cheryl you might have read Nephy. Or vice versa! Grab your hot chocolate and come cuddle on the couch with us!
When Astrin Raphael finds himself held hostage in an unfamiliar place, he has no option but to try to have faith in someone who seems to despise him. Little does he know his captor is his nemesis, Rowan Gabriel, whose disdain for Astrin all started with a misunderstanding years ago.
The kidnapping of Astrin’s father and Rowan’s uncle leaves the two princes with no choice but to form a precarious alliance. Rowan casts off his hatred and reaches out to Astrin, but Astrin’s doubt and insecurity run too deep to let go of easily. It’s not until Astrin almost loses his life that he’s able to acknowledge what Rowan means to him and admit to the love forming between them.
Their struggle doesn’t end when they return home and their Houses attempt to broker a deal to determine their future together. Each prince might face a choice between keeping his title and finding happiness with the man he loves.
After waking from a coma, Noah discovers that memories are tricky things and sometimes blissful ignorance isn't such a bad thing.
Noah wakes from a coma with no memory of who he is. As his memories return they become stranger and more sinister at every turn. He begins to suspect the accident in which he was injured wasn't an accident at all, and refuses to accept what everyone is saying that he threw himself off his balcony in a suicide attempt. It just doesn't feel like something he would do. Struggling to come to terms with the shocking story he gradually uncovers, he's helped by his friends. Yet, his best friend, Luke is acting strangely, leaving Noah to wonder just what exactly he isn't telling him.
After having known each other online for some time, writers, Benji and Ari meet at a convention.
Their attraction is both immediate and mutual.
But all is not straightforward—Ari is intersex and Benji transgender.
Together they embark on a journey.
A journey that unites families, and heals old wounds.
But not everyone is happy with the blossoming love between these two unique and special individuals.
Will an act of aggression crush the flower before it can bloom?
Thank you, Cheryl, for being not only the Saturday Spotlight but for also being here on Christmas Eve! That’s so exciting! I’m thrilled to get to interview you since we actually have never had the opportunity to really talk! Hopefully my questions will be wonderful ones and you will have fun and we will learn a little about you. So, let’s begin.
What are 3 things you could tell us that we wouldn’t read in your bio?
1. I love Christmas. I mean really love it. Bouncing up and down and waking my kids at 6am love it. I love the atmosphere, the lights, everyone being nicer to each other and strangers smiling at you and saying “Merry Christmas”, when they would otherwise have walked past or just said nothing. I love the sense of anticipation, the thrill of picking out and wrapping presents, and getting cards from family and friends. I love spiced wine and mince pies. Well, let’s just say that from the beginning of December I become prone to spontaneous outbursts of hugging, bouncing and general merriment.
2. I would love to be full-on goth but I’m too lazy.
3. I hate marmite. My son loves it, and the little…darling winds me up something wicked. Once, he hollowed out a chocolate and filled it with marmite, and more than once he’s stirred the vile stuff into my coffee. As if I wouldn’t notice!
You are an eclectic writer. You write paranormal, mysteries, all sorts of stories under the YA gay fiction umbrella. But, under Nephy Hart you write adult gay fiction. I’m always curious about duel pen names for authors who write both YA and adult. What was your thought process on using different ones?
I started my writing career on a free site Gay Authors, which still hosts a couple of million free words of mine. I wrote there as Nephylim and originally brought that with me into my published life. At some point my publisher and I decided the name might be putting people off and we changed to Nephy Hart. At that point I was writing only erotica, and the first books published were erotica.
Coming from Gay Authors, where there is a thriving community of members of all ages, I brought with me a sense that young gay people just don’t have enough books; enough characters in books, films or any media they can relate to. I guess I got onto a crusade, that I’m still marching with, to bring more books to young people. I envisage them in schools, libraries, being made into films, serials etc. They don’t have to be mine, but I can’t do anything about anyone else’s I have to start with what I know.
I loved writing erotica, and I occasionally go back and write a hot scene or two, but my first love is with YA. Writing young people gives me a fresh perspective on my own life. I live every single character I write and to see through their eyes keeps me young.
That being said, I didn’t want to expose young people (and I’m thinking 14 – 18) to the, sometimes explicit sex I write, so I wanted to give them a “safe space” although I never make a secret of either persona. Therefore, my first, and subsequent YA were written under my own name. (I’m much too lazy to bring in a third name).
I have two blogs, one of which, Nephy’s World, has all my adult stuff, as well as guest posts from adult writers. The other, Rainbow Warriors, is pitched at a younger audience so has a much lower heat rating and posts aimed at a younger audience. My website Angel Feathers hosts both, so my younger audience has a choice to look at the adult stuff – or not. I appreciate it’s a false barrier, but at least there’s a clearly defined line and it’s the individual’s choice whether to step over it, in full knowledge of what they’ll find on either side.
This doesn’t mean that I think young people shouldn’t read erotica. Hell, I would be surprised if my sixteen-year-old wasn’t watching and reading porn (as a responsible parent I have even provided him with links to safe sites). However, I’m providing a choice, and I’m writing books that can safely be pitched to schools, libraries etc without giving them an out on the heat level issue. I intent to keep chipping away at the establishment until they accept LGBT books into the mainstream for young people in particular.
What YA authors inspire you and what adult authors do?
I have to say, JK Rowling. Myself and both my children love the Harry Potter series and, so far, are equally enjoying the new works. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was the first book my son read on his own and it will always have a special place in my heart because of that. JK Rowling made a whole generation, if not two, of children excited about books again, and I can’t applaud her enough for that.
I also have a huge soft spot for the Cassandra Clare, Shadowhunter books. I’ve awaited new books with bated breath and immersed myself completely in her world. Like Rowling, she’s created an entirely new world, existing within our own and as accessible as simply learning how to see what’s actually there. Existing side-by-side with humans are a superhuman race of beings called Shadowhunters, born from angel’s blood and protecting the word from the demons that infest it. While fighting demons they keep an uneasy peace with the “Downworlders” – the supernatural beings (who were actually here first and get a raw deal) vampires, witches, fairies etc. The mix of real world and supernatural is very well done and they’re the kind of books that are wild fantasy but also strangely believable.
From an adult perspective, I love Terry Pratchett. I have all his books and I could spend hours talking about how wonderful they are. There are so many layers to every book. Pratchett’s breadth of knowledge is astonishing, from astrophysics to mythology, to pagan religion, to literature. I’m blown away. Thinking about it, I suppose these could easily be seen as young adult books, too, because I’m sure young people would enjoy the stories, I just don’t think they’d have the experience and maturity to appreciate or understand the nuances, references and complexity of some of the characters and plots. There are two sides to every Pratchett book – the damn good story; and all the other information that surrounds it, both explicit and hidden.
My other favourite author is definitely an adult author and she’s the one who inspired me to write m/m. Storm Constantine is a sublime author and her books have spawned an entire sub culture with its own mythos, magic, gods and goddesses. My favourite series is the Wraeththu series which was originally three but is now six books. People have developed tarot cards and religions based on her carefully crafted worlds where a dystopian future earth is inhabited by a race who grew out of humanity but have enhanced abilities and are hermaphrodite who, although all presenting as male, and considering themselves to be male, are able to reproduce between themselves. You HAVE to read the books if only for the sex scenes. Her har (as the race call themselves) have…adapted bodies with…unusual phalluses and…different ways of having sex.
Storm Constantine’s books are not technically m/m because her characters aren’t precisely men and there aren’t any women. However, they did inspire me to explore the m/m world.
Within the community, there are many, many authors who have inspired me and it’s difficult to pick out just a few. I’m worried I’ll offend people if I don’t name them, and I have to say again that there are SO many people who have inspired me.
However, two people stand out as having inspired me from a YA perspective and that’s Cody Kennedy and Zathyn Priest (although Zathyn doesn’t write YA he does write books I feel young people ought to read)
From the adult perspective I have to choose Garrett Leigh, Jordan Hawke, Angel Martinez and Robin Reardon. Can I go on…and on…and on, please.
It’s Christmas Eve! How are you spending your day?
My son and I are being horribly spoiled by a very good friend, Terri, who is cooking us a meal. Terri has been a particular inspiration for us this year. Her interest is in poetry and not fiction, but she never ceases to shake up my muse and get the juices flowing again. Her only fault is she keeps mentioning writers who have influenced her/literature/poetry/the world and expects me to know who the heck they are.
Terri has a son who is only a few years younger than mine – just coming into the appalling teenage years of rudeness and tantrums – and is also autistic, so the four of us get on like a house on fire. I’m anticipating a fabulous day full of poetry, literature and good food.
Do you have any holiday traditions?
My son was born on 24th November, so we usually put our trimmings up the first weekend after, so the very beginning of December. This year, it was delayed a little as I was ill.
Christmas Eve evening is our time. An usual evening will find me on my laptop downstairs, working or reading, with him on his computer upstairs, gaming. On Christmas Eve, we have snacks and mulled wine (non alcoholic) and just sit and talk to each other. We stay up until after midnight and open one present each. He still insists on having a stocking and on me creeping into his room after he’s asleep to hang it from the bedpost.
We have much beloved Christmas decorations we put up year after year but apart from that I don’t know we have traditions as such for Christmas.
We do have traditions for 20th/21st when we celebrate Yule (our pagan Winter Solstice celebration) but they mostly involve talking – reviewing the year and talking about our hopes and dreams for next year. We usually perform a ritual but, as there’s only the two of us, it’s simple and mostly about the feast.
Do you have a favorite holiday movie or book?
I love A Christmas Carol – the book and the films; all of them. My son is studying A Christmas Carol for his English Literature GCSE and we’re having great fun with his English tutor. Because we know the book well we’re focusing on talking around it, mainly about society in Victorian England and the condition of the poor. Did you think Bob Cratchit was poor? Think about this. How many of the real poor in Victorian times lived in a four-roomed house, were able to read and write and had fresh fruit with Christmas dinner. Oh, and even if they did only cost sixpence would they have paid sixpence for ribbons when the same amount could have bought them food for a week?
As for movies, I have to admit to being a total slut for crappy Christmas romances, with so much saccharin they rot my teeth more than all the sugar I eat over the season.
Can you tell us what you feel was your best accomplishment in 2016?
This one gave me a bit of trouble. Given the year we’ve had I suppose just saying “I survived” should be enough – but we have a week or so to go yet, so there’s still time.
I’ve had to do a lot of fighting this year with regard to my son’s education. He’s autistic and can’t handle school. I suppose my greatest achievement is that he’s going to be sitting eight GCSE’s next year and has already achieved A* in the first two science modules.
Career wise, it’s been a quiet year. I’ve published two books, Lab Rat with Wayward Ink and Enigma III with Red Haircrow, but I’m not bringing in pretty much any royalties yet from anything.
What will we be seeing from you in 2017?
I’ve had one book accepted with Wayward Ink for publishing sometime in early (ish) 2017
There should also be another Enigma book, if not two.
I’m working on two three-book fantasy series, one m/m and one m/f which I will be subbing somewhere, and I’ve also recently received the rights back on Draven’s Gate which I will be subbing under its original title of Fairies and the Bottom of the Garden.
I’m working on all kinds of other projects which may or may not come to fruition in 2017. It depends on what the plot bunnies get up to.
How can your readers follow your work? Facebook, Twitter, website?
I have a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Nephylim.author/
Twitter @SevenPointStar https://twitter.com/SevenPointStar
My “adult” blog, Nephy’s World http://nephylim-author.blogspot.co.uk/
My YA blog, Rainbow Warriors http://cherylheadford.blogspot.co.uk/
My website, Angel Feathers, which encompasses both and hosts free stories and my weekly rainbow snippets http://cherylheadford.com/
I also have a tumblr blog https://www.tumblr.com/dashboard
And my own private blow where I just blurt thoughts rather than anything particular to do with reading or writing. https://cherylheadford.wordpress.com/blog/
My eMail is firstname.lastname@example.org
I would absolutely love to interact with people – readers, other authors and anyone else who’s interested. I get so excited when people comment or post. I have no problem with people emailing me or pming me on facebook to talk about my books, or just books in general
Fast Fire Questions:
Eggnog, yes or no?
Depends. If it’s the real stuff with a proper froth and lots of alcohol then yes. If it’s the synthetic, yellow gloop, then no.
Favorite Christmas song?
Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty McColl
Cats or dogs?
Wine or beer?
What’s your number 1 comfort food?
Day or night?
Favorite nonalcoholic drink?
Okay, thank you, Cheryl, for being here on Christmas Eve! I wish you a happy holiday and a great new year!
Cheryl will be gifting one person Enigma books 1,2, and 3
Or if you already have them one book from her backlist.
a $5.00 Amazon Gift card!
Enter the rafflecopter below!
Contest will end on December 30th!
Thank you to Cheryl for spending Christmas Eve morning with us!
a Rafflecopter giveaway