What an honor to be here! Thanks for welcoming me to this lovely and lively venue.
I began my career with a series of four historical fantasies, centered in the Fifth-Century Ireland, the era of the man who would become St. Patrick. I called myself Erin O’Quinn back then, ten years ago, because of my attraction to the Celtic tradition. These days, forty-plus titles later, that lure of Gaelic themes and cadences is still an integral part of my writing, and so my pen name has never changed.
To make it simple for readers: most of my writing is contained in just seven series, soon to be eight. I find that I enjoy the deep exploration of character, and one story just isn’t enough to contain a restless, complex pair of men.
Looking over this accumulation of almost two million words, I realize some truths about Erin O’Quinn . The most important one is a point I made in a recent blog article, based on a few words by Victor Hugo:
“What makes night within us may leave stars.”
I write to release the primal scream. My work will never be mainstream, nor attract huge audiences. It springs from a place I can only call “spiritual,” a deep questing for personal truths, based on a conviction that mankind is part and parcel of an un-knowable and splendid universe.
That being said, I basically write mystery-action-romance. All but ten of my titles are in the gay lit genre. Most are based either in Scotland or Ireland, and a few are set in my native Nevada. I attract more male readers than most authors in my genre. Perhaps because, as one reviewer put it, “O’Quinn does not serve up hearts and flowers.” The urges, the attractions, the actions themselves are raw and immediate. And yet for some reason, my writing is somewhat poetic. I’ll be blunt—it’s often downright lyrical. I guess it’s due to my serious grounding in literature and my lifelong love affair with words.
Today I’m going to introduce my latest work, Unkilted, part I of a two-part series. The novel has turned out to be one of my best, maybe because I’m writing about my own distant ancestor—a Highlander named MacGregor—and I see in him my own flaws and a few of my strengths.
Here’s a character sketch:
Grier Black (introduced in UNKILTED) is a study in contrasts. He’s a man without a name (taken away by royal decree) yet a man of several names—Gregory MacGregor, The Black Fox, Tod… He has also lost his tartan, his weapon, his father, and his very honor.
He’s moody and bad-natured. He resents being a “bairn cradle-rocker” for a weak stranger, an outlander from the American colonies. He prefers men, but few outside his closest family know that secret. His heart is filled with loathing for those who’ve stolen his birthright and hurt his clan.
He’s an outlaw, by any man’s measure. He lives on the bitter edge, in the mountains of Scotland’s Highlands.
And yet… He’s a patient teacher, an eager student, and a gentle lover. When he runs away from the man he needs most (in the sequel, UNBROKEN), he runs also into a world of self-discovery and fulfillment of his unspoken fantasies…as told in the second part of “The Renegade and the Runaway,” a two-novel series, in progress.
Here’s a very brief blurb:
Grier is a moody, angry outlaw. The British crown has taken his clan name, his tartan, his dagger (dirk) and his very honor. His mission in life is one of lawless rebellion
On the eve of a revolution, David Campbell, son of a Colonial American printer, falls afoul of occupying Redcoats,. He runs straight into the hands of a ship captain and a lecherous opportunist. Weeks later, he finds himself in a place of peril far from home, surrounded by strangers named MacGregor who seem to despise all Campbells.
Grier’s own uncle talks him into rescuing and protecting this young Quaker-trained lad from some faraway place called Philadelphia…and all hell breaks loose before heaven intervenes.
✅ Enemies to Lovers
✅ Slow Burn
✅ Slow Reveal
✅ Mystery Father
The excerpt here is actually an entire short chapter, told from the point of view of the two main characters, not yet lovers.
David was in turn mystified, charmed, saddened, and choked with desperate desire. Long he lay in the pallet, tossing on the hard bed redolent of unseen mountains, cupping himself, wondering at the way his small world had become a universe of possibilities.
I want him to desire me…in a different way from Archer…the way I have sometimes dreamed. In the way of David and Jonathan…the same way I want him.
Once, with his far away associate Alan, he had thrilled to the light touch of another man. That was an infinity ago, in a time and place forever lost, and it had lasted mere moments. This new excitement would not leave his flesh, or his fantasies.
He is to be my trainer, hardly my lover. He comes to this place to find women. He lives and thinks at cross-purposes to my own beliefs. Be careful, David.
But he could not expunge from his mind the thought of touching and kissing Grier Black. Yes, a black fox. He thought about the words he had read in Shakespeare…Lean and hungry.
Finally, testicles swollen, throbbing with the pain of holding back, he stroked himself until his hands were wet with spilled longing, and then he slept.
Grier could not sleep. He had unrolled his saddle blanket near Corbie, where his stallion stood in a half-doze. The large animal would lie down later, when deep sleep pulled him to the fragrant new grass.
He lay on his back gazing at the same stars and the same moon he and David had seen half an hour ago. Then, the sky had shimmered with the kind of light he had rarely seen. It had been a canopy of unknown and unknowable mystery, in a singular moment of peace.
He tried to forget the image of the flaxen-haired young man bent like a crescent moon over a reflecting pool…his comely buttocks flexing in mute acceptance of his own renegade eyes…
Stop, Gregory MacGregor. The lad is an innocent in a world of corrupt men.
Never, in all the years he had desired other men, never before had he made love with his tone of voice and the inflections of his speech, with the silent language of his body. He was too restless, too much in a hurry to find the next moor and drink from the burn that lay just over the next hill. He was always trying to escape…something. Some wayward phantom that had never revealed itself.
Och, he had never showed himself so openly…not until tonight. Now, turning once more onto his stomach, he cursed himself—again—for his obvious show of lust to a boy who had already suffered the worst of vile humanity.
Let it go. Let sleep come…
Links to the novel:
Kindle US https://amzn.to/2BVJ5rj
Kindle UK https://amzn.to/2R22EJ3
SeaToSky (epub or pdf) https://bit.ly/2R5wDzB
Smashwords (pdf) https://bit.ly/2StIFzn
QRI: all links, excerpts, reviews, more https://bit.ly/2VmGWhr
Author Erin O’Quinn Author Pages:
Amazon US http://amzn.to/1w8PVgI
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/24BcIcj
Queer Romance Ink http://bit.ly/2mnG1hL ( links, reviews, etc.)
Sea to Sky http://bit.ly/2lJ72bd (epub or pdf links, excerpts)
Smashwords http://bit.ly/1s3cf1q (epub)