October 09, 2013

Indra Vaughn: Halcyon Hush

Please help me welcome fellow author Indra Vaughn. She's here to talk about Halcyon Hush (part of the Outserve Charity Sip Blitz). Don't forget to read to the end--Indra is giving away a gift certificate!

Title: Halcyon Hush as part of the Outserve Charity Sip Blitz.
Release Date: September 18, 2013
Author: Indra Vaughn
Author Website: www.indravaughn.com (under construction!) or find me on Twitter and Facebook.
Publisher: Torquere Press
Buy Link: You can find the entire Charity Sip Blitz packet here, or Halcyon Hush by itself here.
Genre: SF/F m/m romance

Blurb: Halcyon Hush is a harsh town in an even harsher world. The apocalypse left behind a scattering of tough survivors who are finally starting to rebuild their lost civilization.
There is no room for men loving men, not when the population needs to grow. So Doctor Ira Ellis does his duty, lives his life if not quite content, then at least quietly. He has his work, he has his small home. What he doesn’t have is the strength to resist temptation when it comes, in the shape of Doctor Richard McLean.

1-Welcome Indra Vaughn! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your release.

Hi Chris, thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure to be here.

I’m a Belgian girl who has been living in Michigan for the past five years. It was an interesting move for my husband’s job, because originally we planned to be here for only two years. A greencard, house and little American boy later...

As for the release, Halcyon Hush is part of Torquere’s annual Charity Sip Blitz. It’s the tale of Doctor Ira Ellis who tries to live his life quietly and keep his desires under wraps. The world he lives in is one that is severely underpopulated, so everyone has the duty to contribute to rebuilding society.

Being gay isn’t a capital offense anymore, but it is still punishable by banishment. This is why he keeps to himself, at least until Doctor Richard McLean steps into his life and messes with all of Ira’s good intentions. 

2-In what locale is your book set? Why did you choose this setting?

Halcyon Hush is set in a post-apocalyptical world, where survivors have been trying to carve out an existence for the past 200 years. They’ve had to do unspeakable things to get where they are now. The world is beaten by terrible winds during the night, electricity is only available for a few hours each day and outside of Halcyon Hush’s walls—one of the only carefully thriving towns in existence—raiders make the world unsafe.

One of my all time favorite books, Wolfking by Bridget Wood, starts out in a post-apocalyptic time. She is the reason why I read and write, so I just had to write something in a world similar to hers once. 

3-How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been reading really, but I guess I only started to think about turning this into a job rather than a hobby three years ago. There is a young adult fantasy trilogy floating around my hard drive somewhere which took me about a year to write, but it wasn’t until I dipped my toes into the m/m genre that I had that yes feeling.

4-What compelled you to write this particular story?

When I saw that this year’s Charity Sip Blitz organized by Torquere Press was for Outserve, I knew I had to write something. They do amazing work for LGBT military families, had a great hand in the repeal of DADT and DOMA, and still continue to fight for equality every day.

This year’s theme was uniforms and since I have a medical background I thought I could put it to good use. That and my love for post-apocalyptical worlds made Halcyon Hush happen. 

5-What gave you the courage to submit your story to a publisher?

It actually started out in February with my novella Hooked, which I planned on self-publishing, when a friend of mine said I should try with publishers first. So I thought why not, it’s all good practice even if they reject it. I got lucky and the first press I sent it to wanted it. After that it became a little easier to dig up that little bit of courage needed to press send on a query email. 

6-When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?

My characters are pretty much completely fictional. That doesn’t mean I might not draw on a characteristic of someone I know, but I generally don’t create characters based on the looks or personalities of real people because I think that tends to get in the way of who I’d want the character to be in the story. 

7-Why did you start writing m/m? Is there something special that draws you to this genre?

You know, a lot of my friends ask me this and I don’t really have a cookie cutter answer. I just... like it. I’ve written in other genres and the m/m just seems to work the best. I love reading it, I love writing it, so I don’t really question the hows or whys anymore.

8-What are you reading right now? Do you have a favorite author or genre?

The books I’m currently reading are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which is actually a reread but I love it, and Burn by T.J. Klune. I’ve only just started it but I absolutely loved Into This River I Drown so I have high expectations. (And if you’re not following T.J. on Facebook, you should because he is hilarious.)

9-What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a paranormal mystery — and by working I mean it’s kicking my butt. It’s about 2/3 done, but the plot is a difficult one and it’s not cooperating. We’ll get through it though.

At the same time I’m trying something new. I usually write by the seat of my pants (which is why I am currently getting my butt kicked) and to prevent that from happening again I am actually outlining the first novel I’ll be writing in 2014. We’ll see how that goes... 

10-When you're not writing, how do you like to spend your time?

With family and friends or reading. When I need alone time away from the house, I take my dog for a walk around a lovely lake nearby. 

11-What are your writing goals for 2013/2014?

I’ve already surpassed my goals and then some. I wanted to write one novel and 3 short stories, and I’ve written 6 short stories which will all be published by Halloween, and the novel is currently in Dreamspinner Press’s very good editing hands. Still, if I can finish this second novel before the end of November, I will be a very happy bunny.

In 2014 I’d like to write two more novels, and anything extra will be a bonus!

12-Do you have personal goals for 2013/2014?

I have one which I’m not sharing :). Apart from that one, I want to finally start horse riding again. 

Would you like to share an excerpt from “Halcyon Hush” ?

I read an excerpt on YouTube here, part of an attempt to do something different for charity, I don’t know how well I succeeded...

Since this is for charity, I won’t be giving away a copy of Halcyon Hush (because I want people to buy it and make lots of money for Outserve!), but for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate to spend at Torquere Press, leave a comment below telling me your favorite type of chocolate. (The answer is Belgian. Always.)

If anyone needs subtitles for my soup of an accent, here you are:

It wasn't fatigue as much as the bad lighting that made him put his pen down some time around two in the morning. Ellis rubbed at his eyes and felt them sting behind their lids, the corners filling with dampness as he squeezed them shut. Sparks of all colors and intensity flickered against the darkness.

"I thought you were joking when you said you were going to do paperwork. You'll ruin your eyesight." For the second time that night, McLean made Ellis startle. It annoyed him. Ellis was perfectly aware why he was so on edge around McLean, but usually he had a better handle on it. "I was going to lie down while it was quiet for a bit but you look like you need it more than I do."

While lying down was exactly what Ellis had been about to do, he waved a hand at the futon. "Go ahead. I'm good." With a shrug McLean turned away, pulling the top of his scrubs over his head. The black hair at the back of his neck looked damp, and Ellis saw a droplet quiver at the end of a strand before it fell down McLean's naked flesh. Small rivulets of water ran down McLean's back, pebbling the pale skin into goosebumps. It looked like he'd had a refreshing dip in an ice-cold bucket, too. And hadn't bothered to dry off very well after. Ellis lifted his face to the ceiling and closed his eyes. From the futon came a rustle of stiff-starched sheets and the sound of a pillow being thumped into submission.

"There's room, you know." Ellis' eyes flashed open wide. There was an unsavory-looking stain on the ceiling tiles. "Not much, granted," McLean went on when Ellis didn't move. "But enough, if you need to rest."

Slowly, as if moving too fast might aggravate the yearning Ellis had never allowed to surface, he straightened and looked at McLean. The corner of the blankets lifted in invitation exposed McLean lying on his side, leaning up on his elbow. His face, as always, was perfectly serene, but there was a twinkle in his eye Ellis couldn't afford to examine.

"I'm fine here," Ellis said. He expected McLean to let it go. On the rare occasions that they worked together, Ellis had never known the man to press a point if there wasn't a life depending on it. This time, however, McLean dropped the covers, letting them pool over his narrow waist and leaving his chest exposed. The hand not propping up his head slid across the starched sheet and patted it once.

"Go on." The smile he gave Ellis was beguiling. "You'd like to."

The yearning left Ellis' core and entered his bloodstream, a steady thrum of want pounding through his system. "Even if I did--" Ellis tried but couldn't quite keep the regret out of his voice. "It is forbidden." It wasn't a capital offense any more for men to be with men, or women with women. Not like it had been when the most important task of any survivor was to ensure the continuation of their bloodline. The punishment now was banishment, but since survival alone out in the harsh, burned-up world was near impossible, it was hardly an improvement. The roaming tribes that dug their temporary homes underground had a tendency to kill first, rob later. And even that was a fate preferable to being caught outside in a midnight gale.

"Times are changing." McLean didn't let up the eye contact and Ellis found he could not look away.

When Ellis had declined to take a wife at the cutoff age of thirty-five, he hadn't been tossed out of town. Avoided, maybe. His standing as one of the best town physicians had offered him a measure of protection. As well as the fact that he had already done his duty under the law and fathered two children. For this he was allowed to live alone rather than in one of the bachelor houses where two or three men shared their space. Ellis supposed having roommates was meant to be an incentive to move on and start a family. Still, McLean did have a point. "Maybe so," Ellis conceded. "But not fast enough for the likes of you and me."


  1. I'm cheap. Just give me chocolate that contains peanuts or peanut butter and I'm a happy camper. Peanut butter.... Om nom.


  2. I grew up less than 30 minutes from Hershey, PA so for a chunk of my childhood I thought that ALL chocolate was Hershey's chocolate. LOL And even though I love all kinds of chocolate, there is still something about a Hershey's Kiss or Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that satisfies like nothing else. sabrinasmadrina@gmail.com

  3. I love chocolate truffles. I like to be surprised at what favors they contain.


  4. I love the Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars - they are amazing!!


  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I love Belgium chocolate, but I can not always find it. So I must settle for dark.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  7. Ghirardelli when I can find it is one of my favourites.

    kalimar2010 @ gmail.com

  8. After a Belgian chocolate (too costly for me) I'll take any chocolate except Galaxy milk chocolate! Preference is for crunchy white though :D

    felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

  9. I grew up near San Francisco, so have a fondness for Ghirardelli - especially their dark chocolate series.


  10. I visited Belgium last summer with my BF and we indulged in the amazing chocolate there. So good! And I got a package of those Belgian chocolates that look like clams for my birthday this year and eat one of them every day :) But generally, I love the German chocolate from Milka and the swiss chocolate as well. Chocolate is great pretty much in any form I can get my hands on it (well ... except for some of the Hersey's chocolate *shudder*, but I do prefere white chocolate. Yum!


  11. I feel like such a chocolate illiterate. All I ever make sure is that it's 70% dark chocolate. Obviously I need to start hanging around a better class of people. But not Marc because he prefers white chocolate (sorry, Marc, that's not really chocolate), which I despise. However, if I could go with on the next trip to Belgium then I can overlook such a personality defect. After all, people are always overlooking mine. ;)

    Great interview, Indra and Chris! Indra, thanks for sharing and getting the word out about Torquere's Charity Sip Blitz and Outserve. It's such a worthwhile cause, and if we can buy books and help people, isn't that the best of both worlds.

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com