New and Debut: Rain Merton00:00
It's Sunday and it's time once again to meet a new author. I'm very happy to have over Rain Merton whose first book, the m/m romance novella Summer Research, was released earlier this year. Read on for a short interview with Rain and a NSFW-ish excerpt from their story.
1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?
Thank you so much, Ellie, for the opportunity to visit your wonderful blog <3, and for asking such generous questions.
My grandmother was a voracious reader, and she read a lot of romance, so part of my decision is a tribute to her, because she was and still is one of the people I admire most.
At the same time, I wanted to be part of this amazing community of romance readers and writers, because I think there’s something really important and valuable that romance facilitates in a unique way. Romance is one of the very few spaces nowadays where “being emotional” is neither pejorative nor reductive, so it allows participants to bring their whole selves, and that is a beautiful thing.
Finally, I enjoy the vigorous debates that take place both within the books and around the community, which is one of the most progressive places around (or I might have just been lucky in finding my little corner of it).
2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?
Ooh, how many can I list? I hope you have all day ☺, because this is luckily an ever-growing list, so here are some, listed alphabetically: Tess Bowery, KJ Charles, Elliot Cooper, AJ Cousins, Megan Erickson, Kim Fielding, Megan Frampton, Avon Gale, Alexis Hall, Santino Hassell, Beverly Jenkins, Molly O’Keefe, Ruby Lang, Sara MacLean, Cara McKenna, Courtney Milan, Vanessa North, EE Ottoman, Tiffany Reisz, Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper, Sandra Schwab, Sherry Thomas, Holley Trent, Piper Vaughn, Mia West.
3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?
Ha! All of the above? I learned so much from all of their books, which was crucial because I come from non-fiction writing, and not even the narrative kind. So reading their well-crafted prose, their smart plotting, their rich characters has been germane in teaching me how to tell a story.
4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?
I write queer romance, I am drawn to the contemporary in general, so the series I’m working on is a loosely connected set of novels set in Toronto, Canada, featuring first- or second-generation immigrants who had met in the Rainbow Club at Cooking School.
I have just finished editing the first, and I’m now trying to navigate the ambivalence of elation over being done with nostalgia for the characters I have to leave behind.
5. Please, introduce your latest release.
“Summer Research” is my first romance short story and it features two very different graduate students who meet at an academic conference.
Here’s the blurb and an excerpt:
Presenting his research at the annual academic mega-conference is supposed to provide the answer to Jonah's dilemma.
Instead, Congress brings him Xavier. Loud-mouthed, flamboyant, and whip-smart, Xavier wields humor as both a weapon and a shield. Soon Jonah can't discern sincerity from banter; all he knows is the overwhelming, mystifying lust he feels for Xavier.
Is desire enough to build a decision around? Can Xavier offer the solution to Jonah's dilemma?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
It was not a long trek from the campus where the Congress was churning out its intellectual production to the pub where the Literature Association was holding its annual bash. Still, Jonah and Xavier let the others figure out the way, as they hung back.
"You never did tell me what department you're in," Jonah said, because grad student speak was the safest conversational path.
"Because you guessed right the first time. I'm doing my PhD in a joint program: political science and the South-Asian Studies Institute."
Xavier's voice had mellowed, strident edges blunted away from his voice, molten by his upward gaze, fixed on Jonah's jaw? Eyes? Jonah didn't think it would be wise to examine the exact location where Xavier's eyes landed, because intercepting them might undo him on the spot.
So they kept walking instead.
"So, your research area is political prisoners in Philippines?"
"Yeah. I look at contemporary media representation of political imprisonment during Marcos's regime. Fun stuff, but, honey, that is the absolute last thing I want to chat about right now. I've been talking nothing but shop for the past week, and I would love a distraction. And you, sugar buns, totally qualify as a distraction of the first order."
Jonah swallowed dry air, no longer feigning inability to flirt. He might be discreet, but made of stone he was not, even though Xavier's appreciative gaze was turning his cock that way fast. Again. As he looked down at Xavier, he saw the man's parted lips, then his front teeth catching on his full lower lip, the gap indenting a tiny ridge. Jonah's breath got caught on that ridge.
On instinct, Jonah pulled Xavier by the hand, and together they ducked into a side alley that opened onto a parking lot. There had been no resistance, but as he lined Xavier's back to the wall, Jonah asked him "Okay?"
Xavier's eyes were still fixed on Jonah's, but his voice had disappeared. He huffed a loud exhale, and gave a slow tiny nod instead, and then there was no more air between them.
Jonah draped his whole body along Xavier's, his feet widened to encompass Xavier's, his hips rasping a slow up-and-down, seeking to align their cocks. Jonah's hands came to sheathe Xavier's face, palms skimming his jaw, fingers caressing his hairline, sending a shiver down Xavier's body.
Tentative at first, their kiss stayed a sip for only a moment, before Xavier's tongue darted into Jonah's mouth as if to compensate for his voicelessness. Neither of them required speech any longer, as their tongues swirled to taste and to ignite their bodies in frantic sparks of sensation that traveled down and between them, binding them together with gossamer threads of desire.
Jonah's hands rejoiced in the texture of Xavier's stubble, then the velvet of that soft triangle of skin trapped between his jaw, his hairline, and his ear, to finally revel in the silk of his shoulder-length hair. Xavier's palms were patting down Jonah's back over his shirt, turning Jonah's hip glides frantic before pausing for suspense in the waistband of Jonah's jeans, then going back up on the inside of his shirt at a snail's pace, leaving a trail of fire on Jonah's skin.
It was hot, and Jonah felt like he could never again get enough air, but also like he never wanted to inhale anything other than the scent of Xavier's skin -- part citrus, part cinnamon, all warm sweetness. As much as it felt new and open and spacious, this serendipitous encounter also felt like coming home, to a place of dreams he had forgotten ever chasing.
Xavier felt like home, with his hot mouth trailing down Jonah's throat, with his gapped teeth catching on Jonah's stubble, which whispered a flick-flick-flick that sent vibrations down to Jonah's wildly beating heart, down to his lungs, down to his stomach, and down to his trapped erection.
The sound of his cell wrenched them apart.
Author Bio and Links
Rain has moved around quite a bit, whether by choice or accident. Countries, continents, careers continue to shift both what Rain does and who they are. Rain’s love of writing, however, persists, even washed under the fluidity that marks their life. For now and for good, Rain hopes to dwell within queer romance set in and inspired by their adoptive hometown of Toronto, Canada.