Thursday, May 11, 2017

Author Of The Month - Ari McKay - Week Two

Welcome to our second week of celebrating the fantabulous 

In today's post, we'll talk about Letters From Cupid, Holiday Hootenanny, and Dandy's Little Girl. There are also 5 little known things about the authors, plus another chance to win a book!

Let's get started, yeah?

First up, Letters From Cupid


After breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” 
Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common. Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?
Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?


Derek leaned back in his chair, biting his lip as he considered his options again. He could end the correspondence, and life would go on. Or he could write back, and maybe Cupid would decide he didn’t want to carry on any longer. Or maybe he would write back, and Cupid would write back, and they might connect the way Jason had connected with his boyfriend. Their correspondence could fizzle out, of course. They might never meet, or Derek might learn his Cupid was a student, after all. They might even hate each other on sight. There was no way of telling what might happen, but Derek was unwilling to throw away this chance at a connection with someone as well-spoken and kind as his Cupid.

“I guess hope really does spring eternal,” he murmured.

Hoping he wasn’t simply rationalizing his desire to continue the correspondence, Derek pulled out a piece of paper and began to write.
Dear Cupid—
Again, your kind words flatter me, and I appreciate them more than you probably realize. Yet as I approach forty, I find myself growing more and more doubtful that I’ll ever find a man whom I can move—and who, in return, can move me—to the level of feeling that can sustain a relationship for the long term. I don’t seek to disregard your assertions, my dear Cupid, or to doubt your wisdom, but hope is a very fragile thing for mere mortals. I’ve held myself open to the possibilities for many years, but perhaps it is time for me to bow to the inevitability of being alone for the rest of my life.

If my humble readings of a great poet have brought you pleasure, than I am most pleased. What higher compliment could there be for a man than to know his efforts stirred even a god?

Derek reread the note, then hesitated once more about the wisdom of leaving it for Cupid to find. But after he’d packed up for the day, prepared to head back to his home for an evening of nothing but his own company, he decided he had nothing to lose. So he pinned it to his board, locked his door, and turned to leave before he changed his mind.

“I really am pathetic,” he muttered, shaking his head ruefully. No doubt he’d end up regretting this, but he didn’t remove the note. Then, when he stopped by Macon’s office to say good night, he was disappointed to discover Macon wasn’t there.

Macon did not go in early the next morning because he wanted to see if there was a note for Cupid. No, he wanted to catch up on a few things before his first class. That was all. If he felt a little surge of excitement when he saw a note addressed to “Eros” pinned to Derek’s corkboard again, well, surely that was understandable. It wasn’t at all sad or depressing that this anonymous communication was the most intimate contact he’d had in quite a while.

Maybe if he told himself that often enough, he’d believe it too.

He waited until the coast was clear to snatch the note off the board, and he hurried into his office, his heart pounding as he opened the note. He’d thought his response would be the end of it, and he was wildly curious about what Derek had to say.

Macon dropped heavily into his chair as he read the note, a little pang shooting through him as Derek’s words hit uncomfortably close to home. All pretense of getting anything productive done was forgotten as he thought about the note and how to respond. This time it wasn’t even a question of “if.” But responding to this note the way he wanted to was dangerous. He’d have to be careful not to give away any clues that would let Derek figure out Cupid’s identity, but he wanted to be honest as well. He’d have to walk a fine line, but words were his life’s work, and he thought he could manage it.
Dear Derek,
I’m not trying to flatter you, only to speak the truth as I perceive it. We rarely see ourselves as clearly as others see us, and we tend to think the worst of ourselves. I thought perhaps an outside perspective might help.

I understand the temptation to give up hope better than you might imagine. If I may break the fourth wall a little, you and I are of an age, and I have wrestled with the same doubts you are wrestling with now.
Macon wondered if he was giving too much away, but he didn’t delete anything. Confiding in Derek, albeit anonymously, was cathartic, and he hadn’t had a confidante in a long time.
But you aren’t the kind of man who is meant to be alone. You are too personable, too vibrant not to have someone at your side. You have friends, I know, but sometimes friends aren’t enough, especially when they are happily coupled and you are not.

Besides, you are still young enough to find love. Approaching forty hardly means entering your dotage. You could still have decades of happiness with someone ahead of you.
I am no god, but your readings have given me pleasure. There is little I like so much as beautifully written poetry being read well. If you go fishing for a prospective partner and he isn’t moved by your recitations, cast him back immediately, for it means he has no heart.

Your humble servant,

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Second in today's line-up, Holiday Hootenanny


Clint Barker wants to take his relationship with boyfriend Joshua Cash to the next level, and that means meeting Josh’s family at Christmas. Clint is sure he can deal with anything, even though Josh has expressed reservations that his big, loud hillbilly family might be too overwhelming for an introvert like Clint to handle.
Josh loves his family, but the only other time he brought a boyfriend home to meet them, the guy didn’t last through dinner. Clint means everything to him, and though he knows his family means well, Josh is worried their nosiness and sheer overwhelming presence will drive Clint away.

Between having to fix an illegal still, getting treed by a wild hog, and barely avoiding a bar fight between rednecks and bikers, the holiday doesn’t get off to an auspicious start. Then at the traditional Christmas Eve Hootenanny, Josh and Clint argue, and Clint later turns up missing. Will this spell the end of their relationship, or will a newborn in a stable work a little Christmas miracle for them both?

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And thirdly today, Dandy's Little Girl 


Five years after losing his partner, Noah Coleman lets Andy Lane into his life and the life of his daughter, Emily. Emily and Andy obviously adore one another, but can Noah handle it when his feelings of friendship for Andy become something more?

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Five little-known things about the authors:


  1. I am blind in one eye
  2. I’m terrified of bugs
  3. I have an entry on IMDB (under my real name) because I’ve been in two movies
  4. I have a half-sister I’ve never met
  5. I have memorized the Tom Lehrer song “The Periodic Table of the Elements”


  1. I managed to get a BA and MA in English and still avoid reading Moby Dick.
  2. I own four different copies of Jane Eyre, one of which I’ve had since I was a teenager (it’s falling apart now, but I keep it for nostalgia).
  3. In college, I took a sign language class and learned how to sign “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera
  4. Zombies are the only type of horror story monster that legit scare me on a deep and primal level.
  5. One of the items on my bucket list is to take a road trip across the US and stop at every weird and/or haunted location that appeals to me. Giant ball of twine, here I come!

More about the authors:

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

Connect with the authors:


Thanks for celebrating with us again. Come back next week for more of Ari McKay's books, a personal story they've chosen to share, plus another chance to win.

Until then, happy reading!!


  1. Thanks for the post. Never knew you were two authors. A road trip through the US would be awesome. I want to learn sign language as well, but is it so difficult.

  2. Great post - love the questions! I also took sign language in college, it was actually my 'foreign language' and I loved it so much!

  3. Thank you for the post and giveaway chance! I love the five facts!

  4. Thank you for this post. As for the five facts i have to admit that i'm now very curious what the two movies are

  5. Angela:
    Great post, thanks for sharing!


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