|The Prince's Guard|
Annette Gisby, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, The Prince’s Guard.
Genre: Gay Romance, M/M Erotica, Fantasy
Cover artist: Wicked Cover Designs. Model: Jason Baca, photo by Portia Shao
Length: Short Story
Heat rating: 5
Tagline: Can a prince ever learn to truly submit?
Prince Dashan has been used to getting things his own way, with servants to cater to his every whim. As the crown prince, it is essential that he is protected and he is followed everywhere by his bodyguard, Ryland. Dashan can't even head to a tavern with his friends without Ryland somehow turning up and spoiling his fun.
Dashan disguises himself as a peasant one night and sneaks off to the brothel that he's heard rumours about - a brothel that caters for men who like men. The prince finds it difficult to admit to himself what his true desires are - he yearns to submit his will to someone else. And Ryland is just the man to show him what that truly means.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Ryland is a bodyguard and wizard who is twenty eight. Dashan is the crown prince and is twenty two.
Prince Dashan surveyed himself in the looking-glass, turning this way and that to see if the disguise would hold out. If he’d paid more attention to his magical arts studies, he could probably have used a glamour, but he didn’t know any of the more complex incantations, so he had to rely on more old-fashioned methods. He’d dusted his fair hair and face with ash from the fire, although there wasn’t much he could do about the bright blue hue of his eyes, he just hoped with the hood of his cloak drawn over his head and the dirt on his face it would be enough.
The leather trousers and jerkin he wore were grimy with dirt and creased with age, so much so that their colour was indeterminate. A rough, home-spun shirt and a pair of scuffed brown leather boots completed his ensemble.
“How do I look?” Dashan turned to his little brother, who was staring at him, mouth agape and eyes agog at Dashan’s transformation from spoiled prince to peasant in such a short space of time.
“You’re not really sneaking out tonight, are you?” asked Aniel. “What if Captain Ryland catches you again? Father won’t be happy with you.”
“I’ve no intention of getting caught this time. Why do you think I’m wearing this disguise?” Dashan’s face darkened as he thought of Captain Ryland. Just because he was captain of the King’s men-at-arms, he seemed to think that meant that he was the boss of the princes too. Officially, he was Captain of the Guards, unofficially he was Dashan’s bodyguard and Dashan railed at that fact. Everywhere he turned, there was Ryland getting in his way and preventing him from having any fun. Dashan couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen his friends or even visited a tavern without Ryland tagging along or turning up. He put a pall on everything, like a mourner mistakenly turning up for a wedding feast rather than a funeral.
“What about the Alradai? If there are any of their spies about, you could be in serious trouble. That’s why Father wanted you to have a bodyguard in the first place. You could start an international incident if you get kidnapped. The Alradai would love to have the crown prince as a hostage. They’d like nothing better for us to be at war again.”
“No one’s going to know I’m a prince,” said Dashan, frowning. “I’m just an ordinary peasant out to enjoy an evening at the tavern.”
“And maybe a wench or two, eh?” Aniel winked at him.
“Maybe,” Dashan agreed, although he knew he was lying to himself and his brother. For a long while he’d suspected that the female form wasn’t where his interest lay. Instead of spying on the maids like his brothers sometimes did, Dashan was often to be found watching the soldiers and men-at-arms at their drills. He much preferred it in the summer when they would remove their armour and shirts, practicing their arms in little more than their kilts. It was strong, firm chests Dashan dreamed of, not flowery scents and softness. He wanted someone strong, someone forceful, someone so passionate that they forgot he was a prince and just ravished him. The trouble was that the only person he could imagine being as forceful as that was Ryland. Dashan scowled, he doubted Ryland had a passionate bone in his body. He was just annoying. Dashan couldn’t wait to be rid of him. Ryland riled him like no one else could.
No one thought it odd that the crown prince spent so much in the men’s company, after all once he was king, they would be his men to command and his father just thought he was being friendly to the men who would serve him. The trouble was, Dashan wanted to be more than friendly. He wanted much more, but the castle was a hotbed of gossip, so there was no one he could approach without word of it getting back to his father. He’d heard that in the lower city there were places you could go to, pleasure houses that catered to every patron’s whim, male or female.
Dashan knew what he wanted and tonight he was going to get it.
Tell us about your story's world. What is it like in this period or place?
This book takes place in what I suppose would be considered an historical fantasy world. It’s similar to Earth’s medieval period, particularly Scotland (you’ve got to love a man in a kilt!) but has magic and wizards too.
What inspired you to write this book?
For over four years I was suffering from unexplained dizziness and had been to every Ear, Nose and Throat department there was, but still they couldn’t figure out what was causing my vertigo. Last year I finally got to see the right balance specialist (my husband and I discovered his details on the Internet and took them to the doctor.) I was diagnosed with Migraine Associated Vertigo. So now, I knew what it was, but it was still a long way from being cured. As well as dizziness and headaches, it plays havoc with my concentration and I knew I wouldn’t have the concentration to complete a novel, so I set my sights on shorter stories.
This was one of my first short stories which had elements of BDSM in it and in my head I played around with what might have been expected. In my story it’s the prince who is used to ordering people about who wants to submit to someone else.
Why do you write?
Because I’d go mad if I didn’t! I have all these characters and scenarios around my head and they don’t leave me be until I’ve written them down either on paper or on a computer screen.
Who has helped you the most in your career as an author?
That would be my husband, John. For such a long time I had lots of projects started but not finished. He used to read my sample chapters, but then he refused to read any more until I’d finished one of the books. It gave me the impetus I needed to finally get a book done!
When you write, what things do you want close at hand? (Coffee, water, chocolate... pictures of gorgeous hunks for inspiration...?)
I have a class of water, notebooks, pens and a Harry Potter calendar. I’ve not had pictures of gorgeous hunks for inspiration so far, but now you’ve given me ideas ;)
When you're not writing, what would we find you doing?
Most likely reading or playing Dragon Quest 8 on the Playstation. We have so many books there isn’t room for them on the bookshelves any more. I buy ebooks, but the paper ones still seem to breed like rabbits.
Are you a plotter, or do you prefer to make it up on the spur of the moment?
I have a bit of an outline in my head and then start writing and see what happens. I love to be surprised and it’s amazing what turns up on the page or computer screen. Sometimes I feel like I’m just channeling the characters’ stories.
What's your writing schedule like?
Non-existent! I have to write when I can, if I have a vertigo attack I can’t do anything but sit still for the few hours until it passes and I can’t be anywhere near a computer screen. Most vertigo is caused by inner ear problems and for most people who suffer that, including my Mum, they feel better when lying down. Migraine vertigo is the complete opposite, it’s much worse when lying down.
Any advice for new authors?
Read, read and then read some more. If you don’t like reading, I don’t think you’d like writing either. Develop a thick skin for the rejections and the bad reviews. Not everyone is going to like what you write, so you should write for yourself first and foremost. Be true to your own vision.
When an idea hits you, what do you do to capture it?
Write it down in a notebook or the back of an envelope, whichever spare bit of paper is to hand.
What other jobs have you held besides writing?
I’ve been an assistant manager of a shoe shop and worked in a bookshop.
What's the best gift you ever received?
That would be when my husband John took me one Valentine’s Day to an art house cinema that was showing all of the Lord of the Rings movies back to back. Yes, there were breaks in between so we could eat and use the bathroom!
If you could time travel what era would be your first stop?
I’d love to go to the Middle Ages and meet Robin Hood and Maid Marion. But since they’re probably fictional, early 20th century to meet Emily Pankhurst. That must have taken a lot of guts to fight for women’s votes.
Do you play any musical instruments?
I used to play the recorder at school but my husband has just recently bought a guitar so we both might try and learn that too.
What's your favorite movie?
Lord of the Rings. I’m not sure I should admit how many times I’ve seen it. Yes, it’s one movie in my mind. One very long movie ;) My obsession with the films led us to New Zealand and the basis for our book, New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer. As John was trying his best to see New Zealand, I was dragging him around lots of the different filming locations.
Are you the eldest, middle, baby, or only child?
Eldest child, with two brothers and one sister.
Please complete the sentence
I love pizza with no cheese, but lots of pepperoni.
I'm always ready for anything.
When I'm alone, I sometimes dance.
You'd never be able to tell, but I once met Daniel Radcliffe on a trip to New York. He signed my program after Equus and he was very polite, speaking to nearly everyone in the line.
If I had a halo it would be slipping.
I can never get comfortable in bed because of my vertigo. Four pillows and an adjustable bed and I still can’t sleep properly.
New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer
Shadows of the Rose
Of Pets and Pleasures
Books Coming Soon
Drowning Rapunzel, romantic suspense re-issued with Pink Petal Books
An ebook copy of The Prince’s Guard and Of Pets and Pleasures.
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Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/annettegisby
The Romance Reviews: http://www.theromancereviews.com/annettegisby