Today I am pleased to welcome K. Vale to Joyfully Jay to talk to us about the new Storm Moon Press anthology Written in Flesh. Welcome K!
What is it about a man with ink that gets the blood boiling? I’m not entirely sure, but I do know that when presented with a pristine canvas versus a tattooed one (provided the physical playing field is equal and we’re not talking misspelled Popeye tats), I will pick the art every time. Maybe it’s the allure of a bad boy. Although tattoos can be found on people from all walks of life these days, there is something about that permanent marking that sets the daredevils apart from the cautious.
I do so love a daredevil.
When I saw the Storm Moon Press submission call for Written in Flesh, along with its sister anthology Carved in Flesh, I was intrigued. I had only recently delved into reading and writing M/M erotica, and this book seemed like the perfect way to cut my teeth on a slightly longer piece. Particularly, with such an alluring concept—tattoos and scars—I couldn’t say no to the challenge.
My initial idea sprouted in the form of tattoos used for marking bound couples. I mean, in today’s world of disposable marriages, I’ve always been impressed when I see someone with a tattooed wedding band. Those aren’t so easily removed. The endurance of ink drilled under the skin captivates me. There is something remarkably romantic about a lover’s name scrawled across a person’s skin. It’s a sign of unshakable faith (or, in some cases extreme stupidity) but either way, one can’t help but stop to stare, and maybe even look down at his or her own loose gold band and wish for something more steadfast and idealistic.
My initial premise for “Bound by Ink” had a particularly Native American feel to it, and my completed tale retains a hint of that flavor. Of course, it is firmly planted in the realm of fantasy and takes place on an alternate Earth. Key and Dax, my main characters, live in a world where same-sex-coupling is simply not done. Is it whispered about in the dead of night? Yes, but Key thinks that the All-World, the land where love of all varieties is accepted, is merely a fairy tale. He is betrothed to his childhood friend, Kaya, but on their wedding night Key realizes his grave error. He is incapable of becoming something he innately is not—a heterosexual.
Key flees into the mountains in hopes of finding the fabled All-World. But Chief Rainblade, the father of the wife Key has jilted, tracks him down. Key is shot by an arrow. He falls into a turbulent river and is left to die by Rainblade’s men. Fortunately, his assault is witnessed by Dax, the man who rescues him.
One prevalent theme in “Bound by Ink” involves the notion that none of us are truly alone. No matter how isolated a person may feel, there is always someone out there in a similar situation. Often, and ideally, fate will step in and lead us to the people who complete us; who help us to realize our full potential and find our true selves. In this exciting age of internet, we have easy access to support groups and forums to find like-minded friends. Key has to do it the hard way. He clings to the hope that there is a perfect place for him, the All-World, and that belief gives him the courage to strike out on his own. The lure of a “happily ever after” calls him out of his shell of seclusion and denial. Sometimes the first step is the hardest one, but once we take it, we wouldn’t dream of standing still ever again.
Another theme in “Bound by Ink” is the importance of being oneself. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to accept and embrace one’s true nature. That old cliché about loving oneself first, before we can love someone else, is so prevalent for a reason. Confidence in who we are is the first integral step to being acknowledged and loved by others.
It takes a huge mistake for Key to figure this out, but in the end all of his trials help lead him to the man of his dreams.
Excerpt from “Bound by Ink” by K. Vale, part of Storm Moon Press’ Written in Flesh anthology!
“So, you plan to wrap your name around my arm and bind me forever?” Key couldn’t help but grin as tender warmth suffused his chest.
“I was thinking somewhere you haven’t been marked before. A place that has only been mine and only ever will be.”
Now, a different sort of warmth pooled between Key’s legs, adding weight to his very interested cock.
Dax’s hand brushed his inner thigh, tauntingly close to Key’s hardening dick.
“Somewhere around here, I think. Any man that wants his lips around this cock is going to have to see my mark the whole time he’s sucking you off. And seeing my name on you while you are coming in my mouth is only going to turn me on even more.” His finger trailed down Key’s length, and Key shuddered.
“Is that fair? You will teach me how to do it so I can mark you as well.” It was an unequivocal statement. Key seized Dax’s backside. “Right here, I think.”
Dax was forced up against him and swirled his hips in agreement. His cock was hard against Key’s as he pressed into him with a brazen smile.
“You want to write your name on my ass, Key?”
Key licked his lips at the thought of performing the act. How long would it take him to drill his name into Dax’s smooth skin? How many breaks would he need to take to drill him with his cock first?
“In the worst way.” He clutched Dax’s cheeks and pulled him even closer.
Written in Flesh — Now Available for just $4.99 (ebook) at Storm Moon Press!