Today I am so pleased to welcome A.M. Sexton to Joyfully Jay. A.M.  has come to talk to us about her new book, Release. She has also brought along a great giveaway opportunity.  Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

 

I’ve always loved the idea of a den of thieves.

I suppose it all started with Oliver! No, not the novel Oliver Twist, but the film adaptation of the Broadway musical. That movie, Oliver!, won six Academy Awards in 1968, including Best Picture. I saw it as a child, and I’ve never stopped loving it. (I also never got over my crush on Dodger, even though I’m now old enough to make that confession downright creepy.)

Oliver! made Fagin’s den look so appealing. Sure, their sausages were moldy (to which Fagin replies, “Shut up and drink your gin!”), but they shared a brotherhood I found romantic. They were outlaws, but good-natured ones, and there was something noble about it. Nancy and Bet’s song proved it.

Who cares if straight-laces

Sneer at us in the street?

Fine airs and fine graces

Don’t have to sin to eat.

We wander through London

Who knows what we many find?

There’s pockets left undone

On many a behind.

If you don’t mind taking it as it turns out,

It’s a fine life!

Granted, Nancy’s all grown up and moved out of Fagin’s den to become a whore. And never mind that all Fagin’s young pickpockets are taught to idolize Bill Sikes, who later beats Nancy to death. It still somehow looked like a fun way to live. When Fagin sang, “Charity’s find, subscribe to mine, get out and pick a pocket or two,” I desperately wanted to hit the streets of London with Charlie and Dodger.

(For the record, I read the book sometime in junior high or high school, but I hated the ending. I much preferred the movie version, where Fagin and Dodger skip off into the sunset together.) (If you haven’t seen it, you really should. At the very least, go watch some bits and pieces. I’ve included links at the end.)

My fascination with the idea of a band of thieves, idyllic or otherwise, didn’t end there. Both protagonists in Sarah Monette’s Doctrine of Labyrinths series (which I adore) were raised in similar groups, and both are severely damaged because of it. (Which is part of what makes their relationship so incredible.) Scott Lynch’s Genteleman Bastard series also plays with the trope, although as adults, Locke and his gang have turned into something more akin to Ocean’s crew in Ocean’s Eleven.

So the idea of writing my own version of Fagin’s boys was always in the back of my mind. But how exactly did I want the story to go? I knew immediately it was going to be fantasy, or at the very least, set in an alternate universe. At first, Anzhéla was the protagonist, with Frey has her love interest. She found herself on the wrong side of the law, and somehow went from being an innocent theatre owner to being a major crime boss. I still may write that story eventually, but I was more interested in her gang of thieves than in her, and a new tale began to emerge. That story ended up moving from Anzhéla’s den to Donato’s bedroom, but in my mind, this is still a story of Fagin’s boys, all grown up. And I’m sure that when Misha leaves Anzhéla’s office for his first night as Donato’s whore, she’s singing Fagin’s song in her head.

You can go,

But be back soon

You can go,

But while you’re working.

This place,

I’m pacing round.

Until you’re home,

Safe and sound

Fare thee well,

But be back soon

Who can tell

Where danger’s lurking?

Do not forget this tune

Be back soon.

Song links:

“It’s a Fine Life”: http://youtu.be/BYTUtOTYEb0

“You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two”: http://youtu.be/VogHwP0C5VY

“Be Back Soon”: http://youtu.be/siWscozkRr0

(But there are so many other great songs, you really should watch the whole movie.)


Blurb

ReleaseDavlova: a poverty-ridden city-state ruled by a tyrannical upper class. Resources are scarce and technology is illegal. But in the slums, revolution is brewing.

Misha is a common pickpocket until his boss gives him a new job. Disguised as a whore, Misha is sent to work for one of the most powerful men in the city. But his real task is far more dangerous: get close to Miguel Donato, and find something – anything – that will help topple Davlova’s corrupt government.

Misha is plunged into the decadent world of the upper class, where slaves are common and even the most perverse pleasure can be found. Although he’s sure Davlova’s elite is involved in something horrific, proof is hard to come by, and Misha begins to fall in love with the man he’s supposed to betray. Then Misha meets Ayo – a sex slave forced by the neural implant in his brain to take pleasure from pain – and everything changes. As the lower class pushes toward a bloody revolution, Misha will find himself caught between his surprising feelings for Donato, his obligations to his clan, and his determination to save Ayo.

Warning: This book contains graphic descriptions of violent sexual acts of questionable consent that may be disturbing to some readers.


Bio

marie sextonA.M. Sexton (who also writes gay romance as Marie Sexton) is a typical soccer mom. She has a fondness for wine and cheese, an addiction to coffee, and occasionally bleeds orange and blue. She lives in Colorado with her husband, their daughter, her dog, and one very stupid cat.


Giveaway

A.M. is offering up a tour wide giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to your online book retailer of choice. Use the Rafflecopter link to enter.  

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