Today I am so pleased to welcome ‘Nathan Burgoine to Joyfully Jay. ‘Nathan has come to talk to us about his latest release, Triad Blood. He has also brought along a signed copy to give away. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
Earlier this month, I took my citizenship test. I passed, and am now waiting for the letter that will tell me when I can swear my oath and shift from being a permanent landed immigrant to an actual Canadian citizen.
There’s a long (and not thrilling) story behind why I waited so long to do this (the short and still not thrilling version being: bureaucracy with a dash of anxiety), but all the other red tape was finally sliced, and I had a large enough gap of time where I wouldn’t need my ID for anything, and so it happened.
I love Canada, warts and all. There are warts, believe me. As a country, there’s some wretched treatment of a wide variety of people throughout our relatively young history (and it’s not like all of it has ended in the present day, either, for that matter). But I love the direction of the country, especially in the last year, and how we seem to be course correcting, heading toward positives, and—selfishly—I got to propose over a decade ago.
My short fiction is almost always a bit magic, and almost entirely takes place in Canada. Usually that means my home city of Ottawa or somewhere in British Columbia, the two parts of Canada I know the best. Occasionally, I’ve shifted a story elsewhere. A short piece that required a death row, for instance, had to go to the States as did one that mentioned the (now blessedly historical) ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. Though it is sometimes incidental to the story, knowing the setting gives me confidence, and even the details that never get mentioned help me build the framework around the characters.
Also, occasionally readers would contact me and say things like, “I loved that it took place in the Byward Market!”
Or on the flip side, “What the heck’s a loonie?”
When it was time to write my first novel, I paused to consider. Far more than in a short fiction piece, the setting of a novel often takes on almost character status, and I wondered if having a story set in Ottawa might be a bit of a non-starter for readers used to settings in the more familiar and more represented United States. But I was setting Light during pride week, and the pride weeks I’ve experienced in Ottawa have such a unique flavor that I took a deep breath and dove in.
The end result was a Canadian superhero story that led to a lot of e-mails asking what loonies were, but it was well received, and to the best of my knowledge no one was upset by the story taking place in Ottawa rather than somewhere better known.
When it came time to write Triad Blood, my second novel, it was absolutely going to be set in Ottawa. I’d already written four short stories with the characters, all set in Ottawa, and the setting mattered. Rather than being worried, this time knowing the surroundings were important was actually rather freeing.
Most of this came from having a French Canadian vampire who had a long view on history. Exploring my city with this new perspective was a joy, and I took another tour of Parliament (the original mostly burned down in 1916—plot bunny!) and the Château Laurier (the architect didn’t get cut the ribbon, he was taking the Titanic back across the ocean to be there for the opening). I also used a couple of walking tours of the city online and in travel guides to get a sense of how the city itself evolved.
The end result was finding out a lot about my city I hadn’t known (or only half-known) and having the joy of weaving in bits of our real-world history with the made-up fictions of my urban paranormal version of Ottawa.
Luc, Anders, and Curtis—my vampire, demon, and wizard—are magic already, but by the time I’d rediscovered my city writing Triad Blood, I’d been happily reminded just how much magic there already was in history. Even a relatively young history, like the kind I’ve got here in Ottawa.
Oh. And before I forget?
A loonie is a one-dollar coin.
They showered together, enjoying the warm water, and then Luc sat on a chair in a towel and watched Curtis dress. Curtis unzipped the tailor’s bags and pulled out each piece carefully, stepping into the gray linen pants and raising his eyebrows as he zipped up.
“They’re very light,” he said.
“They suit you.”
Curtis smiled and pulled on the shirt, buttoning it. The shirt fit perfectly. He rolled his shoulders and turned to the mirror after he did up the last button. As Curtis put on his tie, Luc thought of the kind of cultured life Curtis had grown up with. Curtis tied a double Windsor without the slightest struggle. He tugged the silver silk tie until the crease was balanced, then pulled on the jacket.
Luc nodded. Parfait. It was an elegant and understated look for an elegant and understated man. The dove gray jacket matched the linen pants, and the crisp whiteness of the shirt seemed all the brighter against his tanned skin and hazel eyes.
“I don’t think I’ve ever worn gray shoes before,” Curtis said, lacing up the dress shoes. “I feel like I belong in the deep South, sipping on a mint julep or something.” He mugged a face in the mirror. “I have always relied on the comfort of vampires.”
“Light colors flatter you,” Luc said. “And the colors are as close to the dress robes of wizards gathering for a coven moot as I could come up with. I want to remind them of who you are.”
Curtis did a double-take in the mirror. “You’re right. It’s the same color as my robes. I hadn’t noticed.”
“What jewelry are you planning to bring?”
“The oldest things I own are my great-grandfather’s gold cufflinks, but I don’t think gold would match this outfit. I might just go with my silver rings and my white leather and silver bracelet. They’re not old, but I made all of them, which makes them unique.”
Luc smiled. “You paid attention.”
“Hey, when you said we had to go meet with a dozen vampires, I figured it behooved me to pay attention.” His smile was wan. “Anders and I are going to be the only ones there with a pulse. You said elegance, antiquity, and uniqueness. I can do that.”
“I fucking can’t.”
They both turned.
Where Luc had dressed Curtis in pale grays and whites, Anders was covered in darkness. The suit was black, as was his tie, and the shirt was the dark red of a rich wine. His large, muscular body filled the suit perfectly. His face and bearing, on the other hand, clashed with the expensive suit. Anders loomed in Curtis’s bedroom door, looking more like a hired thug than a dinner guest. With his full jaw of stubble, the dent in his nose, the deep brow over his dark eyes, and the obvious awkwardness with which the tie had been crookedly knotted, he couldn’t have looked less elegant had he tried. Even his hair displayed his complete lack of any grooming sense. Anders was attractive—as an incubus, there was no way he could be unappealing—but while this masculine look was definitely a draw in its own way, Anders appeared rougher around the edges than when Luc had first met him many years ago.
“I think you look hot,” Curtis said.
Anders leveled a glare at him. “I look stupid,” the demon said.
“You look refined,” Luc said. It just didn’t “fit” his form. He regarded the demon. “Perhaps this evening you could allure yourself differently.”
Curtis looked up. Anders frowned at Luc.
“How much can you change yourself?” Curtis asked. Luc could tell this was not a question that had just occurred to their wizard. Their abilities fascinated him. He would ask them questions for hours, were they in the mood to answer. No doubt Anders was rarely in that mood.
Anders shrugged. “It depends on who I pick.” Then the incubus looked at Luc. He took a breath, closed his eyes, and changed.
It was subtle at first. Anders’s nose straightened. His chin narrowed, and the stubble vanished as though time and his beard growth reversed. Anders ran a hand through his hair, and it became straighter and fell into a tidy style. When Anders opened his eyes, he appeared darker, his hair closer to black than brown, his eyes a deeper shade.
His features remained masculine, but cleaner.
Luc approved, of course, and wondered if the demon’s allure spread to the taste of his blood. For a brief moment, he wondered if they had time for the three of them to explore this new version of Anders on Curtis’s bed. Then he remembered what was in store for them all and shook his head. Anders’s looks had caught his attention and distracted him. But that was an incubus’s gift.
“Wow,” Curtis said. “You clean up nice.”
The new Anders rolled his eyes. It seemed out of place in such an elegant face. “It’s just for one night.” His voice hadn’t changed at all, of course.
“I hope so,” Curtis said. “I like you better the other way. Do you want to borrow my cufflinks?”
The demon smiled. “Sure.” He looked back at Luc. “And are you going like that? Don’t think I can’t smell the sex on you two.”
“We showered,” Curtis said. “You can’t smell sex on us.”
“Incubus,” Anders said. “We breathe sex.”
Luc rose. Scent of sex notwithstanding, the rest of what the demon said was true. He needed to get dressed. As he headed down the stairs, he heard Curtis asking Anders to take off his tie so he could re-knot it. He smiled. Maybe this night wouldn’t be a disaster after all.
The law of three is unbroken: three vampires form a coterie, three demons make a pack, and three wizards are a coven. That is how it has always been, and how it was always to be.
But Luc, Anders, and Curtis—vampire, demon, and wizard—have cheated tradition. Their bond is not coterie, pack, or coven, but something else. Thrust into the supernatural politics ruling Ottawa from behind the shadows, they face Renard, a powerful vampire who harbors deadly secrets of his own and wishes to end their threat. The enemy they know conjures fire and death at every turn. The enemies they don’t know are worse.
Blood, soul, and magic gave them freedom. Now they need to survive it.
Buy Link: Bold Strokes Books
‘Nathan Burgoine grew up a reader and studied literature in university while making a living as a bookseller. His first published short story was Heart in the collection Fool for Love: New Gay Fiction. Since then, he has had dozens of short stories published, including Bold Strokes titles Men of the Mean Streets, Boys of Summer, and Night Shadows as well as This is How You Die (the second Machine of Death anthology). Triad Blood is the first novel which contains characters ‘Nathan introduced via paranormal erotic short stories beginning in the Bold Strokes anthology Blood Sacraments, and continuing with further instalments in Wings, Erotica Exotica, and Raising Hell. His standalone short erotic fiction pieces can be found in the Lambda Literary Award finalist Tented, Tales from the Den, and Afternoon Pleasures. ‘Nathan’s nonfiction pieces have appeared in I Like it Like That and 5×5 Literary Magazine. Nathan’s first novel, Light, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award.
A cat lover, ‘Nathan managed to fall in love and marry Daniel, who is a confirmed dog person. Their ongoing “cat or dog” détente ended with the rescue of a six year old husky named Coach. They live in Ottawa, Canada, where socialized health care and gay marriage have yet to cause the sky to cave in.
‘Nathan has brought a signed paperback copy of Triad Blood to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Saturday, May 14th at 11:59 pm EST.
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