Today I am so pleased to welcome Maggie Blackbird to Joyfully Jay. Maggie has come to talk to us about her release, Blessed. She has also brought along a copy to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
First, thank you very much to Jay for letting me blog at Joyfully Jay LGBTQ Romance Reviews and More, and a big hello to everyone who follows this awesome web site.
I’m Maggie Blackbird, an Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario who writes contemporary and historical romance starring Canada’s Indigenous People. Being previously employed by an aboriginal organization for fifteen years, my travels took me to numerous First Nations communities, allowed me to meet individuals from all walks of life, and work with other aboriginal organizations, both on and off reserve.
Having grown up on the rez, where most of my family still lives, I thought writing exclusively about the Indigenous people would give readers an opportunity to get a personal view of the every day joys, problems, relationships, and beliefs at the community level.
For my first book, Blessed, I wrote about the spiritual beliefs, past history, and current problems faced by Ojibway people—especially two men who are at odds, my heroes of the novel, Emery and Darryl, who fell in love as teenagers, but their differing beliefs tore them apart.
Darryl stopped at the big smooth rock they used to sit on. Sometimes he failed to take Gichi Manidoo everywhere. Maybe this was why he couldn’t heal? If Basil had said Creator lived in everything, Darryl should practice what he’d learned instead of talking about tradition at workshops and sharing circles. Each morning when he set aside his smudge bowl to dash into the shower, he seemed to forget about Creator and acted on his emotions.
Emery had always possessed resilient faith. Being a year older, Darryl should be the wiser and stronger of them. He sat on the rock cross-legged.
Birds chirped. Something rustled in the trees.
“I forgot how peaceful it is here.” Emery also sat, looking around. “We used to fish out here. Remember?”
His closed-mouth smile and green eyes sparkling brighter than the sunlight twinkling off the water tugged at Darryl’s heart. “Yeah. After church we’d launch the boat from your mom and dad’s house.”
“I-I said something to upset you last night. It-it kept me awake. I didn’t sleep very well.” Emery picked at his pant leg.
At least Darryl wasn’t the only one on edge. Emery still had to fiddle about if he was nervous. “I didn’t fall asleep until four this morning.”
“We-we had our differences, but we always got along.”
“Yeah, we did.” So where had they gone wrong?
“I haven’t had a real friend since you.” Loneliness pooled around Emery’s irises.
Was he asking for them to try again? Darryl’s body quaked. What about the seminary? “Are you…” He cleared the frog from his throat. “What are you asking?”
“If…” Emery coughed into his hand. “If we can be friends again.”
A boulder filled Darryl’s stomach. Whenever he got his hopes up, his balls received a swift kick. As for the poison on his tongue, that was Emery’s fault, too. This was bullshit. They’d never reconcile their differences, because they had conflicting needs.
Darryl stood. “Everything I said last night… I might as well have talked to a tree.”
“See?” Emery also stood. He blocked the path’s entrance. “You’re doing it again.”
“Doing what?” Darryl’s words hissed like a garter snake. Yeah, he was the evil serpent in Eden flinging chaos all over the good Catholics’ fruit.
“Drawing your own conclusions. Putting words in my mouth. Not giving me a chance to finish. You’re worse than Dad.”
Fire scorched Darryl’s insides. “Don’t you ever compare me to your dad.”
Emery threw out his hands. “You’re not listening again. All you hear is what you want to hear.” He turned.
There wasn’t a chance Darryl would let the passive bastard leave. “If we’re going to talk about how nothing’s changed, what about you? You always give up and walk away. For once, fight for what you want.”
When he gripped Emery’s firm shoulder, the heat of his flesh seared Darryl’s palm. He’d intended for his words to come out sharp—instead, they were puffed cotton balls. “What do you want?”
Emery glanced over his shoulder.
A reckless urge to stroke his lashes, caress his high cheek-bones, and melt their lips together invaded Darryl’s juddering insides. He raised his hand. The black outfit screamed like a red siren in the middle of the night.
A drop of sweat slithered along Emery’s forehead. His chest rose up and down. “I-I want us…” He licked his lips with the same tongue he’d once used to explore every inch of Darryl’s skin.
A mixed-blood Catholic seminarian struggles to discern his true calling: the priesthood or his ex-lover, a proud but damaged Ojibway man.
It’s been ten years since Emery Matawapit sinned, having succumbed to temptation for the one thing in his life that felt right, another man. In six months he’ll make a life-changing decision that will bar him from sexual relationships for the rest of his life.
Darryl Keejik has a decade-long chip on his shoulder, and he holds Emery’s father, the church deacon, responsible for what he’s suffered: the loss of his family and a chance at true love with Emery. No longer a powerless kid, Darryl has influence within the community—maybe more than the deacon, and he intends on using his new-found power to destroy Deacon Matawapit and the church.
Hoping to save the church, Emery races home. But stopping Darryl is harder than expected when their sizzling chemistry threatens to consume Emery. Now he is faced with the toughest decision of his life: please his devout parents and fulfill his call to the priesthood, or remain true to his heart and marry the man created for him.
An erotic spiritual journey…
An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.
Maggie has brought a copy of Blessed to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, September 14th at 11:59 pm ET.
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