Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
According to my work colleague, we’re zookeepers, though the technical title is middle school teacher. I love my job, though some days it does feel like I need a whip and a chair to keep things under control! I write about whatever inspires me, which has so far been m/m paranormal with forays into mild horror. My short story, “Seeing Red”, was part of the Bloodlines anthology from Ticonderoga Publications, which won an Aurealis Award for Best Anthology.
Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
My original short story, “Drawing Dead”, was part of Wayward Ink’s Of Heaven and Hell anthology. People seemed to like it and wanted to know what happened next with Devin and James, so I wrote a sequel called “Ace in the Hole”. When I offered it to Wayward Ink, they packaged it with the original story, which is great so everything is in one place! “Drawing Dead” is told from Devin’s perspective, so it has a weirdly remote, lyrical feel to it since Devin is not human. “Ace in the Hole” is told from James’ perspective, so it has a more grounded feel to it since he is human. It helps to wrap up the story; whether it’s a happy ending or not is up to the reader.
How did you come up with the title?
It often feels like the title is the hardest part! I can’t say too much about the titles because it would give away too much, but all refer to card playing. “Drawing Dead” means that no matter what card you draw, you cannot win. “Ace in the Hole” indicates there is an advantage on one side that has yet to be revealed. The Devil’s Hand, in this case, refers to making deals with devils; it’s always a gamble and you end up losing in the end.
Do you have a favourite character and/or book you've written? Who, what and why?
My favourite published work is 1KRV5, the story of a scientist who creates a winged humanoid (part metal/part flesh) to care for him and ends up falling in love with his creation. It’s a bit of Frankenstein/Pygmalion mixed together, with a bit of steampunk for flair. However, my favourite character is one that has not been published, yet. I’ll tell you more about him when that book rolls out one day (hopefully!).
Are there people in your life that annoy you, and you write into your books?
There have been people I haven’t liked that I’ve designed character concepts around. Yes, they are usually the villains! I can’t think of any in recent works, but they definitely creep around the edges of some of my early, unpublished writing.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
I wish I were a plotter because sometimes I feel that would make writing so much easier, but I am a pantser. I get an idea and start writing scenes that I’ve imagined, filling in the holes between scenes as I go along. That can be the hardest part because usually those are the slow-paced scenes that can be difficult to make interesting.
Do you write often? Is it on a schedule, or whenever you feel like it?
It doesn’t sound like much, but I used to try to write at least five hundred words a day, even when completely uninspired so that I would be committing something to paper. I’m afraid that habit has fallen by the wayside for the past few months. I need to kick my butt into gear and just start writing regularly again, especially if you ever want to see that favourite character I mentioned earlier!
What are your writing and personal goals for 2016 and beyond?
I want to complete these two rough drafts I have. If I can get them to something readable, they’d be great stories! The one is likely a singular novel, but I need a more punchy opening -too much world-building and not enough action. The other has the potential to be a 3-5 book series, depending on how well the first book does. The outline, in a sense, is there, but I need to put the right words in place.
What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
This is a rough draft, so be kind!
Oz was born on the Supernal Spectrum, with abilities that allow him to walk between worlds, glimpsing the wonders that lived in the Other. Randy is his potential Shield, the one person that could tether Oz to the earthly plane and protect him so that he would not be lost – or taken – by what lives in the beyond. Randy’s 17th birthday is fast approaching, when he’ll be expected to Bond with his Supernal, who just happens to be his brother. They are a perfect genetic match, a godsend in a world where such matches can be a struggle to find in time. Both Oz and Randy have been hounded about their duty to each other since Randy’s birth, and Randy is starting to feel trapped by a destiny he never asked for. His future had been planned since before he was born, and he has started to resent the expectations placed upon him to keep him brother sane. Bound is the tale of Oz and Randy Thurmond and the disability that influenced their entire lives.
The nurse’s eyes widened in surprise and her own gaze darted toward the door, as if seeking some external aid for questions outside the parameters of her prepared script. “Well, first – despite what you kids like to call it – it is a bracelet, not a cuff. You are in no way a prisoner. The bracelet is merely a sign of how special you and your Supernal are, and how the government wants to protect you both.”
Randy snorted, thinking if anyone was a prisoner it was him – a prisoner of his own genetics. The metal cuff would just add a bit of flair.
“The bracelet bylaws were passed in consideration of your special health care needs,” Cheryl continued, looking more resolute. “Before the implementation of these pre-coded IDs, there were cases of Supernals or Shields losing their lives because their partner had gotten ill when they were not in the same area, and the hospital did not realize the situation in time.”
The nurse’s face took on an expression of concern, and she leaned forward in her chair, her hands tightly gripping the edge of his thick chart still lying on her lap. “Maybe you need to speak to one of our counselors, who might be better able to ease you through this transition.” Cheryl laughed lightly and lowered her voice, as if sharing a secret. “I got a case of cold feet before I got married, but I talked with my mother and she set me right.” She lifted her hand and waggled her fingers, her wedding ring glinting in the light. “I’ve been married for ten years now and have two beautiful children of my own.”
“Are either of them a Shield?” Randy asked with a touch of bitterness.
“Dear me, no!” Cheryl exclaimed, his eyes wide. “They are both perfectly normal!” She quickly schooled her expression into something more professional as soon as she said it and, as if realizing her error, added quickly, “We were not blessed enough to have either a Supernal or Shield.”
Randy pursed his lips, taking a quick look at the clock before asking quietly, “Is my brother done with his appointment, yet?”
Are you a cat person or a dog person? Can you tell us about your pets?
I am a dog person. I’m allergic to cats so that knocked them out early on, but even if that weren’t the case, I still think I’d be a 100% dog person. I’ve got a schnoodle named BB who is the cutest thing alive. Her name actually stands for Bargain Bin, since she was sickly and therefore on sale. I’m an advocate for adopting pets from shelters, but this was a case of instant love, so I had to get her. She’s got a hidden Mickey on her side since her black spots come together to form a giant Mickey head on her belly. She’s a cuddler and would be quite happy to lay on my chest like a baby and snooze away an afternoon, if I let her.
Title: The Devil’s Hand Series
Author: S. Zanne
Genre: Gay Romance, Paranormal
Length: Short Story + Novella
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Devin endured Hell for a long, long time and has come out literally a changed man. Now a demon, he hunts for the one thing that can make him remember something of what it was to be human—however unfortunate that might be for his prey.
He stumbles upon James Goodman, who tugs at the nearly extinguished memories. The pair enter into a relationship that evolves into something more as Devin grooms James for his pleasure.
Though Devin is a demon and James merely human, who holds the power in their relationship is in question, and, in the end, who holds the winning hand may surprise them both.
ACE IN THE HOLE
Months later, Devin is imprisoned and James remains reluctant to face him. Torn and conflicted, he’s still reeling from the experience of living at the side and in the bed of the man his family has spent several lifetimes hunting.
James tries to find solace in the bosom of his family, but it leaves him dissatisfied and wanting, unable to fulfill the newly born cravings even he’s not sure he understands. Finally forced to serve his stint as Devin’s jailer, James returns to the place of Devin’s imprisonment, only to find his confusion grow with every day he spends with Devin.
And Devin may not be entirely out of cards.
Unbeknownst to the Goodman family, Devin’s influence extends far beyond the ten- by twelve-foot room in which he’s confined.
James comes to the realization that perhaps his great-grandfather’s plan hadn’t been for the family to save Devin after all, but instead to repay a debt owed—a soul for a soul.
Excerpt - Ace in the Hole
It was bad enough in the unforgiving light of day, when he had no excuses, but the dreams were a weakness from which he couldn’t run. James could keep Devin at bay and out of his head when he was awake, but at night he was vulnerable, incapable of defending himself from whatever Devin threw at him—all too often leaving James with come-wet sheets and memories of pain fading along his limbs. So he had tried to exhaust himself in any way possible, to make those dreams a trivial reality so they had no hold on him; but even when every last bit of his energy was tapped and unconsciousness violently dragged him under, he still found himself dreaming of Devin.
Not that he recognized everything in the dreams. Some of it was… different—a different Devin with a different face, full of more affection than lust, set in places James had never been.
That was almost worse. It was in those dreams that James knew the Devin he had always heard about as a boy, but had never seen—the Devin he had begun to doubt had ever truly existed.
The Devin he had always imagined as a child, hero-worship heavy in his heart.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Devils-Hand-Books-One-Two-ebook/dp/B01I7TT95W/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devils-Hand-Books-One-Two-ebook/dp/B01I7TT95W/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Devils-Hand-Books-One-Two-ebook/dp/B01I7TT95W/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/Devils-Hand-Books-One-Two-ebook/dp/B01I7TT95W/
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About the author
Call her ZANNE. She lives in beautiful, sunny Southern California, which is ironic since she tends to avoid the sun like it might incinerate her on the spot. While her colleagues often refer to her job as zookeeping, the technical title is actually middle school teacher. Misfit Prophets Beneath a Bankrupt Sky was her first published novel and her short story “Persephone Is Bleeding” was published in the Hungry Hearts anthology with Inkstained Succubus Press.
ZANNE can be found at: