One question writers are asked most frequently is where they get their ideas. Often, a writer may not know the exact answer. Other times the blame is solely on the voices we hear in our heads. Sometimes though, we see or hear something, and it so big, so wonderful, or so...disturbing, that the telling of the story is almost like self-defense. The story must be told.
Come read, as the divine Angel Martinez tells how she was inspired to write Aftermath.
It was a few years ago that a callous and idiotic comment on the radio prompted a story. The program, and I’ve no idea which program at this remove, concerned the suspected underreported statistics for the crime of rape. The point was made that nearly 10% of all rape victims are male, while only 3% of these crimes are reported.
Some moronic caller had the gall to say, “Well, if it’s a guy, and he’s gay, it’s not really rape, is it?”
Um, yeah. Jackass.
But this was the birth of Aftermath, the story of a couple’s struggle to cope with the consequences of such personal and destructive violence. First published in March of 2007, this was certainly not my first published work but it was my first under Angel, my first M/M romance.
This is the third edition, and I couldn’t be more pleased. New scenes, the resolution of certain nagging authorial issues, I can’t thank the helpful and patient folks at Romance First enough. We’re glad to be back, Vic, Cody and me. Feels like coming home.
Victor and Cody have the American dream—a house, two cars, upwardly mobile income, and each other—but all is not well in paradise. Cody's naïve belief in other people's goodwill led to a recent assault from which he struggles to recover. Returning to his art, he seems to find his balance, only to be betrayed by a friend and brutally assaulted again.
Victor, wracked by guilt and shackled to a grueling, time-devouring career, must find a way to help Cody back from the darkness and to keep him safe from his self-destructive behavior. With the help of a common-sense therapist, some loyal friends, and Cody's own impetuous nature, their recovery and their relationship have a chance. If the criminals who attacked Cody will only leave him alone, that is.
Vic slid into a pair of sweats and wandered downstairs where earnest noises of metal on metal drifted out of Cody's studio. Victor chuckled and shook his head. When the muse took Cody, he had to go to it. In the middle of dinner, at three in the morning, right after lovemaking. Vic didn't mind. This was what Cody did. To love Cody was to love his manic ecstasies of creation.
Understanding Cody's art was a different matter. He sculpted in metal and "found objects."
"You mean junk?" The first time inside one of Cody's studios, Victor had scratched his head at the pile of oddments Cody pointed to as his materials.
Cody's smile held all the enthusiasm of a little boy with his first bike. He nodded vigorously. "Yes, sometimes junk. Junk is a terrific resource. But sometimes things you have around, or see in an antique shop or a dime store, or the grocery store. Sometimes a thing you've had around for years and suddenly you take it apart and it's something completely different."
Only five years ago, but it seemed another universe, shivering in the pervasive cold of Cody's first studio, dimly lit and damp, with the ever-present audience of spiders and cockroaches.
Victor started coffee and bagels, took his shower, shaved and dressed, then gathered mugs and plates to take to the present studio. It was clean and bright, built to Cody's specifications. He shoved the door open and watched, lost in admiration.
In cutoffs, work boots, and a heavy, fireproof apron, Cody hammered away at a glowing piece of iron, forcing it to curl and conform to his vision. The light from his furnace painted his pale skin orange and gold, dancing in his hair as if it too were living flame. A miniature Vulcan at his forge, caught in the throes of creative imperative.
When Cody stopped to thrust the iron into a bucket of cold water, Vic cleared his throat. "Can you stop for breakfast, Michelangelo?"
For a heartbeat, those blue eyes stared at him without recognition. Victor waited. Sometimes Cody took a moment to return from his art. "Hey, baby." He finally broke into a huge grin. "Thank you, so thoughtful. Could you set it down for me? You off?"
"Have to be in for nine, yeah." Victor nodded, putting the coffee and cream cheese and jelly bagel down on the table by the door, out of the line of fire. "Listen, sweetheart, I'll probably be late again—"
"Aw, Vic, it's Friday," Cody interrupted mournfully.
"I know, little man, I'm sorry. That presentation to the board is tomorrow. God only knows why they have a board meeting on the weekend. But I've got to have everything ready and half the departments don't even have their data to me yet."
Cody let out a slow breath. "All right. You'll call me when you're coming home?"
Resting one butt cheek on the table, Victor sipped his coffee to give himself a moment. "Cody... I don't want you to feel like you're trapped here. What you said last night, it really got to me. If you go out, would you do me two favors?"
"Anything for you, sugar daddy." Cody chuckled. "Don't you wanna come out, too? Give me a call on the cell and come meet me?"
"Not tonight. Sorry, love." Vic shook his head. "Don't think I'm feeling up to it. Try to come home at a decent hour, all right?"
"Define decent." Cody's grin turned wicked.
"I'm serious here, little man. Before one, one-thirty, if you can manage it. And don't, please, don't go out alone."
Cody rolled his eyes. "Okay, Mom. And I know, I know. No Jonathan."
"Just make me happy. Find someone who'll watch out for you a little. Friends make sure their friends get home safe." Vic advised softly, hoping the message would slide in without throwing off Cody's good mood.
It was such a relief to see him in the studio again. After that one awful night, he’d been sliding between depression and wild bouts of self-destructive behavior. Vic hoped this was the end of the dark time. No more coming home to Cody passed out in a ruin of beer bottles, or not coming home until dawn, or simply sitting on the sofa staring at the wall, or refusing to eat for days.
For a long anxious moment, Cody chewed on his bottom lip, dark shadows wavering in his eyes. "Maybe I'll call Kurt n' Wyatt." He nodded. "Haven't seen them in, oh, God, ages."
Satisfied, Victor stood and gathered up his jacket. "Good idea. I'll see you tonight, sweetheart."
"Hey!" Cody's angry yell stopped him in the doorway. "You forget something?"
Victor looked down at himself, wondering if he'd forgotten his pants or his shoes. Nope, all there. In confusion, his gaze went to Cody and the hurt in those eyes jarred his memory. "Oh, chrissakes... I'm sorry..."
He put the jacket down, went to Cody, and took his sweet face between his hands. Victor tilted Cody's head up slowly and bent with a soft growl to capture Cody's lips, so soft and firm, in a deep, exploring kiss. "Better?" he breathed against Cody's mouth.
Cody's eyes were closed, his expression one of beatific joy. "Oh, man... yeah..."
"Have a good day, little man. Don't forget your breakfast." Victor waved on his way out. Despite the aching feeling of an oncoming cold, he felt better than he had in weeks.
Angel Martinez lives part time in the hectic suburban sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head. When not at her evil day job, and not writing, she’s most likely talking to her cats or enthusing over the latest bird to grace the backyard. Sometimes accused of having a wicked sense of humor, Angel is still surprised when people laugh.
Where’s Angel on the net?
Where’s Angel’s stuff?
At Amber Allure: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/bio_Martinez.html
Silver Publishing: https://spsilverpublishing.com/index/book_authors_id/167/typefilter/book_authors
Romance First: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-aftermath-675976-144.html
Thanks for having us, Laura, me and all my imaginary friends!