Today, I’m sitting down with new-to-me author Skye Eagleday to chat about The Biggest Lover, characters who come back time and time again, and the joys of incubi, to boot. Anthologies are always a great way to meet new authors, and now I need to track down the werebear tales, too…
We have all heard the term Rubenesque as a compliment for plus-sized women. The baroque painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens was fond of painting women of the day that were curvaceous and full-figured. The men in his art were not. What is the comparable term for men? Because not every gay man is obsessed with twinks who list the number of visible rib bones on their Grindr profile. Or men who can remember the number of reps at the gym but not their phone number. Some of us appreciate buying in bulk and that includes looking for love. Or just plain sex. Thank goodness for Bear culture which embraces girth. During Bear Week in Provincetown the stores do not even bother to sell clothes smaller than an XL and a man’s virility is often like the potency of moonshine: the more Xs on the jug the better, so XXXL is a chub in high demand.
It has taken too long for an erotica anthology to feature such men. As Girth & Mirth founding father Reed Wilgoren stated, “Just as people are coming out every day—men and women realizing their sexuality—new Bears and new Chubbies and new chasers are also evolving in the world. There have to be people waiting to embrace them and show them the way, much as who helped me to become what I am and who I am today.” It is our hope that readers who felt denied of attention and affection will read these stories and realize that love has no weight limit, no threshold, and neither should self-esteem.
NB: You mentioned to me that your character for your story in The Biggest Lover has appeared up in other stories previous to this. I do that too and love encountering series of short fictions that revisit the same folk. William Holden, one of our fellow The Biggest Lover authors, brought up how we can get sweet on a character—why do you think you find yourself revisiting this character?
SE: When I first started out I thought I’d mostly write about vampires, since I’m a fan of the genre but readers seem much more interested in my Shifters, and I was one of the first to introduce a Werebear some years ago. Tales of the Werebear has been one of my most popular series. The recurring character who appears in The Biggest Lover is an Incubus, who in my writing considers himself a “reverse vampire” in the sense he thinks of vampires as parasites. Since the Incubus feeds on sexual energy, he’s receiving what he needs to survive (as a vampire takes blood) but he provides the best orgasm his partner will experience. This gives him a feeling of pride in his efforts for equality where he and his partners are in a win/win situation. It’s established there was an effort within the Supernatural Community a few centuries ago to exterminate the Sex Fae—the Incubus and Succubus—because they were considered so powerful they could control the other Supernaturals. As a result, the Sex Fae learned to hide in plain sight while blending into legends and old wives’ tales so even the other members of the Supernatural Community no longer believe they exist. I’m intrigued by the idea the Sex Fae have no interest in ruling others. They’re very private and enjoy what it is they do. The thought that they’ve been so demonized by their own Community makes them a metaphor for what many of the LGBT Community face in the hatred and actions of right-wing extremists.
NB: I’ve got an incubus character in some of my stories, too, and I love how you’re playing with the notion and drawing the parallels with the queer community. I’ll be tracking down your backlist for sure.
SE: The Incubus can also determine what one desires the most and has the power to morph into that form. This leads to the question—what does an Incubus actually look like? As a therapist I’ve encountered individuals who don’t seem to be able to function outside of a relationship. It’s the very nature of an Incubus to depend on a relationship in order to survive. His appearance in TBL means he’s required to take on a very different body type than most others require of him. That change is something he enjoys since he’s curious about new things and new people. I also find the fact he seems as comfortable in the body of a big-bellied bear as he is in any other appearance very encouraging. Finally, I appreciate he was raised “old school” and has a certain formality and old-fashion charm in interacting with others.
There’s a significant interplay with characters from my different titles, often of a romantic or erotic nature. Part of that is the fact some characters are either fun for me to play with or they’re so strong they basically write themselves.
NB: I adore when I can get glimpses of other characters from previous stories in new tales. It’s like an “Easter egg” for the dedicated reader, in a way, and gives them a little something extra to take from the story. What do you hope a reader will get out of your story “Coming in the Night”?
SE: It’s a standard trope that ABP (A Beautiful Person) is often sitting home alone because those of us who are less perfect think we’re out of their league and that they’d never consider noticing us. The Incubus is like the lottery—you can get a big payoff based on random chance. He also responds to the desires of others. In the “old days” this amounted to being Summoned as a demon. But as he points out, The Sex Fae have never been demons which means the binding pentagram of a Summoning is meaningless to them but the charade amuses them.
In this case the Incubus effortlessly abandons his more conventional “perfection” to become the ideal of his new cub partner. Sometimes if you have the courage to ask—sometimes the answer will be “Yes.”
NB: What’s next for you? Any new projects on the horizon readers should look out for if they love your story and want more?
SE: The Biggest Lover explores the fascination of having a large partner or being large oneself has for a lot of readers. When I first started writing erotica I thought I’d focus on this but the market didn’t really seem to be there. Gay werewolves were popular characters so I thought I’d put my own spin on it by creating my own Werebear. It allowed me to combine the plot device of someone actively trying to regain his size. Due to his Bear genetics, the Werebear goes into a type of hibernation in the winter where he loses his appetites and (in his eyes) is “diminished.” When spring returns his appetites for food and rough sex come flooding back. I have fun with the idea when he’s feels he looks his worst after a long winter, he fits the image of a conventional magazine cover model with a six pack so many others admire. He spends a lot of his time trying to cover those abs up and to return to being as massive and powerful as possible.
NB: Okay, I love that.
SE: After writing the nerdy cub character for The Biggest Lover I wanted to introduce someone similar to my Werebear and have him find a new romance while he’s in London. I also like the contrast of my contribution to The Biggest Lover where the Supernatural identity of the Incubus is already known by the cub because he’s the one Summoning the Incubus. In one of my newest works—Bear-Bait: How To Seduce A Hot Daddy Bear—the Werebear doesn’t reveal the fact he’s not human. It appeals to me to think there may be individuals we know in our social network who keep wonderful secrets, just as there are others who are keeping very frightening ones. I also enjoyed bringing my Werebear back given the fact his own series didn’t exactly have a happy ending. Maybe the nerdy cub in Bear Bait can offer the happy ending my Werebear deserves.
NB: Thank you so much for bringing your werebears and incubi to come play today. I look forward to reading more!
You can find The Biggest Lover through Lethe Press’s website here, or, of course, you can check Indiebound to locate your nearest brick and mortar. Otherwise, you’ll find it wherever quality LGBT books are sold.
NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author and winner of the 2014 BP Readers Choice Award for Short Stories and Collections—Skye Eagleday is best known for spicy paranormal gay romance as well as steamy stories of BHM like his Tales of the Werebear series. “I was born during the Long Days Moon, right after the Moon of the Singing Frogs. I am Native American and I was taught to be a traditional Storyteller, but I have always enjoyed also working with non-Traditional stories. I was taught that sometimes a Story can be so powerful, it begins to tell YOU.”
You can sign up for his newsletter to get regular updates: http://eepurl.com/T3F-j
You can also follow his blog at: www.SkyeEagleday.blogspot.com
For those who find themselves falling for the character in Skye’s “Coming in the Night,” you can get more in Big Bad Incubus (Paranormal Romance with the Sexiest Shapeshifter).
Luka is everyone’s sexual fantasy figure. Tonight he felt the ceremonial Call of a woman seeking revenge against the man she believed had wronged her. In other words, a typical evening. But there was nothing typical about the beautiful Jemma, who was lighting the final candle to Summon an Incubus. She demanded revenge. “Tucker is a homophobe,” she said, her voice filled with anger. “I want him to suffer humiliation, so I command you to seduce him—make him your unresisting bitch.”
The Incubus discovers Tucker is like Jemma. Both carry an unknown Supernatural heritage and their interactions with Luka will bring all three to new heights of passion and Power. In another time, the couple would have become Shamans. But waking these special abilities for two modern day humans in the middle of a lover’s quarrel could pose all sorts of danger to everyone around them. Can the sexy Incubus use his skills of seduction and ultimate lust to save them all?
(A scorching hot Adults Only story featuring explicit supernatural sex with two mostly humans, initiated by the most erotic and sensual of the Fae. Luka requires the carnal passion of others to survive, but pays in the currency of mind-blowing and extreme orgasms.)
I was nursing the last of my two drinks while I waited for the Incubus to return. All I could think about was what it would be like to be with him. What skill he must have in bed. I felt guilty—dirty. I wasn’t focused on getting even with Tucker. Every time I closed my eyes, I would see those glowing red eyes spotted with pure white. I wondered what he would feel like underneath his clothes—what it would feel like to run my fingers through his thick chest hair. I sipped the last of my drink and realized my panties were damp.
I looked up and he was staring at me, standing outside of the Circle. He had changed clothes, and his eyes were exactly the same color as Tucker’s. I felt a shiver of fear.
“Can you go back to how you were when I Summoned you?” He nodded and once again he was the man I had been fantasizing about, his eyes redder than fresh blood. I studied him for a moment, and asked, “Is this your true form?”
I hated that question, since the answer was so complicated. I pumped up the charm factor and replied, “It is the face I see when I look in the mirror.” The best way to lie is to tell a truth. Just not the entire truth.
“And what is your name? I realize Incubus now sounds more like your title rather than your name.”
“Oh, knowing someone’s true name gives you a certain Power over them, Jemma Mackenzie Farraday.” I moved a step closer to her as her eyebrows went up. “But you may call me Luka.” I noticed she had not asked me about Tucker, just as I had noticed her arousal and the echoes in her mind of what it would be like to be intimate with me.
Those fantasies told me she was not like Tucker. She wanted to be dominated the way no one would dominate her in the day or at her work. She wanted to give up all responsibility for her sexual desires. She wanted to be the innocent one, and blame the Big Bad Incubus. I enjoyed a sip of the scotch she had offered me and she drank half of hers in one swallow. Scotch should only be taken that way as self-medication. I took another step forward, giving my movement the slightest hint of menace. Her heart beat sped up.