05/11/2014 In My Writing
May 11, 2014

Ashes of Life – My DRitC Entry – With Cover Reveal and Sneak Peek

Every year, the Goodreads MM Romance group does an event that gets authors to write stories based on the suggestions of readers.  [If you’re not a member of the group, here’s the link to sign up – it’s free.  Goodreads MM Romance Group]  The event is call Don’t Read in the Closet (DRitC).  For those not familiar with it, the reader writes a ‘Dear Author’ letter. They provide a picture and what they see in the picture.  Based on those two things, the author that claims the prompt writes ‘that story.’  The MM Group then compiles these stories, and posts them over a three month period. [There were 200 prompts this year so do NOT ask me how they manage to collect, format, and post these, but they do.]  They also group the stories into anthologies after all the stories are posted. The stories are free to read on their website: M/M Romance Group. You can also downland them for free in ePub, Mobi or PDF formats.

This year I decided to try my hand at it.  Here is the prompt I claimed:  My Prompt

Yes I know that Fantasy is never as popular as contemporary **sigh** but I like what I like and I couldn’t help myself.

Lily Velden helped me with the cover art and Julie and Lorraine did the editing.  With that, I submitted the final version. They won’t start posting until June and I suspect that since mine is one of the last to be submitted, it won’t be available until late July or August, but that’s good by me.

So with that, here it is:

Ashes of Life; by Andrew Q. Gordon

Ashes of Life Cover Final 3.4

When Sergeant Thane asked his best friend and second in command, to go riding, he had no idea how much his life would change. Taken by his horse to a forest that shouldn’t exist, Thane hears a cry for help.

Answering the plea, Thane releases a phoenix—Eraq—from his centuries long imprisonment. Eraq’s first act of freedom is to claim Thane as his own.

But the phoenix is more than he appears. A mage-shifter, Eraq sets his sights on the man who answered his call for help. Thane returns the interest despite learning that his act of liberation has set in motion events that will change the world.

When he learns his relationship with Eraq places him at the center of events beyond his understanding, Thane refuses to abandon the man he’s come to love. Even if it hurtles him toward certain death.





I pulled harder and was rewarded by the sound of metal grating on metal. The door inched upward until finally the vault opened with a whoosh. Foul air, thick with the smell of sulfur and acrid smoke, rushed from the tomb as fresh air filled the now exposed room. I stood frozen as a dread filled me that I’d unleashed an imprisoned demon.

Covered in feathers the color of fire, a bird cleared the gap. Its body resembled a large eagle, except he had long tail feathers that dripped fire. The meager sunlight that slipped through the trees reflected off the creature in a rainbow of colors. His eyes, however, held my attention. Surrounding the pupils, a rich yellow iris seemed to shift hues like pools of molten amber. The white around the edges was slightly bloodshot and appeared more human than avian.

“A phoenix.”

My fear changed to awe when he stared at me.

“I claim you, Thane, of the house of Jelcob.”

The voice was faint, barely a whisper, and the words seemed to take everything he had left. Without warning, the phoenix burst into flames and his ashes rained into the hole.

I sat backward and nearly fell over. Only Thunder’s impatient movements prevented me from rushing to the side of the vault to peer inside. I quickly untied the rope and pushed him. Satisfied he could flee if necessary, I cautiously moved to the open crypt.

Of all the magical creatures I’d read about, phoenixes were the most rare. Wise and powerful, the legends held they taught the first wizards and healers. Whether that was true, phoenixes were sought after and revered, even by kings and queens. Despite their lofty status, I’d never read anything to suggest they claimed humans.

A flash of light from below forced me to cover my eyes. When I opened them, he hovered over the opening again. This time his movements were fluid and graceful. His feathers shimmered now, bathing the forest floor in a faint red-orange glow. When our gazes met, I noticed his eyes had not changed. 

“I am Eraq and I have waited centuries for you, Thane.”


  1. Yay!! You’ve entered the DRitC event!! Last year’s LHNB event was just fantastic, I downloaded well over 20 stories for FREE!! And I LOVE your fantasy stories, so you just carry on my dear, and never mind what anyone says. Can’t wait to read it. 😉

    • Thanks Bev. I have more news on the fantasy front, but that will wait for a new day. But since I know you’ll see this and not too many others, let’s just say I’ve got a tentative date for books two through the end of Champions. 🙂

  2. felinewyvern says:

    As the prompter can I just say that, I too love fantasy and I don’t see enough of it in the m/m genre. That said, I loved your excerpt and am now impatiently waiting for the story to appear in the DRitC submitions come the summer 😀

    • Well it was a very good prompt that totally called out to me. I tried for a different one – two actually, and was a bit disappointed that I kept losing out, but when I saw this one, I was pleased I missed the other two. 🙂

      I might do a small paper back run, depending on the feedback/comments. I’ll be sure to send you one if you’d like.

      • felinewyvern says:

        I’d like! I love having paperbacks to read and display on my shelf, it just feels and looks a little more real than a list of 4000 titles in a computer library 😀

  3. Lynette says:

    I can barely wait for June to get here. (All the excerpts and cover reveals are killing me!) I loved so many of the stories last year. I was also introduced to some amazing authors. As far as fantasy goes, I never used to read much. That has been changing. I never thought I would love aliens and shifters so much. I look forward to reading your story.

  4. Lynette,

    I hear you about waiting for the stories to start. I still find it incredible that the Mods can pull this off and with the quality they’ve done it. I’m already keen to read several stories and I’m sure I’ll find many more once they come out.

    As for fantasy, I think you’ll find that this story doesn’t bog down ‘too’ much with the fantasy. World building takes place in every story to some extent; even if the book is set in New York or London. The key for me is that this is fairly short – 26K – and I really wanted to focus most of the story on Thane and Eraq (who has a human name). I wanted the story to be more about them and their interaction, how they over come the difference in status and why Eraq sees Thane as a suitable partner. I did need to throw in enough fantasy elements to make it work with the prompt, but in the end, I think the story is more about the two MC than the fantasy and magic. At least that is my hope LOL.

    Thanks for the comment and I hope you like it when it’s released.


  5. Cia Nordwell says:

    I love fantasy, so I’ll be on the lookout for yours. I didn’t go with contemporary either–going with my strength of an ‘alternative Earth’ set in the future, as well as some fantasy styled science fiction. Since these stories are published, but not sold, it’s great to go with whatever you want instead of worrying about numbers.

    Great excerpt and blurb, Andy. I can’t wait to read more this summer.

  6. […] Next – Ashes of Life is my entry for the Goodreads MM Romance, Don’t Read in the Closet event. That is going to be released probably in July or early August. I don’t have a date yet, but I’ll let folks know as soon as I learn more.  I already posted a cover reveal and excerpt, but in case you missed it, here’s that link:  Ashes of Life […]

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