IN THE SPOTLIGHT – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – By Way of Pain by J.M. Dabney – #Excerpt #Giveaway #Interview

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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author J.M. Dabney to Stories That Make You Smile. J.M. is here today celebrating the recent release of their dark romance book in the popular Criminal Delights series, By Way of Pain. J.M. has generously brought along both an excerpt and a giveaway, and has taken the time to join us for a little Q&A. Read on to discover J.M.’s inspiration for this new story, and what J.M. is likely to pick up for pleasure reading. 🌟

By Way of Pain by J.M. Dabney

This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

Series: Criminal Delights: Assassins (book #11)
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Release Date: May 20, 2019
Length: 168 pages
Heat Rating: High Heat
Pairing / Genre(s): M/M Dark Romance

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Blurb

Double lives were just the way it was for a man like me. By day I was a man with a reputation above reproach. Even assassins needed backup plans. For fifteen years, life was going without a hitch until I had to take out a witness. When it was time to kill him, beautiful eyes filled with fear urged me to do something else. Yet, in order to do that, I had to break him, and by way of pain, my captive would experience pleasure he’d never dreamed.

This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.

Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

Trigger Warnings: Title contains the following possible triggers. Humiliation, Violence, Master/slave elements, Male Chastity, Murder, Imprisonment, Dub-Con, and Brief Torture.

Excerpt

I laughed with her through snippets of conversation, my meal, and the dessert I splurged on so I could stay a few minutes longer. I was isolated and wouldn’t deny it, yet I also didn’t want to admit it to anyone. Feigning happiness was something I’d done for so long that I didn’t know whether it was real or a figment of my imagination.

When I would walk inside the house, the lock clicking into place would have it all come back in blaring clarity. At least here or at work, I could pretend I wasn’t alone. That someone would miss me if I didn’t appear one day. Would they worry? Probably not. I’d be just another regular who disappeared—found another place to go for their meals or a new place to collect a paycheck.

Without an excuse to stay longer, I threw money on the counter to cover my meal and a generous tip. By the time I walked outside, the cool night breeze had blown away the smell of greasy spoon and strong coffee.

On occasion, I thought about testing my theory, just pack up and go away for a while. Only fear kept me from doing so. It wasn’t about the unknown or what existed outside of the city, but the fear my disappearance would be nothing more than a momentary blip. A split-second thought of where was he now.

I hated being depressed. Hating knowing that I was that dispensable. A forgettable part of the scenery. I shoved my hands in the deep pant pockets, and my steps were slow as I strode back to my car. Home was only a five-minute ride, and I dreaded it so much. I wanted someone who would miss me, mourn me when I’m gone, and yet I knew I’d just be a vague and fading memory.

☆ Author Interview ☆

Congratulations on your new release. Please tell us a little bit about it. What’s your favorite aspect or part of the story? Do you have a favorite character? Who/Why? What was the inspiration for your latest story?

By Way of Pain was inspired by my favorite Marquis de Sade quote, “It is always by way of pain that one arrive at pleasure.” Katze Snow contacted me about writing a story for the Criminal Delights series which is multi-author and I was intrigued by the opportunity to write a book for the series. I agreed and Cowen and Harrison were born. I loved the dichotomy of the main characters and that through the darkness of the story they learned about themselves, grew as humans. Cowen is an assassin who is detached from his humanity and he starts off intrigued by studying Harrison, and learning why his brain didn’t work as Harrison’s did or why he could experience emotion like the rest of the human race. It was a challenge to write Cowen. That’s what I loved most about him, the nuances of his personality and I needed to be careful in creating his inner and outer dialogue. Keeping him true to the extent of his shattered sense of morality, a morality that he’d never experienced. From the prologue where I showed him as a child with his lack of empathy to the adult assassin who killed without remorse. The awakening of his sexuality. I wrote a man who was completely broken mentally and had him experience personal and some emotional growth without changing the core of who he was. It may be one of the hardest books I had to write.

Did your story turn out as you’d originally planned, or did it veer off in another direction?

By Way of Pain definitely veered off to what I’d mentally planned for it to be. I went in with the intent to have a man with no morality to change and grow, but that isn’t what happened. While he did learned to see the world differently and accept his ability to love (which he didn’t see himself possible of), in the end he was still the same man just slight evolved.

Tell us about something you learned while writing and/or researching this story.

I pride myself on making an unapologetic character loveable. The character I think people are going to despise are actually the ones my readers enjoyed the most. When it comes to By Way of Pain, I learned that I can make even a psychopath cuddly, well, not cuddly, but I induced a sense of empathy in the readers for the person Cowen was. For the people who beta read or had the chance at ARCs, they were surprised that I made a brutal story enjoyable even if they had to take breaks while reading it.

Choosing from among your own stories, which is your favorite book and character? Why?

Out of the almost thirty books I’ve written, I have to say Ghost was my favorite book. It was the first in the Executioners Series, and Harper one of the main characters was and will always be my favorite. I write body positive and diverse romance, I go into a story and hope my readers see themselves different through the stories I tell. Harper is a Transwoman who has lived a hellish life and has body dysmorphia to a certain degree, struggles with mental illness and a history of self-harm. By the end of the book, I think I created a woman who accepts herself not for the fact of Ghost’s love but self-love and the growth of finding her place and peace in the world and with herself. So many stories in the LGBTQ+ community end in tragedy, especially Trans stories. We have to show adults and youth in the community that there is a Happily Ever After. That there’s possibility that they can’t see beyond their pain, but they have the strength to survive and thrive. With Harper I worked hard to give her the HEA she deserved.

What are your favorite genres when it comes to your own pleasure reading? Do you prefer to read ebooks or print?

It’s odd because I tend to lean towards non-fiction when I’m not writing or Spec Fic. Any story that develops from the ground up, the birth of societies. I have a weakness for world building at epic levels. Ebooks or Print, I have to say print, I give in to the instant gratification of ebooks because a lot of stories don’t come out in print if the ebook doesn’t do well, but there’s just something about flipping through the pages of a paperback that is makes reading so satisfying.

Meet the Author

J.M. Dabney is a multi-genre author who writes mainly LGBT romance and fiction. They live with a constant diverse cast of characters in their head. No matter their size, shape, race, etc. J.M. lives for one purpose alone, and that’s to make sure they do them justice and give them the happily ever after they deserve. J.M. is dysfunction at its finest and they makes sure their characters are a beautiful kaleidoscope of crazy. There is nothing more they want from telling their stories than to show that no matter the package the characters come in or the damage their pasts have done, that love is love. That normal is never normal and sometimes the so-called broken can still be amazing.

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