Monday, June 19, 2017

The Origin of Broken Wings

I got to reading this article one day about the fourth of July, and the irony that here we are setting off fireworks to celebrate our freedoms, and those that have been willing to give all to protect and preserve those freedoms are sometimes can be adversely affected by our actions.

So many people never stopped to think about our veterans suffering from PTSD and the effect that loud noises and flashing lights, like those of fireworks, can act as triggers. That as neighbors we need to be aware of how our actions can affect them.

It wasn't until I was reading the article that I realized how truly insidious PTSD can be.

This really got me to thinking, because while I had been aware of PSTD thanks to popular culture (i.e. TV and movies) I didn't really know a lot about it. So I started researching, and reading up exactly what is PTSD.

And as I was reading, the writer portion of my brain kicked in - and I started wondering, what about those suffering PTSD who also have something else going on.  What about those that are in the D/s community - a Dom or a sub - suffering PTSD?  Or what if it was someone who is gay?

That's what started the idea behind Broken Wings.  I could hear Gabriel shouting at me that he was "a submissive, but not a fucking pussy!"  He's a soldier, a submissive, a gay man, and he suffers PSTD.  He was captured, and the actions of his captors distorted and warped actions that were once (when safety and consensually done) pleasurable.  They took it to a deeper, dangerous, and damaging level when they whipped him.  In addition, they also performed other acts of torture.

In addition to suffering the normal PTSD symptoms, he also had other issues as a result, something that in a normal therapy setting he couldn't address fully.

As I was writing Gabriel's story, I needed him to join a therapy group.  Because PTSD can't be treated with a pill (unlike many of the other mental issues) - it's emotional in nature, rather than a chemical imbalance in the brain.  So therapy was really needed.  But what kind of group therapy could he join? He needed to find a therapy option that wouldn't judge him - the 'alpha male soldier' - for submitting to another man!

So he needed a group that was made up of those suffering PTSD who are also in the community.  But as he was talking to the other members of the group, part of the sessions would also be them opening up (to show he was not alone) - and as they did, other characters started talking to me.

Gideon/Drifter started talking first, then Will/Shakespeare.  Their stories started to slowly be told as well, briefly in Broken Wings, and eventually they will be fleshed out in their own books.  Gideon's is in progress right now (Songs of Yesterday), and I just met Will's guy.

And all of this goes back to just a chance reading of an article on the effects of fireworks on veterans with PTSD.

Interested in reading some of the articles?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Found a new review on Amazon - 5 stars!

This is a difficult read in that it portrays the trials POW's of any era have to face when they return home and can't find understanding from civilians. Gabriel had been dealing with his PTSD and wasn't doing very well. That all changed when he met up with Nick and got his life together with a lot of Nick's emotional help and understanding. This review is from my heart and was willing given. - Eager Reader

Monday, May 29, 2017

Confusion by Metallica

I am a very eclectic music lover.  I can listen to anything from the soothing sounds of Enigma, to the modern beat of Imagine Dragons, and then turn around and go old school with Metallica's Black album, some Journey, Genesis, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi.  Sometimes I might even throw in a little Lady Gaga.  (Don't judge me)

I will admit, I was rather disappointed by Metallica in the Load/Reload etc era.  As an old school listener - Black Album, Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightening, etc I longed for the gritty throb of their earlier music.

Recently I gave the Hardwired ... To Self-Destruct album a go with Atlas, Rise!  Pleasantly surprised by the return of their depth, I checked out the other songs on the album and came across Confusion.

I was looking for music to listen to while working on my Houston Michael's website and I have to say, it is completely fitting.

It's not often a music video will bring me to the edge of tears - but this one did.  Since it it memorial day, I thought it kind of fitting to share this today.

Check out the lyrics:

Writer(s): Lars Ulrich, James Alan Hetfield 

Wake to face the day
Grab this life and walk away
War is never done
Rub the patch and battle on
Make it go away
Please make it go away

All sanity is now beyond me
All sanity is but a memory
My life…
The war that never ends

Leave the battlefield
Yet its horrors never heal
Coming home from war
Pieces don't fit anymore
Make it go away
Please make it go away

All sanity is now beyond me
All sanity is but a memory
My life…
The war that never ends

Father please come home
Shell shocked all I've known
Father please come home

Label him a deadwood soldier now
Cast away and left to roam
Rapid is the road to sacrifice
Just takes longer to come home

All sanity is now beyond me
Crossfire ricochets inside me
Trapped in a memory forever
My life…
The war that never ends

4.5 Star Review

Susan of The Blogger Girls Reviews had this to say about Broken Wings:

I loved Nick and by extension that love extended to our broken Gabriel. Nick was the perfect medic, friend, and Dom. He was everything Gabriel needed, every time he needed it. I love military themes and strong alpha men, but BDSM is still hit or miss for me, but this one was written so well, and light enough, that I not only tolerated it, I ended up loving it.

Gabriel is a natural sub, but after his two months of being a tortured POW, and the sole survivor of his team, he is left adrift as the idea of being hit or bound freaks him out. What’s a man to do when he can no longer handle the one thing he needs to be grounded. Enter Nick. Nick became the most understanding Dom I’ve ever read about. He never once lost his patience and I was glad the BDSM parts weren’t hardcore as that would have been too unrealistic considering Nick’s many issues.

This is a fast and steamy read, even with the heartbreaking scenes, and a very good start to this new series. I really hope we get to meet up with Gabriel and Nick again, I really did connect with them and look forward to seeing what’s up next.

Overall Impression: I loved it!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Amazon Review - 5 stars

Gabriel is a broken man, suffering from PTSD and desperately needing hope to keep living.

Nick once saved him physically, now he does everything in his power to save him mentally.

I was grabbed into the story right from the beginning and I couldn’t put the book down. It has everything I love to read in a BDSM novel. The characters are really well-developed and the D/s elements are spot on.

Nick is a Dom, but such a gentle and understanding one. The way he helps Gabriel and guides him to let go and let his submissive side resurface is wonderful. My heart went out to Gabriel. His pain is so palpable I could feel it. Nick is the one Gabriel needs to help him overcome his PTSD.

Nick and Gabriel are just perfect for each other. They complement each other in every way. Their chemistry is sizzling hot but that is not all there is. There is trust and love.

This story was way too short. I so wanted to read more about these two men. They crept their way into my heart. It ends rather abruptly on an HFN/not quite cliffhanger. There is a short preview of the next book and I am hoping this will come very soon.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Broken Wings: Nick

Authors are often asked who inspires the characters we write about.  I have often see lists of "who would play ______________ if I were made into a movie" posts.

While I know my stories will never make it to the big screen, and I am okay with that, I do draw inspiration from actors and actresses to lay down the basis for my characters.

Many authors who write series have what is called a Series Bible - a document of some kind they can refer back to that tells them details about characters, maybe includes images of the characters, etc.

With Broken Wings, I had to create my first series bible.  This is because while I have other series, the stories are all stand alone, and the series is based on theme, without any interaction between the characters.  For the Phoenix Reborn books, the characters are interacting in a group therapy session, so each character set will continue to build through new stories.

NAME: Nickolas Tanner

Nickname: Tesla

Description: black (pepper) hair, piercing green eyes, shorter than Gabriel, muscular but athletic, deep raspy voice


Nickolas was a very tricky character.  I knew about his nickname, but he wasn't really willing to step out of the shadows and let me see him.  He was more focused on Gabriel - and what he needed.  

So visualizing him was frustrating, but I did get to hear a lot of his voice.  And oh boy - what a voice it is.  That deep seductive rasp that teases of nights of sin and decadence was modeled after actor Jim Caviezel (Person of Interest).  To some degree he resembles him as well, but it is Nick's voice that is distinct.  Oh - and the eyes!  Love them!  They can almost see right into your soul.

Broken Wings: Gabriel

Authors are often asked who inspires the characters we write about.  I have often see lists of "who would play ______________ if I were made into a movie" posts.

While I know my stories will never make it to the big screen, and I am okay with that, I do draw inspiration from actors and actresses to lay down the basis for my characters.

Many authors who write series have what is called a Series Bible - a document of some kind they can refer back to that tells them details about characters, maybe includes images of the characters, etc.

With Broken Wings, I had to create my first series bible.  This is because while I have other series, the stories are all stand alone, and the series is based on theme, without any interaction between the characters.  For the Phoenix Reborn books, the characters are interacting in a group therapy session, so each character set will continue to build through new stories.

NAME: Gabriel O'Roarke

Nickname: Archangel or Angel

Description: black hair, blue eyes, tall, muscular, covered in scars, high forehead, strong jaw, deep set soulful eyes


Gabriel was fairly easy for me to imagine, once he started talking to me.  He got his nickname in bootcamp because he resembled David Boreanaz - Bones era (was also in Buffy and Angel).  When he was made team sniper, it was solidified.  He was the Wrath of God - an Archangel.


Friday, May 19, 2017

A Couple of Amazon reviews

4 Stars by Trebabe on

An interesting read about Gabriel, ex soldier, submissive, survivor of being held hostage for months and tortured. This starts a year after, his body is healed to an extent but the PTSD is driving him to the edge. Meeting Nick gives Gabriel a little breathing space, and the chance to regain some of the trust he needs to allowed himself to be a sub again. I liked the characters and it'll be good to see where this series goes.

5 Stars by Starwarslover on

i adored this book.. i cannot wait to see what happens next.. i loved how much nick was willing to wait and go slow for gabriel to come back to who he is as a person.. i loved the difficulties and the trust.. this was amazing

4 Stars by Kezbooks on

A word of warning that this story may have triggers for some. It refers to violence, torture and immense suffering. Having said that, it is also a story of a man that would not give up and another who is there to lead the way. I like how the trauma of PTSD wasn’t magically cured and that the main character Gabriel had to work for each success. The BDSM worked for the storyline and Nick was patient and understanding. I enjoyed the story but I do realise it is not for everyone. There were times I wanted to reach through the pages and hug Gabe myself. A good read.

Broken Wings - Another 5 Star Review

The reviews keep rolling ...

5 Stars for Broken Wings by Gay Book Reviews

I have to say that is truly an incredible short story about finding a reason to live again.

This book was a powerful read about the harsh reality of PTSD and the affects it has on just everyday normal life.

For Gabriel, PTSD was debilitating. After being captured while on a mission for the military and tortured and broken both emotionally and mentally Gabriel is just about to the point of giving up completely. All the things he enjoyed before being held captive, such as being submissive, was taken from him by his captors. Gabriel is having nightmares and flashbacks. Going to places he enjoyed before sets him into a panic attack or worse a flashback. He is having a very hard time controlling his emotions. At this point Gabriel feels like he will never feel normal again, much less with someone else.

On the night that Gabriel has decided that he is just fine, someone steps in his line of sight that he did not think that he would ever see again. This is the person that rescued him from his captors and helped to place him back to civilian life which turned out to be just as bad as captivity was. Nike knows the signs of flashbacks and PTSD and he knows what Gabriel went through from being on of the ones sent in to recover him. So it is no big surprise what all Gabriel is going through.

Nick being a [D]om knows how something like what Gabriel went through could truly ruin a submissive. He also knows that there is a way back from why Gabriel went through.

Can the man that rescued Gabriel from the hell he went through be the man to now save him from the hell he is living in? Will Gabriel be strong enough to accept the help or will he give up and give in?

This read is truly an inspiring read. PTSD is something that a lot of people go through and I believe that any author that writes about the affects of PTSD and does it with love and respect is an amazing individual. I truly enjoyed his read and I cannot wait for the next book in this series to come out because I have a feeling Gideon’s story is going to blow the readers away.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Broken Wings Excerpt

Watching Nick dress himself was also a form of sensual torture as the other man paused with his pants pulled up, but still unzipped.  He made a production of tucking his boxer covered cock into his pants and adjusting himself before slowly pulling up the zipper and slipping the button through the hole.  Gabriel wanted to reach out and pull the zipper back down, drop to his knees and suck the other man into his mouth.  Clenching his fists, he forced himself to not act on his impulse.

One of the hardest things he had been dealing with, besides the flashbacks and nightmares, was his impulse control.  Anything that allowed him to escape from his own thoughts, from his memories, was a possible addiction.

"You okay?"

Gabriel looked into Nick's eyes and could see that the other man knew exactly what he was doing.  "You are such a bastard," he gritted out between clenched teeth.  He could feel his nostrils flaring with each inhalation.

"Maybe.  But you are much stronger than you think you are."

"So this was all a fucking test?"

Nick shrugged, sighed, and ran a hand through his hair, the confident air dropping for just a moment.  "No Gabe, it wasn't.  Fuck man, you could easily become just as much an addiction for me as I am for you.  I like knowing you want to touch me, want to drop to your knees and suck my cock, but that you are stronger than the impulses attempting to drive you.  I told you last night, I crave a submissive who is strong willed, but chooses to let me care for him.  And every moment I spend with you, I find myself more and more drawn to you, until you're like a drug I need to survive."

Gabriel could feel tears welling in his eyes, but he fought them back.  He wasn't about to cry like a pussy just because Nick made him feel like maybe, just maybe, some of the broken pieces of him could be put back together again.

Broken Wings - 4 stars!

Rated: 4 Stars by Sue of Joyfully Jay

Months of torture and captivity left Gabriel O’Rourke broken and afraid. He’s on the verge of losing all hope when he sees Nick Tanner again at a local club. Nick was the field medic who helped saved Gabriel’s life and one of the few who knows the full extent of what he endured. Nick also happens to be a Dom, something Gabriel desperately needs.

Their chemistry is intense, but starting down the road to recovery takes time. Nick challenges Gabriel on multiple levels and makes therapy a requirement of their relationship. With Nick’s support, Gabriel begins the fragile business of healing. It will take all of his courage to find himself again and to surrender to Nick absolutely.

Broken Wings was a relatively quick read, with a lot of angst, heart, and some frustrations as well. The plot is strong and the story is straightforward. Gabriel has returned from the war with mental and physical injuries that mark him as a survivor. But the submission he craved prior to his torture now terrifies him, though he still needs to submit. Nick knows Gabriel’s pain all too well and agrees to serve as his Dom, working slowly to give Gabriel what he needs within the confines of his new limits. This was a unique perspective on the D/s relationship. How do you dominate a submissive and sometimes masochist who can no longer tolerate bondage, whips, etc.? I think the reasoning for Gabriel’s fear was made very evident, but that Nick’s handling of the situation could have used a bit more fleshing out and detail. Nick clearly cares for Gabriel and vice versa, but their relationship isn’t based on love. Rather they have a history of shared experience and Nick’s role as Dom grounds Gabriel and pushes him towards recovery. As a result, while these characters mesh, it is hard to call this a love story.

There are a lot of important issues tackled in Broken Wings, not the least of which is the very real pain of PTSD and the need for support when you’re drowning. But the story tends to rush through critical decisions on the part of the characters (i.e. Gabriel’s decision to stay with Nick). I don’t see this as a pacing issue, rather a failure to let the characters develop smoothly. There were several instances of this and it gave the story a somewhat jarring tone, which was frustrating to read.
Broken Wings is the first in a new series and it appears the next book will deal with characters introduced in Broken Wings. I hope we get to see more of Gabriel and Nick in the future, if only to see how their relationship evolves. There is a good story here with easy to like characters and plenty of angst. I felt like the BDSM needed fleshing out, given this was such a strong aspect of the connection between Nick and Gabriel. Also the characters weren’t given as much time as they needed to fully develop on page. But if you enjoy heartfelt conversations and wounded men, you’re going to enjoy Broken Wings.

Broken Wings - the lyrics

Each of the songs in the Phoenix Reborn series is written while listening to music.  While the songs may vary greatly depending upon the scene I am writing and the mood I am in, there is one song that just calls to me for each of the guys.  For Gabriel, it was Mr. Mister's Broken Wings (thus the title).

I actually imagined Nickolas holding Gabriel close to him one night, and as they were falling asleep - he started to sing Broken Wings.  Then I realized, Nickolas can't sing to save his life.

"Broken Wings"
Mr. Mister

Baby, don't understand
Why we can't just hold on to each others' hands
This time might be the last, I fear
Unless I make it all too clear
I need you so, ohh

Take these broken wings
And learn to fly again
Learn to live so free
When we hear the voices sing
The book of love will open up and let us in
Take these broken wings

Baby, I think tonight
We can take what was wrong and make it right, mmm
Baby, it's all I know
That you're half of the flesh
And blood that makes me whole
I need you so

So take these broken wings
And learn to fly again
Learn to live so free
And when we hear the voices sing
The book of love will open up and let us in

Take these broken wings
You've got to learn to fly
Learn to live and love so free
And when we hear the voices sing
The book of love will open up and let us in, yeah, yeah

Let us in
Let us in

Baby, it's all I know
That you're half of the flesh
And blood that makes me whole
Yeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah

So take these broken wings
And learn to fly again
Learn to live so free
And when we hear the voices sing
The book of love will open up and let us in

Take these broken wings
You've got to learn to fly
Learn to live and love so free
And when we hear the voices sing
The book of love will open up for us and let us in, yeah yeah
Yeah yeah

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Broken Wings - 5 Rainbow Stars!!!!!

Beth Jumper of Open Skye Book Reviews had this to say about Broken Wings:

If you want a BDSM book that isn’t all about pain, control and bizarre toys, than you will like this book. It is such a great blending of what the basics of BDSM are and how to live and survive PTSD.
Houston Michaels has set up a great storyline where Gabriel who enjoyed the lifestyle before his tragic, life altering event can attempt to try getting into it again.

I loved the character of Nick the Dom. I loved his approach to everything involving Gabriel, both in and out of the bedroom.

For just a Novella I think the story was well told and everything was covered. Do I wish it was a longer story? Of course! If for no other reason than the few sex scenes. They were tender but passionate and I can see that this couple could have some great and fun times together.

Broken Wings - a third review!

Not all reviews are going to be "fan girl screaming" types. :)  And that can be good - it allows a writer to grow.  So even though this one wasn't the best of reviews, she did seem to enjoy Broken Wings and the relationship between the guys, and she provided some constructive feedback.

Review by Denise of Two Chicks Obsessed

I was really looking forward to this one. I hadn’t read a BDSM book in a while, and to add the effects of PTSD on top of it, I was very intrigued. I really wanted to see how a relationship with a man that had saved his life would be able to develop.

The relationship between these men, I thought, was very realistic for the situation they were in. Gabriel had unimaginable horrors inflicted on him, and watched his team die around him. To be able to come back and even begin to live again, much less get back into the lifestyle would have been awful. And Nickolas was adamant about the things that Gabriel needed to do, in order to allow their relationship to work, as well as for him to heal.

However, I kept getting thrown out of the story by what to me was a “how-to” on BDSM. There were explanations in the book that, as a reader, I felt were either unnecessary, or “fluff”. I may not be in the lifestyle, but you can bet that anyone that picks this book up, knowing it is BDSM, has also likely read a previous BDSM book, and likely knows what a St. Andrews Cross is, and doesn’t need an explanation of the alternate name that no one knows it by. It gave the impression that knowledge was trying to be imparted onto the reader, which is not what the reader is necessarily looking for. It drew me out of the story, and made it difficult to focus on the relationship of these men.

It also ended a little faster than I wanted (which I thought was a good thing), because I felt like it was beginning to catch its groove. Maybe there is a second story ahead for these men. I’d consider reading it.

Broken Wings: The second review - 4 hearts!


by Jen of Love Bytes Reviews

Gabriel is a guy who is recovering from his time as a POW where he was tortured and the only one of this team to survive.  He is trying to put his life back together while dealing with PTSD issues.  He lost a lot while in the military, but the one thing that is hurting him the most is his inability to handle any sort of BDSM.  He has a deep need to submit, but is unable to endure any activities, such as being bound or hit, without triggering his PTSD.  His last attempt to go back to the club he used to love backfires, but also brings him to the attention of Nick.

Nick was the medic who pulled Gabriel out and kept him alive on his return to safety.  Although he saved him physically, he now wants to do more and believes he can provide Gabriel with what he needs while also being a Dom he can safely trust.  Knowing everything Gabriel has gone through, having seen all his injuries up close, he is fully aware of what Gabriel must have endured and is therefore very cognizant of what might trigger him or how far to go to help him push through.
Gabriel is dealing with a lot of issues.  Aside from what is mentioned above, he has a lot of guilt over being the sole survivor and the irony of being the one who begged to be killed doesn’t help.  But, Nick didn’t listen to him that day on the helicopter, and he doesn’t shy away from helping Gabriel see things differently.  He was extremely supportive and made certain Gabriel only moved forward with the help of actual therapy.

I loved these guys.  I loved how Nick found ways to help Gabriel meet his needs and make progress, no matter how big or small.  He was so understanding, and in being so, was the perfect fit for Gabriel.  The BDSM scenes are pretty light due to Gabriel’s many issues, but I loved watching him find peace and the pieces of himself he thought he had lost forever.

This is a very promising start to a new series that I am really looking forward to continuing.  This book was very well written, kept me turning pages and caring about these guys to the very end.  Things were not glossed over, but they weren’t dragged out too long either.  I definitely recommend this if you love watching a damaged character come back to life, as this one fits that bill perfectly.

Broken Wings: The first review - 4 hearts!


by Cindy of Love Bytes Review

Let me start by saying Gabriel and Nick push just about every button I have. I love a good story that just happens to be set in the BDSM world and a broken ex-military man is a character I just can’t resist.Gabriel is a man who’s almost living between two worlds. He’s no longer in the military but the experiences he suffered through while in service to his country have left him feeling like he doesn’t belong at home either. When he finds himself feeling lost in a place that used to be somewhere he was more than comfortable, he finds himself self dangling at the end of his figurative rope.

Nick is someone who help saved Gabriel’s life physically and now he wants to help him find the peace he so obviously deserves and longs for. As a Dom it’s in his nature to care for people and no one needs more care than Gabriel.

The author did a great job here with the BDSM side of the story. I love the time the two men spend talking about what they both need and expect from each other and a lot of it rang true for me.

I did have an issue with how fast Gabriel seemed to overcome his reservations about trust in general as I think someone who survived what he did would be a much harder nut to crack but I also accept that in this genre there is only so much time an author can give to overcoming those kinds of issues.

I also love how the author approached the subject of therapy and how it was a very necessary part of Gabriel’s healing. I appreciate that there was no magical “sexual healing” for Gabriel and that Nick understood that he couldn’t be Gabriel’s savior, only his supporter.

The BSDM scenes and the sex are very hot and well written. It didn’t overpower the rest of the story and I liked that they weren’t falling into bed in every chapter.

I know that the stories of the other men in the therapy group are going to be the basis for more books in this series and I have to admit I’m looking forward to them.

This was a book that I couldn’t put down once I started it as it swept me along for a fascinating ride. It wasn’t perfect but I have no problem recommending it to just about anyone even if you aren’t a big BDSM fan. It’s on the softer side of the spectrum and honestly a great starting point if you are a little wary of that lifestyle.

Broken Wings Teaser 3


Monday, May 15, 2017

That Feeling You Get ...

I logged onto facebook this afternoon, and as I was reading through all of the day's posts ... something jumped out at me.  It was my cover - in a graphic.

Kimmer's Erotic Book Banter selected Broken Wings as one of their Monday Mentions.  How cool is that?

It is such an awesome feeling, seeing that.

Broken Wings Teaser 2

Just ONE MORE DAY ... and then Broken Wings is out!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Legend of the Phoenix

The Legend of the Phoenix

There are legends of the phoenix in several different cultures.  The Egyptian Phoenix is called the Benu/Bennu.  In China it is the FĂȘng-Huang and Ho-oo in Japan.  There are even stories of the phoenix in Russia as the Firebird and in several Native American tribes there is the Thunderbird.

The legendary phoenix is often depicted as being a large bird, much like an eagle or peacock. It is brilliantly coloured in reds, purples, and yellows, as it is associated with the rising sun and fire with blue sapphire-like eyes. It builds its own funeral pyre or nest, and ignites it with a single clap of its wings. After death it rises gloriously from the ashes and flies away.

Arguably one of the oldest stories is of the Egyptian Bennu.  Info is copied from HERE since they did such a good job of succinctly putting things.

"The Bennu bird was a large imaginary bird resembling a heron. It had a two long feathers on the crest of it's head and was often crowned with the Atef crown of Osiris (the White Crown with two ostrich plumes on either side) or with the disk of the sun. The Bennu was also considered a manifestation of the resurrected Osiris and the bird was often shown pirched in his sacred willow tree.

The Bennu was known as the legendary phoenix to the Greeks. Herodotus, the Greek historian, says the following about the Bennu:  "Another sacred bird is the phoenix; I have not seen a phoenix myself, except in paintings, for it is very rare and only visits the country (so they say at Heliopolis) only at intervals of five hundred years, on the occasion of the death of the parent bird."

Herodotus goes on to record that the Bennu bird came from Arabia every 500 years carrying his father's body embalmed in an egg of myrrh. This Arabian bird however was said to resemble an eagle with brilliant gold and red plumage. Before the phoenix died it built a nest of incense twigs and laid down in it and died. From its body a small worm emerged that the sun's heat transformed into the new phoenix.

Another story says that the phoenix rose again from the burnt and decomposing remains of his old body and took these to Heliopolis, where he burned them."

I copied this version of the legend because it is so beautifully written .... original source HERE

"There is a bird that lays no eggs and has no young. It was here when the world began and is still living today, in a hidden, faraway desert spot. It is the phoenix, the bird of fire.

One day in the beginning times, the sun looked down and saw a large bird with shimmering feathers. They were red and gold--bright and dazzling like the sun itself. The sun called out, "Glorious Phoenix, you shall be my bird and live forever!"

Live forever! The Phoenix was overjoyed to hear these words. It lifted its head and sang, "Sun glorious sun, I shall sing my songs for you alone!"

But the Phoenix was not happy for long. Poor bird. Its feathers were far too beautiful. Men, women, and children were always casing it and trying to trap it. They wanted to have some of those beautiful, shiny feathers for themselves.

"I cannot live here," thought the phoenix. and it flew off toward the east, where the sun rises in the morning.

The Phoenix flew for a long time, and then came to a far away, hidden desert where no humans lived. And there the phoenix remained in peace, flying freely and singing its songs of praise to the sun above.

Almost five hundred years passed. The Phoenix was still alive, but it had grown old. It was often tired, and it had lost much of its strength. It couldn't soar so high in the sky, nor fly as fast or as far as it was young.

"I don't want to live like this," thought the Phoenix. "I want to be young and strong."

So the Phoenix lifted it's head and sang, "Sun, glorious sun, make me young and strong again!" but the sun didn't answer. Day after day the Phoenix sang. When the sun still didn't answer, the Phoenix decided to return to the place where it had lived in the beginning and ask the sun one more time.

It flew across the desert, over hills, green valleys, and high mountains. The journey was long, and because the Phoenix was old and weak, it had to rest along the way. Now, the Phoenix has a keen sense of smell and is particularly fond of herbs and spices. So each time it landed, it collected pieces of cinnamon bark and all kinds of fragrant leaves. It tucked some in among its feathers and carried the rest in its claws.

When at last the bird came to the place that had once been its home, it landed on a tall palm tree growing high on a mountainside. Right at the top of the tree, the Phoenix built a nest with the cinnamon bark and lined it with the fragrant leaves. Then the Phoenix flew off and collected some sharp-scented gum called myrrh, which it had seen oozing out of a nearby tree. The Phoenix made an egg from the myrrh and carried the egg back to the nest.

Now everything was ready. The Phoenix sat down in its nest, lifted its head, and sang, "Sun, glorius sun, make me young and strong again!"

This time the sun heard the song. Swiftly it chased the clouds from the sky and stilled the winds and shone down on the mountainside with all its power.

The animals, the snakes, the lizards, and every other bird hid from the sun's fierce rays -- in caves and holes, under shady rocks and trees. Only the Phoenix sat upon its nest and let the suns rays beat down upon it beautiful, shiny feathers.

Suddenly there was a flash of light, flames leaped out of the nest, and the Phoenix became a big round blaze of fire.

After a while the flames died down. The tree was not burnt, nor was the nest. But the Phoenix was gone. In the nest was a heap of silvery-gray ash.

The ash began to tremble and slowly heave itself upward. From under the ash there rose up a young Phoenix. It was small and looked sort of crumpled, but it stretched its neck and lifted its wings and flapped them. Moment by moment it grew, until it was the same size as the old Phoenix. It looked around, found the egg made of myrrh, and hollowed it out. Then it placed the ashes inside and finally closed up the egg. The young Phoenix lifted its head and sang, "Sun, glorious sun, I shall sing my songs for you alone! Forever and ever!"

When the song ended, the wind began to blow, the clouds came scudding across the sky, and the other living creatures crept out of their hiding places.

Then the Phoenix, with the egg in its claws, flew up and away. At the same time, a cloud of birds of all shapes and sizes rose up from the earth and flew behind the Phoenix, singing together, "You are the greatest of birds! You are our king!"

The birds flew with the Phoenix to the temple of the sun that the Egyptians had built at Heliopolis, city of the sun. Then the Phoenix placed the egg with the ashes inside on the sun's altar.

"Now," said the Phoenix, "I must fly on alone." And while the other birds watched, it flew off toward the faraway desert.

The Phoenix lives there still. But every five hundred years, when it begins to feel weak and old, it flies west to the same mountain. There it builds a fragrant nest on top of a palm tree, and there the sun once again burns it to ashes. But each time, the Phoenix rises up from those ashes, fresh and new and young again."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Phoenix Reborn

Originally the series was titled The Dogs of War, in reference to the Shakespeare quote "Cry 'Havok' and let slip the dogs of war" in which the dogs of war are the hellacious aftermath - rather than the act of war itself.   It seemed to fit, given that the first three books are about warriors who fought for their country and returned with PTSD.  Even the second three that are in my head, all dealing with police officers, fit.  But I didn't want to limit myself to just cops and military.  Additionally, I think The Dogs of War series title might have turned some readers off.

What ties all of the stories together is a PTSD support group for those in the D/s community who are military, police, firefighters, EMTs, etc.  As they learn to deal with PTSD and the changes in their lives, they are all different than what their loved ones remember - and coming out the other side, they have all faced some kind of a trial by fire.

So Phoenix Reborn made sense ...

Monday, March 13, 2017

About Houston Michaels

Houston Michaels is the alternate pen name of Michelle Houston.

Why the different names?  

As Michelle Houston, she writes everything from short and sweet stories, to hot and spicy tales of kink, from contemporary tales of erotic romance to erotica romances featuring Greek gods, vampires and were-creatures.  She has crossed sexualities and has gone wherever her mental muse has guided her.  Yet always the stories are fairly light.

The guys of the Phoenix Reborn support group are anything but.  They are tormented by demons in their own minds, driven to push away anyone who loves them.  They are dealing with PTSD and in many cases, some form of addiction and/or suicidal thoughts.  They are also all in the lifestyle - either Doms, subs, or switches.

As such, a new pen name was needed so that the two distinctly different styles could be separated - because with Houston Michaels you are not getting light-hearted reads.

That said - they all are still erotic romances.  So you will get heat, sexual tension, and lots of kinky bedroom antics.

If you want to find out more about the lighter side of her writing, visit Michelle Houston.