Friday, 27 May 2011

Welcome To Tinnean

Over the next few weeks I am sharing my blog with many talented authors. Today I welcome Tinnean, author of Bless Us With Content. She has been kind enough to answer my questions and share an excerpt of her book published by Dreamspinner.

How did you get started writing?

I've always loved writing, but back in the day, using a regular typewriter or a pen and paper made it really difficult to revise. With the advent of our second computer and the discovery of copy and paste, writing became so much easier.
In 1999 a friend introduced me to the TV show, La Femme Nikita, and that led to writing het fanfiction. Frankly, I didn't know there was any other kind. I know, totally clueless. It makes me weep.

Was there a particular author or book that made you decide you wanted to write in the genre?  If so, who or what was it?

In the fall of '99, my friend, Silk, came across slash and shared this wonder with me. Pretty boys doing hot things to each other? Oh, yes! *cough* Anne Higgins wrote a Batman/Robin fic that spoiled me. I thought all stories would be that hot, and I was disappointed when I realized that of course they all couldn't be. However, it was an actor, Matthew Ferguson, who portrayed Seymour Birkoff in LFN, who was the reason behind me writing my first slash story. We found one of his movies, Love and Human Remains, and Silk challenged me to write a story using the characters of Kane and David. (That was Poor Little Rich Boy. If I'd realized I was going to make a series of it, I'd have chosen a better title.) At any rate, after that het was pretty much a thing of the past.

Where do you write? Does your environment have an impact on what or how you write?

For the most part I much prefer either the computer room or the lanai. And since I live down here in Florida, I write in the computer room in the winter (baby, it's cold outside!) (don't laugh, for us 40 is cold!), and in the summer I'll write out on the lanai. Of course at that point the ceiling fans will be going, and that helps cool things off. But no, it doesn't impact what I'll write. I'll just keep slogging away.

What do you love most about writing?  What do you hate about it?

I love when the words flow. This happens periodically with the novel I'm working on now. My MC is majoring in mortuary science as a nod to my older son, but he told me Anatomy for Embalmers didn't involve dissecting a cat, as Anatomy and Physiology did, as I'd planned on having Ty do. So here I was with this really neat scenario in mind, and I couldn't use it. I decided to have Ty's friend Jimmy come visit and tell him what happened to him because he was taking Anat and Phys. When I put that in, this part of the story took off! It went from there to a vampire knocking on the door to another being attacked in Ty's front yard, and set up an eventual confrontation with the bad vampire.
Conversely, I hate when the story stalls and no matter what I do, it refuses to move. This happened with Bless Us With Content. I knew where I wanted it to go and that Ash and Geo needed to have sex at that point. But I also had other scenes to write, so I jotted a note to myself: Add sex scene here. Big mistake. Every time I reached that point, the story came to a screeching halt. It took me two years to work around that, and in the end the sex scene never made it to the page.
(The thing about writing, though, is to write and keep writing.)

How did you come up with the title?

Originally this was going to be called No More a-Roving, (I thought it was a good idea at the time. ::smiles wryly:: ) but in my research I came across the Robert Burns poem, A Grace Before Dinner, which ended with the line, Lord, bless us with content. ('happiness' – one of my beta readers thought I meant 'substance' and so couldn't make heads or tails of what I intended.) That just struck me as the perfect title for this story, since there was really very little content  in Ash's life. (and I plan to use No More a-Roving for Geo's story.)

Can you tell us about your main character?

Ash is a good man, an honourable man, who can be hurt emotionally more easily than others realize. Due to the circumstances surrounding his arrival at Laytham Hall after the drowning deaths of his parents, none of the family (including other orphans who were brought to Fayerweather) or the house servants or even the neighbours sees him as anything other than an obnoxious, annoying brat.  After his uncle's death, he has the thankless task of pulling the family from the River Tick. Never once does he consider shirking his duty, and because of this he winds up in Geo Stephenson's bed. Not that that's anything he objects to too strenuously. *g*

How did you develop your plot and characters?

I've loved stories involving legendary family jewels and wanted to write something about what might happen if that jewel went missing. I developed the backstory for the Laythams and the Flame and how it came to belong to them. The hardest part was deciding on what period in history to place it in, since I needed a well-known event the Hood brothers could be involved in. I toyed with the Civil War and Custer's Last Stand before settling on the Alamo. Once I had that date (1836) I worked backward and came up with birthdates, and then looked for events that would affect them all i.e. the Battle of Waterloo, that cholera epidemic, what was occurring on the Continent at the time Sir Eustace and Lady Cecily were married – could they take their bride trip there?
As for the characters themselves, I made a list of who would be included – family members, servants, neighbours, friends/lovers and made note of physical characteristics. Quite often a point would come up in the plot and another character would enter the playing field, and I'd go back and enter information about them. They might never make another appearance, but then again, they might.  (I'd never intended for Robert Hood to have a fiancĂ©e, but then there she was, and after he left Fayerweather, Ash had to worry if he would be sued for breach of promise.)

What are you working on at the moment?

A number of stories. The gay vampire novel I mentioned, a few stories in my Mann of My Dreams universe, which is up on CRVBoy ( . I intend to use them as freebies.) And one final fanfic for a friend's e-zine, if I can get the guys to cooperate.

To date, what has been the best advice or words of encouragement you've received?

"I don't see how you got from there to here." Gail Morse, who beta's for me, told me that back in '00 when I was writing a Maltese Falcon fanfic. "But that's what happened in the book/movie," I protested. "Sorry, but I don't see it here." Fanfic can make things easy, but you still need to do the work. I wound up scrapping the entire chapter and rewriting it. It's wonderful getting emails full of squeeing, but a writer needs someone who'll be honest with him/her and who s/he trusts in order to become the best s/he can be. I value this advice above all else.

What are three things about you that would surprise your fans?

1.     I'm a grandmother. I actually started writing No Matter What the Future Brings, my Casablanca fic, on the drive home from Philadelphia after the birth of my granddaughter.
2.     Occasionally I'll put friends in a story. I started writing Friends and Lovers, my first novel, as a way to cheer a friend who had a bad cold.
3.     I wrote my very first fanfiction when I was in the 7th grade, more years ago than I care to remember. At the time I didn't realize it was fanfiction. I just loved the movie I'd seen and didn't want it to end. :: smiles ::

Where can we find you on the web?
And my earlier works can be found at

Tinnean's Bio:

I've been writing since the 3rd grade. At that time I was inspired to try my hand at epic poetry. Fortunately, that epic poem didn't survive the passage of time; however, my love of writing not only survived but thrived, and in high school I became a member of the magazine staff, where I contributed a number of stories. 

It was with the advent of the family's second computer – the first intimidated everyone – that my writing took off, enhanced in part by fanfiction, but mostly by the wonder that is copy and paste.

While involved in fandom, I was nominated for both Rerun and Light My Fire Awards. Now I concentrate on my original characters.
I'm what you might call a hopeful romantic, and if you see my name on a story, it will have a happy ending.
A New Yorker at heart, I reside in SW Florida with my husband and two computers.

Blurb for Bless Us With Content:

Ashton Laytham came to Fayerweather, his uncle's estate, as an orphan at the age of seven. Family and servants alike perceived Ashton as an unlovable child and shunned him; as an adult, the occasional illicit rendezvous aside, Ashton remains aloof and alone. When his uncle dies, yet more abuse falls upon Ashton's shoulders: the estate is bankrupt and Ashton must make good on his uncle's gaming debts.

With the family talisman stolen and the suspects fled, Ashton faces certain ruin until the arrival of Geo Stephenson, who holds all of Sir Laytham's IOUs. Geo proposes a solution: Ashton will accommodate him in his bed, thereby paying off the debt. Attracted to Geo in spite of himself and desperate for any human kindness, Ashton agrees... never expecting to lose his heart to a man who claims he will never give his.

Buy Link: 


There was a tap on the study door, and Colling entered. "Forgive me for intruding, Sir Ashton. There is someone here to see you." He handed me a card.

I replaced my spectacles and took the rectangular piece of cardboard. 'George Stephenson, Esq.'

"Are you sure he does not wish to see Aunt Cecily?" He was an old friend from the days when she had taken the Town by storm, having been a diamond of the first water, and he would visit Fayerweather whenever he was sure Sir Eustace was from home. A widower with one son, he would beseech Aunt Cecily to run away with him each time he came to see her. He always claimed it was in jest, but being unhappily in love at the time myself, I could recognize it in another.

"He asked for you, sir. I have put him in the conservatory."

"Very well." The conservatory was not my most favorite room, since I found the scent of the flowers that grew in riotous profusion within its confines cloying at times, but Aunt Cecily had a fondness for it, and often sat there with Mr Stephenson when he visited. "Thank you, Colling. Please tell Mr Stephenson I will join him shortly. Mr Kirkby, perhaps we can continue this conversation at another time?"

"Of course. I'm sorry I do not have better news for you, Sir Ashton. However, I must say the farms are in far better condition than I had dared to hope. At least there is that, as puzzling as it might be." Mr Kirkby gathered his papers and shook my hand. "I will continue to study your uncle's affairs, and will return some time next week to let you know how things stand."

"Thank you, Mr Kirkby." I followed him out and saw him to his gig in the courtyard before reentering the Hall once more and hurrying to the study to retrieve my coat. It wouldn't do to appear in my shirt sleeves.

Why would Mr Stephenson wish to see me? Whenever he visited he had never shown any liking for me, much preferring the company of the Hood brothers.

Surely he had not come to me as head of the family to sue for Aunt Cecily's hand! So soon after Uncle's passing would cause a scandal none of us would live down.

There was no point in putting this off, I thought impatiently. I detested confrontation, but I would simply have to be firm.

I swallowed, trying to come up with a graceful turn of phrase that would not make it seem as if I was denying his suit out of hand and because I knew he disliked me.

The conservatory was toward the rear of the house, and I made my way there, opened the door, and stepped into the room.

For a moment, I thought the room unoccupied. Had Mr Stephenson grown impatient and left? The only sign that someone had been there was the Benjamin flung carelessly, almost proprietarily, over the back of the settee.

A slight sound drew my attention to the French windows. The afternoon sun poured through them, leaving the man who stood before them, gazing out toward the gardens that were Aunt Cecily's pride and joy, in bas relief.

I approached him warily. "Mr Stephenson? Pray forgive me for the delay. I was with my man of business, and I did not want to come to you in my shirt sleeves. I understand you wished to see me?"

"Lovely view from here." The unexpected voice, a pleasant baritone, caused me to start. He turned, and I beheld quite the most handsome man I had ever seen.

"You are not George Stephenson!"

"I am, actually. However, the George Stephenson with whom you are acquainted is my father. To distinguish between the two of us, I am called Geo, by my friends."

I felt the queerest sensation in my chest so that I barely paid any heed to the slight emphasis on 'friends.' Mr Stephenson the senior had often spoken of his son, regaling Aunt Cecily with tales of his adventures, and I had been fascinated. I'd hoped he would one day bring the young man with him, but Mr Stephenson the younger was frequently out of the country, having followed his father into His Majesty's Civil Service.

Now he stood here, leaning casually on his walking stick. I let my eyes feather over his elegant figure, then glanced away before he could see my interest. Stephenson was beautiful, with classical features, curly blue-black hair and a body that looked fit and solid although I knew him to be at least six years my senior. The dark frock coat he wore with fawn trousers was set off by that ivory-headed walking stick.

My mouth went dry, and I swallowed hard, startled by my reaction.

In the four years since I had taken John Hood to my bed, there had been no one else. I'd thought, foolishly as it turned out, that if perhaps he realised how faithful and steadfast I was… Of course, it was for naught, for he loved his brothers more than ever he would love me.

I shook myself out of my reverie, fretting that while my trousers were not quite as form-fitting as the current fashion decreed, they were still snug enough so that concealing my interest was somewhat difficult.

"May I offer you tea?" I went to the bell-pull to summon Colling. "Perhaps something stronger?"

"Thank you, no. Your butler already offered, and I declined."

"Very well, then. What may I do for you, Mr Stephenson?"

His look was pensive. "You may pay me my money."

"Your money?" I repeated stupidly, my body losing all interest. "I beg your pardon?" That was not at all what I'd expected him to say.

He took a fistful of notes and vowels from his pocket and offered them to me.


  1. Loved the interview and the excerpt. :)