Friends Friday -Maria-Claire Payne!

Welcome the Lovely Maria-Claire Payne today with news of her upcoming release -yay!


Many thanks to Victoria for having me here this first Friday in May! I’m excited to have another release coming out this month (finally! I do not recommend six months in between books, by the way…), in part because now I have some new frickin’ material for the ever-fabulous Sunday Snogs. Esme, my heroine in Bending Tyme, spent most of her “time” having her ass spanked with a riding crop; Cara, my heroine in Unstrung, was on the sub side of a BDSM-driven marriage and was quite often tied up – or in handcuffs and gagged. I was surprised myself – and I wrote these women, for crying out loud — to learn how rarely the couples in either of my first two novellas locked actual lips…!

About this new novella: I didn’t roll out of bed one day and decide, “I’m gonna write an M/M romance.” As most stories seem to do, the idea evolved and took over my day. I do quite a bit of soldier support and a good friend of mine is a gay man in a multicultural relationship. Toss in a couple of conversation with another gay friend over too much wine combined with email from my soldiers in Iraq and I couldn’t get Josh and Ethan’s characters out of my head until I fired up my keyboard – and Sounding the Depths pushed aside a couple of other works-in-progress. On a side note: my quasi-wino friend and I often debate the differences between M/M sex and M/F sex. I insist I win in bed because I have the same two hands, mouth, and anus but an additional bonus orifice. He has yet to frame a come-back to that anatomical reality ;)

Still, I wanted Sounding the Depths to be about love as a safe harbor, not an exercise in hot gay sex (okay, that too…). One of my psychology professors once commented that “we’re all the walking wounded” in referring to the fact that a person rarely, if ever, find true love without getting his or her heart crushed once or twice along the way. He also added that first we had to survive our families of origin, those earliest relationships that colour all the ones we enter after we grow up….I’ve never forgotten that, and this became the basis for Josh Bennett. He’s emerged as one of my favourite people in my worlds because I personally adore the dark, broody, complicated ones.

And about that title? Well, Josh and Ethan are both sailors. Also, sounding the depths in nautical terms can be a method of navigation as well as a way to measure just how deep one has waded into the water before one is in over his head…important concepts that shaped both Josh’s and Ethan’s characters and the development of their romance. That is my official discussion, in any case. I do love a good double entendre, though – and my gay wino buddy will tell you I was being rather tongue in cheek about exploring orifices again when I settled on that title…;) This is an erotic romance, after all.


Sounding the Depths


Ethan Gray, former sailor on a nuclear submarine with the Royal Navy, arrives in California to work on a technical paper with a military recruiter, an acquaintance who introduces him to the elusive Josh Bennett. Back in California a few weeks later to attend a five-day party, a commitment ceremony for two friends, one with whom he served in Iraq, Ethan again runs into one Joshua Bennett, an explosive ordnance expert in the United States Navy and veteran of two Iraq tours, just returned from a third year he volunteered to spend in Afghanistan: this, an unexpected decision he remains loath to discuss even with the few closest to him. While Ethan’s initial encounters with Josh leave the easy-going, confident British sailor in love for the first time, the tight control Josh maintains in his professional and personal lives leaves him reluctant to ever fall in love again. To win Josh, Ethan must help this man who captured Ethan’s heart heal his own and leave his dark past behind him. With some persistent interference from Josh’s feisty twin sister Lana – and a specific gay-friendly phone app – can Ethan convince Josh to drop his defenses and let love in? Or is this British sailor out of his depth?

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In honour of all of our military, American or British, I’ll be donating a cup of coffee to random men and women in uniform through Green Beans’ Cup of Joe program for every comment up to 100 comments left here through Monday, May 21, when Sounding the Depths releases with Total-E-Bound. I’ll draw a random winner from among the comments to give away an e-copy of the novella as well!

Thanks again for having me, Victoria – and have a great weekend, all!


Visit Maria-Claire at her website: