GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Ariel Tachna [“Conquer The Flames”Blog Tour]

Posted: September 23, 2013 by sidlove in Blog Tour, Events, Free Stuff, Giveaway Contest, Guest Post
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When secondary characters steal the show

Reviewers have frequently commented that my secondary characters are one of the strengths of my writing. They aren’t cardboard cut-outs there simply to fulfil a plot point. Even if we never know their full story, they give a sense of having a full story.

Chase the Stars (Lang Downs, #2)Never has this been more true than in the character of Neil Emery in the Lang Downs series. Neil started out as a name on the page, one in a crowd of jackaroos all curious about their new boss. Then, he became a homophobic bigot determined to run Caine off when he found out Caine was gay. But it turns out there’s more to Neil than just his homophobia. Above all else, Neil is loyal, and once someone has won his loyalty, nothing else matters. I won’t say how Caine managed it in case anyone reading this post hasn’t read Inherit the Sky yet, although since I’m going to keep talking about how Neil develops through the rest of the series, I may not be able to avoid all spoilers. Once Caine has won Neil’s loyalty, Neil’s attitude changes. “I’m sorry for all the names I called you, boss,” Neil said. “I won’t give you any more trouble.  From here on out, I’m your man.”

I got questions from readers about how that would really play out. Would Neil really be able to keep that promise to Caine?

Chase the Stars opens with the answer to that in a couple of different ways, and we begin to see how deeply Neil’s loyalty runs. A teenager stumbles into the hotel where they’re all having dinner, crying because his brother is being bashed and he’s afraid he’ll be killed. Macklin is out the door like a shot. And then this:

The boy had barely finished his answer before Macklin was out the door.


“Yes, boss,” the jackaroo at the next table replied, already on his feet and following Macklin out the door before Caine finished speaking.

Obeying orders, even half-complete ones, is one thing, but Neil takes it a step further, defending Caine and Macklin to all the new jackaroos on the station.

“Some of you may have heard rumors about the boss.”

Chris slipped inside to listen.

“You might have heard people say he’s a poofter,” the man went on. Chris thought he’d heard Caine and Macklin call him Neil, but he wasn’t sure.  “You might have even heard less polite things about him.”

Chris hoped Neil wasn’t getting ready to deny it.  Macklin had said they didn’t talk about it but they didn’t hide it either.

“Let me make this very clear,” Neil continued, all but bristling as he spoke.  “Caine Neiheisel and Macklin Armstrong are the backbone of this station. If you can’t deal with working for a poofter, leave now, because there’s not a man on this station who will tolerate any kind of slur against either of them.”

“Wait,” one of the men said.  “Either of them? Armstrong is gay too?”

“Do you have a problem with that?” Neil demanded.

“No,” the man said, raising his hands in pacification.  “I’m just… surprised.  And, well, a little surprised everyone is so open about it.”

“Caine saved Neil’s life,” another of the hands explained. “He now feels the need to defend the boss against any threat, real or otherwise.”

“Like Macklin would let Caine get so much as a bruise,” another hand joked.

“Caine works his arse off just like the rest of us,” Neil insisted.

“And then works Macklin’s arse at night.”

“No way in hell Macklin lets anyone fuck him.”

“Caine’s the boss.”

“On the station. No way he’s the boss in the bedroom.”

“Enough!” Neil roared. “Get your sorry arses out of here and get to work!”

CTFbuttonIt’s enough to make Chris feel safe for the first time in years. So now we have loyalty that goes not just to taking orders from Caine but also to defending him. It’s a change in attitude from Neil’s original reaction to Caine, but it’s still directed very much at Caine. Has Neil’s homophobia truly faded or will it rear its head again when faced with other gay men?

This is where we see Neil’s true growth, because when first his brother and later his best friend come out to him, he doesn’t blink. Well, maybe he blinks, but he takes it in stride and supports them both through their struggles. Just… no details please!

Neil will never get a book of his own. He’s as straight as they come and actually gets married (and has kids) over the course of the story, but he’s the character who has stayed with me the most because he’s the one who gives me hope. If Neil, with all his learned homophobia, can reach the point of being the staunchest ally of the men of Lang Downs, maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for the rest of the world.

I’ll leave you with this, Neil’s finest moment from Conquer the Flames.

“And you didn’t go looking for it, because why would you?” Neil finished. “Look, I’m not an expert on relationships and stuff, but sex is supposed to be fun and feel good and bring you closer to the person you’re with. I know it wasn’t that way for you—and the fucker should be shot for what he did—but I don’t think no sex is the answer, especially not now that you have a great guy to have it with. Just, you know, spare me the details.”

“No details,” Ian promised. “That’s what happened last night. Things got a little intense and I panicked. Thorne wanted to know why. It’s not the first time he’s asked, but it’s the first time I answered him. He started cursing and shouting, at him, not at me, but I was already freaked out, and I just couldn’t deal with any more.”

“So what did you do?” Neil asked.

“I locked myself in my room until I couldn’t hear him shouting anymore, then I went to bed alone for the first time in a week, and I hated every second of it,” Ian said. “I don’t think I really slept until he came in to get dressed this morning and lay down with me instead.”

“You know I’d do anything for you, right?” Neil said. Ian nodded, not sure where that question was leading. “If you need to talk about this, I’ll listen, details and all.

҉҉  ——–  ҉҉


PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
254 pages
RELEASE DATE: 09/27/2013
BLURB: Thorne Lachlan knows a thing or two about getting himself safely out of a blaze. For years he fought in the world’s hot spots, a Commando with the Australian Army. Now, retired, he fights flames for the Royal Fire Service. When a grassfire brings him to Lang Downs, the next sheep station in danger, Thorne meets Ian Duncan and sparks fly that neither man can put out. But both men have ghosts from the past that stand in the way of moving beyond mutual attraction.

While Thorne longs for the home he could share with Ian at Lang Downs, he fears his own instability might make him a danger to others. And Ian’s always believed that the foster care nightmare he escaped before coming to Lang Downs would make any relationship impossible. Trust doesn’t come easily to Thorne or Ian until the fire’s aftermath forces them to see past the scars keeping them both from healing.

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press

✿⊹✿⊹✿⊹✿        ⊹⊹        ✿⊹✿⊹✿⊹✿


Ariel Tachna bio pic (1)Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat. Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with both France, where she found her husband, and India, where she dreams of retiring some day. She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.

You can e-mail Ariel at





Ariel Tachna gives you all a chance to win an ebook of one of her titles from the backlist.


Email ID*:
Which book from the author’s back list would you like to read?*:
The format in which you’d prefer to read the book, in case you win*:

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CONTEST WILL END ON 28th September, 2013 @ 11:59 PM Central Time!!

  1. Penumbra says:

    ‘Outlast the Night’

    Thank you! 🙂

  2. DebraG says:

    Outlast the Night
    I do so follow through hotmail.

    Thanks somuch

  3. suze294 says:

    Littlesuze at
    Outlast the Night

    Making it a hat trick is the first posts for Outlast the Night!

  4. Allison says:

    aahickman at hotmail dot com
    The Inventor’s Companion looks intriguing.

    Thank you for the post and the giveaway.

  5. Nikyta says:

    Great post, Ariel! I love the Lang Downs series and agree the secondary characters are one of the things that attract me to the series. I’ll admit, in the beginning, I was hoping Neil would turn gay and get his own story! He’s grown so much over the course of the books that I would have loved to see him get his own man but I think keeping him straight and getting his story in the background has been just as great and really made him a memorable character . I’m really looking forward to Conquer the Flames!

  6. H.B. says:

    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com
    Chase the Stars
    Thank you for the giveaway!!

  7. Jbst says:

    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com
    Chase the Stars

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Cynthia
    I’d love to read Overdrive
    Thanks for the giveaway. I’d love to read your works.

  9. Michelle (MiMi) says:

    Michelle (MiMi)
    Seducing C.C.
    mobi for my kindle please
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  10. Sherry S. says:

    sstrode at scrtc dot com
    Her Two Dads

  11. Lisa says:

    Chase the Stars
    Mobi / PRC for Kindle

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. Trix says:

    I’d try SEDUCING C.C.!

    Having a few web issues this morning, so I hope this doesn’t post twice. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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