QSFer Sean Kerr has a new MM Victorian gothic romance out: The Man Inside Me.
Victorian London is a difficult place to be when you are gay, as Henry and Gabriel know all too well.
When they were young at Oxford University, Henry and Gabriel’s love burned hot and bright, and they thought to change the world together until a devastating tragedy ripped them apart.
Now, as youth fades away, Henry can no longer stand to see his own reflection in the mirror. All he sees is a sad, tired old man whose body has betrayed him. He craves the touch of another, to feel attractive and vital once more but his obsession with finding a cure for insanity has stolen his life away, and now his work has taken on a dark and sinister dimension. How far will he go to recapture the passion of his lost youth?
Gabriel fears that Henry is losing his mind, and when a brutal killer invades their lives, they are thrust into the dark depths of Victorian London in a fight for their very lives.
As their friendship is tested to its limits, Gabriel cannot help but wonder if there is still a chance for love. Can they move beyond the friendship that has spanned over thirty years and find the love that once made their hearts beat as one?
You may never be too old to find love, but will you be able to survive it?
Sean is giving away an eBook copy of Dead Camp 1 with this announcement- for a chance to win, just comment below on this post.
Picture this, if you will. Cardiff, 2018, and my husband and I are getting ready for a night out. The first trauma, what the hell to wear? Our wardrobes are full of outfits from a by-gone era…our youth lol. Once upon a time, I had a trim twenty-eight-inch waist and a pert little bum. One has spread while the other headed south. Go figure! Oh what to wear? Both of us hunt through our collection in an attempt to find something that does not resemble a tent!
Then there is the face. Now this may take some time, as we both have to apply a selection of creams and age defying lotions. As I look in the mirror, I see myself gazing back at me, but not the middle-aged face that I know is there, but a younger me.
“Doesn’t matter what you do, you know, you are still going to look the same.”
“Hey!” I cry disgruntled. “It’s worth a try!”
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, you are no longer young after all.”
Damn cheek. But the younger me is right. Next year I will turn fifty, and my husband has already passed that particular milestone.
After almost thirty years of being together, we are contented with the way we have grown into each other. Despite our bodies changing from the young things we used to know. We have been on more diets and tried more face creams than you can imagine. In a world dominated by six-packs and beautiful bodies, we are lucky that we have each other, because neither of us has ever conformed to such an ideal, even in our youth. And that is why I wrote ‘The Man Inside Me’, a book dominated by two older men.
In a world ruled by gorgeous hunks with bodies that could crack nuts, I thought it was time to tell the story of an older generation, a story about two old friends who loved each other once, and who try to love each other again in a society that despises them. The older gay man is a man of deep passions, and great experience. The older gay man will have had to fight for the right to hold his lover’s hand and be with him openly. The older gay man will have been beaten and made fun of most of his life. An older gay man will have lost family and friends because they do not like what he is. That is the history and the experience of an older gay man, and that is reflected in the pages of this book with a Victorian society that would see them imprisoned for loving each other.
While this book may be a good old-fashioned love story, albeit with a twist, there is also a deeper meaning in there that I hope comes through. These men deserve to find love again. Just because they are older, wider, greyer, that does not exclude them from re-kindling their desires. As such, during the course of the book, we learn about their youth, and the passions that drive them. We see how life gets in the way. We feel the pain of looking at someone and loving them, but not being able to tell them or touch them. This book is about their journey to find a love that once burned so fiercely in their hearts and was lost due to the conventions of society and circumstance.
If you know my other works, specifically my Dead Camp series, you know how I love to write complex interweaving stories. ‘The Man Inside Me’ is a book of complex emotions. Sometimes shit happens, and it can stop us in our tracks. The person we thought would be by our side forever is gone, and there are not always straight forward reasons for that. By the time you sort out your mess of a life, your youth has slipped away, and you are perhaps not as vital as you once were. Age is something we all have to face, and we may not stay slim and pretty forever. But what if you could somehow recapture your youth? What if somehow, you could be sexy again? Would you do it? Would you turn back time to a younger, more attractive you? My husband and I have often had this conversation, but we know that we have to grow old as gracefully as we can, albeit with the help of face creams! But if someone out there has a magic wand…
‘The Man Inside Me’ is a different kind of MM Romance. Set in the 1800’s, it uses old fashioned language to reflect its age. And while I say it is more of a straight forward love story than my Dead Camp series…well, please…you do know me, don’t you? The format of this story is unusual and complex, and certainly not linear. There is also a twist that takes place which may result in you swearing rather loudly, and possibly even cursing me. If so, then my job is done, because I wrote this book to show that age really is just a number, and love has to be nurtured and never taken for granted, whether you are twenty or fifty. I may be growing older on the outside, but the man inside me is as young and vibrant as ever!
Mirror, mirror here I stand, who is the fairest in the land? In some other life, I would like to think the answer would be me.
In some other life.
Age is such a cruel creature. It saps one of all vitality and drains a beauty once perceived from the very nucleus of one’s skin.
The fire burns so hot and high in the hearth, and tonight it is the only light by which I may dare to look upon myself. As I gaze into the mirror, as I see the decrepit thing looking back at me, the other me, the man who is, not the man who wants to be, it is all that I may bear.
I am lost in the darkness of a life I once had, of a youth taken before its time.
Time. The destroyer of beauty. The destroyer of men.
Look at me, sitting here, staring inside of me.
Look at me, sitting here, hating the sight of me.
Once, some thirty odd years ago, I could look in the mirror and see the sun rising, a beautiful golden morning of a radiance revealed. Now there is but darkness and the endless night of wanting.
If I could reach into the mirror to the time-scarred man within and pull out that which I see…that which I imagine seeing…then I could guide him back into the light of this world. My youth recaptured in the glory of its moment, my life again with all the knowledge I now possess. For I am a man much wiser than the innocent youth now lost, and I am all the better for it. Could I not make that younger me such a man?
How I loathe the shape of my body, the roundness that now characterises my frame. It is a far cry from the musculature of my adolescent years. My sedentary life has put paid to the curvature and tightness of my once boyish physique, as our working lives so often dictate in this most modern of worlds. The demands of my professional life leave little space for adequate exercise, though try as I might, my midlife condition renders my waistline a lost cause. No matter how I may try to modify my intake of food or rationalise the consumption of such pleasures as a carafe of wine during the evening, still my shape bloats out of all recognition.
Even the golden locks of hair that once adorned my proud head, now lay limp and thin, its lust for life dulled by the reduction of its numbers. How I loathe the sight of my own shiny scalp grinning through those unsatisfying golden strands, their lustre dulled with time and the ravages of an industrialised London atmosphere. No matter how I may position said strands across my head, and no matter the expense of the various concoctions I have used to thicken them and restore their vitality, it remains a shameful reminder of my deepening middle-age. It is a failure in the design of the male species that the age of a man may be determined so easily by the quantity of hair on his head.
I should wish to do something about that.
I was once told, in the burgeoning blossom of my youth, that my eyes were the most beautiful things to behold, that they spoke of desire and passion, of happiness and abandonment. It was the most perfect complement, and I can remember it as though the words were spoken only yesterday, as such kind words are wanting to stay in the mind’s eye. Yet, the mirror does not lie. I see, but the faded pools of a misspent youth gazing back at me from the silver coated glass, their blue the colour of faded winter skies rather than the fierce sapphire of desire. Yes, they speak of my intelligence, oh yes, for that, at least, is something that cannot fade, but only grow stronger with the passing of each year. They speak of my passions for learning, for the chemistry that gives us purpose and life, and yet they lack the glint of mischievousness they once possessed, that singular spark of life which made them so alive. They are as pale and insipid as the rest of me.
I am perhaps not the most attractive of men, though there have been those who have kindly said otherwise. Maybe once, when my figure bore the sculptural quality of those barely born, a momentary flicker of magnificence in a life destined for old age. Is that not the human condition? We are born, we burn bright for but a small portion of our lives before falling headlong into middle-age which is in itself nothing more than a rehearsal for the old age beckoning at the door to claim your bones. Maybe twenty years of youth, thirty if one is fortunate before we plummet into the later part of our lives.
Too short. Our lives are but fleeting moments, stolen from time, merely glimpsed in an all too brief flash of youth.
What would we give to be able to hold onto that youth? Would I be a different man if I was more attractive? Happier, maybe, contented? Not so alone? As the years pile upon my carcass, I find the need for companionship all the more pressing, and yet, the mirror tells me that such a thing may never now be possible, as does the society in which I exist.
It is my own fault. For too long, I have consumed my life with those chemistries that bind this world together, rather than the chemistry that binds two men, and while I hide my desires from an unsuspecting world, I see it staring back at me with ever increasing force. While life and vivacity drain with the passing of each year, I find that my need for companionship increases, both in the beating of my heart and the stirring of my manhood. How many nights have I sat before this mirror self-flagellating? My hand is the only lover that I know, and while the release may be welcome and explosive, it is but a fleeting, transient proclamation of my miserable failure.
I crave more than the comfort of my palm against my raging sexuality. To feel the warmth of a man in my arms, to see his eyes open next to me in the waking hours is almost too much for me to hope. Have I left it too late to find such companionship? Have I put purpose before personal gain, and thus lost the opportunity for love? I have hidden the shame of myself from the world for so long that I have inadvertently hidden it from myself so that I no longer know my own feelings. I am as indifferent to the world as the world is to me, and my outward façade is all the plainer for it.
The need within me is so cautious, and now I find that I must listen all the more intently in order to hear it. I try to hold it close to me, to nurture that spark which has seen fit to visit me so late in life before life itself decides to pass me by. I see the man inside me, the other man, the better man. The more attractive man. He is so full of confidence, so full of life, so full of all the qualities that prevent me from finding such companionship, and I find more and more that I wish to be that man, the man inside me.
I will find the answer. Now that I see him, now that his smile creases the corners of my thin, insipid lips, I will never lose him, of this, he has my word. For the man inside is me, and I will find some way to set him free. This much I promise, and I will hold him dear to me until the day that I die.
Mirror, mirror don’t you see? What you show is ruining me.
Hi everyone, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Sean Kerr, and I am a 49-year-old gay man living in Cardiff, Wales with my husband of 28 years, Derek. We have two cats, Rita and Harry, and a host of tropical fish.
I worked on building sites for years, and I used the money earned from that to put myself through college, specialist paint techniques etc. I trained in fine art, and then I went out and painted murals on client’s walls, and created Roman Bathrooms and fantasy hand painted bedrooms, all the rage back in the late eighties and nineties. I then became an Interior Designer for a large DIY chain. For the past thirteen years I ran my own Interiors business, and while that is no longer in existence, I am now looking for my next challenge in life!
By night I am an Author, and I am very proud to be an author for Extasy Books. It took me some years to get to this point. I spent a very long time trying to get an agent because I thought it was the right thing to do, and after a heck of a lot of refusals, I nearly gave up. I came so close to hitting the delete button on Dead Camp 1because I thought I did not stand a chance. At the very last moment, I decided to have a go at approaching a few publishers directly, and I sent the manuscript to six. Within two weeks, I had offers of publication from three! Let’s just say that there may have been tears lol. It was my chance, at last, to become a part of a world that I have always loved and admired from a distance, and it is one of the very best things to ever happened to me.
Dead Camp is the first series I ever wrote, and then there is my short novella called Hush Little Baby. Dead Camp is my take on the Vampire genre, an MM Paranormal Romance series that is set against a backdrop of World War 2. However, the series uses key moments from History to tell one enormous saga, and I have loved every single moment of writing it. There are five books in the Dead Camp series.
Hush is a pure horror story with more than a nod towards such classic programmes as The Twilight Zone and Tales of The Unexpected. The project happened just after I completed Dead Camp 3 and it is a story that I had to get out of my system. It’s definitely a different beast to my Vampire saga, and I hope it will make you go to bed with the lights on lol!
I recently ventured into the world of self-publishing, and as such, I have just released my first independent book series, The Last Child. The Last Child is a horror series that is in 3 parts dealing with the occult. It has a definite Dan Brown vibe in that I love conspiracy stories, so I have used religion and some intriguing legends as the backdrop to this contemporary supernatural thriller that tells the story of a female protagonist trying to protect her young student. Neither of them realises how their lives, and indeed their histories, are intertwined in the most horrific and tragic ways.
My latest book, ‘The Man Inside Me’ is an MM Victorian Gothic Romance, and I think it is the favourite thing I have written so far. It deals with two men in their fifties trying to find love again, a subject that is very close to my heart as I approach that milestone. It is a very important book to me, and while it has some very ‘KERR’ twists and turns, it is, at its heart, a very romantic tale that deals with middle age. I am particularly proud of this book, and it is a very different spin on the MM genre.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to meeting you on social media.
Stalking links! Come and say hello!