NineStar Press

23 July 2018

60,000 words




A World Without Magic

From the start, I knew that the stories in Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods would be contemporary romance. Since these tales are all adaptations of fairytales and myths, that poses a conundrum: what to do with all the magic?

There were certain fairytales I had to discard immediately from my deliberations. They required a magical element to make the retelling viable; without it, the story wouldn’t work. There might have been ways around it in a paranormal or sci-fi setting, but not in contemporary.

Once I had selected my six stories, I then needed to find ways to keep the sense of magic intact, without resorting to any actual hocus-pocus. This meant focusing on the characters and their relationships. Any magic had to come from them, whether through the strength of their feelings or from the manner in which they handled unexpected conflicts.

The romantic plot lines provide the driving force within all six of the stories. However, the way in which that works varies from tale to tale. In some, the love between them is already established, and the characters must overcome adversity in order to stay together. In others, romance is newly found, often when unlooked for and in unusual places.

So maybe it isn’t correct to say there’s no magic in Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods. Spells and fairy godmothers may be absent, but each of the characters experiences their own little slice of enchantment as they find the man of their dreams.


An excerpt from Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods:

“Luke, have you seen my guitar? Fuck!”

Theo yanked open the wardrobe door for the third time, nearly pulling the freestanding unit down on him. As with the previous two attempts, the action revealed no guitar, only an assortment of wrinkled casual clothing, a selection of heavily abused and slightly smelly trainers, and one scrunched-up duffel bag, its sports logo beginning to peel.

A burst of inspiration saw Theo drop to the floor. Lying on his stomach, he peered under the bed and lifted the lopsided, overhanging duvet out of the way. But his spark of hope soon faded when all he found in that dark forgotten place was an old piece of gum that no amount of wishful thinking was going to separate from the carpet, a used tissue that had gathered its own court of attendant dust bunnies, and a stash of creased and ratty gay porn magazines that he didn’t think he’d looked at in two years or more.

He used the bed to haul himself upright and staggered back to his feet, casting a final glance at the guitar stand, which remained determinedly devoid of its raison d’être. Then Theo shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his torn jeans and stormed out of the bedroom into the flat’s open-plan lounge and dining area.


Where to find Beastly Businessmen and Guitar Gods:


About Asta Idonea:

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.


Where to find Asta Idonea: