Friday, December 26, 2014

Free Read: Misunderstood Hotness, Part 1

Title: Misunderstood Hotness
Genre: male/male romance
Summary: Mason Deguerra was hot. Smokin' hot. That actually made it very difficult for him to find a long term love who didn't just want to use him.


Mason DeGuerra was hot.

He was hot in the way that caused traffic to slow down and come to a stand still. His cheek bones were sharp enough to cut glass, his chin jutted strongly with only a hint of a cleft, and his eyes were smoky and mysterious. When he smiled, spectators longed for sunglasses. Mason's skin was an effortless bronze and his ash-brown hair tumbled over his forehead and into his glamorous eyes. Hours spent playing sports ensured toned muscles and perfect abs. Genetics graced him with near perfect proportions. He was tall but not looming, lithe but not reedy, and compact but not bulldoggish.

All put together, he was a damn near perfect package. Each facet melded together to bestow strength, speed, and agility. He excelled at any sport he tried and the sweet smell of success drew admirers just as readily as his looks. Sports stardom beckoned and he was on the path to heeding its siren call. Mason currently excelled as a shortstop on a baseball franchise farm team and only awaited the ripening moment when he would be called up.

Since he'd sprouted from adorable child into gangly teenager that had quickly filled out his frame with muscle, Mason was well aware of his effect on others. Charming people with his good looks took no effort. In fact, he often didn't have to do anything at all. They swooned on the way over to meet him. Getting people to look past his exterior to who he was underneath, now that was a lot more difficult.

"So, we could get out of here. If you wanted, that is." The girl who'd been chatting him up at the birthday party batted her eyes. She'd been talking at him for less than ten minutes. Pretty and young, with in-style clothes and a trendy haircut, the girl had latched onto him with the same dopey expression he usually saw plastered on the faces of people who craved his attention.

"Sorry." He smiled at her to soften the rejection and she scrunched into her shoulders, a sure sign that she wouldn't believe he'd say no, even as he said it. "I have to stay until the end. I promised Dylan I'd help clean up."

"Oh, that's so nice of you." She pursed her mouth. "I guess I'll see you at the end. I can stay and help clean up too. Then maybe we can go somewhere."

"Sure, maybe." Mason waved at a bunch of people across the room, pretending that he'd seen a friend. "I just saw someone I have to talk to. Catch you later."

"Tina," she called after him. "I'm Tina. See you later!"

Mason didn't reply. He strode across the room, intent on hiding out in the kitchen. Appreciative glances followed him. Some days he was flattered. Actually, most days he liked it. Being the center of attention and getting things easily was really nice.

Lately, though, he was fed up. He'd just broken up with the latest in a long line of boyfriends who had only wanted the esteem of dating eye-candy. It had been yet another heartbreak in a succession of heartbreaks and Mason was tired of it all.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

too soon to tell, maybe a novelette? a novel?

I've got a solid 12k words written -- about 2k of them done today -- in a story I've been working on for a while. It's been slow. I wrote the first part as a short story awhile ago and knew it needed more, and finally this week I've gotten back to it. I am notoriously back at guessing how long it will really end up being, but this one should end up somewhere over 25k, just thinking about how I want the plot to progress. This is exciting! I've done short stories in the under 12k range up until now, so to have a novelette (novel??) sized story in the works is a Big Deal for me.

This next week at work is going to be bonkers, though, so I just hope the same energy stays with me for the next 9 days, and then I will be able to return to the story again.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

busy morning, lazy afternoon

This morning I was on top of things! I cleaned the kitchen, roasted vegetables, did laundry, got things organized, knocked down a bunch of computer things that needed to get done. I exercised. Then, something happened. I stopped for a moment to rest and *kaboom*, my energy fled. Now I'm on the couch, just sort of resting and daydreaming and letting the hours ooze by.

I will have to get up in a little bit and get stuff done, I have to be somewhere at some point to fulfill commitments.

But is it wrong to be a little lazy? It's the first time in a long time that I haven't had to get things done, be somewhere, take advantage of some opportunity. I'm really enjoying this down time. I'll regret it later, perhaps, but right now, I like having no where to be and nothing that must be done.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

icy roads and holiday parties

We had our holiday party at work today and it was very nice and extremely filling. No more of that sort of eating for a little bit!

The roads on the way home were quite icy. Thankfully everyone was going very slowly so we all stayed where we were supposed to be. I suspect there will be a lot of scraping of windows in the morning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

11 hours of not writing

I had last evening all planned out for writing -- easy dinner, nothing else that had to be done, and I came home wiped out and feeling cold. So, after dinner, I attempted a short nap, and found that there was no way I could even think about getting up. I felt clammy and low. So I stayed in bed and got up a little early this morning. I think I have it beat, though, as I do feel better. I have about a 1/2 hour to write this morning. Ah, frailty.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Contract! Cotton Candy Deceit

Rooster and Pig Publishing are going to publish my short story "Cotton Candy Deceit" in their upcoming A Circus Act anthology!

I am *really* excited about this. I tend to write very well based on prompts and ideas and when I read their call for something incorporating romance at a circus, well, I had a wonderful idea.  A creepy idea.  An idea suffused with a bit of horror.

It is a short story, for sure, but I think it's structured very well, and an excellent example of my style of writing -- something a little off-center, but beautiful nonetheless. I am excited to be able to share it with everyone...after the editing process, of course. won't be too long, I'm sure!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

such a nice snowshoe walk

I had a lovely snowshoe hike today through the woods.  A lot of it was on trail, but some of it was off-trail.  The snow was a bit sunken and crusty, but it still clung to the branches of the trees.  There's something striking about the dark tree trunks against the brilliant white of snow, and then all those scratchy branches....  But there were also evergreen trees, with their still fresh needles, even in the deep of winter.  It's easy to see how they would become a symbol of so many enduring things. So, yes, a lovely walk.  Contemplative and full of fresh air.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Free Fiction: Cheer It To The Heavens

Title: Cheer It To The Heavens
Length: ~725 words
Genre: m/m romance

Notes:  I was thinking about these moments of silence.  They're beautiful because it gives you time to reflect, or pray, mourn, or send love out into the universe, but sometimes I think that the person we've lost was just too vibrant to need a quiet moment.  I feel like perhaps if we shouted loud enough, we might send them one last hurrah across the great divide, and they would know we miss them.  This story is all about that idea.


"Gather round, gather round," commanded Dave, the captain of the Titans and overall head organizer of their community flag football league.  He made compression motions with his arms and the gaggle of players crowded tightly together.

Matt looked around at the assembly, noting good friends and formidable challengers.  He caught Tommy's eye and they smiled at each other. Nothing had happened yet, but it was only a matter of time.  Matt liked the way Tommy played hard and laughed easily.  He ran fast and never let up, but was still the first one to offer a hand to a player on the ground.  He was solid, capable, and had eyes so green that there had to be an emerald somewhere bemoaning its stolen color.

"Just a few words today before we start playing," said Dave, and Matt's attention snapped back.  "I think most of you knew Ardie Herman.  He played here with us for the last five years.  A great team player and a heck of a quarterback.  He battled with cancer for the past two years and yesterday he passed away."  Dave's voice wobbled a little, but he took a deep breath and recovered.  "I talked to his family and they said he was comfortable and surrounded by everyone he loved, and who loved him.  They're working out when the services will be. I know a moment of silence is traditional to mark the passing of a cherished person, but I'd like to change that for today."

Matt swiveled his gaze around again.  The group was silent and still.  Some looked pained.  A few were staring away into the distance, their arms crossed stiffly against their chests. In the sunshine, the loss of a good friend seemed remote and impossible.  The field was picturesquely green and the air warm, even though it was late fall, and Matt felt like Ardie might arrive any moment, a little bit late.  A pang of sadness hit him as it sunk in that he wouldn't get to talk to Ardie again.  Matt scuffed a foot on the grass.    

Dave continued, "But Ardie was never quiet.  He cheered us on when he was on the field and when he couldn't play anymore.  His voice was the loudest every weekend.  I'd like to honor that by sending up a cheer.  It's unusual, but Ardie was unusual and he deserves to hear it. I know he's in heaven and if we make a loud enough noise, then all the angels up there will know who they've got, if they don't know it already."

A murmur of laughter went through the crowd.

"So, I'm going to count down from three, and then let's send up a cheer for Ardie.  He deserves it."  Dave scanned around him and must have liked what he saw because he clapped his hands.  "Three, two, one!"  Dave lifted his face to the sky and a deep yell came out.

The players yelled with him.  A few people shrilled whistles, giving a top note pitch over the rumble and fury of more than thirty people emptying their lungs of grief.

Matt whooped and hollered. He brought his whole body into the effort and tightened his arms as he joined in the crowd.  His hands ached with the force of clenching them into fists.  The cacophony lasted for a long time.  One shout spent, Matt gulped in another breathe and let loose again.  Others next to him did the same.  There were whistles, clapping, stomping of feet, and the lifting of voices to create a tumult of acknowledgement.

Slowly, the cheering died away, and only a few clapping hands were left, and then that finally ceased as well.

"Thank you," Dave said, and now his voice cracked roughly, sounding used and worn out. "I know he heard us. And if he were here now, I know he'd tell me to get on with it." He looked around at the teams.  "Time to play a little football."

A few players gave hoarse cries of excitement and everyone moved to their positions.

Tommy jogged past Matt and on a whim, Matt put out a hand.  Tommy stopped, one eyebrow raised. "Hey, want to come over for pizza tonight?  Watch the game?"

"Sure.  I'd like that."  Tommy grinned and started jogging again.

Matt felt like he could hear Ardie cheering him on.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Guest Post: Strong Female Characters

I've got a guest post at Brynn Stein's blog today.  It's about my story "How Sweetly the Whippoorwill Sings" and about some thought I've had about writing female characters.

Please come visit and read!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

shaking off some low energy

I had a low grade sort of malady for a couple days that really sucked the energy out of me, and in addition a really tough week with a lot of deadlines, so I sort of vegged out last night.  When I woke up this morning, it seemed to be lingering, but I had so much to do that there wasn't any choice but to plunge straight ahead! It was a good thing to start because I ended up getting a lot of organization done, even if it did take me longer than I had wanted.

My To Do List is still very long, gotta get back to it!

Friday, December 5, 2014

burning the midnight oil

I didn't mean to stay up so late, but I have.

I had a busy day!  First I got edits done and turned in on Never Waste a Good Left Turn (coming in February I believe, from Dreamspinner) and now I need to think hard about the blurb for it.

And I spent an entire evening hoping around the internet reading all sorts of interesting tidbits here and there.  I've tucked them away into my brain to pour forth into the appropriate story.

I don't have a plot or characters or anything, but I fell in love with the possible title of "The Donkey's Lullaby".  I haven't a clue what the story would be about, but isn't it an intriguing title?  (It may be a song title, searching for it sort of turned up something, but I wasn't sure it was a real site and not a spammer's paradise.  But still, I like it.)

Free Read: Daydream

Title: Daydream
Length: ~690 words
Genre: m/m romance
Summary: Raul daydreams about a desired lover.

Notes: Oh, this was just for fun.  I took 20 minutes to sit down and write it as a timed exercise and then gave it a quick polish before posting.  I got to play around with internal musings, which was good, as sometimes I gloss over some of that to concentrate on dialogue. 


Raul stared up at the sky.  He was between classes and while he should have been studying, such a lassitude had overtaken him that his books remained unopened and unread as he sprawled in the grass.  He wished for a blanket as the grass scratched his forearms and the naked skin between his waistband and untucked shirt.  Retrieving one meant getting up and he had no energy for it, so he lounged on the lawn. 

He plucked at the grass and held a piece tight between his two thumbs.  He blew against the edge of the blade and a shrill whistle emanated.

Two nearby girls giggled, books balanced on their knees as they sat cross-legged, and gave him flirty winks.  They waved with just the tips of their fingers and pushed their hair behind their ears in the most winsome of manners.  He smiled at them and then stretched back on the ground.  He wasn’t interested in co-eds.

Who was he interested in?  Frederick from Chemistry lab? Dante in Statistics? Aaron, who sat just in front of him during Ethics lecture? Each held their own allure.  Frederick was muscled, chiseled nearly perfect, and on the rugby team.  Dante's dark eyes seemed to pierce the soul and he could run numbers in his head faster than Raul could punch them into a calculator. Aaron was light-haired and freckled, and so friendly that he seemed like sunshine itself.

Yet, Raul wasn’t drawn to any of them.  He wanted something more.  He wanted mystery and romance, perhaps a dash of brawn balanced with quick wit, but overall he wanted to do something adventurous.  He wanted someone who rode a motorcycle, dressed out in the blackest of leather.  His helmet would have a shaded visor and only Raul would be allowed to see his hungry eyes.  They could ride together, tour the countryside, visit landmarks and waterfalls.  They could camp overnight on the road and hike mountain trails together.  Each night his lover would rub calloused hands all over Raul and they would fall apart with ecstasy.  Then, in the morning, they would ride together again, finding bistros with bitter coffee and homemade cinnamon rolls.

But how could he meet such a man?  Raul pillowed his head with his clasped hands and continued to contemplate the sky.  It was robin egg blue today with only the barest wisp of some clouds down near the horizon.  He felt like he could see for a thousand miles into its immensity.  The sun was warm on his skin and the grass smelled fresh.  He felt like he could imagine anything, but in that moment, his creativity left him.

Raul went to class and then to his dormitory.  He studied in the library and he ate in the dining hall.  All his movements were on campus.  It was hardly a schedule that allowed for falling shamelessly into a tryst with anyone.  Still, his mystery lover would have to be found here.  Maybe he could be a rogue librarian. No, better yet, an assistant visiting professor.  He would teach languages.  Raul would sign up for a language class on a whim.  Latin, or ancient Greek.  This professor would be deeply invested in an artifact held only by the university.  He would be intent on cracking its secrets and Raul would be the only one able to distract him.  There would be such interesting ways that Raul could devise to call his lover’s attention back to the world of the living, away from the dusty past….

The girls giggled again and Raul emerged from his daydream.  It dissipated like quicksilver, feathering away like the wispy cloud in the distance. He glanced at his phone for the time and saw he would be late to class if he didn’t hurry.  It was Ethics, and he supposed that baring the appearance of a handsome visiting language professor, that perhaps focusing closer to home would be a better choice. Some time spent in Aaron’s sunny company would not go amiss.  Perhaps he could invite Aaron to his room for a study session and, if he were very lucky, there might be more than just flirting to enjoy.