Friday, February 27, 2015

a lousy cold

So this week I caught a cold that has knocked me sideways and loop-De-lou. I've been home resting and drinking plenty of fluids, but my head is very fuzzy and I haven't been able to do any writing. Mostly I've just been bemoaning myself while resting on the couch. I can't even claim to have watching interesting things on tv while I did it. Oh no, I've been watching a lot of nonsense, flim-flam stuff.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Free Read: Circles, Circles, and Triangles

Another snippet about Oscar and Phillip!

Title: Circles, Circles, and Triangles
Genre: m/m romance


Oscar squeezed his eyes shut until spots danced behind his eyes, and then opened them, but the lethargy remained. He was dangerously close to falling asleep in this training session and if he didn't get himself energized soon, he would probably tip over in his chair.

The presenter, a woman hired in from a highly renowned firm, in the front of the room droned on as she switched slides. This diagram had overlapping circles. The next slide showed the same information, but contained arrows between the circles. The third slide turned all the circles into triangles. In her monotone voice, she made some glib remark and laughed at herself. No one else in the room even snickered.

Oscar picked up his coffee mug, but it felt distressingly light and when he peered down he could see it was empty. He scrounged in his pockets, but only came up with empty wrappers. The last of his mints had been devoured over the previous hour.

Another wave of sleepiness washed over him, threatening to take him down. He ran a finger around the edge of his collar and loosened the knot of his tie. The room felt uncomfortably warm and stuffy. It smelled of too many people breathing in a small space for too long.

The facilitator in front laughed again at another of her own jokes. Oscar shifted in his chair. His back ached from sitting for too long. He stared down at the notes he'd taken earlier in the session and picked up his pen with the intention to write down something, anything, that might help him stay awake. The slide on view for the moment showed a graph, but the print was too small to read. He doodled a few circles in the top corner of the paper, but the movement only soothed him more.

In his pocket, his phone buzzed. As discreetly as possible, he slid it out and held it low in his lap. Phillip had texted him: Picked up dinner. Steaks on sale! Also wine.

A grateful feeling swelled in Oscar's heart. It was nice to know he could just go home at the end of the day and not need to worry about figuring out what to make for dinner. On top of that, Phillip cooked magnificently. Oscar counted himself doubly lucky to have fallen for a man with so many talents, and who was damn sexy, too.

Another text message from Phillip buzzed in: Also bought chocolate and whip cream. Guess what's for dessert.

A different part of Oscar's anatomy swelled at the insinuation. He glanced at the time at the top edge of the phone screen. Thirty minutes left to this presentation. Then, a quick trip back to the office to deal with a handful of issues, and he could be home in a little over an hour.

The presenter brayed at another of her own jokes, and this time Oscar let it gloss right by him. Whip cream, he thought, and Phillip. A tinge of adrenaline spiked his system, anticipation growing. He certainly wasn't sleepy anymore.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

captivating characters

A MASH rerun was on tv tonight ("Hey Look Me Over"), and it featured one of the secondary characters, Kellye Yamato (played by Kellye Nakahara), and it was so nice to see how her storyline progressed -- she was such a well-rounded, smart (she fixed the autoclave!), empathetic (she comforted a dying soldier), confidant (she gave Hawkeye a well-deserved tongue-lashing) person. I was totally captivated by the episode, and by her character. I don't remember her being featured too many other times, but she's listed at imdb as doing 167 episodes, which is quite a lot. I will have to keep my eye out for her when I see the other episodes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

stuck, and switching gears

The WiP I've got going at the moment has reached a tricky part and I'm stuck. I tried staring at the page for an hour or so the other day (and distracting myself by picking apart a few sentences here and there) and after the futile effort, realized I might need to let it sit for a while before attacking this story again. So, I'm contemplating my next effort. A change of WiP may be just the thing to recharge the batteries!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

kindness backstep

Today was sort of an odd day. After spending yesterday all hyped up for the DSP Twitter takeover and having the release party for the Random Acts of Kindness Anthology, and spending contemplative time thinking about people and kindnesses and such, I ran into several situations today where people were definitely *not* being kind. It was sort of bitter. I suppose it makes fiction all the more necessary as a place to take refuge.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Random Acts of Kindness Anthology, today today today!

Here is a lovely banner and the list of stories for the newest anthology that I'm a part of:

Never Waste a Good Left Turn, in the Random Acts of Kindness Anthology.

Available at Dreamspinner Press in ebook or print formats:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

NPR's Only a Game, some great stories

NPR's Only a Game has some great and interesting stories this week covering gay athletes.

One: "Why Is Michael Sam Still An NFL Free Agent?"
Two: "MLB Film Details Gay Player’s Road To Inclusion"
Three: "Littlefield On Gay Athletes: ‘One Day These Stories Will Seem Quaint’ "

All three are really worthy listens. Go!

$2.49/serving, not even close

I love to cook and I spent quite a bit of time looking through magazines and the internet looking for new recipe ideas. I found one I wanted to try and it also contained one of those expense counters. The ingredients are tallied up for price so you'll know how much the whole meal costs. Except, sometimes, the ingredients are not things I keep on hand.

Ingredients like onions and garlic, yes, I purchase those and use them regularly. But fresh sage? No. Maybe in the summer I might be able to score some. A lot of people have gardens and give away a bunch of herbs here and there. So, I find it frustrating to have the recipe say something like 'fresh sage 50 cents', because if I purchased it, I'd only use a tablespoon or two. True, but the rest of it probably won't be used, unless I figure out another recipe.

Sure, some people are excellent at fitting together their groceries like complicated jigsaw puzzles. Buy one ingredient, use it 6 times. And I do that to the best of my ability.

My apologies for the dash of negativity, but this really is something that irks me.

I was cooking at a friend's house (for another friend -- casseroles to stuff a freezer for an upcoming rough time) and had to purchase practically all the ingredients from scratch. (A little white wine, onions, and garlic were on hand, but nothing else.) I'm glad to do it, and the feeling of having someone make homecooked food is half of the tonic, but that little nugget along with the recipe that it should have turned out to be some economical choice just chafed my sensibilities!!

(Unless everyone out there keeps fresh sage growing on their windowsills?)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Free Read: The Tragedy of Dinner

Apparently I'm not done with telling another little story in Oscar and Phillip's lives! I went to find a prompt for today's ficlet and it was a fill in the blank: "The greatest tragedy is______". So here's the story, with perhaps not the greatest tragedy, but an important one.

Title: The Tragedy of Dinner
Genre: m/m


Phillip stared down at the slimy mess on the floor with a sense of utter despair, and a flare of rage starting to burn at his own clumsy nature. Tomato sauce splattered out wide and the delicately made gnocchi scattered about in the swirl of juices. Just a moment ago, he'd been brandishing the platter so prominently, so proudly, and now it was nothing but a giant clump of mush on the floor.

Oscar pushed back his chair from the kitchen table. Phillip noticed that he'd already lit the two long tapered candles. They flickered merrily, catching the curve of the wine glasses filled with a treasured rosé. "Phil," Oscar said, "oh no, Phil. All your hard work."

Phillip backed up. "I'll get the trash can. I can clean it up. There's still salad and bread, and fresh fruit for dessert. We can eat that and…." He sucked in some air and turned to get supplies to clean up the mess. At least it had fallen on the linoleum and not on the carpet.

Phillip dropped the platter on the counter and it thudded, perilously close to cracking. He didn't care. It had betrayed him. He'd retrieved it from storage as a special item to use and a careless moment had tipped all the food over its too short sides. He hoped its creator knew it was a useless piece of junk.

He'd spent the evening in the kitchen, puttering about, making the meal, exquisitely happy that he could create a divine romantic dinner for Valentine's Day. It was fresh gnocchi, made by hand. He'd even purchased a gnocchi board so he could make it at home with the characteristic lines. He'd spent all day making the sauce!

Phillip startled when Oscar came up behind him. "The greatest tragedy isn't that dinner is on the floor," he said, "it's that you'd think I wouldn't appreciate your effort more than the food itself."

"Oscar," Phillip said, "thank you."

"Now, the only thing you need to decide, is if you want to go out for Italian, or seafood, or Chinese, or you name it, and we'll go out."

"It's Valentine's Day," Phillip pointed out. "Everyone's booked."

"Then we'll eat fried chicken." Oscar kissed Phillip and rubbed his thumbs over Phillips' cheekbones. "Next week, this'll be the best story ever."

"Right now, I'm just hungry. And maybe a little humiliated."

Oscar kissed him again. "Then, let's make sure the stove is turned off—"

"—and the candles blown out," Phillip added, thinking that after the food disaster, he didn't want to come back to his home burned down.

"—that too, and go find something." Oscar bumped his hips against Phillip's. "Maybe we'll go back to that little lover's lane we used to frequent and neck in the car like we were kids."

Phillip laughed. "Then, we should get pizza. We always got pizza when we did that."

"Mm, I like that idea. Let's go." Oscar checked the stove. "All off," he declared. He tugged on Phillip's arm and they detoured past the table to blow out the candles. Oscar retrieved their coats, and as they slid on their shoes, Phillip dialed up the pizzeria and placed an order for pickup.

"Technically," he said, "this means I still provided dinner."

"Absolutely," Oscar agreed, then added, "Let's go. Pepperoni and onions, here we come."

Saturday, February 7, 2015

deep into edits

I'm currently deep into editing on "Cotton Candy Deceit" and the clock is ticking away!

Why is it that when you're trying to fix things by adding in a sentence here and there, all the sentences that spring to mind contain "was/were" and "that"? That was there, that was. It weren't there before, but that it is now.

I'm going to set it aside tonight and tackle fresh tomorrow.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Free Read: Rainy Day Rain Check

This is a short little thing I wrote off the prompt of imagining something you might do on a rainy day.

Title: Rainy Day Rain Check
genre: m/m romance


The alarm went off at 7 o'clock. Oscar rolled over, hit the snooze, and then spent a minute groaning himself awake. Next to him, Phillip bounced out of bed.

"I'll get the coffee started," Phillip said. "You take a hot shower and wake up."

"Neh," Oscar replied. He didn't have the energy yet to form complete words. It took another minute of rubbing his face to wake up enough to roll to the side of the bed, prop himself up, and struggle to a standing position. Never an early riser, he'd been traveling for work that week, and jetlag was playing tricks on him. He turned off the alarm and clomped his way into the bathroom.

The rush of warm water from the shower head did wake him and by the time he'd shampooed his hair, he was looking forward to the day. Breakfast would be quick since they had to get out to the field before 9 for the game to start. Eggs were easy to make and filling. He'd never believed in the oatmeal sticking to your ribs propaganda.

He rinsed his hair and contemplated shaving in the shower. Or he could go with the scruffy look for the day. Phillip claimed to adore it when Oscar didn't look like he lived in a three-piece suit. He rubbed his chin and the whiskers prickled. Real football players sported unkempt facades, since today was the play-off flag football conference, perhaps it would be lucky to pull in a little of that football mojo. He could even dig out some of the blackening agent and put thick stripes under his eyes. It would make him appear fearless. The other team would never know what hit them.

"Grr," he said softly into the cascade of hot water. A little water trickled into his mouth. He turned away from the shower and tried the sound with a little more force. He was a badass and he was going to rule the gridiron! "Grr!"

The bathroom door opened and Phillip came in. He grinned as he caught the last of the sound. "Hey, tiger," he said, "I have bad news."

"What?" Oscar turned off the water. As it swirled down the drain he realized he could hear the steady drumbeat of rain on the roof. He hadn't been awake enough earlier to hear the rain. That would make the field muddy for the game.

"The field is unplayable. It's been raining all night. Mike says it's a sea of mud."

"But this is football." Oscar pushed aside the shower curtain.

"Yes, but we just reserve the field space from the town, and the maintenance people have canceled it for the day. They'll reschedule us for another weekend."

"I took the redeye two days ago to get back here in time," Oscar said. Having hyped himself up, digesting the change of plans was difficult.

"Yeah, you did," Phillip said. He nudged an old towel off the rack and replaced it with a brand new one. "So, look on the bright side. Instead of flying in today, like you were supposed to, you're already here. And now we have an entire free day ahead of us. With nothing planned."

Oscar smiled. "Well, now since you put it that way." He tugged on Phillip's arm and Phillip stepped into the tub. "Coffee on the way?" he asked as he untied Phillip's bathrobe belt and chucked the whole ensemble on the bathroom floor.

"It's brewing."

"Good. We're going to need a big breakfast after we shower." He pulled the shower curtain closed. "Grr," he said softly, then he turned on the water again, and drowned out the rain pounding on the roof.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

well past the midnight hour

The clock tells me it is not quite one in the morning, and I really should return to bed.

I've fallen into the odd (and not really sustainable) habit of coming home, eating dinner, napping, and waking up late. Then, I get in an hour or two of computer time, and go back to bed.

I feel all fuzzy-headed, so writing isn't getting done. (Also, my feet are cold, which really inhibits creativity!) I've used the time pretty well, catching up on e-mails, completing so much of the obligatory ends-and-ends of paperwork, and doing some bits and bobs of research on things. I find the time has not been wasted. Yet, I long for the settled in comfort of typing away merrily as I carve out a story, and I haven't quite gotten to that point yet. I've been very diligent and practical in meeting ordinary life demands, but I am in contemplation on how I need to implement some changes to better foster my energies and environment.

Monday, February 2, 2015

learning lessons (again and again)

With the release date of my story "Never Waste a Good Left Turn" imminent as part of the Random Acts of Kindness Anthology, the subject of acts of kindness has been on my mind lately. I've started to envisage acts of kindness kind of like the good egg/bad egg meter from the Willy Wonka movie. Good Act/Bad Act. Kind/Unkind.

Today, that meter would have been swinging wildly from side to side.

I had an opportunity to gain some knowledge, spend some time with people I didn't know well. Good.

I got ditched and had to wait for over half an hour in the bitter cold (because it was the right thing to do). Bad.

Some of the people were very friendly. Good.

Some of the people were very rude. Bad.

Overall, I suppose the kind/unkind meter ended up balanced out. But it left me with a sour taste, and a reminder that next time, I'm probably going to want to pass on so-called quality time with these individuals. Walking away mostly unscathed from my mini-adventure: Lesson Learned.

But, that part doesn't have very much to do with kindness.