Sunday, January 31, 2016

Rainbow Snippets: Whippoorwills and Nightingales

For this week's Rainbow Snippets, , I've clipped one of my favorite bits from my short story "How Sweetly the Whippoorwill Sings". Something about that crushed rosebud just does me in. It's rather understated, and dramatic, and a fanciful way to refer to lust.


“I’ll find you.” Jake’s gaze was solemn again, and full of promise. “If you make me feel this way after meeting you twice, I want to see what happens if we actually go out on a date.”

“Yes. Yes, please.” Everett slid a hand down his tie and checked his boutonnière. The rosebud was fine, though it would probably bruise soon, having been crushed in the embrace.


The buy link for the story is here:
And it is on sale this week, too. :)

But for those who'd like a taste of the story without the commitment, I did write a free snippet that went along with it, and you can find that here:

The Nightingale's Confection

Saturday, January 30, 2016

coffee maker search

The search is on!

My coffee maker died recently and, after having a horrible morning without coffee, I have been searching for the right one to replace the broken one. There are a lot of coffee makers out there in the world. A lot. I'm having a tough time deciding what to get, and sometimes the reviews on the product are not helpful. How can one person find it to be the best appliance of all time and another to find the same machine to be an engineering nightmare? So, I'm still looking. I think I've found the one for me, but it is across town at a store, and I'm not going anywhere near the store until Saturday afternoon is over. Saturday afternoon is resplendent with gobs and gobs of shoppers. I don't need the coffee maker until morning -- I've made due with buying coffee and with making delicious cups of tea so far. My trek for caffeine will take place tonight!

Friday, January 29, 2016

hedgehog superhighway

Oh, the poor little hedgehogs! I hope everyone makes adjustments to their fences so they can thrive. And stop littering plastic cups.

Free Fiction: Winter By the Ocean, Part II

"Here, put this on your head. It'll keep the swelling down." Dylan handed over a kitchen towel wrapped around a handful of ice cubes. He'd found the towel in a drawer, pristine and white and Dylan hoped he wouldn't be charged extra if the blood didn't come out.

"Thanks." Saph took the towel and lifted it to his head. He touched it gingerly to the bandaged area, winced, and then settled it more comfortably. With one hand committed to the towel at his head, he leaned against the counter in the kitchen and ran his other hand across the granite tile. "Nice place. You live here?"

"Only for a little while," Dylan said. "I've rented the place for a short vacation." He gathered a wad of paper towels from the dispenser on the wall, which was one of the few things that broke the overall décor of the home. The dispenser was painted purple and green with a child's scrawl across the back of it declaring love for mommy and daddy, while the rest of the house settled somewhere between modern and homey chic. Dylan used the paper towels to sweep the remains of the first aid actions into the trash bin.

Saph had been bleeding pretty copiously, although by the time Dylan reached him, he hadn't been actively bleeding. All the blood was tacky, nearly dry, and just looking rather gruesome. Dylan looked under the sink to see what cleaning supplies the family stocked. He should probably spritz the counter down with bleach, or something.

"Vacations are good. What are you on vacation from?" Saph asked. He watched Dylan clean up. "I don't have anything, if you're worried about that. Diseases, I mean."

"Good to know," Dylan said. He ignored Saph's question. If he didn't need to think about work, all the better. That's what he was on vacation from. "But it's still a good idea to disinfect. When I leave, the family that lives here won't know that."

"I see what you mean," Saph said. "It's a nice house. They must be well off, to have a second home like this."

"I would guess so," Dylan said. He finished wiping down the counter and threw the damp paper towels in the trash behind the rest of it. He contemplated his unexpected guest for a moment. There were dark circles beneath Saph's eyes, as if he hadn't slept in days, and his skin looked washed out. Saph sported a knit cap that kept Dylan from learning the color of his hair, but the stubble on his chin was sandy colored. "Do you need anything?"

Saph picked up one foot and waggled his toes in his borrowed wool socks. "Warm and cozy, thanks to you."

"Water? Coffee?" Dylan asked.

"Nah, I'm fine." Saph turned his attention to the windows, which were enormous and allowed a generous view of the ocean. "It's warm in here and I can see the water."

"I'm going to make myself some tea," Dylan declared. He figured he'd make enough tea for two, and once it was prepared, Saph might consent to have some. The man looked like he needed a hundred cups of tea and at least twenty sandwiches, just to get that pallor off his cheeks.

He'd brought Saph inside, concerned about the bashed area on his forehead, and his bare feet on the cold, wet sand, and Saph had allowed assistance with the wound, and accepted the socks, but hadn't wanted anything else. Dylan didn't really want Saph to stay any longer than necessary, but he didn't quite feel that allowing him to leave yet was the proper thing to do. Saph's closed off body posture, pitiful thinness, and wandering gaze that returned to the ocean given half a moment made Dylan think he wasn't quite up to leaving on his own cognizance.

"If you're having some, I suppose I might," Saph said. He switched hands on the towel of ice to his head, wincing again as he changed pressure.

"You said you slipped in the surf and gave yourself a knock on the head," Dylan said. "You're not nauseous, right?"

"No. Steady as a rock." Saph chortled at his own play on words.

"Why were you out there in the cold water, anyway?" Dylan filled the kettle with tap water and put it on the stovetop to heat. Saph had admitted to how he'd been injured, but not what had lead up to it. Dylan was curious.

Saph's gaze wandered away from Dylan and he went back to looking out the windows toward the water. "Good question," he said. "Why were you here in this house to see me? What are you vacationing from?"

A pulse of annoyance tightened Dylan's chest. He hadn't been the one in need of assistance, so he didn't feel that he needed to explain anything about his situation. After a moment, Dylan said, "I'm on vacation from work."

Saph snickered, and gave a sideways glance at Dylan. "Then, so am I."

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

oh dear...wrong word

Sometimes, my typing abilities just aren't quite what they should be, but the word program doesn't flag the problem because it is a word, just the wrong word.

From this Friday's story:

Wrong: Saph sported a knit cat that kept Dylan from learning the color of his hair, but the stubble on his chin was sandy colored.

Right: Saph sported a knit cap that kept Dylan from learning the color of his hair, but the stubble on his chin was sandy colored.

I wish I could draw, because a knit cat on someone's head would be hilarious!

Monday, January 25, 2016

more ocean, and Simmer

I've gone back to Winter By the Ocean, and am getting a bit more done on that for this upcoming Friday. As usual, these little stories don't always move along the track I originally thought they would. This one is getting a bit more difficult than I thought it would. But I sort of like the way it is getting difficult -- it's stretching the way I tend to write characters, and that's a good thing for me.

In other updates: got to see the cover for Simmer today (new anthology), and it is quite the eye-catcher. Go take a look:

I'm not sure there could be something more suggestive -- the way the fork is impaled on the strawberry, thrust deep into the tender, juiciness of the fruit, and then the chocolate sauce drizzling down, promising to coat sweet and bitter on the tongue, in concert with the tart freshness of the strawberry, and yet in complete contrast to that brightness of summer fruit and sunshine promise, and caught in that splendid moment just as it is making an utter, gooey mess of things....

Well. *fans self* Metaphors are not for the weak, right?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Rainbow Snippets, Misunderstood Hotness

For Rainbow Snippets, I'm harking back to a fun free read I'd posted way back a year ago: Misunderstood Hotness.
Here's a link to Rainbow Snippets (to find other great snippets!):

Here are those enticing lines:

Mason edged in a little. "Do you think we could seal the agreement with a pre-date kiss?"

Lloyd narrowed his eyes. "Don't push your luck. You're hot, but I don't know if I actually like you yet."

Mason laughed. "I look forward to earning that kiss."


Links to the story:

Sunday, neither early nor late, yet

Sunday, and not yet noon. I've been up since 6:30, though, and very busy. Cooking, cleaning, organizing.

I try to cook in big batches -- slow cooker foods, big casseroles, giant pots of curry. That way I can portion them out into containers, stock them in the fridge or freezer, and eat as needed the rest of the week. I'm being very ambitious this weekend, by necessity. It isn't just me I'm prepping for this week. It's me, my partner, and a third person who needs some meals delivered to her home. I've got lunches for two people for 5 workdays, dinners for four days, and 4 large containers (enough for two people) to prep for giveaway. Needless to say, I've spend quite a bit of time chopping and peeling and stirring this weekend. I try to choose healthier options for these meals -- less fat, more veggies. It isn't always easy. They also need to be freezer-friendly.

So far, so good. Now, to find some writing time.

With two stories of mine coming out in anthologies very, very soon, I'm excited and happy -- and it definitely fuels the fire to get writing again so I can submit more things.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Free Fiction: The Ocean Stone, Part 2

The sky remained dark when Lio shifted to attention. Something had alerted him, snapping him out of his light reverie. He'd been waiting, tucked uncomfortably into the crook of an outcropping of rocks, and had nearly dozed off. But right now, he felt incredibly alert. He'd sensed something.

A sound? He listened, but only heard the repeated movement of the water. A sight? No, all was dark and not even a glimmer of light showed yet on the horizon. A smell? He sniffed the night air, but it only smelled of brackishness and brine, the essence of the ocean.

Lio shifted out of his position and scanned around him. Then he heard something. The slow spill of water, as if pouring out of a container, and nearly indistinguishable from the overall sound of the waves reaching for the shore and then retreating. In the darkness, he found it difficult to see. Lio reached for the small knife he kept at his belt.

"Show yourself," said a voice, that of an adult man, loudly and suddenly, and Lio felt as if he almost jumped out of his own skin. "I was called here, and the one who did so need show his face to me."

Lio slithered out of his shelter and found a stable spot. "Here," he said. "I am here."

The sound of movement over the rocks and sand alerted Lio that the man came closer. "I am here as well," he said, and even though his voice still boomed, it held the faintest wisp of amusement. "I have answered the summons, and ask that you tell me more. Perhaps, who has called for me?"

"My name is Lio, son of Vierothur IV. We are in desperate times, and I need your help." Lio hoped the man had either some type of special skill or else armies at his disposal. Just one man, in the middle of the night on a beach, did not inspire confidence. Even if he seemed to have shown up in response to Lio's throwing the stone into the ocean.

"Lio?" the man sounded surprised. "You do not sound the same as I remember…."

"My grandfather was also called Lio. He gave me the stone, and told me how to use it."

"Grandfather? Has so much time passed?" A note of sadness entered the man's voice. "Is your grandfather no longer living, then? If he passed the stone to you?"

"He's been gone many years now." Lio paused, and then added, "I miss him very much." Giving such personal information away perhaps wasn't the wisest of choices, but this man seemed to have known grandfather. "You and he were friends?"

"Closer than brothers," came the reply. "I will miss him with all my being."

Lio let a moment pass in respect, and then, with anxiety beating against his chest, returned to his desperate need. "Grandfather said you could help. And we very much need it. My father is poisoned and dying, and my uncle is about to attack us, so that he might reign. Sir…."

"Jyvid. I am called Jyvid." The man drew in a sharp breath. "There is much to discuss. Is there somewhere we may go?"

"Yes. I have—" Finally, suddenly, the moon penetrated the cover of the clouds, and Lio could see the man before him. Tall, broad shouldered, with heavy, dark hair that fell down his back, and an abdomen of muscles that was covered in a fine sheen of scales like a fish, and that trailed down his thighs. Utterly naked, and not affected a bit by the brisk air, or the fact that he'd been wet, as evidenced by his damp hair, he looked every bit as impressive as his voice had indicated. Lio swallowed, suddenly unsure of what he'd started, and then continued to speak. "I have rooms. We can speak there."

"Please. Lead the way."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Snowed In, on pre-order!

Snowed In is available for pre-order!

I've got a story in this anthology, called "Taking the Fall Line". When you're deep into winter, it is easier to join 'em than to fight 'em, and this anthology definitely celebrates all those wonderful things about winter that can make it very sexy, rather than just plain cold.

Also, there are actually two versions of this -- one is a m/m anthology, and the other is a f/f anthology -- same concept, same wintry mix, but beautifully different, too.

Check it out:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Free Fiction: The Ocean Stone

“If you are ever in the most terrible of situations, and need assistance, take this stone and throw it into the sea. Your cousins will come. But do this if it is truly dire. It can only be used once.”

His grandfather’s words rung in Lio’s brain as he stood on the rocky shore and contemplated his next action. The stone warmed in his hand, smooth and lustrous, and perfectly round. His grandfather called it a stone, and perhaps it might be, or it might be something worth far more. Except for its enormous size, Lio would have thought it a sooty-colored pearl.

The situation certainly seemed dire, and most tremendously terrible and dangerous. His grandfather had died years ago, peacefully passing on control of the kingdom to Lio’s father, Vierothur IV.

Lio’s father had ruled well, though beset with problems on the borders and scheming politicians all around, until the most recent two years when suddenly, crops refused to grow. The summers were too warm and the winters too cold. Wells went dry and the wind shipped across the land with fury.

Worry , fear, and superstition began to spread among the population, and suddenly some of Lio’s uncles snatched at opportunities to dethrone Vierothur and take control for themselves. Argument and posturing made little headway from all but one. Uncle Siomon. He had gained lands to the north by marrying that king’s daughter, and now he wanted to expand his reach. Arguing and posturing weren't enough for him, and he resorted to treachery and deceit. And poisoning his own brother.

A tainted morsel of food had sickened Lio’s father, who now writhed in bed with aggravated symptoms, and left him too tired and weak to do see to the safety of his lands. The physicians had no cure, and predicted his demise within the week. The moment Vierothur took ill, Siomon's impressive armies marched toward the borders, and waited there, looming and aggressive, promising devastation. Ships from Siomon’s allies anchored out in the bay, as well. Unrest and fear bubbled everywhere, from the smallest villages to the people in the capital.
I rarely write anything in a fantasy genre, but apparently oceans are on my mind this month, and so I have another story with an ocean setting. There will probably be one more part to this, at least, although more is whispering to me, just not whispering loudly yet.

Lio hadn’t slept more than a few hours in the past several days, subsisting on black coffee and not much else, as he watched his older siblings and father’s staff and advisors determine the best course of action. But it seemed a quick slide into being overrun. Stability had been his father’s best and strongest tactic. Now that it had evaporated, solutions to regain it were nonexistent.

Which was why Lio stood on the shore just before dawn, and stared at the inky black sea, and wondered if he dared to throw the stone.

Cousins, his grandfather had said. Did Lio really want to bring cousins into this, considering how much trouble his uncles had caused? Yet, Lio didn’t quite think these were true blood cousins, but perhaps cousins of fortune. Grandfather had spoken of them in a way that brought to mind brothers of the battlefield, united by experience and love that came from sacrifice. Lio wished he’d been older while grandfather had been alive, wished he’d asked more questions. But grandfather was gone now, and Lio had only fragmented memories, and many questions.

He looked at the stone. “What else would I throw it for?” he thought to himself, “If I do not throw it to save my family, and the people of this land, what else would there be?” A small part of him thought perhaps his grandfather put more weight to it than truly existed. With so many years gone by, wouldn’t those that were cousins of his grandfather’s be also dead and gone? Who could possibly be left to honor the stone?

Lio took a deep breath and said a small prayer over the stone. “Please, bring aid,” he whispered. Then he heaved with all his might and flung the stone into the water, where it vanished into the darkness of the night. The sound of the waves covered over the plop of the stone falling in, and just like that, Lio had nothing, not even the hope that the stone might bring help.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday all used up

Where did the weekend go? I blinked and it flew right past me. I need a time machine, seriously!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Free Fiction: Winter By the Ocean

I don't have anything else written for this, but I love this opening. I feel like it could be a much longer story.

It had been a long time since Dylan had taken a vacation. His leave bank at work had topped out and he'd been forced into a use it or lose it situation, so he'd made the decision to actually take time off from work. He'd been feeling burned out and listless, going from dawn until dusk, and beyond, and grinding away, so since he was planning to be out, he decided to go big. He had four full weeks of vacation planned.

His boss, although not particularly pleased, understood, and Human Resources backed him up. Apparently not taking more than forty hours of leave within a five year period put him into a high risk category. Everyone wanted him out of the building for a while.

Dylan had researched various locations. He'd studied glossy brochures and glitzy websites. He'd read travel blogs and looked over numerous articles. He didn't want to go anywhere crowded. In fact, if Dylan didn't see anyone at all the entire time he was out of the office, he'd be a very happy man.

In the end, he'd chosen to rent out a beach house. A beach house in the winter.

He'd pulled in to the driveway yesterday, with his car loaded down with clothing, food, and books. It hadn't taken long to situate his meager belongings in the giant home, although the house itself was anything but barren. Every room contained furniture, all the closets were crammed with sports equipment, and pictures hung on every wall. The family that owned the house obviously loved being there—they just loved it in the summer, when the weather allowed them to play and relax.

In the winter, the water frothed cold against the beach in the back, and the ground limned in frost. Nobody walked the length of the beach during the heart of winter, leaving a barren canvas of blank sand, and Dylan liked that just fine.

On his first day in the house, he turned the heat up to make it cozy and brewed a full pot of coffee. He scouted the entire house, and found the enclosed glass porch on the second floor to be the most likely place to rest with a book. Dylan intended to do nothing more than read, eat, sleep, and occasionally exercise. The fewer times he left the house, the better.

It was cool out on the glass porch, even with the access door left open to the main house. A small heater was available, and Dylan plugged it in and twisted the dial to maximum. Dylan had worn a soft sweatshirt with a hood, which he'd pulled up within five minutes of settling down with his book. After an hour of reading, his hands were cold and his coffee colder. Dylan put his book aside and stood up to stretch.

He looked out through the glass at the ocean and admired its deep, dark blue color. Sea foam skimmed the top of the water as the waves grazed the shore and retreated. Dylan yawned and considered a nap, even though it was barely the middle of the morning. Then he spotted a blob of red, and narrowed his vision on a man walking the beach.

Dylan frowned, disappointed that even on the first day another person had come into his sphere, even if in the distance. He watched the man walking as he came closer, and closer.

Dylan frowned again, this time with concern. He'd noticed that the man was barefoot and walking through the edges where the water met the land. The man held one hand to his head, and it looked like blood dripped through his fingers and down to his elbow.

Dylan took a moment to make his decision, assessing his own safety before offering aid. He'd learned that the hard way, and had no desire to repeat the lesson. Then he turned and left the glass porch, headed down to the beach to give assistance.

Monday, January 4, 2016

creation and the novel

This is a very interesting post:

I don't know anything about Pronoun, but I certainly know about hesitancy, and having things I'm working on not get finished at all because of doubts. I think this year I will need to work on my constancy. I tend to write short stories, and submit to anthologies, but perhaps this year I can dream bigger.