Saturday, February 27, 2016

feeling the mojo

Finally. Finally! That cold from last week is finally lifting itself out of my head and chest. I had thought it might settle in there like a permanent resident. It's still lingering a little, but other than keeping boxes of tissues at hand, I'm feeling so much better.

When you get sick, you really have to start prioritizing things. I know I didn't get my free fiction Friday snippets done, but by the end of the work day (which I slogged through, and I felt every hour) and then got myself fed, I just didn't have enough energy to do anything else. I was getting to bed before 9 every night, and sleeping until the last moment in the morning.

It was definitely a good reminder of how even garden-variety colds can really lay us low, and take us out. So kudos to everyone out there dealing with the temporary cold, and extra kudos to those dealing with the non-garden variety sort that aren't defeated in two weeks, and that must be managed on the long term.

So, now, with all this normal energy (not even extra, just average), I'm planning on getting the dog walked, and get out to the store for groceries (how weird, to want something other than soup and juice and tea, and sometimes crackers), and do the hundred other things that need to be done to keep ordinary life moving along. And there will be time for writing today. It's a good, good day.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

on the ill side of the coin

Caught a cold last week, and my head is stuffed full of cotton. I'm going through a box of tissues like a hot knife through butter. Going to stay low for a bit, until I recover. In the meantime, I drink tea, soup, and more tea.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Free Fiction: Quiet Valentines

They didn’t usually do gifts for Valentine’s Day.

Oscar and Phillip had long ago decided Valentine’s Day was an out-of control commercialization of a holiday. Flowers and chocolates weren’t cheap, and neither were lavish dinners out on the town in posh restaurants. They’d also seen how painful the date had been to certain ones of their single friends. That didn’t sit right.

Years ago, in the first blush of their romance, it had been just one more opportunity to do something wonderful for each other, but then again, Friday nights had been pretty special too. And Saturday afternoons. And Sunday mornings.

Then, they had transitioned into going out to dinners. The earliest years overflowed with champagne and escargot before slipping into pasta dinners and char-grilled steaks. Next, they’d grown complacent, and a little lazy, and gone out for pizza. The next year, they hadn’t even gone out, and just ordered in. Recently, they usually forgot about the holiday unless shopping somewhere that overpowered them with the red, pink, and white incessant decorations. They made a quiet dinner at home, just like any other night, and enjoyed each other’s constant, steady, and endlessly satisfying company.

But this Valentine’s Day, Oscar had found the perfect gift. He’d found it months ago, actually, and kept it hidden, waiting until the perfect moment. Or really, found wasn’t quite the right word. He’d reshaped his thoughts on what he could do with the object, and the idea had been born.

The gift centered on one of the earliest cards they’d exchanged, and this card had come from Phillip to Oscar, with a sketch on the inside, of the two of them done in rough caricature, with a heart in the sky, shining like a sun. It was Phillip’s classic pen and ink style, and Oscar loved it.

He’d loved it so much that he’d kept it – first on top of his dresser, when they’d been dating, and later, he’d tucked it into his sock drawer. His fingers brushed against it every day when he went for socks, the card safely hidden inside its envelope, with Phillips scrawl slowly fading on the outside. Now, Oscar had the card framed, with the interior sketch open for viewing. The glass was UV protective, and the sketch shouldn’t fade. It could hang on the wall, and be seen every day, a far more fitting place than his sock drawer.

Oscar heard the front door open and close. Phillip was home, and it was time to go make dinner. And give Phillip his precious gift.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

rainbow snippets, work-in-progress

So for the Rainbow Snippets for this weekend, I'm posting six lines from a work in progress. Wish me luck for completing it! It's been in progress for a very long time. But when it is done, I swear it'll be great fun.

Brandon felt a bit more like a rampaging monster as he clod hopped off trail, unintentionally crushing a fern with his very first step. He followed Aran and found himself in a secluded glade. The trees stretched high, with wide branches, and a curtain of ferns to one side shielded them from sight. The land sloped just enough to create a private dwelling spot on the other side of the outcropping of rocks. There was even a broad wide spot, looking soft with pine needles and moss. A better spot couldn't have been prepared for their tryst if Brandon had planned it out.

available stories sticky post - updated

I keep an update list of the available stories I've written and had published over on my Dreamwidth journal. This winter I have two stories coming out in wonderful new anthologies--Snowed In by Torquere, which is available now, and Simmer, by Dreamspinner, which becomes available later this month-- so I've updated the post.

Here's the lin:

it's all gravy

It was a long, stressful week -- and last night I procrastinated going to bed by staying up late to watch a movie. So, consequently, got up late this morning. I'm doing all those normal things -- cleaning up, putting things away (finally today, the Christmas decorations went back into the box), paying bills -- and also relaxing a little. I need a non-stressed out day to recover some vitality before plunging ahead into the next two weeks, which will be non-stop starting Monday and going 13 days without rest. So I only feel a little guilty about chilling out today and not making the most of every moment. I'm also looking over my writing projects and tweaking at them. But I don't have any expectations or word goals, so it's all gravy.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Free Fiction: Tree at the Edge of Nothing

This one is a little different than what I usually write. I don't often try for fantasy, but I was listening to the radio and there were a few lines in a song that sparked this idea, so here it is!


At long last, the tree.

Thike approached the tree slowly. He'd thought it would tower above him, grand and amazing, but this tree grew only slightly taller than his own height.

"Is that it?" asked Farfe from behind him. Even farther back waited their ship, The Running Glory, with what remained of her crew. Only the two of them had descended to the small piece of land that seemed to levitate on the bewildering edge of nothingness, and the deepness of a blue ocean.

"What else could it be? This is the end of the world." Thike dared to rest his hand on the trunk of the gnarled tree. It was rougher than he would have guessed, and knotted in several places. The leaves were small, bright green, and delicate-seeming. This tree did not look as if it had lived for millennia and would live for millennia more.

"There is nothing else here," Farfe observed. "If it is not the tree we seek, then we would never know it."

"Look. The fruit." Thike pointed skyward, and there remained one solitary golden fruit hanging on the tip of one branch. He reached for it, onto his toes for it dangled barely within reach, grasped and tugged. There was a moment of resistance and the golden orb came free. Thike cradled it in his hands. It was oval and smooth and he brought it to his nose to sniff. It smelled like nothing much at all.

"If you mean to take that with you, you must leave something behind that is its worth," came a voice.

Thike turned, and noticed Farfe did also, but with his hand to his sword hilt.

A woman stood there, come from nowhere. Her hair was black and long, and her dress covered her from neck to feet, plain and brown. "The tree only grows one a year. Many come looking, but few ever find it." She gestured to the area of mist and emptiness past the tree, where Thike did not like to look. "It is not a gift from the tree, but an exchange. What will you pay for it?"

Thike looked to the pale golden object in his hands and tried to think what he could possibly have that would be as precious. He had nothing to equal its worth, not if it were true what the fruit could do. Nothing on his ship was of great value, although he had brought some gold and some precious stones to pay for things if needed. But the fruit would be worth more. If he bargained his ship, there could be no trip home, and the voyage here meant nothing but a death sentence. The men on his ship owned their own souls. He could not deal their lives away.

After thinking it over, he handed the fruit to Farfe. "Take good care of it, and bring it home. Let Mez eat of it. It will cure him, and he will live at least a hundred years more."

"No," Farfe said, "do not do this. Mez would rather die with you, than live on without you."

"As would I, instead of him. It seems there is a choice to be made, and I am the one to make it." Thike turned to the woman. "I can only offer myself. My life, or my labor." He nodded to Farke and waved a hand at his ship. "Their lives are not mine to barter with. And a hundred ships would not be worth a single bite from this fruit."

The woman cast an experienced eye over him, and then smiled. "That is true, warrior. But your offer of your life is enough, without needing to pay the claim."

Thike breathed out in relief.

"Instead of such a debt, bring a cask of drinking water and pour it at the base of tree. And give a dram of your own life's blood in the same place, and then take your prize."

A look to Farfe was enough, and his good friend and companion hurried to comply with the request for water. Thike took out his knife and cut a shallow slash across his forearm. It stung sharply, but Thike knew it to be a very small payment indeed. After a moment, the wound bled freely and he stood there and let it drip out.

The woman watched as he bled, and as Farke returned with the water and spilled it across the ground where the roots lay beneath. "That is enough. Look."

Farke shoved a clean rag into Thike's hands, and he pressed it against his wound. Then he followed where the woman pointed, and saw a flower bloom out at the tip of one of the branches. Soft, white petals glowed, and then drifted down after a moment of resplendence. Thike blinked, and there was a small bud of something left behind, and it grew. A moment later, another golden fruit hung on the branch.

"For the next one who seeks the fruit of the tree on the edge of the world," the woman said.

"Please," Thike said, "if you would tell us who you are. Are you the keeper of the tree?"

The woman began to walk away. Over her shoulder, she tossed a few words. "The ocean is rising, you should hurry."

Thike looked to the Glory and saw that the distance between his ship and where he stood had become halved. It had been the oddest dockage he'd ever seen, with the land dropping off just where it met the sea, as if meant for a ship to perch just against the shore. Now it seemed the ocean threatened to swallow the land entirely. Thike looked to Farke and the two of them took off running.

"The fruit?" he asked as they scurried.

"Safe, in my pocket," Farfe panted.

They reached the ship just as the last of the land vanished beneath their feet, scrambling up the ladder. The crew rumbled and breathed and shouted to one another, afraid and discontent.

"Make for home," Thike ordered. "Quickly."

All around him, men sprung into action, readying the Glory to escape the edge of nothing as soon as possible.

Farke pulled the golden fruit from his pocket and handed it over to Thike. They both stared at the spot where land, and an ancient tree, once stood.

"It must still be there," Farke said. "A tree cannot live beneath the water."

"Perhaps," Thike replied. "But I do not care. I only sought it out for Mez's sake, and now I will return to him, with a cure in hand. He will heal."

Farke grunted. He eyed the fruit before Thike slipped it into his own pocket. "I'm glad of that." He slapped one hand against Thike's back. "And I've another adventure to tell, as well."

Thursday, February 4, 2016

snowy cut wood

It hasn't been a very snowy winter here. This photo is from a while ago. I had wanted to post some wonderful photo full of snowy mountains and trees and the like, to go with the Snowed In anthology, but this is the best I have at the moment. I will say, I do like the smell of the trees when they're cut, they always smell so very fresh.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Snowed In, the official post

I've been a touch remiss not to post about Snowed In becoming available for order (not just pre-order). We had a lovely release party over on facebook, but I thought a post here would be very nice indeed.

I'm quite pleased to have a story in this collection. Not everybody in the world gets to have winter and to see the magic of snowfall, so if there's any way to share that with them (short of bringing them here for a vacation), a collection of stories like this is it. And it is full of delectable m/m romance. Definitely a win-win situation.

So, here's the link for ordering:

And here's the cover! (I love the colors on this.)

My story in this collection is "Taking the Fall Line", and it is a romance set at a ski resort. There's skiing and eating, and racing, and all the fun stuff that goes along with taking that sort of a trip.

Here's the longer blurb:

Leon bluffs about his skiing abilities on the chairlift and Beau follows the blowhard, expecting to observe expertise and instead witnesses a spectacular tumble. While helping Leon get safely down the hill, Beau learns he’s friendlier after being humbled, and very handsome when he takes off his goggles. Leon invites Beau to spend time with him and his family, who are there to compete in a charity event. High-end ski gear, expensive restaurants, and a top-dollar charity event unsettle Beau and reveal to him he’s not quite in the same league. Beau isn’t easily intimidated, though. The glades and fresh powder are waiting, but Beau keeps choosing Leon over the slopes.