Friday, May 27, 2016

Free Fiction: Winter By the Ocean, Part III

Not a very long part, but I did get back to this.


After Saph left, Dylan tried to return to his reading. He brought his cup of tea upstairs to the enclosed glass porch and settled down. His book was there from earlier, waiting to be picked up again.

Dylan had an electronic reader and he used it frequently when at home, but something about the feel of a real book in his hands seemed more appropriate for a vacation. The reader stayed off, at least for the time being. He'd loaded it with a few books that he meant to read, but the other books came first.

But right now, even with the heat turned up and the feel of paper pages beneath his fingertips, Dylan couldn't focus on the words. His mind kept straying to Saph.

What had the man been doing?

Dylan didn't get the feeling that Saph had been engaged in something troubling. Rather, the man just seemed closed up and unwilling to share. There had been a pinched look to his face and a tightness in his voice, and certainly a stubbornness in being unwilling to answer questions straight on.

Not that Dylan felt his work details were any business of Saph's. Dylan had a bit of that stubbornness, too.

Still, there was a feeling that Dylan couldn't quite pin down. Saph had been doing something out there that was more than just a jaunt up and down the coastline. It might not be any of Dylan's business, but it raised his curiosity.

Dylan put his book down and picked up his mug of tea. The ceramic was warm against his hands although the tea itself had cooled down. It was tepid when he sipped it. The cooler it got, he thought, the longer ago his encounter with Saph.

He gazed out the windows at the sea. Saph had been quite focused on having a view. Not quite jealous. More like he was appreciative. Or even more like Saph was drawn to the water. He had only pulled his attention away from it when absolutely necessary. It had seemed a bit odd.

Dylan put the tea down and stood up. He walked to the nearest glass and put his hands against it. The glass was cool against his skin and Dylan could see a large swath of beach in front of him. It was empty. No one walked the beach in this weather. No one except perhaps Saph, but there wasn't any sign of Saph on the sands.

That was what Dylan had come here for. Quiet. Rest. And the total absence of needing to deal with people.

He closed his eyes and counted to five. Then he pushed off the glass and returned to his seat. Thumbing open the book, Dylan focused on the words, and this time he lost himself in the story.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

the smell of blossoms

Today was very warm and all the early bloomers really took off -- and the scent of their flowers filled the air. I could smell lilac all through the street, even if the lilacs weren't nearby. It was a beautiful evening stroll.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Rainbow Snippets for Sunday

Today I've snipped out sentences from a story I had published several years ago. Sean's broken heart has made him vulnerable, but also freed him, and a magical creature has felt his pain and come to take him away.

The last embers of sunset had finally fled.

"Now what?" Sean whispered. He felt heavy-limbed, and earthen-bound, especially next to this near-ethereal creature of the sky.

"Now we fly," the strange man said. "And cherish each other's company until the end of our days. Which may never come."


A link back to the Rainbow Snippets area to take a look at all the other wonderful things the other authors have on offer:

Friday, May 20, 2016

today on my bike ride

I went for a bike ride today in the warm afternoon weather, and got to see:
a cardinal, a hot air balloon trying to land, kids on bikes, a nearly full moon, a gorgeous sunset, and about a hundred people walking their dogs, one of which gloriously stopped to roll in some very green grass.

It reminded me of my shifter story in the Dawg Days Anthology, where my main character Arlo can turn into any type of dog, although some kinds are easier than others. Link for the curious:

Free Fiction: Bad For a Reason

In honor of Rogues coming out, here's a little riff on bad boys. :)


Desi always fell for the bad boys.

He loved the way they slouched, their shoulders impeccably straight even in the midst of full-on hunching. Inevitably, they donned leather jackets and skin-tight denim, almost always black, but sometimes faded on the thighs. The whole thing made Desi's hands itch with wanting to touch and rub. The leather would be soft from years of wear and the jeans would be threadbare and hardly a barrier to physical contact.

There'd be a cycle outside. Probably a crotchrocket. Painted bright red, or maybe yellow.

They could ride a hundred miles out into the middle of nowhere and strip down in a field, and call out their ecstasy to a sky full of stars. Then they'd drink whiskey from a flask and steal apples from the orchard one field over. Wake up to dew, dampness, and a belly aching from too many unripe apples, and not regret one single thing.

Desi licked his lips and tried to refocus his mind on his current date, who sat across from him in the booth. Chris looked like a nice enough fellow. He had straight teeth and a sparkle in his eyes, and had been absolutely polite and friendly. His shirt was clean and his trousers had pleats. They'd met for the first time twenty minutes ago, although they'd e-mailed each other for two weeks while setting up the date.

But that didn't keep Desi's attention from wandering behind Chris' back where a lanky man lounged against the counter. Even at night, the scoundrel hadn't bothered to take his sunglasses off. Sometimes he peered over them at the cashier as he waited for his order, making a clicking noise and winking at her as if she were an old girlfriend who still carried a torch for him.

"So, after I graduated...." Chris paused. He turned around in his seat to follow where Desi had been staring.

Guiltily, Desi brought his attention back. "I'm sorry, man," he said. "Just distracted for a moment." He kept his tone apologetic. "I know better. My hormones say yes, but I've traveled down that road, and those bad boys, well, they are called bad for a reason. Broke my heart every time."

Chris nodded. "I see. So, I shouldn't mention that I have motorcycles at home. And I once raced hot rods at the track."

Desi's heart skipped a beat. "You could mention it if you wanted to. I'd listen."

Thursday, May 19, 2016


What a difference two days make. I took the first picture two days ago, and the second picture I took this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


The Rogues (A boys Behaving Badly Anthology) is now available!

I have a story in it!

I got to play around with having a female superhero and her up-and-coming arch-nemesis, who is so dashingly handsome that he keeps distracting her from the superheroing she is meant to be doing. It's fun, and a bit tongue in cheek.

And I haven't yet managed to read all the other entries, but the ones I have read are incredible. I'm very lucky to be in the company of such skillful, creative writers.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday catch-all

Sundays are used to catch up on everything! So far I've gotten some laundry done (does laundry ever end??), bills paid, and winter sport equipment put away into the closet for another year. It always involves at least a minor rearranging of the closet to fit everything in, which is a good thing -- I tend to find something that can be removed or repacked and that always makes me feel a bit virtuous. Keeping a closet in working order is no small feat. Those things can become quagmires of lost eons pretty quickly.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Free Fic Friday: The Lovers' Tree

There was no telling how old the tree was. It had been growing at the far end of the Brown family's field for generations. Tall and broad, its canopy shielded a somewhat grassy area and also a section of stream that flowed past. The trunk of the tree grew so thick that even two men hugging tightly from each side could not touch fingertips in an attempt to circle its girth. The tree itself was some sort of oak, although no one could agree on what type exactly. Even experts shrugged at trying to categorize it, and the tree tentatively held its own designation.

But aside from its height and width, and its massive canopy, and incredible age and beauty, the reason for the tree's fame came from its blessings.

The legend was older than anyone could remember, and certainly no one agreed on precisely how it came to be known, but the tree was famous throughout the entire county for knowing a good match.

Lovers came from far and near to sit hopefully on the ground beneath the branches and wait to see if something would fall from the tree. A leaf, a branch, perhaps even an acorn.

If the tree bestowed something upon the couple, their union would last the test of time.

The Brown family had the records to prove it.

And if nothing fell, then the couple had to take their chances. More likely than not, they would part ways.


"There it is. See it?" In the bright moonlight, Ned pointed to the shadowy edge of the field. In the early spring, nothing yet grew so tall as to obscure the sightlines.

"How can I miss it? It's a giant tree." Greg followed after Ned down the winding path that led along the edge of the field toward the tree.

"I told you it was still here."

"Yes, and you told me all sorts of ridiculous stories about it."

"They aren't ridiculous," Ned insisted. "They're true. That's why we're here."

"Yeah. In the middle of the night." Greg closed his eyes in frustration, misjudged his footing, and stumbled.

Ned pedaled backward and caught his arm. "Careful," he said. "Lots of shadows."

"Because it is the middle of the night!" Greg responded. "We could have done this during the day, but you wouldn't dare."

Ned stopped walking. In the moonlight, his face looked drained of vitality. "I know," he said. "I was just afraid...."

"It's fine," Greg said. "Midnight is fine. It doesn't matter to the tree when we show up, right? So it doesn't matter to us. And everyone else can keep their nosey noses out of it."

He pushed Ned forward, sorry he'd brought it up. It was a sore spot for him, because he wanted Ned to be proud of their relationship, but he certainly understood the reluctance to make a public stand. And this tree thing was just a lark, anyway. A symbol. An urban legend. Things fell out of trees randomly all the time. Greg had no doubt that the prophecies were self-fulfilling. If you believed the tree blessed your union, then you worked extra hard to make it work. If the tree didn't drop an acorn in your lap, then you harbored doubts and went looking elsewhere as soon as there was a problem.

"Now what?" Greg asked when they finally reached the tree.

"We touch the trunk and then go sit down."

"That's it? No magic words?"

"That's it," said Ned.

"Let's do it, then." Greg strode over to the trunk and put his hand against the rough bark. He waited until Ned had also touched the trunk before pulling away.

"Let's sit about halfway out, where the branches are thickest," Ned said.

Greg followed him and they sat down on the ground, which was mostly hard packed dirt with some hard-scrabble grass in patches here and there. They sat facing each other.

"How long do we need to wait?" Greg asked.

"I don't know exactly," Ned said. He looked up. "A few minutes, I guess."

They sat there for several minutes. Then they sat for a few more.

"You know, this tree isn't always right," Greg said. "It's just a superstition."

"I know. Maybe. I don't know." Ned shook his head. "It was a stupid idea, anyway."

Greg leaned forward and put his hand out to touch Ned's knee. "We don't need a tree to tell us we love--" The moment Greg's fingers touched Ned a terrible tearing sound ripped through the tree. An enormous branch dropped ten feet behind where Ned sat, thumping the ground with its weight and heft.

Ned and Greg scrambled away.

"You okay?" Greg asked.

"Fine. You?"

"Except for my heart just now jumping out of my chest, yeah, sure."

"Someone's going to hear that," Ned said, looking wild-eyed. "We need to go."

Greg clasped Ned's hand and they sprinted for the path.


"Nell?" Ambrose Brown trudged out of bed and up to the viewing belvedere that topped the roof. He'd heard a distant sound that had woken him and found the other half of the bed empty. "Nell?"

"Up here," she called back. She had the binoculars up to her eyes, but offered them when Ambrose made it to the top of the ladder. "Take a look."

Ambrose focused the lenses and looked. With the full moon, the landscape was bright enough to see most everything very clearly. "It's Ned Geldon. And some other young man." He scanned toward the stream. "And there's a full branch broken off the tree. You don't see that very often."

"These young couples think they can sneak in and won't get into the book," Nell said.

Ambrose pulled the binoculars away and watched Nell finish her entry into the leather-bound journal she kept up in the belvedere.

"Not with you on watch," Ambrose said. "Now come back to bed."

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I like to write about trees

I do quite like to write about trees. I have been working on my ficlet for tomorrow and I find myself always returning to the subject of trees. This time it is a tree that knows if the hearts of lovers will stay true or not.

It may be that the spring is irresistible. I see the trees leafing out all over now, and their glorious bright green, green-and-gold, and dark red leaves are too inspiring to ignore!

So, tomorrow, there will be a romance, and at the center of it all -- a most impressive tree.

Monday, May 9, 2016

getting excited!

As a writer, I am generally drawn to m/m stories and romances. But, also as a writer, I just like to tell stories, so sometimes I write different things. I try to write things that are funny or horrific (or horrifically funny, but not funnily horrific, to be sure), or maybe try on a different genre (my sci-fi ficlets for example), or different kinds of characters, and to write whatever else may suit my fancy for an intriguing tale.

To that end, quite a while ago, I submitted a superhero story -- witty and trope-tastic -- to an anthology call, and now it is very close to its release date! May 17th! It's a het story, with a very solid female friendship as well, and is just a bit of roguish fun.

Here's the link!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Free Fiction: Wandering Keys

This was the beginning to what would have been a story including a haunting, as well as a romance. I may yet get back to it, but for the moment, it has been abandoned. (How perfect is that? A ghost story, and an abandoned tale....)

The first night spent in his new apartment, Baeyer Thalin, slept on a thin sleeping bag and did not gain much appreciation for the hard wood floors. He also spent the entire night dreaming he’d lost his key to the new apartment and circled around and around the house endlessly searching for it.

In the thin light of early morning, the mostly empty apartment did not yet feel anything like home and Baeyer wondered if he’d made a mistake signing the lease. He’d needed a home, and quickly, and the rent was reasonable. It had seemed like a lucky break. With his joints uncharacteristically creaky and feeling more tired than rested from dreams of endlessly searching, he wondered if perhaps he’d been too hasty.

He shifted his limbs, sore and aching, and shuffled to his feet. His things were still in storage and he didn’t even have his coffee pot. If he wanted something this early, a gas station squatted only a couple blocks away, otherwise he would have to make due until the weekend when he could borrow a truck and transfer his belongings. Or he could wait until the coffee shops opened in the mall. Then he could consume all the coffee he wanted, though at exorbitant mall prices.

He made his way into the bathroom and ran the shower until the water turned warm. His small travel kit contained soap, shampoo, dental floss, a toothbrush, and a mostly empty tube of toothpaste that gave up a pea-sized amount after a demanding squeeze. Baeyer showered and took care of the remaining ablutions as quickly as he could, waking up sufficiently in the process.

His work clothes were folded neatly in his small suitcase, although there were a few new wrinkles. Baeyer’s iron and stand were in storage, so he shook out his uniform as well as he could and then put it on. He had to crane his neck to see all of himself in the bathroom half mirror, but he looked presentable, so he left his apartment, locking the door behind.

The smell of freshly brewed coffee teased him as he exited. Someone in one of the other apartments must also be a coffee junkie. Baeyer studied the outside line of the house, trying to figure out which unit, but old, large Victorians like this one were far too convoluted to give up even simple secrets. At a minimum, he guessed there were a total of four apartments, although he didn’t think they were equally endowed with space and amenities. His apartment had a very small kitchenette. One of the other apartments had obviously been partitioned with the real, original kitchen.

He’d figure it out as he met the other occupants and made friends. Eventually, he’d get a peek inside the other living spaces.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


I really, really do not multitask well. Not many people do (as supported by a bunch of stories out there) although we like to pretend we can because it is trendy, and also because we are all trying to keep up appearances. And I got another reminder today that I cannot do it well, and also that I tend to make mistakes and errors when I am distracted by someone else. I really do need quiet and space to concentrate on doing something -- even something as simple as sending out an e-mail.

A lesson learned. Again.

Monday, May 2, 2016

it feels like it might rain forever

It has been so incredibly raining the past few days, and while I don't mind having rain (considering all the areas without rain, it would be rather awful to not appreciate having this important resource), I do mind not being able to get outside and walk or bike. I have braved the sidewalks with a raincoat on for a little while, but it feeling terribly dreary.

I made a curry yesterday, and have had copious cups of tea and coffee, but a little sunshine would not go amiss.