Friday, September 30, 2016

Free Fic: Double Chocolate Java Pistachio

Someone had left bags of cookies in the break room. Again.

Ross walked past the cookies, trying to convince himself he did not want them. The labels on the bags of cookies lured him in.

They were from one of his favorite local bakeries. The three bags were all different. Chocolate Chip, the classic cookie and adored by many. Oatmeal Raisin, another feel-good cookie reminiscent of home and preferred by those who loved chewier textures. Double Chocolate Java Pistachio.

Ross felt his strength waver. His absolute favorite.

It was a chocolate cookie, flavored with a hint of coffee, that held chunks of chocolate and bits of pistachio.

Ross walked to the door of the break room, intending to get away, and looked back. His will broke. He went back to the table and reached out a finger to touch the bag. It wasn’t air tight and with the small motion a waft of delicious chocolate cookie scent reached his nose. The cookies were still warm. They smelled heavenly.

He undid the clasp. He reached in and grasped a cookie. Indeed, he could feel the warmth of it in his hand. More cookie scent wavered into the air. He took a bite of the cookie. The chocolate bits were still soft from the oven. The cookie practically melted in his mouth.

He groaned, quite against his will, and glanced guiltily to the door of the break room. He would be ribbed mercilessly if his co-workers caught him moaning over cookies. But no one was there. He was safe.

Ross chewed the cookie, standing there and not moving away. He couldn’t spare the effort to move away. He already knew he would eat another cookie.

He finished the first and dived in for the second. It filled his mouth with continued chocolate delight and the slight salty crunch of pistachio. Another moan escaped his throat and this time he didn’t care who heard him.

He stayed away from this bakery for just this reason. He had no control whatsoever for this particular cookie.

Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, Sugar, Molasses, Peanut Butter, Ginger Snap, Lemon, Butter, or anything else, he could appreciate, nibble on sometimes, but ultimately leave alone. He could go days, weeks, months, even years without eating any. Without craving them. But not Double Chocolate Java Pistachio.

Ross finished the second cookie and felt the easement of desire. He could control himself now. He’d fed the demon beast in his gut that demanded cookies and received what it craved.

There were still plenty of cookies in the bag and he hadn’t touched any of the others. He only felt a slight twinge of guilt as he took a third cookie and wrapped it in a napkin. He would save one for later. Perhaps after lunch, or with a cup of late afternoon coffee.

He paused. Now that his mind was clearer, having already scarfed the cookies down, and not fogged by the inescapable drive to gobble the cookies, he wondered who had brought the tempting baked goods. And why they had chosen the Double Chocolate Java Pistachio.

He knew this bakery. They didn’t make Double Chocolate Java Pistachio very often. He’d chatted with the bakery owner, Elise. She said the pistachios were a pain in the butt. She didn’t think the available commercial pistachio bits were quite right, so she bought her own and went through an extra process to salt and roast them herself.

The chocolate chunks in the cookie were also often not available, since the source was a specialty shop that was so bohemian they only made what they ‘felt like’. Elise didn’t like to switch out the chocolate bits with something else since her customers were accustomed to a specific taste. So she only made these cookies infrequently. When she did make them, the bakery usually sold them individually and not bagged.

Yet, here the cookies were. Freshly baked and in a bag. As if someone knew his ultimate weakness.

Ross shook his head. He couldn’t think of any of his co-workers who liked him enough to do this. It had to be a moment of universal serendipity. He left the break room, still thinking, and passed one of the interns walking in the hallway.

“Hey,” Ross said. “There are cookies in the break room.”

“Oh?” the intern said. Ross thought his name was Jon. “That’s great. Thanks.”

Ross continued to his office, Double Chocolate Java Pistachio in his hand like a treasure.


Lester frowned. “Are you coming down with something? You look all sweaty and flushed.”

“No, no, I’m fine.” Jon shrugged and pushed away from the wall. He’d spent a minute too long in the hallway and Lester had come along. Jon tried to stay away from Lester. The man thought he needed to be involved in everyone’s business.

“If you’re sick, you need to go home. Nobody wants to catch a cold from you.” Lester kept frowning and staring at Jon.

“I’m going to get some water,” Jon said. He made a point of heading to the water cooler. He did need some water.

He’d been lurking in the hallway while Ross had eaten the cookies. Jon had wanted to do something nice for the man, especially since Jon had developed a terrible crush on him. It was hard to ignore the man’s friendly smile, his handsome face, and square cut jaw. Ross was good at his job, willing to lend a hand, remembered to invite Jon to meetings and explained things without Jon even needing to ask. Jon appreciated being treated like a member of the team rather than a disposable intern. Ross was older than Jon, by something more than five but fewer than ten years, although Jon didn’t know exactly.

As an intern just trying to get into the job market, Jon liked the openness and the respect. He also appreciated that Ross was attractive.

When Ross had offhandedly mentioned he liked cookies from this bakery and that he liked “the chocolate ones”, it had seemed a perfect opportunity to do something low-key and nice.

But Jon had never imagined he’d hear such wanton moaning. It had gone straight through him, like a shock of electricity. He'd leaned against the hallway wall, closed his eyes, and his throat had gone dry at the low rumble of ecstatic sound. He'd barely been able to act normally when Ross exited the break room and spoken to him, since Jon already felt like his insides had been reduced to jelly.

Jon finished his drink of water and left the hallway, still under the reproachful eye of Lester.

He had a month left in this internship. It was entirely appropriate to try to have a relationship with a co-worker. Even if Jon wasn’t technically a co-worker since he wasn’t being paid. But in four weeks, he was going to ask Ross out on a date. If the man moaned like that over a cookie, there would have to be complete and utter abandon in the bedroom.

Jon only had to survive thirty more days.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

things I am reading: This Winter's Night

With the change of seasons lately, it has me thinking more about my story in the Snowed In anthology. The air is getting colder and winter is coming. Of course, as an author, I'm always interested in writing about my own work, but the other stories in the collection were solid and enjoyable.

I thought it might be fun to mention a few of the ones that resonated with me. Definitely not to be considered reviews. I'm totally biased when it comes to stories, and especially stories that share space in an anthology with my own work.

I took a little time today to reread "This Winter's Night" by Kassandra Lea.

The anthology has been out for awhile, so I don't think there needs to really be a spoiler alert, but don't go farther if you don't want to be spoiled, even just a little. I'm not giving anything away but in talking about a story, it helps to be able to mention things that happen.

My summary: Barry has gone out to the barn to check on his horses during a snowstorm and he is feeling neglected and unhappy about his relationship with his boyfriend, Oliver. Oliver has been working a lot lately and not paying enough attention to Barry.

What I liked about this story -- first, and foremost -- the notion that saying "I love you" is not always enough. *Showing* "I love you" for some people is the crux of the matter. Lip service is nice, but put your money where your mouth is.

This is such a button for me. I adore stories where at least one character gets this on an intellectual level as well as an emotional one. Talk is cheap. Action and investment are not.

For this theme alone, I will always go back and reread this story.

There were some other things I really liked, too. The horses in the barn, and especially the mare named Dumpling. Adorable. I would have been happy spending the whole story out there in that barn. And the depth of writing about how absolutely sad it is to feel a distancing from someone you love. Writers mine that well all the time, but it's a deep well. There is never a true translation of that bottomless pit into words, but some stories and characters get closer than others. Barry's solitude and sadness were right up front for the reader to see.

This story is more about romance and emotional connection, so it's sad and sweet, but isn't a fingerburner (the pages aren't hot, hot, hot). I tend to like it that way.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

there will be fic...about cookies

I got a jump on the Friday fic today, so I can announce early that there will be fic. It will definitely be about cookies.

Romance and cookies, what more could anyone want? :)

yard sale

I was thinking about the term "yard sale", with respect to my story Taking the Fall Line. I so wanted to use it, but it didn't find a place to get used within the story. It's quite the vibrant term.

When a skier or a rider takes a particularly energetic tumble all their gear is stripped off them as they roll down the slope. Hats, gloves, goggles, poles, skis, etc. are left behind the person -- laid out very much like they would offer the items up for viewing at a yard sale (garage sale, tag sale, whatever term you like). It's a humorous term -- as long as the person isn't hurt during the tumble, of course -- and it made me laugh the moment I learned it.

Not that I've ever had a yard sale.

Much. ;)

Okay, okay...maybe all the time.

Ski boots are notoriously difficult to walk up hill in. When you go to collect all your things.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

pumpkins and Thriller

Fall must be here. The radio stations are playing Thriller quite a lot and pumpkins are appearing at every farm stand and grocery story I see.

I am not unhappy about this at all. I love Vincent Price's spoken rap/poem at the end there, and he's got a fantastic evil laugh. And I love all the happy, orange pumpkins. Maybe this year I will actually get the knives out and make a jack o'lantern!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Free Fic: Spring Conditions

This is an extra for my short story "Taking the Fall Line" that was in the Snowed In anthology. It came out for release day last winter. Now that it is starting to have a nip in the air, and Thursday this week was the last day of summer, and Friday is the first day of fall, it seemed the right time to dust it off and post it here. Especially since the story is about spring coming around.

Spring Conditions


The chair lift slowed to a stop, swinging back and forth in the brisk breeze.

"Do they not pay their electric bill?" Leon asked.

"It does seem to happen a lot," Beau said. He looked around. The chairs in front and behind them were empty for quite a distance, and the slopes below were equally unused. "But I'm not complaining. Gives me time to do this." Beau slipped his gloves off and stuffed them into his pockets. He scooted the several inches sideways until his thigh pressed against Leon's leg. Then he slithered his hands into the open underarm vents on Leon's jacket, and ruched up the cotton t-shirt underneath. It was spring and the amount of clothing needed to protect against the elements had decreased.

Beau touched Leon's warm skin and resisted the urge to tickle, but instead pressed his hands against Leon. The position wrapped Leon and Beau into an intimate, though awkward embrace.

"Are you trying to get us to fall to our deaths because we slipped off the seat?" Leon asked, even as he turned his body to accommodate Beau's off-kilter hug.

"We aren't that far up, we'd probably only break a few bones," Beau said. "Now stop talking and kiss."

Leon's lips were faintly cool with the early spring air and slightly slippery from recently applied lip balm. A hint of coconut wafted from him, a reminder that in the spring, the sun bounced off the reflective snow and sunburns were common if sunscreen was forgotten. The angle of the kiss kept it more chaste than Beau would have liked, and he broke away to give Leon a suggestive leer.

"How about a lunch time break?" he asked. "My legs could use a rest. Then a little more skiing and riding this afternoon."

The chair lift eased back into motion and Beau regretfully removed his hands from Leon's vents. He wiggled back into position on the seat, but didn't break eye contact with Leon. They'd been meeting at the resort most weekends during the winter, Leon learning to ski with greater proficiency each time. With spring conditions softening everything, there would come an eventual end to the season. Beau wanted to grab every moment he could with Leon before that happened.

"I am hungry," Leon said. The catch in his voice and the uplift of his eyebrows told Beau he meant the double meaning quite earnestly.

"Me too," Beau said, and a rush of warm anticipation flooded into his gut. He knew the perfect, secluded spot where they could take a lunch break too, and remain undiscovered by other resort guests. Then he could hug, kiss, and caress Leon directly, instead of twisted sideways and forty feet in the air. Beau wished the winter would never end, but time kept marching on. "Mountain closes in two weekends," Beau said as they continued to travel upward. "Then what?"

Leon shrugged. "Then it'll be your turn to drive down to see me."

Beau smiled. "Gladly."


The extra long links to Taking the Fall Line:
And to the Snowed In anthology:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Queer Sci Fi's Flight

This was my second year of being included in Queer Sci-Fi's micro-story collection. The theme was Flight, however you might interpret that one word, and the goal was to write a story 300 words or less.

I did, and was pretty proud of my efforts. An except from my story, Stronger Than Flight, can be found at the bottom of this post.

Here's the official blurb-y thing that goes with the release:

front-coverThe 2016 Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction anthology, "Flight", is here, and I have a story in it! It's a really cool concept:

A 300-word story should be easy, right? Many of our entrants say it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever written.

Queer Sci Fi's Annual Flash Fiction Contest challenges authors to write a complete LGBTQ speculative fiction micro-story on a specific theme. "Flight" leaves much for the authors to interpret—winged creatures, flight and space vehicles, or fleeing from dire circumstances.

Some astonishing stories were submitted—from horrific, bloodcurdling pieces to sweet, contemplative ones—and all LGBTQ speculative fiction. The stories in this anthology include AI’s and angels, winged lions and wayward aliens. Smart, snappy slice of life pieces written for entertainment or for social commentary. Join us for brief and often surprising trips into 110 speculative fiction authors’ minds.

The book us available in eBook form (4.99), and will soon be available in paperback with b/w illustrations inside (12.99) and in a special collector's edition with color illustrations (24.99).

Buy Links

Amazon eBook | Kobo | All Romance | Goodreads


Alleta strode into class with only one perfectly formed wing draped in resting position. After checking in, she faced the room with a look so fierce and defiant that Daria smiled. Smiles must not have been what Aletta expected, nor the total lack of plumage against Daria's back, because her next expression—of awe and sudden interest—made Daria's heart beat in her chest as if it had become caged for the first time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

One Pulse, charity anthology, now available

Dreamspinner's One Pulse charity anthology became available this week (on the 19th). It's got so many good looking stories, and the authors and editors have volunteered their time, efforts, and talent. The proceeds go toward LGBT organizations in central Florida.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

exercise today, not so much writing

Last weekend (on my mini writing escapades) I buckled down and got lots of words on the page. This weekend I'm going to focus on getting in some exercise. Writers sit on their bottoms too many hours of the day, and I do not want to let my cardiovascular system get lazy. So, today, I'm off to seek adventure!

Friday, September 16, 2016

on the otherside of my writing getaway

I had a mini writing retreat last week. (Sometimes people call this house/pet sitting.) And it really worked. I wrote over 10k and finished a novella sized story.

This is really exciting. Now for some of the difficult editing work!

Free Fic: Head Musician Duties

Mackie checked the envelope he’d written out notes upon. He probably should use regular pieces of paper, but he’d grown up frugal and old habits were hard to break. Old envelopes, the backs of receipts, and junk mail were all turned into useful places to jots notes and make lists.

He still had quite a bit to get done before the concert that evening, but he was definitely on schedule. Nothing out of the ordinary needed solving. He glanced left and then right. His bandmates were all taking care of their own business. His roadies had everything in hand. The band manager was nowhere to be seen, but most likely she was off doing something paperwork related.

“Mack, I swear, this is the last time we’re coming here, right?” Jesse said as he tightened things on his drum set. “I just called to have pizza delivered and they said we were outside their delivery zone. This place is the absolute boonies. Why do you keep requesting we come here?”

“Pizza, Jesse? Seriously? You’re supposed to be eating better than that. Kidney stones, remember?” Mike said. He played bass, and was one of Mackie’s oldest friends.

“That happened only once and it was because I was dehydrated.”

“Because you ate fried chicken for a week and you wouldn’t know a vegetable if it bit you on the ass.” Mike rolled his eyes. He lugged a box around and started taking items out one by one, most of them wires of one sort or another.

“Don’t change the subject,” Jesse said. “Why are we in this forsaken pit again?”

“I like it here,” Mackie said. “And I fully intend to come back here. If you don’t like it, you have choices.”

Mike’s eyebrows shot up, but he didn’t said anything.

Jesse sighed dramatically. “Whatever. Where you go, I go. It’s not like there are a lot of headlining drummers. I’m not stupid.”

“I don’t do drugs, drink to excess, or shortchange you in the profits,” Mackie said. “So if I want to come here and play once or twice a year, then we’re going to.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Mike said. “We get it. You have a soft spot for the venue. We all have our peculiarities.”

Jesse scoffed. “And Mackie’s the most peculiar of them all!” He lifted a cymbal that hadn’t been secured in place yet and hit it with his finger. It made a twangy jangle of a noise. “Should I get that tuned?” Jesse asked, teasing them. “Anyone got a tuner? Pitch pipe? Can I get a middle C?”

Mike shook his head and walked off stage. “I need a beer,” he said.

Mackie nodded. He wanted one too. Jesse usually caused that reaction. He was so used to Jesse’s flippant nature that most of it rolled off, but sometimes there was no putting up with the ridiculousness that came out of Jesse’s mouth. In which case, a beer and some quiet time were the best options.

“Joking! I’m joking!” Jesse said. “I love this venue. It’s so small and intimate. And such a moneymaker.” He snorted. “For the owner. Maybe not for us.”

“I’m going to check on the list of songs for this evening, make sure everyone has the right copy,” Mackie said. “Be back in a couple minutes.” He needed at least half an hour to ratchet down the frustration level he felt with Jesse. Jesse wasn’t always this way. Nights when they performed seemed to ramp him to excess. But even knowing that, Mackie wanted some quiet away time. Frustration and annoyance were best headed off early.

“Sure thing,” Jesse said. His attention drifted back to his work and his motor-mouth stopped.

Mackie took a few seconds to check his envelope again and adjusted a few things on stage. A feeling came over him of being watched and he looked up. Conrad was in the small, elevated alcove that overlooked the stage. Mackie felt his mouth grow dry and his stomach clench. A warmth spread across his cheeks and he couldn’t help but let the predatory, hungry smile touch his lips.

The entire reason he always returned to this venue had everything to do with Conrad, and the glorious after concert opportunities.

Conrad smiled back and then retreated into the shadows of the alcove. That would come later. First, the concert.

Mackie left the stage, refocusing on his tasks at hand.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


I made this soup for dinner:

It was really good for my headcold, and very filling!

Quick recipe:

~olive oil heated in a pan
~cut up onions, garlic, carrot; cook until soft
~add in spices that you like, I used cumin, pepper, salt, paprika, Italian seasonings
~let the spices toast for a moment or two
~add in soup stock, I used chicken, but any would be fine, about 4 cups worth
~add in some chopped up roma tomatoes
~add in chopped up zucchini
~add in beans of your choice, I used white kidney beans
~let simmer for some time to allow the flavors to meld
~rummage through your fridge to find things that will make the soup taste better, some options: fish sauce (it sounds bad, but it is a miracle), mustard, soy sauce, hot sauce (not too much), etc. You're looking for something to make the umami flavor increase
~take off the heat; juice of one lemon or lime, add in

Then eat!

Friday, September 9, 2016


A headcold crept over me this afternoon and suddenly the plans I had for my weekend have changed.

Looks like hot cups of tea with honey for me and a lot of napping on the couch. Perhaps there will be writing, but first there will be snoozing!

Free Fic: Head Custodian Duties

Conrad considered the space and was satisfied.

As head custodian of The Azure LimeLighter's concert arena, it was his responsibility to ensure that all remained organized. He did everything from replacing burnt out bulbs to accompanying the Fire Marshal when she made her rounds for inspection. Conrad always made sure his location was in top shape.

He stood in the small, raised alcove to the side of the stage where he could see everything. Only he and the owner had the keys to this spot. It was useful to be able to see the stage, backstage, and the audience area at the same time. There were a few corners at the wrong angle to peer into, and of course there were dressing rooms in the back that were private, but otherwise, Conrad could watch and observe the entirety of his kingdom.

At the moment set-up was still ongoing. Although there was no way to know it inside the building since the few windows were all blacked out, it was still early afternoon outside. The crew for tonight's performance were unpacking boxes, laying out wires, adjusting chairs and microphones and whatever else needed adjusting. Members of the band milled about on the stage, taking care of their own issues and equipment.

Conrad had already done his work to make the place presentable. He remained in case the set-up crew ran into an issue, which sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't.

The sound of the key in the lock alerted Conrad to the owner's presence. She had come up to the alcove to survey her domain.

"Hi, Conrad," said Alyssa as she entered the space. She was a small woman, but her personality made her seem larger. Her voice, even when pleasant, brimmed with self-assuredness. Conrad really liked her as a boss. "How's it going out there?" she asked.

"Okay," he said. "This crew knows what they're doing. I don't think there will be any problems."

"No kidding," Alyssa said. Her expression mixed disbelief and glee. "Mackie's team are top professionals. Why Mackie schedules us in, when he's usually working much larger venues, I do not know. But I'm grateful for it."

Mackie's band was big time. They weren't Platinum Album big time, but they were a massive draw. Mackie's songs played on the top 40 stations. His albums caressed the charts, never making it to the top twenty, but hinting at stardom. It was a matter of time before one of his songs shot through the roof, but in the meantime, he was becoming a household name.

"They like coming here," Conrad said. "They like this location."

"Thank god they do," Alyssa said. "They're boosting my business a thousand-fold." She took a deep breath. "I'd better go check in with them face to face. Let me know if you need anything."

"Okay," Conrad said. He doubted he would.

As his boss exited the alcove, Conrad saw that Mackie himself had come onto the stage. He spoke with his bandmates for a few minutes, motioning with his arms a few times. Conrad leaned forward a little, moving out of the hidden recesses of darkness and into the light. Most everyone knew the alcove was there, just that access was restricted. Mackie knew it too. His conversation with his band ended and he looked up. A ferocious gleam entered his eyes when he saw Conrad and a wolfish grin touched his mouth. The moment after it manifested, he'd banked the expression away.

But Conrad had seen. Conrad shifted away from the front of the alcove, becoming hidden once more.

There was a reason Mackie scheduled The Azure LimeLighter on his tours. It was because of Conrad. And Conrad looked forward to the end of the show.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

fics that are upcoming

Only two days until Friday -- and I'm back this week and next week with two fics that are related to each other. The same moment, just from the perspectives of two different characters. It gives one an appreciation for just how difficult it is to do that type of scene, there are a lot of bits and pieces to keep in mind. These are very short fics, so it is easier to do, but I've read some authors' works where the entire thing revolves around perspective shifting. Impressive.

And, if fall ever starts to come around, instead of muggy summer, I will post an additional ficlet I've been saving for just that time of year. I have "Taking the Fall Line" in the Snowed In Anthology at Torquere, and I have a follow-on tidbit that covers the two characters after they've done all the hard work of realizing they are falling for each other. But I would like to at least have a crisp fall morning to remind me what it feels like! Then I can get a little more excited about the fall and winter seasons coming around with all the opportunity for winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing!

In the meantime, the Anthology and the story can be found here:

Those aren't very pretty links, but they'll take you there.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Holiday Weekend Update

Ah, the third and last day of the holiday weekend. How did it go by so fast?

I am pleased to announce that the giant heaping mounds of laundry have been tackled. A small pile is left to fold and put away, but otherwise, everything is clean and luxurious once again!

Also organized was the monstrosity that masqueraded as my closest. It was getting very close to that cartoon joke where the person opens the door and everything dumps out on their head, covering them in a pile of stuff. My closet is now organized and safe from that dangerous mishap. It is still full of too many things, but everything is properly perched on a shelf, instead of teetering indelicately over an edge.

Still to work on this weekend, though, is the clutter. Our lives seems to be filled with bits of paper. Even with the internet and everyone trying to go paperless, there still seems to be a lot of the stuff. Granted, I have not chosen paperless versions of everything--I manage much better when I have a piece of paper to cart around to remind me of things, or to read from--but I am somewhere in the 50/50 range of that. An awful lot of what comes at me is electronic.

I have a few special projects for today: some sewing time (the seams on things come loose, and I don't need to replace a blanket when I can fix the hem on it), some cooking time (an amazing chickpea curry recipe that I want to try out for the first time), and some writing time. I have an honest-to-goodness long story that is becoming something amazing, and it needs tender loving attention.

Have a fantastic day!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The longer the To Do List, the shorter the weekend

Even with a 3 day holiday weekend -- which I don't get to spend having fun -- I am far behind the times on my household tasks. I don't mind missing out (well, I do, but really) because I played a bit over the summer. I had my fun time. Now is my work time. I've got piles of laundry, dishes, and two very crammed-full closets that need re-ordering. Plus many other chores to see to. On Wednesday I'm going on a semi-writing retreat, but to get to that point, I've got to get things organized!

I hope everyone else out there is having more fun this weekend, and less work!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

ficlets upcoming and postponed

I missed two weeks of Free Friday Fic because I got bogged down with regular life activities and then this week (tomorrow), the Free Fiction Friday group is going on a one day hiatus anyway!

But, I do have some ficlets ready to go. Two of them, in fact. And they are two perspectives on the same scene. Well, those will start showing up next week!

In the meantime, everyone who gets the Labor Day Holiday, I hope you have a fantastic weekend. See you on the other side!