Monday, June 19, 2017

new story started

The goal is at least 15k words and I'm already up to 11k. It's been a real pleasure writing this one -- I figured out the entire plot prior to even starting to write and now it is just a matter of hitting the marks as I work through it. A few things have surprised me as I've worked on it, for instance, I didn't anticipate the structure that it would take, or that I'd chose a more limited POV.

It's back to the grindstone tomorrow, though, and I hope I will be able to finish this story next weekend!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

sticky post updated

Over at my Dreamwidth blog I maintain a sticky post with my up-to-date links for what is available. I usually get it updated once or twice a year because writing can be a slow-moving business, so I don't have a lot of changes.

Except for this time!

I had changes! Lots of changes!

I have THREE new things available:

Pyresnakes, which is coming available on June 28th! (male/male)

"Full of the Wild Life", a story in the Blue Collar Anthology (het)


"In Anger Blooming", a short, free read that I have up at smashwords (male/male)

Here is the link to the sticky post:

Friday, June 16, 2017

upcoming blog posts for Pyresnakes

I've been working diligently behind the scenes to create some very interesting blog posts about content within Pyresnakes (how do I feel about snakes? what about the very strong secondary grandmother character? what genres got all mixed into the story?) and coming up in about 10 days, those posts will go public.

I will be pointing them out and giving links as they go live!

In the meantime, here's the pre-order link to Pyresnakes at Dreamspinner:

And I'm excited to see my story creeping up the rows on the upcoming tab:
I'm on the third line which is juuuuuust below the cut. That sort of thing is important to authors, you know. ;)

Just to re-cap, here's the story teaser:

There is another world existing alongside the one most see everyday, and although it is a place of magic and wonder, the dangers are very real.

Aran, an artist, grew up on his grandmother’s tales of the Side-by-Side world. He never expected his knowledge of folklore would aid his boyfriend, Brandon, in an arson investigation, but the snakes that burst into flames when agitated are something he recalls from those childhood stories.

When Aran vanishes, Brandon knows his time as a State Trooper won’t help find him, so he enlists the aid of Aran’s grandmother, Ruth, and they venture into the Side-by-Side world.

But Aran has no memory of his life prior to crossing between worlds, and he’s enjoying the company of his handsome new companion, Ren. Even if Brandon and Ruth reach him, convincing him to return to his former home won’t be easy. In a contemporary fairy-tale adventure set among forests and trails, Aran must choose between a mystical fantasy world and the man he loves.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Blue Collar party tonight

The Blue Collar party on Facebook is ongoing now! Come join us! I'll be posting a little later tonight.

And Adele Downs did a marvelous post about the Anthology and her story in it, go look:

Belinda LaPage has a great contest available for her story, go see here:

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Blue Collar is now available!

Blue Collar (A Boys behaving Badly Anthology) is now available! Here's the amazon link;

There are some really great authors that I'm pleased to be included with.

We're planning a Facebook party tomorrow, which you can visit with the authors:

It's from 3 until 10 pm CDT, and I'll be there a little later in the evening!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Full of the Wild Life

I've got a short story in the Blue Collar Anthology: Boys Behaving Badly
Amazon link:

I'm one of 16 stories, and they are all fabulous!

I have a teaser for my story:

The other teasers are just as hot, and I'll share them at some point soon!

(For those readers of mine that come for the m/m, please note that sometimes I do dabble in m/f, and this is one of those times. It's still a story about a really attractive guy who works out in the Alaskan wilderness!)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

story accepted to the SciFi Renewal Anthology!

My story "Fresh Start" is among those selected to be included in the Queer SciFi Anthology, this year's theme being 'Renewal'. This is very exciting!

I have two other big things being published this month (Pyresnakes, and also a story in the second Boys Behaving Badly Anthology) so I'm feeling very much on top of the world.

Here's the link to the announcement on FB:

Monday, May 29, 2017

And to show off my gorgeous cover....

And now I'd like to show off the gorgeous cover.

I love it. There is so much of the story built into this artwork that I am sometimes astounded, and even with that, it's plain gorgeous.

Whoohoo!!! Pyresnakes is available for pre-order!

Pyresnakes is now available for pre-order! Here's the link:

You'll need to scroll down since the release date is June 28th, so it is a month (minus 1 day) away, so it is toward the bottom.

This is EXCITING for me!!

When you're editing and editing and doing more editing, everything feels so far away, and now it isn't!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

working diligently on my posts

The publishing of any new book always involves making sure to get the word out that the book is out. So I've been diligently working on creating posts on interesting topics about Pyresnakes. Once they start posting, I'll make sure get links up to them here!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

things will heat up soon

I've got my book Pyresnakes coming out at the end of June, and I'm currently ramping up to start posting about it. So, enjoy the quiet for the moment, and be prepared for when I start posting and writing and being all manner of peppy and upbeat!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

A very happy mother's day to everyone!

If you're the traditional definition of mom, or a mom by different means (pet mom, step mom, neighborhood mom, office mom, mom-by-proxy, etc.) you're doing the nitty-gritty hard work of keeping the world running, and I appreciate your efforts.

Thank you for all the time and resources that you put into others. Your energies and your love and kindness make all our lives better.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

scrambled eggs and salsa

Mmmm. Scrambled eggs and salsa are an excellent way to get more veggies into my meals.

And there are so many different kinds of salsa!

Monday, April 24, 2017

shout out for science

ScienceMarch was this past weekend and I attended one of the 600+ satellite marches. It was thrilling to see so many people come out for science (and in many places, in the rain, undeterred).

Science should be available to everyone. We should all think critically and check our sources. It is when we blindly follow along that trouble happens. To everyone out there who is pro-science, thank you, and keep on citing those sources and checking your references!

As a writer, I very often write things that are not science based at all. I've written a few ficlets of science fiction (not really my strong genre) and quite a bit in fantasy. You would think that fantasy writing would be entirely the opposite of science, but it isn't. It is a place if imagining, where the mind can make connections that propel forward our understanding of science, of ourselves, of our strengths and weaknesses.

Take benzene for example. The story of Kekule's dream of a snake eating its own tail (the ouroboros that is so famous) helped him finally figure out the molecular structure. (Although some say the story was a hoax. But even if it was -- it just adds another layer of imagination to that of science.)

Here's a link to a nifty doodle on it:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

11 things

Just the bank account situation along made me angry. I don't need anyone's permission to have my own autonomy.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

flash fic

QSF is doing their annual contest again this year:
This year's theme is "Renewal".

I've had stories in two of the previous anthologies. Stronger Than Flight for their Flight theme, and Lost in Translation for their theme of Discovery.

The deadline is coming up and I've been working hard. 300 words is both a lot of words and hardly enough.

Monday, March 27, 2017

a rare free day

It is raining out today and the roads are slick with ice. I'm staying home for once instead of going out either to work or get something done, so I'm enjoying this very rare day of having no agenda.

So far I've written 1000 words on a new story I'd been thinking about (publishing In Anger Blooming yesterday was very galvanizing!) and have taken an awesome nap. I'm now post-lunch and back to my computer. I'm stalling a little right now, but in a few minutes I am going to get back to the actual hard work of writing!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

In Anger Blooming (free fic!)

I am very excited to announce that I have a short story now available through smashwords: In Anger Blooming.

Please go here for the downloads:


Hayden's hair-trigger temperament blows up spectacularly and he storms out of the house he shares with his boyfriend, Russ. To calm down he sets off for a hike on a nearby trail. Partway up Hayden meets another hiker, Griege, who seems like a friend, but who has a dark side. Griege has been waiting for Hayden and planning his revenge.

I'd like to give a gracious thank you to both my cover artist, RJ, who is highly talented, and also to AM Leibowitz, who can be found at for gracing me with some editing help. (Any mistakes left in are mine to claim, of course.) It was through the generosity of these kind people, and others who helped along the way, that the story was made better.

It is my hope that if you like my writing, you'll be interested in some of the longer projects I've had published with Dreamspinner, which can be found here:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

deep into edits

Things accomplished this weekend:

1) started on the third edit of my upcoming novella with Dreamspinner Press, Pyresnakes
I am so excited to keep working on this. It'll be the longest piece I've ever published and one of the most exciting, adventure-based stories.

2) made a list of all the other stories that I should remember to work on. I have some great ideas and some great works in progress, but I need to focus and concentrate and get the work done on them. This list will help me remember what it is I have ready for construction.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


I did have aspirations to get some writing in today, but it is such a dreary day and I am in front of a fire. The couch is extra comfy. So, I think I am going to worry about writing a bit later and take a really nice nap right now. Napping opportunities come too far and few between.

And it's certainly been stressful for several weeks now. A good nap can solve a lot of problems.

Monday, February 20, 2017

first round of edits

My first round of edits for Pyresnakes, my current story in progress are done! I am very excited about this. Dreamspinner is planning on publishing this as an e-book this summer, June/July most likely.

I always appreciate my editors. They do some very hard work getting my commas under control and finding the areas in the story that need extra attention.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Free Fiction Friday update

I'm @TrayEllisWrites over at Twitter, and I'm a bit more active over there than here. So I announced this over there already.

After quite a while of hard work, Free Fiction Friday is ending its run. It's not easy to get everyone coordinated, ficlets written, posts done weekly, etc. I applaud that it kept up as long as it did!

I am proud I made most Fridays, even if not all of them.

It was excellent to push myself, to find creativity even when I didn't think I had much going on in the brain cells. But I'm also glad to reach the finish.

I'll probably still have ficlets to share that are short and don't meet length requirements for publishing, though not as often.

I want to focus more on writing longer things and getting more published.

I'd love it if you stuck with me on this journey.

Thank you for being here for the Free Friday Fic, stick around for whatever comes next!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Free Fiction: Black Tea, Strong

Why, yes. I was thinking about tea parties again today. This ficlet is a little less tea-party like, but it's still along the same lines.


“Here.” George slapped the back of his hand against Paul’s shoulder. “Let’s duck in here.”

Paul looked over the store fa├žade. Coffee shop. The front was an expanse of glass with tables arranged in rows. The ambiance inside looked kitschy, with artwork framed on the walls and an assortment of hanging lights that didn’t match. There was a tower of shelves against one wall with random things to purchase, most of them having nothing to do with coffee. “Okay.”

Paul followed George in through the doors, the rush of warm air over his skin reminding him that he’d forgotten his hat at home, again. His ears burned with cold even more so for the warmth bringing them back to a reasonable temperature. He’d not forgotten his gloves, so his hands were toasty. They'd been doing some window shopping during the morning, trying to keep themselves occupied while they logged some walking miles.

“One black tea. Strongest kind you have," George ordered at the counter. "Large."

The woman marked the order down. "Okay." She fixed her gaze on Paul.

"Hot chocolate, please." He gave her a smile. "Also large."

Something twitched in her expression, but Paul wouldn't have called it friendly. More like perfunctory. She was probably tired of having to smile all day long at everyone who ordered a drink.

Paul and George shuffled to the right to wait for their drinks to appear. Two other people were already there, heads down, phones glowing.

"Why'd you order tea?" Paul asked. "You never like it from a shop."

"Nothing ventured. You know."

Another counterperson approached. One latte, and one of the other people picked it up and walked off. A moment later a caramel cappuccino was deposited and the other person collected it and left. Two minutes later, George's tea and Paul's hot chocolate were offered up.

"You don't even know how long it's been brewing already," Paul pointed out.

"I like it strong anyway." George pulled the lid off and peered in at the tea. "I'll leave it to brew for a bit."

"You like strong tea. Not over-brewed tea." Paul couldn't seem to help himself. He knew how George liked his tea, and it irritated him a little that in only the rarest situation did George get anything even close to a decent cup of tea.

"It's a mess to start with," George said. "Paper cup instead of porcelain. Are you going to start a campaign to get me bone china at coffee shops?"

Paul made a face. "If I thought there was a chance it'd work."

"Sip your cocoa and don't worry about it." George nudged him toward the window and they took a table with a direct line of sight to the busy sidewalk outside.

"If I ran the world, there'd be teacups everywhere, and good tea. Not tea bags. Loose tea. And--"

George covered Paul's hand with his own, interrupting the mini-tirade. "If I ran the world, you'd have remembered your hat this morning. Your poor ears are red."

"They sting a little too," Paul admitted.

George sipped at his tea. "Not entirely awful," he said. "And we got in from the cold."

Paul sighed. "Thank you for that. Sometimes I'm too stubborn for my own good."

George waved the comment away. "Part of the human condition."

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fisherman's Heart

My story, The Way to a Fisherman's Heart, has reached the end of its release time. It is part of the Snow on the Roof anthology. So, if you've been holding out to get that particular story of mine, now is the time to do so, as it is not going to be available for much longer.


Summary for the anthology:
Just because there's snow on the roof, doesn't mean the fire's gone out in the furnace." There's something to be said for maturity and experience, and in all of these relationships, at least one of the lovers is over forty. Whether it's a May/December romance, a second chance at love, or finding a soul mate later in life, these stories prove that it's never too late for love.

Summary of The Way to a Fisherman's Heart:

Jim loves fishing, but it's more than just the water and fresh air that lures him out to the fishing hole. Franklin is often there, with tips and tales of a well-spent lifetime of angling. He's rugged and handsome, with a deft hand at the sport, and he draws Jim's attention each time they're together. Will there ever be a right moment for Jim to find out if the attraction is mutual, or will this be the one that got away?

Monday, January 30, 2017

today's google doodle

Today's google doodle is featuring Fred Korematsu, a civil rights activist who fought against the internment camps set up by the USA, within the USA, to hold our citizens of Japanese heritage.

We must not forget that we are not above doing atrocious acts, but that we must strengthen our resolve to learn from our mistakes, and to do better, and be better. And then, to not repeat our mistakes.

Friday, January 27, 2017

a little less writing a little more ACTIVISM

This week I've not been working on the craft of writing very much at all. I've been over at twitter as @TrayEllisWrites and more engaged in the past 7 days as a citizen who is Very Concerned, than as a writer.

I think the next four years will be a mix of activism and writing, because both are important to me.

Free Fiction: Work To Do II

Even with Chaz's help, it took six hours to clear all the walkways on Knute's list.

The snow brought in by the snowstorm was heavy, wet, clumping snow. Every shovel full dragged with weight, but the solid clumps of snow were easier to shuck off to the sides.

Chaz followed Knute to each walkway and after the first few, they fell into a pattern. Chaz whistled while he worked, a perfectly in-tune, trilling whistle with high notes and low notes. Knute didn't recognize the tune, but he enjoyed the music.

Normally he tucked his ear buds in and listened to something with a pounding beat to help energize him through the difficult shoveling hours, but Chaz's infectious whistling was too interesting to miss out on. Knute wanted to hear how the whistling moved along. Would Chaz stick to the same tune, or change it the entire time?

By the last walkway, Knute had his answer. Chaz progressed through an entire litany of musical themes, a few Knute had recognized, although most he had not.

Knute flung the last shovelful of snow to the side and stopped to admire their handiwork. "Man, that was a lot of snow. I couldn't have done it without you."

Out of the corner of his eye he saw a curtain twitch inside the house. A woman with bright eyes and gray hair peeped out at him. When she realized he'd seen her, she gave him a flash of a smile and a thumbs up signal before pulling the curtain closed again.

Chaz swept his gaze down, in an aw-shucks move that made Knute's stomach squeeze.

"Weren't nothing. Glad to help," Chaz said.

Knute checked the time. "Noon," he said. "Lunch time. Do you want to pick up something on the way home? Pizza?" The restaurant where he worked would be open now and Knute could pick up a pizza for cheap. He turned away from the condo area they had been shoveling and set out toward the restaurant, which was in the same direction as home.

"Sure, that sounds good." Chaz starting walking beside Knute.

"So...." Knute gripped the handle of his shovel. "About payment? What were you thinking?" He figured he should probably offer half of what the jobs were worth, except that the shoveling gig kept him afloat. When Chaz had offered, it had felt more like a friend doing a favor, but as they'd worked through the walkways, Knute realized it wouldn't be fair if he didn't pay Chaz fairly. "I don't get paid for this until the end of the week, so we both'll have to wait a little."

"I didn't help you because I wanted the cash," Chaz said.

"Yeah, but it's not right if you did half the work," Knute argued.

Chaz reached out and put his hand on the handle of Knute's shovel and they paused in their walk to face each other.

"I was hoping to spend some time with you. Get to know you better," Chaz said.

Knute swallowed hard. "What--"

Chaz's hand slid up the handle until it covered Knute's. They both had on thick winter work gloves, but Knute could feel the pressure of Chaz's hand. "You work all the time. How else is a guy supposed to get some of your time?"

"Oh," said Knute. He hadn't dared to hope that might be the case, and here it was. "I--"
He struggled to know what to say. "I guess we'll have some time to talk over pizza."

"That'd be nice." Chaz removed his hand from the shovel handle. "Anything but onions. They give me heartburn."

"And bad breath," Knute added.

Chaz looked sideways at him, a hint of a smile at the corner of his lips. "Anticipating a kiss?"

"Maybe. Maybe not," Knute said. "But everyone knows you don't order onions, either way."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's March

While I generally try my best to not go into political issues because this blog (and my twitter, and my FaceBook, etc.) are about my being an author and my writing, sometimes the world outside the writing cocoon cannot be ignored.

Strength, love, and peace to those marching today.

I do not believe in hate. I do not believe that assault and sexual assault are acceptable. I do not believe in lies. I do not believe in being a bully. I do not believe in being nasty. I do not believe in an ego so fragile that instant negative and harsh retaliation is always the answer.

I believe in kindness and acceptance. I believe in love.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Free Fic: Work to Do

Knute plunged his hands into the hot sudsy water. A few months ago, he would have grimaced, but now he could take the punishment. His hands reddened but he pushed the discomfort to the back of his mind to focus on the job at hand.

Four tables full of people were still loitering over their dinners and desserts. He'd have to go collect the used plates and silverware and transport everything to the back of the kitchen. Jason should be helping him, but the guy had called in sick. Again.

Knute was really tired of Jason calling in sick.

Knute had to pick up the slack, and that really stunk.

He pushed those thoughts away, lest he spend the rest of the night stewing about it and getting himself into a righteous snit. He didn't have time to get worked up about the injustice.

The four tables were finally emptying of people, an hour later than usual, and Knute needed to finish this job so he could go home and catch a few hours of sleep before he started on his other job. Shoveling people's walkways.

A deep blanket of snow had been forecast to begin just after dawn. He'd need all the sleep he could get because once it started, he'd be on his feet for hours.

He needed the money from both jobs to pay rent, otherwise he'd have been happy to work just one of them.

Less than half a year ago, he'd been in college, mounting up debt as well as below-average grades. After freshman year, he couldn't hack it anymore. If he got out, he could pay off the chunk of debt he'd accumulated. If he'd stayed in, he could have dug himself deeper into debt while waiting to flunk out. He'd left of his own accord.

Knute finished cleaning up the dirty dishes and wiped his hands one last time on a nearby towel. His bones ached from the physical exertion and he knew he smelled of sweat, soap, and smoke from when the cook burned some bacon.

Nearly two in the morning. Knute sighed and began walking home. He only lived a quarter mile from the restaurant, in a house that he shared with three other guys all trying to make something in life work out better.

Ten minutes later, he opened his front door. Light flickered and the sound of people yelling and cars speeding around let him know at least one person was up late watching a movie. He looked into the living room.

"Hey," he said.

Chaz was sprawled on the couch, looking barely awake. "Hey," he said. He checked his watch. "Late night."

"Yeah. Group came in twenty minutes before closing." Knute waved a hand. "I gotta get some sleep. Shoveling." He plodded to his bedroom.

When the alarm went off in the morning, it felt like he'd been asleep for five minutes. Knute dragged himself out of bed.

He sniffed. The scent of fresh coffee lingered in the air.

Knute pulled on his work clothes and made his way downstairs.

Chaz was there, frying eggs in a skillet. "Hey," he said. "I heard your alarm so I knew you were getting up."

Knute noticed an extra shovel leaning against the corner near the door. "What's going on?"

Chaz shrugged. "Thought you could use some help. It's my day off." He turned back to tend to the eggs. He poked at them with the spatula, not actually doing anything. "You looked really rough last night."

"Huh." Knute ran a hand through his hair. He did need help with the shoveling. A glance out the window told him the snow was starting to fall faster. People got royally pissed if their walkways weren't done lickety-split. "I'd appreciate that."

Chaz abandoned the eggs for a moment, facing Knute. He looked like he wanted to say something, then turned back around to poke at them again.

Bewildered, Knute went searching for a clean coffee mug. Chaz was a nice guy. They got along well and Chaz never left dirty laundry in the common areas. But they hadn't ever made a lot of conversation together. Knute didn't know that much about Chaz. He turned to ask Chaz why he'd be so helpful, but lost his courage the moment he saw the side of Chaz's face, scowling slightly down at the eggs.

For the moment, he'd be thankful. Later, when he wasn't so tired and worn out, he would figure out what Chaz was up to.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Free Fic: Tea and Cookies

I love to write about people having tea. So I keep imagining so many different scenarios where it happens. This is yet another one!


"The water will boil in just a minute." Janice, Kirk's mom, bustled around her kitchen. She fished cloth napkins from a drawer and a beautiful silver tea service strainer that nobody ever used because Janice bought tea in tea bags. She placed it gently on the table between her china cup and Kirk's. "There. That looks nice."

"Mom, it looks beautiful," Kirk agreed.

The table did look nice. Instead of the usual untidy mess of magazines, oil-stained placemats, half-opened mail, and various left-behind silverware there was a clean and open space. Only their two china cups, mismatched but both lovely, with cloth napkins, a silver spoon for each, and the tea strainer perched on the tabletop.

"Oh. I forgot the milk and sugar." Janice hoped to her feet again and began bustling around the kitchen. The moment she'd grabbed the sugar jar from the counter, the kettle began to whistle.

"I've got it." Kirk pulled the kettle from the burner. He searched for the teapot and found it neatly tucked away in the far cupboard. He also dug out the tea bags from the plastic container where they were stored.

"Thank you," his mom said as she sat down again.

He put teabags in the pot and poured in the hot water. "Do you have a timer?" he asked

She moved to jump up again and Kirk waved her down.

"I've got my phone." He pushed a few buttons. "How long?"

"Three minutes, I think?" She sighed. "Better make it four. I hate weak tea."

Kirk started the timer and sat down at the table. "It's been a while since we've had tea together."

"I know," she said. "But you texted me this time that you were stopping in to grab some of your old things, so I figured you could spare a few minutes to catch me up on what's going on with your life. FaceBook is nice. I like the photos. But it isn't everything."

"I only live fifteen minutes away," Kirk said. "I'm not that far."

Janice shrugged. "Sometimes close is just as far away as far." She stood up and rummaged in a nearby drawer, the lowest one that was slightly deeper than the others. She pulled out a package of cookies. "Look," she said. "Your favorite."

Kirk tilted his head. "Coconut macaroons. Mom, those are Joe's favorites!" Joe was his older brother, and the shining star of the family. He was off to law school after having earned a scholarship to his undergraduate university. Kirk was just starting to see the bills from his college education, and still didn't have a full time job with which to pay them. He was looking, but times were tough. It was just like his mom to get Joe's favorite cookies.

"What? No. I got yours." Janice looked at the package. "Wait a second." She went back to the drawer and exchanged packages. "Here we go." She showed the cookies off with a flourish.

Gingersnaps. Kirk smiled. "Thanks."

His phone buzzed, signaling the tea was done.

His mom clasped her hands together. "Now. I'll pour. Tell me everything that's been going on."

Monday, January 2, 2017

holiday hangover

Headed back to the humdrum work-a-day life starting tomorrow. I feel a little out of sorts since I've been gone for so may days. The re-entry into that go-go work-work life will be harsh, I think, and a change from my recent activities. I probably do need to have some more structure going on in my day, so by the end of the week, I'll be ship-shape again. And very much ready for the weekend!!