Saturday, November 11, 2017

November 11th Rainbow Snippet

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

I would invite everyone to please come check out the Rainbow Snippets group, click on a link, read and comment on the writing available and get involved yourselves in this awesome exercise. The link to the group can be found HERE

Last week my snippet was serious, leaving many of you worried about Rogue. In this scene, Rogue's brother has finally caught up to them, not too long after last week's conversation and his entry to the house, isn't exactly wanted by either Rogue or Gypsy. (please note that Gypsy is non-binary, thus the they/them pronouns) and again I apologize for the length. 
Thunder accompanied the sound of the door being kicked open, the thud of it crashing against the wall jarred them from sleep. Fester woofed and let out a growl as the heavy tread of boots echoed off the kitchen floor. Gypsy stood, only to have their arm grabbed and held firm by Rogue. Without the candles, they couldn’t see his face, until a flash of lightning showed him reaching for his bag as the footsteps got closer. The press of metal into their palm alerted Gypsy to the fact they’d been handed a knife, and they closed their fist tight around the handle as he stood, silent and moving past them towards the noise.
Lightning illuminated a large figure in the doorway, and Gypsy gasped.
“You might want to back out of here nice and slow,” Rogue advised, his voice having gone low and deadly. “I’m armed, and you’re trespassing.”
“I figured I’d find you here.”
That voice, Gypsy tensed even more than they already had and fumbled around for the lighter Rogue had laid on the coffee table, fingers shaking as they attempted to light the candles. The first tiny flicker of flame in the darkness blinded them for a moment, and they blinked several times to clear their vision.
They almost wished they hadn’t, when they turned their gaze towards the voice. Randy stood in the doorway, as large and imposing as the last time they’d seen him. Fury rose up in them, warring with anxiety.
“What the hell are you doing in my house?”
All of Randy’s attention was on his brother, his expression hard, bordering on aggression. “Looking for this son of a bitch.”
“You ever hear of knocking! Who do you think you are? You can’t just kick the door in like some fuckin’ psycho.”
“I’m not the crazy one here.”
Gypsy looked between the two, noting the way Rogue still held the knife like he intended to use it. Stepping between them, Gypsy hoped to diffuse things before they got out of hand.
“What do you want, Randy?” They asked, taking a step towards him, hoping to heard him back towards the kitchen. Of course he was too stubborn to go.
“Isaac told me Rogue was headed this way. Saw his truck in the barn, thought maybe you were in trouble.”

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Rainbow Snippet November 4

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

I would invite everyone to please come check out the Rainbow Snippets group, click on a link, read and comment on the writing available and get involved yourselves in this awesome exercise. The link to the group can be found HERE

Last week my snippet was full of steamy bits, this week, we're on the serious side as Gypsy and Rogue try to navigate what living together will be like. (please note that Gypsy is non-binary, thus the they/them pronouns)

Sorry for the length, but the scene doesn't make sense cut in half. 

“Gypsy, we talked about this, remember. Part of me staying here is me doing the work that needs doing if I can do it, and I can do this, so please let me. I need a good project. It’s damn near the only thing that will tire me out enough that I’ll sleep for more than a couple hours.”
“Yeah? What are some of the other things?”
They hadn’t meant to sound coy or teasing, it had just sort of slipped out that way. They’d expected him to chuckle, maybe even respond with some teasing innuendoes, or a graphic depiction of some of the things that helped bleed his tension away. Instead, he’d just shrugged.
“A bike build, or anything mechanical to fiddle with. Stripping and restoring stuff. Tile work, landscaping, and practice, anything with repetition. Working with my blades used to leave me exhausted. I miss it.”
“Please tell me you still have them all.”
“Then why not practice if you need to, there’s plenty of space.”
“Why bother, it isn’t as if I’ll be performing again.”
They sat up, turning so they could grip his hair and force him to meet his gaze.
“How about because you enjoyed it, that should be reason enough.”
He shrugged again, tried to lower his head, but that just wouldn’t do. They weren’t about to let him blow this off like it was nothing.
“It’s a part of my life I can never go back to.”
“But it doesn’t mean it’s a part that’s over. There is more than one carnival in this country.”
“I know. But I have no intention of joining any of them, so just leave it, okay. I’m done with all of that.”
They snorted, trying to glare him into submission.
“It’s a shame to waste talent, it’s like destroying something beautiful. Criminal really. There are people who’d kill to have the kind of talent you have.”
“Who knows, that might be a merciful way to go.”
Stunned, mouth hanging open, they stared at him, shocked speechless by the callus tone to his words. He sounded like someone who’d given up, or at least, someone who didn’t believe they had anything to live for.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Flash: In the span of a Traffic Light

I've been dying to revitalize my blog after several months of inactivity, and I thought, what better way to jump back into the swing of things by bringing back the Friday Flash. This weeks was inspired by the writing group I attended last night. One of the assignments given was to write about a missed connection, a moment when eyes met, but there was no opportunity for interaction. As soon as it was read, the following scene burst into my mind, so without further ado, here is the missed connection I envisioned. Who knows, there may even be a follow up for them in the future.

In the Span of a Traffic Light

I saw you at the corner of 8th and vine. You were barefoot and dancing, wearing a flower and singing “Lips of an Angel.” You’re long, silken curls shimmered a warm chestnut in the waning Autumn sun. I wanted to hear you better, so I ignored the light, stared, listened as you through you head back to hit the high note. Your eyes were electric blue when you opened them again, so stunning I could hardly breathe when you locked on mine. You smiled, hips swaying as you moved to a beat only you could hear. I’ll never be able to listen to that song again without thinking of you.

You twirled and I saw butterfly wings tattooed across your shoulders, the pattern flowing down the backs of your arms and I could almost picture you flying, flitting from flower to flower though none could ever be as beautiful as you.

Someone honked, shattering the moment, and I froze, torn between moving and staying put, even as they honked again.

“Honey why you callin’ me, so late?” you sang, in a voice so sweet it was almost mocking. I’d love to call you.

“Can I have your number?” My words drowned out by the honking horn. I turned, started to wave them past, when I saw the cop car turning towards us. Last thing I needed was him putting his flashers on. With regret, I took my foot off the break as the final notes of your song faded away.

You licked twilight purple lips as I drove past, launched into another song, a few notes trailing after me like a haunting requiem.

“How I wish, how wish you were here….”

Yeah baby, I wish I was too, I thought, as I drove away.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rainbow Snippet October 28

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

I would invite everyone to please come check out the Rainbow Snippets group, click on a link, read and comment on the writing available and get involved yourselves in this awesome exercise. The link to the group can be found HERE

Well I'm back. I've missed taking part in this. Today's piece is from one of my current WIPs, Gypsy's Rogue, coming right on the heels of a rather steamy bit. (please note that Gypsy is non-binary, thus the they/them pronouns)

“You looked like you needed that,” they whispered, licking the last traces from him as they pulled back.
“Yeah…fuck, baby, you’ve got me feeling selfish though.”
“No,” they said, pulling back and stroking his cheek. “You’re letting me take care of you tonight. No if’s, ands or buts.”
He stared, and they cupped his chin.
“The correct answer is ‘Yes, Gypsy, I understand. You’re in charge tonight.”

He all but purred at that, and repeated their words in a low growl they finally silenced with a kiss. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Rainbow Snippet Sept 1

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).

In this group you’ll find anything from romance and historical fiction to mystery and YA. The common thread is that every story’s main character identifies as LGBTQ+. The snippets could range from zero flames to full-on sexytimes, anything goes content-wise. The only rule is snippets will be 6 sentences long–one for each color in the Pride flag.

I would invite everyone to please come check out the Rainbow Snippets group, click on a link, read and comment on the writing available and get involved yourselves in this awesome exercise. The link to the group can be found HERE.  The following Snippet is from my current WIP, a slow budding romance between an escort and the client that goes from a one time thing to a regular.  A bit long, and for that I apologize, it just wouldn't have the same impact cut into pieces. This scene comes right after Takashi showed Zander a statue in a garden maze that he'd never had the opportunity to see before, so Zander is speaking in reference to the statue with the opening line below.

“I’m pretty sure I have a new favorite now.”
Takashi chuckled, hating the edge of bitterness that chipped away at some of the pride he felt.
“Guess you’ll have to ask to come see it every time someone brings you here.”
“Nope,” Zander replied with a small shake of his head, shocking Takashi once again. “This was special. Most people don’t care what I want, or like, or enjoy, to them, I’m just an ornament, another prop for the night like their dress or shoes or car.”
Takashi didn’t know how to respond to that. How could someone keep doing something that so clearly demoralized him? Faint strands of music still drifted from the party, so Takashi tugged him forward, surprising them both with his impulsiveness. Zander seemed to recover first, slipping his arms around Takashi’s neck and molding his body against Takashi’s, his head on Takashi’s shoulder, facing inward again. Another impulse hit and Takashi reached up and stroked his hair, assuaging his curiosity about how soft it would be. Time seemed to stand still as they moved, the music fading at times, growing louder at others, and all the while they swayed. Brilliant bursts of color erupted overhead and Takashi tilted his head back to look at the sky.
“Happy New Year, Takashi,” Zander murmured against his neck.
When Takashi looked down, he could see the fireworks reflected in Zander’s eyes, a million times more stunning then seeing them against the sky and he couldn’t resist brushing a kiss against Zander’s forehead, recalling what he’d said about never kissing on the lips.

“Happy New Year Zander,” he murmured, continuing to hold him close. “Thank you for making this my best New Year in a very long time.”

Friday, September 1, 2017

Short Story Teasers and Exclusive Excerpt

The other day, as I was driving up the road, I was reminded of an idea that I'd had for a short story, and pulled over to the side of the road to write it down. Later, during a block of free time, I started mocking up scenes and in doing so, was reminded of a time when I believed myself incapable of writing a short. May workshops later, I  found the courage to submit my first one to Wayward Ink publishing, and the rest is, as they say, history. Forbidden appeared in the Mix n' Match Anthology and after that I made it my mission to submit one for each anthology announced, plus go out and seek other anthologies to submit to. In the end, All Roads Lead Within appeared in Wayward Ink's Age is Just a Number anthology, while Forged in Steel appeared in Wayward Ink's Collars and Cuffs Anthology. Along the way, two short stories were released as stand alone pieces. Today, I wanted to take a moment to share excepts from each stand along and an exclusive peek at a never before released short as well as my upcoming release in the new Fractured Fairytales Anthology. 

Spider Webs and Cover Art: Written for the Take a Pause call for submissions from MLR Press, this short is near and deep to my heart. The semi-colon tattoo described in the book is one that I eventually had tattooed on my own wrist, a memorial for a friend who took his own life at 18. Jace's struggle to understand what happened to his brother was difficult to write, but I hope it's one readers will take a chance on.

Losing his brother leaves rocker Jace Christenson struggling to understand how it happened, and what he can do to open the door to a conversation about suicide and mental illness. A trip to visit an old friend who runs the tattoo parlor where he got his first tattoo soon nets him a conversation piece, in the form of a semi-colon tattoo, but the pain of grief is still overwhelming. Reconnecting with his band is an obstacle he's not sure he can overcome. It takes some time away with best friend and fellow bandmate Troy Paulus to finally get him to open up and accept that the things he's feeling are normal parts of the healing process. And if along the way, the two grow even closer, than that's just a bonus right?

“Blaming yourself isn’t going to change what happened,” she said, after a few minutes of both of them just listening to the hum of the gun.
“I know. I just wish I could understand why.”
“There is no understanding. It isn’t a math problem you can solve. And maybe you’ll learn more about what he was going through when you read those journals, but the final thing that pushed him over the edge you might never know.”
Jace had nothing to say to that, so he unwrapped another candy and popped it in his mouth.
“I thought about putting it in a spider’s web,” he said suddenly. “The semi-colon, I fiddled around with a few drawings before deciding on this one.”
“You should have brought them in, it’s easier when people do.”
“They looked like shit,” he said. “Just doodles on a napkin”
“So, something’s better than nothing.”
“You know, after my sister got help, she said she understood why my brothers and I had stopped talking to her,” she began. “She said part of her therapy was learning how to seek out the things that brought her joy, even when she didn’t feel like doing anything. Make sure you look at this whenever you start feeling down on yourself for all the things you think you should have done. It isn’t healthy to dwell in the past.”
“Not yeah. Yes Sherri, you’re older than me and wiser than me and you’re right,” she said as she turned his wrist a little. “Because I am right, Jace. Believe me when I tell you that you’re not the only one to ask “what if.” When I found out what Lydia was really going through, I hated myself for having turned my back on her. I woke up in tears in the middle of the night because I’d dreamed something had happened to her while I was living it up, enjoying my life. I’m betting that’s exactly what you’re feeling right now.”
“Pretty much.”
“It’s in your eyes, whenever you say his name,” Sherri explained.
Jace sighed heavily and sucked on the candy, silently watching her work.
“How happy would you have been, if you’d stayed?” she asked as she worked just over the bone, making him close his eyes and focus on not flinching.
“Miserable,” he said at last. “All I ever wanted was to share my music with the world.”
“Then don’t second guess it,” she warned. “Brian wouldn’t have wanted you to be miserable, any more than you wanted him to be.”
“I just wish I’d known how miserable he was.”
“Maybe he couldn’t find the words to tell you, or maybe he just didn’t want you to know. Maybe the reason he always asked to hear about your adventures, was because they brightened his day.”
“I never thought about that.”

“You should.”

Nero keeps his mind sharp and his body toned for the nights he spends stripping for horny men. In the light of day, however, he's bitter. Can his best friend Vance help restore his belief in love? 
Vance has always loved cooking. His dream is to return to the coast of Maine where he grew up to open his own restaurant. The closer he gets to that goal, the angrier he feels when Nero doesn't seem to have any goals or plans for the future. He wants better for Nero, even while harboring a secret dream that somewhere in Nero's future there might be a place for him.

“Everything’s a joke to you, isn’t it? You can never take anything seriously, never give a serious answer to a serious question.”
“I thought you said it was a hypothetical question.”
“That didn’t mean I wasn’t expecting a real answer, dammit! Nero this is your life we’re talking about. Why is it so hard for you to take seriously?”
“Sorry I didn’t realize it was a life or death answer. Vance, relax. You want me to be serious about something, fine. I’m seriously pissed off right now because that son of a bitch that’s been hanging around the bar was back again tonight, that’s the fourth time this week. According to Harry he only shows up for my shifts, even asked him when I’m on and of course, my uncle told him because he’s Harry and he’s a sadistic son of a bitch. So I finish up tonight, and this guy corners me beside the bar, tells me he’d love to take me out for dinner and that he’d really like to talk. He’s got me crowded against the wall, and he’s clutching my hand, and I don’t have room to move back or anything. This guy, he’s just steadily pleading with me to come sit down and talk to him, and I could see Harry over his shoulder, just standing there at the bar, watching it all.”
“Shit, Nero, he didn’t hurt you, did he?”
“No, but that’s not the point. The point is that he hasn’t learned to take no for an answer and keeps coming back. He kept insisting that he isn’t trying to pick me up, that if I’d just go to dinner with him, he’d explain why he wanted to talk. Yeah, so I can end up with a roofie in my drink or some other crazy shit. No thanks.”
“Yeah because it’s impossible for him to be serious, right!” Vance exploded. “That’s what stripping has done to you, made you think of yourself as cheap.”
“Hey, I’m not the one who…”
“Shut. UP!” Vance yelled, the ferocity in his tone making Nero jump. “You’re so convinced that everyone’s a sleazy jerkoff that you toss the nice guys out right alongside the assholes. Worse though is that you won’t even take the time to consider doing something more with your life. You’re just content to waste it grinding against a pole and flaunting yourself on a stage.”
“This from the guy who fills notebooks full of unrealistic expectations without ever taking into account that he might just fail!”
“And you think you’re being realistic? Face it Nero, all you’re doing is settling for way less than your fullest potential, and that’s a shame. You’re wasting your life, Nero and what truly sucks is that I have to be here to see it.”
“Well then close your eyes from now on, ‘cause the last thing I need is you judging me!” Nero snapped, snatching up his notepad and stalking back to his room, slamming the door behind him so hard the mirror hanging behind it fell off its nail and shattered on the floor.
Fuckin’ figured Nero grumbled as he flopped down on his bed. It was only then that he’d remembered that he’d never gotten to read Vance the poem he’d truly wanted to.
 “You almost bit Langley’s head off tonight, and though he deserved a stern reprimand, I am not sure equating his cooking to reconstituted squid entrails was very motivating. What’s going on with you? You usually have far more tact than that.”
“Sorry Chef, it’s been a really rough couple of days.”
“You’re telling me, I don’t think the staff is used to you yelling at them so much. Me, they practically cry when I’m silent, thinking I’m plotting their demise or an all-night mis en plas, but from you, they look like they want to puke or hide in the coatroom, possibly both at the same time.”
“I’ll be more mindful of that tomorrow.”
“See that you do. In the meantime, why don’t you tell me what’s going on?”
“Just shit at home, which I know I shouldn’t bring with me into the kitchen. I just, I can’t even make it right because Nero’s been avoiding me since it happened. I think he switched to the late, late shift because I pass out before I hear him come in. He hasn’t been leaving for his morning workouts either. I can hear him moving around in his room, but he never comes out while I’m home. This morning I tried knocking, and the dick just turned his music up louder.”
“What happened?”
“We got into it about him not having any plans for the future and always making a joke about it whenever I bring it up. I think I might have pushed too far this time, but I hate seeing him waste his potential.”
“What you see as a waste might be exactly what he needs right now. Never forget that there are many different paths. Some people are planners, and some are drifters, but isn’t the truly important thing that they reach the end of the path together?”
Vance hung his head. It seemed so simple when Chef said it.
“Look. It’s clear to me how much you care about him, but you need to make it clear to Nero. Attacking what you think are his flaws isn’t going to convey to him that you care about his well-being and it certainly isn’t going to make it easy for him to accept that you have feelings for him. I think you need to sit down and explain to him why you said whatever it is you said, without attacking him with it or picking up where your last argument left off.”
“How am I supposed to do that if he won’t even talk to me?”
“Boy, do I have to teach you everything I know about romance?”
“Chef, the extent of your romantic knowhow is a long stemmed rose in an empty wine bottle, chocolate martinis and crab stuffed lobster with a butter sauce; though it might have helped if you’d checked to see if she was allergic to shellfish first.”
Chef chuckled, waving at the air between them. “Not one of my finer moments but that’s completely beside the point. All I’m trying to say is that sometimes a grand gesture is exactly what you need to get the other person’s attention. From there it’s up to you how you’re going to go about making things right.”
Sighing heavily, Vance rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, and I do want to make it up to him. I shouldn’t have yelled at him.”
“Don’t tell me, tell him.”
“I will, Chef. Thank you. I’d better be getting home now.”
Vance stood and stretched his back, then headed for the door.
“Hey, Vance.”
Pausing, Vance glanced back to where Chef sat behind his desk. “Yes, Chef.”
“When you love someone, you love them for who they are, not what you’d make of them. If you can’t do that, then it really isn’t love.”

Vance closed his eyes and nodded, knowing Chef was right. In truth, he really didn’t want to change Nero; all this time he’d been fishing around for Nero’s plans for the future, it had been in the hopes that he’d say something, anything to give Vance some inkling that they had dreams that could somehow mesh. 

Season of New Beginnings: Coming this holiday season from Nine Star Press. 

Sitting there, surrounded by partygoers in Santa hats and green elf shoes, he found himself wondering if Clay had found the time to trim his tree or shop for Christmas dinner. If he’d gotten the stack of cards he’d written out to the mailbox or if he’d set the DVR to record the Christmas shows he loved but would otherwise miss.
“Hey! Hey wait a minute,” Desi’s screeching words cutting through Josh’s thoughts like nails on a chalkboard. “I thought you two were dating?”
Josh pressed a hand to his forehead and dragged it down his face. Inside he was seething, and it was taking every ounce of control he had not to snatch that pink squirrel from Desi’s hand and upend it over his head.
“We were,” Josh snapped. “But that didn’t make him ‘my man.’ People aren’t possessions, I fuckin’ hate that term ‘my man.’ I’m my own fuckin’ person and so is he. Just because we were in a relationship doesn’t mean we stopped being individuals. And before you say some more stupid shit, I hate when assholes decide to call me babe. Makes me wanna jackslap them upside the head.”
“You’re a bitter, violent little queen aren’t you? No wonder you can’t keep a man.”
Josh growled and snatched up his shot of whiskey and downed it before slamming the glass back onto the bar hard enough that it was a miracle it didn’t crack.
“Motherfucker, if you don’t get the hell away from me and stay the hell away from me for the rest of the night, I’m gonna forget this is David’s party, tear that ratty wig off your head, and ram it down your throat.”
Desi pursed his lips, narrowed his eyes, and licked his tongue out along the glittery metallic pink of his lip gloss before batting his eyes flirtatiously at Josh, a sight that made the younger man’s stomach turn.
“That’s not what I’d prefer for you to be ramming down my throat,” Desi practically purred, as Josh all but fell off the barstool in his haste to get away. “Nor is it your mother I’d love to be fucking.”
“God I hate you,” Josh grumbled and stomped across the room.
“Merry Christmas, Sweetheart!” Desi called after him. “Now that’s one queen that needs to get laid.”
Joshua almost turned at Desi’s parting remarks; the only thing stopping him was the fact that he didn’t have enough money on him for bail, at least for the kind of charges he’d end up with if he did to Desi everything that was running through his mind. Shouldering his way past people, and ignoring the looks and questions they hurled his way, he headed for the door. He’d almost made it to the coat-check room when he crashed into Brayden Parker, nearly sending the other man plummeting  to the floor. Of course, wherever Brayden was, his partner, Chase Bennington, was close at hand, and after he’d steadied Brayden, his ironclad grip clasped around Josh’s arm, holding him firmly in place.
“What the hell’s your problem?” Chase demanded as he gave Josh a bit of a shake. Josh wasn’t a small man, but compared to Chase’s six-foot-six muscle-bound frame, he might as well have been.
“Sorry, just in a hurry to get the hell out of here.”
“Yeah, well too bad,” Chase grumbled.
Balling his hands into fists, Josh glared up to see Chase glaring right back at him, his ice-blue eyes seeming even colder, even with the bright colors from the Christmas lights overhead reflecting in them.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Josh growled as he twisted, determined to yank his arm loose from Chase’s hold.
“It means you ain’t going anywhere yet, not until David unveils his surprise. He specifically asked that all of his friends be here to share whatever it is with him and Dion, and knowing how he feels about you, it would hurt his feelings if you weren’t here to see it, so sit down and stop acting like you’re the only one who’s ever gone through a breakup. You’re an adult, act like it.”
“What the fuck do you know?”
“I know you’ve been acting like a selfish little punk all night, glaring at everyone who tries to talk to you and storming around like you’re just spoiling for a fight. Well if that’s what you’re after, we can go outside, just as long as you know I’m dragging your ass back in here when we’re done.”
Now that got Josh’s dander up. He might not have the size advantage, but he’d been in his share of fights and was never one for backing down.
“And what makes you think you’d win?” Josh demanded, drawing his arm back, itching to punch the smug look right off of Chase’s face, would have too, if Brayden hadn’t stepped between them.
“Behave yourselves, both of you,” Brayden hissed. “Chase, I’d like another Sloe Gin Fizz please.”
The smile he fixed his boyfriend with was one-part innocence and two-parts predator. Josh had to chuckle. While Chase might be the bruiser in the family, it was clear who was truly running things. Chase sighed, his face softened and his stance relaxed.
“Sure,” Chase replied and turned, heading back the way Josh had come, toward the bar.
“He’d have broken you in two,” Brayden cautioned as soon as Chase was out of earshot, “and then he’d have felt like shit about it. The last thing I need is him being broody and mopey at Christmas, so ease up, will ya?”
“I’m not the one who started it.”
“Really? Hmmm, guess it’s some other guy plowing through the place looking to bowl people over on his way to the door?”
“Yeah, well, I am sorry about that. Desi was being an ass; I figured if I didn’t leave, I’d end up going to jail for beating him half to death with his own wig.”
“Awe, honey, you need to relax a minute, before you go and do something you’ll regret, though it seems like you already have. It’s an easy fix you know. If you miss Clay so much, why not just tell him that?”
Josh snorted.
“When? Between the playlist that needs tweaking or the guest list that’s gotten out of control? If I had the cash, I’d schedule a consultation with him, because that way, at least, I’d have his undivided attention, which is about the only way I’m gonna get it.”
“Wow, I never took you for the needy sort.”

And now, as part of the newly released Fractured Fairytale Anthology here is an except from Grotesque Danseur, a play on the Ugly Duckling.

“Margaret, it’s been a pleasure, but I just saw someone I really need to catch up with.”
“Of course. Take care, dear. I hope your next performance brings you threw. I’d love to get together for lunch.”
For the first time since their conversation began, he had to fake a smile, biting his tongue to keep from replying that he hoped never to see the town again. Instead, he gave a non-committal grunt and headed towards the door, scanning for curls and a face that would be most welcome. Instead, a bulky body stepped into his path, dressed in a navy blue dress that bulged in places. Blonde hair flowed over lace covered shoulders, and Sebastian struggled to place her face, though he was certain he’d seen it before.
“You were really good up there.”
“Thank you,” he remarked, trying to look past her to find that fluffy batch of curls.
“It’s a far cry from Pirates of Penzance, isn’t it? I heard you danced on Broadway in The Snow Queen and Beauty’s Revenge.”
“Yes, though that was a few years ago.”
“I wished we could have seen you, but my husband isn’t much for ballet, I’m afraid.”
“I’m…sorry,” he managed, not sure what she wanted to hear.
“I wish I’d kept up with my dancing the way you have. It must be amazing, having the chance to play so many different parts and see so many cities,” she gushed. All while, he struggled to recall her name or where he’d known her from.
“It has its moments,” he remarked, shuffling his feet as he brought the champagne glass to lips, only to find it empty.
Her lips pursed, then turned down into either a pout or a frown. He wasn’t sure. “You don’t remember me, do you?”
“No. I’m sorry, I don’t.”
“That’s okay. I’ve gained a bunch of weight since I saw you last. You, though− you look amazing. I could hardly believe it was you when you stepped out onto the stage. I’m Kristen. Kristen DeMarco? It was actually Kristen Sousa back in high school. We were on dance team together.”
He blinked and studied her closer. Peered into cornflower blue eyes seeking any hint of who she’d been. It was hard to believe they were the same age. She didn’t look 27. Hell, she didn’t look like she was in her twenties at all. He’d have pegged her for thirty-five.
“It’s nice seeing you again, but I’ve really gotta run. I was trying to catch up to someone.”
“I’m sorry.  I just…can I ask you something first.”
He sighed, but gave her a nod.
“What’s it like being up there in front of so many people, having them in awe of you?”
It was a struggle not to roll his eyes. Inside, he groaned, hating those type of questions. Didn’t people realize that he didn’t dance for the adulation of the crowd, but for his own pleasure?
“Dancing is exhilarating. The rush is indescribable. You’d have to experience it to really understand. Words don’t do it justice. Up there, I feel powerful, magical, alive, free to slip into a role and soar with it. The discipline, not only to endure each grueling practice, but to exercise control when fueling my body. There’s little in this world that can compare to it. Now, if you’ll excuse me.”
He said the last part while stepping around her, searching for the one thing in his life that topped his dancing.
But those riotous curls were nowhere in sight, and as he furiously strode through the room, it finally clicked who Kristen Sousa was. Funny, but there had been nothing left of the haughty, loud young woman he’d practiced with every day for years. He remembered her now, giggling and whispering with her friends, the ‘in crowd’ of catty girls who’d danced and done cheerleading, gossiped and pranced about the hallways like they’d owned the school.
“Oh eww, can you believe they let him on our team? I swear, he’d better not try to touch me. I am not doing lifts with him.”
“Yeah, you wouldn’t want to get warts or scabies. l mean just look at his face.”
“Barf. Why would I want to? That’s just sick.”
“At least you don’t have classes with him after lunch. It’s a good thing he sits in the back. I’d vomit if I had to look at him too long.”
“I want to vomit now.”
Sebastian slammed his locker door hard enough that he knew he’d have trouble opening it later, glaring at their retreating backs as they’d pressed their heads together, snickering as they scurried down the hall. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

Roadhouse Reds Re-release Trailer and Excerpt plus bonus peek at Serpent's Kiss

It's paranormal day! So pleased to announce the re-release of my MM(M) sci-fi/paranormal romance Roadhouse Reds, in which a crash landing in a corn field reveals to one character that not only are things around him more than what they seem, but he isn't exactly who he's always beleived himself to be. 

Grabbing a water pitcher, Jason headed for the east windows to fill the glasses of two ladies who were deep in conversation.
“Preacher Fisher thinks that it was Satanists, Petunia. What do you think of that?”
“Preacher Fisher thinks everything wrong in this town is because of Satanists or a cult. He’s got half the folks thinking they’re going to be murdered in their beds or sacrificed to the devil.”
“Well, not me, thank you very much. I sleep with my cross in one hand and my Colt .45 beneath my pillow.”
Jason about spilled the water when he heard that, his eyes sweeping over the weathered lady with the silver hair and steel-gray eyes.
“Don’t look so surprised, young man. Why when I was your age I could blast a bottle off a fence post two hundred feet away.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jason replied hastily.
“I can still hit the target when I go to the range. No, Lord, no one’s murdering me in my bed.”
“No, you’ll just shoot yourself in your sleep,” Petunia added.
“Least the Satanists won’t get me.”
Jason took their empty plates and beat a rapid retreat, desperate for a cigarette or, even better, a couple of joints.

Note: Below trailer is from Original Release, Roadhouse Reds is has now been released by Encompass Ink. 

Excerpt #4
Trajin, Pandya, Bakari, and a bleary-eyed Jason came down as the sun was setting, and Jason was shocked to find himself surrounded by his friends.
“She told them,” Jason said softly, moving to take a step back, but Bakari was behind him and there didn’t seem to be any moving that wall of cold muscle.
“Yes, she told us.” Clyde stood from his chair and moved in front of Jason, but he didn’t touch him, waiting instead for Jason to raise his eyes and look at him.
Ever defiant, when Jason finally did, his expression was fixed into something between neutrality and indifference. “What? Getting a good look at the freak?” Jason muttered.
His words drew a grumble from Bakari and a narrowing of the eyes from Pandya.
“You will not disparage our heritage in front of us,” Bakari told Jason sternly.
Jason had the good grace to look chagrined. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But he’s staring at me like, like he’s....”
“It’s concern, nothing more,” Clyde assured him. “We’ve all been concerned since we heard what was happening.”
“Yeah, well, don’t stand too close,” Jason quipped, an edge of bitterness to his tone. “I might decide to go all Mt. Saint Helens or something.”
Dan chuckled. He couldn’t help it; nor could he help stepping past Clyde to lay a careful hand on Jason’s shoulder. “You’re our family, you stubborn little shit. So get used to being stuck with us, explosive personality and all.”
A small smile tugged at the corners of Jason’s mouth.
“Come on and eat. I didn’t cook it so it should be safe,” Dan quipped.
Jason did laugh then and followed the pair to a large table that Pat had already set. Jason sat between Bakari and Pandya, across from Dan and Clyde. Genna still hadn’t moved from the bar, and being unable to coax her away from her drawing, Pat sat beside her to eat.
“Mmm, so good,” Jason muttered after the first bite of spaghetti and meatballs. “Thanks, Pat.”
“Yeah, yeah. You wanna really thank me, you and your water elementals there can do the dishes,” Pat grinned. “Just don’t scorch the plates; they should probably let you dry.”
Pandya’s jaw dropped before he burst out laughing at Pat’s words, and even the ever-stern Bakari let a chuckle slip through. Jason’s eyes were alight with laughter, and he had to resist the urge to hug Pat for making everything feel okay.

So much of Roadhouse Reds was inspired by all of the time I spent in bars, little side of the road dives, and darkened taverns all over the East Coast. I learned to bartend and loved waitressing and even working behind the grill in the back if the need arose. It provided me with countless hours to people watch as well as to interact with folks that otherwise, I’d likely never have talked to. I knew plenty of people in those days who preferred working on the weekends because that’s when we were busiest, but for me, the best part of the week to work was Monday through Thursday, because that was when the ‘real’ people came in, not the party goers or the college kids or the idiots looking to blow off steam because they’d had a shit week. You could talk to people in between pouring beers and refilling coffees and sometimes a simple conversation could spark the wildest of daydreams.

The last time I worked in a bar and grill it was mostly in the kitchen, where I had a pretty boring view of the field next door. Mostly sheep grazed in it, which wasn’t very amusing, but add in an active imagination and a lot of reading at that time about haunted places and alien sightings and well, Roadhouse Reds was born. Still it took about ten years from the time I wrote the first scene until the time I wrote the ending and in between the ideas shifted and changed quite a bit. I’d thought it would be something sweet, oddballs at the roadhouse teaching the alien how to fit in. Maybe see him trying to mix drinks behind the bar or cook in the kitchen, experience his first crush on a human and how cute and awkward he’d be.

Let me just say that nothing about Ano ki is cute or awkward, nor would sweet be a word that I would use to describe him, and yet, in all the changes and evolution the idea of him underwent, Jason also changed quite a bit too. In the end, I felt like I had as much of a beginning as I did an ending, and plenty of room to write more stories featuring these guys. 

I love shapeshifters, all different kinds, but snakes just called to me, and thus, Serpent's Kiss Was born. If you fancy snakes or are curious about the world of the Serpenmatas, then you can find it here.

When I first sat down and began working on Darian’s story, I really wasn’t sure where it was going. What I saw in my head was a bounty hunter tale, but what Zaiden turned it into when he dropped into Darian’s life, was a tale of political backstabbing, betrayal, and love.

I’ve long had a love for the snake shapeshifter myths, especially the Nagas, and those old myths and legends really inspired Serpent’s Kiss, the Rhumba the characters live in, their society and the Serphenmata as a whole.  The idea that someone can look human but take another shape has always fascinated me, but a deeper fascination has always been the duel forms where an individual displays both human and animal traits. In Serpent’s Kiss, I was able to mix both and create a world where serpent traits, both physical and metaphorical could be woven into a story that wasn’t just intrigue and wasn’t just romance, but a blend of both.

The deeper I delved into myth, the more the idea cemented in my mind to build them a society of their own, rather than blend them with human society. The little cavern I envisioned ended up growing into multiple societies over different regions with Serpent’s Kiss being the first stand alone of several that I have planned for this world. I hope you enjoy exploring their world as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it. 

Excerpt from Serpent's Kiss

Gesturing with his hand for the minister to lead the way, Karim directed them away from the drafty auction space and back toward the warmth of living quarters through a series of twisting tunnels. They bypassed a cavern filled floor to ceiling with weapons and for a moment, Darian forgot to move. Mouth hanging open, he studied the blades and other close quarter weaponry, surprised to not see bows or guns.
Karim grinned, and stepped closer to Darian, though he did not attempt to touch him this time, for which Darian was grateful. The bodyguard was confusing. He might even be easy to like if he didn’t work for Tihara’s crazy ass.
“Impressive, aren’t they?”
“Hell yeah,” Darian remarked without thought, quickly realizing his mistake. “Sorry, but if ever a moment called for cursing, this was it. Holy…seriously, this one amazing armory.”
“This is but a small collection, the true armory if kept far from here. Perhaps, if you cease to annoy my mistress she will allow us to spar with a few of them, if you believe you are capable.”
“I’ve done my share of playing with knives.”
“Good, then I look forward to testing just how much play you are capable of.”
Darian flicked out his tongue, licking along his upper lip, deliberately teasing the same way it seemed as if Karim was teasing him. For a moment, the minister was forgotten as he locked eyes with Karim and saw the interest flicker in the other man’s eyes.
“I love a good challenge,” Darian remarked. “Let’s just hope you’re as good as you seem to think you are.”
“I am afraid your little sparring session will have to wait,” Minister Valero interrupted. “There is much I need you to look into tonight.”
“Yes, sir,” Darian replied, not wishing to displease the man and risk confrontation, especially when the vibes rolling off the minister weren’t ones of violence, or cruelty. Unfortunately, the minister did not seem to be the type to be easily manipulated, and from his physical stature, he looked like he’d put up quite the fight. Not good for his chances of escape. There’d likely be plenty of time for sparring Karim in the future.
Karim led them the rest of the way to a lavish suite of rooms without further interruption and handed the minister the key.
“There is chocolate syrup in the refrigerator along with milk, drinking a combination of it seems to help him recover after a vision,” Karim explained. “There is food in the refrigerator and supplies in the pantry should you wish anything additional. I am to retrieve him tomorrow morning at ten, until then, he is yours.”
The minister gave Karim a dismissive wave, his attention entirely on Darian. He’d hardly looked at the room, and it made Darian wonder just how much time they would spend in the common areas. He hopped the man would allow him to eat and drink, at least, or it would make for a very long evening.