McAvoy Made

My short story McAvoy Made is part of Hot Off the Press, a Dreamspinner Press AntholHotOffthePressLGogy, which debuts Nov. 10. I had a blast writing this and fell in love with my main characters. I hope you fall for them too. Preston and Duvall are two very different men stuck in ruts of their own creation. They’ve become comfortable, complacent in their behavior, and it takes coming together to shake up their lives and brighten their futures. Preston has blinders on, focused so closely on a project honoring his sister that he’s given up living for himself, while Duvall runs through men at an insatiable pace, never pausing long enough to truly connect.

Here’s is an excerpt of Duvall watching Preston from afar:

In the cavernous lunchroom of Minder Programming and Technology, Duvall absently nibbled at his danish and pretended to read Out Magazine on his iPad, while stealing glances at the cutie sitting by the wall of windows. Ignoring the view of the courtyard, the guy sat alone—always alone—at the same small round table every day. He never ate during his lunch hour but did manage the occasional juice box as he scribbled away at something.

Ever since catching sight of him three weeks ago, Duvall had been watching, trying to figure out what he was doing. The new guy’s looks were adequately alluring, to be sure: blond hair, shaved on the sides but long and floppy on top, a fit, lean build, nice shoulders, frameless glasses, pretty face. Duvall hadn’t seen the color of his eyes yet, and he was hoping for blue or green, but it was the project the stranger worked on so diligently that piqued Duvall’s curiosity.

Some employees of MP&T worked at their desks right through their breaks. Some went for walks in the park or stepped out for a smoke or ran errands. This guy sat in the lunchroom fiddling with colored paper and ink. It certainly didn’t appear to be something related to the company.

The sheer size of MP&T made it impossible to know every employee or even most. The guy had to be a new hire because he wasn’t on the employee page on their website. Duvall had checked. There were a couple of bios without pictures that were added last month, showing only faceless pale blue silhouettes where a mug shot should be. Maybe this guy was one of them.

Duvall sipped his coffee and watched the guy dip a pen in a small jar of ink, then write on some rough-looking gray-blue paper. He hadn’t figured out what the man did for MP&T, but if he had to guess, Duvall would choose accountant. The guy looked to be in his late twenties or early thirties, and he wore a suit. Only MP&T department heads (like himself), administrators, and accountants wore suits. The techies who worked beneath Duvall tried to stay hip and irreverent by wearing jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers—or antennae and bunny slippers, as evidenced by Leslie Ngo-Jacobs on the third floor.

“You didn’t wait for me,” Mug Jacobs complained as he dropped into the seat across from him. He was one of those ponytail-wearing straight boys with hair thinning on top, a somewhat reformed hippie, and Duvall’s best friend since grade school. Married to the aforementioned Leslie, he was a surprising choice for administrative assistant to MP&T’s president, but somehow it worked, that mash-up of ex-hippie with tailored suits and mani-pedis.

“Oh, uh… sorry—hey, wait a minute. You were supposed to be here twenty minutes ago.”

Mug grinned and stirred his soup. “Too late, you already apologized.”

Duvall smiled and went back to watching his stranger.

“Ask me how our vacation was,” Mug said.

“How was your vacation?” Duvall never took his eyes from his target.

“Try to sound a bit more interested…. What are you staring at?”

“You know him?”

“Who?”

“There, in front of the windows overlooking the courtyard.” He pointed. “Little blond guy.”

Mug adjusted his glasses and squinted in that direction. “He wasn’t here when I left.”

Duvall turned to him. “You don’t know everyone in this complex.”

“No, you don’t know everyone in this complex. I make it my business, dear.” Mug shook his bottle of tea, popped the top, and took a swig. “He’s cute. I’ll give you that,” he said over the racket of removing the wax paper from his sandwich.

“Yes, yes he is.” Duvall smiled.

“Oh, I get it.”

“Huh?”

“You’ve run through all the hot gay guys in the complex, even some of the ‘straight’ ones, so blondie over there is just the new meat.”

Duvall snorted but didn’t deny his friend’s assessment. It was accurate. He had been a busy bad boy, and a new game piece on the board was tantalizing.

*****

There. Hope you enjoyed that, just a bit from one story out of the sixteen in this collection. Hot Off the Press debuts November 10.

Have a great week, people!

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Hey all! For the past forty-five days I’ve been modifying my eating and activity habits in an effort to improve my health. The benefits so far? I’ve lost ten pounds, saved money, and I’m sleeping better. Hooray! I gave up my Goodreads account and unpublished my Facebook fan page in an effort to streamline things. So, if you want to find me, friend me at my Facebook profile page. Any new releases I have will be announced here and there. I’m keeping my GLBT Bookshelf pages because they’re a load of fun for me. And, of course, there will always be Twitter. I’m also rather fond of my Amazon author page, so check that out when you get a chance. I’ve become a senior editor at Harmony Ink Press, and what little energy I have needs to be put to the best use. After all, I’ve got writing, editing, promoting, and reading to do. Have a great week, people!

Do what you can do

That’s my new mantra. After a tiny financial disappointment, I was feeling stressed and depressed early yesterday. I was hoping to consolidate some debt, but it fell through. However, following a much needed nap, I saw that I can only do what I can do, right? If I’m careful with my spending, I’m good for the month. I’m not eating out anymore due to health reasons, so I should save money on that end. At least I hope so.

On the writing end, I’m nearing the conclusion of a novel I’ve been working on for quite a while, and I’m pleased with it. What I wasn’t pleased with was the struggle I had with the story. I don’t normally have that, so I’m a bit worried about it. I’ve found a beta reader to give me an unbiased, constructive opinion on story, characters, conflict, romance, etc.

Speaking of what I can do, back in July I sold my short story McAvoy Made to be included in an upcoming anthology…uh, sometime in November. This was not a story I struggled with. That story was a joy to write. I wish they could all feel like that. Wouldn’t it be funny if the one that was a battle is the more popular one? Who knows?

Have a great weekend, people!

Too much to ask?

There are things I dream of having some day.

  • A one-story solid waterfront home, and by this I do not mean the beach. I mean something closer to a lake or Puget Sound. A home with no plumbing, pest, critter, mold, electrical, or safety problems, with a tidy little office, where I can write or draw, that gets loads of natural light and looks out over the water
  • Considerate neighbors. These are people who do not drive by blasting their bass-heavy music and rattling my windows, or whose bass doesn’t pound through my walls from next door. Neighbors who do not feel the need to set off illegal fireworks late into the night (or at all, frankly) three days before, on, and three days or more following the Fourth of July. I don’t really have a problem with children playing as long as the stay the hell off my porch. Crotchety old lady alert! Basically, I don’t want to know you’re there unless I need help or you do.
  • Amenities. I want fast, reliable Internet, cable TV, phone,  and fire and rescue service, as well as prompt pizza/pasta delivery.

How do I accomplish these things without a fairy godmother?

Have a great weekend, people!

Plummet release day!

Plummet200My short story Plummet has arrived! Find it here.

Blurb: Dealing, or rather not dealing, with a recent breakup, Ari Melrose, CPA, nearly takes his car over a cliff. Instead, he is rescued by Brandt Steuben, a big, burly ex-firefighter who pulls him to safety and into his arms. Near-death experiences can make normally careful, rational people grab life by the horns, or men by the biceps, and hop on for a wild ride, so Ari figures what better way to get over his problems than to work them out with his super-hot savior? But a fateful afternoon soon leads to more than physical passion, and Ari finds he might not want to let go of Brandt.

Excerpt:

But my world had been out of control for a while now. It had been a month, and I thought I had dealt with losing Saul to that young, swishy piece of ass Thilo Becke—Thilo the baker with his sweet pastries and pert behind, all sugar and shiny new sunshine. Argh! I wanted to pound something. But not right now and not the dashboard. That would be the end of me, wouldn’t it?

Earlier I’d joined Nanette for a liquid lunch at Pander, only to bolt from the place ten minutes after Saul and Thilo strolled in. I had tried to hold out, to pretend I hadn’t noticed them, to chat about work or the weekend exhibit I wanted to see in Portland or the shoe sale I’d hit two days before.

But it was my ex and his new—what? Beau? Squeeze? Fuck? Yep, Thilo’s a fuck if I’ve ever seen one. It was those two who didn’t notice me glaring death at them from the corner. They were too into each other to see anyone else around them. Nanette had tried to distract me, talk me down, bless her heart, but that lovey-dovey behavior was too much to take. Rub my face in it, why didn’t they? Thilo was so young and blond and fun and… bendy. That’s it.

At thirty-five, I wasn’t so young anymore. We were both blond, but where he had long golden ringlets, I had close-cropped, thinning hair. I think my idea of fun and Saul’s had simply diverged at some point. And as far as bendy went, I wasn’t as flexible anymore. Not in bed nor in life. At least not from Saul’s perspective.

When Thilo began to feed Saul his lunch, I was up and out, Nanette’s concerned voice ringing in my ears. I’d jumped in my Miata and raced away, no idea where I was headed, only the word “far” repeating in my head.

Now facing my imminent death, I wondered if this was where I’d intended to end up all along.

*****

Like that? Check out the whole story.

Have a great week, people!

Busy month

Hello, all! I have several events going on this month. Hooray! First, On July 9 my short story Plummet will be released by Dreamspinner Press. Second, on July 14, as part of DSP’s Christmas in July promotion, my latest novel Right On Time will be available for 24 hours at 99 cents! And third, on July 15, I’ll be participating in Takeover Tuesday on the DSP Twitter account (@dreamspinners), where another author and I will tweet, chat, give away some books, all-around fun, etc., yes? Aside from that, I’m still slowly plugging away on two (or three) novels.

Have a great week, people!

Update: It looks like I’ll be taking over the Dreamspinner Press Twitter account on July 8 instead of 15. Hope to tweet you there!

 

 

A short story approacheth

A while ago I wrote a short story (it’s over there, on the right, under Coming Soon. See?) I believed too short to submit on it’s own. It would have been just fine in an anthology or collection of some type but couldn’t find any comrades to join up with. Let me set the scene:

It was one of those horrible days–bright blue sky, plenty of sunshine, those annoyingly puffy white clouds floating by. He put on a brave face in spite of it, in spite of his partner bailing on him for a younger model.

He accepted an invitation to lunch with his best friend, only to have his ex and his ex’s new lover stroll in and proceed to nuzzle each other at a corner table. I mean, who does that over panini?

It was too much, so he fled and sped away in his little coupe. As you can guess, rage, heartache, and a lead foot are not conducive to safety, especially when you throw in high, winding roads in Oregon.

That’s all I’m saying about that. So, where oh where do I make use of the story? A colleague suggested I submit it all on it’s lonesome, and I did. It’s coming out in July. Hooray! I enjoyed writing it, even made myself laugh as I did, but overall it’s supposed to be sexy and hot. Yum!

So if you’d like to learn Ari and Brandt’s story, check out Plummet, available from Dreamspinner Press on July 9.

Have a great day, people!