My artwork’s online!

Hey there. It’s been a while, huh? I’ve been busy writing, editing, and uploading my artwork to Society6 and Redbubble. Due to poor time-management skills (or weird moodiness) I’ve never been able to write and draw during the same period.

But recently my Aunt Victoria was in town, and she encouraged me to put my designs out there for sale. She’s into photography and mosaics. She’s been creative forever.

Anyway, I tried Society6 and was thrilled to see my work on salable items like iPhone cases, cards, tote bags, etc. Then a friend suggested Redbubble, and I tried it out. I enjoy the interface there more than Society6, so there are more pieces uploaded there. Preparing the pieces for upload is taking me a while: cleaning them up, making them presentable and such, so I’m able to upload about one piece a day.

I started drawing a certain way when I was in elementary school. If I remember correctly (and believe me, that’s one big IF), our art teacher was trying to show us Op Art, and I ended up going squiggly line crazy and never recovered. I found it relaxing, calming.

If you’d like to check it out, follow the links below and come back to tell me what you think:

Dawn at Redbubble
Dawn at Society6

Have a great weekend, people!

The Answer Is giveaway

Hello, people!

I’m giving away an autographed paperback copy of my new novel The Answer Is. Simply leave a comment below this post telling me what your answer is to a happy life. I’ll draw a name from the accumulated comments at random on Friday, July 10 at noon.

Here’s an excerpt introducing you to one of my more colorful characters. Enjoy!

JP leaned forward and fingered the miniature snow globe on the desk because focusing on the pretty piece allowed him to avoid his new boss’s assessing gaze. The globe held a gilded village caught in a snowstorm, a land where magic was possible, where love and miracles could happen. He picked it up and shook it hard, wreaking havoc upon the immobile, captive inhabitants.

“Let me get this straight,” Stewart Dimple, his boss and former colleague, said. “You don’t want a byline on this piece?”

“It’s not a ‘piece,’” he said. “It’s a few lame paragraphs about a university art show. No one cares.” I certainly don’t… or I didn’t.

“It’s your job to make them care.”

JP had nothing to say to that, nothing that would help him keep his job, anyway, such as it was.

“You may have been a big shot in Baltimore, able to write about whatever you wanted, but you fucked that up—”

“I know what I did—”

“—so now you write what you’re told.”

“Yeah, yeah, Stew.” JP pointed at the computer on the big desk. “It’s written, isn’t it?”

He’d reluctantly attended the first fifteen or twenty minutes of the art show, talked to a couple of the artists and guests, asking questions to get enough color and details to fill a couple of column inches as quickly as possible. He had better things to do, men to do, but then… he’d seen Lonnie Bellerose walk out of a back room.

His Lonnie, the man he’d fucked over and mistreated before landing in rehab. JP had lingered out of sight, watching Lonnie chat with professors and art lovers. His hair was the same, wild. His light brown skin flawless. Same tight, lean-muscled body. He wasn’t surprised by his cock growing hard, but the ache in his heart had caught him off guard.

Lonnie was apparently on his own for the gathering, and JP had considered approaching him, but changed his mind at the last second. He wasn’t sure how he’d be received. Despite Lonnie’s open, warm smile as he listened to attendees blow smoke up his ass, there was a sadness in his eyes, a sadness JP suspected he had caused. He felt a momentary twinge of guilt but dismissed it, heading out to find a bar and a fresh fuck to distract him.

Spotting Lonnie at the show was the main reason he didn’t want a byline. The artist was sure to read the account of the evening, and JP wasn’t ready for him to know he was back in town. “What’s next?” he asked Stewart.

The man huffed and tapped a few keys on his computer. “There. No byline, as you requested.” He shuffled a few papers on his desk. “Now this next assignment will require a byline. It’s your typical ‘local folks make good’ series. Your profiles will anchor the Community page each week.”

“Not really my purview, though, is it?” JP affected his most disinterested expression as he ignored the frown that clouded his boss’s face.

“Given your history, not much is your purview anymore.” Stewart slid a folder toward him and leaned back in his chair, hands clasped confidently over his abundant belly. “Your penchant for nose candy blew everything out of the water, so the crime beat or the mayor’s office—one and the same lately—will need to be earned, regardless of your experience.”

JP hesitated a moment before snatching up the folder. He didn’t have a choice in the matter, and Stewart knew it, judging by the abundance of smug on his ruddy face. JP was aware he only had this job because Stewart and he had worked together for a few years in Baltimore before the guy had taken over the tiny Overbrook Times.

With his court-appointed rehab completed, the conditions of JP’s probation were to stay sober, attend regular NA meetings, and stay employed. He’d just come from a morning meeting, his last for a few days. He did the minimum of two a week and now had an entire weekend free from listening to seemingly endless horror stories of loserdom. He’d never shared his own. His story was no one else’s business, and of course, he wasn’t a loser.

Speaking of losers, he thought as he opened the folder. It held his assignments, several lame human-interest pieces: some unwed mother had finally secured her college education, and her rug rats were oh so proud; an ex-con had opened an auto body shop; a grandmother and her grandson had won a national contest with a spectacular baked potato recipe. Really?

Spectacular? It’s a potato. And some dude had lost his father as a boy—boo-fuckin’-hoo—but was now making his mark in Overbrook. Oh my God, shoot me now.

JP knew not to express his feelings out loud. After all, these stories would be the next step on the road back to his previous life. To his respected job, his luxury apartment in Baltimore, his friends. Though he’d been warned about the dangers of hooking up with former pals, people he used to get high with, he had plenty of other people who cared about him, people he had never partied with. At least he used to.

There was Carole—Karen?—from The Baltimore Sun front desk, a sensible mother of three who always asked how he was doing when he showed up for work; Stewart, currently sitting across from him, wheezing through his cigar-damaged lungs and watching him with beady black eyes; Lonnie, of course; his… his building maintenance man, whose name escaped him at the moment. They were, or had been, his friends. They had cared at one time… before he let it all go to hell.

He flipped through the files, giving them a quick scan and looking at the bare bones of data on each subject—age, story angle, contact information, photo. The pictures had come from various places: a graduation, a gym membership, community functions, the DMV, etc.

“Damn. That’s one big dude,” he said, pausing on one photo. He glanced at Stewart, who nodded. “He got a record?”

“Nope. By all accounts a good kid.”

“How many baby mommas?”

“None that we know of.” Stewart frowned. “His father was killed in a robbery of the family store when he was just ten. Raised by his mother. Been working at Lincoln Frye Home Improvement for years.” Stewart sighed, leaned forward, and clasped his hands on the desk. “I think Frye is some sorta surrogate daddy.”

“What’s his deal? I get that he overcame adversity and blah, blah, blah, but—”

“Check the catalog.”

JP turned another page and found a glossy sheet showing handmade furniture. “Damn,” he whispered.

“Yup.”

“He made these?” He met his boss’s eyes in disbelief, then examined the catalog and photo of his subject again. The man looked like a destroyer of worlds, not a woodworking artist.

“Contact info’s all there. Good luck.”

Summarily dismissed, he replaced the snow globe and left the office, carrying the file with him. He made his way to his new cubicle. Banished to live among the peons. Fabulous. Well, he figured being arrested for cocaine possession, public intoxication, and destruction of property would do that for you.

He removed the photographs of his subjects from the file and stared at them for a moment before setting the furniture maker aside. “I’ll save the best for last,” he mumbled as he fingered the picture. The subject was a good-looking man. Unblemished dark skin, shaved head, and kind eyes, if you got past your initial fear. “So, Mr. Jamison Coburn,” JP whispered, “what’s your story?”

*****

Remember to leave your comment below on what makes a happy life, and good luck!

New novel approaching

GQ100I was curious, curious what happened to Lonnie Bellerose and Jamison Coburn after my novella Good Question ended. I felt there was a lot more there to mine, more conflict, doubts, trouble on the horizon. Therefore, I wrote The Answer Is, which comes out Monday, June 15. Lonnie and Jamison are trying to make their nascent relationship work, but their insecurities keep tripping them up. Add a former lover intent on winning Lonnie back and a loving mother who can’t quite face her son’s honesty, and things go from shaky to shattered. Below is an excerpt. I hope you enjoy it.

TAI200Blurb: Two men from different worlds must realize they deserve to be loved and what they have together is real and worth fighting for.

Though Jamison Coburn and Lonnie Bellerose have been a couple for a month, each worries he’s not good enough for the other. Lonnie has always doubted his worth and right to be loved, despite a superb education and international upbringing. Jamison, an undereducated laborer, grew up in a loving family who never knew he was gay.

As Jamison struggles to find his way as an out gay man, he fears the occasional stumble will send Lonnie packing. Lonnie doesn’t trust that anyone would choose him and worries that Jamison will see better options.

When Lonnie’s abusive ex returns, he’s determined to reclaim Lonnie. He works to exacerbate the new couple’s differences and doubts in the hopes of splitting them up, which is proving too easy.

For their love to last, Lonnie and Jamison will have to be brutally honest, not only with themselves, but with each other.

Excerpt: Lonnie sighed and hugged himself, trying to appear at ease as the crowd moved around the room. After all, he was an artist standing in a gallery that displayed some of his best work to date. He should be all smiles and charm and wit. Instead, he felt as though he stood out like a two-headed goat, afraid to move, all hooves and confusion, bleating above the conversations.

On top of that, Lonnie had the distinct impression of being watched. He couldn’t shake it. He looked to his right and his left, then settled again on examining the campus beyond the wall of windows at the gallery’s entrance. He searched the mist-shrouded grounds for any sign of Jamison, but he was nowhere to be seen.

“Here, have a drink, Mr. Bellerose.” Professor Eloise Bink smiled and sipped her champagne, urging him to do the same from the flute she’d provided. She taught several art history classes, and Lonnie had been her assistant while earning his master’s.

He took a sip, then said, “Just call me Lonnie, please. I’m not your TA anymore.”

She smiled and tossed her short and sassy new haircut out of her eyes, the silver-gray strands catching the light. “I’ll call you Lonnie when you call me Eloise.”

He frowned in thought. “I think I can handle Bink but nothing more casual. Will that do?”

“Acceptable.”

They sipped in unison, the bubbles nearly making him sneeze.

“You appear agitated. Waiting for someone?”

“Jamison’s coming, though he should be here by now.”

“No family?”

He shook his head. “Parents in France, Amber birthed a new human being, and brother-in-law is hovering, so… no. No family tonight.” A chill ran through him, so he took another sip of his champagne. It didn’t warm him, and this time he did sneeze, loudly, causing a few heads to turn in fright. His face heated, and he nodded his apologies before depositing the flute on a passing tray.

He turned to the entrance again and gasped softly. Through the floor-to-ceiling windows, he caught a glimpse of a tall, broad-shouldered silhouette hurrying toward the building. The campus lights along the path reflected off what little fog lingered above the lawn, giving the approaching figure a mysterious, superhero-like quality. To Lonnie, he seemed to be moving in slow motion and to his own soundtrack. Lonnie’s heart soared, and he excused himself from Bink to cut through the crowd and meet his man at the door.

“Hi,” he said, beaming up at Jamison as he walked in looking all kinds of gorgeous.

The worried frown on Jamison’s face vanished as he smiled down at Lonnie. “Hi, yourself.”

“You look fantastic.” He stood on tiptoes to give Jamison a peck on the lips, but Jamison pulled back, the frown returning, his gaze darting around the gallery. Lonnie sighed, took his hand, and tugged him deeper into the room. “I have someone I want you to meet.” He paused to look over the faces surrounding them, and when he spotted Bink again, he resumed his tugging.

Glancing around as he followed Lonnie, Jamison asked, “Isn’t your fam—?”

“No,” Lonnie said, “but they sent their congratulations.”

“Ah, Lonnie, back so soon?” Bink said, turning to face the two of them as they reached her. She blinked up at Jamison, her expression remaining warm and friendly. “Whom do we have here?”

“This is Jamison Coburn. Jamison, this is Professor Eloise Bink. I’ve mentioned her before. I was her teaching assistant.” His words rushed out as he gripped Jamison’s big left hand tightly. Mine.

“Yes,” Bink said. “I’m certainly going to miss you in that capacity. Perhaps I’ll find something else for you.” Lonnie laughed at that.

Jamison’s hand swallowed hers. “Good to meet you, ma’am.”

“And you, Mr. Coburn.” She grinned at Lonnie before continuing. “Anyone who can make him daydream at his desk is definitely someone I want to get to know.”

Lonnie gazed up at Jamison and caught the embarrassment as it crossed his handsome features. His chest filled with joy and pride that Jamison was here for him.

“Oh… I don’t know about that, ma’am,” Jamison said.

“Bink, Mr. Coburn. Please call me Bink.”

“If you’ll call me Jamison.”

She grinned. “Agreed. Champagne?” she asked, grabbing fresh flutes from a passing waiter. She handed them each a glass, and they clinked them in a toast to Lonnie’s accomplishment.

*****

I hope your interest is piqued. Catch up with Lonnie and Jamison, and their family and friends on Monday, June 15 when The Answer Is debuts.

Andrew Q. Gordon

The latest novel from Andrew Q. Gordon has landed, and I’m sharing that great news with you, my faithful readers. Andrew wrote his first story back AQG hdshotwhen yellow legal pads, ballpoint pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog.  In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day and not get the shakes.

Now let’s learn a bit about The Eye and the Arm, book two in the Champion of the Gods series.

After defeating Meglar at Belsport, Farrell returns to Haven to recover from his injuries, but Khron, the god of war, has other ideas. He gives Farrell a new tEatA art 200mission: free the survivors of the ancient dwarf realm of Trellham from their three-thousand-year banishment. To fulfill Khron’s near impossible task, Farrell will need the help of his distance ancestor, the legendary wizard Kel. But Kel has been dead for a thousand years.

Farrell finds information hinting that Kel is alive, so he moves his search to Dumbarten, Kel’s birthplace. To reach Dumbarten unannounced, Farrell and Miceral disguise themselves as mercenaries on board a merchant vessel. Their journey is disrupted when pirates attack their ship. While attempting to subdue the attack, Farrell is struck down by one of Meglar’s minions.

Unconscious and trapped in his own mind, Farrell’s only chance for survival rests with Miceral and the peregrine king Rothdin entering his thoughts and helping him sort fact from illusion. To reach Farrell, they will need to rely on an untested spell from one of Kel’s spellbooks. If they succeed, Miceral can guide Farrell home safely. If not, Farrell will destroy not only himself, but Miceral, Rothdin, and everyone around him.

Video Trailer


EXCERPT

“Relax, my friend.” Klissmor’s presence calmed Miceral’s growing anxiety. “You won’t feel my presence.”

Miceral took a deep breath. “Will I be able to hear?”

“Every word. Ready?”

“No, but let’s do it.” He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

“I need your eyes open for everyone to see.”

He snapped his lids open, blinking several times before could focus again. “Sorry.”

“Master Teberus.” Miceral knew the words came from him, but as promised, he didn’t feel anything. “I have Masters Erstad and Wesfazial as well as Wizard-Priestess Glendora. Ask your questions to Miceral and we four will also hear you.”

“Astounding.” The elder Arlefor glanced at the high priestess. “All four at once?”

“Wizard.” Miceral had heard that tone enough to know Klissmor’s mood. “Maintaining this link, this far away with this many minds, is a strain. If we are to save Farrell, you must focus on him.”

“Of course. My apologies.” Teberus bowed deeply. “My examination of the one who did this to Farrell confirmed that he is no wizard.”

“Then how in the eight gates of Neblor did that man defeat Farrell?” Even though Teberus couldn’t know, Miceral recognized the voice as Wesfazial’s.

“The obvious answer is the correct one. A wizard gave this man the weapon.”

“But Farrell could defeat all four of us and all the other wizards you brought with you and not be tested.” Erstad’s steady temperament sounded tested. “No weapon used by a nonwizard should be capable of this.”

Teberus raised the crest of his hairless eyebrow. “But since that is what happened, we must use it as the basis of our search for a cure.”

No one answered. As the silence dragged on, Miceral’s anxiety slowly returned. If Haven’s senior wizards didn’t know what to do, who could?

“Tell us what happened.” Erstad’s request almost didn’t register with Miceral.

“No,” Klissmor said. “Show them. Let them see the memory.”

Miceral closed his eyes and focused on reliving the attack. The clarity of the image caused his chest to tighten, making it hard to breathe. He knew the result, but watching it again, almost in slow motion, added to his agony.

When the image played over again, he realized Klissmor must have been guiding his thoughts.

“My apologies, old friend—the need is great.” Klissmor’s voice didn’t interrupt the stream of images.

“Do whatever you need. Just find a way to save Farrell.”

“Your friends are doing all they can. Have faith that Lenore will send us what we need.”

When the memory started for the third time, he didn’t find any comfort in Klissmor’s assertion. The Six wouldn’t—couldn’t—help. He needed something that didn’t exist—a great wizard like Heminaltose or Kel.

“In theory, I recognize the magic.” Erstad sounded confused. “But I’ll need to find a reference to be sure.”

“What about Farrell?” He knew he shouted, or at least what Farrell told him passed for shouting, but he couldn’t prevent it. “He could be dead before you find that.”

“It can’t be helped, Miceral. I need to be sure before I suggest a counterspell. If I’m wrong, whatever I try might kill him.”

“He is in no immediate danger.” Teberus put his hand on Farrell’s forehead. “But my fear is the number of spells that draw on him for power. I can only give him but so much. If he doesn’t wake, his body will burn out.”

“Do what you can, Master Teberus. We’ll begin searching immediately and contact you when we find the answer.” When Erstad stopped speaking, Klissmor’s presence left with him.

“Hurry. Please.” Miceral knew no one heard him.


You can find The Eye and the Arm at the following links:

DSP Publications

Amazon

Amazon UK

ARe Omnilit

And now the giveaway!

FIVE Winners will win one e-copy of ANY book* each from DSP Publication’s backlist. Follow the Rafflecopter link below.

*Giveaway is of any currently released DSPP book, which excludes the books that are on pre-order and The Eye and the Arm.

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Want to drop the author a line? Follow a link below:

The Land of Make Believe

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@AndrewQGordon

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or e-mail him at andrewqgordon@gmail.com

So last night…

Date: Monday, April 6, 2015

Time:  1:30 a.m.

Mission: watch a movie

Snack: four slices of pepperoni pizza with extra cheese; eight ounces of deeply chocolate milk

Options: Penguins of Madagascar, starring John Malcovich, Tom McGrath, and Benedict Cumberbatch (who I identified when he tried to say penguins).

St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy

Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway

The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones

The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, and a number of other hot Brits

Night at the Museum Tomb: Secret of the Tomb, starring Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, and a number of funny folk

Horrible Bosses 2, starring Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Chris Pine, Christoph Waltz, and Jamie Foxx

Into the Woods, starring Meryl Streep and some others.

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, and again, Cumberbatch

Time Limit: no more than two hours (I needed to sleep at some point, and you can see at least two were immediately eliminated)

Research: read reviews on Amazon and Rotten Tomatoes, and pondered for half an hour if I wanted to laugh, think, or feel.

Decision: Penguins of Madagascar!

Results: Laughed my ass off and got my Cumberbatch fix.

Checking in

Hello, everyone!

I hope life is treating you well and fairly. I’ve been busy writing, editing, reading, and other miscellaneous activities, but nothing like sky diving or anything. Does sleep count as an activity?

Anyway, I have a novel coming out later this year. It’s the sequel to my novella Good Question; Ya know, Lonnie and Jamison are still at it. The novel is called The Answer Is, and I must have been so tickled by selling the manuscript in January that I blacked out and forgot to mention it. Sorry.

It’s in the early stages of the editing process, but the novel is scheduled for release in June!

In the meantime, I shall continue writing and editing and reading, oh my!

Holiday weird

scroogeI am not a holiday person. Not quite Scrooge, but definitely not Buddy the Elf either. Somewhere in between lies me. I normally avoid Christmas music. I understand, but resent, HGTV and DIY Network focusing on holiday decorating instead of just showing a marathon of Rehab Addict or Rescue My Renovation. I will be sending out holiday cards, however, just so folks know I’m thinking of them and wishing them well.

excited BuddyNow I’ve been ill the past few days: fever, chills, shivering, headache—you get the idea, the unwelcome and the usual. During this illness a few weird things happened that I’d like to share.

First, I turned 51 on Monday, which isn’t weird and was actually great. But I was so sick the other night that I was too weak to find the TV remote and turn away from that Rockefeller Center thingy NBC does where they light the massive-ass Christmas tree. You know, they have the Rockettes and celebrities singing live, so I saw Mariah Carey fighting with her ear plug and her clothes, and for some reason Seth McFarlane was singing—thought I was hallucinating that one—apparently the guy has an album out. Giggity giggity goo.

I have never, NEVER watched this event (hence the reference to my age), but, I enjoyed it. I found myself smiling and singing along and laughing and what the fuck?! And when they lit that tree, it was breathtaking, and I had little breath to take at that point.

Second, singing along to some of those songs reminded me of years ago attending some office party. I was living in Oregon. I sat with my supervisor and several other coworkers. We chatted and lamented the poor choice of salmon as a vegetarian option for folks who didn’t eat meat. They didn’t want to make a fuss, and I’m a carnivore but felt outraged for them. I’m good at that. Anyway, as everyone but me got up to mingle, I smiled and waved and chatted with folks who came to me—mobility issues even then.

Suddenly this older gentleman I didn’t know came and sat directly across from me. I think we introduced ourselves, but the way he kept staring at me kind of weirded me out. Then he began singing! To me! At first I was unnerved and uncertain, but his voice was so rich and deep, I began to smile. He sang “White Christmas” to me, I think. I was touched. It made me feel special. I suppose I remember the impressions and feelings of that night more than anything else. Thanks, mister.

Third, this will be our first Christmas without our mom. We lost her in February. When we were kids we’d help decorate by tossing tinsel on a real tree and placing bulbs on the limbs we could reach. Being the smaller beings in the house, we were best suited to scramble beneath the branches to reach the stand to fill it with water. I loved the smell, the lights, the bright wrapping paper. But, as is often the case, once I became an adult, assembling the tree and decorating it became a chore. And I remember years of grumbling whenever Mom got that look in her eye: time to put the tree up! But in the last decade I spent with her, I began just doing it because it made her happy, and hell, why not?

Having said that, I’m still me—not Scrooge and not Buddy. Despite enjoying How Murray Saved Christmas the other night, despite giggling and smiling like an idiot when I see that Starbucks commercial with Carlton dancing, despite Elf becoming my all-time favorite holiday movie, I will not be putting up and decorating a Christmas tree. I’m not decorating jack!

I will, however, do something Mom always wanted but rarely got around to doing: give to folks who need it. Extra money was hard to come by for all of us, but Mom gave when she could. Doesn’t every town do that, put together a list of families who need items, clothing, or toys for Christmas? I’ll give what I can to Paralyzed Veterans of America or the Huntington City Mission or Little Victories, or to any one of these groups in my area: Holiday Charities.

I’ve made sure to give to the Trevor Project and CrowdRise’s campaign to help people suffering with HIV/AIDS, while at the same time sending a lump of coal to Pastor Steven Anderson of Tempe’s Faithful Word Baptist Church for being “naughty,” although my word is not so charitable. Ha-ha! See what I did there?

So even if Mom’s decorating ideas didn’t take hold of me, her loving and giving spirit did.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, ya know, whatever. Have a good one, people!