Down with the Sickness

Behind on my word count, I had a plan. And because I had a plan, it didn’t work out like I wanted.

I felt the sickness creeping up late last week. I refused to give into it. I got immunity boosters and slept well. I wasn’t going to let it take me.

It got me anyway.

I woke up Saturday morning with a sore throat and a general ickiness that couldn’t be ignored. I tried to. Of course I did. Hot tea and some cold meds, I tried to push through. I didn’t quite succeed. Friday night I got a few words in, and I got a few more in on Saturday. But nowhere near where I wanted for the weekend. And I started to panic a little, because the deadline was looming, and I really, really needed to make some progress.

Sunday, however, dawned a bright new day.

Apparently my immune system is stronger than I thought, and while I wasn’t at 100%, I felt much better than I did on Saturday.

So I sat down to write.

I wrote.

And wrote.

And wrote.

And wrote.

I had a loose goal of 15k by the end of the weekend. That would be some solid, good progress by the end, would get me passed the halfway mark and I’d start to breathe easier. But I didn’t write 15k words.

I wrote 22 thousand words.

Twenty. Two. Thousand.

I was worried I wouldn’t have enough story to make the 50k minimum. I was sure by the end, I’d have to go back and fill in more words, expand scenes and even add some new ones. That’s always a little trying for me, as I find it difficult to fill in. I’m a linear writer, and I need to write in order. So thinking of things I missed before is very hard for me.

But I don’t have that worry now. I have about ten thousand words left to reach the minimum, and at least that, if not more, left in plot. Ghostwalker is nearing the end. And while I’m anxious to get there, I’m reluctant to let it go. This story has been a long time coming, and I love Blake and Derek.

I’m hoping I’ll have it done by the end of the month. Then I have plenty of time to tweak and polish, before I have to send it in. I’m looking forward to it.

Flash Fic Friday

**The prompt was simple this week: Tom bails Greg out of jail. Enjoy!**

Tom watched as Greg collected his belongings. Keys, phone, wallet, pink hat with the pointy ears. Greg made sure he took possession of each item before signing the form the booking sergeant held out. He signed a few more forms, and Tom stood by, not saying a word until Greg was finished. Then Greg walked toward Tom, and just as Greg opened his mouth, Tom turned and headed out of the precinct. He didn’t have to look to know Greg was following behind him.

Silently, they made their way down the long parking lot to the car. Without a word, Tom got into the driver’s side and stared straight ahead, waiting for Greg to get in as well.

“Tommy, I’m sorry.”

Tom blew out a breath, spared a glance at Greg, before he started the car and got into motion.

“I can’t not protest, Tommy.” Greg’s voice was low and urgent. “I have to keep speaking out. I can’t be quiet. We can’t be quiet. That’s the only way anything will change.”

“I know, Greg.” Tommy turned onto a quiet street, wending his way toward home. “And I love how vocal you are. How hard you fight. It’s one of the things I’ve always admired about you. And if I hadn’t been on shift, I would have been right there with you.”

“I know! So what is with you? I said I was sorry.”

“I’m not mad.”

A beat of silence. “Really?” Disbelief laced Greg’s voice. “Because you haven’t said a single word to me since I called you for bail.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t love getting up in the middle of the night to bail my husband out of jail.” Tom shook his head. He reached out and grabbed Greg’s hand, squeezing his fingers. “I get it babe. I do. Of course I wish you hadn’t gotten arrested. But I’m not mad. Because if you don’t speak up, then who will?”

The tension melted from Greg’s shoulders, and he exhaled heavily, settling back in the seat. Tom refocused on the road, but he kept glancing at his husband. The man was beautiful, if tired and disheveled. And the pink hat looked good with his dark hair.

“You’re going to keep speaking out, and I love you for that. You have a voice when so many others don’t. But honey? Please can you try not to get arrested again? Bail money aside, coming to get you, I worry what could happen and…” Tom’s gut clenched as his mind raced with all the possibilities.

“Yeah,” Greg said quickly, soothingly. “Of course. I’ll do my damnedest. And pretty soon? Pretty soon all this protesting, speaking out, constantly barraging them, they’ll learn. They’ll learn we aren’t going to get tired and give up. That we aren’t going to go away. We’ll make a difference.”

Tom nodded. He wanted exactly that. Though he didn’t have the unwavering faith his husband had, he still held onto hope.

Pulling into their driveway just as the sun lightened the sky, Tom wearily exited the car and pulled Greg in close when the man pushed into his space. Maybe not the most pleasant way Tom had ever spent the night. But it was worth it. Important. He wasn’t in the position to do it himself, but he loved Greg with all that he was. He would support the man in everything he did.

Even bailing him out of jail.

News!

Coming in April from JMS Books… Enchanted Love!

Okay, I’ve talked about it a few times in vague terms, but Enchanted Love is the story of Eli and Chase. Chase sweeps Eli off his feet, and they fit together perfectly. There’s no angst here. Just two guys who find each other at the right time and settle into their happily ever after. It’s a happy little love story. And I adore it. Specific details when I have them, but watch this space for news. I’m super excited about sharing it with you, and I’ll be sure to share details as soon as I have them.

Ghostwalker is almost to the halfway point, both in words and in plot. It really should be farther along than it is, and I’m definitely in a time crunch. I got inside my own head about a few things, and let myself focus on other endeavors for a bit. But I’m not worried. At least, no more than usual that is. The good news is I know exactly where the rest of the story is going, and half the major plot points written out in bullet points. I’ll have to dig in and really get some words on the page. I see another sequester in my near future. And really, when I set aside that kind of time and really focus, I can get a lot of words on the page. I think the most I’ve ever written in a 24 hour period was 12k, because I had to sleep at some point, but my average is more like 7-10k. I want to get this done by the end of the month so I have time to tweak and polish, but fortunately I have some weekend days and quite a few nights. So I’m confident I can get it done.

But in the meantime, enjoy Valentine’s Day! Whether it be with your special someone or someones. Or with a good book and a glass of wine.

heart-health-red-wine-3000x2250

 

Flash Fic Friday

**A Valentine’s Day prompt this week! Evan thinks the box of sweets is from his work BFF to cheer him up after a recent breakup…but is it? Enjoy!**

Evan wasn’t really big on celebrating Valentine’s Day himself, but he enjoyed all the red and pink decorations, and he liked seeing couples in love. All that gave him hope that one day he would find the same. He’d take hope wherever he could find it these days. Since Christmas, since that moment when Lou had walked out, he’d had little hope.

Evan shook his head and resumed his walk. Sure, after the fact he’d realized how much better off he was without Lou. It hadn’t been as amazing as he thought it had. But it had taken it quite a while to get to this point, because he’d been certain Lou was it. His forever. And now he was thirty-seven and alone again.

That was more than a little depressing, and even more so when he thought about his age in conjunction. Evan knew from a young age he was the settling down type. In all his fantasies, he had imagined being settled long before now. But that hadn’t happened. Reality was different.

It had taken a lot of tears, soul searching, and one ritual burning, but he was okay now. Most of the time anyway. Evan pushed it all aside as he got to his corner cubicle. He had the office luncheon to look forward to later, and the quiet chatter that filled the floor seemed happy and upbeat. It was a good day, and Evan resolutely refused to let those morose thoughts ruin the mood.

The dark mood that threatened abruptly vanished when Evan got to his desk. Because right there in the center of his previously spotless desk was a red, heart shaped box. The satin bow was a nice touch.  No card, but Evan didn’t need one. He knew who the present was from. A grin stretched his mouth, and he lifted the lid to sample one of the smooth, milk chocolate confections inside. He gave a tiny moan as it melted on his tongue, then slid his jacket off and hung it up.

“Whatcha got there?” Joanie’s melodic voice sounded behind Evan, and he turned as his smile grew. He burst out laughing when he saw his work best friend wearing a headband with heart-topped antennae.

“Like you don’t know.” He leaned down and kissed her cheek. “Thanks, Joanie B. The chocolates made my day.”

She glanced at the desk, and then back up at Evan’s face. “I didn’t get them for you.”

“Yeah, right.” Evan chuckled as he sat.

“Evan.” Joanie stared right at him. “I’m telling you. I didn’t. I made the red velvet cupcakes you like for the potluck because I knew they would cheer you up. But the candy is not from me.”

Evan sat up straighter and really studied her. Joanie was the greatest friend, and he wouldn’t put it past her to do something exactly like this. She would think it was the best way to cheer him up. But Joanie also didn’t lie, and she was very serious. It took a second for everything to process. Just about the time Evan decided she was telling the truth was the moment Joanie figured out what was going on.

“There’s no card or note?” Joanie’s eyes lit up as he shook his head, and her voice dropped. “You have a secret admirer!”

Rolling his eyes, Evan shooed her away. “I don’t. Stop it. I’m sure there’s an explanation. I can’t be the only one who got one.”

Joanie opened her mouth but Evan shut it down with another firm dismissive motion.

“Go to work,” he told her.

She went.

***

It was three hours later when the heart antennae appeared over the top of the cubicle wall seconds before Joanie’s  beaming face.

“No one else got one. I checked. You have a secret admirer.”

“Go away,” Evan said, purposefully ignoring her sing-song voice. She frowned before she disappeared again.

Once she was gone, Evan let himself grin. Someone liked him enough to leave him chocolates. He wouldn’t go so far as to think he actually had a secret admirer. But it was nice to think of nonetheless.

The smile stayed on his face the rest of the day.

***

It was after six before Evan finally finished what he was working on and was able to pack up for the day. He went through the methodical process of shutting down his computers and putting away his things. He snapped off his desk lamp, and then stood to shrug on his jacket. His eyes fell on the now half empty heart.

That had really made his day.

After a moment’s debate, Evan decided he was taking the chocolates home. He’d been going to lock them in the drawer and have more again tomorrow. But he thought he’d rather have them this evening with a glass of wine, remembering the feeling he had when he saw them. He tucked them into his messenger bag, slung it over his shoulder, and headed out.

At the elevators, Evan ran into Lucas, one of the managers in a neighboring department. Evan admired Lucas’s confident, take charge attitude. He also enjoyed the way the man filled out a suit, and the bright smile he always gave Evan. Lucas was definitely the stuff Evan was happy to fantasize about.

The elevator arrived before they could do much more than exchange greetings. Lucas stepped back and allowed Evan to enter first, and Evan hit the button for the bottom floor. Lucas offered him a small smile, little more than a smirk.

“How did you enjoy your chocolate?”

Evan gave a tiny moan of happiness. “They are unbelievably good. I…wait. How did you know about that? Did Joanie ask everybody in the whole company?”

Lucas shook his head, and his grin grew heated. “No. But I was hoping you would enjoy them when I picked them out.”

Evan opened his mouth to speak, but he couldn’t manage to make a single sound. It’d been a gift from Lucas? How was that possible?

The elevator dinged, and Lucas stepped into Evan’s space, putting a hand on the small of his back and steering him out into the garage. Evan could smell Lucas, the hint of spice and fabric starch, and he nearly moaned at the heat the man was giving off.

“How about dinner? I have reservations. And I can tell you all about how I’ve been plotting this for weeks. Ever since I heard you were no longer with your boyfriend and I could see you were healing.” Lucas leaned down, and skimmed his nose against Evan’s cheek, making him shudder. “And you can tell me if you want to pursue this after dinner?”

Evan swallowed, smiled, and nodded. This was already turning out to be one of the most romantic Valentine’s Day Evan had ever had. And the promise in Lucas’s voice, and the heat in his eyes, assured Evan it was about to get even better.

A Shift

So, I wrote Enchanted Love for a sub call, and come to find out, after a lot of deliberation apparently, the publisher has decided to discontinue that particular collection. It was a surprise, actually. And I never expected that to happen. Not to mention, I really didn’t expect to get that answer after they had the MS for so long. So I was particularly shocked, and it took me a bit to absorb it.

It wasn’t a rejection by any means. The publisher didn’t even really review it. The collection isn’t being put out this year, so my story was once again mine to do with as I wished. And even though it wasn’t a rejection, it felt like it a bit. So I had to readjust my thinking. Decide what to do next.

And there were definitely options, choices to make. It took a little thought and discussion, some back and forth with a couple of friends, before I decided on trying a different publisher.

Details coming soon when they are confirmed, but I believe I’ve found a home for it! I’m excited because I love this story. It’s sweet and fluffy and there’s  little self-indulgent bits and Eli and Chase are just so freaking adorable. It’s just a feel good story, one that I love, and I’m can’t wait to bring it to you.

So watch this space for details. I’ll post them as soon as I can.

In the mean time, I hope you look forward to a happy short story that’s all about the good feels. 🙂

Flash Fic Friday

**Today’s prompt is a good one! I hope I do it justice. A mysterious box and an old friend, long forgotten. Enjoy!**

 

The box appeared out of nowhere.

Between the time Eric left the house to take Pickles–his Welsh corgi who had the absolute best disposition–for his early morning walk and the time he returned fifteen minutes later, it showed up on the porch. Eric froze the moment he saw it, then pulled back on Pickles’s leash to keep the dog from getting too close. The box itself was fairly nondescript; about the size of a shoe box, though it looked to be made from unfinished wood. Eric approached cautiously, listening hard. Though he didn’t actually expect there to be a bomb or anything, he was cautious.

Eric had been back in the neighborhood only for a couple of months. His family had moved downstate when we was barely twelve, but twenty-five years later, he moved back to where he’d spent his first years. He’d always liked the quiet area, filled with old houses and big trees. The houses he remembered from his childhood was the reason he’d gotten into renovation as an adult. The Cape Cod he lived in now had always fascinated him, and he’d moved back when he saw it had gone on the market. It had needed some serious attention before he could move in, but now it was exactly the kind of house he’d envisioned living in as a child.

But he didn’t really know his neighbors. And there was a part of him that always worried how they would react if they found out he was gay. So the suspicious box was a bit worrisome, and he approached it cautiously. Had someone seen him bring home that hook-up last weekend?

Eric shooed Pickles into the house even though the dog really wanted to investigate the box. With the dog safely inside, Eric nudged the box with his toe. Nothing happened. He bent closer and saw the hinged lid. With a deep breath, he slowly eased it open.

Inside was a collection of pictures, postcards, and yellowed paper.

What the hell?

Eric picked it up, surprised at how light it was. As the sky brightened, he was able to make the contents out more clearly, and when he shifted the box, a picture slid into a beam of light. Eric’s breath caught as memories came flooding back.

How long had it been since Eric had thought of Max? Years at any rate. His best friend as a boy, the two had run wild through the neighborhood, getting into scrapes and going on grand adventures. The last few years before Eric moved, they’d been inseparable. Max had been his entire world, the boy with the mismatched eyes and beautiful smile. Max had been the reason Eric first thought he might not like girls, but he’d been gone before he could explore those thoughts and feelings. And over time, Max had faded from memory, all but disappeared. Until Eric saw that face, dirty and with a cut on his cheek, arm slung around Eric’s slim shoulders, grinning broadly.

Eric took the box into the house with him, nudging the excited dog aside and sitting down at the kitchen table. He sifted through the contents, smiling uncontrollably. In addition to the pictures there were postcards Eric had sent when he’d gone on his trips, and the notes they’d scribbled to each other, hidden for the other to find. Eric remembered every moment as if he was reliving it, his heart swelling with emotion.

He was sad when he reached the bottom of the box and all those memories were beside it in a pile.

One more piece of paper lay in the box, a sticky note stuck to the bottom, and Eric eagerly picked it up. There was nothing more than a chicken scratch, and Eric had to squint to make it out, cramped as it was on the small sheet.

Eric,

Saw you’re back in town. Always knew you’d grow up beautiful, but you’re even more gorgeous than I would have guessed. Welcome home

Max

Below that was a number.

Eric sucked in a breath, the grinned again. After a moment, he pulled out his phone.

Revisions and Deadlines

The publisher has asked for some revisions on Hearts and Hazelnuts. Not a bad thing at all!

Okay, yeah, it’s always a little bit of a blow when you’re told to fix something. Of course it is. So I needed to mope about that for a minute or two. And then, almost immediately, I started planning where I could make the revisions/expansions/additions. It will enhance the story, of course it will. And flesh it out more. I’m all for that.

I just don’t have a lot of time to get it done.

With Ghostwalker also having a deadline.

Basically, I will have to write my little fingers to the bone, quick quick quick, with extreme focus.

So yeah, focus has been a little bit of a problem. I’ve got two stories that need writing on, and waiting to hear on a third, so I’m feeling scattered. But I’ll put it together and get it done. I don’t have a choice if I want these stories out in the world. And I very much do.

Revisions before deadlines, here I come.