It’s All Fodder

Sometimes, when hurt is visceral and real, it’s hard to remember that I have a tool available to me that not everyone has. I’m a writer, and every experience I have is something I can use.

Everything that happens is fodder for the grist mill.

I’m not even talking about taking actual events and putting them in the page with my characters. Though, if I’m honest, that has happened in certain degrees too. But here I mean the emotions behind a situation. I can put my characters in different scenarios, ones I maybe have t experienced, but the emotion behind it is something I know intimately. And that right there is a gift. Because I can write it feeling real.

And if I’m completely honest, that helps me work through my own emotions as well. Giving my characters a solution that I maybe didn’t get it cathartic. Writing out the hurt and the anger and then making it okay, in the end, is something that soothes my soul. I’m lucky that way. I have an outlet and I intend to use it.

Side note: there’s a new page up there at the top. Freebies. I intend to add more as time goes on but for now, Christian and Tyler’s story, Meant To Be, is there as a PDF that, if you want, you can download and save for your very own.

Flash Fic Friday

**Today, I cheat a little.  As a challenge, I wrote a drabble.  It’s harder than you think, to get your point across in exactly 100 words.  I did it twice.  Hope you enjoy**

**I should also probably mention that yes, I’m aware it’s only Thursday**

 

The house was silent.  I dumped my briefcase by the door, draped my suit coat over the back of the couch, and loosened my tie.  “Hello?” I called, my voice echoing.  “Baby, where are you?”

Soft music caught my attention, and I wandered in the direction of the living room.  Flickering candlelight cut into my peripheral vision.  I rounded the corner and my breath caught.  Every available surface was filled with candles, flower petals strewn to cover the floor and tables.

He stood in the middle, arms out, welcoming.  He was breathtakingly beautiful.  His grin was warm.  “Dance with me.”

 

***

 

The wind and rain had chilled me to the bone. But I kept walking, head down, plodding along.  If I stopped I would feel the hurt.  I wasn’t ready to deal with it.  I kept moving.

I heard the car, and staunchly refused to look at it as the rumbling engine purred to a stop beside me.  I kept walking, my pace picking up.  The car moved with me.

“Baby,” his voice pleaded, deep and rumbling.  “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean it.  Forgive me.  I love you.  Marry me.”

It had been what I’d been waiting to hear.  I smiled.

 

Flash Fic Friday

**Alex and Matt from Hero Worship make a reappearance.  Click the books tab at the top to see where they got their start…and find the other shorts they appear in**

A bang.  A clatter.  A string of curses that made me smile.  I  pulled the t-shirt over my head, tossed my uniform at the basket, and then padded barefoot down the short hallway and into the living room.  I crossed my arms and leaned against the far wall, taking in the chaos around me.  The window was open. A box lay mutilated and discarded underneath Matt’s desk, and the man himself was leaning over to retrieve the screwdriver he dropped.  Matt sat on the floor surrounded by pieces of wood.  I smirked.  I couldn’t help it and didn’t even try.

“Need a hand?”

Matt’s head jerked up, and he scowled at me.  “No.”

I grinned and sauntered closer.  He had the directions spread out on his lap.  As I watched, he reached into the small plastic bag that contained the screws and fastenings, picked one out, and tried to match it up to the picture before him.  He shook his head, set it aside, and tried again.

“Matt,” I said softly.  He shook his head again, refusing to look at me.

“I can do this.  It’s not that hard.  I don’t need help.”

I nodded even though he wasn’t looking at me.  When he’d come home with the shelving unit, he’d been so proud of himself.  He told me how he saw it in the store and knew it would look just perfect tucked into the corner of the living room.  He’d been amassing quite a collection of books–he had to have something to occupy him when I worked the night shift–and he needed a place to put them.

“I know you don’t need help.  But it would go faster if we did it together, don’t you think?”  I asked.  He looked up to fix me with a glare, before returning his attention to the paper on his lap.  The thing was, Matt wasn’t that mechanically inclined and I was worried that that the shelf would collapse in the middle of the night and scare the crap out of us.  But I knew that look. He was determined to do this himself.

I crossed the room and knelt down behind him, wrapping my arms around his shoulders and tugging him back against my chest.  He gave a soft sigh, the way he always did in my arms.  He’d wanted to be there for so long, and I had missed it for years.  But I wasn’t going to dwell on that.  We were together now and had been for a while.

He still needed help, though, so I kissed his ear and played the trump card.  “We’re married now.  Partners.  That means we do things together.”

Matt leaned sideways so he could see my face.  “You know, ever since we said our vows, you’ve become a total sap.  Where’s the grumpy man I fell in love with?”  His tone was teasing, and I just smiled.   He sighed heavily.  “You’re just worried I’m not going to do it right and the whole thing will fall down.”

“Maybe,” I admitted with a smile.

He shook his head. “You just got off shift.  You need to go to bed.”

“How am I going to sleep with you banging around in here?” I asked practically.  When a guilty look crossed his face, I was quick to add, “Let’s do it together, get it done, and then you can come nap with me.”

He studied me for a long moment, then he gave a huff.  “Fine!  You can be my assistant then.”  He handed me the directions, and then motioned toward the pile of boards and bag of screws.  “You tell me what to do, and I’ll do all the work.”

I waggled my eyebrows.  “That’s just how I like it.”

Matt snorted out a laugh.  “No it’s not.  You like it when I tell you what to do.  When I hold you down.  When I’m in charge.”  The more he spoke, the more heated his gaze got.  He licked his lips, and swallowed hard.  “You know what?  Let’s forget this for now.  You really need to sleep.  I better take you to bed and make sure you rest well.”

I could tell by his slow, salacious smile that once we got to bed, it would be a while before I did any sleeping,  That was fine with me.  With a flourish, I tossed the directions to the floor, and hauled him to his feet as I stood.  He was quick to plaster himself to my back, nudging me with his groin at my ass down the hall. I went willingly because I got what I wanted; him in our bed and not putting the shelves together on his own.  If I did my job right, he’d be zonked out for hours afterwards.  And then I could sneak into the living room, and put the shelves together myself.  Matt would be mad, but I’d blow him after he made dinner and he would forgive me.

I was really loving married life.

The Way It Works

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a plotter. I get the idea in my head, I start writing, and then as the story progresses, I make notes and handwrite scenes I want to include that get tweaked when I put them on the page.

I usually write in first person, past tense. I’ve occasionally tried my hand at third past. (What I’m working on now is actually in third). But as I was writing my notes the other day, I realized something strange. Even though I almost always write my story in first, my notes are always in third person, present tense.

The note will readSeth looks around to make sure he’s alone but when I actually write it into the story? I looked around to make sure I was alone.

I’m not sure why this is. I seems that I should write my notes in the tense in which I’m writing the story. But I’m not going to look too in depth into it. It works, for whatever reason. And that’s all that matters to me.

The Slump

I was worrying.  I was fretting.  It’s something that I do sometimes.  I get an idea in my head, and I can’t let it go.  So the fact that I couldn’t get any words on the page was upsetting.  More than that, I was worried about how I was going to write those words.  I would try, I would start, and I’d hate every single word that I had written.  Until I hit this critical mass point, and I couldn’t stop all my crazy from spewing out into an email to a friend.  He talked me down, and then he gave me a challenge.

And suddenly, miraculously, I put words on the page.  In an hour and a half, I wrote 2K words.  Just like that.   Like I hadn’t had a barrier in my brain that was causing me issues.  Like it was no big deal.

An assignment and a deadline was all it took to get me to have some motivation.  Suddenly, it all coalesced in my brain.  Some support to shore me up, and I was able to write.  And I’ve been able to keep writing, to keep the story going.

I think it probably happens to most writers.  Those days when nothing’s working right, when the story just isn’t happening.  I’ve had them before.  And it always sort of freaks me out.  All the what ifs start racing through my very over active imagination.  What if I’ve lost my ability?  What if I’ve lost all my ideas?  What if I can’t ever write another story again?

But the idea are always there.  They are always triggered by the weirdest things.  And sometimes they aren’t meant to be on the page.  But sometimes they are.  This time around, all I needed was a little nudge.  And fortunately, I had someone willing to provide it.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget just how lucky I am.  But this will serve as a wonderful reminder.  And I’ll pull it out when the next slump hits.

Flash Fic Friday

**The end for Christian and Tyler.  Or maybe it’s the beginning…**

 

The last six months had been some of the happiest of my life.  Ever since that night that Tyler finally told me what made him run all those years ago, I felt like he had a new level of trust.  But more than that, he continued to show me every day how much he cared for me.  Big things, little things, it didn’t matter.  He would surprise me with dinner at my favorite restaurant, or bring home a newly released movie that I had mentioned once that I wanted.  For my birthday, he’d scoured antique shops until he found a roll top credenza that was nearly identical to the one that my grandfather had.  I had told Tyler how much I had loved it when we were flipping through my old photo album, but I hadn’t said I wanted one.  Tyler just knew.  He understood me, and that meant the world to me.  With each passing day, I became more convinced that he was really in this for the long haul.  That what had happened eight years ago was not the real Tyler.  At least, not the man that he was now.

And he told me he loved me.  Often.  Sometimes I’d catch him staring at me, and when I asked him what was so interesting he would shrug and say, “I love you.”  Of course, he also said it when I passed him the butter at dinner.  But the truth was, it didn’t matter when or how often he said it, I could tell he meant it.

I had yet to say it back.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love him.  There was a part of me that had never stopped.  I was hesitant to take that final step with him, though.  I wanted to be absolutely sure.  It took time to rebuild the trust his leaving had destroyed.  But Tyler’s patience and kindness had finally paid off.  Today, that would change.  Today, it was my turn to show Tyler how much I loved him.  It was finally time to tell him.

The sun was barely peeking through the curtains when I nudged him awake. .  He’d been a little surprised when I’d insisted he stay over last night.  It wasn’t normally something I pushed during the week.  We both had to be into work early.  But today was different.  Tyler grumbled and tried to pull the pillow over his head.  I gave a soft laugh.

“Wake up, sleepyhead,” I whispered, my lips right at his ear.  “You’re not going into work today.”

Tyler grunted.  “Then why do I have to get up?  No.  Wait.”  He pushed the pillow away, and blinked up at me.  “What are you talking about?”

“You have the day off, and so do I.  So get up.”

He just squinted at me.  “Christian, honey, you aren’t making any sense.”

He was so adorable all sleep rumpled and confused that I couldn’t help but smile. “No.  You’re confused.  Surprise!  I called your boss and got you the day off.  You definitely aren’t working today.”

“Okay,” he said slowly.  “Why?”

“Because we have somewhere to be.  So get out of bed for, all right?  We need to leave soon.”

Tyler looked intrigued, and still confused, but he did as I asked.  When he was in the shower, I grabbed a couple of duffle bags from the floor of my closet and started packing.  Over the last nine months, a good deal of his clothes had found their way into my house.  The same was true for my clothes at his place.  That certainly made things easier for me now.  We would only be gone three days, and I hoped we’d spend a majority of that time naked, so I didn’t worry about packing too much.  A couple of nice shirts in case we decided to go out to eat, but the rest of the bags were filled with necessities only.

When Tyler came out of the bathroom toweling his hair, he stopped short when he saw the bags.  Suspicion crossed his face.  “We need luggage?”

“No questions!” I declared in a sing song voice.  I pointed toward the bedroom door.  “Go make coffee.  Let me hop in the shower and then we’ll leave.”

“Can I at least get dressed first?” He asked playfully.  He was getting into it, I could tell.  Excitement was creeping into his eyes.  He always had loved surprises.

I gave a very put upon sigh.  “I suppose.  But make it quick!”

Half an hour later, we were on the road.

 

***

 

It took three hours to drive to our destination.  We talked, we laughed, we sang along with the radio.  But every time Tyler tried to get answers out of me, I resolutely changed the subject.  He even offered to give me road head if I would tell him.  When I refused, he knew I was serious and stopped asking.  But the closer we got, I realized my mistake. The signs gave it away.  I should have brought a blindfold.

“We’re going to Lake George?” he asked, his voice filled with awe.  I didn’t answer him.  I didn’t really have to.

Because it was a late in the season, the fall colors were brilliant and breathtaking, but there weren’t too many people around.  When I pulled up to the front office of the resort, I insisted Tyler stay in the car while I checked in.  I wasn’t surprised when he agreed easily.  He was really into the spirit of things now, and didn’t want to spoil it.

Check in was quick, and I was back in the care fifteen minutes later. I followed the directions I had been given down a winding path until our cabin came into view.  It wasn’t anything spectacular in and of itself, but it was private and surrounded by gorgeous trees.  I knew that if we stood on the porch, we’d be able to see the lake.

Tyler was like a little kid as soon as I opened the door.  He went running around, checking everything out.  It nothing more than a big room, the living and dining areas combined, with several doors along the back wall.  I could see the bedroom and the bathroom from where I stood.  I expected the third door to be a closet.  Tyler was wearing a huge grin, and I couldn’t help smiling in response.

“This is spectacular!” Tyler crowed.  “And did you see the view from the porch?  God, this is fantastic, Christian.”

“I’m glad you like it.”

“I love it,” he said, his voice softening.  He crossed the room quickly, and took me in his arms.  “I love you.”

This wasn’t quite how I planned it, but it was really the perfect time.  I took a deep breath, smiled, and said, “I love you too.”

Tyler sucked in a fast breath, his eyes going wide.  I knew he was beginning to think he’d never hear the words from me.  But if he thought that was a shock, he was going to keel over with what happened next. I pulled out of his arms, and dropped to one knee.

“Holy shit,” he whispered.  “What is going on here?”

I laughed softly even as I reached in my pocket and pulled out the jeweler’s box.  I snapped open the lid and held it up. “I love you.  I’m so glad you came back, that you showed me the kind of man that you’ve become, that you fixed my broken heart.  Do you want to spend forever with me?”

He didn’t hesitate.  “Yes.”

That was the only thing I needed to hear.

The Painful Parts

Had a good day Saturday plotting and brainstorming and figuring out some changes that need to be made. It was wonderful and painful all at the same time. There are some things I want to change, and that is good. There are some things that need to change but I don’t want to do it, and that is painful.

I was all gung-ho to get on that Sunday. And then…well then I read instead. I just couldn’t bring myself to start the work. Not yet. Just a little bit longer. I need a little more time.

Pretty soon I’m going to have to make myself.

This is the part of writing where the hard work comes in. Where I have to let go of some of the words I’ve fallen in love with and find new ones. It hurts. But I know it’ll be a better story when I’m done so it’ll be worth it.

I just have to remind myself of that.