Notes

Like many an author, my brain is never far from my story.  Yes, real life intrudes and I have other things that I must do.  There’s the evil day job, and family obligations, and yarn.  But even when I’m doing all the things that are other, there’s a part of my brain that is ready to jump into thinking about my story at a moments notice.  And that part engages at the oddest times, with little provocation, and then there’s something that I just have to think about story-wise.

So I make notes.  I jot stuff down.  When I’m at work, there’s a little pad on the side of my desk that I sometimes have to grab and write on.  I keep the empty envelopes from my paychecks in my purse for the express purpose of having a blank space to write on should the need arise.  I have a yellow legal pad sitting by the laptop, ready and waiting, just in case.

Sometimes, I very much like to write long hand notes.  Like a lot a lot.  See the thing is, my hand writing is atrocious.  So very bad.  And, predictably, it gets worse the faster I write.  Most of the time, I still know what I wrote but not always.  And yet, I still do it.  I still like to write things out long hand.  Of course, when it comes time to read those notes and put them on the page in story form, I have a problem that transcends not just being unable to read my own writing.  They sit there beside my computer, and I have to constantly stop typing, to pick them up and read them, then put them back down and put my fingers back on the keys.  This interrupts the flow and is irritating.

The pattern keeper is my solution.

See, I bought this thing for my patterns when I yarn.  It’s kind of fabulous with the way it folds to stand upright and magnets to keep the pattern in place and track where you are in the pattern.  I thought it would be a fun present to myself.  And then I realized that I could use it for more than just patterns!  I can prop those hand written notes up beside me, and there they’d stay, and it is awesome!

I had no idea when I was tooling around, shopping for notions that went with my yarning obsession, I’d be helping the writing too.  But I have, and it’s fantastic, and I’m in favor of anything that makes my time spent at the computer easier.

 

Flash Fic Friday

**I’ve brought back Cole and Rafael for another week, because I wanted to see their relationship a little bit down the road.  And with the challenge for this week–a fight and a visit with an old friend–I knew these were the guys to tell the story.  Enjoy!**

Cole was everything I had ever been looking for and everything I didn’t know I wanted.  He was smart and charming and beautiful.  He had a huge heart, a kindness that wouldn’t quit, and a sense of adventure that rivalled mine. When I had stopped him for speeding—and let him off with a warning even though he should have gotten a ticket—it was because his gorgeous face caught my attention.  There was a spark when our eyes met that I couldn’t ignore.  I was grateful every day that I’d taken a chance and shown up outside his audition.  He wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for me.

Right now, though, he was inexplicably and extraordinarily angry with me.

“Cole,” I began, trying for soft and soothing.

“Don’t,” he hissed.  “Don’t you say my name in that patronizing manner.  I’m not wrong here and I have every right to be beyond pissed.  So don’t stand there using your ‘hey I’m a cop diffusing the situation’ voice on me.  I don’t appreciate it.”

Oh yes, he was mad.  His eyes were lit with a dark, angry light, his face flushed, his mouth set in a hard line.  Truthfully, he was turning me on a little.  I liked seeing the passion on his face.  And I knew I should stay and work things out.  We’d only been dating for six month, and had moved in together a mere three weeks ago.  But I was late, and he was being unreasonable.

“Okay,” I said in the same placating manner.  I couldn’t help myself.  I loved him, and I knew we could make our relationship work.  But continuing the argument right now would serve no one.  I grabbed my jacket from the hook by the door.

He made an indignant noise.  “You’re going to go?”  He was incredulous.

“Yeah,” I said, letting a bit of my annoyance creep into my voice. “We can deal with this when I get home.”

“You’ll be lucky if I let you back into the house!”

It was an empty threat so I walked out the door.

***

Jake was already waiting for me when I got to the restaurant.  He’d been gone for more than a year helping to open a new office for his company in London, and I’d missed him terribly.  We’d been friends since we were kids, and lovers for a brief time in our early twenties.  We’d fallen into a relationship because it was easy, and we were horny.  We were never meant to be more than friends though, and it ended almost as soon as it began.  He was my closest friend, and just seeing his smiling face made some of the tension in my shoulders disappear.

I greeted him with a hug and a kiss to the cheek, then dropped down into the seat across from him.  He gave me a critical look, his gaze shrewd as he took in my face and demeanor.

“What’s with you?” he asked jovially.  “Where’s the new boy?”

“Cole’s at home,” I answered.  I scowled. “We’re fighting.”

“Already?” There was a chuckle as Jake picked up his menu.  But he wasn’t looking at it. Instead he peered over the top of it to keep his gaze on me.  “About what?”

“You,” I answered honestly.

His eyes went wide and he set the menu down.  “Rafael?  What the hell, man?  If you had to cancel—”

I cut him off with a shake of my head.  “No.  Don’t.  You’re a part of my life, and Cole is going to have to get used to it.  And he will get used to it.  Once he realizes that there’s nothing between you and me other than friendship.  He just doesn’t understand yet.”

Jake’s eyes narrowed.  “Then you should have brought him so he could see.”

I snorted out a laugh.  That wouldn’t have worked.  Not tonight.  Cole was too angry.  I acknowledged to myself that I shouldn’t have sprung it on him at the last minute.  And perhaps I shouldn’t have been honest when he asked me if Jake had ever been more than a friend.  But I wasn’t in the habit of lying, and I wasn’t going to keep anything from Cole.

“We’ll work it out.  Don’t worry about it.  Read your menu.”

Jake didn’t move or saying anything for a long moment, then he reached out with one hand and patted mine.  He studied me for a few more seconds, and then picked up his menu, this time actually looking at it. I breathed a sigh of relief.  I just wanted to have a nice dinner with oldest friend.

After that, we fell into old habits, teasing each other and laughing at stupid things.  He didn’t bring up Cole again and neither did I.  For a time, I was able to forget that when I got home, the love of my life would still be pissed with me.  I enjoyed our dinner, and it wasn’t until Jake was paying the bill—it was his turn to buy—that I realized leaving here meant going home and fixing things with Cole.

As always, Jake knew where my mind had gone.  He walked with me to my car, and gave me a brief but tight hug.  When he stepped back, he offered me a small smile.  “Next time, bring Cole.  Once he sees there isn’t anything more between us than a bromance, he’ll be reassured.”  He stopped, and then gave me a glare. “Fix it, man.  I’ve never seen you so happy since you started dating him.  He’s your forever man.  So fix it.”

I held up my hands in surrender.  He wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know. I gave him a wave, got into my car, and drove home.  But when I pulled into the driveway, the entire house was silent and dark.  Cole’s car was still there, so unless someone had come to pick him up, he was at home.  But he’d probably gone to bed, despite it not being that late. I felt twitchy that we wouldn’t be able to resolve this thing between us until tomorrow.

I was quiet as I entered the house.  I didn’t want to disturb him.  I hung my jacket on the hook, and then tossed my keys on the sideboard before toeing off my shoes.  I made sure the door was locked and that the alarm was set before I padded in socked feet toward the kitchen.  I didn’t relish the thought of climbing into bed with an angry, but sleeping, man.

“Don’t leave again.”

Cole’s voice startled me and I only just managed to quell the yelp of surprise that wanted to escape.  I turned in the direction his voice had come from, and realized that the shadows in the corner of the living room had kept me from seeing him hunched up and huddled on the armchair.  I moved closer, snapping on the light as I passed the end table.  He’d been crying.

He wasn’t now though, and his glare was hard.  “When we’re fighting in the future, I’d really appreciate it if you’d stay and work things out with me if it’s at all possible.”  Despite the harsh look on his face, his words were soft and firm.

“I am sorry about that,” I said sincerely.  I knelt in front of him, wanting to be close and have this conversation face to face.  I was gratified when he unfolded enough to lower his legs.  I put my hands on his thighs and looked directly into his eyes.  “I was angry too, though.  And I didn’t think we’d get anywhere if we kept yelling at each other.”

His nod was slow.  “All right.  But leave the room, not the house, next time.  When you walked out, if felt like…”  He took a deep breath.  “If felt like you were choosing him over me.”

“Never,” I said quickly and vehemently.  Cole gave me a ghost of a smile.  “Look, Jake is my oldest and closest friend.  I love him like a brother.  But I’m in love with you, and that’s not ever going to change.”

Cole’s eyes went soft, and he sat up far enough so that he could put my hands on my face. “I won’t lie.  I’m jealous of that.  Of what you have with him.  That you were together, for however brief a time, and still friends.”  He blew out a breath, and then rested his forehead against mine.  “But that’s something I’ll have to work through.  And I should meet him, yeah?”

“Yeah, absolutely,” I said as relief poured through my veins.  For a long time, we stayed just like that, breathing each other in and holding on.  Eventually, my knees let me know that I was on a hardwood floor, and I pulled back, giving Cole a grin. “I guess we survived our first real fight, huh?”

His chuckle was warm. “I guess so.  The first of many, I expect.  But you know what comes now?”

It took me a second to catch on, but when I did, I shot to my feet and hauled him out of the chair.  “Race you to the bedroom.”

Reshufflin’

It’s a curious thing, the writing process.

Monday night and Tuesday morning were really good for the words.  Like really good.  I wrote a whole bunch of them, a whole big bunch, and made really good progress on my WIP.  I also discovered that one of the plot points I had in my outline no longer worked at all, so I chucked that out and reworked some stuff.  And then I realized that one of the plot points I wanted in wasn’t on the outline, so I wrote that in.  And the last time I looked, I was solidly in the home stretch, because about five chapters from now, I’ll have a complete first draft.    Now that I’ve reworked the plot and it actually makes sense, I can see the end of the story very clearly.

That’s sort of an awesome feeling.

But the other thing that happened, is that the trilogy reshuffled itself as well.  What I originally thought was going to be the third book, is now actually going to be the second.  As the characters have solidified themselves and become clearer, I now see the way the stories are structured and how they need to change places.  It’s better for the overall narrative.  The other good thing is that these two guys are just awesome and I’m excited to tell their story.

But that’s next.  That’s after.  First I have to get this first story complete.  And I am laser focused on this story, because without it, nothing else can happen.

Here’s what I know for a fact though:  working from a rough plot outline helped immensely with this story.  Even though I had to reshuffle and replot, having that already on the page has made all of that so much easier.  Everything was right there before my eyes, which let me see what didn’t work.  Now, before I’ve always gotten the point where I jotted the story out in notes.  But I’ve never quite done it like this before.  I fully intend to attempt it again with story number two, and see if I can repeat the results. If only because I’ll inevitably need to reshuffle, and having it there in front of me makes that inordinately easier.

Full Steam Ahead

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I haven’t put any substantial words on the page in a few days.  Well, five is a few right?  Part of that, in all honesty, was the lazy showing through.  Part of that was me not managing my time well and having other things that needed to get done, and having to cram them together to get them done.  And one of those days was my birthday, on which I did nothing at all.  And a part of that was that I had edits for Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love and that’s important too, because that will be out in June!  But still, it’s been five days and I haven’t written much at all.

I hope I’ve learned my lesson this time.  I mean, really, it’s not the first time I’ve let procrastination and a bit of laziness dictate my life and cause me trouble.  I’ve gotten better about it in years past, but every once in a while, I fall back into bad habits.  I’m sure it’ll will sneak up on me again, but I’m hoping next time, when I start to get that way, I can say to myself “Remember what happened in March?!” and make myself do what I should.   I’m not quite over the hump yet, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel, so I should be able to get things squared away and back on track by the end of the week.

Which is why I say full steam ahead.  These guys, Aaron and Lucas, are itching to get to the meat of their story, and I’m almost–but not quite–to the half way point in their story.  And though I haven’t written the words on the page, I haven’t been neglecting them completely.  There has been plotting and some notes.  I sorted out a secondary character who’s about to make his appearance with the help of some friends who know much more about things than I do.  And if all goes according the plan, this will be a trilogy, connected by the world, and that secondary character will see his own story as well.  So I have been doing a wee bit of work.  Though I know it’s not enough.

At any rate, I’ve pretty much got the other parts of my life squared away, and a few more days will have that completely seen to.  And when it does, there we go.  Diving back into the world and writing this story.  I’m exciting to get back to it.  I left them hanging on the verge of a change, and I’m as anxious as they are to get them moving forward.

Flash Fic Friday

**So this week’s challenge was one of those that I saw in my head almost as soon as the Admiral issued it.  Trying out for a play and a cop he said, and so I introduce you to Cole and Rafael.  Enjoy!**

I had no aspirations of being famous.  But I loved to act, and I could sing and dance, so when I heard that our local theater was putting on a production of Once Upon A Mattress, I couldn’t resist auditioning.  I hadn’t done any sort of theater since high school, but I thought it would be fun.  I was hoping for the part of Sir Harry, and I’d put that down on my paperwork, but I was sort of glad it was general auditions for everyone.  The same scene and the same song.  It took some of the pressure off, and I could just enjoy the process.

Not that I wasn’t nervous as all hell.

I thought I covered up the shake in my voice pretty well.  I sang my heart out, emoting expressively on the big stage, my strong tenor voice clear and on pitch.  I read my lines with feeling and vevre.  When all was said and done, I thought I’d done pretty well, despite the fact that it had been nearly fifteen years since I’d set foot on a stage.  I knew better than to read into the director’s huge smile, but I thanked him for his time and told him I looked forward to hearing from him.

Callbacks happened a week later.  When I got the email asking me to come in a read another scene, I actually shouted out loud in glee.  It scared the cat, she hissed and took off like a shot, but I didn’t care.  Knowing I would at least be a part of the production, even if I didn’t get my chosen role, was thrilling.

I raced to my second audition that night, excitement and nerves making my foot heavy on the accelerator.  I was talking to myself out loud, going through the scene again, making sure I had it memorized.  I was so absorbed in what I was doing, I almost missed the flashing blue and red lights behind me.

Fuck.

I eased off the gas and steered the car to the side of the road, coming to a stop.  All hope that the cop was going to fly by me disappeared as he pulled in behind me.  Double fuck.  I eased the window down with a push of a button, then placed my hands back on the steering wheel.

The officer cut an imposing figure in his dark blue uniform as he sauntered toward me.  Tall, wide shoulders, dark hair, and an easy roll to his gait.  I peered up at him when he got to my window.  His nameplate read Rinaldi, and the last name somehow fit his swarthy good looks.  I swallowed hard.

“License and registration, please.”  His voice had a deep bass timbre that slid down my spine.  Christ, really?  This was not the time for such thoughts.  I nodded and dug in my wallet to produce my license, and then reached for the glove box and fished around until I found my registration.  I handed them both over.

He was silent for a long moment as he studied them.  “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

“No, sir,” I said.  I used the honorific on purpose, keeping my voice low and non-confrontational, hoping that my cooperative deference would work in my favor.

“You were going sixty in a forty-five,” the officer said conversationally.  He looked up and his dark brown eyes seemed to pierce right through me.  “Where were you going in such a hurry, Mr. Martin?”

“An audition,” I responded.  When one dark eyebrow quirked in question, I blew out a breath and elaborated.  “For the local theater?  I have my second audition tonight.”

For a very long, tense moment, he said nothing.  Then he handed me back my license and registration.  I was a little stunned as I took them.  He leaned one arm on the top of my car, and bent down to peer inside.  His gaze found mine.  “Be more careful.”

I was still nodding when he stood up and walked away.

For a moment, I just sat there, stunned.  I’d been sure I would get a ticket.  But he’d let me off with a warning.  I knew better than to look a gift horse in the mouth.  I shoved my registration back in the glove box, tossed my wallet and license on the passenger seat, and drove off at a much more sedate pace.

***

The audition had gone extremely well, the director all but told me I’d be playing Sir Harry, and I was riding high as I practically floated out of the theater and to my car.  I was beyond thrilled, and I knew I was going to have a fantastic time.  I couldn’t wait for rehearsals to start.

I came back to earth with a nasty bump when I saw the cop leaning against my car.  What the hell was he doing here?  Had he followed me?  Was he going to give me a ticket afterall?

“Officer Rinaldi,” I greeted with a head tip when I got close enough.  I did my best not to let my nerves show.

“Cole Martin,” he said, his voice going low.  Seductive even.  His gaze traveled up and down the length of my body and I fought the shiver.  “Please, call me Rafael.  I’m off duty now.”

Okay then.  Not here to give me a ticket.  This was something else entirely.  I swallowed hard.  Then I tried his name out on my lips.  “Rafael.”

His grin was breathtaking.  My own mouth quirked in response.  God he was beautiful.

He pushed off from my car with an easy nudge of his hip, standing up straight, but his posture was relaxed.  He took a couple of steps toward me until he was in my space.

“How did the audition go?”

“Good,” I said.  There was a slight crack in my voice.  I blushed slightly as I cleared my throat.  “Really good.  I think I got the part.  I won’t know for a couple of days though.”

He nodded slowly, that smile still in place, and then he reached out one hand and ran his fingers down my arm.

“How would you like to go for a cup of coffee?  You can tell me all about it.”

I grinned and nodded.  This was turning out to be one of the best nights of my life.

It’s My Birthday!

I love birthdays.  I do.  Not even just mine.  There’s something so fun and special about celebrating a person on the anniversary of their birth that I simply adore.  I blame my mother, as she’s always made a big deal out of birthdays.

As an exercise this morning, I was thinking about what my boys would have given me for my birthday…were they actually real and not figments of my imagination.  So I thought I’d share that with you.

From Worth It:

Jack’s gift–a Christmas tree ornament, shaped like a circus elephant

Ryan–handmade pine knitting needles (they sell them in the gift shop at Bennett’s)

From Hero Worship:

Alex–a generic dollar store card, but there would be a generous Visa gift card inside

Matt–A Jayne hat, from Firefly

From Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds:

Joshua–Star Trek socks

Will–A cashmere scarf

From Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love (out in June!)

Ben–a trip to my LYS and I could pick any and all yarn I wanted

Zack–a painting of an Oak tree in autumn.

So there you  have it.  A little insight to my characters, how well they know me, and what they would deem appropriate gifts.  😀

It’s All His Fault

Okay, wait, to be fair, I do take 12% of the blame.  I found the sub call in the first place.  But without his insistence encouragement, the story I’m working on right now wouldn’t be getting written.  I’d have abandoned it more than ten thousand words ago and moved on to something else. I would have decided that this story wasn’t worth telling.  If he wasn’t demanding it get written encouraging me along, I honestly would have given up.  I’d hit a bad patch, and I felt like I wasn’t prepared to write it.  I felt I wasn’t capable of telling this story.  He called bullshit, and pulled out his stern voice, and told me to stop making excuses and just write.

So I am.

He’s pretty much the only one to kick my ass.  Which is why he’s the Admiral.  Most everyone else is great at helping me make excuses.  Which, if I’m honest, I love.  They agree that it must be the story’s fault, not mine, and that it’s okay if I put it aside and don’t work on it.  But not him.  Oh no.  If I’m in need of asskicking, he does it without hesitation.  Which is, in reality, a very good thing.

So I’m writing this story because he wants me to.  But as I’m writing it, I’m falling in love with these boys and their story.  These guys are worming their way into my heart, and I’m actually very much enjoying them and their journey.  I’ve gotten to that place where I’m all full steam ahead, let’s get it written, I want to see this through all the way.  And I love that feeling.  So, as usual, the Admiral was right.  But that doesn’t make it any less his fault.

Of course, this time he’s even taken it one step further.  This time it’s not only just about the current story, but about the sequel with a secondary character that he’d like to see.  Will I indulge him that sequel?  Yeah, probably.  Because I already have the plot bunny and a very basic plot outline.  But I have to get this one written first.

So that’s what I’m doing.

But I’m still placing the blame squarely on his shoulders.