What Kind of Year Has it Been

I can’t believe 2015 is already coming to a close.

Honestly.

It’s surreal really.  This whole year has been.  It’s been a big year for me.  A lot has happened.  Both in my personal life and as an author.  Which are not always one and the same, but rather contiguous parts of me.

Writing-wise a lot happened.  I released 5 novellas.  3 of which I wrote this year.  I’m really proud of them, and I get the happy feels whenever I think of them.  From Joshua and Will starting out the year in Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds to Dan and Vincent bringing the year to a close with Something Like Peace just two weeks ago, I couldn’t be happier with these stories.  I hope you enjoyed them, too.

Dan and Vincent will make their first appearance on Friday, so if you haven’t read their story yet, you’ve still got some time.

In the personal life, the biggest thing that happened was some massive upheaval at the day job.  It happened twice, with two different things, all the in the last six months.  It’s caused a lot of anxiety, weird dreams, and sleepless nights.  It’s definitely taken it’s toll on yours truly, and it’s a wonder I didn’t go back to smoking (8 months smoke free and counting!).  But I have persevered and I have to believe that someway, somehow, it has made me stronger.

So it’s been a big year.  Some good, some bad.  And that’s how I know I’m alive and kicking.  It’s also given me some goals to shoot for in 2016.  I know a little more what I’m capable of if I push myself (or get pushed, lol) and I’m looking forward to accomplishing much more in the year ahead.

I’m working on a new story now, though at the moment I’m doing it very slowly.  And I’ve got plans for the next two after that.  This upcoming year might not be as big as last year, but it certainly going to have it’s own shining moments.

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you’ve had a banner year.  And I wish you nothing but goodness and beautiful things for 2016!

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Flash Fic Friday

**From Andrew and Garrett–and especially me–Happy Holidays!**

I woke to the warmth of his body wrapped around mine, his lips on my skin, and his breath in my ear.  I grinned even before I opened my eyes, and Andrew’s answering chuckle warmed the pit of my stomach.  He tucked his thigh between mine, pressing hard on my balls, and hugged me tightly.

“Merry Christmas, Garrett,” he whispered in my ear.  He bit at the lobe, and I sucked in a fast breath.  “Our first Christmas together.  I think we should start a special tradition.”

Considering what was poking into the small of my back, I thought I knew what he had in mind.  I pushed my ass back into the cradle of his pelvis. “Oh, yes, please.”

Andrew’s laugh was joyous, with just a wicked edge.  He kissed my neck, sucking hard for a second, and then he was gone.  The sudden chill of his absence was a shock, and my eyes popped open.  When I looked over my shoulder, he wasn’t rummaging through my bag where I’d packed the lube just in case, despite him telling me there wouldn’t be any sexy times while we were staying in my parents house.  I’d been optimistic anyway, and he knew me well enough to know I’d have packed it.  But instead of him retrieving it like I expected, he was pulling a small square beautifully wrapped package out of his own case.  I watched his shoulders lift as he took a deep breath, and then he smiled beautifully, sitting on the edge of the bed.

I sat up, and returned his grin, even though I wasn’t sure what was going on.  “What’s this?” I asked softly.

“Open it,” he commanded.  He looked relaxed, even excited, so I eagerly took the present he held out.

I didn’t waste time being careful.  It was nicely wrapped, but I was of the first belief that wrapping paper was made to be ripped and recycled.  I tossed it on the bed between us, and then lifted the lid on the box inside.  My breath caught.  I lifted the crystal star up, and let it sparkle in the morning light streaming through the window.  It had a tiny plaque on top proclaiming the year.  It was, if I wasn’t mistaken, the Swarovski ornament and it was absolutely breathtaking.

“It’s beautiful,” I murmured.  I couldn’t tear my gaze away from it.

“I’m glad you like it,”Andrew said.  He reached out and took my free hand, squeezing my fingers.  I turned my attention from the star to my boyfriend, and he grinned.  “I know how much the tree and decorations mean to you this time of year.  I thought that a special ornament could mark each of our years together.  For the rest of our lives.”

I loved the sound of that, but I was so choked up, I could do nothing but nod.  I dropped my gaze, and carefully put the crystal star away so that it could make the journey home.  When I was done, I leaned to set the box on the nightstand, and then I threw myself into Andrew’s arms and hugged him tightly.

“Merry Christmas, babe,” I managed whisper. “I love you.”

“I love you too.  Merry Christmas.”

Flash Fic Friday

**Special edition!!!  So we have Andrew and Garrett back to tell us what happened next.  But also, they are doing double duty, to also wish our dear Alder a lovely, wonderful, happy birthday!  Happy birthday, dear, and I hope it’s filled with awesome.  This one was your request, and I hope you enjoy it.  I hope everyone enjoys it!**

It was unseasonably warm, and Garrett had spent most of the five hour drive dodging other cars and bitching about the fact it was going to be a green Christmas.  For him, the snow on the ground and rooftops made Christmas feel more like Christmas.  I couldn’t exactly blame him, but since I’d spent much of my life in the South, I’d never had snowy Christmases to begin with.  That was a thing for the movies, and it wasn’t until I’d moved here that I’d experienced snow at all.  But I’d made soothing noises, and even pointed out that the holiday spirit wasn’t dependent on snow.  He’d grudgingly agreed, but I knew he hadn’t been happy about it.

When we finally turned onto his street, the sun was just beginning to set, so all the lights decorating the houses were beginning to shine.  We drove for blocks, until he began to slow.  And then I saw the split ranch that was familiar from some pictures.  Only it was decorated to the hilt.  Lights along the roof line and candles in the windows.  A wreath on the door.  Animatronic deer in the front yard, next to a huge Alder tree that had also been draped in lights.  There was a blow up snowman, a sign that proclaimed Happy Holidays, and plastic candy canes lining the walkway up to the front porch.  It was, in all honesty, just this side of tacky.  Anything more would have tipped it over.  But the way Garrett’s face lit up when he saw it made me appreciate it more than I normally would have.

“Come on,” he urged, practically giddy as he climbed out of the car.  I followed him at a more sedate pace and made it to the porch just as the door opened revealing his mother and father.  The hugs were tight and his mother got teary.  But after the greetings were complete, Garrett turned to me.

The introductions were stilted and awkward.  At least, I was.  I held myself stiff in his mother’s quick hug and his father did little more than grunt and shake my hand.  We were shepherded into the house, and things went from bad to worse as we were forced to make small talk. Dinner was downright uncomfortable. I knew it was me.  It was my fault things were strange, but I couldn’t seem to loosen up and relax.  Garrett talked a mile a minute to try to make things easier, but while we all talked to Garrett, we didn’t talk to each other.

It wasn’t that late when Garrett finally made our excuses, saying it had been a long day of driving, and we headed up to bed.  I was surprised that his parents were allowing us to share a room.  Mine certainly never would have, even if we’d been a het couple.  But his parents had just wished us a good night, reminded us that we were going out to get the tree in the morning, and we headed upstairs.

Garrett shut the door behind us, and immediately threw himself into my arms.  He hugged me tightly, and kissed the side of my neck.

“It’s okay, Andrew,” he murmured, his lips against my skin.  “You can relax and enjoy yourself.  My mom and dad are not going to say or do anything bad, and when my brother and his kids get here tomorrow, they’ll be focused entirely on them.”

“I’ll try,” I said.  I meant it too.  It wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew the bulk of the weirdness had been my doing.

“That’s all I ask.” He kissed me softly, and then pulled away.  He opened his suitcase and pulled out our toiletry bag.  “I’m going to use the bathroom.  I’ll leave the stuff in there for you.”

He was gone before I could say thank you, so instead I changed into the silk paisley print pajamas he’d bought me.  Normally, I slept naked or maybe in my boxers.  But I would feel uncomfortable doing that in his parents house, so Garrett’s solution had been to buy us ridiculous pajamas.  I loved the way the fabric felt against my skin, but I still felt silly wearing them.  I laid out his pair–a rich emerald green that matched his eyes–and when he returned he gave me a grateful smile.  I also saw the way lust darkened his eyes, and I beat a hasty retreat across the hall to the bathroom.

I was not fucking him in his parents house.

I took in the quaint beach themed bathroom while I brushed my teeth.  There were little vials of sand and starfish on the shelves, seashell shaped soap in the holder on the sink, and curling waves on the wallpaper boarder. It seemed out of place in this landlocked mountain town, but I figured maybe that’s why it was decorated that way to begin with. I spit, rinsed, and straightened, wiping my mouth on the towel.  When I turned, I noticed the spider in the corner of the shower.

I eyeballed the thing for a long moment.  It was fairly big, and if Garrett saw it in the morning, he’d have a panic attack.  Not that I had any love for the arachnids.  I’d read a spooky book when I was young where a spider crawled across a sleeping child’s face.  It was supposed to add ambiance to the story, and it had, but I’d never been able to get the image out of my head.  If I knew there was a spider in the house, I’d never be able to sleep.

I looked around, and saw a magazine curled up and tucked next to the toilet.  I grabbed it, and the glass, and climbed up onto the edge of the tub.  I reached, balanced precariously, and nearly fell and bashed my head against the tiled wall.  With a bit more stretching, the spider obligingly went into the glass, and I covered it with the magazine. Another near death experience as I attempted to climb down, and then I had both feet solidly on the floor.  I took a few deep breaths to steady myself.  And then I quickly descended the stairs, walked around the corner into the kitchen, and straight out the back door to let the spider go.

When I turned back to the door and grasped the handle, I realized to my horror that it had locked behind me.  I bit back the groan.  I didn’t have my phone, so I couldn’t let Garrett know what happened.  I was going to have to knock and hope that someone would hear me.  At the very least, Garrett would come looking eventually.

I raised my knuckles but before I could rap, the door swung open to reveal Garrett’s formidable father.  The man blinked, surprised.

“Andrew?”

I held up the glass and magazine, like that explained things.  “I was liberating a spider, sir. I didn’t want Garrett to see it.”

Garrett Sr. laughed.  “Well, you certainly do love my son, if you’re removing spiders from the house.”  He stepped back and gestured with his arm.  “And you can stop with the sir shit.  We aren’t that formal around here.  Call me Gary.”

I nodded as I walked inside, shivering a little as the warmth hit me.  “Thank you.  I, um, I’m sorry.  About earlier.”

Gary just waved his hand.  “Garrett told us a little about what happened to you.  I know this can’t be easy for you.  But that you’re willing to try, that you’re here because of Garrett?  Well.  That tells me all I need to know about how much you care for my son, and that’s the only thing that matters to me.  Treat him well, and you won’t ever have a problem with me or his mom.”

The blunt and sincere way he said it left no doubt of his sincerity.  Just hearing it made a weight lift from my shoulders.  I suddenly felt sure that nothing bad was going to happen, that Garrett was truly accepted by his parents.  And if I could learn to relax, then maybe they would learn to like me too.

“I’ll never hurt him if I can help it,” I said, offering my own honesty.  “I love him more than I thought it was possible to love another human being.”

“Good,” his father said with a single nod.  “That’s how it should be.  Now you better get to bed.  We have an early start tomorrow.  Sometimes it takes hours to find the perfect tree.”

“Hours?” I echoed, even as he steered me toward the stairs.

“Hours,” he confirmed.  And then he grinned.  “It’s always worth it though.”

I nodded dumbly and ascended the stairs.  I was still a little shell shocked by the whole conversation when I entered the bedroom.  Garrett was sitting up in bed, a book in his lap, and his frown was concerned when he saw me.  “Everything all right, babe?”

I took a second to answer, really thinking about the question.  I felt the smile stretching my lips before I was even aware I was going to grin. “Oh yeah.  Everything’s perfect.”

He squinted at me.  “You sure?”

I’m sure he was wary of my sudden about face.  I nodded, and climbed into bed to curl myself around him.  “I’m sure.  This is going to be a great Christmas.”

He tensed for just a second, and then relaxed, breathing out a contented sigh as he snuggled in.  “Yeah.  It sure is.”

Something Like Peace

Yay!

Okay, I just needed to say that again.  Something Like Peace is out, and you can get it directly from Amber Allure (where there’s a release week discount!) or jump over to ARe and pick it up there if you prefer.  Amazon hasn’t happened quite yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as that happens.

You can also head over to Joyfully Jay, where there’s a guest post, excerpt, and a giveaway!  (it’s a pretty good one too, if I say so myself.)  So make sure you check that out and enter the giveaway if you’re so inclined.

It’s been a crazy awesome year, and I’m so glad that Dan and Vincent get their story out before it closes.  Remember we’ll see more from them starting in January.  This Friday Garrett and Andrew will be doing double duty with the next installment of their saga…with an extra bonus.  And then we’ll see them again on Christmas to wrap their story up.

Happy reading!

Release Day!!

Yay!!!   So, the long awaited next installment in the Something Like Series is out!  Something Like Peace hits the shelves today.  Woo!

Okay, so maybe it’s only be long awaited by me.  But this is Dan’s story, and guys, if you knew just how long its been living in my head, how many ways it’s changed…well, you’d understand why it’s so long awaited. I’ve talked about it some, but there’s only been one other person who has been privy to everything, and he had to deal with it as I nearly had a mental break down.  But that was just all in the process of finding the right story, telling the story that was really meant to be told, and this is the story that I have written for you.

So if you’ve been following along in the series, run out and pick up Something Like Peace. And if you haven’t been, well, you shouldn’t have any trouble knowing what’s going on if you decide to start here.

I love these guys.  I love them an insane amount.  And they just might by my favorite couple to date.

So run off to Amber Allure and pick up your copy (and you can get it at a discount).  ARe and Amazon links will be coming soon.

med_SomethingLikePeaceFor actor Daniel Jacobs, accepting he’s gay is easier than he expected.  But actually acting on the attraction he’s just begun to acknowledge proves more difficult. Fortunately the very sexy Vincent Stevens is willing to introduce him to all he’s been missing, but Dan’s not sure a fling with his TV show’s sometime director is wise.

 Throwing caution to the wind, Dan seeks out what Vincent has to offer and before he knows it, he’s in over his head. When Vincent experiences a health scare, he’s not sure how to take Dan’s fussing.  As the men start finding their way toward more, Dan realizes it will only work if they both recognize the peace they bring one another.

Flash Fic Friday

**Let’s take a pause in the ramp up to the release of Something Like Peace, and visit with Garrett and Andrew once again as they get ready to visit with Garrett’s family.  (You can catch up with part 1 and part 2 if you need to.)  Enjoy!**

I was not a coward.

I’d jumped off 40 foot cliffs with nothing but a bungee cord attached to my ankle. I’d gone deep sea diving and not even flinched when the stingrays swarmed.  Hell, I drove in upstate New York in the middle of winter, for fuck’s sake. So it was no fear holding me back.  It was not fear that caused the hard knot in my stomach.  It was dread that filled me with trepidation.  And maybe a little bit of nerves.  And possibly worry.

But certainly not fear.

I loved Garrett with everything I had, and he’d made my world brighter from the moment I met him.  Things had been bleak since my parents disowned me, since I’d lost that loving support of my siblings.  I hadn’t known how they’d react when I gave them the news about my sexuality, but I’d been hoping for the best.  They’d never said anything negative in my presence, so I had reason to hope.  To have that crushed had killed a part of me.  And though I’d survived, and even thrived, in the years since, it still hurt.  Garrett claimed to have his family’s support and love, but I also knew I was the first serious boyfriend he’d had.  We were making a life together, one we were working at making last, and I knew that could change everything.  Knowing your son was gay was one thing; actually seeing him settled with another man was something else entirely.  I never wanted Garrett to face the kind of rejection I’d had to face.  And it seemed especially cruel to subject him to that at the holidays.

Christmas had never been a big deal in my house to begin with, but when I’d been kicked out and abandoned it meant even less.  I didn’t hate the holidays; I just didn’t see much point of celebrating them on my own.  And if Garrett was to be believed, I’d turned jaded.

I pushed that thought from my mind, not wanting to dwell on the things we’d hurled at each other during our fight.  We’d wanted to be hurtful, and we’d both succeeded.  I felt like a piece of me had been ripped off when he’d driven away and had instantly started planning ways to make it up to him.  When he’d texted, I’d replied, even as I worked to bring all his decorations out of storage.  I knew it would be the only thing that would make him forgive me.  Well, that and agreeing to spending the holidays with his family.  Whom I had never met.

He’d begged me to clear my schedule, and since I had nothing pending, I’d cashed in a few favors, passed out the work that couldn’t be left, and taken the week off.  My boss was just ecstatic that, for once, she wouldn’t have to pay out all of my vacation time come the end of the year.  Garrett had already requested the week off and had been anticipating his vacation for months.  I wanted it to be everything he wanted, and I even tried to be excited when he talked about it.  We were leaving in the morning, and the drive would take us five or six hours depending on traffic and weather.

Beside me, Garrett slept peacefully, his face smooth and his lush lips parted slightly.  He breathed heavily, not quite a snore, and I lay there watching him.  I couldn’t sleep myself.  I was too ramped up, agitated.  Nervous, really.  My mind would not shut off.  There were so many things that could go wrong, and I wanted so badly for Garrett to have the holiday he deserved.

I slid out of bed carefully so I didn’t disturb him, and then padded on nearly silent feet into the living room.  The dark specter of the tree seemed ominous, and I fumbled around until I could get the tree plugged in.  The light was blinding for a second, but then my eyes adjusted.  The colors bounced off each other and the shiny ornaments, making the whole tree seem to glow.  It really was lovely.  I sat on the end of the couch and leaned my head back, turning to the side to so I could just stare at the tree.

Suddenly I had a lapful of warm, sleepy boyfriend.  I automatically reached up to steady him so he didn’t fall, and Garrett snuggled right in.  He was only wearing his boxers, and he shivered in the cooler air.  I wrapped him up tightly, and grabbed the afghan from the back of the couch.

“Whatcha doin up?” Garrett asked, then gave a jaw cracking yawn.

“Couldn’t sleep,” I answered simply.  It was the bare bones truth.  “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Tree lights always wake me.  I think it’s ingrained from my childhood.”  Garrett snorted out a tiny laugh as he snuggled in deeper.  “Turn your brain off, Andrew.  Everything is going to be fine.  We’re going to have a great time at my parents’.  It’s gonna be an awesome holiday.”

I wanted to believe that so badly.  For his sake.  “Tree is really gorgeous,” I said, changing the subject.

He was quiet for a moment, and then let out a soft sigh.  “It is.  And you didn’t want to put one up at all.”

I laughed and hugged him closer.  “You know I didn’t mean that.”

“I know.”  He went quiet again, and I was content to hold him and stare at the sparkling lights.  Then he turned his head and kissed my neck.  “It’s going to be a Christmas to remember.”

I nodded.  There was no doubt about that.  The question was, would be remembering good times?  Or bad?  I stared at the tree and sent up a fervent Christmas wish it would be the former.

We’d find out tomorrow, when we got to our destination, if my wish would come true.

Titling Peace

From the moment the series expanded from one book into three, I knew there was the potential for more.  I can’t remember at what point I decided Vincent was going to get his own story.  I knew when I went past the original trilogy, that Vincent’s story would be Peace.  Always.  From that first conception.  It’s funny how little the Vincent side of the story changed, and how drastically Dan’s did.  And because so little of Vincent’s story changed, Peace still fit. And because Dan’s changed so much, Peace fit even better for him than what I was originally envisioning.

Funny how these imaginary guys were meant to be together.  I was too blind to see it, too focused on what I thought should happen, the plots I had, to see what was a much better story. (Thank God for my subconscious and the Admiral!)

So even though the story came out of my brain, and I worked at it to make it what it is, I really think that it was the story that was supposed to happen all along.  All those other incarnations were just so very wrong, and once I let go of what should be, the real story emerged.  Dan and Vincent are entitled to their Peace, and I’m so glad that they got it.

On Sunday, you can see how they got there.

Fun Fact: the reason the series is set in Seattle is because of a major plot point in the original plot for Dan’s story.  It no longer matters, because that plot is so long gone, but if not for that, Hope and the subsequent stories would have taken place in my version of Vancouver.