The Magic of Leap Day

When I was younger, I was convinced that February 29th was some kind of magical day. It only came around once every four years, so it had to be special right? I used to image how cool it would have been to be born on this day (though I ignored the fact that I would have to have been born a year and 19 days earlier). I used to pretend it was the day that some sort of veil between the realms would weaken and beings from elsewhere could cross through (I cut my teeth on fantasy at a young age).

Only later did I learn how it could be a topsy-turvy sort of day of love, where women could propose to their men instead of the other way around. To my impressionable young mind, this thrilled me. I was an independent sort, back then, and thought I would take this tradition to heart. That I’d been the one to do the proposing, and I’d make it romantic and magical and it would be awesome.

I know better now. I know that the veil is always thin, and that women can propose whenever the hell they want, and it doesn’t have to be to a man either. But I still celebrate this day with a sort of fondness, enjoying the crap out of it every time it comes around.

So do something special for yourself today. Just because you can.

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Washin’ and Wonderin’

It might be weird, but I do some of my best thinking in the shower.

It’s not as strange as it sounds. At least, I don’t think. Because when I’m in the shower, I have two things working for me that allow my mind to wander. The water pouring down turns into white noise, and then I’m easily able to block out the outside world. And I don’t have to think about what I’m physically doing. Muscle memory has me repeating the washing steps–hair, body, face–without much input from higher brain function. With these two things combined, that plotting part of my brain is able to just go off anywhere it wants to.

I’ve been struck my true inspiration while getting clean. I’ve untangled plot snares and figured out how to patch over plot holes. I’ve created whole new worlds and characters in the span of a ten minute shower. I’ve even been known to get in the shower when I’m particularly stuck and can’t make my mind work, just to see if it shakes things loose.

The point? This morning’s shower was productive besides just getting myself clean. I know have characters, and the first scene, of a new work. Or rather, those things that have been percolating have now solidified into real, tangible things. If it continues apace, it’ll be the next on on the docket. There are things about it that I really love, and I’m looking forward to writing this one.

In other news, internal edits still continue on His Needs and after I shape it up nice and pretty, I’ll submit it for consideration. Watch this space for updates!

Flash Fic Friday

**Here’s another installment of Sean and Hunter’s story! You can find the buy links for Love at Roades End in the books page at the top. Enjoy!**

The couple checking in were two of my frequent flyer guests. Ever since the first time they’d stayed in the Red Room six months ago, they’d been back every six to eight weeks. They usually only booked for one night, but this time it was two. I loved seeing them show up because they were clearly so in love. They had an air about them, a familiarity, which spoke of a deep and long lasting relationship. I didn’t know how long they’d been together, but I would have placed my money on years. Probably from a young age. Seeing Travis and Noah return yet again made my heart happy.

I didn’t bother to show them to their room, just checked them in and handed over the key. Noah took it with a grateful smile while Travis tucked his credit card back in his wallet. Then they picked up their bags and headed up the stairs toward their room.

I was still gazing after them, with that contented feeling in the pit of my stomach, when suddenly Sean was filling my field of vision. His sudden appearance made me startle, and I started laughing before I caught sight of his face. When I did, the laugh died off. He was upset.

“Sean?” I asked tentatively. I glanced around, and saw there was no one lingering nearby. I knew all the guests who had pre-booked rooms were checked in. I stepped around the chest high desk, took his hand, and tugged him over to the wing back chairs in front of the window. “What’s wrong?”

“I saw the way you were looking at them.”

I blinked. Wait. This was about jealousy? Sean was jealous? How was that even possible? He knew he was my dream man. His looks, his personality, everything about him worked for me. How could he think I’d want anyone else? More than that, how could he think so little of me to think I’d stray?

“I wasn’t ‘looking’ at them,” I bristled. I didn’t even try to keep the irritation and hurt from my tone.

“No?” he asked, a bit of incredulity creeping in. He looked me right in the eye. “I saw the smiles and the staring and the…” he flailed about. “Swooning!”

I scowled. “I wasn’t swooning. I was admiring their love and their relationship.” I stood fast. “I can’t believe you would think I was…swooning!”

“Can you not say that word anymore?” he winced. I’d crossed the room and was behind the desk again. Sean got up and came closer. But I zeroed in my attention on my work and refused to look at him. How dare he?

“Come on, babe,” he pleaded, dropping his voice and leaning on the counter. “I’m sorry. It’s just that, they’re your type and I worried—”

“They are not my type!” I was indignant and my voice got loud. I cleared my throat, and I could feel myself turning red. I lowered my voice but I didn’t back down. “How can you even think that? You trust me so little?”

“No!” The denial came fast, and the sincerity in his eyes went a long way to soothing my irritation. “Hunter, I just…. The way you looked at them, and if you put them together and they are exactly your type. So I sat there, watching you watch them, and wondered if, you know, fantasy and all…”

He let that sentence peter out to nothing and I thought it was good he hadn’t said it out loud. I was pissed, but I could understand where he was coming from. At least in the abstract. We hadn’t had much interaction with other couples, other men. Our relationship, though solid, had thus far been played out in front of our family and friends, or in the confines of the Inn. I took a deep breath and tried not to let things get carried away.

“That’s ridiculous and don’t ever think it again” I snapped. Then sighed. So much for cool and collected. I was better than this. So I took deep breath, let it out slowly, and tried again. “I love you. I’m committed to you. And I have no intention of even thinking about someone else. All right?”

Sean took a second, then breathed out and looked at me with utter relief in his eyes. “Yes. Sorry. I let my imagination get the better of me. I love you.”

The way he always said it, like those were his favorite words, made my heart soften and he was easily forgiven. The kiss he gave me, when I allowed, felt like a physical manifestation of that love. So much feeling was packed into that joining of lips that I nearly melted right then and there. Sean wasn’t prone to jealousy in general, so this had simply been a little test. We passed with flying colors. I had no doubt we’d weather whatever life threw at us.

The Weird In Between

I’ve mentioned before how I write notes while I’m at work. How I have the story I’m working on in the back of my brain, always working, plotting, thinking, writing. That’s basically always the case all time, whether current story or future.

But right this minute, I’m in the in between.

Right after I finish writing a book, I enter this kind of…holding pattern. I need time to decompress. And I’m never ready to let my boys go that quickly. There always needs to be some downtime after. I mean, I’m not quite done with them yet of course. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be working on comments the betas send in and tweaking and editing and shining up my work as much as I am able on my own. But still I need to downshift, to go from writing mode to relaxing mode.

I don’t write every day, even when I’m in the zone. I may write for several days in a row, but ultimately, I work better when I have a huge chunk of time and can really get into the zone and just write. But even when it’s been several days, or a week or two, since I’ve actually opened the document and put real words there, I’m still working on the story. Those aforementioned notes, for one thing. And the always thinking about it.

But now I’m in the weird space where I’m taking a break, which I need and want, and yet I feel itchy and strange NOT to be writing and working and thinking. It’ll give way soon, and I’ll be in full on relaxed mode until the next idea strikes.

Okay, I’m actually pretty sure I know what’s next on the docket, but I’m not giving it brain time right now. Well, not really. Some brain time is happening just because that’s how it works, but we’ll see how the story coalesces. Or if something else swoops in to take its place. (When I get going, you can check status on the WIPs page at the top, if you wish)

But ultimately, right now, I’m in the in between. Not yet fully done with the last one, not yet working on the new one. And my brain is working on downshifting, so that it can idle, until I’m ready to rev it into high gear again.

Finished!

Okay, well, 3/4 finished.

I was doing the happy dance on Saturday! I had taken a couple of days off last week, to celebrate the release of Love at Roades End (yay!) and I did that by writing on my new story. I had some other stuff to do to, and I got a little anxious about writing one part, so I was a little bit of a slacker and didn’t get it done then. But with some work in the evenings and then a few hours Saturday morning, I finished it!

Woo!

That’s always a spectacular feeling. I feel very accomplished. (I also have that deep down dread that it’s all bad words and needs to be rewritten, but that’s my process. Can’t change it!) But it’s now complete and tweaked, and a couple people are going to give it a read for me, and then I’ll edit some more. In the next several weeks, I hope to have it ready for submission so I can send it off. And then comes the nearly unbearable waiting to hear if it’s accepted and then more waiting until its time for edits and publication. (It wouldn’t be out until at least December.) But that’s a whole other blog post.

At any rate, it’s finished and now it’s just time to fix and fiddle until it’s good. So I’ll be doing that over the next few weeks, while I also figure out which story I want to start writing next…

(Keep an eye on the WIPs page for details and progress)

Flash Fic Friday

**Have you read Love at Roades End yet? If you’re looking for a sweet, quick Valentine’s romance, it might be just the thing. And this week’s flash fic takes place immediately following the story. Enjoy a little more Sean and Hunter!**

I’d been planning for our anniversary for weeks, analyzing and fretting. Waffling and second guessing. But I knew what I wanted and I was fairly certain Sean wanted it too. So I’d finally settled, and had gotten everything in place, when Mother Nature decided a snow storm was the way to celebrate the holiday instead of love. I was heartbroken to know he wouldn’t make it, but I’d rather be apart and him be safe, then for him to risk his life traveling in a blizzard.

I should have known the love of my life wouldn’t let something like the weather stop him from getting to me.

Having him slip into bed in the wee hours of the morning had been the best possible kiss, and I’d kissed him and wound him up, begging him to fuck me until he pounded me into the mattress. Sticky and sated, we fell asleep in each other’s arms. But now in the morning light, I remembered the present that I’d gotten ready for him and I nearly chickened out. My heart was pounding andI broke out in cold sweats.

It was early. The sun was barely up. I’d arranged for coverage, so I didn’t have to get out of bed. I could spent the entire morning with Sean. I should have been, by all accounts, be wrapped around him. But second guessing and a little bit of fear had me wide awake and watching him sleep.

“Hunter,” he mumbled, rolling over to grab my waist and tug me closer. “Too early for thinking.”

A laugh bubbled up. Even in sleep, Sean knew me so well. Why was I so worried? I knew he’d want this.

I leaned forward so I could trace my nose along his jaw, working my way up until I could kiss his ear. “I need you to get up with me.”

He ground his morning wood into my hip and growled, “Ohm I’m up with you.”

I laughed for real this time, and shoved him playfully. “Left myself open for that one, didn’t I?”

“You’re probably still open from last night.”

What was with him this morning? It was a good thing I loved him. “I’d forgotten sleep deprivation made you hear innuendo everywhere.” I kissed his cheek. “Come here for a minute, will you?”

“Sure,” he said, a little more awake now. He gave me a smile and proper kiss before pushing back the covers and sitting up. I scrambled out of bed and found his sweatpants before I pulled on a pair of my own. I also put on a shirt, but Sean didn’t bother. I took his hand and led him into the living room.

Where there was once an entertainment center, now sat a corner desk with a rolling fake leather chair. I’d moved the TV and DVD collection across the room, and pushed the couch to a different angle. Sean stopped dead when he saw it, and his jaw even dropped just a little.

“See,” I said softly, motioning to the set up. “There is plenty of room for two monitors, or even two whole PCs if you’d like. I believe you could work very comfortably here.”

Sean nodded slowly and took a few steps closer. “It’s really nice, babe.”

I could hear the confusion in his tone, so I did my best to try to clear that up. I’d prepared all sorts of speeches, ready to eloquently express what I wanted. In the end, none of it mattered. Looking at him, I just spoke from the heart.

“We’ve been together for a year now. Traveling back and forth. Mostly you. You have drawers in the bedroom, and shelves in the bathroom. You have a key. I have long since thought of this as our home, and not just mine.” I stopped, took a deep breath, and looked him in the eye. “I would come to you if I could, if you wanted me to. But this place is not only my work, it’s in my blood. I would hate to leave it. So I’m asking you to uproot your life and…and well, replant your roots right here with me.”

Sean’s breath caught and for a second his mouth worked like a fish. Then he launched himself at me, pulling me into his arms, and kissing me until I couldn’t breathe.

“Holy shit. Hunter.” Sean’s grin was simply gorgeous. “I thought you’d never ask.

I was suddenly smiling so hard it hurt. “Happy anniversary, love.”

“I love you. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Release Day!

Release day is still one of my favorite days! I love these guys, as I’m sure you know, and I do hope you’ll pick them up for a bit of Valentine’s Day treat.

You can buy it at all the places Dreamspinner, Amazon, ARe, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble

Whatever and wherever strikes your fancy.

Not to mention, I’ll be traveling around the web over the next few days with guest posts and the like. I hope you’ll stop in when you see me around, but here’s the schedule:

2/10–Open Skye Book Reviews–Guest Post

2/11–My Fiction Nook–exclusive excerpt

2/13–Love Bytes Reviews–Guest Post

2/14–Divine Magazine–Guest Post

2/14–Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words–Guest Post

2/16–The Novel Approach–Guest Post

2/18–Joyfully Jay–original flash ficition

 

LoveAtRoadesEndFSSean Newvine is looking forward to his weekend at Roades End Inn so he can review his stay there for inclusion on his travel website. What he never expects is for the owner, Hunter Roades, to capture his attention from the very start.

The only problem is Hunter thinks Sean’s been sent by his brother on a blind date so that Hunter doesn’t have to spend Valentine’s Day alone. Once the awkward misunderstanding is resolved, Sean is charmed by Hunter’s formality and hospitality. And when they have a chance to really talk, sparks fly.

A passion-filled night has them both wanting more, but Hunter pulls away knowing Sean doesn’t live in town and the distance might be more than they can overcome. Sean and Hunter must figure out if they can make it work for longer than one night, or if their chance at love will end at Roades End Inn before it can begin.