Updates!

Just a quick post to update where I’m at!

Still don’t have a day job and as a result:

The sweater I’m knitting is almost done.

I’ve finished editing Hearts and Hazelnuts, and have gone through the first round of edits on Ghost of a Chance. I’ve finished writing Lost Souls Found, and have submitted it. I’m working on Somebody to Die For….but I had a lag there for a while during which I had to work through a wee bit of burn out. Also, during edits for Ghost of a Chance, I had to decide on some changes that effect the series as a whole. Even though these books stand alone, I want anyone who reads any or all of the books to have a consistency throughout. So that slowed me down some as well.

Also! A Timely Gift, my solstice + Christmas story, has been contracted to be part of DSP’s Advent Calendar, so pretty soon there will be edits with that as well.

So I’m working hard, and now that I’m back on track with StDF, I intend to put a good dent in the word count and get it done in the next couple of weeks.

And that’s it for me! Hope everyone is getting through summer (or winter) okay!

Flash Fic Friday

**One in Vermilion is out now, and you can go here to get buy links. This week’s prompt is a continuation of Wyatt and Tru’s story. So join me and the boys as they adopt a new member of their household. Enjoy!**

Aldo was up and racing for the door a second before the sound of the RV’s engine reached my ears. I smiled and followed my poodle toward the front of the house, glad that Tru was finally home. He’d had long days all week–early training session and late grooming appointments–so we hadn’t gotten to spend as much time together as either of us was used to. I knew Aldo was missing his little buddy too. Fawkes the Corgi had wormed his way into Aldo’s heart just as surely as Tru had settled into mine.

“Wyatt!”

Tru’s slightly panicked voice jolted me out of my musings, and I didn’t even bother to grab Aldo’s leash when I wrenched open the front door. My boyfriend was hanging out the side door of the grooming RV, and Aldo raced right for him. I was right behind the dog, not even caring when a rock bit into the bottom of my bare foot.

“What’s the matter?”

Tru shook his head and disappeared into the RV. I followed up the steps. Fawkes was in his kennel, pawing at the bars, and Aldo went right over to him, pushing his nose against Fawkes’s. I had only a second to wonder why Fawkes was in the kennel, when Tru grabbed my hand and tugged me to the tub. At first, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing as I peered down into it. It looked like a dirty mop. But then the mop shivered and huffed a breath, and I realized I was looking at a very dirty, very matted dog.

“Tru?”

“I found him.” Tru was breathing very fast, and I could see the worry in the lines around his eyes and mouth. I wrapped an arm around his shoulders, and Tru instantly relaxed. Not completely, but some of the tension left is body.

“What happened?”

“He was just huddled under the picnic table at the dog park. I don’t know where he came from, but he’s been outside for a while. Weeks maybe. He was scared, but he let me get close enough to grab him.” Tru looked down at the dog. “He’s a mess, so I came straight home. I need help to clean him up and see if there’s anything wrong with him.”

I wasn’t surprised that my bighearted man had not only found a lost pup, but had instantly taken him in. It was exactly the kind of thing Tru would do, taking the step above. Where as other people might have ignored the dog completely, or perhaps just called animal control, my boyfriend had coaxed the dog out with the intent to provide the care the dog needed himself. It was one of the reasons I loved him.

“Tell me what you need.” I may have been a dog owner for the better part of my adult life, but Tru was a trained vet tech and all around dog whisperer. I was happy to follow his directions.

Tru worked as quickly and methodically as he could, gently cleaning the dog while I did my best to keep the little guy calm. He was shaking in our hands, but as we worked, he seemed to relax somewhat. It took more than a half an hour to get the dirty, burrs, and other detritus out of his fur.

“He’s too matted,” Tru murmured as he shut off the water. Now that the dog was clean, he was an off white grayish color. “That’s gotta hurt so badly. I’m going to have to shave him down.”

It took another hour, with Tru working slowly and carefully to cut out the mats and shave the dog. All the while, the dog didn’t make a noise, nor did he snap or try to bite. I chalked that up to Tru’s gentle hand and melodic voice. I did what I could to keep the dog calm, but Tru had a real talent.

“I think he’s part Puli. Mixed with something, or maybe multiple somethings, but look at this,” Tru muttered, holding up a scrap of fur he’d just cut. I squinted at it while still rubbing the dog between the eyes. It definitely looked like the fur had corded.

“Do you think he was someone’s pet?” I asked softly.

For a long moment, Tru didn’t answer. He’d finished clipping and shaving–the dog looked overly skinny now, and not as tall as I first thought–and he was checking the dog over. Eventually he straightened up.

“Probably. But I think they might have abandoned him.” Tru moved toward a cupboard on the other side of the RV. “There was no collar under all that fur.”

“It could have gotten caught somewhere and he could have pulled out of it.”

“Maybe,” Tru answered absently. He returned a moment later with a microchip reader and ran it over the dog’s back several times. “Nothing.”

“So, what do we do?”

“I’ll take him to see Rayna in the morning.” Tru ran his hands gently over the dog. With a sigh, the pup laid down and closed his eyes. I was sure he was exhausted. “His skin looks good. A little red in places where the mats pulled, but no lasting damage. Surprisingly, I don’t see any fleas or flea dirt. And I didn’t find any ticks. He doesn’t have mange, so that’s good. But Rayna will do the the full work up. Make sure he’s not carrying anything deadly, and give him his vaccines.”

I looked down at the dog, who was resting, and the way Tru kept running his hands over the dog’s fur.

“So,” I began, drawing the word out. “What should we name him?”

Tru’s gaze jerked to mine. “What? We can’t…Wyatt, we should….shouldn’t we…”

“Honey, I know you. I know me. If the dog doesn’t have a home already, can we really let him go?”

Tru opened his mouth, shut it again, then looked down at the dog. Shaking his head, Tru shot me a smile. “No. He needs a fighting chance after everything he’s been through. Who better to give it to him then us?”

“Nobody.”

“I love you.”

I grinned. “And I, you.” I leaned far enough to drop a kiss on his cheek, then straightened. “So. Name?”

“Chester,” Tru said decisively.

I gave Chester another pat, then stepped away to let Fawkes out of his kennel and take both him and Aldo into the house. “We’ll set Chester up in the guest room until he gets a clean bill of health.” I bent to attach Fawkes’s leash, and called Aldo to heel. “Come on, Tru. Let’s get our boys settled.”

As we all trouped into the house, I couldn’t help thinking that one more addition to our family was exactly what we needed.

Out Today!

One in Vermilion is out now!

It’s funny how this story came about. You see, I saw the sub call (and man am I a sucker for sub calls) so I got to thinking. And the more I thought, the more the story coalesced. Two guys, who both need a new start, find each other at the right time and just connect. The dogs help. But it’s really just a right time, right place kind of thing. And more than that, they both need to heal. Wyatt needs to take a chance, Tru needs to face his past. And together, they find a love that’s one in a million.

I love these guys. I love the dogs. And I especially love the punny title, which I thought of first when thinking about colors, and just knew there had to be a story to go with it.

And next week, we’ll visit Wyatt and Tru again for Flash Fic Friday.

Available at all the usual places. 🙂

JMS   Amazon   BN   Kobo   iBooks

Wyatt Janson needed a change of scenery in the worst way, so he packed up his dog and moved to a small tourist town. When he spots a man in a vermilion beanie, he’s intrigued. Why would someone would wear such a hat in the middle of summer? Their paths keep crossing, and Wyatt soon learns that Truitt Rackley owns a dog grooming and training service. It’s the perfect opportunity for Wyatt to meet Tru.

What begins as friendship quickly blossoms into more. But Tru’s happy demeanor hides a sad past. The hat he wears is only one part of it. Tru needs Wyatt’s support as he deals with the fallout, and Wyatt is glad to be able to provide it. Now that he’s found Tru, he knows he’ll do whatever he must to keep him. Can two broken men find the happily ever after they’ve been searching for?

 

One Day More!

Releasing tomorrow from JMS Books!

One in Vermilion

Wyatt Janson needed a change of scenery in the worst way, so he packed up his dog and moved to a small tourist town. When he spots a man in a vermilion beanie, he’s intrigued. Why would someone would wear such a hat in the middle of summer? Their paths keep crossing, and Wyatt soon learns that Truitt Rackley owns a dog grooming and training service. It’s the perfect opportunity for Wyatt to meet Tru.

What begins as friendship quickly blossoms into more. But Tru’s happy demeanor hides a sad past. The hat he wears is only one part of it. Tru needs Wyatt’s support as he deals with the fallout, and Wyatt is glad to be able to provide it. Now that he’s found Tru, he knows he’ll do whatever he must to keep him. Can two broken men find the happily ever after they’ve been searching for?

Buy Links:

JMS Books

Amazon

BN

Kobo

iBooks

 

Flash Fic Friday

**The ever delicious prompt for today: irritation. Enjoy!**

Cole took one look at his desk, dropped his bag to the floor, and cursed. Well, silently cursed, as he was in the office and the sorts of words he wanted to say would definitely get him in trouble. For the third day in a row, his pen holder was on the wrong side of his desk. The mouse pad was turned the wrong way. The phone was moved, the chair was lowered, his monitor was off center,  and his stapler and tape dispenser were set askew.

He grumbled, trying to keep it quiet. Three days these childish pranks had been been going on. Now he had to spend time–time he should be working–straightening his desk just so he could work. He knew if he made a big deal about it, then the jerk or jerks would had done this would feel as if they succeeded. Cole didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing they got to him,. But frankly, it was more than a little irritating.

Once his desk was set to rights, he logged in and began working. It was only an hour, when the columns of numbers were starting to swim before his eyes, that he realized he hadn’t gotten his usual coffee from the break room. Too distracted by finding his desk messed with, he’d forgotten to make a cup. That rankled even more. Whoever had done this was messing with his entire day now. Aggravated, he grabbed his favorite mug and went to get his much needed caffeine.

“You okay?”

Cole jerked his head around to see Mason loitering by the coffee pot. Cole tried not to scowl. Mason always seemed to be well put together. More than that, he had a relaxed and jovial attitude that Cole found irksome. Everyone in the office adored Mason. Cole couldn’t say that he disliked the man, but he didn’t find him as charming as everyone else seemed to.

“Yes. I’m fine,” Cole snapped.

“You sure?” Mason gave a slow blink, and then a small smile. “You seem kind of…irritated.”

“I’m sure.” Cole would not admit that he was beyond irritated. Instead, he poured himself a mug of coffee and all but stomped from the break room.

With sufficient caffeine flowing in his system, Cole was able to focus. Before too long, he was so absorbed in his work he’d all but forgotten about his the state of his desk when he’d arrived. At twelve-thirty precisely, he clocked out for lunch and headed down to the cafeteria to eat his turkey sandwich on whole wheat. Then he headed back upstairs.

To find a purplish colored smoothie sitting on his desk, conscientiously placed on a napkin so the condensation from the plastic glass didn’t mar his desk top. Cole glanced around, but no one was paying him any attention. he sat at his desk, and noticed the note propped up against the side of his cup.

It’s blueberry-strawberry-banana. Supposed to be good for energy. 

I’m sorry.

Odd, but Cole took a cautious sip anyway. It was delicious. And Cole had to admit, a few hours later, he didn’t hit the late afternoon slump he usually did.

Six o’clock rolled around faster than normal. Cole was surprised when he heard his coworkers calling out their goodbyes. He started shutting down his computer and packing up, already dreading what state his desk would be in when he arrived in the morning. Perhaps he should put everything away in the drawers and lock them?

“I’m sorry I messed with your stuff.”

Cole spun around to see Mason standing in his cubicle entrance, a look of sincere remorse on his pretty face. Cole shook his head, then narrowed his eyes.

“You did it?”

Mason nodded and dropped his gaze. He took a deep breath and looked back up. “I was trying to get your attention.”

“That seems…rather childish, yes?” The words were out of Cole’s mouth and he racked his brain for a way to diminish the accusation, but Mason was already nodding.

“Yes. Definitely. But every time I try to talk to you, you blow me off. I was getting desperate.” Mason offered him a hint of a grin. “I’m sorry though. I didn’t think about how it would piss you off. That really wasn’t nice of me.”

“No,” Cole agreed. He sighed, and shouldered his bag. “But if you wanted my attention, you could have just said ‘Hey, Cole, want to meet me for a drink sometime?’ That would have worked rather well.”

Mason bit his lip, and his smile grew. He pushed an errant lock of hair out of his eyes. “Hey, Cole. Want to meet me for a drink sometime?”

Cole had always found Mason attractive, but Cole never thought Mason would be interested in a somewhat staid introvert like himself. Clearly, he’d been wrong. And what was the harm in a drink? If it didn’t work out, they could part ways.

“Does Friday work for you?”

Mason’s wide grin was all the answer Cole needed.

In a Bind

Okay, so I got laid off. And it was kind of traumatic. And after I moped about that for a while, I decided to take as the gift it was and write. Write my little fingers off. I have deadlines. I could get done well before the deadlines. I could make progress! It will be good.

And then I ran into trouble.

At the same time I was looking at the word count in the WIP I was working on, and knowing damn well I didn’t have enough story left to make the minimum, I got edits back on Hearts and Hazelnuts. And in those edits, my editor asked me to look at two specific things and resolve them better. And I was like, wha? Why?

So I turned to my Brubby.

I sat down with him and basically said, “I’ve got a problem. I’ve got TWO problems! And I need help.”

So we discussed the WIP first, and he suggested that I needed to add more of the secondary story line. From what I told him, that was basically the only way I was going to beef up the word count. He talked through some suggestions with me, some ideas that would add to that story line but still be relevant to the greater narrative. But nothing he said really gelled in my head. It didn’t really work. But I knew what he was getting at. I just had to think on it.

So we turned to the second issue, the edits and the resolution that I needed to revise. I whined a little at first, but he wisely and patiently pointed out the reasoning in language I would get. And that made me laugh. There, when he suggested things, I was like “Oh oh oh! What about THIS?!” And he said yes, that works, and here’s how you do it. He talked out my resolution with me, and I knew clearly what I was going to do.

On my way back to my computer later that evening, the thought struck and stuck, and I knew with absolutely clarity what to add to the WIP that would increased the length and also be a vital part of the story. So I threw it at him real quick, just so he could tell me it was the right idea (even though I already knew it was). And then I wrote. I wrote lots of words. And in two days, I finished Lost Souls Found, the sequel to my contracted Dreamspun Beyond title. It stands alone, in that the story is not dependent on the first to make sense. It’s a brand new couple, though we see them in the first. And it’s done, all but the final finessing and tweaking to make it as shiny as possible before I send it in.

And now I need to start on the third book. Which has one MC we’ve seen before and one who is brand new.

(I totally want to write a fourth as well, but I’m putting that on the back burner for a while. Maybe one day.)

So, all in all, I think I’m using the lack of EDJ as a good thing. At least for the moment. 🙂