April 2, 2014
I’ve really enjoyed our time to chat and get to know each other better. Unfortunately, I have some things to attend to tonight, so I’ll have sign off in a few minutes.
Before I go, does anybody have any further questions or comments?
April 2, 2014
I feel a bit silly continuing to talk about Shamrock Green, when chances are, no one has had time to read it yet. So I’d like to open up the conversation a bit, and ask if anyone wants to discuss any of my other works?
Such as ‘Cleats in Clay’, ‘Duanta Beads’ (Quantinum Residue series), ‘Color of Spring Lightning’, oh or ‘Fate Lends a Leg’, the Harmony Ink book I published under my YA pen-name, Jax Cordoba.
April 2, 2014
As I mentioned in the previous comments, Darren O’Connell and his sister Anne are both part of a band called ‘Celtic Cantrips’, so music is an important part of the story.
I got to have a bit of fun with modern and old music. For part of the climax, I wrote some new lyrics for the old tune “Greensleeves” for Hank to sing:
“Go back, go back, to the Eire of old,
where the shamrock blooms on earth so cold,
Go back, go back, to the Eire of old,
to the isle your heart does hold.”
“Dance, dance, feet bare in June,
under the shining silver moon,
Sing, sing, with a raptured tune,
in the isle your heart will swoon.”
“Sing and dance in the Eire of old,
where the faeries’ tales are often told,
Sing and dance in the Eire of old,
for your heart, love’s magic does hold.”
April 2, 2014
I love getting the mail on release day. It’s such a great feeling to open the box and find new books
April 2, 2014
For the next excerpt, let’s fast forward a bit to chapter 2, and I’ll post the little tidbit that I’ll be reading at Rainbow*Con. Can’t believe the convention is only 2 weeks away now. I’m excited to meet and mingle.
Anyway, here’s the excerpt:
Shamrock Green, Chapter 2, Scene 1
Wrapping the towel tighter around his waist, Hank entered the steam room on the second floor. Heavy vapors swirled in the dimly lit space, making it nearly impossible for him to see. The room’s only source of light seemed to be the frosted glass door that had closed behind him. He took two steps into the clouded dusk and stood unobtrusively near the wall.
When his eyes adjusted to the foggy dim, Hank could see two figures sitting on a bench that flanked the opposite wall, but he couldn’t make out any details. One vague figure was a thin guy leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees in a closed posture. The other shape was much bulkier, more of a bear. He leaned back and spread open the gap in the towel wrapped around his waist, fondling himself. As the bear stroked his hand under the towel, he spread his legs wider apart to signal an invitation.
Hank didn’t find either figure very appealing, but at least the room was warm. His entire week in Ireland had been marred with clouds and a spitting drizzle that rarely found enough gumption to turn into real rain. The afternoons barely made it to seventy degrees, or twenty-one degrees Celsius as advertised by the little clock display of the tour van, quite a far cry from the ninety-eight-degree heat of June Hank had left behind in Texas.
The warm steam brought blessed relief after the eight nights of damp chill that seemed to settle into his joints and stiffen his journey-weary muscles. Leaning back into the wall, Hank let out a grateful sigh as he relaxed against the tiles. He could feel the first signs of a glistening sweat as the heat enveloping him warmed his skin and penetrated deeper into his tissues. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. His arches were still tired after the brisk walk through the Temple Bar district. More aggravation on top of eight previous days of much walking and hiking around the sights and towns where his tour bus stopped.
The room’s illumination suddenly increased when someone pulled open the door and stepped inside. Hank scanned the faces of the guys on the bench in front of him. The thin guy was definitely a twink, barely twenty-one, and the bear was probably pushing sixty. He felt no desire whatsoever for either man.
Before the door closed, he turned to glance at the new occupant. This nicely shaped silhouette was in his midthirties and not too tall, maybe five-ten — someone much more within Hank’s range of appeal. Hank flashed him a smile as the door slipped closed and the dusky dark returned.
Thirtyish-guy took a tentative step forward as his eyes acclimated. He took another step forward as Hank shifted his weight to the other foot. Hank looked up at the man’s face, but the thick mist obscured any details. While taking another step closer, the guy reached out his hand and lightly touched Hank’s left shoulder.
Hank leaned toward the hand in silent supplication. The man’s fingers lightly stroked the top of his shoulder and up the side of Hank’s neck. An involuntary sigh escaped from Hank as the gentle touching aroused him. The thin towel wrapped kilt-like around Hank’s waist offered no resistance to his swelling erection.
Stepping around, the guy stood facing Hank and put his other hand on Hank’s right shoulder. With both hands, he lightly kneaded at the bulge of knotted muscles on the sides of Hank’s neck resulting from the long week of carrying a heavy duffel bag.
Hank pushed himself from the wall to stand at his full height, short though he was, and reached his hand up to gently grasp and squeeze the shapely bicep of the man’s right arm. As Hank reached for the man’s clavicle with his other hand, thirtyish-guy removed his hands and pulled back, moving along the wall toward the room’s corner. He hesitated a brief moment at the back wall, then disappeared.
Hank walked to the corner and soon realized the wall he had been leaning against was merely a divider and at the corner, a gap opened into another room behind him. Trying to move nonchalantly, he followed the guy through the opening. He paused just inside the doorway. This room captured even less light, making it nearly pitch black. After a moment of visual acclimation, Hank could barely see the vaguest of shapes in front of him.
He walked to a bench discernable in the darkness. As he moved, a hand brushed against his butt while something else, maybe a hip, grazed his lower arm. When he neared the bench, a hand gently closed around his wrist and pulled him forward. Hank sat on the edge of the bench next to the shadowy figure turned sideways and reclining in the corner.
Another hand reached out and joined the hand around his wrist, slowly gliding and squeezing as it measured upward along Hank’s arm until it reached his armpit. A deep, masculine voice whispered, “Tá tú fear bideach.”
“Uh, ’scuse me?” Hank replied.
The hand stroking his arm paused. With a strong Irish accent, the voice asked, “No Gaelic?”
“No,” Hank drawled in his Texas tongue. “I don’t know any Gaelic. What did ya say?”
The man released his grip on Hank’s arm and slid his fingers along the shoulder to Hank’s neck. Hank felt hardened calluses on the thumb and fingers of the stranger’s hand, and he quickly realized this wasn’t the smooth hand of thirtyish-guy.
Gently cupping Hank’s head, the hand pulled Hank forward. Hank turned sideways on the bench to face the mysterious man in the corner, then scooted closer, until his hip rested against the shadowy figure’s hip.
Near Hank’s ear, the Irish voice whispered, “I said, you are such a tiny man.”
The lyrical sounds of the Irish voice whispering so near sent a slight shiver of pleasure through Hank. “Not tiny, I’m five-foot-four. Don’t ask me how many centimeters, coz I shur[A1] don’t know that.”
Hank felt the bursts of breath near his ear as the man quietly chuckled. “We usually measure height in meters,” the voice whispered back. “I would guess one-point-six, or 160 centimeters, if a bigger number makes you feel better.” The hand slid from Hank’s neck and around to the front, slowly sliding down to Hank’s chest. “Where are you from?”
The combination of the man’s touch and exotic accent sent a stronger shiver through Hank. “The U.S.,” Hank drawled in a shaky voice. “Texas, out in the boonies.”
The hand on his chest paused. “Are you afraid, Tex?” the strong Irish voice whispered in question.
As the lyrical words sent another shiver through Hank, he realized the contradiction hidden in the voice. It seemed so deep and strong, like it was used to bellowing with the calls of an army drill sergeant, but the lowered whisper tempered it with a softer gentleness. Hank reached into the darkness and found a stubbly chin. “No,” he replied firmly, as he stroked the firm prickly jaw with his fingers.
“Then, why does your voice tremble?”
Hank shrugged, but of course his new friend wouldn’t be able to see it in the misty dark. “Excitement. Anticipation, I guess.”
“Enough excitement to tremble?” the Irish voice asked. “How old are you, Tex?”
From the open side of the room, Hank felt another hand reach out from the dark and touch his knee, then that hand wrapped around and squeezed at his calf almost hard enough to hurt. Hank reached down and slapped at the hand, pushing it away. The hand returned again, this time on his thigh, but it gently sat without the squeeze. Hank turned back to the corner and answered, “I’m forty-one.”
The hand on his thigh quickly disappeared. The stranger’s hand on his chest didn’t hesitate; it continued exploring the tuft of hair over his sternum and moved toward one of Hank’s nipples.
“I see,” the strong voice replied, sounding almost amused. “And does Tex have a wife waiting for him in the States?”
“No, I’m queer as a three-dollar bill. Why would you think that?”
The shadowy figure chuckled and shifted before lips brushed against his ear. The intimate touch caused a quiver all over Hank’s spine.
In a very gentle whisper, the Irish voice replied, “I’m still a bit puzzled. A man over forty shouldn’t find sex quite so exciting anymore.” The hand moved from his chest up to the back of Hank’s head and followed his skull up to the top, feeling Hank’s short hair that curled slightly in the high humidity. “Is your boyfriend here? Or husband maybe?”
“Don’t have one.”
“But you seem so attractive. You’re not throwing blarney at me, I hope.”
“No,” Hank argued. “I did kiss the Blarney Stone yesterday, but it’s the truth.” He moved his hand across his new friend’s ear and around to the back of his neck, feeling the same short stubble he had felt on the jaw. He brought his hand up and over, finding the same buzzed stubble all over the stranger’s head.
“You were in Cork yesterday?” the Irish man asked from the darkness.
“Yes,” Hank answered as the shadowy figure shifted again. The lips gently brushed against his ear, then kissed it lightly before a warm, moist tongue lightly explored the ridges and valleys of cartilage. “Oh,” Hank said with a sighing tone as a jolting quiver raced down his spine and swelled his cock almost instantly.
Hank pulled his brain back into gear as the mouth explored his earlobe, then suckled lightly at his jaw. What was it about this man? He’d never in his life felt anything like this. With just a few whispered words or a gentle touch, this shadowy figure had the power to reduce him to quivering gelatin.
“Why?” the man asked in his ear.
“How come you are still single?” the whispery voice inquired.
“I just am.”
“Aye Jeust ahm,” the man replied with a teasing tone, trying to match Hank’s Texas drawl.
“Hush,” Hank scolded, reaching out and swatting the shadowy figure somewhere on the upper arm. “Yer not bein’ nice.”
The man chuckled warmly. “You are so bloody cute.” He reached up and stroked at Hank’s cheek. “I think you’re blushing, aren’t you.”
“Hush,” Hank hissed as his cheeks warmed and tightened with what he knew was indeed, a blush.
He chuckled again. “You didn’t really answer my question, love.”
“Just too selective, I guess,” Hank said as he reached out and found the man’s hand in the darkness. “I live in a smaller town, not much to pick from there.”
“Certainly there are other gay men in Texas, other places to find them,” the Irish man pointed out from the dark.
“Oh sure, I could drive to Dallas or Austin, or even Houston, if I just wanted to get off, but what’s the point? All that expense and road time just for a few seconds of pleasure?” Hank moved his grasp to the tips of the man’s fingers, feeling the hardened calluses that marred each finger.
“I see.” The hand on Hank’s cheek slid down and cradled his jaw. “Yet, here you are, Tex, in a bathhouse. Why?”
“It’s not such a big deal, dude,” Hank replied in a tone bordering on defensive.
“Dude,” the man repeated with another amused chuckle. “Maybe not, or maybe it is. It’s quite a puzzle, don’t you think?”
“Call it an act of desperation, then. The dinner show ran long tonight, and by the time I made it out to the bars, they were closing. Who ever heard of shutting down a bar at midnight? On a Saturday night even?”
“What time do the bars close in Texas?” The Irish man asked as the hand gently stroked Hank’s smooth jaw, moving forward to his chin.
“Close at 2:00 a.m., and that’s prob’ly only because they’re required to by law. They’d prob’ly stay open all night if they could.”
A thumb stretched up and stroked at Hank’s lip as the Irish man gently asked, “Why desperation?”
Someone groped at his foot in the dark. Hank pulled up his knees and scooted his back against the wall. “I wasn’t about to leave Ireland without touching at least one Irish pecker.”
The man chuckled as the shadowy figure adjusted position. “I see. And how many peckers have you touched tonight?”
“None, yet,” Hank admitted.
“Don’t try to blarney me. Even Texas guys don’t go to a bathhouse just to look,” the man said, sounding a little miffed.
“It’s the truth,” Hank reassured. “This is the closest I’ve gotten so far tonight.”
“And why?” the man asked in a whisper.
“I’m not exactly a gay dreamboat. I don’t fit the tall-dark-handsome or the hairy-bear molds, so I don’t generate much interest.”
“I see,” he replied.
Hank reached up and took the man’s other hand away from his jaw, examining the fingers and finding calluses on this hand as well. “What kinda work do you do?”
“Boring work,” the man dismissed flatly as the figure leaned further forward. Hank soon felt a warm breath on his ear, followed quickly by the exploring tongue. He sighed as he collapsed against the wall, feeling jolts with every flick and caress of the soft tongue as it moved over his ear ridges. Hank stroked the man’s buzzed head, rubbing the stubbly hairs and trying not to moan too loudly.
April 2, 2014
Yeah, a Texan in Ireland. I was lucky enough to take a vacation in Ireland in 2012, and the seeds of this novel sprouted as I was on the plane coming home, having some ‘what-if’ fantasies. You see, unlike the bolder character of Hank, I was a good boy and stayed with the tour group. So I could only imagine what I might have found had I struck out on my own.
You guys ready for an excerpt?
Chapter 1: Scene 1
Hank wandered deeper into the National Museum of Ireland, freezing in his tracks when he saw the metal feline on display. A skilled artist had crafted the beautiful piece from circular bands of brass and bronze. He slowly stepped closer to the case for a better view. The pattern of the yellow-orange metal designs made the figure look remarkably like a life-sized marmalade tabby cat sitting on his haunches on top of a wooden shoe box. The cat’s head angled to one side, as though he were preparing to lick his shoulder. The figurine’s eyes, cut from some kind of green gemstone, glowed with fiery life in the up-lit case.
As he neared the display, Hank glanced at the placard which indicated this was a clockwork piece entitled “Dancing Phouka” by Cona Philmo. Recognizing that name from working in his parent’s antique business, Hank knew of the renowned watchmaker of the 1920s era, but he’d never known the Portuguese artist also made clockwork pieces.
What a strange thing to find in a Dublin museum, Hank thought as he examined the cat through the glass. Well, it didn’t look exactly like a cat. Proportionally, his tail seemed a little too short and his shoulders seemed a bit too broad for a typical feline. Maybe those were just structural concessions the designer made to accommodate the moving metal gears and bits inside.
Hank noticed a small button installed next to the sign. As he reached out his hand to the button, a movement from the edge of the room snagged Hank’s attention. Ignoring the sudden chill he felt, Hank glanced at the corner, but saw only dark shadows. He peered around the rest of the small alcove and saw he was alone.
Hank pushed the button.
A movie of the clockwork in action appeared on a screen along the back wall of the display case. The metallic sounds of a music-box rendition of the song Greensleeves tinkled out as Hank watched in awe. The metal phouka first stretched out a paw, then tiny metal claws extended from its paw-pads before the clockwork cat stood up. With an hypnotically smooth movement, the phouka figurine then lifted to stand on his back legs. While the tune still played, the clockwork cat rotated his hips and lifted his front paws, like a slow-moving belly dancer. Hank watched in fascination.
As the song came to an end, the clockwork figure dropped back to all four paws before returning to the sitting position. After a slight flick of its tail, the music ended.
Hank stood in stunned silence. Granny would have loved this. Even though his eyes welled up at the thought, he smiled. It had always been his Granny’s dream to visit the homeland of their ancestors, but circumstances had never allowed for it before she passed on. Hank had scheduled this trip partly as a memorial in her honor.
Blinking heavily, he turned and read the descriptive placard.
Reported to have been the first work ever created by Cona Philmo, this clockwork music box is a shining example of early 20th Century craftsmanship.
The Phouka, thought to be the mythical cousins of Leprechauns, are often said to hide amongst humans in various disguises. Folklore speaks fondly of phouka, who were believed to be playfully benign, and sometimes even beneficial to humans. Cona could often be heard bragging that a live model posed for this unusual work.
(1969) Due to the delicate nature of the metalwork, the museum no longer runs the music box. Instead, please enjoy the movie of the clockwork in action.
Glancing at his watch, Hank saw that he still had about twenty minutes before it was time to meet the rest of the tour group in the museum’s front lobby. He scrunched his tired toes inside his sneakers as he looked at the small bench by the wall. He walked over and sat down to rest his feet before heading back through the maze to the front doors.
He stretched out his legs and flexed his ankles with a soft groan. Then, he lifted his feet and scrunched his toes again, working the tired muscles of his calves. Not that Hank hadn’t enjoyed every minute of his tour through Ireland, but he decided that next time he traveled, he would rethink the whole “tour bus” idea. He reached down and put his finger under the laces of his right sneaker and pulled up on the knot to try and loosen the shoe’s grip a little. The problem with the bus was how the group scurried so quickly from one town to the next, leaving Hank feeling as though he never had time to catch his breath in any one place. Or rest his feet. Maybe he was getting too old for a week’s worth of walking around.
He pulled at the knot of his other shoe before glancing up again at the glowing green eyes of the bronze and brass figurine. From this angle, the phouka’s eyes seemed to be gazing back at him.
Fighting the strange feeling that someone was watching him, Hank peered around the empty room again. His gaze snagged briefly on the shadows in the dark corner, but he failed to see anything. Quit being goosey, he scolded himself. I’m just tired, he thought reassuringly.
He stood and took one last admiring glance at the Cona clockwork before walking out of the room.
April 2, 2014
Hey Y’all, Jackson Cordd here. I’m taking over the blog today as part of my release party for my new urban fantasy novel, Shamrock Green.
I’ll give y’all a little taste with the blurb while I go brew some coffee.
March 8, 2014
Random number is … 3!
Congratulations to Andy! Please drop me an email at email@example.com and I’ll get a copy to you.
Again, thank you all for helping this newbie along. At least now I can say I’ve done a blog release party! Maybe I’ll try to conquer Twitter next.
September 26, 2013
Last full post for the evening and if you’ve come this far, you already have lots to read.
If you’ve been here during the blog take-over, you will have had the chance to interact with me. If you’ve come late, you have more chances!
Answer me this: “Where will we meet next?” (virtually or in person)
May 28, 2013
When you buy a copy of Raining Men.
We will be doing a gift with purchase for Raining Men by Rick R. Reed. This gift applies to any purchase of Raining Men in ebook or paperback made through the Dreamspinner Press website through Sunday June 2 (preorders included). The free ebook copy of Chaser will automatically appear on your bookshelf from May 31st to June 2nd. Chaser must be downloaded from your bookshelf by Sunday June 2nd. It will not remain on your bookshelf after June 2nd.