July 22, 2014
Hi all! Angel Martinez one last time – just popping in to announce the winner from yesterday’s launch party:
Our winner is Susan! (skadlec1)
Susan, please pick a backlist book of mine that looks good to you (make sure it’s not one of the free reads, ’cause you don’t need me to give you those) from my website:
(the front page has a quick guide to all the work sort of halfway down)
Email me with your choice, preferred file format (if I have it, I’ll send it) and where to send!
email@example.com (my email)
or PM me on Facebook
Congratulations and thank you so much to everyone who stopped by!
July 1, 2014
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest! We had lots of entries and quite a few people matched all the authors correctly so with the help of the handy dandy “Random Thing Picker,” we chose our winners!
In first place with the prize of a $25 gift certificate to the Dreamspinner Press store, is Mary M.!
And the three runners up with an ebook of their choice are H.B., Juliana, and JJ!
And now, here are the results for you to compare your answers with.
1. Will Freshwater
2. Rick R. Reed
3. Brandon Witt
4. Raine O’Tierney
5. Charlie Cochet
6. Dawn Kimberly Johnson
7. Brita Addams
8. Michael J. Bowler
9. Bru Baker
10. Phoenix Emrys
11. Ariel Tachna
12. Shaw Connor
13. Suki Fleet
14. Nessa Warin
June 26, 2014
Are you stuck trying to figure out who’s who in our “School’s Out” contest? Worry no more, we’ve got some hints for you! To narrow down the guessing, here is a list of possible authors you can choose from. Now, take a good, hard look and see if you can match the name to the cute photos!
Rick R. Reed
Dawn Kimberly Johnson
Michael J. Bowler
And remember, you have until June 30th at 11:39pm Eastern to send in your guesses to hayley [at] dreamspinnerpress.com! 3 winners will be chosen for some great prizes!
June 24, 2014
Want to see what your favorite DSP authors looked like as cute little kids? Dreamspinner Press is celebrating the end of the school year with a “who’s who” contest! Take a look below and see if you can figure out which DSP authors are featured in these school photos. Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 people who name the most authors!
To enter, email your guesses to hayley [at] dreamspinnerpress.com. Contest closes June 30th at 11:59pm Eastern!
***Need some hints? Check out a list of possible authors here!
June 14, 2014
Okay, Guess who???
I’m here with the last excerpt and question. Good luck everyone. Remember, don’t post your answers any earlier then two o’clock, EST. I’ll see you at the cocktail hour with drink and winners in hand.
“You’re almost a blond now, Holt,” Garner mumbled as he glanced at his wavy, shoulder-length locks in the mirror. His hair was now way more blond than brown from all the sunny days he’d spent on the docks at the marina in Savannah, not to mention his days at sea. But he also realized he was only going to get more blond the longer he stayed in Key West and chuckled when he thought about the blond jokes that Hank and Thompson would certainly bestow upon him.
He leaned into the mirror as he applied moisturizer to his evenly tanned and mostly unwrinkled skin, mentally patting himself on the back for remembering to apply sunscreen on a regular basis.
He took a step back from the mirror and studied his slender face and strong jawline and frowned. God. I may not have many wrinkles, but the older I get, the more I look like Dad. He felt the familiar waves of sadness and guilt that normally washed over him when he thought about his father, but over the years he’d learned to keep them at bay. Mostly.
He forced the feelings back down as he scanned his naked body in the mirror and felt a little bit of pride. “Not bad for thirty-six,” he said. “At lest the old physique hadn’t turned on me yet.” He followed his broad shoulders and muscular chest down to his small waist, flat stomach, and naturally strong legs. “I guess all those years at the gym really paid off.”
He’d spent almost nine years behind a desk, and during that time he’d been obsessed with the gym, so afraid he was going to get fat and flabby.
He stepped out of the head and stood in front of his open closet door. He folded his arms across his chest and patted his bare foot. It’s your first night in Key West, Holt, and you only get one chance to make a first impression, so what’s it going to be?
Deciding he wanted to fit in, he settled on a pair of well-broken-in comfortable jeans that rode low on his hips and a neon green Nautica T-shirt. He slipped into his brown leather boat shoes, put on his brown belt, and stood in front of his full-length mirror. I guess this will have to do.
It was still a little early, so Garner decided to have a drink before he ventured out for his first night on the town. He opened a bottle of chardonnay, poured himself a glass, and climbed the companionway stairs to the cockpit. He settled in front of the steering wheel, kicked his shoes off, and propped his feet up.
It was a beautiful evening; mild in temperature and the sun was hovering low in the sky, as if defiantly refusing to dip below the horizon. Garner took a sip of his wine, leaned his head back, and closed his eyes, soaking in the last warm rays of sun. At the sound of footsteps on the dock, Garner’s curiosity got the best of him, and he opened one eye to see who was approaching. He raised his head and sat up straight when he saw Mr. Clean casually making his way down the dock. As the stranger approached, Garner began to feel very silly. The guy didn’t look near as scary as he had this morning and not the least bit intimidating. Yes he was still bizarre looking, but as he got closer, Garner could see that he was dressed in form-fitting blue jeans, a tight gray turtleneck, and black high-top tennis shoes.
Normal everyday attire, he thought. No spiked leather vest and pants with chains leading to his wallet. No shit kicker boots either. Just everyday clothing.
When he reached the stern of AquaTherapy, it appeared as if the man was going to stop. Garner’s heart skipped a beat in anticipation of what was to come. But instead, their eyes locked and Garner held the stranger’s gaze. After a few seconds, the stranger simply nodded, flashed a smile, and kept going.
Garner nodded back and followed the stranger’s movements down the dock.
What struck Garner as odd was the stranger’s familiar hollow stare. His crystal blue-gray eyes produced the same effect Garner had experienced when he’d gazed into Thompson Gray’s emerald eyes for the first time. The flecks of gold and the depth of green in Thompson’s eyes had had a major impact on Garner back in Savannah, but despite the rich color, they too were hollow, almost void of any emotion.
After the man disappeared through the marina gate, Garner continued to stare like he could still see him. He was startled out of his thoughts by his cell phone ringing. He unclipped the phone from his belt and, without looking, slid his finger across the bottom of the phone and put it to his ear.
“Glad to hear you’re still alive,” the voice on the other end of the line said.
“Thompson?” Garner said, breaking his trance and smiling into the phone. “I was just thinking about you.”
Thompson chuckled. “Do I dare ask why?”
“Probably not,” Garner replied.
“Oh geez,” Thompson said. “You’re right. I probably don’t want to know.”
“How the hell are you guys? Hank okay?”
“We’re great. Missing you though.”
“I miss you guys too,” Garner said with sincerity.
“Where are you?” Thompson asked.
“Just got to Key West this morning.”
“That’s great,” Thompson said. “Now that you’ve arrived, if you’re going to stay put for a while, Hank and I would like to try and figure out a time when we can both get away so we can come to see you. If you still want us to, that is?”
“Hell yeah,” Garner replied. “I can’t wait to see you guys.”
“Hold on, let me put you on speaker,” Thompson interrupted. “Hank wants to say hi.”
A few seconds later, Garner heard Hank’s voice sounding so happy it brought a smile to his face. “Hey, Gar, how’s sunny Key West?
“So far so good,” Garner replied, keeping the mysterious Mr. Clean to himself.
“Oh come on, is that all you have?” Hank teased.
“Give me a break,” Garner replied. “I just got here and I’m a slow starter.”
“Who are you trying to fool?” Hank asked. “I remember the day we first met. Slow starter, my ass.”
Garner chuckled. “Okay. Guilty as charged.”
Thompson cleared his throat. “Hey, guys? I’m listening. For Pete’s sake, the last thing I want to hear about is how you two flirted with one another the first day you met.”
Garner heard Thompson huff like he’d been elbowed in the ribcage or something, followed by a muffled “ouch.”
“Okay, fine,” Hank said over the speaker. “But at least tell us about the trip?”
Garner filled them both in on the details of his voyage, and before he knew it they were saying their goodbyes with promises of seeing each other very soon.
Garner stood and shoved his phone into his pocket just as the last remnants of the sun dipped below the horizon, leaving behind only the hues of oranges and yellows filling the western sky. He stared at the colorful display for a few minutes, downed the last of his wine, and took the empty glass down below. He checked himself in the mirror one last time. “As good as it’s gonna get,” he whispered to himself before grabbing his keys and heading topside again to begin his first night in Key West.
Walking along the dock, Garner recognized a new bounce in his step and realized he was looking forward to being with people again. Being on the water alone had been one of the best mind-clearing practices he’d ever experienced, and this particular leg of his trip had given him plenty of time to reflect on Hank and Thompson and the part he played in helping them. But as a psychiatrist he also knew how important human contact was to the spirit. Mr. Clean’s bizarre mug popped back into his mind again and he chuckled. Well, some human contact, that is, he thought.
Shaking his head to scatter the image of shaved heads, tattoos, and piercings, he tried to focus on what he wanted for dinner. “A real dinner?” he said to himself, feeling excited about his evening.
After walking few blocks, Garner turned onto Duval Street. The heart of Key West was buzzing with activity, and he didn’t know where to look. Standing in the middle of the street, he almost felt like he was in a mini Times Square. Bright lights filled the early evening night, and the sounds of the city mixed with music; cheerful voices and laughter were alive and bursting with anticipation.
Glancing up and down the crowded thoroughfare trying to determine where to go, he was mesmerized with the sights. There were tanned muscular half-naked men in every direction, some paired off and holding hands while others were obviously cruising the crowds looking for, well, whatever they were looking for.
Garner chuckled. It had been a very long time since he’d had been to Castro Street in San Francisco, where this sort of thing was expected, but this was Florida for God’s sake, the home of retired grandparents.
Standing on the street taking it all in, his voyeurism was abruptly interrupted by a loud noise much like a honking sound one would identify with a kids birthday party clown. When he turned, he realized his initial summation wasn’t very fair off. He instinctively jumped back just in time as a very large drag queen on a bicycle in full regalia and honking a horn flew by, shoving a flyer in his face. He accepted the flyer rather than get run over and read an advertisement for a drag show later that evening at The Crystal Room Cabaret in a place called La Te Da. He smiled, folded the flyer, and stuck it in his pocket.
Deciding it was definitely time to move on, Garner looked down Duval Street in each direction, and after careful consideration chose the way with the most activity. He weaved into the oncoming foot traffic and matched the pace of the other lollygaggers. Suddenly he had the overwhelming sensation of feeling like a kid in a candy store. Being well… Garner, the reaction took him totally by surprise, but instead of analyzing it as he normally would, he just went with it. Before very long he felt energized and the previously identified bounce in his step was even more pronounced by the way his boat shoes almost floated above the concrete. There was something interesting to see in every direction, and he reveled in the sights. After ten or so blocks, he absentmindedly reached up and rubbed the back of his sore neck. The perpetual smile on his face broadened as he realized he’d been moving his head from side to side for so long, afraid to miss anything, he’d totally given himself a crick.
Once again folding into the ever-moving crowd and feeling comfortable with the rhythm of the night, Garner casually strolled along the crowded sidewalk. He soaked up the informality of his temporary new home, slowing every now and then to take in the beauty or bizarreness of a piece of art placed in a gallery window and then he’d once more pick up his pace until something else caught his eye.
About an hour into his leisurely stroll, Garner’s stomach not so subtly made itself heard and began to protest the lack of attention. He quickly shifted his focus and began to search for cafés and restaurants that caught his eye, stopping to check out the menus posted proudly on the busy sidewalk. He eventually settled on a little restaurant called “Square One,” suddenly hungry for herb-roasted chicken and good ole home-style mashed potatoes.
Garner stepped inside and looked around. He noted the place was very crowded but still had that intimate feel and so far, he was very happy with his selection. He slipped the handsome host a twenty and asked for a small table tucked away in the corner with a view of the dining room and smiled appreciatively when he got exactly that.
After ordering a glass of wine, a salad, and the roasted chicken that had prompted his patronage as well as had his mouth watering, he sat back and simply watched. The romantic restaurant was filled with couples holding hands and cooing, some straight, some gay and lesbian, but everyone obviously feeling very comfortable with their public displays of affection. Garner thought about how far society had come in just his lifetime and realized that in some small way, his generation had helped to carve out a better life for today’s gay youth. He took a small bit of satisfaction in that.
With more than half of his journey on the water behind him, Garner was more relaxed than he’d been in a very long time. But again, instead of analyzing it, he went with the totally foreign feeling and smiled when he suddenly thought about his friends back in New York. “Uptight” was the word most of them would frequently use when asked to describe his personality. But right here, right now, uptight couldn’t have been further from the truth. He suddenly thought about the rainbow sticker his best friend Greg had adhered to his boat the day he left New York. When he’d found it, he’d known exactly who’d put it there and called Greg and gave him a shitload of grief. The only response he’d received was “If you’re going to cruise your uptight ass around God knows where, at least people need to know you’re gay. How else are you gonna get laid?”
The sticker hadn’t exactly gotten him laid yet, but it had had its benefits. It had been the way Hank identified him as gay when he’d come to tow his boat to a marina for repairs, and little did he know at the time, but that little sticker would put him right in the middle of an emotional love triangle with Hank and Thompson that would test his libido, not to mention his skills as a psychiatrist. But in the end it had all worked out the way it was supposed to, as do most things, and it hadn’t gotten him laid per se, but it did get Hank and Thompson laid. So in the end, he guessed Greg was right.
In the next few minutes his dinner came and was well worth the wait. Best roasted chicken he’d ever had and he savored it to the bitter end. After one more glass of wine and a few bites of Key Lime Pie, he paid the check and ventured out once again onto Duval Street.
He looked at his watch and saw it was nearing nine thirty. He pulled out the piece of paper he’d shoved in his pocket and read the details about the show in The Crystal Room Cabaret at La Te Da. The flyer read, “The Crystal Room Cabaret at La Te Da featuring John Webster and the many faces of the Crystal Room. And Special Guest, direct from Provincetown, none other than the Divine Miss Richfield.”
“What else do I have to do?” he said under his breath, checking the address and starting out for the club. “What the hell, it sounds like fun.”
Question: What was the name of the restaurant Garner chose for dinner?
June 14, 2014
Hey Guys, It’s me Scotty Cade here again. Here’s your first excerpt and question. I hope you enjoy!
Garner Holt stood behind the helm of his Beneteau Oceanis 55, a moderate wind blowing through his shoulder-length sun-streaked brown hair. AquaTherapy, as he’d so aptly named her, was heading south toward Key West cutting through the clear azure waters of the Hawk Channel, just off the south Florida coastline. AquaTherapy’s sails were tuned perfectly to the southwest winds and she was cruising along at a brisk six and a half knots, heeling a comfortable eighteen degrees.
The closer Garner got to his destination, the lighter his heart felt and the better his mood became. He turned his head upward as the warm mid-December sun blanketed him with her glorious rays. He inhaled deeply and his lungs filled with crisp salty sea air. God, I love the feeling of freedom when I’m on the water.
Garner was the only child of a pediatrician, who was now retired and living on Long Island, and a mortgage broker who, when he died, had enjoyed a lifelong love for sailing, which he had passed on to his only son. But when Garner had gone off to college, he’d become very driven, almost obsessed with his education and put sailing and his family on the back burner for the most part. His dedication to his education didn’t go unrecognized, and when he graduated at the top of his class, he was immediately hired by Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. After only four years, his Ivy League education, strong work ethic, and unmatched dedication earned him the title as Head of Psychiatry, the youngest doctor to hold the coveted position. But as with all positions of power, it wasn’t without its drawbacks. The grueling schedule was a tough one that left him absolutely no time for a personal life, and combining that with his extremely independent personality meant the thought of any type of a relationship was a disaster waiting to happen. He’d tried a few times, but after his last boyfriend told him where to shove his job, he’d given up and decided it wasn’t worth the headache or the heartache.
By the end of his eighth year, his career was definitely on track, but the pressure and stress were finally starting to take their toll. He’d just barely survived that year and went into his ninth battling severe burnout and exhaustion. One February morning he didn’t get out of bed. For… two weeks. That’s when he decided he’d had enough and started the process of early retirement. He’d sold everything, bought a sailboat, and set out to find new winds to fill his sails.
When he’d pulled out of New York harbor and rounded the point at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, he’d been a different man. He’d spent a couple months on the water, taking his time meandering the eastern seaboard, exploring the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays and picking up the Intracoastal Waterway in Norfolk, VA.
His well-laid plan was temporarily derailed when his engine failed in Savannah, Georgia and had to be rescued by a very handsome BoatUS Captain named Hank Charming. He was towed to the Thundercloud Marina where the marina mechanic uncovered a manufacturer’s error that couldn’t be repaired. His boat required a new engine and that came with a six-week lag time.
After the initial shock of being stranded for six weeks wore off, Garner tried to figure out what he was going to do to keep himself entertained. Luckily, he didn’t have to wonder too long. The day before he’d been towed in, the owner of the marina, Thompson Gray, had lost his dockhand and was in dire need of a replacement. After a brief meeting, Thompson offered him the job and he gladly accepted.
But he quickly learned his help was needed not just as a dockhand, but in another capacity, one he was all too familiar with.
After working with Thompson during the day and dating Hank Charming at night, Garner realized these guys had a very strong emotional connection to one another. He soon learned they shared a very complicated past, an even shakier present, and little or no chance for a future. They interacted on a daily basis when needed, but their past was clouded with misconceptions and untruths that were slowly eating away at both of them. In the end, with Garner’s help, Hank and Thompson were able to find their way back to one another and were now happier and stronger than ever. And Garner was still alone with no complications, just the way he liked it.
The part that surprised him the most was that while he was acting as Hank and Thompson’s unofficial therapist during those six weeks, he became very close to them both. And because of that, Garner had left Savannah with mixed emotions and a heavy heart. He’d never planned to stay, he had a horizon to chase, but that didn’t make leaving his new friends any easier.
On the morning he’d pulled out of the marina, they’d all promised to stay in touch, but Garner knew all too well that life sometimes gets in the way of the best intentions.
With AquaTherapy now cruising along on autopilot, Garner stretched out in the cockpit and basked in the Florida sunshine. He listened to the latest NOAA weather report on his VHF radio, and the weather was going to be clear and picture perfect for his last few days of his journey. Eager to get to Key West, he decided to sail straight through the night and make it to his destination by tomorrow morning.
“Just one more day,” he said to the ever-present dolphins dancing alongside his boat. “We’re almost home free, guys.”
Garner sipped a glass of Sancerre as he watched the spectacular sun hover above the western horizon, the yellows, oranges, and magentas all blending into one magnificent blur and dancing on the water, then slowly sinking into the abyss.
After dusk, with his GPS and radar set to alert him to any imminent danger, Garner sailed through the night, the bright moonlight shimmering like diamonds as it reflected off the deep sapphire colored water. He dozed every now and then, tweaked his sails as needed, but mostly gazed at the billowy blue velvet sky against the distant lights of the Florida coastline.
When the morning sun peeked above the horizon, Garner smiled and thought of his friends Hank and Thompson back in Georgia, probably watching the same sun rising over Savannah. He kissed his index finger, held it up in the air and wished them a heartfelt good morning.
By seven thirty, Garner was almost giddy. He was only five miles away from Key West, so he radioed ahead and received his docking instructions from the Harbor Master. With his sails furled and AquaTherapy motoring along at five knots, he pulled into the Conch Harbor Marina sporting a smile as broad as the dawn.
Following instructions, he pulled along a T-head pier and, with the help of a dockhand, secured his boat and connected the water and electricity.
By eight thirty Garner had traded the fleece, blue jeans, and boat shoes he’d worn overnight for shorts, a T-shirt, and no shoes. He was on the dock barefoot rinsing the dried salt off his boat when he saw someone walking down the dock in his direction. As the stranger got closer, Garner could see that the man’s head was shaved and he was wearing low-hanging black jeans, but no shirt or shoes. His skull, as well as every other part of his exposed body, including his feet, was covered in brightly colored tattoos.
Still proceeding toward him, Garner could see that the man appeared to be pierced in every visible orifice, sporting a stainless steel nose ring, a loop in his left eyebrow, studs up and down both of his ears, and a bar with balls on either end in his bottom lip. Garner did his best not to stare, but he couldn’t help it, the man reminded him of a pierced and tattooed Mr. Clean.
Looking farther down, the stranger’s nipples were pierced, as was his bellybutton. A chill ran down Garner’s spine and he shuttered when he thought about what else might be pierced that he couldn’t see. And just to push the entire look over the edge, the man wore silver-dollar-sized solid black discs in his stretched earlobes.
Garner started to feel uneasy, and his heart rate began to increase. He quickly looked around for any other boaters milling around the dock that might offer a little support if he needed it, but it was no one to be seen.
His next thought was some sort of weapon. Garner decided he couldn’t hose the guy to death if the need presented itself, but everything he could possibly use for a weapon was aboard AquaTherapy.
When the guy was about ten feet from him, Garner’s felt the adrenaline pumping through his veins at breakneck speed. He didn’t make eye contact, but tightened his grip on the hose and held his breath. Shit! He’s coming right at me. Calm down, you sissy. You lived in New York City for how long?
Garner spread his feet apart and moved the hose to his left hand, fisting his right. I might go down, but not without a fight. Just four feet away. Three Feet. Two feet. One foot.
When Garner could finally see the figure in his peripheral vision, the scary dude lowered his head and walked right past him.
Garner exhaled with relief and willed himself to calm down. He nonchalantly turned his head and followed the stranger, but the guy kept on walking until he reached a fishing boat three slips down named ReelCrazy and hopped aboard. Appropriate name!
QUESTION: What size were the discs in Mr. Clean’s hears?
June 14, 2014
Scotty Cade here and I’m looking so forward to chatting with you today. I would like to introduce you to “Chasing the Horizon,” which released yesterday over at Dreamspinner Press. “Chasing the Horizon” is the sequel to “Sunrise Over Savannah,” and below is a link if you want to check it out.
Now these are two independent novels so you don’t have to read Sunrise Over Savannah first, but for those of you that haven’t already read Sunrise and plan to, I won’t give away too much at this point, but here’s a spoiler alert. After the next paragraph, I post the blurb which sort of gives away the ending of Sunrise in order to set up this book.
Both of these stories were inspired by a real life people in very real places. Thompson Gray, Garner Holt, and Hank Charming meet in Sunrise Over Savannah and spend a great deal of time together as friends. Together they identify and work through a great deal of personal issues that are all woven throughout the story and eventually two of them end up together, which leaves one to chase the horizon for his happily ever after. On his journeys, the lone wolf meets bad boy Hawken Bristol in a very odd way that sends hearts racing and eventually ignites a cat and mouse game like you’ve never seen. Okay, here’s the SPOILER ALERT!
Here’s the blurb!
Needing a lifestyle change, Garner Holt, an uptight workaholic psychologist, buys a sailboat and trades in his prestigious job in New York City for a life on the water. After engine failure and six weeks in Savannah, Georgia for repair, he arrives in Key West, Florida early one morning and encounters a half-dressed hooligan walking along the docks of the marina. Garner immediately thinks this barefoot and shirtless man with a shaved head, multiple tattoos, and piercings in every orifice is going to rob him. He prepares for the worst. Instead, the stranger passes Garner by and climbs on a boat two slips down. With the threat of danger gone, Garner is surprisingly intrigued.
Hawken Bristol is used to being on the receiving end of stereotypes. He sees the fear on the stranger’s face, recognizes the rigidity in his stance, but is too tired from his wild night of partying to engage the frightened stranger. A few cat and mouse encounters around town lead to an uncanny attraction. However, after Garner helps Hawken dock his boat in a windstorm, sparks start to fly. But this new liaison brings up old baggage that threatens to derail everything they have going.
So there you have it, the premise for “Chasing the Horizon.” Today I will be giving away three Chasing The Horizon eBooks and here’s how I’m gonna do it. Over the course of the morning, I will post three excerpts from the story. At the end of each excerpt, I will ask a question related to that particular excerpt. Starting at two o’clock this afternoon, you can posts your answers and everyone who answers all three questions correctly will be entered in the drawing. At four o’clock I will posts the correct answers and announce the winners.
You’ll need to check in multiple times because you have to get all three answers correct to be entered into the drawing.
June 1, 2014
Hello lovelies! It’s Charley again, back to talk about more tropes and give away another copy of “Not the Doctor”, my hurt/comfort story featured in the new Mended Anthology.
When I started writing “Not the Doctor”, the second piece that fell into place was Joe. My MC is an independent guy, living on his own since the death of his wife four years before. I don’t like to do too much planning too early in the process (it scares my muse away, the little micromanager!), so I started writing and Kai literally opened the door and popped in. I love it when characters do that!
My favorite event to hang a story on is a chance meeting. I love to throw someone into a new situation, have them meet someone intriguing, and then see what happens. Since Kai lives next door to Joe, that wouldn’t work. They obviously knew each other. After a little panic and hair-pulling, I realized theirs would be a perfect Friends-to-Lovers story.
“Not the Doctor” was my first Friends-to-Lovers story, but I had so much fun with it, the next short I wrote also used the same trope! I enjoy the freedom to concentrate on the growing relationship between two men who’ve already built the foundation of their relationship—even if they didn’t realize that’s what they were doing at the time. I like watching the moment when all pretense falls away and they realize what they’ve wanted all along. *sigh* I think I’ll be visiting this trope again.
Now for the fun part. In NTD Joe can’t use his right arm because he’s just had surgery. That makes everything much more complicated. Comment on this post and tell me about a time when you had to do something with one hand tied behind your back (literally or figuratively) for another chance to win a copy of “Not the Doctor.”
Each of my posts is a separate chance to win, so if you missed it, you can find the first one here.
While you’re thinking about that, here’s another excerpt from “Not the Doctor.” The guys are in Joe’s bathroom and Kai has just changed the dressing on his arm.
The footstool put Kai’s face a little above my elbow. If I pulled his head closer it would rest against my solar plexus. My body started to tremble as he removed the last of the dressings covering the place where young Doctor Austin had—
Never mind what he’d actually done. He fixed it; that’s all I needed to know.
“This looks great.”
He tilted his head, first to one side and then to the other, his black curls swaying with each motion. “Yeah. Your doc did a great job.”
His warm fingertips touched my arm in a place I couldn’t see, and he warned me the cleaning might feel uncomfortable but shouldn’t hurt. Before I’d finished processing the difference between discomfort and pain he’d applied a large gauze pad to my arm and stood. He turned on the water in the tub. I didn’t even get the chance to check out his ass while his back was turned, and he was telling me to stand up.
“You good, Joey?” He held my left elbow in a firm but not tight grip.
“I think my mom stopped calling me Joey when I was eight.” I smiled and stood. Kai slipped his other hand under my arm. Relief that my arm wasn’t infected or worse made me a little giddy.
“You don’t like Joey? You don’t seem much like a Joe to me.” His gentle fingers found the waistband of my flannel sleep pants. He eased them down to midthigh and then gave them a little push to the floor. I tried to remember what he’d called me before but couldn’t. Was that funny or pathetic or cause for alarm?
Kai gripped the side of the tub, carefully bent at the waist, and then skimmed his fingers across the surface of the water.
“Here.” His damp fingers curled around my hand. “Rest your hand on my shoulder and step in. Step in all the way before you think about sitting, okay?”
The production number that was getting me into the tub and sitting in the water without causing either of us pain took up every bit of coherence I possessed. Once I smiled up at Kai, pride in my silly accomplishment fueling what felt like a ridiculous grin—that’s when the full weight of my situation became clear. Kai undressed me. I was naked.
“Why don’t I seem like a Joe?”
Kai smiled and pulled the footstool close to the tub. He piled towels on the tub’s edge and then guided my bad arm to rest on them. He took a washcloth from the basket on the toilet tank and slipped it into the water beside my knee. “Ah, you know, it’s such a serious name.” He slowly drew the washcloth up over my chest and shoulders. “Joe Friday—just the facts—I know you deal in facts all the time, but there’s more to you than that.”
And that quickly became a problem. That fast, there was more to one part of me than there should’ve been.
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June 1, 2014
Hello Dreamers, and Happy Sunday!
Bru kindly invited me to join her HC party–thanks Bru! I’ve been looking forward to today, the release of “Not the Doctor” and the whole Mended Anthology. Thanks for visiting the party, I hope you have a great time.
Every so often I, like many authors I’m sure, check out Dreamspinner’s open submission calls. I saw the call for the Mended Daily Dose and started brainstorming ideas right away. Joe and Kai took their sweet time speaking up to help me write their story, even though HC is one of my favorite tropes.
HC is a trope that’s wide open to interpretation. Many are, granted, but some—like May/December or Opposites Attract—are more rigid. I mean, if it’s MD both of the heroes can’t be middle-aged and for OA, well, they have to be opposites somehow. I like tropes that are more like suggestions than roadmaps. Probably since I have a hard time staying on point. Which is to say I let my characters call the shots, until they try to convince me it’s a good idea to jump a shark on a motorcycle.
I hope nobody thinks I’ve jumped the shark with this story, but I wanted to do something a little different. In my experience, if a character has a chronic condition they’re the ones receiving the comfort. Not so in “Not the Doctor.” In this story the man who’s usually the helper is just about helpless.
Which brings me to another reason I like this trope—the drama and the angst are built right in. A healthy shot of both is almost mandatory, which is perfect for someone who loves the angst like I do. I make all of my guys work for their HEAs, but usually their torture isn’t of the physical variety. Poor Joe, though, he wasn’t so lucky. He got a broken arm that later required surgery, and that’s not all. But that’s all I’m giving away right now.
Okay, I lied. I’m also giving away a copy of “Not the Doctor.” Tell me about the most unusual HC story you’ve ever read for a chance to win. Random.org will choose the winner, and as far as I know has no opinion about what makes an unusual HC story.
A moment of distraction on a lonely highway leaves middle-aged widower Joe Prescott with a broken arm and in need of surgery. He’s no stranger to long hours spent alone in his apartment, but until his arm heals, independence will be a luxury. Joe is used to helping others and doesn’t realize the strength it takes to accept a helping hand, especially from the neighbor he’s had a crush on since he moved in.
Kai Hosino, “retired” chef, lives with his elderly Aunt Tilly so they can help each other navigate life with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Kai is drawn to the silver fox next door, but his painful history of falling for straight men makes him hesitant to take a chance.
Are we really doing this? Am I really on my way to the time when Kai sees me naked?
It’s not as though I’ve never thought about it—I’m a gray-haired and wrinkled widower, not a corpse—but I never thought it would actually happen. Never thought I’d cry in front of him either, but that’s the drugs. He could probably change the dressing in his sleep. Kai lives with his aunt as much to care for her as so she can care for him. But she’s in her seventies. And she’s not unbuttoning my shirt.
“You don’t have to do this. I’ll call George….”
Kai sat me on the closed lid of the toilet and leaned his hip against the lavatory cabinet. Very slowly he crossed his arms over his chest. I saw it in slow motion, anyway. Everything moved in slow motion, even—or maybe especially—my brain.
“How long have we known each other?”
“About four years.” Since the day I moved into my “bachelor pad.”
“And how many times have you given me a hand or helped my aunt?”
He spoke so softly I leaned forward, even though I could hear just fine.
“I couldn’t make a decent guess at how many bags of groceries you’ve carried up, or…. This is something I can do. Please let me help you.”
His serious expression planted an idea I’d never considered, so I nodded. Kai smiled, his teeth very white against his brown skin. I was busy watching that smile, so I didn’t see him reach out and flinched when he resumed unbuttoning my shirt. Quickly followed by a groan. Flinching was not something on my list of things to do again.
Thanks for reading!
Bring on your unusual HC stories. If you haven’t read one, feel free to make something up!
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May 28, 2014
May 28 Dreamspinner Press Seventh Anniversary Giveaway Contest is Button Down by Dawn Kimberly Johnson.
Everyone has a favorite DsP book! For today’s Dreamspinner Press Seventh Anniversary e-book contest, share your favorite DsP book of all time!
All comments, likes, shares, re-tweets on this blog, the DsP Facebook page and Twitter will be entries to win one of ten e-book copies of Button Down by Dawn Kimberly Johnson. You have until 8:00 pm tomorrow, May 29th for eligible interactions.