February 27, 2015
Y’all rock my world. I’ve had more coffee and I’m still on the sofa with the puppies, watching the snow. I’m so tickled that y’all came to enjoy Dix and Audie and I so appreciate it.
Please come visit with me on Facebook or twitter — I’m the only BA Tortuga around. I do love to visit and play.
Y’all stay warm, have a glorious time and love each other well.
Much love, y’all.
February 27, 2015
Randi and Grainger are the heart and soul of Dixon and Audie (and by association, Ever the Same). They start out, as so many of my fictional relationships do, with a fist fistfight (note: when I met my wife in person the first time, at one point she did threaten to beat the hell out of me while I was driving in a pouring down rainstorm on the highway in San Antiono traffic. True story.).
However, a birthday party, a giant mouse, some horses and a guitar later, they became partners in crime.
Instead of having fights with each other, they turned on the world.
1. During a riding lesson, Grainger dares Randi to impersonate the trick rider they’d seen at the rodeo and when Audie turned around, she was standing on Sarge’s back.
2. Randi dared Grainger to trap the possum so they could keep the babies and raise them. Possum bites hurt. So do the rabies shots.
3. Together, the kids decided to find out which spice burn. Cinnamon for the flamtastic win! FYI, powdered creamer burns pretty damned well too.
4. Grainger told Randi that she couldn’t be a cowgirl unless she rode a calf backwards holding his tail.
5. At Christmas, they dressed the dachshunds up as reindeer, tied them to a miniature sleigh that belong to Randi’s gran and proceeded to take down the tree. Dachshunds are not beasts of burden.
Much love, y’all
February 27, 2015
Dixon, world. World, Dixon.
1. Dixon’s best friend is his younger brother, Daniel, who is currently serving overseas in the military.
2. His favorite date night used to be watching the sunset at the Oasis on Lake Travis.
3. Dix has a huge crush on Gordon Ramsey and on Sidney Poitier.
4. The first song he learned to play on the guitar was Where Have All the Flowers Gone
5. He was drum major in high school.
6. He’s a huge Blues fanatic and his first out of state trip was to New Orleans with his dad to see live music.
7. His favorite food is cheesesteaks with mustard sauce from Texadelphia.
8. His first dog was a bloodhound named Bill.
9. He lived in Texas his whole life, but Audie taught him how to ride a horse.
10. Dixon’s prized possession is a 1974 Fender Stratocaster played by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Much love, y’all
February 27, 2015
Y’all, Audie Barrack. Audie, all the folks.
1. He wanted to be a professional baseball player when he grew up.
2. He’s named after a famous Greenvillite, Audie Murphy.
3. His favorite food on earth is tacos from Molinas.
4. He’s a huge George Strait fan and he has been to 3 concerts. His favorite song is “Write This Down”.
5. He never misses the weather on 10pm TV. Ever.
6. He built his own house on his folks’ ranch.
7. His dad is a long-haul trucker and one of his favorite things (and one of his son’s favorite things) was riding along in the summer and listening to the CB.
8. Audie got poison ivy on his penis once and he didn’t tell his parents because he was afraid they’d have to cut it off.
9. Audie has had full custody of his son since he was three days old.
10. His favorite toy as a little boy was a stuffed cow he named Silly Chicken.
Much love, y’all
February 27, 2015
Hey, y’all! I have a giveaway for a signed print copy of Ever the Same. Comment today on any of the posts and I’ll pick someone tomorrow morning (that gives all the folks a chance).
Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the novel. Audie’s been called up to the school because his kindergarten has been in a fight…
Feeling like he was back in kindergarten, Audie went to the principal’s office.
“Mr. Barrack? Go on in. They’re waiting.” Miz Laws winked at him as he walked by, which relaxed him, because, Christ, this sucked. He went into the office, which was a mixture of colors and pictures of kids and that weird sternness that meant business. Dr. Shields stood and offered him a hand. Lord, he remembered when she was the drum major back when his Aunt Shirley was in the band.
There was a tiny little girl—and he meant teeny—sitting next to a dude who had hair like a girl, a dour-faced older lady, and his Grainger, who jumped up, one eye bruised. “Daddy! Daddy, I swear, I didn’t start it!”
“Hush, now. Let me talk to Dr. Shields.” He wanted to snatch Grainger up, but he knew better.
“Let’s all sit,” Dr. Shields said, and Audie fought the urge to point out he was the only grown-up standing.
Feeling chastised, he perched on the other side of Grainger.
They all sat there, staring, before Dr. Shields spoke up. “Now, we all seem to have a problem. Randi and Grainger have been in a half-dozen incidents in the last few weeks.”
“Really? Why didn’t I hear about this, buddy?” Half a dozen? Shit.
“You said not to be a tattletale, Daddy.”
Oh God. He damned near swallowed his tongue. They’d have to talk about information versus snitching.
“I didn’t start it. Not onced. I don’t hit girls, but Daddy! She hit me in the face! Hard!” There were tears there, threatening, and Grainger had that hell of a shiner.
“Now, Grainger, are you saying you didn’t push Randi?” the principal asked.
“She called me a doo-doo stupid-head!”
Did the wee girl not talk? She sat there, her chin set, her bright green eyes flashing fire. Her thin arms were crossed over her chest, and her feet swung in an angry rhythm.
“Name-calling can’t hurt you, buddy.” Was he the only adult with a brain here?
“No, but name-calling is completely inappropriate, Miranda.” That was the dad, just looking straight ahead. “You know better.”
“He’s mean! He told the girls I was smelly and not to play with me!”
Audie looked at the principal. “Am I the only one not up to speed?”
The older lady glanced over at him. “Beverly White. Pleased. My granddaughter has had some… transition issues. We’re sorry.”
“Mrs. White.” He nodded, then snuck another peek at the man sitting next to her.
The guy stared straight ahead, not looking at him at all. Crazy.
“Grainger is usually a good kid,” Audie offered. “I’m sorry about those uh, transition things.” Way to sound like a hick.
“Children, can you please wait on the green chairs while we talk?”
Grainger nodded, squeezing Audie’s fingers one more time. Audie nodded and smiled at his son, pretty convinced his boy hadn’t done anything really heinous.
The little gal stomped out, pure fire in her eyes. Oh, she was a hellion, he could tell.
“Are you going to tell me you’re going to move her again?” That was the dad, and the dude seemed about as pissed as his daughter. “She’s not the Antichrist. She’s a tiny little girl. She still sits in a car seat, for chrissake.”
“No, I think we can safely leave her where she is. I really felt that we all needed to chat, though. It’s clear that Audie here had no idea what was going on.”
“Yeah, no shit.” Audie glanced at the gran. “Pardon my French.”
“No worries.” She winked at him. “She’s not a bad girl. She’s had some terrible things in the last year.”
“And for some reason, she’s targeting Grainger. Has he spoken about Randi at all?” Dr. Shields was trying, he could tell.
“No, ma’am. He’s not said a word.” He snuck another look at the dad. This guy was a piece of work. “It’s not like him to pick on someone who’s having a hard time.”
“Of course it’s not. Randi’s the one that’s the vicious little bitch, right?”
Damn, Mr. Snooty could snap.
“What? She’s had a shit life for the last year. She lost one of her dads, she had to leave Austin and her friends and her school, and suddenly she’s the fucking bad guy?”
“Hey, I never said my boy was perfect,” Audie said, snarling a little himself. “He’s managed to get to six without trying to kill anyone, though, so this is new. Back off.”
“Enough. No one is saying either of these children are bad. Randi has a huge number of hurdles to overcome, and Grainger is a shy little boy with a tendency to follow the crowd. Neither of these children have mothers at home, and I was hoping we could brainstorm some ways to help Randi feel included with the others.”
This was ridiculous. It wasn’t his fucking job to make sure this asshole’s little brat felt like she didn’t need to punch his son anymore.
“That’s her teacher’s job, Shannon.” Audie was through with this shit. “I’ll tell my boy to stay away from her. Can we go now?”
“Yes. Yes, of course. Mr. White….”
“I’ll talk to her. If it happens again, I’ll… shit, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll make it up as I go along.” The guy stood, and his mom handed him a cane. A white cane.
Oh Jesus fucking Christ. Seriously? Seriously, Grainger picked the kid with a blind dad and a dead….
Her other dad was dead. Jesus. This guy was blind, had lost his man, and his kid was a shit? That sucked hugely. “I can try to get Grainger to help. I promise.” He had no idea why that popped out, except this guy’s life had to suck, and because it had been a long time since Audie had met anyone who would openly admit to being queer like he was.
Buy Ever the Same here – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6096
Official blurb: Audie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.
A little girl with one blind dad and one dad who recently passed away.
Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.
Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.
February 27, 2015
So, let me tell y’all a bit about my boys from Ever the Same, Dix and Audie.
Audie is a cowboy from Greenville, Texas. Like a real, working cowboy. He pulls calves, trains cutting horses, and loves his little boy, Grainger, with everything he has. Solid as a rock, Audie’s a good guy, practical as the day is long and totally, completely trapped in the closet of his environment.
Now, Dix? He’s not a cowboy at all. Texan? Sure, but he’s from Austin, he’s a musician, he’s out and proud, he’s…Lost. He just lost his partner and his sight in the same car accident, he’s trying to figure out how the hell he’s supposed to raise his angry little Randi at his parents’ hobby farm in small town Texas without the man he intended to live the rest of his life with.
Ever the Same is the story about how these two trapped men find a way out, together.
I love Audie for his straight-shooting sensibility. I love Dixon because he’s not ashamed to be terrified. More than than, I love how these boys love their kids, are committed to keeping their wee families intact. These men are daddies first, always.
I made a Pinterest board about the boys (and the kiddos). I’d love to know what y’all think. This is the first time I’ve done this and I think I’ll keep on. I love the whole idea of it. You can find the board here - https://www.pinterest.com/batortuga/ever-the-same/
Much love, y’all!
Because Sometimes Fistfights are Foreplay
February 27, 2015
*waves happily* It’s the resident redneck and I’m here to visit and let all y’all know about my new book, Ever the Same, that’s releasing today!
So, I’m sitting here in a totally unexpected winter wonderland (O.O). I have a snuggly puppy, a huge cup of Kona, and blankets.
Lots of blankets.
I know, I know, y’all up in the northeast are all flipping me off right now, I get it, but I’m still Texan enough to be all… OMG SNOW SNOW IN PILES ON THE GROUND. Indulge me a little.
Today I’m going to be celebrating the snow, my new book Ever the Same, coffee, a contest or two, and possibly torture y’all with pictures of the puppies…
Much love, y’all.
Because Sometimes Fistfights are Foreplay
February 18, 2015
My release party is almost over
Confession: I don’t like excerpts and I never read them! So I was reluctant to do an excerpt here. But… I guess some people like them? So for the people who do not care for excerpts, this is an alternative: the pinterest board for Night Vision, filled with inspiration photos, settings and characters and details from the story.
And for those who DO enjoy excerpts, this is from Chapter Nine:
“YOU HAD a dream the other night.” Theron tried to sound causal and focused his attention on a lock of Alex’s hair, twisting the gold and bronze between his fingers. Alex’s head lay on the pillow, half-turned, almost exactly the way it had been a few nights ago when Theron had climbed the tree to check on him. Whatever that dream had been, it was powerful. And sexual. Theron’s curiosity burned.
“Please don’t tell me you were watching me again.” Alex searched his face and sighed, perhaps seeing some sign of guilt. “Theron, seriously, just come in next time. Why are you still sneaking around in my trees?”
“It is my way, Alex. I thought you understood that.”
“I guess. It’s still creepy, though.”
“Tell me the dream.”
Shame filled the room, and Alex squirmed in the bed, burying his face in the pillow. “I really don’t want to.”
Theron laughed, wrapping Alex in his arms and kissing his shoulder. “Come on, my little sexy dreamer. Tell me.”
“Ugh!” Alex groaned, but the emotions in the air contradicted his protest. He was embarrassed, but happy, even a little aroused. He snuggled into Theron, hiding his face. “You were in the shower. I sneaked in and leaned against the wall near the closet, where you couldn’t see me. I started jerking off and fantasizing about you. I heard you moaning, and I knew you could feel it. You knew I was there, and you called my name.”
Theron ran his hands over Alex’s back, encouraging him to continue.
“I moved so that I could see you. You stood under the shower, your hands on the wall, the water running over you. You were so hard. I wanted to make you come with my thoughts. I was sure I could do it. You looked so sexy, your muscles so tight, straining and wet, and it was easy for me. I stroked myself and thought about you, and I watched your cock. The water was hitting it, and you kept yourself under the spray, but I knew my thoughts were really bringing you off. I came, and a second later you did too, all over the shower wall, without even touching yourself.”
Theron moaned into the back of Alex’s head. “Did you come in your sleep? Or when you woke up?”
Thank you to Dreamspinner for being such a nice company to work with, and thank you for letting me takeover this blog! I’ve had a great time here today <3
February 18, 2015
I think this would be a good time for a giveaway. Agree?
In Night Vision, each chapter is told half from Alex’s point of view, and half from Theron’s, and I kept it to third person for both.
One of the best things about alternating pov is being able to feel and hear and know all the thoughts of each character. I think that makes a Romance fun to read, and fun to write
A disadvantage is trying to keep each “voice” distinct, so that it is always really clear whose head you are in as a reader. Luckily for me, Theron’s style of speech was much different from Alex’s. Theron rarely uses contractions, and he is more formal in general. Also, he is a non-native English speaker (he is Greek) so that also made his voice distinctive.
In my other books, I have used first person (not alternating, just staying in one main character’s head the entire time) and I do enjoy the intimacy that allows as well.
I do think alternating third person is my favorite, though. In the last book I wrote that way (Love You Forever) I let each character have a whole chapter before switching. But Night Vision is a novella, so more frequent shifts seemed appropriate.
I am currently working on a third person book which does not alternate, so it is told entirely from one point of view, but that one has a bit of a mystery element to it, so the more limited information helps add tension. I find myself having to fight the urge to switch to the other main character’s voice!
So what I’d like to know is – what is your favorite point of view? First person? Third person? And also, do you prefer to switch back and forth, or to stay in one head?
Answer in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Night Vision!
February 18, 2015
Theron ran across the snow, careful to step only in the existing tracks but still fast enough to be unseen by humans. He’d worn thick sheepskin boots, and a long down coat that brushed the tops of his knees. The clothing kept him warm, but increased his visibility against the snow.
He slowed as he approached a small, yellow colonial style home. The cold night air was quiet, and empty of humans. Still, Theron was careful. If he was spotted it might mean having to find a new territory, and he did not feel like dealing with that hassle right now.
The home’s glowing windows promised warmth and comfort. But it wasn’t shelter Theron sought here.
Prowling for enough human emotion to eat was sometimes difficult during the winter months. No open windows meant all the nourishment was trapped inside. Last week, Theron had been forced to feed at the supermarket—a sad meal which consisted of shopper’s mingled frustration and annoyance, with a smattering of fear and greed. He shook himself to clear the memory. Tonight would be better.
Tonight was Valentine’s Day, and the emotional sustenance in his territory should be sickeningly sweet with love and lust.
Lust he enjoyed. It was one of his favorite meals. Love could be satisfying, as well.
Best of all was anger. A clean anger, without pain or sadness, and preferably tinged with a bit of passionate desire, was Theron’s first choice. Finding it tonight should be easy.
But there was none here. The little yellow house was quiet. Only a thin fog of happiness sifted from the attic vents. Theron absorbed it, but moved on. He needed more.
The old grey house next door, usually a good source for him, was cold and dark. No one home. He ran down the block, still searching.
Raised voices drifted over snow-filled backyards. He followed the promising sounds to a newer home, just a few blocks away. There was a great oak on the property, perfect for climbing. Theron scaled it easily, and maneuvered to a thick, wide branch. He winced as a pile of snow slid from the branch and landed heavily in the previously smooth front yard. Sloppy. He sighed.
The front door banged open, and a man exited, accompanied by a meaty cloud of rage. Delicious. Theron absorbed it all.
“You’re leaving, now? Really?” Another man followed the first, this one dressed in sweatpants and a soft beige sweater.
The first man drew a set of keys from his coat pocket and turned. “Yes. I am. You clearly don’t want me here.” He stalked to the driveway and entered the car.
“David! Come on!” The second man stood in the doorway, feet bare, eyes pleading, and shouted toward the car.
David scowled through the glass. A few moments were spent waiting for the car to start, and a seatbelt to be fastened, while frustration and anger billowed in the air around the men. Theron basked in it, filling himself to capacity.
The car jerked backwards, and then rumbled away up the street. Theron remained motionless, watching.
The man in the doorway shook his head, and the angry cloud around him began to weaken, filling instead with sadness and regret. Thin, sour emotions Theron did not care for.
Finally the man retreated into the house, and Theron made to leave. He’d had his fill of human emotion now, and could spend the rest of the evening in his home.
Then a curtain moved, spilling a large square of light onto the snow right under the tree where he perched. Framed in the window was the human, standing with his arms crossed over his chest.
Theron studied him. His sandy brown hair was combed back in a large wave, a careful style somewhat at odds with his casual clothing. His mouth was turned down and his brows pinched, but his face was handsome. It would be more handsome wearing a smile. Theron frowned at the rogue thought.
A tear leaked from the corner of the man’s eye, and left a wet streak down his cheek.
Theron tilted his head. He did not like seeing this human upset. But why should he care? He did not even know this man’s name.
Still, he watched.
Eventually the man dragged a chair to the window and sat. His face had softened a bit, but it remained sorrowful. And Theron found himself growing angry. Why did the man sit? Why wait with such sadness? Why not go about his night, without the rude David?
Theron repositioned his legs on the branch. He was growing cold, even in his warm winter clothing. He could leave, just climb down the rear of the tree and move quickly, the man would never see him. But he stayed put, eyes locked on the handsome man in the window, while an irrational desire to harm David grew within him.
A crunching of tires on snow drew Theron’s attention. He didn’t have to look to know it was David returning. He flattened himself against the tree, still and silent, watching.
David had a bouquet of roses in his hand as he exited the car. Theron glanced at the man in the window for a reaction, and saw happiness light the handsome face. Excitement and love seeped from the window frame.
Pathetic. Theron bit back a groan at the easy forgiveness, but consumed the new emotions.
David opened the front door, which Theron noted with displeasure had been left unlocked. He appeared soon after in the window, and knelt at the handsome man’s feet, placing the roses in his lap. “I’m sorry, Alex. I’m sorry.”
Alex nodded and pulled David into an embrace.
Theron’s gut twisted with something that was most certainly not jealousy. Perhaps he had eaten too much this night. That was all. He climbed down from the tree and fled across the yard, recklessly adding his footprints to the clean snow.
Safe at home, he sat in front of his fireplace and pondered the man he’d watched for so long. Alex. A nice name. Theron spoke it aloud, accentuating the x sound. Yes, a very nice name. He would visit Alex again, and keep an eye on David. If nothing else, the men would likely provide him with many satisfying meals.
Maybe someday, he would see Alex smile.
I hope you enjoyed that introduction to Theron and Alex! I’d love to hear what you think of them