June 14, 2013
Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed
Roan is locked in a coma as the struggle between his human and werecat sides reaches a new extreme. All Dylan can do is sit and wait. Infected: Undertow by Andrea Speed, available from Dreamspinner Press.
In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.
Now Roan is locked in a coma as the struggle between his human and werecat sides reaches a new extreme. All Dylan can do is sit, wait, and think.
Meanwhile, Roan’s assistant, Holden, wants to shed his old street life and his relationship with Scott, but he can’t seem to do either. Holden doesn’t want a relationship with Scott but finds himself drawn to him all the same, even if he can never fully reveal his past.
With Roan out of commission, Holden looks into the murder of an old friend. At the same time, Fiona takes on a case about underground death matches between infecteds —one with connections to the Church of the Divine Transformation.
Finally Roan wakes only to discover that his shifts have new consequences. His lion’s strength is growing, and he can’t hide from it any longer….
Same Page by Lily Velden
How can Jaxon move his relationship with Liam from friends to lovers without destroying the trust he’s worked so hard for? Same Page by Lily Velden, available from Dreamspinner Press.
He was like the only splash of color in a black-and-white photograph.
The man was beautiful.
At an exhibition opening in Sydney, jaded Hollywood heartthrob Jaxon Moncrieff lays eyes on publicity-shy artist Liam Lassiter for the first time and is immediately captivated. But he doesn’t get far into their first conversation before he realizes what he’s feeling is attraction, which brings him up short. Jaxon has always been a womanizer.
Despite his reservations, Jaxon makes a play for Liam, but Liam has his own issues. Unlucky in love and orphaned at sixteen, he is reluctant to open his heart to anyone, and dismisses Jaxon out of hand.
Driven by a need he doesn’t understand, Jaxon organizes a return to Sydney to film his next project. If he can’t be with Liam, maybe they can be friends. Of course, that creates a whole new problem. Now Jaxon is falling in love for the first time. How can he move their relationship from friends to lovers without destroying the trust he’s worked so hard for?
June 12, 2013
Boy Crucified by Jerome Wilde
Noel and his new partner, Daniel Qo, follow the clues in a murder to a secretive traditional Catholic group located in the countryside. Boy Crucified by Jerome Wilde, available from Dreamspinner Press.
When the body of a crucified boy is found by the river in Kansas City, Lieutenant Thomas Noel, a priest turned homicide detective, is assigned the case. In their search for the boy’s killer, Noel and his new partner, Daniel Qo, follow the clues to a secretive traditional Catholic group located in the Missouri countryside.
Then another body turns up, and the hunt intensifies. But Noel’s investigation hits too close to home and attracts the attention of the killer….
Length: Novella (233p.) | Genre: Mystery/Suspense | Release Date: June 12, 2013 | Buy as eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62380-636-1)
Pure by M.A. Church
Zygi Wyatt is an intimidating dom, but he yearns for love just like the next man. The easygoing Mo seems like the answer to his prayers. Pure by M.A. Church, available from Dreamspinner Press.
Zygi Wyatt is an intimidating dom, but he yearns for love just like the next man. However, finding a partner who isn’t scared of his size is no easy task. The easygoing Mo seems like the answer to his prayers.
Love is the stuff of dreams. Ask the god Morpheus—he knows all about it. Mo wants Zygi in a forever kind of way, but he has to be sure of Zygi’s love before he claims him for his mate and reveals his true self.
Unfortunately, Zeus is growing increasingly unhappy with Morpheus, and Ares is determined to throw a monkey wrench into everything. Zygi and Mo will have to brave the wrath of the gods to make their dreams come true.
Length: Novella (175p.) | Genre: Fantasy – Mythology, BDSM/Kink| Release Date: June 12, 2013 |Buy as eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62380-575-3)
Side Line by Ben Ryder
While stationed in the Middle East, Damon gets what he least expects in the form of Jay Wells, but they’re determined to enjoy it. Side Line by Ben Ryder, available from Dreamspinner Press.
Having rarely experienced another man’s touch, US Marine Damon O’Connor doesn’t identify as gay, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think about strong hands or where treasure trails lead, despite his commitments back home. Damon’s sense of duty is strong, and he’ll stop at nothing to do what’s right, even if that means dying for his country.
While stationed in the Middle East, Damon gets what he least expects in the form of Jay Wells, an out-and-proud British beer promotions manager working in the area. Jay is content working his life away and has no time for relationships. Neither does Damon, as he’s days away from deploying to war. Until they met, love was the last thing on their minds, but they’re determined to enjoy it while they can.
Length: Novella (174p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: June 12, 2013 | Buy as eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62380-314-8)
June 10, 2013
Chanson by David Bret
Despite Marcel’s initial suspicions, he and Jürgen soon form a deep bond as Marcel fights his demons to rebuild his shattered career. Chanson by David Bret, available from Dreamspinner Press.
The German occupation is in full swing. Marcel, a famous singer at Levalle’s, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and now leads a complicated life. Juggling his common-law wife and his mistress keeps him as busy as his career. But then disaster strikes. Louis Gérard, the man who discovered him, is murdered, and Levalle’s shuts down. Jobless, Marcel ends his relationship with his wife. He can’t see his mistress because her husband is home on leave. Drunk and disorientated, roaming the streets after curfew, he runs into what could be serious trouble.
Jürgen is a young German lieutenant, a pacifist who secretly hates the Nazis and, just as secretly, has admired Marcel from afar. When he sees Marcel in need, he doesn’t hesitate to take him home.
Despite Marcel’s initial suspicions, he and Jürgen soon form a deep bond as Marcel fights his demons to rebuild his shattered career. All the while, the Liberation approaches, bringing tragedy and glory in equal measure. Hopeless? Probably. After all, neither of them is supposed to fraternize with the enemy, yet they learn to respect and love each other anyway.
Hobbled by John Inman
Not only does Luke solve a few of Danny’s more urgent problems, he also manages to create a couple more that Danny never saw coming. Hobbled by John Inman, available from Dreamspinner Press.
Thanks to fate and his own lack of good sense, eighteen-year-old Danny Shay is headed into what looks to be the worst summer of his life. It starts with a minor meltdown at work that leaves Danny under house arrest with a cast on one leg and an ankle monitor on the other, courtesy of the San Diego Police Department. On top of that, he’s battling a chronic case of virginity, with no relief in sight.
Oh, and there’s one more little glitch. A serial killer is stalking the city, murdering young men. And when strange sounds are heard in the house behind Danny’s, the neighborhood kids think they’ve found the killer. But not until Danny learns he’s next on the madman’s list do things really begin to get desperate.
Damn! And Danny had plans to come out this summer—maybe even get laid! He doesn’t have time for ankle monitors and serial killers!
Then ginger-haired Luke Jamison moves in next door. Not only does Luke solve a few of Danny’s more urgent problems, he also manages to create a couple more that Danny never saw coming. Gee. If he can survive it, this summer might not be so bad after all.
June 9, 2013
And The Winners Are…
Trix For noting in “My Universe and Welcome to It,” that my character Javier Torres is in “Christmas Wish” and “Christmas Cole.” That was a contest!
Chris T. Kat is one of the people who told me a dream, and I her name was drawn out of a lucky hat.
Julanna, I pulled her name out of a hat for giving me a dream, and she also commenting like crazy.
Thanks all of you for showing up today and commenting. I will be contacting you soon!
Remember! Leap and the net will appear!
June 9, 2013
Thank you for joining me today. It has been an amazing dream come true. I think of all the times I’ve followed a DSP blog takeover and enjoyed myself and thought about how it would be neat-o if the day ever came when little ‘ol’ me got to do such a thing.
And now it’s actually happened. Another dream come true.
Next month I am actually going to be interviewed on the radio. And it will be on a San Francisco station, KRCB and the show streams live on www.krcb.org! OMG! I can’t even believe that. I probably want to live in The City by the Bay more than just about any place on Earth!
Maybe that’s next? It could happen.
I leave you with this essay I wrote when I discovered I was going to be the guest host on this blog.
Thank you for being here today.
Thank for reading my books!
And may you walk in beauty, balance and delight.
Going for Your Dreams: Leap, and the Net Will Appear
I’m here today to tell you this; reach for your dreams. It is never too late.
Just over three years ago I heard the inspirational speaker Dr Chris Michaels give a talk that changed my life. And with it being three years ago I will have to paraphrase. Please forgive me…
He asked us if there was something, that when we did it–whatever it was, made us feel connected to something powerful. Like we were plugged into electricity.
Maybe it’s dancing, or painting, or singing, or sewing. Maybe that thing is designing clothes or decorating a house–knowing the right colors and furniture and layout to make a house or room look amazing. Perhaps you’ve got a green thumb and flowers and plants go crazy at your touch. There are those that just see a picture in their minds and take a blank piece of paper and before you know it, they’ve drawn something wonderful. I’ve seen people on shows just make a song and sing it right out of their noggins.
Everyone has some gift. Fixing cars. Raising children. Cooking. Working with computers and making the damned things make sense. Games! Checkers and chess and video games just work for them. Those people who can throw a ball or make a goal.
And when we do that thing we are good at? We look back and look at what we did and think, “Wow! I did that? Me. I did that!”
Dr Michaels went on to say that that is what we were designed to do. By God, by the Universe, by some wild set of circumstances and evolution. Whatever.
The point is…each of us has a dream and that dream is associated with our gifts. There is a reason we have the dreams we have. That dream is with us because it is pointing the way, leading us, shepherding us to do what we are supposed to be doing.
I listened to Dr Michaels and I knew what I was supposed to be doing. I was supposed to be writing. I don’t know where the stories come from. And when I’m done writing them I look and say… I did that! I wrote that!
So I went home. And I wrote a story. It was called Soul of the Mummy. I sent it in.
And four days later I had a contract.
Since then I’ve sold short stories and novellas and three novels. All in three years.
This week my second novel, The Boy Who Came In From the Cold was released.
I tell you this not to brag. I tell you this because I want to spread the word.
You need to pursue your dreams! There is a reason you have those dreams. You are being pointed toward what you are supposed to be doing.
And if your aren’t doing it? Well, it’s not too late. Trust, Have faith.
Leap and the net will appear!
Pursue your dreams. It is never too late.
The author wishes to thank each and everyone of you for joining him today.
If you wish to purchase The Boy Who Came In From the Cold, you can find it at Dreamspinner Press here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=the+boy+who+came&osCsid=jdemskvuaphjhjlom9ik1ob206&x=0&y=0
Have a great day and remember, at Dreamspinner Press, dreams really do come true.
June 9, 2013
There is an interesting little phenomenon in romance literature…sequels very rarely sell as well as the original. There are exceptions! I know there are. But generally, it’s a fact. And there is one good reason.
People read romances to watch the heroes fall in love. Falling in love is one of life’s most amazing experiences. Reading about it brings back memories. Reading about it makes you feel good. Watching Jude and Tommy, Todd and Gabe, Austin and Guy (yes, that’s a hint!) fall in love is fun.
And oh, people say they want a sequel. They fall for a couple and want to know what happens next!
…do they really?
The book comes out and often the reader is disappointed, or worse. The couple is already in love. Watching them gush over each other gets strangely boring. There is no anticipation. No angst. The author frequently has to resort to breaking the couple up and then filling the story with the tension of whether they will get back together. By book three that is getting boring or irritating or even aggravating. And heaven forbid you put your reader through three or so books and then split the couple up, after all the reader has invested in time and emotions in the characters!
The solution? Have the characters exist in the same “Universe.” The same city. In my case it Kansas City—I know it so well after all—or my little town of Terra’s Gate—which is about thirty or forty minutes away. Many of them live in a big 100 year old apartment building called The Oscar Wilde. Many famous and award winning buildings were put up in KC around that time, and many of them named after contemporary authors. Like Mark Twain or Robert Luis Stephenson. How could I resist creating The Oscar Wilde?
So Bianca (for instance) from my popular little story, Bianca’s Plan, can pop up in
In my new novel—being silly and annoying and fun as before. She can also spread a little of her natural born wisdom. And Cody, from Christmas Wish shows up as well, assuring us that he and Harry are still going strong.
Not sequels at all—but nice peeks at characters that readers have enjoyed. And it give a greater continuity—and creates a better “world” in which we can willingly suspend our disbelief.
If I need my characters to go to a gay bar, why not the same one from another story. The Male Box is a fun place. After awhile, it can seem like a bar where “everyone knows your name.”
Here’s a little excerpt showing the ever meddlesome Bianca—the real star of Bianca’s Plan. Todd has decided to do some laundry, both his and Gabe’s. See what happens when he runs into the little…darling when he shows up with his wash…
“Hi,” said the little girl. She was lovely, with long brown hair, olive skin, and huge Disney-like brown eyes.
“Hi,” he said.
“I don’t know you,” she replied. “I’m Bianca. Are you new in the building?” She tossed her head, flipping her hair back.
“I-I’m staying with someone for a few days.” How did he explain it? Especially to a little girl?
“With who?” she asked and began to fold clothes.
Todd swallowed. Nosy thing, wasn’t she? “Gabe,” he replied and dumped the bag of laundry he’d brought down on one of the two long tables in the middle of the room. His jeans, sweater, socks, shoes, and briefs (the pair Gabe had seen him in, and he felt his face heat up). And in what had been a last minute thought, he’d grabbed the clothes in Gabe’s hamper. That turned out to be a pair of jeans, some sweats, two T-shirts, a hoodie, and socks and underwear. No dress slacks or shirts.
Dry cleaned probably. Of course.
“Really? Gabe is nice. I think he liked my daddy, but he took too long. He’s with Curtis now.”
Gabe was with Curtis? Wait. What? “Who is Curtis? Gabe has a boyfriend named Curtis?” The thought made his stomach drop.
She laughed. “No. Curtis is my daddy’s boyfriend.” She winked. “I got them together.”
“Your dad’s gay?” Todd asked.
She smiled. “Sure!”
Had he woken up in The Twilight Zone? A little girl who didn’t care that her dad was gay? What did she mean about…? “What do you mean you got them together?”
“I’m good,” she said. “Course they already liked each other. I just had to help them see it. Now I have two daddies.” She giggled. “You gonna do your clothes, or what?”
“What? Oh.” He cleared his throat, shook his head. He began to separate the clothes. There wasn’t a lot here, but he certainly didn’t want to mix whites with anything else. But then whites turned out to be nothing more than several pairs of socks and a pair of Hugo Boss boxer briefs. The pouch was pretty stretched out. God. Why was he even noticing something like that? He felt a shifting in his own underwear—except even those belonged to Gabe.
What was happening to him?
“Do you like Gabe?” the little girl asked.
Todd jerked his gaze away from the underwear. “What do you mean by that?”
She gave him a curious look. “Do you like him?”
“He’s nice,” Todd managed.
She waggled her eyebrows. “But do you like him?”
“I’m not gay,” he said.
She looked at him askance. “You’re not? You seem gay.”
“What do you mean?” He bristled.
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I just can tell. Well, usually. Maybe you’re bi?”
“What?” He really had fallen into The Twilight Zone!
“Bi. You know, you like boys and girls.”
“I like girls,” he cried, his stomach clenching.
She looked at him funny. “What’s your name again?”
“I didn’t say,” Todd answered and felt a trickle of sweat run down his side. He looked away and began shoving the clothes into two different washers.
“So are you an escaped criminal or something?” she asked.
He laughed and turned back to her. “No!”
“Then tell me your name. I’ll find out anyway.”
He looked at her, eyes wide, mouth wanting to fall open. “Fine,” he said. “I’m Todd.”
“You don’t have to be so touchy,” she said with a harrumph. “I’m just being friendly.” She folded one last shirt and put her clothes in a basket.
“Why aren’t you in school?” he snapped.
“Well, duh.” She rolled her eyes. “Snow day. You gonna put those underwear in there or just stare at it all day?” She turned on her heel, the toss of her hair surely no accident, and walked out.
“Sorry?” he called out. Then looked down at the underwear in his hand. A pair of Emporio Armani boxers. Didn’t Gabe have anything that came from Walmart? God. What a stupid question. He looked back in the washer… All sexy… He stared at the pair in his hand, so bright and colorful. Had he thought the pouch was stretched out on the other pair? How frigging hung was Gabe?
Then, not even knowing he was doing it, he brought the briefs up to his face, closed his eyes, and inhaled deeply. God. Gabe’s scent.
He threw them into the washer, slammed it, and quickly added the coins to start it up. Remembering the detergent, he added that as well, and then started the other machine. With that he dashed up out of the basement as if he were escaping a dungeon.
Okay! Another contest. For those of you familiar with my work, name a character that has shown up in at least two stories—Bianca and Cody not included. This could wind up winning you a copy of story from my backlog OR a ecopy of The Boy Who Came In From the Cold!
And if you can’t do that, could you tell me what this little guy represents in my Universe?
Until the last post….
June 9, 2013
All right, already. So some of you want some hotness. I hear you, and I obey..!
Well… Kind of.
As I am sure anyone knows who hasn’t read the book, my main hero—Todd—is going to realize that he is gay. Otherwise, there would be a book. At least not a happily-ever-after-romance-book. So it’s no spoiler that Todd and Gabe are gonna get to it.
So here is a little bit of that—a hint—a preview—because after all, I can’t give you the big (you should excuse the expression—climax, why else would you need to read the book?
So without further ado…
Gabe and Todd have had company for dinner. When the man—Peter Wagner—leaves, Todd comes to a revelation about his sexuality…
“I’m sorry about dinner,” Gabe said. “I wasn’t expecting Peter to drop in like—”
Todd shook his head. “No. Don’t. I don’t mind at all.” And interestingly, he didn’t. It was hard to remember his disappointment a few hours before when the man had first shown up. “What’s it like to have a friend like that in your life?” he asked.
Gabe propped his chin in his hand on the arm of the couch. “Well… pretty amazing actually.”
“You know what I think?” Todd said. “I think from the minute he walked in here, he looked like a man who just finished causing trouble and was waiting to be caught for it. I want to live my life that way.”
“He makes me want the same thing,” Gabe replied. “I don’t know where I would be today if he hadn’t helped me when he did.”
“Well, you helped him first.” Todd sat on the chair next to Gabe. “And something tells me you would have been okay anyway.”
“Maybe,” Gabe replied.
Todd took a deep breath, then let it out slowly. “What would I have done if you hadn’t helped me?” It was true. What would have happened? He might have died.
Gabe sat up and reached out and laid his hand on Todd’s. “Something tells me you would have been okay.”
Todd swallowed hard. He hoped so. “Maybe,” he said. “Maybe not.”
“Todd. Anything can happen if you set your mind to it.”
Looking at this handsome man, Todd thought that might be true. Imagine, ten years ago Gabe was going to spend the night in an alley, and today he had this apartment and a high-paying job and a man like Peter Wagner as his boss.
Todd looked down at the hand lying across his. So big. So masculine. Gabe’s hand almost dwarfed his own; even his fingers were manly. Their hands looked so different from when he held Joan’s. Her hand was so small. Todd’s gaze traveled up the length of Gabe’s arm, the light dusting of hair across its back, then the huge bicep and the sleeve of the red T-shirt stretched to encompass it. Then that chest. Massive. The word “Chiefs” was almost strained out of proportion over the man’s pectorals. Just one of them looked as big as Todd’s whole head. He remembered resting his face against it. Hard and soft at the same time. Nothing like Joan’s breasts.
His eyes moved up that huge chest and up Gabe’s neck—even it was corded with muscles. What must it be like to have a body like that? He would never be built like Gabe.
Finally he looked at Gabe’s face. So handsome. Gabe’s short dark-blond hair looked so soft, and Todd found himself wondering just what it would feel like. Todd almost leaned forward to touch it, but stopped himself.
They locked eyes and Todd trembled. That look. Those eyes.
What’s happening to me?
Todd felt his cock stir.
He remembered when Peter was here and how he’d looked at Gabe and how he’d suddenly wanted to crawl up into the man’s lap. Why not? It was the least he could do for this man who had helped him so much.
His cock stiffened, began to shift uncomfortably in his jeans. A slight moan escaped his lips.
“Are you okay, Todd?” his friend asked.
Todd stood, took a few steps until he stood between Gabe’s legs. His heart was pounding in his ears and he felt just a little light-headed. His erection filled and throbbed. Had Gabe seen it?
What are you doing?
What I want to do.
What about your step dad calling you a faggot?
Todd lifted a knee and then brought it to rest on the couch between Gabe’s open legs.
Then he climbed up into the man’s lap.
“Todd?” Gabe’s eyes grew alarmed. “What are you doing?”
Todd settled down, then pressed forward, his hard cock against Gabe’s abs. He moaned again.
“Todd!” Gabe sat up, and if Todd hadn’t reached out and grabbed Gabe’s shoulders, he might have been dumped on the floor. The move instead spread his legs wide, and then Gabe did see his erection. He saw Gabe’s eyes drop down and stop. He’s looking. Todd felt his cock throb again and yes, Gabe saw it.
“Todd….” Gabe looked up into his face. “What are you doing?”
“Thanking you,” Todd said. He leaned in and kissed Gabe.
Todd’s heart exploded. The kiss lasted only an instant, because before he could even attempt to open his mouth, Gabe was pushing him back. But in that minute Todd knew. He liked it.
Liked it in a way he’d never, ever, liked kissing Joan.
Suddenly Gabe was standing, his muscles easily lifting Todd and then setting him on his feet.
“No! I won’t have you do this.”
“No! I can’t.”
Todd was confused. He glanced down and—yes!—he could see. Gabe was getting hard as well, and was there ever a more sexy sight? He looked back into Gabe’s face. He knew the man wanted him. Why was he resisting? “Gabe. I—”
“No. You don’t understand. Todd—I-I can’t.” And with that he ran out of the room.
…and if you wanna know what happens next, you’re gonna have to read the book!
And I surely hope you do!
June 9, 2013
A big thing I talk about all the time is dreams—and their pursuit. And how dreams really can come true.
This last week an unbelievable dream came true for me, like something out of a Romance novel…
I was Number One on Amazon’s Gay & Lesbian Top 100. In fact I was number one on four of their lists. For a week!
What was also incredible was the company I spent that time with; such amazing and wondrous writers like Mary Calmes and Cardeno C. When you start reading gay romance, those are good names in which to start. I was so honored to meet Mary in Chicago last year. More than that, I “fell” for her as a person—I didn’t realize who she was at first. She was so personable, so kind and funny and sweet. Then I was like—Oh my goodness! This is Mary Calmes!
And here I am, a year later, at the top with Mary Calmes! And Cardeno C. How is this possible???
The star of The Boy Who Came In From the Cold, Todd Burton, has some dreams, the number one being he wants to be a chef. He has the natural ability to just know what spice and ingredients will taste well together. His dream is one of the reasons he flees the tiny town of Buckman. Things don’t go so well for him though… Just check out this excerpt…
“Todd,” said Gabe. “I know this looks like the end of the world, but the years I have on you mean I can tell you this. It gets better. Things will get better.”
“Oh yeah,” Todd said, trying to swallow the sarcasm.
“A good night’s sleep and everything will be better in the morning.”
That was it. Todd snapped. “Better in the morning? Better? How’s it going to be better? Tell me!” He stared at the man.
Gabe didn’t say anything right away. Of course not. What could he say? Was he going to give him some new age bullshit about how the sun always rises in the morning?
“Do you know the son of a bitch that locked me out of my apartment has all my stuff? Did I tell you that? He won’t even let me have my clothes.”
“Jesus,” Gabe whispered.
“He’s got my laptop. Everything is on my laptop. Stuff I can’t replace. Screw the other shit…but my laptop! My pictures. My music. But most of all, my recipes.”
“I’d assume going home isn’t an option?”
“No way. I can’t. I can not. It’s not pride either, if that’s what you’re thinking. My parents—Mom, my frigging stepdad—told me if I left I can’t come back. Can you believe that? I’m twenty. You move out by the time you’re twenty. It’s normal. Most kids move out when they’re eighteen. Most of my classmates have kids already.” Todd looked away. “My stepdad says only faggots want to be chefs. He said that if I went to Kansas City, I’d be nothing but a dirty cocksucker in no time, and he didn’t want a cocksucker in his house. His house? It’s my mom’s house.” Todd took a shaking breath. “I left anyway. I couldn’t live with him anymore and I didn’t want to live with Joan.”
“My girlfriend.” He laughed. “Yeah, right.” Except….
Except somewhere along the line it all went wrong, didn’t it? When we decided it was time to be doing what everyone else was doing? And when she….
“So you came to Kansas City to learn to cook?”
Todd raised an eyebrow. “Oh, I know how to cook,” he said, nodding emphatically. “I may have only worked at a Pizza Hut and a McDonalds, but I know how to cook. What I need are the certificates. A school. I wanted to learn from Izar Goya. Boy did I want to. But she wouldn’t take me.”
“The chef of Izar’s Jatetxea?”
“You’ve heard of her?” Todd asked, surprised.
“Of course. I didn’t know she teaches, though.”
“She doesn’t. Not really. She has a show, and I watch it and do what she’s doing, and sometimes it turns out great and sometimes it doesn’t. How can you learn by watching on TV? You can’t smell or taste or feel what they’re doing. I need someone to watch over me. I was hoping I could talk her into it. But she threw me out of her restaurant.”
Gabe sighed and shook his head.
“So I went with my backup plan. I checked out the culinary schools and realized I hadn’t saved up near enough money. I did find a school that’s all but free if you can show that you need financial help. I filled out all these forms and shit, proved how poor I am? It’s part of those programs where they want to help people start a career. Cooking basics and stuff like that. But the waiting list is like a year long…”
“… and before I knew it I didn’t have any money left.”
“Surely you could get a job as a cook somewhere. You said Mickey D’s?”
“Chubby’s. Someplace. Aren’t small restaurants always looking for cooks?” Gabe asked.
“I worked for McDonalds until they fired me for being late. Once. My van broke down. It was a piece of shit, but it was mine.” He paused, looked into Gabe’s amazing blue eyes, felt his heart speed up, and found himself blushing for about the hundredth time in the last hour or so…
Todd found every dream he had crashing to the ground.
But dear reader…sometimes we have to be brought to our lowest, before we can rise to the top…
And now, comment here for another chance to win my new book!
Nicole Pierce Photography
June 9, 2013
Recently in the wondrous author SJD Peterson’s blog, I was asked where I got the idea for my new novel The Boy Who Came In From the Cold.
I hope she doesn’t mind when I re-post my answer right here:
Years ago I used to live in this apartment in the “wrong” area of town. I actually knew the prostitutes by face if not name (most of which were men dressed as women). One awful snowy night my roommate and I got home to what looked like a hustler hanging out in the tiny lobby—someone had let him in out of the cold. He said he was waiting for a ride. Our hearts went out to him, but this was a hustler after all, and how could we trust him to let him into our apartment?
But once we got upstairs I couldn’t stop thinking about him. How could I assume he was for sale? Maybe he was waiting for a ride. Who knew besides him what his story was? I had never seen him before. Maybe he really was some poor kid down on his luck. I had certainly been down on my luck before.
So we took him some hot chocolate, but he was gone. I hope he got his ride. I certainly never saw him again.
At the time I was writing “adult stories” for magazines like “Torso,” “FirstHand,” “Bunkhouse,” and more, and I got the idea for my story from what had happened with that young man. I wrote it, it was quite a romantic little piece, and sent it off. And what should happen? They wanted me to cut out all that romance and get to the nitty-gritty. It seems that’s all the magazines wanted in those days. And the tale wasn’t even 5 thousand words! It was heart breaking.
As the years passed, I never forgot Todd and Gabe, my heroes. And they never let me forget about them. Then MM Romances arrived (thank God!) and one day I knew the time had finally come for me to tell their story. I dusted off that old manuscript and turned it into the considerably longer story it deserved to be. What Todd and Gabe deserved, with the complexity of their hurts and wounds, their emotions, their falling in love, and their overcoming their fear of falling in love. I don’t want to explain any more because that is a big part of the novel. But that is how the book came to be!
And there you are…the birth of The Boy Who Came In From the Cold.
And you know, those days and that apartment building have inspired many a tale, including the spin-off of my present novel… *G*
So!! Now the first excerpt…
It was cold outside. It was really cold. Freezing cold.
Todd Burton, freezing himself, watched as a man with a big industrial broom swept what was an obviously already shoveled sidewalk. The snow was falling harder than ever and was piled everywhere.
Jeez, it’s snowing like a son of a bitch out there. Todd glanced nervously over his shoulder into the lobby of the apartment building. No one seemed to be watching him.
What the hell am I going to do?
If this had happened to him a week ago, it wouldn’t have been so bad. Not good. But not nearly as bad. Luckily, one of the building’s residents had let him in out of the cold in the first place. A big guy–good-looking, tall and wide—wearing a long woolen (and obviously warm) coat.
Todd would have done almost anything for that coat. His pale-tan lightweight fall jacket barely kept out the chill of late autumn. It didn’t stand a chance against the snowstorm outside the warm lobby.
“You’ll wear it and like it,” his mother had screamed. “We ain’t made of money!”
If he hadn’t chosen to wear a sweater to the New Year’s Eve party last night, he didn’t know what he would have done. It was the only thing keeping him from being chilled to the bone. His gloves were a joke—the simple one-size-fits-all type bought at Family Dollar, with a hat purchased at the same place—and all but useless. He might as well have been naked.
So it had been a stroke of luck when the big man had asked Todd why he was standing under the awning of the Oscar Wilde apartment building.
“Waiting for a ride,” Todd replied, even though it was a lie. He was no more waiting for a ride than he was waiting for the results of a pregnancy test. But it got him out of the frigging cold. Todd flexed his wet toes in the confines of sneakers worn to death. His feet were still frozen and aching after nearly an hour. Lord yes, his toes hurt.
“What am I going to do?” he muttered as the snow, abundant as the feathers from a high-school-girls’ pillow fight, fell thickly to the ground. Icicles, looking like the teeth of some primeval creature, hung just outside the large plate-glass windows. I’d hate to be the poor guy that one of those fell on.
“Still waiting?” came a voice from behind Todd, and, startled, he jumped and let out a cry. He spun around and found himself gazing up into the face of the man who’d let him into the building. No longer in his winter wear (where was that coat?), the man had changed into jogging shorts and a T-shirt that stretched over a massive chest and proclaimed that he was 2CUTE2BSTR8.
It took Todd a moment to figure it out, but when he did, his mouth dropped open. Too cute to be straight. The guy was queer. It was a little more than Todd’s small-town naïveté could take in. This guy? A fag? It just didn’t seem possible. The guy was a powerhouse. A total class-A stud. This was no swishy, limp-wristed, pink-wearing gay boy.
The man eyed him suspiciously, and Todd realized he needed to say something. “Uh-uh, yeah, I don’t know what’s taking… uh, George… so long.”
Piss. Did I actually say “uh George”?
The man nodded, went to retrieve his mail, and on his way back, stopped again and looked Todd up and down. But this time his gaze lingered just a bit. Todd felt his stomach give a weird sort of flip-flop.
“Look,” said the man. “Watch yourself, okay? The building manager has been known to have a shit fit when hustlers come in the building for, well, whatever they come in here for. Just don’t get caught.”
Todd stiffened. Hustlers? Did this guy think he was looking to sell himself? Before he could think of how to respond, the man crossed the lobby and disappeared into the elevator.
He thinks I’m for sale! Todd shook his head. Cursed under his breath. Do I look like a hustler? he wondered and thought about the boys who sold themselves in the park. Maybe I do, he realized, horrified.
Todd thought of the man who had let him into the building. That coat hadn’t come from Wal-Mart.
There was the pinging from the elevator as the doors opened, and speak of the devil, it was the same man. He was carrying what looked like a plate and a mug and was heading in Todd’s direction. When he got closer, the wondrous aroma of coffee hit Todd and he saw the man had a sandwich as well. To Todd’s surprise, the man handed them both over. His mouth fell open. The day had been one of the shittiest ever in a year of total shit. And here, out of the blue, a complete stranger was showing some small-town kindness?
Todd only hesitated for a second, all but snatched the food and coffee from the man, sat down on the windowsill, and practically gulped everything down. Both were a relief beyond words. He ate the food so fast he barely tasted it. Oh! And the coffee filled him with a warmth that finally let him shake off the cold that had plagued him all day. He actually gave a shiver as it lifted.
“I’m Gabe,” said the man.
With only a few bites left, Todd nodded but didn’t offer his own name.
“What are you doing out in this weather, anyway?” Gabe asked.
Todd stopped chewing. Boy, was that a question and a half. He swallowed hard. How did he explain it? It was awful. He was ashamed. How did he tell a complete stranger that he felt like a total failure?
Todd gave the guy a quick look, then a longer one. The guy was huge. A good head taller, at least, than Todd’s five foot nine and downright massive: really built. He obviously worked out. A lot. Like the guys in the muscle mags that Todd collected. Gabe’s pecs looked as big as dinner plates, and Todd could see the man’s abs even through his shirt. His waist seemed almost as small, his hips as narrow, as Todd’s, impossible as that should be.
And good-looking. Really good-looking. The man had short light brown hair and light blue eyes (the color of a country summer sky) and a face like a movie star. This guy could have any woman he wanted. Why had he chosen to go gay?
“Okay, so if you don’t want me to know—”
Know? Know what? Did I miss something?
“—can I at least get that name?”
What the hell? “Why do you need to know?”
Gabe shook his head. “Okay, Mr. Uh Todd Whydoyouneedtoknow, I’ll leave you alone.”
The man started to turn away, and suddenly, Todd didn’t want Gabe to leave. “I was kicked out of my apartment,” he cried out in a rush.
Gabe stopped, turned back.
“Surprised the shit out of me too. Got home this morning from a New Year’s party, and the lock had been changed.”
Gabe’s eyes widened just a bit. “Damn.”
“What kind of asshole kicks someone out on the streets in this kind of weather?” Todd asked. He began to wring his hands. “I thought there were laws that protected you from that.”
“I believe there are, but that’s not going to do you any good right now,” Gabe said.
“No shit.” Todd sighed. “You really queer?” he asked without thinking. His lack of a filter from thought to spoken word had bounced him against the walls of authority all his life.
“The word is ‘gay’,” Gabe said, “and yes I am.”
Gay and proud of it, Todd thought with wonder. “Sorry,” he said and meant it. After all, the guy had helped him when no one else would. So what if he chose to fuck a dude instead of a girl? It was his choice.
Gabe crossed his arms over that expanse of chest. “You got a place to stay? A friend?”
Todd felt the last of his strength leave him and his shoulders slumped in defeat. “No.”
“What about the friends you partied with last night?”
“No way.” The people at that party hadn’t been his friends.
There was a pause, and Gabe looked him up and down once more. Not rudely, but it made Todd feel weird anyway. He couldn’t quite describe the feeling. The guy wasn’t drooling or any fucking thing like that, but still…. Gabe was a guy. And despite parades and gay marriage, the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and gay and lesbian support groups in high schools, men with men wasn’t anything he was used to. The guy seemed nice. Had given him food. Gabe had shown him more kindness than anyone else in this fucking city, so—
“Look,” said the big man, “I’ve never paid for it, but you’re awfully cute, and it would give you a place to stay for the night, and….”
Todd started. “What?”
“I mean it’s not going to be like Pretty Woman, where I have to pay extra to get you to stay the night, right? I mean, I’m getting you out of the snow and—”
“I’m not a whore,” Todd snarled. “And I’m not a fucking queer.”
Gabe’s face froze, his warmth vanishing as if it had never been there. He reached out and took Todd’s now empty mug. “Good luck,” he said, voice icy. “And like I said, don’t let the building manager catch you, or you’ll be back out on the street, blizzard or not.” Gabe turned and strode back to the elevator without looking back.
Great. Shit. Why did I do that? “I gotta stop losing it,” he said aloud. I could have just told him I’m not gay, not a hustler. The guy—
Gabe—was nice. He would have taken no for an answer. Todd turned back to look out the lobby windows. Gasped. The snow, which had been coming down hard, was now a writhing wall of white.
He looked back to the elevator. But Gabe was gone, of course.
Now what am I going to do?
Leave a comment here for a second chance at winning a copy of my novel The Boy Who Came In From the Cold!
June 9, 2013
Greeting and Salutations!
This is B.G. Thomas and I am so pleased to be here today and so happy Dreamspinner Press gave me this opportunity. DSP is pretty amazing, which I am sure you already know–but I have been quite lucky to get to know a lot of people on staff and it is pretty obvious what makes them so successful. They are good people, and you reap what you sow. These people believe in their authors and put their interests at number one. What an wondrous publisher to work with!
Heck! Just look at the cover for my book! I am so happy. Aaron Anderson did such an incredible job. I let DSP know what I was thinking for a cover and they used that, did something close, but much better. I even asked them to come up with some changes and they gladly did. Did you know even Stephen King had pretty much no say on his covers? Stephen King! One of the best selling authors in the world. Yet DSP keeps its authors happy.
I have wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. I was making up my own stories from a very early age, and illustrating them as well. When I would play with the kids, I would somehow become writer and director even then. We just didn’t look for buried treasure–I had a cool little treasure chest and would hide it and make a map and soon we were playing a game to look for “real” treasure. It helped that my grandmother provided old costume jewelry she found at garage sales and second hand stores.
What a dream to finally be doing what I’ve always wanted to do! I waited long enough. I won’t tell you how many years, but I will say I have a grown daughter. Of course I was two when she was born…
….you don’t believe me? Darn! Well, I hope my books are more believable.
You know I am here to tell you that it is NEVER too late to pursue your dreams. Never, ever.
We have dreams for a reason, you know? They are our compass to what we are supposed to be doing. I have always been happiest when I write, and my dream was to be able to share those stories. And forever I didn’t believe in myself. I’ve been in some bad relationships and abused mentally and emotionally for so long I just didn’t believe in myself at all…
Then I started to. I worked at it. I decided I would rather live in a cardboard box in an alley rather than live with the man who had been treating me so bad for years. To be alone forever!
Guess what? I met my present husband less than six months later. And here we are working on our thirteenth year. The man is amazing! Incredible! He has been there for me always. Through operations and job losses and best friends dying as well as my father. He gets very frustrated with how little housework I do–when I am not at my Evil Day Job, I am writing. But he loves and supports me and I dedicated my first novel and first sale to him.
Anyway–he made it safe for me to really believe I wasn’t all those horrible things that my ex said about me, and to have the courage to send in my very first submission. It was called Soul of the Mummy and it sold in four days!
Talk about dreams coming true! And now The Boy Who Came In From the Cold, my second novel, has been released. Wow!
I don’t know how life could get better than this.
But I believe in myself so I am betting it will!
I want to tell you now that it is NEVER too late to pursue your dreams–not if you are thirty or forty or fifty or sixty or more! How old was Grandma Moses before she ever picked up her brush.
Do it! Leap! The net WILL appear.
And for anyone who made it this far, tell me a dream, one that has come true or not as yet, and you will be eligible for a free copy of my new book, The Boy Who Came In From the Cold, all about a young man who pursues his dreams and how they finally come true.
Hell, that was no spoiler. This is Romance! You know it will have a happily ever after ending.