Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekly Prompt-Fist Fight-Featuring Mickey from "The Sacrifices We Make"

Hello everyone! There are only three days left until "The Sacrifices We Make" is released by Harmony Ink Press. To celebrate its upcoming release, I have written a special free read featuring one of my main characters Mickey Stafford. This story is set before the events of the novel, so there are no spoilers. However, I'm hoping that it will offer you a little more back story on Mickey, which you may not get since the book is written from Adam's POV. But as special as this story is, I still got my inspiration from Brynn Stein. You can find the original prompt and the other responses here. Enjoy!

Figuring Out Life on the Streets

Mickey had seen a lot of crap in the four days he had been living on the streets, but nothing quite like this. Peeking around the corner of the dumpster he was hiding behind, Mickey watched as the smaller man fell down on the ground with the force of the other’s blows. The smaller man let out a groan as he curled into a ball, trying to protect his face.

Mickey watched for a few more seconds before huddling back behind the dumpster, unable to watch anymore. He pulled his jacket back up around his body, as if trying to stop the chill that cut through his soul.

There was so much violence out here. Mickey had no idea that all of this was going on. Prostitution, drug deals, bounty hunters, gang violence. All of it was so blatant, so in your face. Like tonight. Mickey was just trying to get some sleep when the sounds of this fight broke out down the street. He suspected it was a gang dispute, considering the distinctive tattoos on both of their exposed arms.

Mickey stayed huddled in his little spot of land, waiting for the sounds of the fight to end. It seemed like forever, but finally it did. Mickey tried to get smaller as he heard footsteps coming towards him. The large man walked right by him, blood clearly visible on his knuckles even in the low light.

Once Mickey was certain he was gone, he crawled out from behind his dumpster. He was a little scared the man would come back, but he felt compelled to check on the victim.

Despite a lack of medical training, it didn’t take Mickey long to figure out that the smaller man was dead. At first Mickey couldn’t understand how someone could die from a fist fight, but then he saw a small pool of blood pouring out of the man. Since he didn’t hear a gunshot, he figured it must have been a knife.

Knowing that there was nothing he could do, Mickey went back to his spot, tears starting to form. He hated this. Hated it so much. There was so much pain and violence out here and there was nothing he could do to prevent it. Hell, he couldn’t even protect himself.

As he huddled up in a small ball, Mickey wished for the millionth time that his parents hadn’t kicked him out. He was only seventeen. He had no business being out on the street.

Slowly, the tears started to dry as Mickey ran out of energy to cry. He had cried so much over the last few days, thinking about everything he had lost and the despair of this new life.

Just as he was about ready to fall into an uneasy sleep, he heard sounds coming down from the other end of the alley. Peeking around the corner, he saw a few other men standing around the dead man. One of the taller ones pulled a gun out of the back of his pants and cocked it. Yeah, he was right. Gang violence.

Mickey huddled back in the corner and tried to ignore what was going on down the street. Tomorrow he would get up and leave this place. There was just too much violence here. Maybe soon he would find a place where he could feel safe enough to sleep through a whole night. He hoped so at least; he was getting very tired. Tired of everything. Of the running, the violence, the pain. But there was nothing he could do. He had to keep fighting and hope that one day things would get better. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Blog Tour for "The Sacrifices We Make"

Today I am very happy to announce the Blog Tour Schedule for The Sacrifices We Make. There will be FIVE giveaways with this tour, two of which will be done right here. Be sure to check back here all tour long to get the most up-to-date information.

October 2, 2013-Kick-off Post at Sophie’s Blog with GIVEAWAY Information.
October 3, 2013-Interview with Juan Alvarado
October 4, 2013-Guest Post on Cody Kennedy’s blog
October 6, 2013-Interview with Skylar M. Cates
October 7, 2013-Interview on True Colorz
October 8, 2013-Guest Post on Jana Denardo’s Blog
October 9, 2013-First week reactions with GIVEAWAY information on Sophie’s blog
October 10, 2013-Guest Post on Andrew Q. Gordon’s Blog
October 12, 2013-Guest Post on Hearts on Fire
October 13, 2013-Guest Post on Madison Parker’s Blog
October 13, 2013-Chat with Sophie on Facebook from 5-8 PM EST
October 15, 2013-Interview with Greedy Bug
October 16, 2013-Guest Post with GIVEAWAY on The Novel Approach
October 20, 2013-GIVEAWAY on Boys on the Brink
October 21, 2013-Review on Boys on the Brink
October 23, 2013-Guest Post on Chris T. Kat’s Blog
October 23, 2013-Interview on Boys on the Brink
October 25, 2013-Exercept on Boys on the Brink
October 30, 2013-Guest Post with GIVEAWAY on Joyfully Jay
October 31, 2013-Guest Post on JP Barnaby’s Blog
November 4, 2013-Guest Post on Brynn Stein’s Blog
November 5, 2013-End of Tour post on Sophie’s blog

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekly Prompt-Injury

I hope that everyone enjoys this week's free read. Be sure to check out the original prompt here

The Phone Call

It’s the phone call everyone dreads. The one that says your loved one is in the hospital. No information. No knowledge if they’re alive or dead. Just a simple statement. We need to you to come down here.

Ray couldn’t remember when he’d been more scared. He knew he should have sprung into action as soon as the call was disconnected, but somehow he couldn’t move. His husband was in the hospital. Car accident. No other news. Just that.

Fear spiked through Ray’s gut. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Bart was the love of his life. His rock. He didn’t know how he could go on if something happened to his man. They had been together for ten years now, ever since law school.

Ray and Bart had been study partners that first year. Bart was a genius, with a knack for remembering all kinds of important cases. Ray, not so much. It didn’t take long for Ray and Bart to fall in love and even less time for Ray to realize that Bart was his savior.

For ten years, Bart acted as Ray’s rock. Supporting him through the tough times, letting Ray cry on his shoulder. But now…

Ray felt tears pour down his face as he rushed to his SUV. Memories of their life together flashed through Ray’s mind as he drove as fast as he could to the one he loved.

Ray didn’t even remember the drive as he pulled up to the hospital. He just jumped out and threw his keys to the valet. The teen looked a little startled but he was probably used to it. Ray didn’t care.

He ran inside as fast as his legs could carry him, heading straight for the receptionist desk.

“Bart Wilkinson. Where is he?”

The old woman looked up at Ray, concern in her eyes. She consulted her computer, but it wasn’t fast enough for Ray, who just wanted to push her out of the way.

“He’s still being tended to down in the ER.”

The receptionist looked like she was going to say more, but Ray just started running. He’d never been in this hospital before, but the signs made it easy enough to find.

Ray raced down hall after hall before arriving in a large waiting room, people of all ages scattered around the space. Ray only noticed them in passing as he headed straight for the triage desk. The nurse manning the desk gave him no trouble about seeing his husband, which was good because Ray couldn’t have waited any longer.

Ray held his breath as he walked down the hall behind the nurse. No one had told him much of anything so he wasn’t sure what he would find at the end of the long hallway. Would he find Bart in a coma? On a ventilator? Worse?

Soon the nurse stopped in front of an open door and motioned for him to go inside. But Ray paused. He had moved at lightning speed to get here, and now that he was, his legs were like stone.

But as scared as he was, Ray knew that he had to know what lay inside. Taking a deep breath, Ray walked inside.

“Baby. Damn, you got here fast.”

Ray smiled at the sound of his husband’s voice. Relief coursed through every cell in his body. Bart was sitting up in bed with a smile on his face. Ray saw a couple of bruises on his husband’s scruffy face, but otherwise he looked okay. No casts, ventilators, or anything else.

“Ray, baby. What’s wrong? You’re crying.”

Ray reached a hand up and found that Bart was right. He was crying. Without a word, Ray crossed the space separating them and fell onto the bed, into his husband’s waiting arms.

“Shh, baby. I’m okay.”

“I didn’t know. They didn’t tell me anything. I thought you were in a coma or something.”

“What, no! Ray, I’m okay. The doctors think I have a concussion so they want to keep me for some tests. And I sprained my wrist,” Bart said as he held up his wrist, which was now sporting a black brace. “But, otherwise, I just have some bruises. Nothing major. The doctor said I’ll be able to go home tomorrow.”

“You’re sure?”

“Of course I’m sure. I can’t let anything happen to me. Who would take care of you if you didn’t have me?”

“No one,” Ray whispered in his man’s chest.

“You got that right. Although, I think that it’s going to be you who has to take care of me for awhile. At least until the brace comes off.”

Ray looked up into his husband’s eyes. “I can do that. It’s about time I take care of you.”

“You’ve always taken care of me, babe. In sickness and in health.”

Ray smiled as he gazed into his husband’s blue eyes. “In sickness and in health.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekly Prompt-Past Love

Here is this week's free read. You can check out the original prompt and the other responses here. Enjoy!

A Glimpse from the Past

I was waiting outside of the local Starbucks when I first saw him. He was across the street waiting for the bus stop. He looked a little bit older and had put on a little bit on weight, but I knew in a heartbeat it was him. I would know Lloyd Bennett anywhere.

Lloyd was my first true love. We met in college during our freshmen orientation class. Eight years later, I still maintain that freshmen orientation is one of the most traumatic things a person can go through. Lloyd was just as freaked out as I was and we immediately connected.

But it didn’t stop there. By the end of our first semester, we were best friends. We went everywhere together. All of our meals were planned out so we could meet up by our regular table. We begged our Resident Advisors to let us switch rooms so we could live together. We never went to a party alone. Hell, we even tried to make our trips home on the same weekend so we didn’t have to spend days in the room by ourselves.

By the time that finals rolled around that first semester, I started feeling guilty about hiding my sexuality. We shared everything, so why not this? So I came out. To my great surprise, he was gay too. It didn’t take long before we were officially an item.

For three years, we were like peanut butter and jelly. Meant to be together.

But as graduation neared, things started to fall apart. I wanted to get out of school and start a career. He wanted to go to grad school. I wanted to get a place together. He wanted to live on-campus to save money. We started fighting more and more and having sex less and less. There were no more soft caresses and sudden kisses. Everything was so forced.

By the time we got our degrees, I think that we both knew it was over between us. It hurt so much. I loved Lloyd with everything that I had in me. I still did. The fact that our love was being ripped apart by a difference in life views made me really upset. But even through all the tears and all the pain, I knew the only thing to do was to let him go. Lloyd wanted certain things out of his life. So did I. It wasn’t right that we hold each other back. We both deserved someone who could help us in what we wanted to do, not slow us down.

The first month without Lloyd was the hardest. I think I cried myself to sleep every night. It wasn’t just the loss of my lover. I’d lost my best friend too. There were so many times when I thought about picking up the phone and begging him to take me back. But I never did.

But looking across the street, I felt like a weight was lifted. I hadn’t seen Lloyd since graduation. He looked good, happy. And as much as I hated to admit it then, I’m not sure he would be looking so carefree if we were together. I don’t know if I would be.

I watched as he pulled out his cell phone and smiled as he read a text. I saw the pearly whites of his teeth even from here. Yes, definitely happy.

 I thought about going over there and saying hi, but the thought quickly left my mind. No point in rehashing the past. Because that’s all we have between us now. Besides…


A huge grin broke onto my face as I turn to see Hal walking towards me. All thoughts of Lloyd left my head as my boyfriend takes me into his strong arms.

We broke apart after a minute not wanting to cause a scene out in public, but as I looked up into his eyes, I could still clearly see the love he had for me.

“Hey, babe,” I said quietly.

“Hey. Sorry, I’m late. Traffic was awful. Should we go get our coffee?”

“Sure.” I took Hal’s hand in mine, but I couldn’t help but spare a quick glance across the street where Lloyd was. But he’s not there anymore.

“Something wrong,” Hal asked, as he sees me turn around.

“Nope,” I said with a grin as I started to lead us into the coffee shop. Lloyd may have been my world once, but now I had Hal. He was my future. And I couldn’t have been happier about that. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Coming Soon!

Coming soon to a home (or Kindle, Nook, etc.) near you:

Adam Jameson has always felt like an outsider in his own home, where his parent's constant efforts to instill religious fervor have instead filled him with fear. Most of the time, he just wants to stay out of everybody's way. But when Adam is forced to volunteer at a homeless shelter his senior year in high school, everything changes. He's introduced to people who care about more than religion and, as a result, he starts to come out of his shell. For the first time in his life, Adam finds people that he wants to be around.
Mickey Stafford lives on the streets, a teen kicked out by his parents for being gay. He comes to the shelter for food and medical care, and after they literally run into each other, the two boys strike up a relationship. As Mickey introduces his new friend to the world he lives in, Adam starts to question everything: his parents, their religion, even his own beliefs. Once Mickey kisses him, Adam starts soul-searching and finds his heart, which is full of love for Mickey. But these two young men will have their love put to the test, as they face a future of uncertainty and fear. 

YES! You have read that correctly. The Sacrifices we Make is coming soon. The book will be released on October 3rd. But you can order it right now! You can find the book on Dreamspinner Press's Coming Soon Page, which can be found here. You can also check out the ebook and paperback versions on the site. And if that wasn't enough, the first 20 paperbacks sold on the site with be autographed by me!
So get your copy now!

Also make sure that you keep watching this sites for important information on my upcoming blog tour. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekly Prompt-"It was a Dark and Stormy Night"

Here is this week's free read. Check out the original prompt and the other responses here. Enjoy!

Overcoming Obstacles

Colin sat staring at the cursor blinking in the word processing program. Mocking him and his inability to write words. Colin hated writer’s block. Hated it with a passion. He was a writer, dammit. He should be able to overcome this.

“Honey, I’m home.”

Despite his frustration, Colin couldn’t help but smile at the sound of his boyfriend coming home from work.

“I’m in the office.”

Mark walked through the doorway a second later, still looking as hot as ever in his black business suit. His hair was still slick from the hair gel he insisted on wearing, but it did nothing to damper his natural beauty.

“Hey babe,” he said with a smile on his lips and a twinkle in his blue eyes.


Mark walked over and gave his boyfriend a kiss on the lips. Colin gave a soft sigh at the gentleness of the kiss.

“How was your day?”

Colin groaned at his boyfriend’s question, as it brought back all the horrors of the day.

“That bad?”

Without replying, Colin turned his laptop screen so his man could read the words on the page.

“It was a dark and stormy night,” Mark read from the page. “Isn’t that the first line of a novel already?”

“Yes,” Colin groaned out in frustration. “But I can’t think of anything. I’ve been staring at the damn screen for the last three hours, trying to come up with something, but I can’t.”

“You’re trying too hard.”

“I know. But there’s a story in my head and I want to write it. I just can’t figure out how to start it.”

“Come with me.”


“Come. With. Me.”

Skeptical, Colin took Mark’s hand. Mark silently led him out of the house and outside. Colin had to squint against the brightness of the sun as they stepped onto the wooden porch the surrounded the front part of their colonial house.

“Mark. What are we doing outside?”

“You need a break. Something away from a computer screen. So we’re taking a walk.”

Colin was skeptical as Mark led him down their sidewalk. He really hated being outdoors and he had to get some work done. But Colin had learn in their five years together that when Mark was as determined to do something as he was now, it was best just to go along with it.

Slowly, they walked through the town, still hand in hand. Colin found that it was a nice walk, but he couldn’t get his mind off work. He needed to get back to writing.

Finally, Mark led him to the large park in the middle of their town.

“You brought me to a park.”



Mark got a sly grin on his face before letting go of Colin’s hand and racing down the path. Colin stood shell-shocked for a minute, not knowing what was going on.

Mark must have got the feeling that he wasn’t being chased, because after he ran about fifty feet, he slowed down and turned around.

“Well, are you going to chase me or what?”

“Why would I do that?”

“Because it’s fun.” With that simple explanation, Mark turned and started running again.

Colin thought for a minute before shrugging his shoulders and running. They weren’t going to be leaving until Mark got his way so he might has well play along. Colin took off running. Mark must have heard him take off after him, because he sped up.

Colin lost track of how long he followed his boyfriend around the park. He caught Mark a couple of times, but Mark would just give him a quick peck on the lips before running again. They ran on the path most of the times, but every once in a while Mark would veer off into the grass, ducking around trees to avoid Colin.

Finally, Colin couldn’t run anymore. He sunk onto a bench, Mark smiling at him about ten feet away. He was waiting to see if Colin could keep going. When he realized Colin was done, Mark came over to the bench and sat down next to him.

“So what was that,” Colin asked once he had his breath back.


“Why did we just run all over this park?”

“Let me answer your question with a question. When did you stop thinking about your novel?”

Colin opened his mouth to answer, but no words came out. Mark was right. He hadn’t thought of his novel in the last twenty minutes, at least. But just as he thought of the novel, he had a breakthrough, inspiration washing over him in a wave.

“We need to go home. I need to get this down.”

“That is why I ran you around the park.”

Colin gave Mark a smile and a quick kiss. He had the best man ever. Who else would have thought writer’s block could be cured by a run around a park? Now he knew exactly how he was going to start his novel. And there wasn’t going to be a storm in sight.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Progress in a New World

So I made great progress on Journey to Xibalta over my weekend. (For those who are confused, I worked Friday-Tuesday, so Wednesday and Thursday make up my weekend.) Anyway, I wrote about 13,000 words and three complete chapters. Considering I spent a lot of time relaxing and watching TV, I'm really pleased. The book is going really well. The main characters have landed on Xibalta and are starting to explore. I'm having a lot of fun having my MC explore this new world. My only problem is the book is starting to veer from my original outline. So I think I'm going to have to tweak the middle part of the book oulune. That shouldn't be too hard, though. This one is going much smoother than MWMGML, which makes me very happy. At this rate, I could have Journey done before Thanksgiving.

In other news, I just got the cover for Sacrifices. It's amazing. Aaron Anderson did a fantastic job. I can't wait to show everyone in the near future. Keep looking here for more updates.

Okay, so I have to get up for work in a little over four hours, so I should go to sleep. Have a nice Friday everyone!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Weekly Prompt-In Sickness and In Health

Here's this week's free read. Check out the original prompt and the rest of the responses here

“Life’s Little Troubles”

I pull my car into the driveway, a smile on my face. As much as I love my job, it’s always nice to come home at the end of the day. Especially when I have an amazing family to come home to.

When I was a teenager, I never thought that it was possible for a gay kid to live happily ever after. And yet here it is. Married to the man of his dreams with a sweet little boy that we can raise as our own. Yep, life is good.

But my happiness fades as I open the door into the house. Little Aiden is screaming and crying for all it’s worth. That’s very unusual. Aiden is a happy little boy. Curious, I walk farther into the house, following the cries. As soon as I walk into the living room, my heart breaks. Joey is lightly bouncing and swaying our two-year old son, tears running down both their faces.

“Steve! Thank God, you’re home! Something’s wrong with Aiden.”

My heart skips a beat at his husband’s broken words. Without a moment of hesitation, I walk over to my small family and wrap my arms gently around the two of them. Aiden doesn’t seem to notice, still screaming his heart out, but Joey seems to appreciate the comfort.

“What’s wrong,” I ask Joey over the screams.

“I don’t know. He’s been a little off all day. Tired and whatnot. But about a half an hour ago he just started screaming and crying. I would’ve called, but I figured you would be home soon anyway.”

Nodding, I gently kiss the top of Aiden’s head. “I need to get my stuff. Why don’t you guys settle on the couch? I’ll be right back.”

Quickly, I run upstairs to my home office. I don’t really use it now that I have my own office, but I still have a lot of stuff in there from my medical student days. It doesn’t take me long to find my old, but fully-packed medical bag, which I quickly grab. That done, I go into the bedroom and get all of the children’s medicine we have in the cabinet. I laughed when Joey came home with every child’s medicine they sold at CVS, but it would serve its purpose now.

Everything I needed in hand, I go back to my family. Joey is sitting on the couch, Aiden in his lap. Dumping everything on the coffee table, I quickly fall down to my knees in front of them. Gently, I maneuver Aiden so he is lying flat on Joey’s lap.

Working fast, I check Aiden’s lungs and heart, thankful to hear that they are okay. I’m getting ready to check his throat when I see his tiny hand lift up to rub at his ear. All of a sudden, I know what is wrong. Taking the otoscope, I quickly check Aiden’s ear and see what the problem is.

“It’s okay, Joey. It’s just an ear infection,” I say as I check Aiden’s other ear, which is thankfully clear.

“An ear infection? All of this is from an ear infection?”

“Yeah. It can get pretty painful for kids.”

“So what do we do about it?”

Reaching behind me, I take the Children’s Advil and hold it up so Joey can see the label. Opening the bottle, I measure out some of the liquid and help Joey sit Aiden up so we can get it into his. Aiden, thankfully, doesn’t fight us too much and takes it relatively easy.

Once that is done, I get up and run into the bathroom to wet a washcloth down with warm water. I bring it back to the coach and set it on Aiden’s ear to help ease the pain. Aiden fought a little bit more when I put the washcloth on his ear, not liking the feeling. But Joey was able to calm him down.

When I had done everything I could do, I sat down next to Joey and wrapped my arm around him. With my free hand, I start to rub Aiden's stomach hoping to ease his pain.

It took a little while, but soon the drugs and the warm water worked and Aiden’s pain diminishes enough that he falls asleep. Joey and I wait a few minutes to make sure he was well and truly down. Once we are sure he’s out, we gently get up, careful not to jar him too much. I take the washcloth off his ear and Joey lays him back on the couch before covering him in his Spongebob blanket.

When we’re satisfied that Aiden was comfortable, we go into the nearby kitchen. There we can talk, but still be close enough to hear Aiden if he needed us.

“Is he going to be okay,” Joey asks as soon as we are far enough away not to wake Aiden.

“Yes, baby. He’ll be fine. Most ear infections clear up on their own in a couple of days.  He might need a little more Advil to help with the pain, but otherwise he should be okay. If it doesn’t clear up like I think it will, I’ll write him a script for an antibiotic.”

“I was so scared when he started screaming like that.”

Stepping closer, I take Joey into my arms and start to rock him, like he was doing with Aiden when I got home. “I know, baby. But he’ll be okay. Kids get sick all the time.”

“Shouldn’t you be more worried?”

“Hon, I’m a doctor. I see this all the time. But if it makes you feel any better, it broke my heart to see him cry like that.”

“Tell me about it. I never want to see him suffer like that again.”

“Me neither.”

I hold Joey for a little longer, comforting him with my touch. Aiden’s illness really freaked him out. Although, it freaked me a little bit too. But we would get through it. After all, this was just one instance of sickness and health on a long road to happiness.