Saturday, November 30, 2013

For Those of You Who Missed It...

For those of you who missed it, I was just recently on Harmony Ink's website for Five Things Friday. My article is all about giving writing advice to young writers who want to enter the Young Author's Challenge. Check it out here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Saga of Steve and Joey-Part 1

Hello everyone! I know I've been quiet for awhile, but that's because I've been working on a brand-new project. I've decided to abandon the weekly prompts for a little while. Why? Because I've started something new.

I'm working on a serial for you entitled "The Saga of Steve and Joy". Every Monday I will put up a new chapter in the lives of Steve Rogers and Joey Matheson. It starts with how they met and will progress through their relationship. Some will be stand-alone snippets of life, while others will be longer events told in multiple parts. But they will all be told in chronological order.

So who are Steve and Joey? Well, they are two characters previously featured in my short story "Life's Little Troubles." The story is set many years after Part 1 of their saga, but there was something about them that I couldn't let go. Which is why I choose to write more about them. If you don't remember the free read I'm talking about you can find it here.

So I've talked long enough. I hope you enjoy my new endeavor, starting with Part #1, which tells how our characters first met.

The Saga of Steve and Joey

Part 1

Why am I doing this? I’m on no sleep and I’m probably going to fall asleep at any minute. So why did I agree to go on a blind date? And, more importantly, why the hell had I agreed?
Leaning forward, I brace my hands on the sink and close my eyes. I can’t do this. I’m going to collapse. I should just call and cancel.
But even as I think it, I know I would never do that. Med school is kicking my ass. Because of it, I haven’t been out in almost two months. Honestly, the whole thing is starting to depress me, which is why I let my friend Lucas set me up on this date.
Splashing some water on my face, I try to wake my tired body up. I can do this. It’s only dinner, after all. Shouldn’t take more than two hours. I can do this. And then I will sleep for twenty-four hours or so.
I finish buttoning up my purple shirt and make sure I look okay. The black pants are a little long, but they look alright. And after being up for about forty hours, it’s not getting much better.
Satisfied, I head out of the apartment I share with two other med students and start to walk down the street. The restaurant Lucas chose for the date is only about five blocks away, so it’s an easy enough to walk. Plus, the physical exercise should help keep me awake.
I can see the bustling restaurant from a few blocks away. The place is packed, although that isn’t surprising considering it’s a Friday night. All of the tables outside on the patio are full, all of the people enjoying the warm California air. There was also a long line at the door, people in their nice clothes, hoping for a seat.
Thankful Lucas already got us a reservation, I gently push my way past the crowd and head straight for the bar. It takes me a few seconds, but soon I see Lucas sitting at the bar, nursing a beer. He looks as good as ever, like a Greek god or something with huge muscles and a chiseled face. If he wasn’t my best friend, I would consider dating him. But I’m not willing to risk our friendship and, thankfully, he agrees.
“Hey,” I say as I walk up to Lucas.
“Hey,” he responds with a smile. “You look like shit.”
“Thanks. I know. It’s amazing what no sleep will do to a man.”
“Are you up for this?”
I smile at Lucas’s concern. He always was really sensitive to the needs of the people around him. It’s one of the reasons I like him so much.
“Not really. But I think I need this.”
Lucas nods. “Okay. Well, he isn’t here yet, but he should be soon. You wanna drink?”
I shake my head. “Nah. A depressant would be bad for me right now. Maybe a Coke?”
Lucas smiles and waves to the bartender. He orders the drink and soon I have enough sugar racing through me to give me diabetes. It’s just what I need in this moment.
“So tell me about this guy,” I say to Lucas over the din of the crowd.
“What do you want to know?”
Lucas smiles. “Okay. Well, he works at the newspaper with me. But he’s a journalist, not a sales guy like me. He’s out at work, obviously, but he’s not shouting his orientation from the rooftops. He’s cute, but in a dorky way. His hair has a little length and curl to it and he wears glasses that add to the whole nerd vibe. The guy is very nice, willing to help anybody and is more than willing to share a lunch table with anyone. He doesn’t seem to have any really close friends, but he is friendly enough. He’s very good at what he does and he’s single. Has been for a while. Anything else you want to know?”
I shake my head and take a sip of my soda. I can see why Lucas set us up. I always did have a thing for nerds.
“Oh. Here he is now.”
I turn around and see an adorable man walking towards us. He is just as Lucas described, but cuter. Although that might be because his argyle sweater screams nerd. I love nerds.
Lucas stands up from his stool and holds out his hand to the man.
“Good to see you, Joey.”
“You too,” the man says, his voice barely heard over the noise.
“Steve,” Lucas says, motioning for me to come closer. “This is Joey Matheson. Joey, this is Steven Rogers.”
“Nice to meet you, Steve.”
I shake the hand Joey extends to me. Something in my gut tells me this is the man who’s going to change my life forever.

So that’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed it.

Next week: Steve and Joey continue their date over dinner.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekly Prompt-Dentist

Here is this week's free read. I came up with the prompt all by myself, so I hope you enjoy it!

Love Always Beats Fear

Casey sat in the car, holding the door handle with a white-knuckled grip. Why the hell had he allowed himself to be talked into this? He hated going to the dentist. Well, that was putting it mildly. He was terrified. He didn’t know why, but going to the dentist had always done that to him. Maybe it was the drilling. Or the scraping. Or the visions he kept having of the dentist dropping the pick down his throat causing him to choke and die. Or maybe-

“Case, you’re panicking again.”

Casey looked over at his beautiful boyfriend, Trevor, calmly driving their red SUV down the road. The sun coming through the window making his light skin and dark hair glow was almost enough to make Casey forget where he was going. Almost.

“What do you want me, Trev? I’m about to die a horrible death and you want me to sit here and pretend like nothing’s going to happen.”

Trevor let out a little chuckle at his boyfriend’s panic, causing the little dimples in his cheeks to appear.

“Babe, you’re not going to die. It’s just a cleaning. Forty-five minutes tops and we’ll be on the way home.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Case, I’ve been going to the dentist every six months for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about.”

Casey and Trevor had been an item for about nine months now. They were both very much in love and had just moved in together. It’s because of that change this whole thing happened. When Trevor’s reminder card came from the dentist a week ago, it started up a conversation about who Casey’s dentist was. This led to Casey having to explain his fear of dentists and how he hadn’t been to one in almost a decade. Which in turn led them to this car ride, straight to the jaws of hell.

“Casey? Baby? You know it’s going to be okay, right?”

Casey just looked over at his boyfriend with wide brown eyes.

Trevor sighed and took his hand off the wheel to clutch his boyfriend’s hand. Silence reigned over the car until Trevor pulled the SUV into the dentist’s parking lot.

As soon as he saw the sign, all of the panic came rushing back to Casey. His breath started to come in fast pants and tears started to well in his eyes. He couldn’t do this. There was no way that he could walk in there. Fear paralyzed him.

But then something strange happened. He started to hear soft words coming through his harsh breaths and the hallow ringing in his ears. He felt soothing touches down his arms and a soft kiss on his temple.

Slowly, Casey calmed down enough to realize Trevor was right there with him, soothing him in every way he could. It made him feel safe. Like not even the dentist from hell could hurt him.

“Casey? Are you okay now,” Trevor asked, clearly noticing his man was calming down.

“I think so.”

“Good. Cause you kinda scared me there.”

“I’m really scared.”

“I know you are. But it’ll all be okay.”

Casey thought about contradicting him, but before the words could come out, he realized something. Trevor had just made him feel safe and secure, despite the panic. Maybe..,

“Trevor, will you go in with me? Like to see the dentist. Maybe hold my hand.”

“Of course I will. I’ll do whatever you want me to do. I know you’re scared about this.”

“More than you can ever know.”

Trevor leaned over and gently kissed his lips. “Whatever you want me to do. You know I’ll do anything for you.”

“I know. And I love you for it.”

The two exchanged one more kiss before getting out of the car. Casey looked up at the building like a criminal stares at a noose. But before he could panic again, Trevor was there, taking his hand and leading him to the door. Despite the fear, Casey couldn’t help but smile. No matter what happened to him in there, as long as he had Trevor everything would be fine. After all, love always beats fear. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Writer's Block is a Terrible Thing

Writer's Block sucks. There is no other way to say it. My YA short story that I started last week has hit a wall of epic proportions. So I won't be finishing that anytime soon.

On the flip side, a new muse has taken residence in my brain. I'm currently writing an adult novella. It's a dark comedy about the Grim Reaper and his search to find love. So for right now, that is going to be my main project until my short story muse comes back.

The goal: to get both the novella and the short story done by the end of the year. That seems like a really tall order even as I say that between the holidays and a few mandatory six day work weeks, but hopefully it will get done. I want to be all set-up to start a new novel in the new year.

So that's where I am. How about all of you?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekly Prompt-Dogs

Here is a brand-new free read. Be sure to check out the original prompt and the other responses here. Enjoy!

A Walk in the Park

Music blared in Cal’s ears as he ran down the path. It was a beautiful Saturday morning in his humble town of Jacobsburg, sunny and just the right temperature for a run. Cal didn’t run as much as he used to since he was working full-time at the bank, but it was something he still enjoyed to do.

Cal was about halfway through his run when a black blur suddenly darted in front of Cal’s feet. Dodging to the side, Cal started to slow down, narrowly missing the blur.

Annoyed, Cal turned to see what ruined his run. It was a dog, black and small. It looked like a mutt, but Cal had to admit that he was adorable with a bright red ball stuck in his mouth.

“Sorry,” Cal heard through his headphones. Taking the buds out of his ears, Cal turned to face whoever was speaking to him.

Cal’s breath caught as he caught a glimpse of the man running towards the adorable dog. The man was tall, with hinting of toned bronze muscles gleaming under his T-shirt and gym shorts. His brown hair was a little long, but it only made him look younger and much more attractive in Cal’s eyes.

“Hey, are you okay,” the cute guy said.

Cal shook his head, trying to snap out of his preoccupation. “Oh, yeah. Sorry.”

“It’s okay. I was a little worried that you got hurt when Sparky here got away from me.”


“Yeah, my dog,” the man clarified as he ruffled the fur on Sparky’s head. “He’s usually really good about staying with me, even when we play fetch, but he’s a little ADHD. Gets distracted easy.”

Cal couldn’t help but laugh at that. “No. I wasn’t hurt by your ADHD dog.”

The man smiled back. “Good. I’m glad. Oh, I’m Neal, by the way.”

“Calvin. But everyone calls me Cal.”

Neal stood up and shook hands with him. “Nice to meet you.”

There was an awkward moment of silence as the two men stared at each other. Cal watched Neal shuffle his feet, as if he were waiting for something. Maybe Cal wasn’t the only one attracted here. After all, he did offer his name. Well, there was only one way to find out.

“Hey, um. I’m sorry if I’m out of line here,” Cal started, happy that he didn’t sound too nervous. “But would you like to go grab a coffee or something?”

Neal’s smile was as bright as the sun. “Yes. I would like that very much. There’s a cafĂ© down the street with some outdoor tables. That way Sparky can come with no problems. As long as you’re good with that.”

“Absolutely,” Cal agreed, bending down to pat the dog on the head. He got a happy bark and a tail wag for his efforts.

“I think he likes you.”

“Well, that’s good. Because I like him too. I like his owner too.”

Neal blushed. “Shall we go get that coffee?”

“Lead on.”

Neal pulled a leash out of his pocket, clipping it to Sparky’s bright red collar, before coming and standing next to Cal.

“I am reading this right. This is a date, right?”

“I hope so.”

Neal blushed again. “Good. Although I have to admit that when I got Sparky from the shelter two months ago I never would have thought that he would get me dates. I just wanted someone to come home to at the end of the work day.”

“Well, who knows? Maybe Sparky just helped you find a human you can come home to at the end of the day.”

“Aren’t you rushing things? We haven’t even had coffee yet.”

“True. But you never know where the path will lead.”

Scruffy let out a bark in agreement. Cal and Neal laughed as they headed down the walkway to a bright-looking future.

A Huge Mistake

It has just been brought to my attention that I missed Greedy Bug Book Reviews in my End of Tour Thank Yous. Please allow me to extend my deepest regret to Mr. A-H and all of the wonderful people at Greedy Bug. It was an oversight on my part and I feel horrible about it. The post has been adjusted to include ALL of the names. Greedy Bug is a great source for reviews and I encourage all of my readers to check them out here. Again, I apologize for this oversight.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A New Story

Well, I'm still trying to get used to life after vacation. I had a wonderful time away from everything, but I'm slowly forcing myself to ease back into real life. The fact that I have to work tomorrow should help easy that transition.

As for my writing, I'm starting to get back into that too. Now that Journey to Xibalta is done, I've started a new project. I just started a new YA short story. It's about a boy experiencing his first summer love. Currently, the story is called The First Taste of Summer Love. I'm not thrilled with the title and might change it later, but that's what it is now. Who knows, maybe it will even grow on me. Right now, I'm about 2,000 words in to the story. I suspect it will be about 10,000 words when all said and done. Hopefully, I will have the first draft done by this time next week. Maybe by then I will have the ambition to start another novel. But for right now, I'm enjoying this little side project.

So that's my life. How's everyone else? Let me know. And happy Friday everyone!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

THE END of the Blog Tour

Well, this is the last post for The Sacrifices We Make blog tour. I hope that everyone has enjoyed it. I know that I have. I want to thank everyone who allowed me to ramble on their blogs. Juan, Cody, Skylar, Madison and Jeff over at True Colorz, Jana, Andy, Lucy from Hearts on Fire Reviews, Madison, Mr. A-H and all the great people at Greedy Bug Book Reviews, Nessa for letting me take over Harmony Ink's FB page, Lisa from The Novel Approach, Jamie from Boys on the Brink, Chris, Jay from Joyfully Jay, JP and Brynn: THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!! I really appreciate you all taking time to host a brand-new author. I hope that everyone enjoyed it just as much as I did.
And to you, my readers: THANK YOU!!!! I've been blown away by the amazing response I've gotten. All of the reviews and support mean so much to me. I can only hope that I will continue to keep writing stories worthy of all the love and support.
Now just because the blog tour is over doesn't mean that I will be dropping off the face of the Earth. I'm always more than happy to talk with everyone. All of my contact information is listed under the Contact Me page on the right sidebar. Just pick your preferred medium and contact me. Plus, you can always find out what's going on with me right here on my blog.
So that's the end. Please feel free to comment on the blog tour below. And thank you all once again for making this such a great blog tour!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blog Tour Spot #16

Today I'm over at Brynn Stein's blog talking about my writing journey. Check it outhere.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Update on Writing and Life

Hello Everyone!
    Wow! It's been awhile since I checked in, but I thought I would update everyone on what's been going on. First of all, Journey to Xibalta is FINISHED. That's right. At over 72,000 words it is my longest novel to date and it's one I am very proud of. I think it's a great story. And since it is only 1 of 3, the story isn't even halfway done yet. (But it's as done as it will get for now;) The story has been submitted to Harmony Ink, so now I just have to wait.
     In other news, I am on vacation. I'm leaving for Wisconsin soon. I have tickets to see my beloved Packers take on the Chicago Bears (who suck) on Monday Night Football. So wish me luck. But just so everyone knows, there will be NO free read this week since I will be up there. But don't worry I will have one for you in two weeks time.
      I also hope everyone has been enjoying the Sacrifices blog tour. It's starting to wind down. The last giveaway ends on Saturday so get over to Joyfully Jay and enter. (The link is under the giveaway page.) My last guest post is on Monday over at Brynn Stein's blog and my last post is here on Tuesday. So don't forget to check those out.
    Whew! Well, I think that's everything. I'm going to watch a movie. Have a great weekend all!