Holiday Cheer and Book Sales

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(The view from my back window as of this morning)

I’ve been feeling a bit grumpy and not really in the Christmas mood due to the ice storm we had.  We’ve been without power since Sunday, we had to shower at my husband’s office, our house is a mess, and we weren’t able to do a lot of the things we’d planned to for Christmas, like baking.  We even had to cut the Christmas Eve celebrations with his family shorter than usual so we could get back home to start the generator and heat the house so pipes don’t freeze, the sump doesn’t overflow, and the fish don’t die.  Yes, we have 90 gallons of African Cichlids surviving with a battery powered aerator.  *crosses fingers*

Despite the difficulties, we’re trying to stay cheerful and look on the bright side of things.  It’s been challenging, but we’re doing our best.  One of the things that helped me the most was seeing how many people have bought my short stories.

Not because of the check I’ll be getting in 60 days or so–although it IS a gratifying feeling to realize that people will pay me to do what I love–but knowing that people love what I do.  To watch the sales slowly climb is an amazing feeling.  I’m not going to be on the NY Times bestseller list by any means.  We’re talking dozens of books here, people.  But knowing that you are reading what I write and enjoying it enough to seek out other stories of mine is a wonderful feeling.  Knowing that I have so many wonderful people rooting for me as I work at this is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.

So bring it on Mother Nature.  I can handle your ice storms, and the unbaked cookie dough in the freezer.  I can live with the fact I’ll be sending out Christmas cards in January this year and that apart from a wreath on the door and a tree up (that I can’t light) those are the extent of my decorations.  I’ll survive the fact I had to ask someone else to host the get-together I had planned for Saturday because I may not have power yet.

My Christmas cheer comes from the fact that for the first time in my life I’m really doing what I love.  And I have an amazing number of people supporting me along the way.  ❤

This time of year can be a stressful one, but I hope that you are warm, safe, and happy.  And don’t sweat the small stuff.  There’s always next year.  Find what makes you happiest and focus on that.

Merry Christmas if you celebrate it, and Happy Wednesday if you don’t!

New Book – “Not So Suddenly” (Happy Birthday, Shell!)

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I have a third book available for sale!

Amazon: Not So Suddenly

Smashwords: Not So Suddenly

Nook: Not So Suddenly

Blurb: When Spencer Abrams surprises Austin Mead with tickets to Antigua, he’s hoping a romantic trip will finally give him the courage to confess his feelings for his best friend. Austin thinks he’s just there to help Spencer get over a breakup with his ex. If Spencer finally tells Austin how he’s feeling, will Austin be willing to take the leap from friendship to love?

Exerpt: When Austin didn’t come out, Spencer went for a long, lonely walk on the beach, and now he was in the plunge pool just outside the cottage, wondering where the plan to seduce his best friend had gone so awry. He leaned his head back against the edge of the pool and closed his eyes. So, maybe it was a little weird that he’d dragged Austin all the way to Antigua to tell him he had feelings for him, and maybe he should have thought through giving him so much wine with dinner, but this was not how he’d seen this night going.

He didn’t really know when he’d fallen for Austin, exactly. He’d been dating Amber for a while, he knew that. She was the hottest girl he’d ever been with and then suddenly he just wasn’t that into her anymore. She seemed to be getting on his nerves more and more, and one night he finally realized that he’d rather be spending time with Austin. He’d rather be kissing Austin than Amber.

Then he started dreaming about his friend. Vivid, explicit dreams that left him aching. Knowing Austin was gay didn’t exactly discourage his interest either. But every time he tried to tell Austin how he felt, he froze. He hadn’t really gotten around to dumping Amber either, and by the time she dumped him for the prick from the shoe store, he really didn’t give a fuck about it at all. But Austin was extra sweet when he thought Spencer was depressed, and he kind of liked the additional attention. He really had originally planned to take Amber to the Caribbean; he’d bought the tickets months and months before, but the idea of taking Austin instead was way more appealing.

And now, his very hot, and apparently very drunk, friend was passed out on the King-size bed and Spencer was alone in the seaside pool feeling like an idiot.

Normally I write a very short story as a birthday gift.  For Shell’s birthday, I went a little overboard.  I ran across this photo and fell in love with it. I knew it would make the perfect story for Shell. 

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The problem is, the story got a little out of control and She’ll birthday came and I was still writing.  Austin and Spence just wouldn’t stop talking.  At almost 9,000 words it was well above the usual 3-5k stories I write.  I told Shell it was going to be a little late and she was very sweet about it.  When I asked how she’d feel if I published the whole thing instead of posting a very short snippet here, she was all for it.  So with Shell’s blessing, I published “Not So Suddenly.”   Of course, I sent her a free copy, because the birthday girl more than deserves it!  Shell’s been a sweet friend who has given me a lot of support and I really hope she loves Spence and Austin as I do.  I hope you do too.

New Book – Baby, It’s Cold Inside

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I have a second book available for sale!

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HCZGBHM

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/388912

Blurb: A trip to visit his boyfriend Nate’s parents during the holidays leaves Emerson a nervous wreck. Bad weather and an unfortunate mix-up leads to an awkward first introduction, and as things deteriorate from there, Emerson begins to doubt if their relationship will survive the stressful weekend. Can Emerson get their relationship back on track and impress the Collins family in time to have a Merry Christmas?

Exerpt: Both boys stomped their feet and dusted the snow off as they got themselves situated. Nate dug in his pocket for his keys but Emerson stopped him, wanting one last kiss before he braved meeting the future in-laws. Because no matter how short of a time he had been with Nate, he knew that was what he wanted. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with Nate, buy some little house in a neighborhood like this and have a life together with a couple of kids and maybe a dog. Just because he was young and gay didn’t mean he didn’t want the kind of life his parents had together.

They weren’t going to rush things by running off and getting married too soon; they were trying to be practical about it. But Emerson knew what his goal was, and in order to achieve that he had to impress the people he would someday be related to by marriage, and he was scared shitless he’d screw it up. He let go of the handle of his suitcase and set the large shopping bag full of presents down on the cement. “Kiss for luck?”

Nate looked up at him, his eyes crinkling as he smiled. “Sure, Em.”

He lowered his own bags down and took Emerson’s face in his hands, his gloves—still lightly dusted with snow from touching the trunk lid—were cold on Emerson’s cheeks, but his lips were warm and soft. “They’re gonna love you, I know it,” Nate said when he drew back.

“I hope so,” Emerson said with a sigh. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like if they didn’t. He kissed Nate again, this time with a little tongue and he felt more than heard Nate chuckle. They were pressed flat against each other—Nate’s hands still cradling his face, and Emerson’s hands on Nate’s hips—when the door opened. The sudden rush of warmth and light into the cold, snowy night made them jerk apart and Emerson’s cheeks flooded with heat. Shit, not the way I wanted to meet the parents, he thought, feeling a rush of disappointment. It wasn’t supposed to go like this at all. 

—— 

I hadn’t originally planned to write something for Christmas, but a picture got my imagination going and before I knew it, I had another story and had finished nothing on my To Do list for Christmas.  Whoops.  Part of the reason was that although although I knew how I wanted the story to begin and end, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to get Emerson and Nathan from one point to the other.  So I wrore and re-wrote and cut sections and moved them around, and re-wrote again and tweaked and adjusted and finally, hit the sweet spot.  There are few feelings in the world better than knowing you have a story right where you want it.  It’s not that there isn’t more editing to be done, or that you won’t go back later and wish you’d changed a few things.  But there’s always a point where it clicks, you know the plot is solid, and you nailed what you were aiming for.  And that moment–fleeting as it is–is one of the reasons why I’m a writer.

Self Publishing – New Story – “Love in the Produce Aisle”

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I’ve never had a particular urge to self-publish.  The prospect of doing the research and starting was rather daunting and it seemed like my time might better be spent writing.  But in November I got together to celebrate Thanksgiving with some friends.  Someone I’d known from high school was there, having moved back to the state after living across the country.  It turns out he’s a writer too and has been self-publishing for a while.  When he offered to walk me through it, my first instinct was to say “no way” but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to give it a shot.

Although my goal is still to write and submit novels to publishers, I have a lot of short stories hanging around on my hard drive and often have little plot ideas pop into my head.  They aren’t necessarily something I want to turn into a full length story but they make great little shorts.  If I’m feeling stuck on a section of my novel, I can play around with something else for a while.  I’ve found that it helps me avoid writer’s block and keeps ideas flowing.

As I considered the idea more, I realized it was something worth trying.  If I could make even a little bit of money selling the short stories, that would help me toward my goal of being a full-time writer.  At the moment, I feel like I’m working two full time jobs, the one that pays the bills and writing–the one I really love.

So I got a short story and cover ready and my friend came over last night to walk me through the process.  While I wouldn’t call it easy exactly, it’s less difficult than I expected.  Still, he probably saved me a thousand hours by going through it step by step.  My husband and I took him out to dinner as a thank you.

Although I submitted it to six different sites, some will take longer than others to publish, so for now, here are the links to it on Amazon and Smashwords, and I’ll add the links to the other as soon as they are available.

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H9WJ01M

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/387592