Mercury in Retrograde or Why I’m Hiding Under a Rock

Astronomical chart vintage

Astrology is something I’m more inclined to giggle at than take terribly seriously, but there’s something to be said for how nutso people get around the full moon (especially noticeable when working in a hospital).

And I’ve just about reached the end of my patience because in the last week or so every goddamn plan I’ve made has gone haywire.

I wrote like a fiend the week before last!  This week? Every word is like torture and I hate it all.

Plans with family and friends? Cancelled, rescheduled or otherwise made incredibly inconvenient.

Communication? Try miscommunication!

*bangs head against keyboard*

Mercury in Retrograde is when the planet appears to be moving backwards (although this is basically just an optical illusion).  See here for the actual astronomical explanation.  In astrological terms it’s supposed to be a time of chaos when communication, travel, and technology go completely haywire.

On a whim I decided to check the dates for the year when Mercury is in Retrograde.  What do you know? January 21-February 11.  Awesome.

Do I really believe that the motion of the planets is making my life go wonky?  Meh, not really.  No more than the possibility of it being caused by little green men from Mars or government conspiracies or my cats playing really nasty tricks on me because I won’t buy them cat treats.  You know, anything is possible and I like to keep an open mind, but I don’t really care what’s causing it.  I just want it to stop.

Because I’m about at the end of my rope and I could really use a break.   And let’s hope it’s not Mercury in Retrograde because that means I have nearly two more weeks of this.

So whether it’s the cats, or the little green men, or planetary alignment; fair warning, I’m probably going to pretty grumpy until it’s all over and done with.

And if you really need me I’ll be curled up under a rock with a nice bottle of gin and some chocolate until it all blows over.

Flash Fiction Monday – A Roll in the … Straw?

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A Roll in the … Straw?

Bobby let the screen door slam behind him as he strode toward the horse barn.  Where in the hell was Van?  His college roommate was visiting the ranch, and when he arrived Bobby was overseeing a calf’s delivery, so they hadn’t had time for a proper hello.  Thankfully the birth had progressed quickly.

Now showered and shaved, Bobby was apprehensive about seeing his friend.  It had been five years since Bobby called things off between them. Bobby had been tired of the closeted life Van led and he’d reached his limit on furtive sex.  He wanted a partner and Van wasn’t ready.  To his surprise, three months ago, Van sent him a succinct email saying, “I’m out.”

Bobby congratulated him and left it at that and they’d hardly spoken since. Out of the blue, Van called Bobby to ask if he could visit.  He said yes, of course, but now he wondered if he’d made a mistake.  What if Van was here to tell him he’d met someone?  Why else would Van have come out after being closeted all these years?

Bobby’s steps slowed as he entered the horse barn.

“Van?” he called out.

“Back here,” Van replied from the back of the barn, and Bobby cursed the fact that his heart skipped a beat at the sound.

He peered into the stall with his mare Sadie, and her colt, Rudy, but Van was nowhere to be found.  Confused, Bobby walked to the next one and stopped dead in his tracks at the sight.  The door was open and Van was in there all right, stark naked except for a strategically placed bit of straw over his junk and a white Stetson on his head.  He grinned, giving Bobby that wide, crooked grin that made him feel as wobbly as a newborn calf.

“Miss me?”

The hat came off and Van spread his arms wide as if inviting Bobby to stare.  And stare he did at the long, lean muscles he’d loved to lick.

Bobby’s voice was hoarse.  “What in the hell are you doin’ Van?”

“Care for a roll in the hay?”

“It’s straw, and you know that.” Bobby leaned against the doorframe and crossed his arms.  “Answer my question.”

“You told me you wanted me to make an honest man of you.”

“I never said that.”

“Oh, then maybe that’s what I want.”

Bobby felt like he’d just been kicked in the chest by a mule. Leave it to Van to tell Bobby how he felt with a dramatic gesture. “No shit?”

“No.  Now come here and kiss me.”

“You assume a lot.”

“Yeah, I know, but am I wrong?”

“No.” Bobby dropped to his knees and leaned in to kiss Van, drinking him in thirstily. “I do have a bed you know,” he whispered against Van’s lips.

“Yeah, but I always wanted to try this.” Van reached for a saddle blanket, tossing it on the straw. “You in?”

“Yeah, I’m in.”

 


This week the pic prompt was mine and it was funnnnn to write.  Check out Helena’s blog for her story.

Be sure to come back next Monday for the next round of flash fics.

 

 

 

Thud

I’ve been writing like mad in the last week and a half and have over 15,000 words on Evan’s story.  The story’s outlined, I have a clear grasp of who the characters are, and the words have been flowing as fast as I can type them.  But it’s just not happening today.

artwork  in retro style,  girl in the library, sleeping

I’m going to see if working on something else helps, but if not, I might just need a day off.

The problem is, I’d already planned to take Friday afternoon and most of Saturday off.  The husband volunteered to kick himself out of the house to visit his sisters while I have a sleepover with my closest friend.  We have plans to work on crafts and drink wine and generally stay up far too late giggling.

We both need it.  She has two little boys and I have two jobs and we’re both exhausted and overworked. It’ll help us both recharge and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Here’s hoping I can coax my brain to work on something else until I get to the break I scheduled.

 

Flash Fiction Monday – The Bet

Week Three

 The Bet

“I won!” Reuben crowed as he pulled on his underwear.  “HA! In your face, Cliff, I won!”

Cliff doubled over, laughing.  “I can’t believe you streaked through the neighborhood naked.  You’re an idiot.”

“Fuck you, man.” Reuben smacked his best friend’s chest while their buddies Nick and Kevin laughed.

Nick rolled his eyes.  “This is the dumbest bet ever.  You guys are like twelve-year-olds.  C’mon, Kevin, let’s go.  We have dates, unlike you losers.”

Shivering, Reuben shot him the finger.  Maybe streaking in thirty-five-degree weather was dumb, but there wasn’t any snow on the ground.  And he had his reasons.  He shrugged into the remainder of his clothes as his two friends left, off to chase whatever tail was available in their hometown the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Which was to say not much, but they were eternal optimists.  He glanced at Cliff out of the corner of his eye as he tied his shoes.  Reuben liked to think he was an optimist too, but he was probably pathetic.

“Are you freezing?” Cliff asked.

Reuben nodded, sheepish.  “Pretty much.”

Cliff snorted and turned his back to Reuben.  “Come on.  Hop on, we’ll get this ridiculous bet over and head to the diner for hot chocolate and pie.”

“Awesome,” Reuben said, but he didn’t step forward.  All he had to do was hop on Cliff’s back to complete what was admittedly a ridiculous bet they’d made, but he hesitated.  He hadn’t been caught streaking, so Cliff owed him a piggyback ride across the entire park.  It was what he’d wanted, a chance to be close to Cliff without seeming like he was perving over his best friend.  Cliff was fine with Reuben being gay, but he wasn’t sure how he’d feel if he knew Reuben had been crushing on him for five fucking years.

“Come on, Rube,” Cliff coaxed.  “Hop on.”

Cliff crouched and with an agile hop, Reuben landed on his friend’s back, wrapping his legs around Cliff’s waist. Cliff shifted, gripping his legs, and took off at a jog.

“Onward noble steed,” Reuben joked, unable to suppress the wide grin on his face.

“I’m not your fucking horse.” Cliff groused.

Reuben winced at the jarring ride crushing his balls, but it was worth it to have his arms around his best friend.  Sure they hugged, but they were manly-back pounding hugs and the occasional tight squeeze. They never lingered.

Cliff staggered to a stop as he reached the gazebo lit with red Christmas lights.  “Dude, I’m gonna have a fucking heart attack.  Gotta stop for a minute.” Unceremoniously, he dumped Reuben on his feet and turned.  Reuben staggered and Cliff caught him by the elbow.  For a moment, they were face to face, lips inches apart, and then Cliff let out this weird, strangled sounding noise and leaned in, pressing his lips to Reuben’s. Cliff was going to have some explaining to do, but for now, Reuben was going to enjoy this.

Best. Bet. Ever, Reuben thought, kissing him back.

 


Allison provided the pic prompt this week.  I struggled to come up with a story at first, but I enjoyed the challenge and I’m quite pleased with the way it turned out.  Check out Helena’s blog for her story.

Be sure to come back next Monday for the next round of flash fics.  I can’t wait to see you there!

 

 

 

Flash Fiction Monday – Tangled

Week Two

 

Tangled

“C’mon Jesse, let’s walk the dogs!” Vincent chirped, his tone alarmingly cheerful for someone who’d only had five hours of sleep.

Jesse buried his head against the pillow with a groan.  “Too tired.”

“It’s the first day in months we’ve had off at the same time.  I wanna spend the day together.”

“Let’s spend it in bed.”  His words were muffled by the fabric.

Vincent ripped back the covers.  “Tasha and Blanche need to be walked.”

Jesse howled into the pillows before sitting up and glaring at the black lab mix and Dalmatian who sat beside the bed wagging their tails.  “Fine.”

He reached for shorts, blinking away exhaustion.  Neither of them got much sleep these days.  He worked two part-time jobs, and Vincent had recently picked up a third.  As is, they barely scraped by and he’d swear the two dogs Vincent had begged to adopt six months ago ate half their grocery budget.

As Jesse followed Vincent’s skinny ass as he bounced down the stairs of their fifth floor walk-up—the dogs eagerly yanking him forward—Jesse admitted that there wasn’t a damn thing he wouldn’t do for Vincent. Even get out of bed on his only day off to walk two dogs he loved but had never wanted. But if Jesse’s life had been rough growing up, Vincent’s had been a thousand times worse and he carried the physical and emotional scars to prove it.

How fate had managed to put them in the same line at the homeless shelter, Jesse would never know.  But five years and umpteen jobs later, they’d managed to claw their way out of the kind of hell the hipsters walking by with their intentionally sloppy clothes and seven dollar lattes could never dream of.

A little apartment to call their own, two dogs, and love were all Vincent had dreamed about. Jesse couldn’t make up for Vincent’s past so he worked himself to the bone to give him a good future.  Jesse and Vincent had cobbled together a pretty damn good life.

Out in the sunshine, the dogs prancing ahead, Jesse smiled at the happiness on Vincent’s face.

“You’re quiet,” Vincent said, reining Blanche in as the spotted dog strained to go faster.

“Sorry.  Just thinking about how happy I am.  I never thought we’d get to this point.  But you … you always had faith we would.”

Vincent stopped and the dogs turned back to stare at him with questioning brown eyes.  “I had faith in you.  In us.”

Jesse swallowed past the lump in his throat and pressed Vincent back against the ornate metal and concrete fence that circled the park.

He vaguely heard someone mutter a disapproving comment but he tuned it out when he heard them continue on.  He kissed Vincent, gripping the sides of his shirt as he deepened it.  What did Jesse care what anyone else thought about them?  He had everything he needed.

Even Blanche and Tasha he thought with a resigned sigh as the dogs tangled around their legs.


When I first glanced at the picture I saw the guys and dogs and it wasn’t until quite a bit later that I noticed the people in the background.  I could have gone several directions with this story, but I decided to go with my initial idea and briefly mention them but not make them the focus of the story.

As always, thanks to Helena for letting me join her and be sure to check out her blog for her story.  I am thoroughly enjoying doing this.

Be sure to come back next Monday for the next round of flash fics.  I can’t wait to see you there!

 

 

 

Prism Book Alliance Guest Post: Outside the Margins – Finding Balance

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I ran out of time to post a link on here yesterday, but if you haven’t yet, please join me on Prism Book Alliance’s Outside the Margins column.  I discuss what I’m doing to find balance as a writer and what my goals are for 2015.

I hope you’ll take a look and please leave a comment.  I’m open to any feedback or suggestions about what you’d like to hear from me in my monthly column.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Flash Fiction Monday – Testing the Mattress

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Testing the Mattress

Jack walked out of the old mansion, loosening his bow tie. Newly single, he felt vaguely irritated as he looked around the reception hall filled with laughing, dancing couples in love.

“Let me guess, you’ve been in love with the bride for years and are trying to avoid punching your best friend?”

Jack’s gaze lifted to the man leaning against the brick wall a few feet away, a cigarette dangling from between his lips. Even with half his uniform gone, Jack recognized the waiter he’d been checking out earlier and goddamn he was hot. “Hardly. Groom’s my brother and I’m gay.”

The stranger gave Jack a slow, assessing look from the tips of his shiny shoes to his black framed glasses and Jack felt a curl of heat in his belly. Fuck his ex. That relationship had fizzled out months ago. This was promising.

“Bum a cigarette off you?”

The waiter crooked a finger in response and Jack closed the distance. With a teasing grin, the man offered a cigarette and Jack leaned in, taking it from the man’s fingers with his lips. Those same fingers brushed Jack’s lapel as he lit the cigarette and Jack glanced through his lashes, breathing in. The waiter had high cheekbones, sinfully full lips, and a body Jack was dying to feel stretched out under him.

Jack took a puff and lowered the cigarette, flicking ash off the tip. He blew smoke up and away from the man still within kissing distance. “I have a room here,” he offered.

“Mmm?” The waiter raised an eyebrow, leaning back against the wall. “Good for you.”

“I mean … if you’re interested …” Jack took another drag of his cigarette. “The reception’s winding down and when your shift’s over, we could …”

Amusement flickered over the waiter’s handsome face. “Are you incapable of finishing your thoughts or too shy to ask for what you want?”

“Shy?” Jack snorted. “How about this? I have a room upstairs with a big bed. Wanna fuck?”

The answering smile was genuine, but the stranger continued to leisurely smoke his cigarette. “Sure. We can go up after I’m done with this. Assuming your best man duties are over.”

“They are. You won’t get in trouble?”

“Nope.” Jack frowned, confused, and the other man grinned. “I’ll explain after.”

He watched the man discard his cigarette and open a door marked “Employees Only”.

Jack followed.

Several hours—and several condoms—later, he turned to the man beside him. “I’m Jack, by the way.”

Jack was rewarded with a quick, flashing smile. “Killian.” The man stretched, showing off the flat stomach Jack had licked half an hour before.

“I didn’t get you fired, did I?”

“No. I own this place. Just filling in for a sick employee.” He turned onto his side, smirking. “Always wanted to test the beds though, so I’m glad I got a chance.”

Jack smiled back. “What do you think?”

“We better try them again. Just to be sure.”

 


Big thanks to Helena for letting me join her and be sure to check out her blog for her story.  And a thank you to Eden for suggesting the name Killian and giving the story a quick read through.

Be sure to come back next Monday for the next round of flash fics.  I can’t wait to see you there!