The Blerghs

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The past few weeks have been a struggle for me. I’m struggling to deal with the turmoil in the world and the turmoil in my brain.

“Push & Pull”, the second book in “The Midwest Series” continues to be a challenge. I knew it, my beta readers confirmed it, and I felt unable to root out the problem and fix it.

Focusing as much as I have been on politics and the election is burning me out fast. Although I am passionate about my beliefs, too much focus on the news and the potential outcome of where this country will end up sapped my mental energy.

The recent turmoil in the M/M community hasn’t helped the problem. My only comment on it is to suggest you read this blog post. I think it eloquently addresses the problems and concerns many of us have and is a reasonable, reasoned discussion of the issue.

I spent last week nannying for my second cousins while both of their parents were out of town on business. In college *mumbles* almost fifteen years ago, I watched them a few days a week during the summers. They were wonderful kids and we had fun playing with trains and Legos, reading, and doing art projects. Now that they’re fifteen and eleven, they’re no less wonderful. The older one had to be coaxed to do homework and the younger needed some prodding to finish his cello practice every night, but I count myself lucky that that was the worst of it. Running them around to all of their after school activities and being sure I kept them on schedule, fed, and happy was time-consuming and challenging, however, especially for someone who is neither interested in nor cut out for parenting.

Of course didn’t help that I had to get up at 5:45 to make sure they got up and got ready for school. Or that their parents don’t drink coffee so I had to rely on tea, which is entirely inadequate. Unfortunately, it was made worse by the time change and by the time I got home Friday, I was ready to sleep as long as I possible.

None of these things made for a happy or productive Brigham.

I had planned to return to social media this week, but I found myself reluctant to log in. Apparently my brain decided it needed a break, so I decided to give myself that time and see if it would help.

The good news is, the funk I’ve been in is starting to retreat and this week I’ve written over 6500 words on a chapter for the series I’m collaborating on with a friend. We’ve been working on the two novels for several years and are nearly done with the second draft. It feels great to see our hard work beginning to come together.

I am sorry I disappeared without much warning, but the good news is, I’m back and ready to tackle “Push & Pull”!

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Flash Fiction Monday – Travis and Santiago

“I have to go.” Travis’ tone was reluctant.

Santiago burrowed closer, his grip tightening around Travis’ waist. “Are you sure?”

“You know I do. Coming here tonight was risky enough.” Santiago’s father was having a huge party and Travis had nearly chickened out. Skirting the brightly lit areas of the huge estate was difficult under normal circumstances, but the party was being held outdoors by the pool and with caterers, staff, and guests milling around, he’d nearly been caught a handful of times. The cover of the noisy party had been tempting, though, and he and Santiago had taken advantage of it. Travis had even allowed himself a small whimper as he came down Santiago’s throat. And they’d both enjoyed an uncharacteristic leisurely shower together, knowing that Santiago’s parents were otherwise occupied.

Travis captured Santiago’s mouth with his own and enjoyed a thorough kiss before he pulled away. “I’ll see you at work tomorrow, okay?”

Santiago pouted, but nodded and let him go.

Travis peered through the curtains, then opened the balcony door and stepped onto the patio. He scanned the grounds, but the coast was clear. The party was still going—although starting to wind down from the sounds of it—and he thought he could make it away safely without anyone noticing. With a fleeting smile to his boyfriend, he swung over the railing and lowered himself. He was halfway down when Santiago leaned over the edge and reached for him. “I love you.”

Travis smiled up at him and braced himself so he could let go with one hand. He reached up, grabbed Santiago’s hand and planted a kiss on the back of it. “I love you too.”

Without another word, Travis let go, deftly scrambling down the iron railing and shimmying down the post. He gave Travis one backward glance before slipping into the shrubs. He carefully maneuvered through the underbrush and into the wooded area behind the house. He knew the area like the back of his hand—he’d been sneaking in and out of Santiago’s room for the better part of a year—but he knew if he didn’t stay vigilant, he’d be caught.

On high alert, Travis heard the snap of a twig behind him and froze, his heart pounding so hard he could hardly hear over the rush of blood in his ears.Please be a couple wanting some privacy or a waiter sneaking a cigarette, he silently pleaded. Please, please don’t catch me.

The son of the town’s biggest environmentalist being caught sneaking out of the bedroom of the son of the owner of Ortega Oil was a recipe for disaster.  Emanuel Ortega was conservative as hell in both his business and his personal life. Wilson Becker was liberal, but he would never condone his son’s involvement with Santiago.

His heart in his throat, his pulse racing like a terrified rabbit, Travis could do nothing but stay perfectly still and hope that whoever was in the trees nearby wouldn’t find him.


The picture had a Romeo & Juliet vibe and I decided to run with it. The most original take on it? Nope. But it was fun to write.

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Flash Fiction Monday – Pressure

The pressure of the thick leather collar against the back of Drew’s neck was the only thing keeping him anchored.  His head felt like it was floating, his eyes vaguely unfocused as the tug of the leash brought them closer together. Nick rested his forehead against Drew’s.

“You were perfect, boy.”

Warmth kindled in Drew’s chest at the deep rumble of Nick’s voice.  God, all Drew wanted was to please his boyfriend and Dom. They’d been together two years, but tonight at the club had been their first public scene. It had sent a heady rush through Drew and he’d been flying high since. Nick had praised him several times as the scene wrapped up and aftercare began, but now that they were alone in their apartment, the familiar trappings of day-to-day life surrounding them, it hit him differently.

Drew swallowed thickly. “Thank you, Sir.”

“I mean it.”

There was a stern edge to Nick’s voice that made Drew sink to his knees. Nick’s grip on the leash kept Drew’s head tilted back as he settled in a kneeling position and looked up at the man who had restrained him, spanked him, and caned him just hours before, and now looked down at him with such tenderness.

They’d been struggling for weeks, trying to understand the recent shift in their dynamic. Before, their power play had been limited to the bedroom, but it had begun to bleed out into their day to day lives. Nick had been willing to run with it, but Drew had hesitated, unsure of how he felt about the idea.

What if he lost his identity as Drew Holt—bar owner and amateur boxer?

What if it changed the way Nick saw him? What if it changed the way he saw Nick?

He realized Nick was speaking and he struggled to focus. “… the last weeks have been difficult for us, but I couldn’t be more pleased about the way tonight went, boy.”

Drew nodded. Scenes had felt off-kilter lately, but tonight had flowed perfectly and Drew had never felt closer to his Dom.

“I’m going to take the collar off now. We’re going to shower together, then go to bed.”

Drew felt the leash go slack, and Nick reached for the buckle at the back of his neck. The pressure was gone and Drew shivered. It felt … wrong.

His hand flew to his neck and held the collar to his throat. “Wait, Sir.”

Nick raised an eyebrow at him. “Drew?”

The use of his name felt a little odd too, although removing the play collar and reverting back to their given names was the way they always signaled the return to their daily lives.

“May I leave the collar on, Sir?”

“For how long, boy?” Nick gripped the loose ends of the collar behind his neck and the snug pressure returned. Drew’s shoulders lowered and he felt calm settle over him again.

“I’m not sure, Sir,” he said slowly. “But I’d like to explore that.”


 

This was a last minute addition from me, but I am pleased with the way it came together. What do you think?

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics. This week, Kelly Jenson wrote a great little fic so be sure to stop by her blog to read it.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!