New Release: Long Haul (The Mile High Club: Book 2)

On the day the Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage, Tanner Bradac doesn’t even have a boyfriend, so you can imagine his surprise when he and his buddy Clark get carried away by the celebratory spirit of the day and wind up lawfully wedded husbands. The wedding may have been a light-hearted lark, but Tanner and Clark are willing to give marriage a go. After all, how hard can it be?


And it’s no wonder we use the rainbow flag to signify this community, [Tanner] thought as he and Clark dipped into the flow with people of every stripe. Yuppie couples in khakis, hippie families in bare feet; young men in glittery tutus sporting fairy wings flittered around leather-jacket lesbians, hopeful faces of every age and nation laughing with friends, hugging strangers, and throwing confetti. Probably there were protesters, too—there was always somebody with an axe to grind when the pursuit of happiness was center stage—but Tanner didn’t see any. They certainly didn’t register. This was not a parade that was going to be called on account of any amount of rain, not today, and unless the One Man, One Woman crowd was going to start whacking people with their protest signs, notice would not be paid.”

The idea to give Tanner and Clark a not-so-gentle shove down the road to lawfully wedded what-have-we-done? came to me on the day the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. Straight people have been legally leaping before they look at least since Nevada became a state, and I figure the Obergfell ruling leveled the playing field where rash relationship decisions are concerned. I knew I wanted this second book to focus on Tanner and Clark, but I also wanted to keep it around 20,000 words, and when I took my first crack at their story in April, they were still just friends by 19,500. I tried to sex-scene them into falling in love, and the ensuing night in a divey 50’s diner-themed hotel room was even kinda hot, but it felt tacked on—my loyal beta readers never agree on anything, but they all agreed on this. When SCOTUS handed Tanner and Clark the chance to get married, my problem was solved—at last, an opportunity to plunk them down in the middle of a relationship, whether they were in love or not.

I wrote this story before The Kentucky County Clerk Who Shall Not Be Named, lest it prolong her fifteen minutes, was the only person in the world Facebook seemed able to share posts about. This story’s not really about social acceptance of or opposition to same-sex marriage, but rather about how two young people try to tape the map together when the roads they’ve been traveling along merge without warning into one. And as the Kentucky debacle devolves into another Westboro photo op in the race—exceptionally competitive this year, or is it just me?—to be crowned the Most Appalling American of 2015, it occurs to me that that’s rather the point of this story, like so many queer romances before it: no matter how “firmly held” someone you’ve never heard of’s opposition to it may be, love barrels along. Some days it marches, head held high, other days it straggles resentfully; it clatters and clangs to the top of the really steep hills, then zooms along the straightaways, top down, scarf a-flutter. Love doesn’t even ask permission of the people it’s messing with—it can hardly be bothered to scoff in the general direction of any busybody third party with the temerity to think she gets a say. Let people be opposed; let people picket; let people (pointlessly, in this instance, as it’s been legal there for 10 years) move to Canada—Tanner and Clark will still have to figure their shit out. Marriage isn’t about what reactionary elements of society approve or disapprove, and neither is this story—it’s about two dudes jumping off a bridge just to see if love will catch them. Which may well make them seem crazier than a Kentucky county clerk, but hopefully more fun to read about.

haul-250Our friends at Eyes on Books have very helpfully organized a mini blog tour to herald this story’s release. For exclusive excerpts, author interviews, and your chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, tag along!

Long Haul is available today from JMS Books.

Thanks, JMS Books!

Thanks, JMS Books!

Of All Days to Seize

brush-your-teeth-1588915Well, so, hooray-ishly, it’s NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge time again. It’s my favorite writing contest because I love writing to a prompt, and because last year’s sixth-place finish netted me my cutest favorite satchel (in which I found a forgotten chocolate bar from Nicaragua just the other night — it’s the prize that keeps on giving!).

In the first of the three rounds, we get to combine scores from two stories, which can only be a good thing for me, as I’m not much of a suspense writer. Taken on the whole, romance is actually kind of the opposite of suspense — like what, they might not end up together? — but I’m not going to make excuses for this story. I wrote it, I fiddled with it, I abandoned it in favor of another idea, then came crawling back and submitted it. If only it was as suspenseful as the wait to see if it scores…

You get 48 hours to write a story of 1,000 words or less. My groups prompts were Genre: Suspense, Location: Dentist’s Office, Object: Blank Check. What happened with them (with 2 words to spare) is this:

Of All Days to Seize

Porsha knew every inch of the old Victorian. She’d been running Dr. Sanchez’s dental practice out of the high-ceilinged historic home for four years, and you couldn’t find a cheerier, more innocuous space. During the day. She’d never had occasion to tiptoe around it by herself in the dark until tonight, and suddenly every coatrack was a shadowy thin man waiting to catch her in the act. She was letting her imagination run away with her. She was not letting her guilty conscience run away with her, as Keith would have suggested. Mainly because she wasn’t doing anything all that terrible, but also because shut up, Keith—she’d be as glad to leave him behind as any of the rest of it.

It wasn’t like she’d planned this. She bought supplies for the staff kitchen at the Costco over by her house, she’d snatched up the smiley tooth material for the waiting room curtains from the craft store bargain bin; Dr. Sanchez reimbursed her by check all the time. She hadn’t purposely asked Dr. Sanchez to cut this particular check right as Mrs. Derani came bursting through the door clutching a cheek the size of a softball and moaning about the pain, the pain! Heck, Porsha had been home and on her second glass of chardonnay before she’d even remembered dropping the checkbook back into the drawer amidst all the hullaballoo, the signed, blank check with her name on it biding its time on top of the stack. Dr. Sanchez may as well have written Now’s your chance on the Memo line. Continue reading

New Release: Heat Wave: Colorado Springs

This year, authors at JMS Books took on the challenge of writing a series of stories set during a massive heat wave sweeping across the United States. This summer is shaping up to be a real scorcher, one of the hottest in history, and these stories really crank up the heat! As temperatures soar, tempers flare and libidos rise, and we’ve cooked up 18 sizzling tales of summer love. This steamy summer series launches today with three titles. Among them:

Heat_Wave_Colorado_Springs_400x600Just when barbecue boss Spencer Worthington is convinced nothing in the world could be hotter than Colorado Springs this summer, along comes Ethan, sizzling ribs with his dad at a rival booth. Just looking at him makes Spencer sweat, and when Ethan’s dad reveals himself to be a homophobic heckler, Spencer’s temper flares. Conflict erupts, and a passerby proposes a civilized solution: a reality TV cook-off — such as the one she happens to produce — to settle the score. May the best meat win.

Seeing an opportunity to win a big fat cash prize and big fat Ethan, Spencer signs on. But when his secret sauce goes missing at the height of the competition, all signs point to sabotage, and he neglects to look before he leaps to conclusions. Now the money and Ethan are both on the line, but how can Spencer keep his cool in this heat?

Read an excerpt and get your copy at JMS Books. It’s 30% off (along with my other JMS titles) during July as part of their Fifth Birthday Blowout. Festivities also include two chances to win this and other Heat Wave stories — visit their website for information about giveaways, then swing back by as part of the scavenger hunt!

Thanks, JMS Books!

Thanks, JMS Books!

New Release: “Sin to Get Saved” in Of Heaven and Hell

Earnest anti-gay evangelical Hubert dies in a freak accident. When a handsome angel named Bartholomew makes brazen overtures in the Afterlife, humble Hubert realizes his soul may have taken a wrong turn. But turning back to the straight and narrow isn’t quite as easy as he hopes it will be. 


OHAH-1000x1595Wayward Ink’s newest anthology, Of Heaven and Hell, hits shelves today, and along with it my newest erotic short about finding Love after Death, “Sin to Get Saved.”

Hubert knows he brings shame on himself and on the Lord by being a queer — his Grandad and the pastor of his evangelical church tell him as much all the time. So when he dies in a freak accident, he’s as delighted as he is surprised to waltz right through the Pearly Gates, no questions asked. He even gets a beautiful angel named Bartholomew as his very own guide to the Afterlife. But when the angel makes brazen overtures, Hubert realizes his soul may have taken a wrong turn, and he beseeches Bartholomew to keep his hands to himself and help him find his rightful place in the Heaven he’s always heard about. And so they set out to explore his options, Bartholomew hoping Hubert will learn a thing or two along the way about the deeply personal definitions of Paradise.

Get your hot little hands on this story and ten others by your favorite Wayward Writers direct from Wayward Ink, on Amazon, or at ARe. Buy direct from Wayward Ink between now and June 21st and get 40% off during their First Anniversary sale, which makes the entire antho like US$4.20!

For an exclusive excerpt from “Sin to Get Saved,” read on!

Continue reading

Stamp Out Discrimination

imagesLFSLV43XMy cousin makes fun of me; she is certain I am the last man alive in these days of e-mail and Face Time that still makes use of the post office. But I use it all the time. I still send letters and postcards and thank you notes and Valentines — I always need a stamp for something. And the first time I put a Harvey Milk stamp on a letter, I was surprised at the emotions it stirred up. Seventy years ago they put us in concentration camps for being gay; fifty years ago they still put us in jail; thirty-five years ago they binged on Twinkies and assassinated us for daring to participate in city government. Now George Takei rules the internet, Ellen is the darling of daytime TV, and they put Harvey Milk on a stamp. Much to the dismay of some Republican lawmakers, we have arrived. It’s enough (apparently) to bring a tear to the eye of a boy who came of age at the height of the AIDS crisis with the fear that just being gay would literally kill him.  So when the Finnish post office announced their plans in 2014 to release Tom of Finland stamps, I had to have them. As in, I priced air fare to Helsinki so’s I could go stand in line at a post office and get some.

If you must know, Tom of Finland has never been my favorite artist. I like a nice round butt in tight pants as much as the next guy — probably way more than the next guy, actually — but for the most part his men are too muscled, mustachioed, and leather-daddy-ish for my tastes. Do they all have to wear that hat? But the fact that a whole freakin’ country could recognize Tuoko Laaksonen’s contribution to world culture (the gay part of it, anyway), and celebrate an erotic artist by putting some of his erotic art on stamps, without people feeling the need to rise up and pass a bunch of grandstanding retaliatory laws (one has a butt!)  reinforcing their Jesus-mandated prerogative to, I don’t know, use different stamps — or not mail wedding pizzas with them or whatever — was huge, and I wanted in. And only recently did I learn that my friend in New York called her friend in Sweden and asked her, Hey, next time you’re in Finland, could you scoop up some stamps for my friend?  A request her pal graciously fulfilled (Tak, Pernilla!), and I got my set in the mail a few weeks ago. They’re gorgeous and kind of sexy and subversive in a history-making way, and they deserve a fate better than getting sifted to the bottom of the pile of crap priceless memories here next to (and on top of and underneath and behind) my friend’s old dining room table desk, and so off I went with them to Michaels to see about getting a mat cut and getting them into a frame.

slide_345601_3618742_freeTo the extent that what I’m about to say could serve any purpose beyond perpetuating stereotypes, I present as gay. Like, as way gay. I look like I’m gay, I talk like I’m gay, I wear pashminas and toenail polish and, because I live with a drag queen, there are days that I leave an actual trail of hot pink glitter in my wake as I flounce through places like Michaels. And in case the people working in the custom framing department weren’t the type to pick up on not-so-subtle social cues, yesterday I was also waving around a sheet of stamps emblazoned with a naked guy and his butt saying “Frame these!”. First an unflappable young man offered help. When I told him I was hoping for a custom-cut mat to fit a ready-made frame, he assessed my artwork without comment, suggested a nice blue, and then produced a stack of mats from which to choose. While we were weighing the options, his co-worker approached the table. She saw what we were working with, and sure enough, she had something to say about it. Continue reading