New Release: Say Cheese!

Sitcom sensation Felix Medrano, America’s Sweetheart, throws a star-studded surprise party for his sweetheart, beanpole barkeep Grover Shepherd. It’s a smash, save for one detail: Shep is a no-show. Who’d have thought it would be so hard to pop the question?

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saycheeseOK, I’m not just recycling promo posts, I promise. If this all sounds very familiar, it’s because this story originally appeared in the Wayward Ink Publishing anthology Stranded. But one of the cool things about WIP is the way they go on to release the short stories from each antho individually, and we’re kicking off the Stranded stories with mine! Available today direct from Wayward Ink or from one of the buy links below.

Grover Shepherd is the only thing Felix Medrano loves more than being the current darling of Hollywood. He throws a star-studded surprise engagement party to declare that love to the world, and it’s a smash, save for one detail: Shep is a no-show.  Felix knows Shep missed his flight home from New Orleans, but that was fifteen hours ago. What’s the hold up?

Flash back to the start of Shep’s day in New Orleans. By the time his friend Billy’s car is eventually retrieved from the jealous lover who drove off with it, Shep’s missed his flight back to L.A., and he spends the rest of the day on standby, watching flight after flight depart without him. Each time he sends Felix a progress report via text message, Felix replies with a romantic photo from their past, and Shep spends much of his airport odyssey Remembering When. It’s easy to see how these two fell in love, but getting harder to imagine that Shep could possibly make it home in time to celebrate with Felix and their friends.

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Thanks, Wayward Ink!

Thanks, Wayward Ink!

New Release: “Dude Mama” in A Likely Story

When button-down biracial lawmaker Cassidy Uematsu meets hardscrabble fry cook Buford “Jax” Jackson, it’s lust at first sight. They’re only too happy to jump into the sack, and when Jax loses his condom mid-getting-to-know-you, Cassidy urges him forward, damn the consequences. 

What’s the worst that can happen? 

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Likely Story CoverSuspend rational thought.

Leave logic at the door.

Be ready to roll your eyes and pick your jaw up from your lap.

The tales in A Likely Story don’t let truth get in the way of telling a good yarn.

They might push your buttons or make you laugh.

They may make you scoff or spit out your coffee.

You might even scratch your head in disbelief.

Whatever your reaction, the one thing they are guaranteed to do is entertain you!

Wayward Ink Publishing’s new anthology hits shelves today, and along with it my wildest, sexiest, and most romantic story yet. Dude Mama is all about beer and lust and vegan mac n cheese, about falling in love with the completely wrong guy at the totally wrong time and wiping the smirk off the face of Family Values.

A Likely Story is available straight from Wayward Ink, and also from Amazon in the US, the UK, and Australia. You can be enticed by the video trailer for the book here, and if you are among the first to buy the book, you can enter to win a $20 WIP gift card here.

For an exclusive excerpt from Dude Mama, please read on:  Continue reading

Got a Light?

IcebergWell, I’m having way more fun with NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge than I had with the Short Story Challenge earlier this year, which gave me the boot after Round One. I’ve made it to the Final Round of the Flash Fiction one, and submitted my last 990-word story to the judges over the weekend. Rambling writer that I am, I’m surprised to have made it quite this far in a contest that’s all about getting to the point, but actually the ruthless editing (“Aww, what a sweet thing to say…” Delete!) has been kind of fun.

The assigned genre for this final round was Open, meaning any old genre you want, which I saw first as a blessing, in that it wasn’t “Ghost Story” or “Spaghetti Western”, but then saw as a curse, in that it gave me no direction to go in with the no-help-at-all location prompt — An Iceberg — but have ultimately decided to embrace as a blessing because now I don’t have to categorize the story I ended up with. The assigned item was A Lighter, and it eventually set the scene. Participating writers are encouraged to “interpret your genre, location, and object assignment in uniquely creative ways…” so I’ll either get big points or get disqualified for this one. We’ll find out which in January! Herewith my final entry in this year’s challenge: 

Got a Light?

Of course I knew she was a dude. Just cuz I’m not gay doesn’t mean I have no sense of adventure. She had legs for days and a butt you could eat breakfast off of. I figured if I took her home and fucked her, when we were finished she could flip me over and fuck me right back, and you don’t hit that jackpot every day. That’s what we all loved about the Iceberg: you never knew what was gonna happen, but if you kept your wallet handy and your wits about you, you were guaranteed a wild time.

So named because its street-level frosted-glass cocktail lounge façade revealed nothing of the depravity that hulked beneath as you descended the depths from one sub-basement to the next, the Iceberg was the hottest club in Saint Paul. And it was on the Right Wing’s shit list from opening day. Board it up, burn it down—they didn’t care how they were delivered from its scourge, but Wouldn’t somebody think of the children?! Meanwhile, the queers? The fornicators? The sinners-for-sport? We lined up to get in, to hit the spray-painted stairs and see how low we could go.

I had purple hair, tight abs in a tight T-shirt; I got in no sweat. Clomped down the stairs, blew past the first landing—hometown DJs, go-go dancers, big whoop. The second basement got more interesting. Here the hustlers and the gay-for-pay porn stars took off their shirts and licked their lips, enticed daddies and chubs to pop for a beer or a blow job while the drag queens with the highest hair in the Midwest lip-synched Katy Perry until she would have been sick of the sound of her own voice, had she managed to flirt herself past a bouncer. That’s where I saw her: strong freckled shoulders in a sequined tube top, seven feet tall in platforms, whipping that ponytail around the stage like a propeller, she was as white as any Minnesota blizzard I’d ever shoveled my way out of and called herself Vinda Lou Curry. So she got points for creativity on top of the Perfect Ten her body demanded. When I saw her duck up the stairs after her number, I didn’t think about it, I just followed. She cut between two bars to the back door. I bummed a quick cigarette from some underage twink as he scampered by, hung it from my lip, pushed into the alley. She had a fan club; I elbowed in. “Got a light?” Continue reading

New Release: Isle Be Home for Christmas

Isle_Be_Home_For_Christmas_400x600-1So, a couple of announcements, I guess. One is, this is officially my last month in the air as an active, here’s-your-coke, how-do-you-take-your-coffee, I’m-sorry-sir-but-you’ll-have-to-keep-your-shirt-on stewardess. My company offered a buyout, and I took it, and at the end of this month I’m “retiring” (at the age of 42, mind you–it will not exactly be a rocking chair-and-mint julep retirement, at least not for a while…). I’m going to keep the name “Mister Stewardess,” though, cuz I earned it, meaning that one time when that girl yelled it, she was talking to me. I wrote this year’s Christmas Story (which brings us to our second announcement: it’s out today from JMS Books!) before I knew they were going to offer these buyouts, but you will see on about page one that retirement (or blowing a slide and taking two beers and quitting, however you wanna go out…) was on my mind as a hot topic. Justin, our 43-year-old hero, has just been laid off, you see, and he says, “After thirteen years in the cubicle zoo, my severance was okay. Not more than I felt I was owed, mind you, but enough that I’d be able to pay my bills and cover my nut for a few months while I looked for something else. Or enough to live like a king on an island the size of a college campus within spitting distance of the Gatun locks of the Panama Canal for eight weeks, which is what I decided I’d way rather do. I had the rest of my life to job-hunt. But I also had a car payment and exorbitant Southern California rent to worry about. I was never going to have a big pile of money sitting in my checking account just begging to be spent again, and I figure if God didn’t want me running off to Central America to drink beer and chase brown-skinned boys, He wouldn’t have invented the sublet.”

Enter Cole, a middle-aged American who wanders off from the cruise line-approved waterfront and ends up in Justin’s favorite island hangout. Justin hasn’t come all this way to ogle Americans. It’s like he says, “If I was looking for a big, square-shouldered American meathead, I’da stayed in America. I live in San Diego, for Heaven’s sake—it’s like the square-shouldered American meathead outlet mall.” But Cole knows how to dance, and it turns out he knows how to kiss, and it’s only one night, after all, although by morning this seems to Justin less like a selling point and more like a grave romantic injustice. When he spies the ship still in port while he tends to his Christmas Eve hangover, Justin knows he must manage his expectations. Just because the ship’s still here doesn’t mean Cole will come ashore, and so what if they do cross paths again? Did they really connect as Justin thinks he remembers, or is that just the beer filling in the blanks? He invents an errand, throws on some clothes, and heads for the dock, figuring there’s one way to find out.

Remember, during their first week, all JMS new releases are 20% off, and only available at JMS Books.

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Gift Gay Guy CoverLest auld acquaintance be forgot, The Ghost of Christmas Past recommends last year’s holiday hit, The Gift of the Gay Guy, also a JMS Book!

Tugging at Your Heart Strings

Disney Wonder cruise ship sails under the Golden Gate Bridge on the way to the Port of San Francisco

As you may have learned in my previous post, I got Romance for a genre in the latest round of NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge, which is kind of my thing. Our assigned object was a map, our assigned location was a tugboat, and we had 48 hours to write a 1,000-word story; I was like, I got this, and I cranked out what follows. I was pretty happy with the way I worked the map into the story, but as I was snipping my first draft down to size (and rushing the ending), I realized that the tugboat was more “this thing that exists” than any kind of true “location,” so I went back to the drawing board. The second story was a smash (in my own mind — results for this round are a week or so away yet), but I kind of like these guys — if you’ve read my stuff, you know this isn’t my first redheaded Romeo — so I’m sharing their story just because, as the guy who wrote it for them, I feel like it’s kind of my job. Enjoy what my “Documents” file calls

Tugboat Romance A

“A tug?”

“Yes, Captain.”

“What do you mean, ‘they’re sending a tug?’ I’ve docked this beast in Mazatlan a hundred times. I was here last week.”

“Yes, Captain. I remember. Welcome back. Order of the Port Authority, I’m afraid. Please standby; the tug’s on its way.”

Annoying. Andreas wasn’t the Captain of the Cavalcade, but he was the Second Mate, which often seemed to be a euphemism for Jackass Who Steers the Boat Into Port When the Captain’s Too Drunk to Do It. They did keep calling him Captain; maybe that’s why they were sending the tug.

There was nothing for it but to wait. He was dying to drop anchor and get back to sulking in his room, but there was plenty of time for that. There was no question Keith was the man of his dreams. The question that did nag, of course, was, Then why did you sail away from him, you fool? Continue reading