I love a good writing project.  I write better and more freely with my eye on a submission deadline, or a word-count goal, or a photo prompt than if I’m just writing to see what happens.  Early on, my writing group, the Open Book, got in the habit of starting meetings with exercises wherein we’d all whip out a few words for a few minutes on a given topic or song or bouquet of flowers, and then share the results by way of bringing us all together and getting the ball rolling.  As an extension of this, our favorite pastime, this year we’ve decided to build an anthology of short, original work.  Not just from the “members” of the group, but also from like-minded cousins and grandmas and passersby, reflecting the fluid, Come Ye Who Wish philosophy that governs most of our meetings.

Loving prompts the way we do, we decided we’d all be more likely to participate more fully if we had a theme, and the topic of Food, it will not surprise regular readers of Mister S. to learn, met little resistance (and might actually have been the only theme idea we even entertained).  Thus was Twelve Months of Tasty Morsels born.  Here at the beginning of month four, the antho is still taking shape as a blog which, at the end of the year, will be compiled into a little book of poetry, 100-word stories, and food haiku, the proceeds from which our group plans to donate to an as-yet undesignated local non-profit dealing with the art of writing and/or the fight against hunger.

This 100-word story, “Nothing Fancy,” is a reblog of my (just-submitted) February entry.  Visit the blog if you have a taste for this sort of thing, see what my writing buddies are up to, and, if you find something yummy, please enjoy!

Tasty Year: A Food Anthology

A 100-word piece by Michael Thomas for February

Nothing Fancy

“I just did some chili in the crockpot,” he squeaks, chin down. “It’s nothing fancy.” It’s February, I almost had to cross country ski over here, the kitchen window’s steamed over and the whole place smells of slow-cooking cumin and crackling fire. My veins are packed with snow and my eyelashes are icicles — him in that green sweater’s all the “fancy” I need. Can of beans, hunk of meat, let’s eat. “I figured a ton of garlic was OK,” he’s saying. “Only person I’m planning on kissing is you.” And just like that, I’m warm inside before I’ve eaten a bite.

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No, No, New York

Statue-of-Liberty-SariStart spreading the news: I want to be a part of it, but New York just ain’t happening for me today.  It’s right across the river, too, but some days, once you’re ensconced in your hotel room — mere feet from not one but two comfy beds, even — “across the river” might as well be “across the Universe.”  I traded into this Newark trip at the last minute to get Saturday off, and it’s one of those pesky airport layovers that’s too long to be short, but too short to be long; New York City is a very manageable train ride away, and Do I? or Don’t I? has tormented me now for days.

I love to lament the bygone glamour days of my chosen career, even if most of them pre-date me, and I know I have worn the downtown layover topic somewhat thin.  I like to See and Do on my layovers whenever possible, if for no other reason than that it helps me to create the illusion of a fascinating life on social media, and if it’s Seeing and Doing you’re after, you’ll definitely heart NY.  And the last time I was in New York City, we bought our discount show tickets at the World Trade Center, so it’s been a while.  But not every day at this gig can be a Glory Day.  We had a long day yesterday, we have kind of a long day tomorrow; the train into town is easy from the Newark airport, but it also costs $25 round trip, and that’s before I spend a penny in an Indian restaurant or, especially in this of all towns, a bookstore; it’s thirty degrees and supposed to rain or possibly snow, and the only sweater I have in my bag is one that I also occasionally wear in Hawaii — the reasons (“excuses” is such an annoyingly apt word) do pile up, and some days, the allure of curling up with a book and a glass of wine and watching other people be cold out the window will not be denied.  I am seldom one to turn down an opportunity to ogle big-nosed, five-o’clock-shadowed, dark-haired men, but we’ll have a plane full of them tomorrow (in this regard, EWR, LGA, and PHL never disappoint), and it’s not like I can’t have Indian food delivered.

I am a mad fan of the Big Adventure, but airline life is a many-faceted (and uproariously deranged) proposition, and sometimes it’s just a job.  No celebrity sightings today, no hilarious cross-cultural misunderstandings or epic photo ops.  But I’m gonna get some rest, and I’m gonna get some writing done, and there was that raccoon in the parking lot that I thought for a second was maybe a monkey — not everything that ever happens is Big, and the Big Apple is more than I was up to today.  But there’s beauty (not to mention blog posts) in the small stuff, too, and the book I brought won’t read itself.  And the next time I’m tempted to sulk on a boring airport layover, I’ll have something to do: there’s still A Day in New York to plan, after all.

New Release: A Model Romance

amodelromanceWhen Bridger Bradford chases the wrong guy to South Korea, he falls in love … with his fantasies about Kai, a model whose handsome mug is splashed across every subway station and bus shelter in the country.

Kai has a big career and big money, but what he really wants is a shot at big, blond Bridger, who can’t believe his luck when the man of his dreams seemingly walks out of the stack of souvenir magazines and right up to him in his favorite San Francisco bar.

Today marks my stand-alone short fiction debut with the eBook release of the story of one of my very favorite couples. At just under 7,000 words, A Model Romance is a quick-reading short story of how beefcake Bridger Bradford falls head over heels in love with a wild fantasy that could never come true, and what happens when it does.  My hope is that it just might be the most romantic thing you’ll ever read that refers to both Old McDonald and Tuna Surprise in its opening paragraph.

If you’re queer as a three-dollar bill, you’ll even get change — snag your copy here at JMS Books today for the introductory price of $2.39.

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Tempted?  Click on through and read an excerpt: Continue reading

Seoul: A Model Layover

seoul beautiesBefore I started flying, I knew next to nothing about Korea.  I knew there were two of them, and I kind of knew why, and everything else I knew I gleaned either from Margaret Cho’s stand up or from reruns of M*A*S*H.  I arrived in Seoul for the first time with few expectations, vowing only not to be taken in by the senior flight attendants who were trying to get me to make an ass of myself by walking into this back-alley restaurant and asking to be served something called Beep ‘n’ Bop, as if I don’t recognize a made-up food item when I hear one.  (Why don’t you order it, if it so exists?  P.S. – It does, and it’s do-it-yourself delicious, once you get the hang of flat chopsticks.)  I was immediately sold on Seoul, and it endures as one of my favorite layover cities (albeit one that I no longer see).

In A Model Romance, Bridger and Kai’s very different experiences in Korea eventually and unexpectedly bring them together in San Francisco.  To celebrate Seoul, and the upcoming release (Sunday, March 10th) of the story it helped inspire me to write, today’s Special Edition City Code Snapshot will feature five of my favorite things about Seoul. Continue reading