Headphones was an experiment, a story written in "snapshots", a serial, a comic in word form-- call it what you will. It ran for one year plus one day-- January 1st of 2015 to January 1st of 2016. It was the story of a group of friends who took in a damaged girl and helped her find herself. But on the way, she helped them fill the holes in their own lives. I've pulled it now with the hopes of rewriting it into a book. Each day was matched with a music video and each month's mixes are still here. So if you've stumbled in, enjoy the music, and hopefully I'll be able to post updates occasionally!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

el fin, het einde, la fin, das ende, fine, an deireadh, slutet, the end!

I typed the last words of my first draft last night! It's always such a wonderful feeling, this whole "Hey, I finished something!" vibe that makes me happy. I've settled on Blind Ante for the title and I've spent this morning working on the body of the query letter. Now, to hit that 5-page synopsis.


Jordan grinned as he laid his cards on the table. Full house against a trio of Aces. Now to collect his winnings and get the hell out this dark cave of a bar.

22 year-old Jordan Hatfield has been living out of his car since his dad caught him with his boyfriend three years ago and kicked him out, beat up and broken. He doubts the legitimacy of the deed that’s folded and tucked into the pocket over his heart, but he’s tired of the nomad life and the constant fear of being caught counting cards. He heads north, leaving New Orleans behind as he heads to southern Illinois, hoping his grifter self hasn’t in-turn been swindled. To his delight, what he finds is a musty old trailer in the middle of the woods.
What he doesn’t count on is walking wet-dream Reese Daniels, who spends half his year in Las Vegas, the other half in the sleepy little town that his grandparents called home, bartending and entertaining the young women that drop in regularly. He has every right to toss Jordan out the trailer that he shares with his gambling brother, but for some reason that Jordan doesn’t understand, he lets him stay.
Jordan is happy for the first time that he can remember, until his on-again, off-again lover walks back into his, and Reese’s, life. Reese and his trailer have become everything to Jordan, but will the ghosts from his past destroy the life they’ve begun to build together?

Monday, August 28, 2017

So Close I Can Feel It!

It was a good week. Monday kicked off a little slow, but I stayed pretty steady for the rest of the week. My word count was 8298, bringing this manuscript to 44324 words. Which means I've passed my goal of 40K, taking my WIP from a novella into novel territory. I had hoped to finish today, but I think I'm down to the final chapters. If not tomorrow then hopefully Tuesday. After that, I need to draft a 5-page synopsis and a query letter. I have until the weekend to do that. Ah, self-made goals!

I still have to decide on a title--Now. Added to that, I had the brilliant (?) idea to possibly, in the future, continue Jeb's story. So now I'm trying to think of a title that I can "add" to if it becomes a series. No pressure.

Short excerpt, featuring Jeb, because I really rather liked him there at the end:

Jordan studied the bubbles rising up in his beer mug. The frost on the sides was beginning to melt and drip down the side and he traced the paths with one finger, down to the bottom where the drops were soaking into the cardboard coaster. “Maybe you don’t know me as well as you think,” he said weakly.
Jeb studied the devastated look on Jordan’s face and felt a pang of remorse for what he’d said. “Maybe I don’t,” he said softly. He leaned forward and took Jordan’s hand, pulling it up to kiss his knuckles. “Listen, don’t pay any attention to me. I’m just jaded. The one relationship I was ever in for more than six months blew up in my face. I found my…” Jeb took a deep breath before he continued. “I thought we were forever, but we weren’t. He knew the way I felt, he knew he didn’t. But he let it go on way past its expiration date. If you think Reese is your forever guy…” He paused as his face hardened. “No, strike that. If you know you’re his forever guy, then do it. Jump off that ledge and dive into that deep water. Just remember, Jordan, you’re worth everything good. Don’t settle for less.”
Jordan felt a burn deep in his sinuses and fought to keep the tears out of his eyes. Still, he felt a drip from his nose and he wiped the back of his hand across his upper lip. “Fuck, Jeb, why you making me cry?”
“Because I’m an asshole!” he laughed, lightening the mood between them.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Nearing the End (I Hope)

I actually accomplished 6304 words this week, putting me at 36K. Considering my plan to make this a 40K novella, I think I'll probably go over. I wanted to be done by the end of this week, and maybe it'll still happen, but I really don't feel I can tie this up in 4000 or 5000 words. I'm actually excited to see where it goes. I think, in a way, I've enjoyed writing this one more than I have any of the others. Saturday I got to a scene I've seen in my head almost since the beginning and at first I wasn't getting anywhere and I was a bit nervous about it. It had to be right. I basically stared at the screen, typed a sentence or two, and then stared some more. But it hit that afternoon and got more intense than I'd realized it was going to be. Which makes me incredibly happy!

This weeks excerpt:
           Reese followed Jordan in and watched him take off his jacket. It was a bit odd, the way he eased it off as if his muscles were stiff, and he tried to not picture him with Jeb and why he’d have sore muscles. He shook his head in an attempt to empty it of the things that Jeb had hinted at, about how flexible the young man was. This wasn’t the time. “Raven’s gone.”
Jordan draped his jacket on the back of the nearest chair and walked away. “She told me yesterday. I’ll get my stuff out of your room.”
“That’s not what I mean!” Reese wasn’t sure where his sudden consternation grew from, but he followed and grabbed Jordan by the bicep, meaning to halt him.   
Jordan cringed and then rounded on him, tugging as he tried to break away from Reese’s grip. “What, then? What do you want?”
“Why are you mad?”
“Because...you…” Jordan deflated, slumping his shoulders as he stared up at Reese. “I don’t know. I’m not,” he finally admitted. “Why are you?”
Reese almost shouted “I’m not!” but caught himself as he opened his mouth. He shut it with a snap and took a deep breath. “I’m just confused, I guess. I don’t understand what’s going on here.”
Jordan finally broke away from Reese and headed on down the narrow hall to the bedroom without answering. He started to gather the clothes he’d left scattered here and there, but when he finished, his way out was blocked. He tried to push around him, but Reese stopped him with his hands on his shoulders.
“Jordan, stop. Talk to me. What’s going on? It seems like there’s something happening between us, and yet you spend time with Jeb. What is he to you? The love of your life? Just an easy fuck? What?”
“He saved me. Three years ago. He found me, beat up and bleeding. He took me in, cleaned me up. I owe him.”
“Is that all it is?”
“Isn’t it enough?”

Monday, August 14, 2017

As The Country Goes To Hell

First order of business. I was never overly happy with the title Sleep Dream Silently Scream, at least not for this particular story. It was just a title I was playing with at the opening of the July CampNaNo and I used it, not really meaning to make it permanent. So I'm playing with some different ideas: Parking is Limited, Permit Parking Only, Blind Ante, Bluff Induce. If you have any ideas, put them in the comments. I'm looking for something having to do with parking (because Jordan lived out of his car for so long and doesn't want to go back to that) or something to do with Poker/Blackjack. Some titles are obvious and already used multiple times, titles like Ante Up, and Cashing Out. Hopefully, we'll discover something original.

And now for the regular update: So, I had planned on doing word sprints over the weekend and getting my word count over 30K. The plan is still to hit around 40K and my hope is to finish the first draft in the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the weekend events in Charleston (and now around the country) have me rattled. Hopefully, I'll get back on track within the next couple of days. I did manage to make my minimum word count goal for the week, actually finishing at 5094. That doesn't include notes I spent some time typing up, plus working on a scene from the final chapters. I keep reminding myself that it's going fairly well for a story that I've been totally pantsing (also known as 'winging it'). Only time will tell if it's actually coherent!

This week's excerpt:
“Shit, Jordan. You’re drunk. Don’t you have to work tomorrow?”
Jordan sat back up and one side of his mouth curled while his eyebrows rose high into his forehead. “Oh damn. Yeah.” Before Reese could say anything, Jordan lost interest in the conversation and ripped off his jacket. “Dude, it’s hot in here.”  
A chill of dismay ran through Reese as his hand shot out to grab Jordan’s wrist and pull it towards him into the light. It wasn’t dismay so much as a combination of horror and anger and worry.  “What the fuck, Jordan? What did Jeb do to you?”
Jordan tried to tug his arm back, but Reese wouldn’t let go. “Nothing. It’s nothing.”
“This isn’t nothing!” Reese hissed. Some of the other patrons were looking their way in interest, wondering if the stories were true after all. Reese didn’t want to add to the rumour mill, but this couldn’t be ignored. He tightened his grip and gave him a pull, directing him around the end of the bar. From there, he pulled him into the storeroom where they kept the extra kegs and liquor.  
“Reese, let me go,” Jordan pleaded, his eyes wide in panic. The drunkenness that was evident only a few minutes earlier was completely erased from his features.
“What is this? Tell me! Jeb did this, didn’t he?”
“It’s nothing, Reese. I swear. Just tape.”
“Why did you have tape around your wrists?”
Jordan stood up to his full height and stared at Reese, sucking in his cheeks while his eyelids got heavy. He smirked as he said, “Because I like it.”
Reese let go of him and stepped back. “What do you mean?” Jeb’s comments from that first night began to replay themselves in his mind. He hadn’t believed it then, but Jordan’s sneer confirmed every word.
“Because pain is such a rush.” He said it like he was trying to get a reaction. “I like a little pain with my play and Jeb...gets into that.”
“Oh, fuck,” Reese choked out. If Jordan was trying to get him to respond, he was succeeding.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Weekly Update

     The last week went well at 5931 words, bringing the current draft to 24660.  My word count goal for this MS is 40K, and I plan to have it done by the end of the month, which is very doable if I meet my 5K word goal each week. The problem with that? There are some submission calls going on right now that I'd like to enter, but I'm not ready. So now the question becomes, do I stick to my original plans: finish this MS, hit the edits for this and Embers and Flame, do some suggested edits to When Silverfish Dance, and start the rewrites for Headphones? Then start querying the collection at the first of the year? Or do I shuck all that, at least for the next few weeks, and jump in feet first? Argh! I'm so very confused on what to do next.

this week's excerpt:

           Reese froze in the bathroom doorway when he heard a moan. He waited, almost afraid of what would follow as he pictured Jeb coupled with Jordan on that small bed, but the next sound was closer to a sob than a cry of ecstasy and he left the warmth of the steam-filled room and moved towards Jordan’s door. The sounds coming from his room were definite words now. “Stop. No. I’m sorry. I won’t. Dad, I won’t!” He tapped on the door, but when no answer came, he pushed his way in. A strip of light fell across the bed, enough for Reese to see Jordan with his blankets kicked off and his hands clutching at the bottom sheet as if he was trying to hang onto a rocking surface.
Reese sat down at the edge of the bed and reached out a hand to give him a gentle nudge as he said Jordan’s name simply because he was afraid of his reaction if he woke to find someone standing over him. Still, Jordan yelled and cowered as he came awake. “It’s just me. It’s Reese.”
“Reese?” Jordan’s voice cracked as he looked around the room before they settled on the man sitting on the end of his bed, his eyes wild and huge with too much white showing.
“You were having a bad dream,” Reese offered, as if Jordan didn’t know it.
Jordan didn’t say anything as a sob tightened his throat. The bed was shaking; he was trembling so hard that Reese could feel it. “Come on,” he said as he laid his hand on Jordan’s where it lay, still twisted in the sheet.
“Where?” he asked as Reese took his hand and tugged at him. Their palms slipped and Jordan almost pulled away to wipe the sweat away but it was as if Reese could read his mind and he tightened his grip.
Reese didn’t answer. Once Jordan was up, he led him down the hall to his room and pulled his blanket back, nodding his head towards the bed. For a moment, he thought Jordan was going to argue, but with a sigh, he crawled in and rolled up into a ball. Reese went around to the other side and slid in between the covers after he turned off the small bedside lamp. He rolled towards Jordan. The younger man was still trembling, so he smoothed his hand up and down his back, rubbing at his shoulder and neck until the shaking stopped and his breath became soft and even.
“What was that about?” he wondered as he rolled onto his back, putting a few inches between them on the bed. He lay awake for the next hour, thinking back over the last month. He had become so comfortable sharing his space with this man, even though they rarely spoke about anything except what was going on in their present. And yet, Reese had found a contentment in his life that he’d never had. There was a different ambiance in the trailer now, something stable that he hadn’t noticed was missing until now. Even when Jordan wasn’t there, when he was at work, Reese felt his spark, his energy. He wanders the house and yard restlessly in the mornings, tinkering and piddling around, looking for anything to occupy his time as he waits for Jordan to come home. He gets anxious when he’s late. He’s not sure when it happened, how Jordan has become more than a homeless kid who needed a place to stay and is now an integral part of his life. 
His quiet calm, his low chuckles when they watch movies, the way he quietly moves around, singing softly as he cleans, have permeated the tin can and made it into a home, again. It hadn’t felt that way to Reese since his grandparents died. It had just been a place where he slept from time to time. A place where he kept his clothes. He didn’t know what it meant or why he was only then starting to realize it, but the question was his last thought as he finally fell asleep to the sound of Jordan breathing next to him.