Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#WIPWednesday: There's nothing as electrifying as sex in a storm!

Today will be the last #WIPWednesday for Tall, Dark and Deported, which is both exciting and sad. Exciting because it means I finished my manuscript in time for my deadline and I'll be sending it off soon. Sad because I won't get to write these two beautiful men anymore. *sniffle*

We'll send them out with a bang, though. A literal one--sex after being caught outside in a terrifying thunder storm. There's not much that gets the blood pumping like running for your life through lightning and hail, and once Mateus and Crawford are safe in a barn, they put all that adrenaline to good use.

I'm not posting most of the scene, just the teaser to their sexytimes, but you'll have to trust me that after all the build-up and tension in the book, the climax is electric.

I'll stop with the storm puns now. *g*

These two have tiptoed around each other through tropes and misunderstandings, and by the time they finally get together, there's no doubt they belong together. I had an amazing amount of fun channeling all the old-school Harlequin tropes I used to love as a teenager, and I can't wait to start reading the other Dreamspun Desires books!

Tall, Dark and Deported 

They'd made it a few steps before the rain stopped and the sky lightened. It turned a sickly green, which wasn't something Crawford had ever seen before. Apparently Mateus had, because he looped the picnic basket through one arm and reached back with another, grabbing onto Crawford's hand and tugging him forward as he broke into a flat-out run. “Hurry!” he yelled, tucking his head down. 
Crawford couldn't even get out a question before he felt something sting the back of his neck. Once, twice, and then suddenly there was a deluge, too many to count, sharp pricks battering him all over. He ducked his head like Mateus, then used his free hand to unfurl the blanket, making a shelter for them. He shook free of Mateus's grip and held it up over them as best he could as they ran. The ground around them was littered with tiny pieces of hail. They didn't look bigger than peas, but they'd felt like boulders when they'd been hitting his skin. The blanket didn't keep them all off, but it was better than just being completely unprotected. 
Do you think it's unlocked?” he yelled as they neared the white clapboard barn. 
Probably not,” Mateus yelled back. “These pole barns have to be padlocked, and I don't see one.” 
Crawford had no idea what that was, but he vowed to read up on barns and become an expert if they made it through this intact. They stumbled to a clumsy stop in front of the huge barn doors, and he sighed in relief when he realized it was closed with a large piece of timber. There was a spot for a lock, it looked like, but nothing was there.Mateus hefted the large bar up, and the barn doors creaked open. They rushed inside, but Mateus didn't close the door behind them. There weren't any windows in the barn, and closing the door would plunge them into darkness. 
Crawford let the blanket drop with a breathless laugh. “Oh my God,” he panted.Mateus took one look at him and started to laugh. He put the picnic basket down at his feet and closed the distance between them, his hands coming up to pluck at Crawford's hair. Crawford started to laugh when he realized he'd had hail in his hair. Mateus did, too. It felt natural to return the fair, his fingers skating through Mateus's dark locks as he swept the melting ice out of it. 
Crawford's heart was pounding from their run, and it felt unnaturally loud to him in the heavy silence of the deserted barn. He and Mateus were standing close enough that their breath mingled, and Crawford couldn't stop himself from stepping up, close enough he could count the drops of water in Mateus's eyelashes. 
He hesitated, hovering close enough to kiss him, until Mateus's eyes closed and he leaned in the rest of the way, closing the small gap between them. He tasted like rain, wild and earthy. Electric, like the lightning that had chased them into this musty barn. Crawford pressed in, chasing the flavor across Mateus's lips and into his mouth when Mateus melted into the kiss and let him in.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy holidays from Great Wolf Lodge! (aka why there's no #WIPWednesday this week)

Hubs and I surprised the kids with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge for Christmas this year, so even though I'm terribly behind on Tall, Dark and Deported, I haven't been writing this week. I have, however, probably swallowed more chlorine than anyone should in a lifetime and gone on a million magic quests in the last two days.

If you aren't familiar with Great Wolf Lodge, it's a chain of amusement park style hotels in the Midwest that have huge indoor water parks and a gazillion other kid-friendly activities. Pretty much hell on earth for parents, but a dream Christmas for kids. *g*

My kids have been having a blast, from the log cabin they're sleeping in inside our room and having ice cream hours past their bedtime to the water park and the magic quest game that has us racing up and down hallways and stairwells for hours a day solving puzzles and casting spells with wands. I'm going to need a vacation from our vacation, but with the Tall, Dark and Deported deadline looming, that's not going to happen. Mommy needs a drink.

Happy Holidays (or should that be Howlidays?)! I'll see you next week for #WIPWednesday, and I promise I won't come empty handed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

WIP Wednesday: coffee orders and hotel beds

I'm running late this week (lately when am NOT?), so I apologize for that. I'm hiding at my desk at the EDJ and doing this on my phone, so fingers crossed. *g*

Today we see Mateus and Crawford right after they've come back to the United States. They were hoping it would go smoothly, but of course it doesn't. They're stuck in the border town overnight until the immigration officer can see them the next morning.

Tall,  Dark and Deported

Mateus flopped down on the queen-sized bed, wrinkling his nose when he bounced instead of sinking into it. This was nothing like the feather-soft beds at [hotel name], though the rock-hard mattress and slick nylon coverlets were hardly a surprise for a place that rented for $59 a night.
Crawford had tried to book them into a nicer hotel down the street, but Mateus's pride wouldn't allow it. He'd been mooching off Crawford for too long—it was Mateus's turn to foot some of the bill for this, especially since they were stuck here overnight because of him. Unfortunately, he couldn't afford down comforters and 500-thread-count sheets. But the room did come with a free continental breakfast in the morning, which was kind of exciting.
He closed his eyes and listened to Crawford fumbling with the tiny coffeemaker on the bathroom sink. It was late, but he didn't say anything. He'd learned not to come between Crawford and caffeine, no matter what time of day Crawford was having it. [insert earlier snipy fight over coffee late at night]
Something clattered into the sink with an echoing thud and Crawford cursed softly. Mateus peeked open one eye in time to see him angrily shoving the piece back into the coffeemaker.
“I saw a Starbucks a mile or so back. I think I'm going to give up on this and make a coffee run. You want a decaf cinnamon latte?”
So maybe Mateus hadn't been the only one taking notes on beverage preferences. He tried hard to ignore the fluttery feeling he got knowing Crawford had been paying attention all those nights they'd stopped at the hotel coffee shop for a drink after dinner.
“If you're going out anyway. But don't make a special trip for me.”
Crawford snorted. “I've got about four hours of paperwork to get through tonight. Trust me, I'm going anyway. Possibly more than once.”
Mateus winced internally. Crawford had been so amazing through all of this, never once getting angry about how much this marriage had inconvenienced him. Even now, staying in a second-rate motel with a nonfunctional coffeemaker, he didn't snap or try to make Mateus feel bad. Instead, he offered to pick up his favorite evening drink while he went out to get coffee to fuel a late-night work session that was necessary because he'd spent all day doing things for Mateus.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Border crossing kisses with Crawford and Mateus

Happy Wednesday, everyone! It's a very happy one here in the Baker household, because my contractor should be hooking up the water in my kitchen this morning, which means I'll be able to cook again! For those of you who have somehow escaped me whining about my tale of woe, we're eight weeks into a four-week kitchen renovation, and I am beyond ready to be done. *g*

Today for #WIPWednesday we're back with Crawford and Mateus in Tall, Dark and Deported.

This scene takes place after Crawford and Mateus are stopped at the US/Canada border as they cross back into the United States after getting married in Vancouver. They stage a kiss that goes from tentative to heated for the benefit of the border guard, but it's not enough to keep them from the standard immigration interview. It does leave all three of them a little disoriented, especially the poor guard, who hardly knows where to look after witnessing it.

The guard scrawled a name and number on the back of a Homeland Security business card. “You'll have to make an appointment, but the officer with Immigration Services might be able to see you today. My understanding was she wanted to meet you and set up future appointments, not put you through an interview right away.”

Well, that was ominous. Crawford flipped the card over and read the name—Office Kathleen Suarez. The guard looked apologetic, though he certainly wasn't the one who had done anything embarrassing. “I'll call her now,” Crawford said. “Should I step outside?”

The guard straightened. “No need. I'll leave you two to set that up. Just stop by the desk on your way out to let them know you've set up your appointment so they can confirm it with Useless—” the man looked stricken. “—I mean USCIS. Shit.”

Crawford laughed, feeling at ease for the first time since they'd been pulled over at the border and told to get out of the car. “Interdepartmental nicknames, eh? I guess there's no love lost between immigration services and homeland security. Though with that name, they really were asking for it.”

The man chuckled. “Right? Anyway, I apologize. I'm sure Officer Stewart will do a great job with your case.”

Crawford certainly hoped not.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

WIP Wednesday, a big sale and Talk Turkey's release!

Today there are two things to be excited about--Talk Turkey was released yesterday, and today for #WIPWednesday we finally get to see a little action between Crawford and his fake husband, Mateus. *g*

The five inches of snow we had melted last week, and while it's chilly, it just doesn't feel like Christmas yet. Which is why I'm so excited about the Dreamspinner Press Sleigh Ride Advent Calendar--a little bit of holiday goodness every day. Including Talk Turkey, my offering for the anthology. You've met Carson and Tom in #WIPWednesday posts, so I won't talk too much about them. This isn't a steamy holiday romp--it's a humorous, adorable lark.

Dreamspinner is having a site-wide holiday story sale through Dec. 5. You can pick Talk Turkey up on sale right now at Dreamspinner Press (along with my older holiday titles, The Magic of Weihnachten, Late Bloomer, Traditions from the Heart, and even Campfire Confessions, because Valentine's Day is a holiday, too!

I'm past the three-quarters mark with Tall, Dark and Deported, which is good because it's due to my publisher on Jan. 1. NaNoWriMo was a great motivator, but so was the electric attraction between Crawford and Mateus that kept my fingers on the keyboard. Today's #WIPWednesday is a scene from the book after Crawford and Mateus have been caught in a late summer thunderstorm out in the orchard and take shelter in an old barn. There's nothing like getting caught in the rain and the adrenalin rush of dodging lightning and hail to get the blood pumping and lower whatever inhibitions these two had left that was keeping them apart. Chock full of tropes, right? Delicious!

Tall, Dark and Deported

Via Llima Orosa on Flick
Mateus took one look at him and started to laugh. He let the picnic basket drop to the ground at their feet and closed the distance between them, his hands coming up to pluck at Crawford's hair. Crawford started to laugh when he realized he'd had hail in his hair. Mateus did, too. 

It felt natural to return the favor, his fingers skating through Mateus's dark locks as he swept the melting ice out of it.

Crawford's heart was pounding from their run, and it felt unnaturally loud to him in the heavy silence of the deserted barn. He and Mateus were standing close enough that their breath mingled, and Crawford couldn't stop himself from stepping up, close enough he could count the drops of water in Mateus's eyelashes.

He hesitated, hovering close enough to kiss him, until Mateus's eyes closed and he leaned in the rest of the way, closing the small gap between them. He tasted like rain, wild and [another word]. Crawford pressed in, chasing the flavor across Mateus's lips and into his mouth when Mateus melted into the kiss and let him in.

Crawford's hands fisted in Mateus's wet sweater, pulling at it until Mateus backed away and took it off with one swift motion. He tossed it onto a bale of hay in the corner, and Crawford scrambled to take his own shirt off. The buttons were a challenge for his rain-chilled hands, but Mateus swooped in to help, and the two of the managed to wrest the stiff, wet fabric out of the way.

Crawford shivered once his skin was exposed, but when Mateus crowded in against him a moment later, the chill disappeared. Skin to skin, heat flared between them. Crawford ran his hands up and down Mateus's back, his fingers greedy for any part of him he could touch. He'd wanted to do this for weeks, and he wasn't about to waste any time now that he had Mateus bare in front of him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday: In the hot tub with Mateus and Crawford

Happy Thanksgiving Eve to my fellow Americans! To everyone else, happy Wednesday! Since we still don't have a kitchen thanks to all the remodeling snafus, the Baker family has decamped up north to Chicagoland to celebrate with relatives. There's snow up here, guys. Yuck.

I was able to get some writing done in the car on the way up, which is good because today and tomorrow will be filled with family and food. I've left the guys at a pretty critical point, though, so I may have to excuse myself to write. Cliffhangers are hard on readers, but they're hard on writers, too!

Crawford and Mateus are in the penthouse honeymoon suite at the hotel, and Crawford is trying to convince himself it's a bad idea to join Mateus out on the rooftop hot tub. Or is it a very good idea? *g*

Photo credit: Hotel de Maya
Tall, Dark and Deported

But now he was about to do something very, very stupid, so maybe it hadn't been much of an escape after all. If he were smart, he'd go to bed. He'd tell Mateus, rightly so, that he had an early meeting and needed his rest. He'd ask for a rain check so he could tackle the mountain of paperwork that was waiting for him in messy piles on the dining table. He'd fake a water phobia.

Anything that kept him out of an enclosed space in one of the most romantic settings Crawford could imagine with the one man he couldn't make a move on.

But Crawford wasn't smart. He ran through excuses in his head as he took off his clothes and carefully hung his suit in the closet and rifled through his suitcase to find the swim trunks he knew he'd packed. Not for this occasion, of course. He'd envisioned a vigorous swim in the lap pool, not an agonizing soak in a private hot tub with the most attractive man he'd ever met.

He picked up his phone and texted Adam, not sure whether to hope he was awake to talk him out of this to hope that he didn't see the message in time to chastise Crawford for even thinking about it.

Rooftop hot tub with Mateus. Bad idea?

His phone dinged almost instantly.

The worst. Have fun.

Damn it.

I can't get involved with him, he texted back.

You already are. You may as well get something out of it.

Crawford took a breath and rubbed his hand over his face. As usual, Adam had cut to the quick of it and said exactly what Crawford needed to hear. It would be wrong to take advantage of Mateus. And even if Mateus said he was interested, how could Crawford be sure he really was and he wasn't just saying that because he was afraid Crawford would change his mind about helping him get a visa? No. He had to keep his distance.

Thanks, bro, he texted back. He tossed his phone on the bed and strode out into the main room to tell Mateus he couldn't join him tonight. The doors to the terrace were already open, so Crawford walked through. His breath caught in his throat when he saw Mateus.

He was silhouetted against the skyline, his arms folded together like he was cold. He'd apparently picked up a pair of swim trunks at the same place he'd gotten his clothes for tonight, because they were almost indecently tight, just like the trousers he'd had on.

Crawford's excuses died on his lips. Mateus looked so breathtakingly lonely that he couldn't bring himself to disappoint him. Especially when Mateus turned around and a huge smile bloomed across his face.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Mateus gets a taste of an American delicacy

He's as wonderfully strange and intimidatingly
 intelligent in person as he seems in his books!
I'm at a librarian conference this week, so I haven't had time to do much more than my minimum NaNo count each day. In fact, I've barely been getting that accomplished.

But I'm learning lots of library things, which I promise is more exciting than it sounds. Plus I got the chance to meet Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), so I think Mateus and Crawford will forgive me if I've been a little distracted. *g*

A word on NaNo--I've been running a Come Write In program at my library this month, and it's been wonderful getting the chance to meet other local writers and see people hard at work on their craft. And I also had the chance to talk with Headline News about NaNoWriMo and the publishing world, which was pretty exciting.

All in all, it's been a few exciting weeks of NaNo! And just like usual, I was bitten hard by a new bunny just a few days into starting my NaNo project. It's a new collaboration with Lex Chase, and you'll have to wait until after November is over to find out more about it because the deadline for Tall, Dark and Deported will be here before we know it, so I can't nurture the bunny (*cough* the three book series bunny */cough*) at the moment.

Here's a snippet from Tall, Dark and Deported for your #WIPWednesday fix!

“What? Seriously? You've never had a hot pretzel?” Crawford's eyes widened incredulously. “Where are you from? Mars?”
Mateus snickered. “Portugal. We don't have—” he squinted at the bag. Grease spots were starting to soak through, and he had to fight not to grimace. “—Auntie Anne's.”
“Oh, this is just one type. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's the best type. I think they dip them in butter after they cook or something. But you can get hot pretzels everywhere. Sporting events, skating rinks, library food courts. You've really never had one?”
He reached into the white bag and pulled out a small doughy nugget that was covered in large pellets of salt. It didn't look like any pretzel Mateus had ever seen, though he'd never seen any that weren't small and hard, so who knew.
“Shouldn't it be folded?”
Crawford's brows drew together for a moment, and then his expression cleared. “Oh, these are pretzel bites. But yeah, they sell the big pretzels, too. These are just cut up so they're easier to eat. Less messy.”
The whole thing glistened with butter, so Mateus very much doubted it was actually less messy than its larger cousin. His gaze traveled up to Crawford's mouth, drawn to the full, rosy lips. There was a tiny bit of yogurt in the corner of his mouth, and the resulting mental image made Mateus shift slightly in his seat. Bree was right. He needed to settle down and stop fantasizing about handsome strangers in airports. Well, that last bit was his own addition, but it still stood.
“You should try it,” Crawford said. He held the pretzel out to Mateus.
Mateus shook his head. “They're your favorite. You keep it.”
Crawford held his gaze for a second and then shrugged. He popped the pretzel in his mouth, his eyes fluttering shut for a moment as he chewed. He had long lashes, Mateus noticed. And he made eating a pretzel look orgasmic. They had to be flirting. There was no way this wasn't flirting.
“Your loss,” Crawford said when he'd swallowed and opened his eyes again. “But they're about a hundred times better than they look, I promise. Are you sure you don't want to try one?”
Mateus's attention was fixed on Crawford's lower lip, which was glossy with butter from the pretzel. He swallowed hard. “A small one,” he said, his voice huskier than it had been only a moment ago.
Crawford grinned. He took another pretzel out of the bag, but instead of holding it out to Mateus, he let it hover in between them, his expression questioning. A beat later Mateus leaned forward and opened his mouth, praying he wasn't reading this wrong. Crawford's smile grew, and he gently placed the pretzel into Mateus's mouth.

 The taste of salt exploded across Mateus's tongue, followed by butter and the sweet, yeasty flavor of the dough. He'd been dubious, but Crawford had been right. The pretzel was delicious. Or maybe it was just that all of Mateus's senses felt heightened as he sat there eating out of a total stranger's hand.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Stopped at the border with Tall, Dark and Deported

It's been a busy time around here, wrapping up the short blog tour for King of the Kitchen, which was released Nov. 6. All of my guests posts revolved around food, both because that's a central theme in the book and because I'm currently four weeks into what was supposed to be a five-week kitchen remodel, so I'm really missing being in a kitchen and cooking something that doesn't have to go in the microwave or crock pot. And my suffering isn't over yet--thanks to delays and Lowe's ordering the wrong cabinets, it looks like it'll be mid-December before I have a kitchen. *sob*

I included a recipe with each blog post, so if you haven't checked those out and you're interested in the food in King of the Kitchen plus a few of my personal favorites, like the egg roll recipe that was a family secret for years, it's worth a look.

Duncan's refrigerator velcro frittata on Joyfully Jay
Beck's roasted brussel sprouts with balsamic glaze on Prism Book Alliance
Garlic and shallot pasta on Gay List Book Reviews
Egg rolls on The Novel Approach

I also found out last week that Playing House earned an Honorable Mention in  Gay Contemporary General Fiction this year's Rainbow Awards, which was so exciting! Frank is a character that's so close to my heart, and seeing the judges talk so favorably about him and the book made my day.

And last but not least, here's an excerpt from my current WIP, Tall, Dark and Deported. Crawford and Mateus have fulfilled their promise to Homeland Security and gotten married while they were in Canada, but the US Immigration needs a little more convincing than a marriage certificate and a steamy kiss in front of the border agent.

Tall, Dark and Deported

The guard cleared his throat again. His eyes looked a little glassy when they met Crawford's. “I, uh, passed along the fact that you and Mr. Fontes seem to be still in the honeymoon phase on to Officer Stewart. She told me to have you check in with her at the US Citizenship and Immigration Office in Whatcom County.”
He scrawled a name and number on the back of a Homeland Security business card. “You'll have to make an appointment, but she might be able to see you today. My understanding was she wanted to meet you and set up future appointments, not put you through an interview right away.”
Well, that was ominous. Crawford flipped the card over and read the name—Office Kathleen Stewart. The guard looked apologetic, though he certainly wasn't the one who had done anything embarrassing. “I'll call her now,” Crawford said. “Should I step outside?”
The guard straightened. “No need. I'll leave you two to set that up. Just stop by the desk on your way out to let them know you've set up your appointment so they can confirm it with Useless—” the man looked stricken. “—I mean USCIS. Shit.”
Crawford laughed, feeling at ease for the first time since they'd been pulled over at the border and told to get out of the car. “Interdepartmental nicknames, eh? I guess there's no love lost between immigration services and homeland security. Though with that , they really were asking for it.”
The man chuckled. “Right? Anyway, I apologize. I'm sure Officer Stewart will do a great job with your case.”

Crawford certainly hoped not.  

Friday, November 6, 2015

King of the Kitchen is out today!

I'm at work today, so sadly I couldn't do a release day party like I usually do. But I'm so, so excited that King of the Kitchen is out today! I had such a blast reading from it at GRL, and the response I've gotten so far has been wonderful.

If you haven't been following my blog tour, be sure to check out my posts on Joyfully Jay and Gay List Book Reviews earlier this week. I'll be hosting a Dreamspinner Press Facebook chat Saturday, Nov. 7, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, and I'll be over on Prism Book Alliance (Nov. 9) and The Novel Approach   (Nov. 10) next week. I'm including a recipe at each stop on the blog tour, either something from the book or something that's a personal favorite of mine. Come check them out!

Early reviews for King of the Kitchen have been great, and I'm looking forward to hearing from more readers about how they liked Beck and Duncan!

From Divine Magazine: "King of the Kitchen by Bru Baker is the kind of book you can't put down but never want to end."
From The Novel Approach: "I would highly recommend this book if you enjoy a real romance and slow buildup kind of story. This was my first Bru Baker story, but it definitely will not be my last!


Rising kitchen talents Beck Douglas and Duncan Walters have been on the foodie paparazzi radar for years, since their status as heirs to two of the biggest celebrity chef empires around makes them culinary royalty. Beck is known for his charm and traditional food as cohost of his uncle's popular TV cooking show, while Duncan earned himself a reputation as a culinary bad boy, both for his refusal to work in his father's restaurants and his avant garde approach to cooking.

They're also heirs to a food rivalry that could put the Hatfields and McCoys to shame, and when they're photographed in the middle of a heated argument, the press goes wild with speculation. Damage control ensues, with a fake friendship engineered by PR cronies that leaves both of them secretly pining for more.

Beck chafes under his uncle's micromanagement, and Duncan's relationship with his homophobic father becomes even more tenuous when Beck and Duncan start getting closer. It's hard to hide their chemistry on national television when Duncan joins Beck's cooking show, but they won't be able to take their relationship—or their careers—to the next level without breaking a few eggs.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Dating advice from Crawford's favorite (and only) nephew

NaNoWriMo is in full swing, and I'm off to a great start on Tall, Dark and Deported for Dreamspun Desires. It's a fluffy, funny lark full of characters I want to wrap in blankets and feed soup to, and Crawford's fifteen-year-old nephew Brandon is no exception.

In today's #WIPWednesday sneak peek, Brandon is helping Crawford pack for a business trip and offering up some dating truisms that Crawford wishes he'd known before his disastrous marriage.

And don't forget, King of the Kitchen releases on Friday! I'm so excited to get Duncan and Beck out there for everyone to see. *g* You can preorder it now from quite a few places, including: Dreamspinner PressAmazonBarnes and Noble and

I was over on Joyfully Jay talking about the book and sharing one of my favorite recipes from it yesterday, and I'll be over at Gay List Book Reviews tomorrow with more food fun. And don't miss the chance to ask me about King of the Kitchen or throw any cooking-related question my way during my Dreamspinner Press Facebook takeover from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 7.

Photo credit

Tall, Dark and Deported

Brandon yanked the brown socks out of Crawford's hands and tossed a pair of black ones into his suitcase instead. “How long you gonna be gone this time?”
I'm hoping to wrap it up in a week. Two weeks, tops.” He poked Brandon in the stomach and grabbed the purloined socks when the teen let out of a bark of surprised laughter and dropped them.
Brandon scowled when Crawford dropped them into the suitcase. “Those don't match anything.”
They're one of about four pairs I have that don't have any holes in them, so they're going.”
I could come with you,” Brandon said. He perched on the edge of the bed, his expression guarded. “I've never been to Canada.”
And unless you've been moonlighting as an international man of mystery, you don't have the passport that's required to cross the border.”
Brandon's shoulders slumped, and Crawford kept half an eye on him as he tucked a pair of freshly shined shoes into a canvas bag so he could pack them. “Some reason you suddenly want to travel?”
I asked Becca Johnson to the homecoming dance and she said she'd have to get back to me, which basically means she's using me as her back-up date in case Chris Atkins doesn't ask her,” he said with a dejected sigh.
Crawford winced. This was exactly why he'd sworn off relationships. Everyone had an agenda, and it was rarely in anyone's best interest but their own. “Ouch. You don't have to wait for her to make up her mind, you know. You could ask someone else.”
Brandon threw him a look that could peel paint. “And then later when he doesn't ask her— because he won't, he's going with some upperclassman—then I'll be the jerk. She'll spend the dance in the bathroom crying with her friends and no one will want to date me because I'll come out of it looking like a dick.”
Crawford bit back a smile, knowing Brandon would see it as mocking and not amused. His nephew seemed to have things figured out pretty well for a fifteen year old. Hell, he had a better grasp of relationship dynamics than Crawford did at thirty. Maybe if he'd had half of Brandon's insight he wouldn't have fallen for a snake charmer like Davis.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Tall, Dark and Deported

For those of you who don't know, Dreamspinner Press is introducing a new line of fluffy, fabulously trope-y romances called Dreamspun Desires. You know how I feel about sappy fluff, so I'm obviously over the moon about the idea.

I'm working on something for it now, and I'm ridiculously excited about possibly being part of the new line. You've met Crawford and Mateus in earlier posts, and now they're fake-married to keep Mateus in the country. Immigration doesn't just rubber stamp these marriages, though, and they are headed to Mateus's brother's house for the first home visit with the immigration agent. It's also Crawford's first introduction to Mateus's family. So no pressure. *g*

Tall, Dark and Deported

“My sister-in-law is going to eat you alive,” Mateus warned. “And my brother might progressive on his view of sexuality, but he's as Catholic as can be when it comes to marriage being a sacrament. He'd never forgive me for marrying you just for a Greencard. We're going to have to lie to them.”
Crawford found himself grinning at the prospect of continuing their sham of a marriage, which was bizarre. He just couldn’t help but feel at ease around Mateus, though, and the thought of meeting his family and seeing the orchard Mateus had talked so glowingly about was undeniably appealing. Even if it did mean forcing Mateus to be dishonest with them.
“I—does that bother you? We're too far in to go back, but we could come clean to the immigration agent and hire a lawyer for us. We could fight the deportation.”
Mateus laughed. “Crawford. Really? There's no chance of that working. That's the whole point of the home visit. If they found out our marriage was fake, I'd be arrested on the spot. So would you.”
“Well, we could keep it up for the visit, and then you could tell your brother we fought and are taking some time apart. Have a long separation and then divorce after he's able to hire you, and if immigration had a problem you could get a work visa then.”
Mateus pursed his lips. “There is absolutely zero chance of my family buying that story. They know me too well. You're exactly my type. I wouldn't let someone like you just walk away, especially not if I'd loved you enough to marry you.”
Crawford's throat tightened. “You'd fight for me?”

 Mateus seemed to realize what he'd said a second later. His face crumpled with concern, and he reached out and wrapped an arm around Crawford's shoulders. “Without question. You're an amazing man, Crawford. And Davis was an asshole for leaving you. I'm sorry.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

WIP Wednesday: cooking with King of the Kitchen

Photo credit: Brandon Witt
I'm back from GRL 2015 and the usual post-con slump has hit. It's hard coming back to reality after spending a week with so many amazing people. I loved catching up with old friends and making a bunch of new ones, too. There's really nothing like getting to be among your tribe, and that's exactly what GRL is for me. A week where no one looks at me askance when I say I write gay romance, and no one asks me when I'm going to write "real" books. (I usually tell them that my imaginary ones keep me more than busy enough on their own.*g*)

My reading from King of the Kitchen went really well. The audience was amazing and laughed in all the right places, which made me a lot more confident. And the King of the Kitchen T-shirts I made to give away were a big hit, too.

I'm sharing an excerpt from King of the Kitchen with you today because it's finally up for preorder everywhere. Yay! The book will be out on Nov. 6, and I'll be guest blogging during release week. You can find me on Joyfully Jay Nov. 3, GayList Book Reviews on Nov. 5, the Dreamspinner Press Facebook page on Nov. 7 (stay tuned for my chat time), Prism Book Alliance on Nov. 9, and the Novel Approach on Nov. 10.

King of the Kitchen, Dreamspinner Press, release date Nov. 6

Preorder links: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ARe, Kobo, Google Play

The kitchen was as hot as a sauna, and the bandanna Duncan had tied around his head had lost its ability to keep his forehead dry hours ago. His feet ached, his hands were chapped, and despite being surrounded by food, he hadn’t eaten since breakfast. It was long past the dinner hour, but the flurry of frenetic activity hadn’t slowed much at all. People were underfoot everywhere in the small space, bustling around with hot pans and large pots, and no matter which way he turned, Duncan ran the risk of toppling a precariously placed container.
It was perfect.
“Order in! Rancher’s omelet, no onions, no peppers, no potatoes, no meat.”
Duncan rolled his eyes, yanking the ticket out of John’s hand. “So basically they want a cheese omelet? You don’t think you could make it easier on us in here and just write down what they actually ordered?”
John grinned. “She ordered the rancher’s omelet, dude.”
“Without three quarters of what makes it the rancher’s omelet? Did you tell her she could order a cheese omelet and save $3.75?”
“I did, but she’s not the one paying, and she wanted to stick it to him.”
That startled a laugh out of Duncan. John motioned over his shoulder, toward a table, and Duncan leaned through the pass-through, trying to see the couple without being too obvious. He knocked over a battered pot in the process, making most of the diner’s customers look up. So much for subtle.
“Them,” John said, pointing toward a small table in front of the plate-glass windows near the entrance to the diner. The woman was tall and slender, with dark wavy hair cascading down her back. Her clothing and the purse hanging off the back of her chair screamed money, as did the suit on the man she was with. They weren’t the diner’s typical patrons by a long shot, but Duncan did have to concede she looked like the type of person who’d be a special order. When business was slow, he and some of the other kitchen staff passed the time by betting on whether the customers who walked in the door would be complicated. He was almost always right.
“What about him?” Duncan asked, jutting his chin toward the man she was with. He could only see him from behind, but from his immaculately cut hair and his ramrod straight posture—difficult in the rickety diner chairs, Duncan knew from personal experience—he looked like a special order as well.
Duncan looked down at the ticket, frowning as he tried to decipher John’s chicken scratch. No matter how many times the kitchen complained, John’s handwriting never improved. Duncan had worked at the restaurant on and off for more than ten years, and the only constant had been John and his atrocious handwriting. It was kind of comforting, in an extremely exasperating way.
“Seriously? Two eggs over easy, bacon, and whole wheat toast?”
Duncan looked from the ticket to the man, surprised. He peered at him, studying his shoulders and finding himself wishing he could see the mystery man’s face. Duncan’s culinary profiling rarely went astray. Intriguing.
“They’re cousins. It was his week to pick where they had dinner. I’m getting the feeling she’s less than pleased,” John said.
“Which is why she special-ordered something guaranteed to piss him off?”
“That’s just it, though. He didn’t get angry. He laughed and told her if she really wanted to pull one over on him, she should have ordered the eggs Benedict, since that’s the highest profit margin dish on the menu.”
Duncan furrowed his brow. It was true the eggs Benedict was the most expensive breakfast item on the menu, aside from the steak and eggs, but the dish was hardly ridiculously priced. None of the regulars ordered it, but that was more because they had traditional meat-and-potatoes palates.
Francie, the other waitstaff on duty at the moment, broke Duncan’s view of the man as she walked up to grab an order off the warmer, and Duncan shot John a mischievous grin before ducking back through the pass-through into the kitchen.
“Duncan,” John said, his voice holding a note of warning.
“Order in!” Duncan yelled, ignoring him completely.
Ten minutes later, Duncan got his wish when a plate clanked noisily on the pass-through. He looked up absently, about to scold John or Francie for being so harsh with the dishes, when he realized it wasn’t either of them. It was the man in the suit, and even scrunched up in irritation, his face was beautiful. He had a strong, straight nose and full lips—currently thinned in annoyance—and eyes the most interesting shade of blue Duncan had ever seen. He absolutely looked like someone who would special order, and Duncan found himself wishing even harder that he could puzzle him out.
“We didn’t order this.”
Duncan looked at the plate of eggs Benedict and smiled his dopiest grin, the one that never failed to get him free refills and phone numbers whenever he applied it. He’d sent the guy a free meal along with the breakfasts he and the woman had ordered—could he seriously be pissed about that?
“On the house. I heard you had a particular interest in them.”
The man blinked in confusion but seemed to recover quickly, anger clouding his features.
“If you wanted to impress me, you’d have to do a hell of a lot better than a plate of fatty ham and congealing hollandaise. We don’t serve eggs Benedict in our restaurants, Charlie,” he said, eyeing the name on Duncan’s chef’s whites with disdain and drawing it out like an insult, “and even if we did, I don’t appreciate having you encroach on my personal time with your pathetic attempt at a job interview.”
Duncan’s mouth hung open, and he wavered between outraged and completely confused. What was this guy talking about?
“Listen, buddy. I was only being friendly,” Duncan snapped, choosing to go with outraged. He left the plate in the pass-through, pointedly ignoring it—and the man—as he pulled a new ticket off the carousel. “Order in! One deluxe hamburger, one order of chicken tenders, one spinach frittata!”
He turned toward the kitchen to get started on the eggs but was pulled up short by a hand on his shoulder.
“You can’t talk to me like that, buddy.”
Duncan scowled. “Of course, sir. The customer is always right. Yes, the eggs Benedict was part of a convoluted plan of mine to apply for a job cooking for your, what?” He made a point of studying the gorgeous guy’s suit. “Office building? Hotel, maybe? I admit, it’s always been my life’s ambition to run a carving station at a Marriott buffet. How could you tell?”
The man gaped at him and would have responded, but the woman he was with—his cousin, John had said?—walked up behind him and unceremoniously placed her hand over his mouth.
“I apologize for Beck’s behavior. Charlie, is it?” Duncan nodded, figuring it was easier than correcting her. He was too busy watching as the man fumed silently behind her hand. “He’s a bit on edge at the moment, and he misread your intention in sending the plate. He’s used to having dishes we didn’t order sent over to our table when we go out, and it’s almost always a gesture followed by the chef coming out to ask a favor or chat him up.”
She leveled a look at Beck, her sculpted eyebrow arched in challenge as she removed her hand. He huffed ungraciously but didn’t resume yelling at Duncan, so Duncan was going to go ahead and call it a win.
“I apologize,” Beck bit out, the words sounding forced. “Please add the eggs Benedict to our check in recompense for the misunderstanding.”
Duncan was struck by a familiar pang of guilt. He could never hold a grudge against anyone. It was well known among his friends—and often taken advantage of. But he had sent the eggs over as a prank, and now he felt bad because he’d obviously ruined their meal. As he looked closer, he could see the designer suit was wrinkled, as if the poor guy had been wearing it all day, and dark circles smudged the skin under his brilliant blue eyes.
“No need,” Duncan said, lifting the untouched plate down from the pass-through and setting it aside. He and John were both off shift in twenty minutes; the dish wouldn’t go uneaten. He looked over at their table, noting that neither of them had touched their food. “I’d be happy to remake your meals. I’m sure they’ve gone cold by now.”
The man stared at him with an unreadable expression, but the woman chimed in.
“We’ve had a long day, and I don’t think we were that hungry anyway,” she said, smiling slightly. She slipped a business card on the pass-through. “I’m Lindsay. I realize you’re not looking for a job right now, but if you ever are, give me a call.”
Beck looked a bit sour at her parting words, but he followed her silently back to their table, pulled his wallet out, and dropped some cash on the table. Duncan watched them leave, Beck’s posture stiff and menacing until Lindsay wound an arm through his and leaned into him. He seemed to melt against her, his shoulders relaxing and his gait less abrupt as they walked down the sidewalk and out of sight.
Duncan looked down at the card on the pass-through, his eyes widening when he read it. Lindsay King, Assistant Producer, King of the Kitchen.
“Holy shit,” he muttered, staring at the empty sidewalk. The Kings were legends in the restaurant and culinary television worlds. Lindsay’s father, Christian, hosted what was widely considered the most popular cooking show on the air, and he had a huge stable of high-class restaurants as well. Duncan had been forced to listen to rants about the evil King empire practically every time he talked to his father.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

On the way to GRL!

I know it's Wednesday, but I'm currently about to board a flight to sunny San Diego for GRL2015, so I don't have anything for you today. I promise to take lots of photos, which will probably be next week's #WIPWednesday, unless I get inspired on the plane and actually work on something. *g*

In the absence of words, please accept photos of hot guys reading from

Photo credit: Trablmaker

Photo credit: brutalmore

See you next week!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Up in the air with The Boyfriend

Photo credit: Peter Lee
A while back I introduced a snippet of The Boyfriend (which is a working title, terrible yet descriptive enough for me to keep it straight in my head with my other WIPs), and since it's what I've been working on in between edits for Some Assembly Required and Talk Turkey (and galleys for King of the Kitchen), I figured I'd post more from it this week.

In the first snippet I shared, we meet Crawford, a successful executive with an international hotel chain who married (and later divorced) a colleague who he now has to work closely with on a trip overseas. Today you get to meet Mateus, a Portuguese national in the States on a temporary visa.

This is their first meeting as they board a plane for Vancouver.

The man gave Mateus an expectant look, and it took a beat for Mateus to realize he was waiting for Mateus to slide out so he could take the window seat. Right.
Mateus obliged, trying hard not to notice how nice the man smelled as he slipped past him. It wasn't cologne, but something spicy and alluring all the same. Probably just the combination of the man's bodywash and own scent. It was intoxicating.
“So that's what your beef with the counter agent was, eh?” Mateus said casually as they got themselves buckled in.
The man looked up, his brow furrowed. “Excuse me?”
Mateus had the good grace to flush, but it didn't stop his mouth from running. “I saw you arguing at the counter in the terminal. You really wanted that window seat, I guess.”
The man bristled, his jawline going even sharper as he gritted his teeth. “Yes.”
Mateus let the silence hang between them for a few uncomfortable seconds, and the man caved just as Mateus had hoped he would.
“I don't normally make a habit of yelling at customer service agents,” he said, his tone a bit sheepish. Some of the rigor went out of his posture as he relaxed against the seat. “I've had a very bad few days, and I let my temper get the best of me. I apologized to her.”
Mateus was beyond amused. The man had been gorgeous and intimidating earlier, but now he was just adorable. “Well, it all worked out in the end.” He gave the man his most inviting smirk, pleased when he saw the faint beginnings of a blush stain his cheeks. Score yet another point for Mateus's gaydar. “I'm Mateus.”
“Crawford,” his seat mate replied.
“Well, Crawford-who-really-likes-windows, I'll let you get to it,” he said, nodding toward the attache at Crawford's feet.
Crawford seemed taken aback by Mateus's abrupt dismissal, which had Mateus grinning to himself as he took out something to read. He'd planned to spend the flight reading a bunch of trashy fiction, since he'd been immersed in nothing but research and journal articles for the last few months, but he didn't think he'd be able to concentrate enough to keep up with the plot, no matter how predictable it was.

 Just like he'd expected, Crawford had dug into his attache and pulled out a slim laptop. He was typing away, intent on the screen. The laser focus only made him more attractive. What would all that intensity feel like if it was centered on him, Mateus wondered. He'd assessed Crawford as uptight and repressed earlier, but after talking to him and seeing the adorable way he could make him blush, Mateus had changed his mind. Crawford was probably attentive and passionate in bed. Mateus's pulse jumped as he let his mind wander, picturing Crawford out of the delectable suit.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lex Chase's Bayou Fairy Tale

Hello everyone! I'm Lex Chase and I want to thank Bru for having me here today on the Bayou Fairy Tale Blog Tour! Bayou is the sequel to Americana Fairy Tale and tells the tale of fuck-up fairy tale princess dude Taylor Hatfield and his true love a jackass redneck huntsman by the name of Corentin Devereaux. Together, they get into some pretty quirky shenanigans. From accidentally blowing up microwaves during sex, to accidentally driving off cliffs. These guys are real winners. Lemme tell ya. Bru and I are quirky folks, and we both wrote a book together about two ghosts that have a meet-cute in IKEA purgatory. It's called Some Assembly Required and Dreamspinner gave us money for it and it's coming out in February 2016. And we shouldn't be left without adult supervision. Locations are a big part of the Fairy Tales series, so I decided to share some of the local flavors of things to wet your appetite, try to recreate, and gain 20 pounds just by browsing.

The Whoopie Pie

Our story begins in Maine, and the iconic sweet of Maine is none other than the whoopie pie. A spongy chocolate cake with a sweet vanilla frosting in the middle. It's like a cupcake. But better. And they come in all sorts of wild flavors. Might I recommend the maple bacon flavor? Yes. That's a thing. And you can find it here!

Cafe au Lait

Aaaaaah. Let us chat about the New Orleans drink of choice the cafe au lait. It is a beautiful meld of half chicory coffee and half milk. And it is everything. I drink them like they're going out of style. If you've never had chicory coffee before, it's definitely different and has a hell of a strong flavor profile. Definitely doesn't taste burnt like that Starbucks garbage. Want to learn how to make the perfect cafe au lait? You can check it out here!


"Cafe au Lait and Beignets New Orleans" by Ed Johnson
Let's talk about these little wonders of the pastry world shall we? Beignets are these pillow-y soft morsels, coated in piles of confectioner's sugar. You can never have too much confectioner's sugar. Ever. Nothing screams New Orleans more than piping hot beignets straight from the fryer. Donuts will keep for a few days. Beignets do not. You need to eat them. Eat them now. Or you will regret it for the rest of your life. You can make beignets on your own. But I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a little magical kitchen fairy to help you out. The only and best place to get them is CafĂ© du Monde. So book your vacation now! You are sooooo welcome! So you tell me! What’s the first dish you cooked on your own? Could have been whenever. Childhood. College. For your first date. Or last date. How did it go? How did it turn out. Don’t forget to comment below and enter the giveaway!

Genre: Urban Fantasy Fairy Tale
  Series: The Screw-Up Princess and Skillful Huntsman Trilogy: Book Two (A Fairy Tales of the Open Road Novel)
  Length: Novel
  Published: October 19, 2015
  Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
  ISBN: 978-1-62798-499-7
  Buy: Paperback or eBook
  Blurb: Modern day fairy tale princess Taylor Hatfield has problems. One: he'’s a guy. Two: he’'s Sleeping Beauty, the most useless princess in existence. Throw in his true love, Corentin Devereaux, a huntsman descended from child-eating witches, and Taylor’s younger brother, Atticus—, this generation’'s Snow White— who tried to kill him. That didn'’t go so hot. For two years, Taylor and Corentin live their Happily Ever After. But Corentin’'s cursed to lose his memory every seven days, including his life with Taylor—, a painful reminder that he can'’t provide for the man he loves. Taylor insists Corentin has the strength to succeed, and when Taylor discovers a way to break the curse, he is more than willing to pay the cost. When an enchanted blizzard devastates Corentin’'s hometown of New Orleans, Taylor is convinced Atticus is to blame and grows desperate to find him amidst the Big Easy turned frozen wasteland. Corentin believes Taylor is chasing a ghost while he chases the ghosts of his own past. Old tensions scratch open scars, leaving both to wonder if they have each other’s best interests at heart. The clock is ticking until Corentin loses his memory, and the rabbit hole goes so deep they may never come out.

About the Author: madison_parker_MG_4269-WEBLex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We'’re all going to die, I'’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now, she’'s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting. Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure—and depending on how she feels that day—, Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love. Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’'t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’'t be here if it wasn’'t for them and welcomes feedback.

 You can find in the Intarwebz here: Facebook: Twitter: Tumblr: Instagram: Site:

I'm having a Down on the Bayou Giveaway where one lucky winner will walk away with a magical fairy tale prize pack! From Corentin's mini journal, to a delicious bottle of Disney's Snow White perfume, Lex Chase swag annnndddd.... This lovely necklace! US residents only please, but for International residents, you'll get a lovely 20 dollar Amazon Gift Card! Don't forget about the multiple ways to enter! Not only do you need to comment, you can tweet! Use the hashtag #BayouFairyTale! Or enter via Instagram!

Bayou Fairy Tale Tour Stops:

10/1 - Tali Spencer
10/3 - The Novel Approach
 10/5 - Gay List Book Reviews
 10/6 - Bru Baker
10/7 - Charlie Cochet's Purple Rose Teahouse
 10/8 - Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance
 10/10 - Aidee Ladnier
10/13 - Prism Book Alliance
 10/15 - C.S. Poe
 10/16 - Joyfully Jay
 10/17 - Bayou Fairy Tale Facebook Chat
10/19 - Bayou Fairy Tale Release Day!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Incoming Credits

Today's WIP Wednesday is a snippet from my YA manuscript, Incoming Credits. I absolutely adore Zeke and his teenage attitude. *g*

Incoming Credits

Move it, Mr. Cameron,” Mr. Rhodes said. He was already slipping his own navy blazer over his button down. It coordinated nicely with his navy and gold Winthrop Prep tie. He usually coached in the same warm-ups that the players wore, and I wondered if he'd be going all out and coaching in his fancy clothes tonight because it was state.
It's a five-point demerit if you're not in the gymnasium by the time the pep rally starts, and if you make me late it'll be ten,” he snapped.
While sitting on uncomfortable bleachers and watching whatever over-sexualized dry humping routine the cheerleaders had devised for the occasion wasn't exactly my cup of tea, earning ten demerits for my cohort would definitely be more painful in the long run.
I packed up my stuff without comment and trudged off to the gymnasium. I could hear the dull roar from inside as soon as I turned the corner. I'd cut it close. The hall monitor gave me a dirty look as I passed her, but at least she'd waited until I arrived before letting the door swing shut. It smacked against my backpack, sending me stumbling the last step into the chaos that was an all-school athletic pep rally. I knew the dramatic snick of the lock was in my imagination, but I couldn't help it, knowing that the door had locked behind me. We could get out, but no one could get in. Being in the hallway right now was a one-way ticket to the headmaster's office.
Go Prep.
I picked my way across the gym floor, sticking as close to the bleachers as I dared. It was a fine line. Stray too far onto the floor and get catcalled. Cut too close to the occupied bottom bleacher and get tripped. Good times.
Winthrop was big on decorum—what else would you expect from a place whose motto was Training Leaders for The Present and The Future!—but all that went out the window on pep rally days. Pep rally days were the only time we were excused from our usual blazers, chinos, and loafers, and everyone took advantage.
The bleachers were full of kids wearing the latest trendy clothes, all in navy and gold, our school colors. Even when we weren't in our blazers the bulk of the school still managed to have a uniform—expensive, trendy, and cookie cutter.

I scanned over them, a smirk curving my lips when I found what I was looking for. Kurt's ratty black AC/DC T-shirt and the cherry red leather jacket Chelsea had found at a garage sale when she'd visited me last summer stood out like welcome beacons—or sore thumbs, depending on who you asked—in the sea of designer labels. Leighton was perched on the bleacher seat next to her, looking just as perfect as the rest of the crowd if you ignored the scowl on her face.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Reading from King of the Kitchen

I missed #WIPWednesday this week, and even though I have a hundred excuses, none of them are all that great. I just didn't have time to write, and since I didn't write I didn't have anything to share. 

Today is my day off, though, and I've spent the morning going through King of the Kitchen to figure out what passage I want to read at GRL. I thought I'd share a bit of the one I settled on with you as penance for not having anything on Wednesday. (And bonus, since this I'm more than a little anxious about reading at GRL, this lets me practice! *g*)

I'm reading the opening scene, which sets up Duncan meeting Beck for the first time. The book jumps ahead almost ten years after this first chapter, but these first impressions they get of each other take a long time for them to revise.



Wednesday, September 16, 2015

WIP Wednesday: arts and crafts interlude

I'm a little burnt out on writing, to be honest. So I didn't accomplish much since last week on the manuscript fronts, though I did get in a few good quality thinks about where a few of the ones that are stalled are going to go. Every once in awhile I think it helps me to step back and just take some time to do other things and let my words rest. *g*

The break meant I was finally able to get the plan for my kitchen remodel finalized with my contractor, and we went in and ordered my new cabinets last week. I'm now tasked with the impossible feat of choosing a type of granite for my countertops--right now it's between uba tuba and black pearl, but that might just be because it's fun to make my contractor say "uba tuba". I take my amusements where I can get them. I'm probably going to make the mature choice and go with black pearl, because adults don't choose several thousand dollars' worth of granite for countertops just because it has a funny name.

When I'm not writing I love to paint and tinker. I didn't want to let myself get too far off my writing schedule, so painting was out. Instead, I tackled a project that's been on my radar since early spring--I made a terrarium.

Maybe Pottery Barn doesn't realize
you're just going to put dirt in it?
I've been lusting over something like this one from Pottery Barn or this one from Gardner's Outpost
What's more distressed about this
Gardener's  model: the paint or the price?
for a while, and either would look great in my new kitchen. (Which isn't even under construction yet, but a girl can dream. In about a month to six weeks I'm going to be very, very irritable while walls are being moved and the kitchen demo is going on, FYI.) But at $200-$400 for the Pottery Barn models or $150 for the other one, a terrarium costs much more than I could justify spending, especially since it's something I could make myself.

See, I do this all the time. I find something interesting, but I balk at the price because it's something that I'd be capable of making if I had infinite time. Which I don't. So I always pass on things because I plan to make one later, and then I never do it. But this time? This time I did! It even has hinges on the top to let the little doors open so I can reach inside.

Mine isn't quite as fancy as the deluxe models, but it is actually more my style. And it's going to go perfectly with my new white Shaker-style cabinets and dark granite countertops. Best of all, it's going to stop the cats from eating my herbs and then puking them up around the house for me to step in later. WINNING.

The entire thing cost me less than $10 to make, which is fortunate because that cabinet bill just about made me laugh until I cried.

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