Wednesday, April 29, 2015

WIP Wednesday: The Zen Den

Today's #WIPWednesday is an oldie but goodie I pulled out of my procrastination pile, aka the file of manuscripts I inch along on bit by bit whenever my active project is in a lull. Since I'm caught up on Some Assembly Required and I'm still pondering rewrites for Incoming Credits, I dove in to one of my favorite long-term WIPs, The Zen Den. 

Nicholas Tonelli/Flickr Creative Commons
I loved writing the yoga classes in Finding Home, so I wanted to take that further and write a book where yoga is central to the plot and important to the main characters. The Zen Den was born last year when a bad stress fracture in my ankle stopped me from running my first half marathon just a week before the race. (Boo, hiss) My ortho said runners were his worst patients, since we're so anxious to get back out there and very likely to press through the pain--because let's be honest, running always hurts, so how's a runner to know OMG-broken-bone pain from OMG-it's-Tuesday pain? Amrite?

Kincaid certainly thinks so. He's an avid marathoner who is less than pleased to be sidelined with a stress fracture. He's even less stoked when his ortho recommends yoga for his physical therapy--until he finds out how attractive the teacher is. (And no, sadly, that part is NOT pulled from my personal experience. *g*)

Here's the snippet. Enjoy!

The Zen Den

The printer that was wedged in the corner whirred to life, and Owen leaned over Kincaid and picked up a sheet to hand to him. “Medical release. Sign it and I'll get it over to Dr Chester, but remind him to send me a note when you're approved for more intense activity. Sometimes things get busy over there and updating the physical therapist slips through the cracks." 
I see him again in two weeks. He said he'll probably okay me for cardio then.” 
Even then, no running. He'll probably have you hold off on weight-bearing cardio for another week or so. Sometimes bones heal in that month off, sometimes they take longer. We won't know til he sees your X-rays. Swimming, biking and some faster walking will probably be his recommendation. And I'll do my part to get your heart rate up, I promise.” 
Kincaid swallowed at Owen's unintentionally suggestive words. That wouldn't be a problem. Kincaid felt like his heart was racing just sitting so close to Owen. How was he going to survive having Owen guide him into yoga positions without embarrassing himself? 
Owen seemed to read Kincaid's discomfort, and he tilted his head to the side for a moment, his cheeks coloring lightly. “Ah. I didn't mean it like that.” He looked flustered, and Kincaid thought it was adorable. “It's just that most athletic guys figure yoga is a walk in the park, but it's actually as easy or as difficult as you make it. If you put effort into your practice, you'll find that it's very satisfying.” 
Kincaid's lips twitched at Owen's choice of words, which caused Owen's to close his eyes and chuckle. “I mean, you'll find it's a satisfying cardiovascular workout. Wow. I apologize. My mind must be somewhere else today.” 
It's no problem. I'm looking forward to you getting my heart rate up.” Flirting openly wasn't something Kincaid usually did, but he couldn't help himself.
 Owen coughed and looked away, but Kincaid was almost positive it was to hide a smile.  

Friday, April 24, 2015

Failure to Adult

Like it says on the tin, as the saying goes, today's post is about me and my general failure to adult as it pertains to me missing #WIPWednesday last week.

Not that my propensity toward bad adulting is news, mind you, but I've been doing so much better lately. Hubby and I updated our will, switched financial planners, started a few new mutual funds, refinanced the mortgage and finally called an exterminator to come capture the gigantic woodchuck who claimed our backyard as his two years ago.

So you know, adulting. I've been doing it. Especially in light of the fact that I started my first non-freelance job in years last month, which has involved a lot of actual adult expectations like not wearing pajamas all day. I'm working at a library and loving it. I mean, how could I not? I'm pretty sure I was born to talk about books, and now it's literally my job.

It's been hard adjusting to scheduled work times, though. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty sure I'd cry if I actually did the math and figured out just exactly how much of my new salary was going to the childcare expenses we didn't have when I was working from home. But I digress.

Last Wednesday's failure to adult was epic, not because it was huge but because it went on for pretty much the entire day. It started with me dashing out of the house without shoes because I was already late for my early morning all-staff meeting. It was my first one and the director was going to be speaking, so I didn't want to be late. (I did realize my lack of shoes before I pulled out of the driveway.)

All the coffee, all the time.
I was so harried, in fact, that I didn't have my morning cup of coffee at home. Those of you who know me can attest to the fact that I'm not fully functional until I've had at least one, the stronger the better. Well, in my campaign to be a better adult, I'd finally broken down and run a cleaning cycle on my Keurig. With white vinegar. Anyone see where this is going?

While I did the responsible thing and ran a few cycles through the machine with the vinegar, at some point I must have stepped away to break up a sibling wrestling match or rescue kittens from a burning tree or possibly I just got distracted by something shiny, as I am wont to do.

Anyway, I didn't run the full reservoir of vinegar through the machine. Fast forward to the next morning as I dash out of the kitchen with a freshly brewed travel mug in hand, sans shoes, and bolt for work. I didn't check the traffic like I usually do, and I paid for it by getting myself stuck in a traffic jam that very nearly made me late for my morning meeting. You know, the one with the ENTIRE staff of my new workplace.

Usually by the time I come in for the day someone has opened the parking lot, but since it was still early the automated arm was down. Not a problem, necessarily, since I have the card to open it. But I have tiny T-Rex arms, which meant after several failed waves of the card by the machine I had to actually put my car in park and get out to open the damn thing...while my co-workers piled up at the entrance behind me, waiting for me and my tiny arms to get my shit together.

On the bright side though, I was on time. I congratulated myself on getting there before the meeting started, and I settled myself into a chair and even gloated a bit that the shoes I'd tossed on after running back inside for a pair even matched. Adulting! I was doing it.

And then I took a sip of my coffee, right as the director started speaking.

The coffee that had been brewed using white vinegar instead of water because I'd walked away mid-Keurig cleaning.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the taste and smell of vinegar? I can't stand it. I won't eat most hot sauces because of it, and walking into a place that serves fried fish with malt vinegar is enough to make me gag.

And I'd just taken a healthy swig of vinegar coffee. With cream, which had curdled and had the delightful mouth feel of day-old vomit.

Somehow, I managed to swallow it and not do a spit-take during the director's speech. And after absentmindedly taking a second sip a minute or two later (see above statement in re: Bru's functionality without caffeine), I even put it under my chair so I wouldn't forget and drink it again.

And then a spider came down from the ceiling and landed on my hand. I somehow managed not to scream and brushed it off, earning a concerned look from one of my coworkers but otherwise escaping notice. Until the fucker came back, and I noticed him crawling up my sweater. After frantically smacking myself in the breast, I decided my co-workers' opinion of me probably couldn't suffer more than it already had, I turned to the person next to me and muttered something about a gigantic spider of doom. She just smiled and swiped its silk out of the air and tossed it to the side, which I totally could have done if my introduction to it hadn't involved it swinging in front of my face, ninja style.

Anyway, my day didn't get much better from there. I was stuck with the taste of curdled milk and vinegar in my mouth for most of it, helped along by the fact that I'd forgotten my lunch in my shoeless dash out the door.

So by the time I came home, I was grumpy, starving and still more than a little queasy because my kitchen still smelled like the delightful hot vinegar coffee I'd had the misfortune to swill that morning. Which is why there was no #WIPWednesday last week. Do you absolve me of my sin, dear readers?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WIP Wednesday: IKEA!!

With the nifty #amwriting bracelet I made for myself!
Now that King of the Kitchen is submitted, I'm back to working on Some Assembly Required, the IKEA meet-cute that Lex Chase and I are teaming up to write together. It's uncharted territory for both of us--first time writing with a partner, first nod toward contemporary for her, first experience with fantasy/paranormal for me--and it's incredibly exciting. I'm having a blast.

Since it's set at IKEA, I decided a research trip was in order. If "research trip" can be loosely defined to include a massive IKEA shopping spree and a trip to Jungle Jim's amazing international supermarket. I'm saying it can, because I came home energized about the project. (And also because that means my mileage to Cincinnati is tax deductible!)

On an related note, I feel terrible that I missed last #WIPWednesday. I'd had a terrible day, and honestly it slipped my mind. I have a pretty good story to tell about it, so I'll save that for a little later in the week. It'll be titled Failure to Adult, which should give you a pretty good idea of the content. *g*

So without further ado, here's today's #WIPWednesday snippet from Some Assembly Required:

Patrick's grin didn't dim in the slightest. “Oh, that was a misdemeanor at best,” he purred in a tone that had Benji blushing. Patrick let out a delighted laugh. “Oh, I do so like the innocent ones. This is going to be fun.”
Benji swallowed again, not because of a dry throat this time but to make sure his voice didn't break when he answered. Patrick was the most inappropriate person he'd ever met, and it was both terrifying and more than a little arousing. Benji definitely needed to get out more.
“What's going to be fun?” he asked, wary.
“Why, being your personal shopper for the day, of course,” Patrick drawled. “Whatever did you think I meant?”
Benji flushed but didn't back down. “I don't need a personal shopper. I'm only here for some boxes and then I'm heading home.”
Patrick's gaze flicked up and down Benji's body, and Benji's hot cheeks flared again. He'd never been so blatantly checked out before. He couldn't help but wonder what standard Patrick was using for comparison and whether or not he measured up.
Patrick flinched, but covered it up with a stretch. “That's what they all say,” he muttered.

Benji had no clue what he'd said that had upset Patrick, but since Patrick didn't seem to be dwelling on it, Benji decided to ignore it. He felt a twinge of guilt at knowing that someone was hurting and not trying to help, but part of his the new four-point plan for a happier life that he'd come up with while staring at his meatballs this morning was not getting involved in other peoples' drama. And as cute as he was, Patrick had drama written all over him.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I'm a Hoosier, and I'm taking a stand against hate as part of the LGBTQ Push Back Giveaway

I'm thrilled to be a part of the LGBTQ Push Back Giveaway on Diversereader! There are 224 authors, bloggers, and publishers who are donating something to this massive giveaway. All you have to do to enter is donate to an LGBT charity of your choice in the next two weeks and then enter the giveaway. If you can't donate, you can help by spreading the word. Every little bit helps, and everyone can enter.

As a Hoosier, I'll be donating to the Indiana charities that support the LGBTQ community here. Freedom Indiana was instrumental in getting the most vicious part of SB101 (aka the Religious Freedom Bill) amended, and they're not stopping there. While it's true that business owners can't use SB101 to discriminate against LGBTQ people now that Gov. Pence has amended the language in the bill, we have a lot more work to do. We want to get LGBTQ people recognized as an official protected class here in Indiana, and Freedom Indiana is working hard on organizing protests and campaigns to bring awareness to the fact that SB101 was only the tip of the iceberg here.

The Bub carrying a sign he made for the Stop the Madness Rally,
as well as the sign he carried in 2008 when we protested Prop 8.
I've taught  my kids that it's wrong to discriminate, and my 8 year old and 5 year old are both appalled at the thought that someone could be turned away because of their sexuality. They have stood up to friends on the playground who spout homophobic tripe, and I've seen the eight year old stare down a full grown adult on more than one occasion when we were out in public and heard someone make a derogatory comment.

I'm proud of my kids, and they're the future of Indiana. We saw quite a few children and young adults when we joined in with Freedom Indiana to march in downtown Indianapolis after SB101 was signed into law. My kids chose to go because they wanted  to protest LGBTQ Hoosiers being treated like second class citizens, and they wanted to show the rest of the world to know that not everyone here agrees with the legislature and the few small-minded business owners who were willing to go on record supporting the bill.

The Barnacle made her own sign as well. So proud of these kiddos!
It also underscored the importance of the charities here in Indiana who not only fight for equal rights but support LGBTQ people in need, especially children and teenagers who have been turned out of their homes or made to feel like they are wrong or broken in some way. One of my very best friends works with the Indiana Youth Group, and some of the stories she tells about the LGBTQ youth there break my heart. 

So join me in pushing back against SB101 and the treatment of LGBTQ people as second class citizens. Instead of spouting vitriol and hate like those who are in favor of the bill, let's push back with kindness. Let's put our money where our mouths are and donate to charities that support LGBTQ people, both to help further their missions and to show the LGBTQ community that they are loved. They are valuable. They are not second class citizens

Some of my favorite organizations right now:
Freedom Indiana
Indiana Youth Group

And don't forget to visit the post over at Diversereader once you've donated or spoken out to get yourself entered in the giveaway!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A peek at Andrew Q. Gordon's The Eye and the Arm and a giveaway!

Andrew Q. Gordon is here today to share his latest book, The Eye and the Arm, which DSP Publications released yesterday. It's book two in the Champion of the Gods series, and it looks amazing! Be sure to watch the YouTube trailer, and scroll to the end of the post to enter Andrew's giveaway contest!

Title: The Eye And The Arm Series: Champion of the Gods Book 2


TheEyeAndTheArm-Front-PreviewAfter defeating Meglar at Belsport, Farrell returns to Haven to recover from his injuries, but Khron, the god of war, has other ideas. He gives Farrell a new mission: free the survivors of the ancient dwarf realm of Trellham from their three-thousand-year banishment. To fulfill Khron's near impossible task, Farrell will need the help of his distance ancestor, the legendary wizard Kel. But Kel has been dead for a thousand years. Farrell finds information hinting that Kel is alive, so he moves his search to Dumbarten, Kel's birthplace. To reach Dumbarten unannounced, Farrell and Miceral disguise themselves as mercenaries on board a merchant vessel. Their journey is disrupted when pirates attack their ship. While attempting to subdue the attack, Farrell is struck down by one of Meglar’s minions. Unconscious and trapped in his own mind, Farrell's only chance for survival rests with Miceral and the peregrine king Rothdin entering his thoughts and helping him sort fact from illusion. To reach Farrell, they will need to rely on an untested spell from one of Kel's spellbooks. If they succeed, Miceral can guide Farrell home safely. If not, Farrell will destroy not only himself, but Miceral, Rothdin, and everyone around him. DSP Publications Length: 99,775 words/296 Pages Release Date: April 14, 2015

“Relax, my friend.” Klissmor’s presence calmed Miceral’s growing anxiety. “You won’t feel my presence.” Miceral took a deep breath. “Will I be able to hear?” “Every word. Ready?” “No, but let’s do it.” He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “I need your eyes open for everyone to see.” He snapped his lids open, blinking several times before could focus again. “Sorry.” “Master Teberus.” Miceral knew the words came from him, but as promised, he didn’t feel anything. “I have Masters Erstad and Wesfazial as well as Wizard-Priestess Glendora. Ask your questions to Miceral and we four will also hear you.” “Astounding.” The elder Arlefor glanced at the high priestess. “All four at once?” “Wizard.” Miceral had heard that tone enough to know Klissmor’s mood. “Maintaining this link, this far away with this many minds, is a strain. If we are to save Farrell, you must focus on him.” “Of course. My apologies.” Teberus bowed deeply. “My examination of the one who did this to Farrell confirmed that he is no wizard.” “Then how in the eight gates of Neblor did that man defeat Farrell?” Even though Teberus couldn’t know, Miceral recognized the voice as Wesfazial’s. “The obvious answer is the correct one. A wizard gave this man the weapon.” “But Farrell could defeat all four of us and all the other wizards you brought with you and not be tested.” Erstad’s steady temperament sounded tested. “No weapon used by a nonwizard should be capable of this.” Teberus raised the crest of his hairless eyebrow. “But since that is what happened, we must use it as the basis of our search for a cure.” No one answered. As the silence dragged on, Miceral’s anxiety slowly returned. If Haven’s senior wizards didn’t know what to do, who could? “Tell us what happened.” Erstad’s request almost didn’t register with Miceral. “No,” Klissmor said. “Show them. Let them see the memory.” Miceral closed his eyes and focused on reliving the attack. The clarity of the image caused his chest to tighten, making it hard to breathe. He knew the result, but watching it again, almost in slow motion, added to his agony. When the image played over again, he realized Klissmor must have been guiding his thoughts. “My apologies, old friend—the need is great.” Klissmor’s voice didn’t interrupt the stream of images. “Do whatever you need. Just find a way to save Farrell.” “Your friends are doing all they can. Have faith that Lenore will send us what we need.” When the memory started for the third time, he didn’t find any comfort in Klissmor’s assertion. The Six wouldn’t—couldn’t—help. He needed something that didn’t exist—a great wizard like Heminaltose or Kel. “In theory, I recognize the magic.” Erstad sounded confused. “But I’ll need to find a reference to be sure.” “What about Farrell?” He knew he shouted, or at least what Farrell told him passed for shouting, but he couldn’t prevent it. “He could be dead before you find that.” “It can’t be helped, Miceral. I need to be sure before I suggest a counterspell. If I’m wrong, whatever I try might kill him.” “He is in no immediate danger.” Teberus put his hand on Farrell’s forehead. “But my fear is the number of spells that draw on him for power. I can only give him but so much. If he doesn’t wake, his body will burn out.” “Do what you can, Master Teberus. We’ll begin searching immediately and contact you when we find the answer.” When Erstad stopped speaking, Klissmor’s presence left with him. “Hurry. Please.” Miceral knew no one heard him.

DSPP Link:
Amazon Link: Amazon UK Link:
Are Omnilit Link:


086Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads, ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his partner of eighteen years, their young daughter and dog. In addition to dodging some very self-important D.C. ‘insiders’, Andrew uses his commute to catch up on his reading. When not working or writing, he enjoys soccer, high fantasy, baseball and seeing how much coffee he can drink in a day and not get the shakes.

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Facebook Profile:
On Twitter: @andrewqgordon

FIVE Winners will win one e-copy of ANY book* each from DSP Publication’s backlist. *Giveaway is of any currently released DSPP book, which excludes the books that are on pre-order and “The Eye And The Arm”. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WIP Wednesday: SAHMies

So I'm cheating a bit today for WIP Wednesday and using the short I wrote for Lex Chase's Flash Fiction Friday last week, mostly because I've been at work all day and I'll be busy all night cleaning out the junk closet so the wildlife exterminator dude can reach the attic tomorrow. (Did I mention that something is living in my roof? SOMETHING IS LIVING IN MY ROOF. It ate my house. Literally. It chewed through the soffit outside, and I already paid my handyman $200 to fix the hole...only to have it appear again three days later. So now I have to pay some Duck Dynasty enthusiast cash money to come extract whatever it is, and then pay my handyman again to fix the hole. At least the painter hadn't come yet to finish the exterior job. *sob* Home ownership.)

Anyway, I'm not up for writing tonight because there is something that is capable of eating through solid cedar nestled somewhere in the eaves above me, probably breeding, oh my god.

But I wrote a nice little short for Lex last week, so we'll use that here. And bonus, I'll link to it so you can read the whole thing over on her blog.

Her prompt was a stay-at-home dad joining the neighborhood mommies club. *snort*


He’d resisted for the last month. Surely the snow and cold must let up at some point, he’d thought. It’ll only be another day until we can get to the park or break out the jogging stroller.

But it snowed. And sleeted. And snowed some more. And when it didn’t snow or sleet, it was too cold for the park or for Jack to nap in the stroller while he ran.

So they stayed in some more.

“You’re being ridiculous, babe.”

Kade glared at his husband, though it was a wasted effort, since Tony was busy watching himself in the hallway mirror so he could get his tie just so. He was still dressing to the nines every day since he was the new guy at the firm, and Kade knew Tony was under a lot of pressure to make a good impression on the partners.

Kade took a breath and counted to ten. They’d moved across the country so he could stay home with Jack. Tony had walked away from a firm where he could have been made a partner in the next five years to take a more lucrative position with a place where had to start all over again building up his reputation and climbing the ranks.

Kade was grateful that he was able to stay home with their six-month-old son. He was. Two months into his one-month paternity leave, he’d come to the realization that another few weeks weren’t going to matter—he couldn’t leave Jack with someone else for the day. He didn’t want to witness his son’s milestones through pictures the daycare sent him.

So they’d left sunny Orange County for the cold, barren wasteland of the Midwest, with its much more reasonable cost of living and its snow. God, the snow.

“Just try it,” Tony said, tightening his perfect winsor knot and turning around.

“It’s just for women.” Kade knew he was being petulant, but he didn’t care. The SAHMies seemed perfect, if not for the fact that it was the acronym for Stay At Home Mom. The group met twice a week, once at a yoga studio for a “Mommy & Me” class and once at a local coffee shop that had a nice, gated area for the babies to play. Both were opportunities for Jack to play with other babies and for Kade to get some much-needed adult interaction—except he was expressly not welcome, given that he didn’t have boobs.

“Babe, it’s not. It says ‘parents and caregivers’ on the website. It’s just a name. You and Jackie should go. It’ll be good for both of you.”

Kade sighed and looked out the window. The predicted one inch of snow had turned into four overnight. It was mid-March, but spring just wasn’t springing. He couldn’t take much more of this.


Want to see what happens next? Hop on over to Lex's blog for the rest!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WIP Wednesday: More King of the Kitchen

Today's my deadline for King of the Kitchen (and if you're reading this Lynn, it's coming, I promise!), so today's snippet is from that manuscript. I had so much fun writing the recipes for it, which hopefully will be included in the back of the book.

King of the Kitchen

So we won't get busy for another hour or so,” Duncan said as he used the spatula to break up the cooking chorizo and move it around the cook top. The onions and peppers got another squirt of oil and a similar treatment. “You want to poke around and familiarize yourself with the kitchen? John keeps a binder of recipes somewhere in the office if you want, or we can double team things and you can be in charge of eggs and protein while I put everything together since I know the menu.”
Here I thought we were taking things slow, and then on what, our third official date? Now you're asking me to double team. Nice.”
Duncan poured a healthy dollop of the ranchero sauce on the chorizo, noting that he'd would have to start a fresh batch before the rush hit because they definitely wouldn't have enough to get through the breakfast shift tomorrow with what was in the fridge.
I have a feeling you're going to keep things interesting enough that I won't really want to bring in anyone else,” Duncan teased.
Have you?” Beck asked, his voice a little strange.
Duncan turned around, wondering if the thought of a threesome was really that disturbing for Beck, but the slight glaze of sweat over his brow made Duncan reevaluate. Clearly Beck was not disgusted by the thought. Interesting.
Double teamed someone? No,” he said, raising an eyebrow in challenge. “But I have been double teamed?”
Beck outright choked at that, and Duncan grinned in triumph.
Actually, the answer to that is also no. But it's a fun thought.”

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