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.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

WIP Wednesday: A little rainy hump day angst

Photo credit: Jon Sullivan
It's gray and rainy here, but the rain is bringing a very welcome respite from 90+ degree temps, so I'll take it. I won't go so far as to say I'll be happy driving to work in it in a few hours, but I'll take it nonetheless.

Angsty, broody men and rain go together well, so I'm sharing a snippet from my untitled manuscript (I've really got to get on naming this thing) about Jake and Connor, whose relationship seems to be falling apart.

Jake just found out that Connor lied about where he was going to be, which sets off all kinds of warning  bells for Jake. Here's a peek at his internal monologue:

Jake stalked down the hallway to their room, scowling at the neatly made bed. He’d forgotten that Gavin's sister Elaine was staying there for the night. He and Connor were supposed to be sleeping over at Chris' for the weekend.
He stomped back to the living room and threw himself on the couch, reaching for the remote and flicking on the television. A few minutes of channel surfing didn’t turn up anything that caught his attention, and even if he had, he didn’t think he could focus on something like a movie or television show while Connor was out gallivanting around town. So he sat and stewed until he could barely stand it, limbs practically twitching with nervous energy. As a contractor, he worked a lot with his hands and was up and around all day—he'd never been good at just sitting back and relaxing.
Not that it would be possible to relax at the moment. Jake ran a hand through his hair and sighed. He was overdue for a cut, but he'd been waiting for Connor to say something. Jake almost never kept track of things like that; Connor was the one who hounded him to go in for a cut when it started to get shaggy. If left to his own devices, Jake would only get it cut when it started to get so unruly that it made his baseball caps fit too tightly.
But Connor hadn't said anything. There had been no hastily scribbled Post-it note on the bathroom mirror or coupons tucked into Jake's wallet for his favorite salon chain. Hell, Jake hadn't been able to wear the Mariners hat he almost never took off for over a week now because it had gotten uncomfortable, and Connor hadn't noticed that, either.
Jake added that to his mental tally of everything that had been going wrong with Connor lately, resisting the urge to tug at his floppy locks in frustration. He needed to be doing something, but it wasn't like he could confront Connor when he didn't even know where he was. Jake knew he could text him—even at his most distracted and unavailable, Connor always responded to texts. But could he trust anything Connor said? Wouldn't he just claim to be with Chris and make Jake even angrier?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

WIP Wednesday: The Boyfriend

Hi all! I have great news--Dreamspinner accepted my novella Talk Turkey for its Advent Calendar, which means it will be out Dec. 1. With King of the Kitchen coming out in early November and Some Assembly Required hitting the shelves in February, my release calendar is filling up!

It can be hard to carve out time to write new things while I'm editing, but I'm doing my best to keep things moving. Right now I'm toying with the idea of self-publishing a novella and having it printed so I can give away copies at GRL. Thoughts? It would also be available for purchase on Amazon.

I'm also dusting off a YA fantasy manuscript I started years ago, but that won't be something I share here. It's gen, and between that and it being younger YA I just don't feel comfortable having it here. I'm actually pretty excited because Thing 1 is going to read through my rough draft and give me feedback--and since this is his favorite genre to read, I'm sure he'll have plenty to say. This may actually be the year I finish it and start looking for an agent! *g*

In between edits and the YA manuscript, I'm also working on a fake dating WIP that takes place in Portugal (because I'm a slave to tropes, and who doesn't love the fake-lovers-to-more trope?!). That's what you're getting a taste of today for #WIPWednesday.

The backstory: Crawford is CFO of an international hotel chain. He's good at his job, but so is his ex-husband--who he is being forced to work with for the first time since their bitter divorce three years earlier.

The Boyfriend

Crawford ground his teeth together. He'd been working for this company for more than half his life, starting as a desk clerk with all the other college grunts, graduating to the concierge desk at the biggest hotel in the chain within two years. Before long, he'd been promoted to the corporate offices, working grueling 80-hour weeks while simultaneously getting his MBA. It had paid off, too. He'd earned himself a vice presidency by the time he'd been 34. He'd met Alistair two years later at an industry conference, and it had been love at first sight for Crawford.
He'd helped Alistair get his foot in the door at Chatham-Thompson, and by the time they'd married three years to the day after Alistair chatted him up at the hotel bar that Crawford had been drowning his boredom at. They'd even spent their first anniversary at the same bar, combining their anniversary celebration with toasting Crawford's promotion to CFO.
Things had been great until they abruptly hadn't. Crawford had been completely blindsided by Alistair's announcement that he was moving to Portugal to take promotion he'd been offered. Crawford had been excited for him at first, plotting out how he'd be able to go with and manage his CFO duties from Lisbon, until Alistair had dropped the bomb that he didn't want Crawford to come.
Crawford spent his second wedding anniversary in a bar, too. Alone, with only the company of his freshly inked divorce decree.
“I am serious about Chatham-Thompson. Don't be ridiculous,” Crawford snapped.
Crawford had given his entire life to the company. Horrendously long work weeks, years where he let his vacation time slide by unclaimed because he was too busy building his career to take it—ironic, since he worked for the largest resort hotel chain in the world. He was the most dedicated employee in executive offices after Gregory. He just didn't see the need to force himself to work with his ex-husband to prove it.
“It's a done deal, Crawford. I know it's hard, but it's been three years. You need to get past it. I've indulged your feud for too long, and now it's starting to affect the bottom line. I can't let that happen,” Gregory said, standing to signify the end of the conversation. “Your flight and accommodations have been scheduled. Edward has arranged for you to have an assistant from his office at your disposal, and there will be a driver for you as well. Helena has the details.”

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