Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#WIPWednesday: Noah lands himself in the ER--and Rory agrees to nurse him back to health

Before I introduce today's #WIPWednesday snippet of You Otter Know, I wanted to share Hans Hirschi's amazing review of King of the Kitchen. He is a dear friend and a wonderful writer, and his opinion means so much to me. Thank you, Hans! (And everyone: Hans has a book coming out tomorrow--I'll be picking it up, and you should, too!)

Even though I missed my deadline for the anthology, I'm still plugging away (slowly) at You Otter Know. Since it will be a stand-alone release and won't have to conform to the shifter anthology's rules, I'm probably going to change a few things. I like the idea of Noah and the other lifeguards being shifters, but I have some ideas about how that's going to play out differently now that I don't have any specifications to meet. Plot twists and shenanigans ahoy! *g*

Today we peek in on a conversation between Rory and Jared, who's one of Noah's closest friends at the resort, while they wait in the Emergency Room after rushing Noah there with a broken hand. Rory's crush is only going to get worse...

You Otter Know

Photo credit: Rosser321
It’s only for a few days.” 
“A few days?” Rory’s voice cracked, his tone full of incredulity.
A weeks, tops,” Jared said reasonably, gesturing toward the emergency room doors Noah had disappeared behind twenty minutes earlier. 
“Jared, he broke his hand. That’s not going to be better in a few days.” 
“No, but his roommate is visiting family this week, and I don't think Noah should be on his own. He'll be all zoned out with pain killers and he'll need help with stuff. 
“Why can’t he stay with you?” he whined, knowing full well that Jared was in a tiny cabin at the back of the property that didn’t have room for everyone who already lived there, let alone a guest. He'd wondered why Noah wasn't out there in one, too. Noah was the only lifeguard who stayed at the resort on the staff floor instead of in one of the cabins. 
“Rory –" 
Rory sat heavily in one of the garish orange plastic chairs, holding his head in his hands. Noah’s injury had been, at least in part, his fault. It was amazing, the fact that Noah had made it through the entire summer rescuing children with stupidly heroic looking dives and hadn’t gotten injured at the pool. No, he’d gotten hurt when a group of teenagers had been manhandling Rory on the lobby, tossing him around within their circle while Greg had been off doing whatever it was he did when he was shirking work. Rory had been about to break Jolie’s cardinal rule and take off his costume head when Noah had appeared, jostling through the crowd of teenage boys to push them off Rory. One of them had taken a swing, and Noah had ducked, coming up with a punch when another had tried to kick Rory, only to have that teen sidestep, resulting in Noah’s punch landing against the same lamp post that Rory had walked into earlier that summer. 
“Fine. But first thing Monday morning, I’m going to lodge a complaint against that lamp post. It’s clearly a menace. I’m going to make sure the resort has it removed.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

#WIPWednesday: Mina gets the inside view on Rory's crush

So I didn't manage to get You Otter Know done in time to submit for the anthology it was targeted at, but I do love the idea, so I think I'm going to keep plodding along on it when I'm not working on other projects. Rory and Noah are too cute to abandon. *g*

One of the other projects I've been working on is updating my website. I've finally gotten it looking the way I like, so go check it out if you get a chance! I haven't gotten preorder links for Some Assembly Required up yet, but I'm off from the EDJ tomorrow so that'll be Thursday's project. Go take a look:

I'm dealing with some major health issues right now, so I may miss a #WIPWednesday here and there. If you're interested in keeping up with how tests and whatnot are going, I whine fairly often on Facebook.

Since I'm feeling guilty about that, you get a little bit longer #WIPWednesday today. Mina is Rory's top confidant about his crush on Noah, since Rory's best friend Greg hates Noah and refuses to talk about him. So here's a little chat session between Mina and Rory. *g*

You Otter Know

“I’ve seen the way you look at him,” Mina said, waggling her eyebrows as she held the shirt for Rory to ease into.

“Who, Greg? Everyone looks at him like that. He’s unfit for most social situations, which is why I couldn’t believe it when Jolie assigned him to be a handler. I figured he’d
hired as a bellman, or maybe be one of those guys who carry those sticks to pick up garbage.”

Mina rolled her eyes, brushing her hand over the
khaki fabric of Rory'a park ranger costume to smooth out the wrinkles. She frowned at a spot of dirt, grabbing a lint roller to clean it up. Rory and Noah were both assigned to the Pup Den, the resort's day camp where parents could drop their children off for the afternoon. Rory would be reading child-friendly books about conservation and forest ecology while Noah led swim lessons.

“No, Noah. You moon after him when you think he’s not looking,” she said, squinting critically at his left
shoulder before dabbing at it with the lint roller.

“I do not
moon after Noah.”

Mina pursed her lips, sending him a challenging look.

“Alright, maybe I moon a bit. But it’s just
looking. You can’t blame me for that. I’d look at Jared, too, if I didn’t think you’d do something evil like replace the lining of my costume with sandpaper.”

Mina grinned. “Itching powder would work better.”

“Is there really such a thing?” he asked, cocking his head.

“As itching powder? Yes. But that’s not the point. Why don’t you just ask him out? I know he’s single.”

Rory wasn't so sure. “He and Jared were talking about going out with Sophia last week, and Noah was talking about her being all over him down at the lake. I'm not so sure he's single.”Mina made a dismissive noise. “The girl from the front desk? She's all over all of the lifeguards. I doubt it meant anything. A bunch of them went for a midnight swim last week or something and had a big party down on the beach. Jared said they've all known each other for years. And you've seen how they all are—they're always all over each other. It's hard to tell who's dating who.”

Which wasn't a big tick in the single column, but that wasn't even the biggest issue. “Did you ever see Sophia? If that’s his type, I don’t fit it remotely. You know – blonde hair, peachy skin, breasts.”
Mina grinned.

“I don’t think he’s that picky.”

“Well, thanks for
that, Mina. ‘Oh, go for Noah, Rory. He’s not picky. I’m sure he’d settle for even a hopeless case like you.’”

“Who’s a hopeless case?”

Rory and Mina both jumped at Noah’s voice, whirling around guiltily.

“You are, you
ass. We’ve only got five minutes before we need to be at the Den,” Rory mumbled, grateful beyond measure when Mina placed the costume’s head over his, conveniently covering his blush.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

#WIPWednesday: Pigtail pulling (or otter tail pulling?) with Rory and Noah

We're back with Rory, Noah and their cast of friends at the resort again this week in the tentatively titled You Otter Know. Tempers can run high when you're as good as marooned on an out-of-the-way family resort, forced to spend all your time together whether you're working or not. Or at least, that's what Rory tells himself about the insults Noah throws his way. On the other hand, it could be a case of pigtail pulling. Or in this case, otter tail pulling? *g*

You Otter Know

It must be your face,” Noah said, studying Rory with mock-seriousness as he gesticulated wildly with a carrot stick he’d taken off Rory’s tray. “Your ears alone are a crime against nature. Must create a lot of drag in the water.”
“I didn’t want to be a lifeguard, Noah,” Rory snapped, snatching the carrot back. He hadn’t wanted to be a character actor either, but Rory didn’t mention that. He’d hoped for a job behind the scenes, maybe as a stage manager or technical director for the shows the resort put on three times a day. Those jobs had already been filled by the time he put in his application, though.
“You'd fall over if you had to life the backboard,” Jared teased. “Not to mention trip over your feet while you were patrolling the poolside. I don't know how you stay up in those costumes, given how many times I've seen you fall over your own feet out of them.”
“Like what you do is so hard.” Greg rolled his eyes, ignoring Rory’s glare when he helped himself to the remaining half of Rory’s sandwich. “You just walk around yelling at kids who run by the pool. Oh, hey, remember that time you choked on your whistle because you almost swallowed it?”
“Once!” Noah yelped, lips twitching despite himself. “That happened once. I didn't choke, I just gagged. And being a life guard is a hell of a lot more involved than leading someone around. Not that you’re any good at that. You walked Rory into a post last week. I saw it on YouTube.”
Greg bristled, distracted enough by Noah’s taunt that he didn’t notice when Rory reclaimed his sandwich.
“It’s harder than it looks!”
“Right,” Noah drawled, lazily flicking his hand at Rory, who self consciously raised his own fingers to cover the bruise on his cheek that had faded to a sickly green.
“That lamp post was new,” Greg said hotly.
“Because the resort routinely adds built-in lamp posts overnight?” Mina asked, arching a brow.
“Just shut up, all of you,” Greg muttered.
“As fun as this has been, my lunch is over,” Rory said, standing abruptly. He tossed the remains of his sandwich onto Greg’s tray, ignoring Mina’s groan of disgust when Greg picked it up and started eating it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#WIP Wednesday: New year, new manuscript! Meet Rory

Happy 2016! I swear the years are passing faster and faster as I get older. My kids are growing like weeds and our schedules seem to grow every year, no matter how much I resolve to do less, not more. Right now we're gearing up (literally, OMG this shit is expensive) for two hockey tournaments in different states and the Girl is already antsy for the start of soccer season. *sob*

I'm also filling out my writing schedule for 2016. First up is a new adult novella about a group of college students who are spending their summer working at a wilderness resort themed around bears. Rory, our adorable main character, spends his days running arts and crafts stations around the resort and two thirty-minute shifts a day in costume as a giant otter. He has a lust-hate relationship with one of the lifeguards, Noah. As their pigtail pulling progresses, Rory finds out that he's not the only one who spends part of his time as an otter. It's just that Noah's pelt isn't a costume. That's right, I'm writing shifters! *cough* This was definitely something directly inspired by my recent vacation to a certain themed resort with my kids. No sir. */cough* Its working title is You Otter Know, which will definitely change. Probably. God, I hope.

I'll also be starting a three-book paranormal series with Lex Chase. Our first book together, Some Assembly Required, will be out in early February. It's a meet-cute inside an international big box home furnishings chain that just happens to be purgatory on a different plane of existence. Our new series will be just as quirky, as you'll probably come to expect from the two of us. As Lex likes to say, we shouldn't be allowed to be together without adult supervision. *g*

I'm planning to finish up my first YA manuscript within the next few months and start shopping that around for a home, which is exciting.

I'm also plodding along on a middle grade fantasy series that will have some LGBT characters but isn't a romance. That's quite a departure from my usual style, so I won't be sharing that one one here for #WIP Wednesdays.

Here's a peek at Rory while he's on the job, doing a meet-and-greet in his otter costume. *g*


You Otter Know

Rory winced as a particularly husky boy of about six lunged at him, curling himself around his leg. He brought a hand down, gently ruffling the towheaded boy’s hair with his hoof, turning his furry muzzle in the direction he thought the child’s parents would most likely be stationed so he could pose for the obligatory photograph. He gasped in surprise as he felt something being thrust at him, his arms coming up automatically to take the weight of a squirming toddler.

“Taylor, Gracie! Say cheese for Mommy! That’s a good boy, Taylor. Oh, Gracie, what have you done?”

Rory squeezed his eyes shut as he felt the unmistakable spread of wetness down his side. It was pretty obvious to him, at least, exactly what the now screaming toddler had done. Secure in the knowledge that the head piece hid him completely, Rory stuck his tongue out at the bedraggled woman who relieved him of the kicking girl.

This job had seemed like the perfect solution to his problems when he'd seen it advertised on campus. Rory had been looking for summer employment, not being far enough along in his degree to qualify for an internship. The resort was in the middle of nowhere, but it offered free room and board in addition to a frankly ridiculous hourly wage, way more than he could have pulled down working at a fast food restaurant or big box store while living at home with his parents. It had seemed like a win-win, especially when his best friend Greg had agreed to apply with him so they could hang out all summer.
Now, stuffed into a god awful otter costume and besieged with small, sticky children, it didn't seem like such a deal. Especially right now, while Greg was loudly fighting in the lobby with Noah, head life guard, prickly bastard, and the hottest guy Rory had ever met in person. Greg was supposed to be guiding Rory around since visibility was terrible in the costume, but he was too busy inferring things that Rory definitely hoped weren't true about Noah's virility and manhood. Not that Rory stood a chance of ever finding that out first hand, but a guy could dream, he thought sourly as he tromped down the concourse, letting the sound of Greg and Noah’s raised voices guide him back to them. Mina was going to have an absolute fit when she saw the state of his costume. 

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