WIP

I’m working on the third installment of the One More Thing series… what is the third part of something called, a threequel? Probably not. Anyway, here is a small excerpt from the book, One Little Problem. I don’t think any context is needed, it’s just the protagonists snaking with each other, as is their way.

Luke didn’t even think about my suggestion. “Even you aren’t that gay,” he scoffed, keeping his eyes on the road. He was driving, I wasn’t, so I happily put my eyes on him. He wore a blue t-shirt that hugged his shoulders, and his aftershave smelled woodsy and intoxicating.

He was gorgeous, but I glared at him anyway. “How dare you imply there are limits to my gayness?”

“You’re right,” he conceded. “My mistake.” He looked over at me for a moment with a goofy smile that showed off his dimples.

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Okilly Dokilly

When I was growing up, my favorite show was The Simpsons. I thought it was the height of comedy, and I don’t even want to guess how many times I’ve seen some of the episodes. I used to be able to figure out what episode was on within the first ten seconds, which was more of an impressive thing when there wasn’t a guide that listed all the information.

I don’t hate The Simpsons now, but the show has lost the appeal it once had for me and also I think my brain is still taking a break from it after watching it all the time for years and years. And years. Like, even if I knew how many times I watched, I wouldn’t say because it would be embarrassing.

This post isn’t really relevant to anything, but I just wanted to share that there was such a thing as a Ned Flanders metal band. Have you ever looked at something and just been like, wow, I cannot believe this exists? I’m at least a moderately creative person, I write books!, and I would not have been able to think of this in a million years.

So, I have no idea why this exists, but I am glad that these grown men decided they wanted to dress as Ned Flanders and sing metal songs mostly consisting of Ned Flanders quotes. And because if there was one thing this bizarre combo needed, it’s puns, they call their music ‘nedal’ instead of metal.

Depending on your viewpoint, you’re welcome or I’m sorry that I showed you this exists.

The Eternal Question

April showers bring may flowers, right? That’s a saying and all sayings are true. Kind of seems like that means it’s supposed to rain a lot in April and then possibly stop raining in May? That hasn’t happened yet here, so it’s kind of hard to believe summer is fast approaching, but May is when school ends and that always says the beginning of summer to me. So, I’m going to start posting some graphics for my summer books.

Hey, if all sayings are true, maybe it’s a good thing it’s raining a lot here. Because I’ve seen some nice rainbows and there must be a pot of gold at the end of them, right? I’m about to be rich!

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I sure picked a scintillating quote to start with. I’m nailing this blogging thing.

Summer Romance

Neil’s summer plans consist of wearing an ugly uniform and working at a local grocery store. It’s not glamorous, but it becomes interesting when Carter Ford starts working there too. The nerd and the popular boy never crossed paths before, but they’re equals at the store. Coworkers.

And maybe more?

With Carter around, Neil’s boring summer job might turn out to be perfect.

But it’s not permanent.

The summer will end. Will their relationship end with it?

~

This short story is a YA M/M love story featuring opposites who attract, secret relationships, and adorable boys with hidden loves of cats and cheesy pop music.

Book (I am so good at titles)

 

Now would be the worst time to start something new. I didn’t have any spare moments. And yet, I wanted to anyway. I didn’t even have the free time required to start obsessing about whether this was the best time to get into a new relationship or not. I would have gladly spent more time worrying about this but.

I wanted to get to know him. Something told me he would be worth it.

-Like You A Latte

Book Review: Never Do a Wrong Thing

When it comes to blog posts, I often have trouble knowing how to start. I’m a stare at the blank page kinda person. I love the opening of Never Do a Wrong Thing. So, let’s start at the start (that’s a song right?) it’s a very good place to start (that’s totally a song).

When things start going awry is when the story starts, no sooner, no later. That’s what Mrs. Bartkowski told us in her Creative Writing workshop, but frankly, that doesn’t help me all that much if I can’t say for sure when things started going awry. If I were to ask you, Tom, you’d probably say things started going awry the day I was born, and you’d think your blunt force humor was very clever.

Great opening and it gave me a chance to use the quote thing.

Summary: Tim is in love with best friend, who will never, ever like him back.

I didn’t say stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but there you are, rolling your eyes and telling me yeah, yeah. I’ve heard this one before. But you haven’t! It’s not a besties to more thing. The story goes the perhaps more realistic route of what happens when that person you’ve had a crush on forever doesn’t like you back. Worse than that, when that person you love not only doesn’t love you in the right way but doesn’t love you at all, just because of who you are.

Very serious reviewer comment: Tim being interested in Tom is weird. Pretty much only because there was a Tim and Tom a few grades older than me in school and they were twin brothers. So that’s what I think of when I hear the names Tim and Tom together and then it’s like, Tim, no, that’s your brother!

But this isn’t Flowers in the Attic.

The Plot: Liking someone you can’t have. Yeah, it’s as simple as that. The story still covers a lot of ground though. At the beginning of the book, Tim can’t imagine ever telling his best friend certain truths about himself and doesn’t want to risk jeopardizing their friendship.

The full quote in the title is “never do a wrong thing to make a friend or keep one.” And as the story goes on, having to keep part of himself private, never getting to be himself to protect someone else becomes more and more difficult.  He starts realizing who he is and becoming okay with that, even if means he might have to give up the thing that once mattered the most to him.

What Makes it Unique: The story is told as if the main character is explaining everything to his best friend. So some of it is first person and other parts are him addressing his best friend. The different style really makes it interesting and fun to read and because it’s all about the friendship between Tim and Tom, this way of telling the story really works and feels natural. It’s Tim saying all the things he can’t to Tom.

There’s also a lot of stories out there where the central conflict is parental strife because they can’t accept their children and while realistic, it isn’t the only way parents react. So, I like stories where the parents are pretty supportive and this fits that bill.

What I liked: This isn’t just telling the story of a young adult discovering who he is, it really captures the mindset of someone innocent. There’s a vibe of everything being new and strange and scary but good too. The pace is just right, it’s an exploration of what someone coming to terms with their sexuality might go through, fully exploring the topic without being too much or not enough, it’s just right.

What you may not like: I was tempted to put a what I didn’t like part but then it would feel like a cop out because the answer is ‘nothing!’ I enjoyed the whole thing. Though, the focus of the book is pretty narrow. I don’t feel like that’s a bad thing but if you’re looking for a larger world and more conflict, this isn’t the right book for you. It’s coming of age and all the angst is centered around one part.

The Romance: This book isn’t centered around romance, so there’s a little bit of a love story but it’s not the main focus. The relationship in this one is sweet and cute, basically what you’d want for your first boyfriend.

Other: I just wanted to say that I didn’t make it all the way through Cupid Painted Blind, so its kinda weird that I loved this one so much and didn’t care for that one but anyway, I might have to give it another shot because I really enjoyed Jack in this one.

I actually would have liked Jack and Tim together, but I think there was an age difference, and I thought they had good chemistry and they challenged each other and both made the other think. And I just like Jack, okay. Love me a tortured bad boy and Jack and Tim had good dialogue.

Final Thoughts: A great easy read with a lot of heart. There’s simple, engaging writing that flows well and has moments of beauty and deepness and humor.

Also, I googled it, the song I was thinking of at the beginning was Do Re Mi.

About the Author: Two Truths and a Lie

Oh, you’d like to know more about me? Well, whether the answer is year or no, I’m trying to make this blog more… you know, bloggy, with like, posts about stuff. Blogs have posts. If you somehow didn’t know that, now you do, so there I go providing knowledge already.

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Not the kind of icebreaker I’m talking about, but I wanted to add an image.

If I were being vain, I’d say something along the lines of why not talk about my favorite subject: myself. But I’m probably not my favorite topic. That list definitely goes: nephews, pets, TV, queer culture, chocolate, and then myself somewhere down the line. Hey, maybe I should talk about all that other stuff instead… eh, might as well do this since I already decided.

Have you ever played the icebreaker two truths and a lie? Well, it doesn’t really matter whether you have or not because the name of the game kind of explains it all, but I’m going to explain it anyway. I tell you three things and then you guess which one the lie is and then a good time is had by all and we become BFFs forever. Yep, that’s totally how it works. No take backs, you’re already playing.

Two Truths and One (1) Lie
But which is which? Can’t say, that’s literally the game.

  • I’ve gone streaking and skinny dipping more than once because I’m a total badass. (that’s right, alluding to nudity and ~illicit activities~, I’m hip and you want to follow my blog now)
  • I don’t know how to ride a bike because I’m a total badass who is also lame. (And now I’m also admitting to my deep, dark secret shame! What trilling content I write!)
  • Once upon a time, I could roller-skate, but the last time I tried I almost broke my leg.
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Also not what I’m talking about, but this game is rad.

So, which one is fake? You can’t see me right now, but I’m making an inscrutable poker fake. I threw in a bonus lie just for you! I don’t have a poker face; my trick is I just make ridiculous faces the entire time instead of trying to be cool and nonchalant because those are two things I’m not great at, but I do love winning stuff and am fairly competent at distracting people with inane chatter and ridiculous faces.

Anyway. *drum roll*

The lie is….

~Dramatic tension~

Number three!

I was in California sight seeing at a beach and we decided to rent skates and bikes. As one of my truths explains, I never learned how to ride a bike, so I went with the skates. I had skated before, a lot actually, though only indoors at skating parties in middle school. I rented the skates, tried to move, and immediately fell down hard on the pavement, injuring my arm and not my leg.

So there you go… two truths and a lie. I am terrible at knowing how to end things. Hit that like and subscribe button? Isn’t that what youtubers say? Is that applicable here? Anyway, bye…

Bye!

 

My Nephews Don’t Care About Black Cinderella (and that’s a good thing!)

Anything that happened at the end of February is old news in the entertainment world, but whenever I wonder what I should post on my blog, my brain goes blank, so this is at least something. I’m fashionably late. Get it, because this post is sort of about fashion? Oh, you didn’t know what yet. Well, I’m hilarious. That’s the point. But onto my other point…

This about that time Billy Porter wore a dress to the Oscars. Or as I typed into google, “guy that wore dress to awards show” because I don’t really know who he is and I didn’t even watch it, but it popped up on my phone as a story I might be interested in. I used to know a fair amount about television and movies and the people who starred in them, but there are just SO MANY THINGS now, which makes my brain tired at even the thought of keeping up.

billyporter

Alright, so he wore a dress and that’s good for him because it sounds like he wanted to wear a dress and feel glamorous and I’m glad he got to do so. Men’s suits are boring anyway. I like the gown part, sort of, but it’s basically the ball gown version of a tuxedo; it’s like taking a boring thing and making it… slightly less boring? Which I guess was the point as it’s a tuxedo gown. The commentary about it was better. “People are going to be really uncomfortable with my black ass in a ball gown,” he said, “but it’s not anybody’s business but mine.”

Also neat in that laugh about it so you don’t scream or cry way? Dudebros freaking out about a man wearing a dress. Everyone is familiar with mindless hate on the internet so I’m not going to post anything from trolls, but there’s always those few trolls who think they’re smart and have what they consider a “valid reason” to be upset so it’s totes not homophobia or racist, it’s a legit concern!

4x7ANlYe

This time the concern was *Helen Lovejoy voice* won’t someone think of the children? Which got me wondering… what would my kids think about this? I don’t know. First, I don’t have kids. But I do have nephews. Who are of the age where they don’t care and will tune out immediately if I try to teach them Very Special Lessons about respect and tolerance and sunshine and rainbows, but I try to sneak it in when I can.

So, while scrolling through my phone, I said, “Did you guys hear about the guy who wore a dress to the Oscars?” Then I rolled my eyes at myself because, no, of course they didn’t hear it, where would they hear that? The entertainment websites they’ve never been on once because its not Roblox, the water cooler at school? Do they even know what Oscars are? Besides Oscar the Grouch.

…They would probably object to being associated with Oscar the Grouch as they’re not “little kids” anymore and that “baby stuff” is so beneath them. The oldest is 10. Anyway, when I told them about Billy Porter, they both looked up respectively from the TV and the tablet. Getting that much in itself was a big feat and there was interest on their faces, like they thought someone was pulling a joke or prank.

I showed them both the picture, they looked at it eagerly and then I said, “Yeah, he wore a dress because he wanted to.” And boom, interest over, just like that. There was no joke, no prank, just a dude wearing the clothes he wanted to wear and they didn’t care at all. It was back to their regularly schedule entertainment.

All in all, a pretty good reaction. There was no disgust or confusion or anger. They’re not really interested in what some would consider “girly” or “feminine” things, but I’ve been working with them on understanding that they can like whatever they want and to not immediately dismiss things with “that’s for girls!”, “I’m not a girl!”, “GIRLS BOO, BOYS YAY” and whatnot.

76th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals
My ADHD brain is easily distracted, so I like shiny, sparkly things. LOVE the cape.

My greatest triumph with my nephews is the color pink. Anytime it was mentioned or seen, there were immediate protests and both of them informing me they hated pink and it was a girl’s color and pink was evil. I kept saying, “It’s just a color. You can like it or not like it. It’s up to you.” Which was immediately met with “I don’t like it!” to which I’d say, “That’s fine.”

Those conversations about pink have died down over the years, maybe because they’ve outgrown coloring books somewhat, but also because there’s less of that gut reaction of, ‘oh no, we can’t like anything girls might like or we’ll be girls and that’s bad!’ The oldest one likes pink now. The youngest doesn’t. My response to both of them is still, “That’s fine.”

I’m glad this attitude seems to be sinking in for them. Oh, just some guy wearing a dress and it’s not supposed to be funny or anything? Why do we care, they seemed to say as I could mentally see them shrugging their shoulders. That guy they’ve never heard of can do what he wants. It’s fine.

(Abridged) 20 Questions

This is an excerpt from my YA M/M romance called Like You a Latte.

Owen sat up straight in his chair and met my gaze with a forceful look. Oh boy, I prepared for a doozy. Something deep and philosophical maybe. Or something incredibly invasive and personal. He took a breath and then asked, “Glass half empty or full?”

At the very least, I was expecting some stoner paradox. I saw a 4/20 pin on his apron one day. If Chuck Norris can beat everyone, could he beat Chuck Norris? I didn’t know whether this was an improvement on that question or not.  “Do you want more time to think of a question?” I asked him.

“I’m the one asking now,” he told me primly. “Kindly answer.”

There was probably a mathematical equation to figure it out. Find the circumference of the glass and then- “I’d have to see the glass,” I told him once I spent a few seconds pondering it.

Owen nodded. “Chicken or egg?” he asked next.

I blinked at him. “Which is my preference?”

“Which came first?” he clarified. There wasn’t a way to win this game the way we were playing it, but he was definitely losing. And it was his choice to go easy on me and not ask anything personal but that didn’t mean I had to do the same.

The chicken or the egg. Just as trivial as glass half empty or half full. Simple at least. “Scientifically—”

“Journey or destination?” He cut me off to ask.

“I didn’t get to answer the second question fully,” I protested.

“Trust me,” his tone sounded drier than the blueberry muffins on sale today, which wasn’t hard because they were very moist, but his tone was still pretty dry. “That one word was enough.”

“And you wasted your questions.” And again, not that this was a competition, but if it were, I would so totally be winning. I was going to kick his ass with my questions.

“No, I’m getting a pretty good idea of how you see the world.” He held up his hands in a frame shape as his eyes skated over me, like he was getting the full Spencer Sharp picture.

“Those questions told you something you didn’t already know?” If so, I might have to question my evaluation of his intellect.

“I’m confirming my hypothesis,” he said with a smirk. “Isn’t that something you smarty pants types care about?”

I suppose. Him saying hypothesis was mildly arousing. I shook it off. My turn to question him. “What’s your least favorite subject in school?” His favorite was English. Was he a thoroughly right brained person and hated math or did he have a proficiency but not interest in the numbers and sciences?

“No, you didn’t answer my last one yet. Journey or destination?” He rested a hand on his chin and looked at me expectantly, like he was dying to know the answer.

Oh, well that was simple. “Destination, obviously.” The journey was the necessary steps you had to take in order to complete your goals. An equation. A formality. The instructions. Or the recipe. But the point wasn’t about how to make a pie, it was about eating the pie.

Owen rolled his eyes but smiled as he said, “Obviously.”

I understood as I wanted to roll my eyes too as I said, “And you disagree obviously.”

While I still maintained his questions were stupid, this was fun and lighthearted, exactly what I needed. Maybe that was why he didn’t ask anything difficult. He was good at reading people. He had that thing I used to think was made up, but I’ve since come to terms with me just not having it, emotional intelligence.

“You never told me your least favorite subject,” I said.

“Spanish,” he answered.

Hmm, that was another right brained discipline. Fascinating. “Interesting,” I mused.

“I don’t like the teacher,” he elaborated.

“Fair enough.” I thought about another question. “Hogwarts house?” I could be whimsical sometimes.

“Okay, I’m happy to answer but maybe not now.” He waved a hand. “That’s a whole thing. A big discussion. We’ll have to devote a different night to it.” He looked excited about it. Him taking the house he’d be sorted into so seriously was a little silly… I should find it a little silly. It was actually kinda hot. And I liked when he made references to seeing me in the future. The small hints that he liked having me around and wanted me to stay in his life.

“I’ll defer that question for a later date,” I concluded formally, feeling a smile form on my face when he snorted at my tone.

“One more.” His eyes danced with something I couldn’t make out in the low lighting. The hazel depths just seemed warm, happy, and I couldn’t tell if there were any flecks of green there, but I liked the hint of something a little mischievous and challenging in his gaze. “Make it good,” he challenged or encouraged.

Whichever it was, it worked. “Last boyfriend?” I asked. I had done a very good job with this friendly/flirty dance we’d been doing, considering I didn’t usually do this. I usually knew what I wanted and what I was getting. And now the perfect opportunity presented itself where I could test the waters. I couldn’t resist.

And the waters were… murky.

Owen blinked and his mouth dropped open like I surprised him. “Oh, uh.” He fidgeted and laughed awkwardly. His fingers twitched on the table and he looked down, not knowing what to say.

Shit. What if he had a bad breakup? I probably would have reacted the same way if put on the spot about Lucas and I didn’t know if I’d share. While it wasn’t a school course, Lucas and my last relationship were definitely my least favorite subject. “Sorry, you don’t have to answer if—”

“No, it’s fine.” It didn’t seem entirely fine. He met my eyes and gave me a weak smile. “I just. I’m not really the boyfriend type,” he said quietly.

“Oh.” I guess that made sense. He didn’t make a lot of plans for the future, he didn’t seem like the type to be tied down. I couldn’t quite process my feelings about his admission. I should have suspected as much. Still. Having it said was something else. I regretted asking this question.

“I mean,” he amended. “I haven’t been, in the past.” He still looked a little nervous, but there was a gentle, hesitant smile on his face. Was he afraid of how I’d react?

I didn’t regret asking this question. “So, you’re saying—” I started to ask and then trailed off. He might be open to it with the right person? I tried to make my posture open, to seem nonjudgmental. I didn’t want to scare him off.

“I’m saying that I don’t know.” He shrugged, looked down at the table. Good because I couldn’t hide a wince. That didn’t sound very optimistic. “It’s not that I’m opposed,” he continued. “I just haven’t been in a serious relationship. I’m usually more casual.”

So, like the opposite of me. I already knew that. I probably needed to say something.

He spoke again before I could formulate a response. “But remember, I’m the one of us who likes trying new things.”  The gentle smile was back on his face, hopeful. Oh. And that, that definitely sounded optimistic to me.

I didn’t know if I should smile back, maybe I should just be neutral and supportive, but that hopeful look made my insides all soft and warm and I had to smile at him. “Yeah,” I said lightly but with a bright smile on my face. “I guess you are.”

The book is available here.