One Little Word… free!

In an effort to introduce people to the One More Thing Series and get more reviews, I occasionally make the book One Little Word free. I don’t know if this is a good segue or just a really obvious way of saying that One Little Word is free right now. The sale lasts through Thursday.

I’m super proud of myself for the title because the ‘one little word’ is ‘free’ but it’s also the title of the book, so it works on multiple levels. Because author. I’m good at wording.

Even though there is no possible way I could regret this, I am going to chose a scene at random. Hey, I don’t regret it! So in this excerpt, Luke needed to pretend to date Ryan For Reasons and now he no longer needs a fake boyfriend, so all his problems are solved and everything is right with the world. Right? Not exactly…



I was single and ready to mingle. Wow, that sounded incredibly lame. I would never say that out loud.

I couldn’t keep a grin off my face as I walked down the halls. Maybe a few people shot me weird looks, but who cared? I had a lot to smile about. Namely, I no longer had a boyfriend! What a weird sentence. At least for me, a straight guy.

Dealing with Ryan these days had gotten… wait, he wasn’t a bad guy. For a snarky jerk, he was nice. I liked him. Platonically! Not romantically because I was straight. Some other guy will go crazy for him and those weirdly nice legs of his. Just not a straight guy like me.

-the rest is here. For free!

Book News, plus dinosaurs! One of these things isn’t true.

Have you ever played the game ‘two truths and a lie?’ Do you want to play now? Whatever you answered, I can’t hear you, so I’m just going to keep going. Okay, the way the game works is I say three things, then you guess which one is the lie. Ready? Again, I can’t hear you. Go!

1. F.N. Manning, me, has a new story available.

2. I actually have four new stories available.

3. The new thing I’m talking about is on sale right now!

Um, maybe I should build the suspense instead of just telling you the answer. I’m going to tell you anyway. Number three is the lie. Because the story is free, so there is no sale, because you never have to pay for it. Free!

When We Were Strangers is a prequel to the first book in the One More Thing Series, One Little Word. No knowledge of the series is required to read this short story. Well, there are actually four stories altogether, which are all included in the prequel.

Here is the beginning of one story. You literally need to know no information to read this, but I’m going to tell you some stuff anyway. Zach (and friends) crash a wedding, where he flirts with an older guy and goes on a quest.



Under no circumstances would I ever base my life choices around Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Yes, they were rich and famous, but at what cost? They were still Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Which meant that my decision to crash a wedding reception occurred for one reason and only one reason: free alcohol.

The party took place in our hotel, and we had a break from our baseball tournament. Me, Luke Chambers, and Joey Wilson made a marginal effort to blend in by splitting the dressier clothing I packed. A formality, as getting caught hadn’t even occurred to me, because who really cared?

Apparently, Samuel cared. The uptight groomsman who seemed unfamiliar with fun and party etiquette, though watching Luke fail to bond with him was amusing.

“We’re no different than everyone else here,” Luke tried with a charming smile. “We just wanna have a good time.”

“Except everyone else was invited,” said the fun police.

Never great at thinking on his feet, Luke smiled harder, counting on his all-American good looks, green eyes earnest and dimples peeking out. “Come on, Sam—”

“It’s Samuel,” he corrected instantly with a glare. “Hardly on nickname basis as we’re strangers.”

“I’m Luke. Nice to meet you, Sam.” Luke held out his hand.

“It’s still Samuel.” Still Samuel stared at the outstretched hand dubiously until it was removed.

Luke sent me a desperate look. I mouthed ‘you got this,’ gave him a thumbs up, and left him to investigate the alcohol situation. Yes, we were best friends, but this way was more fun, and I still wanted to drink.

Sorry not sorry about stealing thunder from the bride I’d never met, but everyone could see Zach Ahmad looked damn fine. With flawless brown skin, expertly styled hair, and a roguish smirk, I… oh wait. There was a reason my amazing good looks were important. I would get to that momentarily.

As Luke took my dinner jacket, I only wore the under layers, a grey vest and a long-sleeved white dress shirt. My impeccably fit body was highlighted in the tailored clothing, and my ass looked incredible in the dark pants. Joey stole my red tie for himself as he was too big for my clothes, and he always wore whatever he wanted regardless of dress code anyway. I half respected that. I would respect it fully if he had better taste.

Anyway, back to Zach.

After discovering only those with wristbands got free, no-questions-asked alcohol, I glanced back towards Luke and caught Samuel’s eyes moving away from me. So… that could work. I interrupted Samuel boring Luke to death and took care of the situation, at least 70% sure Samuel wanted me.

Sometime after being awesome and gaining us admittance and free alcohol, I lost track of my friends. I stood at the edge of the dancefloor with Samuel. A peppy song about everything being great played loudly while people danced and had fun. A good time had by all, except for or including us? Unclear.

“Look Zach,” Samuel began, then faltered. “Do you go by Zach or Zachary? Is Zachariah an option?”

“Never,” I shot down, then sent him a small smile. “It’s Zach. Can I call you Sam?”

“Um, yeah,” he answered, nervous but no hesitation. “Sure, if you want.” He definitely wanted me.

“What’s on your mind, Sam?” I asked.

“Okay, one thing.” He seemed to psych himself up mentally before managing to speak. “Crashing a party for free booze when you’re obviously underage, uh.” Samuel shook his head. “I may not condone this, but I won’t stop you.”

“You did give us the wristbands.” I held up my wrist with the neon green band attached.

“Alright, I condone it a little.” He frowned, thinking. “Enabling, that might be the better term. I wanted to make clear, I’m not judging, but I am, well.” He shrugged helplessly. “I see through what you’re doing.”

“Okay?” I arched one eyebrow, the gesture and single word slightly dismissive out of habit. Some people had ‘resting bitch face.’ ‘Resting bitch everything’ was my default setting.

“Apparently I’m alright with corrupting a minor, but I’m not an idiot,” he explained, potentially flushing. Hard to tell with his beard. “I saw through the plan, that’s all. I want to be clear.” He crossed his arms. No jacket, sleeves rolled up, lots of hair there. “I sound silly, don’t I?”

“A little, yeah.” I smiled. “Though I do understand where you’re coming from. Going along with it is different than being duped. I’d be bothered at the impression of being outsmarted by a bunch of high school jocks too.”

His blue eyes widened with panic. “You’re in high school?”

Shit. “You didn’t know? You said—”

“21 is the legal drinking age! Which by the way, I am also younger than. Not that I’ve imbibed.”

“Gonna start?” Rhetorical, because my invitations weren’t turned down. The only thing I did better than resting bitch everything was becoming inviting.

His head bobbed up and down in a nervous nod. “Lead the way, I guess.”

I led the way.

-Read the rest here.

Something Real. M/M short story

photo from pinterest

“Oh god, is that really necessary?” Three sets of eyes swiveled to Stephen, who was looking around the table with disdain. “Do you need to post pictures of your lunch?” he continued. “No one cares.” I set my phone down, guilty, while the other two carried on without shame.

“But… it’s pretty. It’s sushi!” defended Abby with a pout from across the table.

His withering look was one of my top five favorite looks, which he delivered now while saying, “All of your acolytes have seen sushi before.”

“Is this an acolyte?” Milo said to Abby, pointing at an item on his plate. “I thought it was a California roll.”

Stephen stared at him in horror from across the table. It gave me a chance to speak up, so I did. “Come on,” I shoved him playfully with an elbow and he turned to me and resumed a haughty look. With his blue argyle sweater and wide, dark brown glasses, he was the most adorably offended nerd ever. “Even you know they’re called followers and not acolytes.”

He only scoffed at my remark and I tried to look as bored with him as everyone else instead of pleased. I had a perfect view of the spark in his amber eyes that always appeared when he really got going before he turned to address everyone.

“It’s superficial. Social media is all so fake.” He reflexively moved a hand to sweep his chestnut locks out of his face even though his perfectly coiffed hair was still in place and neat as ever.

“No,” Milo defended, “All my followers are real. I’m not using bots or something. That’s cheating.”

“I’m sure they exist,” Stephen said dryly. “If you can call being attached to a screen 24/7 existing.” He merrily started in on a rant about technology and the superficial nature of consumerism or something.

Abby looked annoyed at Stephen starting another patronizing speech and looked to me for support. I shrugged. Yeah, the words weren’t great, but he looked so good when lecturing about something. I used to be annoyed by it until I got the feelings. It was a pretty good strategy, I thought, having a crush on your most pompous friend made everything he said more bearable.

“Taking picture after picture of the best moments of your life and adding a fun filter is so trivial,” Stephen continued.

“…Sometimes I add a caption too,” Milo muttered, which apparently wasn’t worthy of a response as Stephen turned to me again.

“I can’t believe you’re participating in this too, Will.”

“We’re out of school today and we’re having a nice lunch,” I argued. “That’s something to celebrate.”

That answer didn’t sway him. I pretended to listen to his rant while watching the way his face flushed as he continued to talk and talk.

“No one is authentic anymore. Nothing is real.” Those words filtered through my admiration of his features and his passion. He said he wanted real, but my real big crush on him might be enough to shock him into silence for a full minute. Maybe two if he was especially horrified.

“And that’s what you want?” I asked.

“Desperately,” Stephen said with feeling while looking me in the eyes. He didn’t know what he was asking for. But maybe he was right. Maybe I was tired of pretending. I thought I knew how he’d react if I told him, but all the disaster scenarios I imagined weren’t real. There was only one way to find out for sure.

“Okay, if that’s what you want.” I leaned over and kissed him on the mouth.

How’s that for authentic?

via Daily Prompt: Authentic


The weather is grey and gloomy today, perfect for curling up with a good book. However, I’m still on the clock right now. I didn’t let the dreary atmosphere stop me though, I’ve been busy. I put two books up on Instafreebie, which means, as the site’s title implies, the books are free. So if it’s cold and dark where you live too, here are two reading options while you keep warm inside.

One is L-O-V-E, a teen romance featuring a bad boy and his preppy opposite who hate each other but can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. There’s feuding, spelling bees and sexual tension, unresolved and otherwise. The sample on Instafreebie is four chapters from the beginning.

Young fitness model is posing in studio

The other story, Entirely Too Gay, is a fun, silly book about a guy joining the wrestling team to get closer to his crush. The whole book is free as a thank you to people who sign up for my mailing list. The first half of the story is also available without signing up so that you can sample it first and see if you like it.

At the moment, you don’t even have to enter your email to get L-O-V-E, but of course you can if you like it so that you’ll know when the full version is released and you can get a copy for free. I might change it soon so that an email is required, for science, just to see if there’s a difference. This self-publishing thing means that I get to experiment. I heard a fellow author say that’s one of the perks of being an indie author, and he’s probably right.  I’d thought the perks were getting to work in your pajamas and taking breaks to play with your dog, but the freedom to try different things is a pretty good perk too.

One of the things I’m going to be fiddling with is covers for L-O-V-E, and this is the first version. So if you like it, hate it or have any feelings about it at all, let me know.

I dwell in possibility

Miles left me a watch and an obligation. The watch didn’t even work.

He didn’t die, but he might as well have. His family was moving across the country. Okay, there was the internet and video chat and even freaking letters if we got desperate, but it wouldn’t be the same. I was allowed to be dramatic, I’m 17.

Four of us huddled into Mile’s basement, curled into each other even though everything had been packed up and there was nothing but space. The scotch tasted bitter and burned with every swallow. The smell hung in the air every time my parents opened the bottle, so that’s why I chose it: it was strong.

Miles eye’s were glassy but his voice was steady when he said, “Before I leave, I am going to make out with Greg Morris.” Greg had a mouth that reminded me of pomegranates, a burst of red color, and eyes like whiskey, much more palatable than the scotch we drank, maybe I should have grabbed that instead.

It made sense to want to lock lips with the gorgeous popular boy, but was he even gay? Did he have any idea our little group of friends even existed? Mile’s voice rose in volume and intensity when met with any doubts, voice filled with conviction, until his mom opened the door and told us to keep it down so his parents could pretend they didn’t know what we were doing.

The door closed, and the fight left him like it was never there.  “Fine, maybe I won’t.” All his previous words were forgotten, alcohol probably had that effect, but I didn’t think that’s what this was. His eyes turned serious for a moment, aware and intent, focused on me.

“If I don’t do it, it’s up to you.”


Once I had three friends at this school and now I had two.

I looked across the row of lockers, saw the way Greg’s profile looked bathed in light from the sun pouring in through a window, and I wanted.

A text message alert made me tear my eyes away.

Make me proud

Make yourself proud

Greg was so pretty it hurt. And me? I didn’t know how I measured up, but maybe that didn’t matter. I had three friends at this school and was suddenly down to two. I wanted more.

I’m not just gonna walk up and kiss him I texted back.

His response wasn’t surprising. You’ll at least go and say hi, right?

I couldn’t walk over and pull him into a passionate clench. But saying hi? It suddenly seemed easy in comparison. Sometimes it’s not about what you’re given but what you choose to do with it.

I walked over.

title from Emily Dickinson

via Daily Prompt: Inheritance