Mental malfunctions

Do you ever have a moment at three in the afternoon where you’ll like, damn I’m hungry, and then you realize you haven’t had anything to eat? Maybe not if you don’t have hyperfocus and ADHD. Occasionally, that happens to me. My two speeds for concentration are, oh hey, did you see this cute dog on the internet and on the other end, ALL FREAKING IN.

This is all I have to talk about now because  I’m very hungry, but the food I warmed up is still too hot to eat. I do have a quote from One Little Word to share, so I guess I’ll do that.

I was going to provide the relevant information here before the excerpt, but then I realized that it’s literally a guy crushing on another guy. So that’s all the details right there.

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Ryan

Luke was one of my new friends. Making nice and getting to know him seemed like a good idea at the time. He apologized and he was my boyfriend as far as the principal was concerned.

However, once I stopped despising a guy that hot, I was doomed. Hell, once I fell into his arms like a damsel in distress, I was doomed. Saving me gave him a clean slate and made him instantly crush worthy.

Hating him had provided some protection from his stupidly attractive face. Now all I noticed was the green of his eyes, the way the light looked in his hair. Anytime the dimples appeared, a small electrical fire started in my brain and I lost all cognitive function while repairs were made.

 

Presenting a revolutionary new character, the Moody Teenage Girl

This mood board could speak for itself and I think I’m mostly going to let it. Except to say, hi, this is a mood board for the character Lydia from One Little Word. If you have questions, please refer to the image below. It’s literally all there.

I have nothing in common with Lydia, except that we both happen to be attracted to women, except she’s only attracted to women and I’m not, so maybe that doesn’t count. She’s one of the easiest characters to write even though we aren’t alike at all. Maybe it helps that she hates everything.

 

Lydia Smith could be a girl on a poster, beautiful and unattainable in a sweater that hugged her cleavage. Her black hair would get caught in the wind for a few seconds and whip around her face, making her look like a model. She smoked on top of the backrest of a bench, her legs hanging down on the seat. She had a free period and never spent it inside in a classroom when she could be a rebel instead.

We get it, you’re cool. That doesn’t mean you need to wreck your health with cigarettes or sit outside even though the weather’s getting cold

Who still drank root beer after age ten?

The only thing I can think of to say doesn’t relate to the image quote I’m going to post from One Little Word. I wanted to put some incredibly charming, witty words here and then connect them to the next part, but I got nothing. So I’ll just say what I thought of anyway because, well, it’s the only thing I can think of to say.

A million years ago, in a post I am too lazy to link, I talked about  how One Day at a Time was a cool, cancelled show about Latnix people and queer characters and representation. Every now and then, I tell myself, hey that got picked up by a different network so I should comment on that and be happy.

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From IMDB

 

So hey, One Day at a Time got picked up by Pop and I’m happy about it. That sounds sarcastic, but really, I’m thrilled. That still sounds sarcastic, but I have waited a long time for there to be a funny show about Hispanic people and I’m glad it’s not over yet.

Also in case you’re wondering, no I could not resist using the photo I chose. Hi lady from Brooklyn 99!

Scenes from a book

Okay, now for a quote and excerpt from a book. Here’s what you need to know. There are two guys who don’t like each other. They’re at a fall festival and decide to turn everything into a competition. Possibly they fall in love.

Luke

We played the most competitive version of ring toss ever.

A one at a time game, but we stood right next to each other on the taped line in the parking lot, trying to keep the other person from making it as much as we tried to get a bottle ourselves.

Ryan’s brows were scrunched, an intense look of concentration on his face. I had to look away to focus. He was just so intense and weird, which wasn’t exactly a bad thing, except for how he hated me.

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This experience felt nothing like being on the mound at a game, but a surge of triumph still went through me when I got a bottle, smile growing while Ryan tried to elbow me. We kept throwing until there were no more rings left. I felt mildly ridiculous to get so into the game, but I still pumped my fist in the air when I won.

Only to be met with Ryan’s bitchy face. “This wasn’t fair,” he complained, crossing his arms and sulking.

I grinned. “You’re such a sore loser.”

I wasn’t planning on taking any of the bottles I won, we wouldn’t have enough hands to carry them, but I grabbed one. Root beer.

I’d seen Ryan drink it at lunch and pushed the bottle into his chest, making him take it and uncross his arms. That was another reason he was weird. Who still drank root beer after age ten?

Sale! I don’t know what else to say!

My dog is tearing her stuffed elephant to smithereens while I try to write this post. She wants to play, so I get up to throw her toy, and then she promptly loses all interest. Until I sit back down at the computer. She’s such a cute jerk.

The next thing I’m going to say has nothing to do with the first thing, which is usually how it goes with me. One Little Word is on sale for 99 cents this week, so I’m posting about it like a sensible author.

The story is about two guys who must “date” For Reasons. As compelling as that summary is, I’m going to include an excerpt that may or may not actually be in the book. So it could be a sneak peek or it could be a deleted scene. Maybe a little of both? How mysterious and exciting.

Okay, Luke is a dumb jock who gets in trouble and thinks saying he’s gay will solve problems instead of creating new ones. And now he’s talking to the principal and a teacher about all this.

 ~

Luke

“Gay?” Principal Simmons frowned. “But you’re the captain of the baseball team!”

I nearly laughed. “Are you serious?”

The guidance counselor gave us a speech last year about “diverging sexuality,” something she claimed they did every year, but it happened shortly after Ryan Miller came out. There was a whole part about how there was no one way to be gay, just as no two people were exactly the same.

Yet the principal appeared skeptical about my confession. That was totally unfair.

I looked at Mrs. Sharp after the Principal still seemed confused.

She sighed. “What he means,” she tried, “is that this seems a little… convenient.”

“Yes, that’s a good point,” he agreed. “Personally, I had no idea your people could play sports.” He chuckled to himself. “Well, see, I’m already learning.”

“Do I really need any other ‘proof’ of why I’m not out yet?” I gestured to him.

While not exactly conceding the point, Mrs. Sharp also supplied no defense for his remarks. “Mr. Chambers,” she spoke evenly. “Why don’t you explain—”

“You can’t force a student to tell you about his sexuality,” Simmons interrupted. “I know that much.”

“Mr. Chambers,” she repeated, authority clear in her tone, making the principal shut up. “I’m not asking you to reveal anything too personal. Simply help us understand. Let’s see.” She straightened in her seat, a neutral expression on her face.

Trap, this was a trap, but one I couldn’t avoid.

“Perhaps you could share your perceptions of LGBTQIA culture?” she asked. “Or give us a general idea about the challenges a gay teenager may face in a small town?” The corners of her lips twitched, like she was laughing at me internally. “Who are your favorite queer icons?”

“Yes, wonderful!” Simmons sounded delighted. “Another learning experience.” He nodded at me. “Go on, son.”

Shitshitshit.

One Little Word is on sale now for 99 cents!

Sports!

I’m posting this the day after the Super Bowl. I feel like I should mention the Super Bowl, but as I’m writing this the day of the game and it hasn’t started yet, I don’t know what to say. Um… How about that game, huh? It sure was something. And that one commercial? So funny!

While I might be advertising myself as a loser depending on how the game goes, I hope KC wins. It took me a really long time to realize they made it all the way this year, but the Chiefs are my home team. Plus, I’m in the area this year, so it would be fun to see everyone go crazy. I wasn’t here when the Royals won the World Series, but the grade school my nephews go to cancelled school like it was a snow day the day after the game.


Anyway, every other Monday is when I post an extra from one of my books. This is from One Step Forward. Due to shenanigans, our hero Ryan finds himself stuck in a car with Joey, a member of the baseball team he has nothing in common with.

Ryan

With no other options, I guess I could learn about Joey. Desperate times. Maybe it would be fun? Didn’t believe that, but I couldn’t come up with something better to do. Okay, a question. Can you imagine anything worse than this? No, something easy. A warmup before the heavy hitting, Pulitzer prize stuff. A softball. Different from a baseball but don’t ask me how.

“How many siblings do you have?” I asked. Question transmitted, I waited with bated breath for the answer.

This is not a book review.

Reading a book takes me roughly 84 years. And then writing a review adds an additional 107 years to the process. So, like, I’m really slow. That’s the point. I finally finished Witch Eyes and while I don’t want to spoil you too much, here’s my overall impression. Are you ready?

It was good.

True story. Well, no, the story is about witches and other supernatural creatures, so I’m pretty sure it’s fiction. 90% certain. But I liked it, that part is true.

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I have heard of Philip Roth.

Okay, so this isn’t a review so much as it is, um. A general commentary on topics related to books and literature. How exciting!

If you want more information about the book, the author Scott Tracey described it as “Romeo and Juliet, but with boys. And witches.” What a badass summary.

Also cool, the author’s interests at the back of the book are listed as “villains, witches, and sarcasm.” I mean, if you were only going to like three things, those would be the three to like.

As I said, I’m done with Witch Eyes. Or at least the first book since its a trilogy. I started The Forbidden by Dante Cullen and may have it read by 2043. Stay tuned.

And Now For More Nonsense – I felt like I needed a header here

Have you heard about this newfangled invention that’s supposed to be all the rage? I think they’re called audio books. I really need to look into those. I’m not good at doing only one thing at a time, not when I could be doing two things. Did you know two things is more than one? Probably, if you can count.

Multitasking makes my ADD brain happy. Though because focus is a challenge, I’m not sure that splitting my focus between two things is very helpful, but it still makes me feel accomplished.

And now I have run out of all the things I intended to say and all the new things I found to say along the way. So instead of awkwardly saying bye, I’m going to end with a quote from Witch Eyes.

I highlight portions I like when reading, so I’m just going to use the first part I randomly scrolled to because I like it. Duh, what’s why I highlighted it.

I forced myself to finish my homework before considering plans to raise the dead.

Solid plan.

Now for the awkward bye. Bye!

Feelings! And other annoyances

Okay, my brain isn’t… braining at the moment, so I’m just going to say that this is an excerpt and deleted content from One Little Change. Lydia is a character who likes the color black and dislikes, well, everything else. Except her girlfriend Alicia.

~

Lydia

The thing I liked best about my relationship with Alicia, compared to say, Luke and Ryan’s relationship—besides that Alicia was a girl—was how much better we were than them. Maybe it’s because we were women, better at talking and in touch with our emotions. Maybe that was bullshit. Emotions were so annoying. I didn’t have them as much when I was doing the lone wolf thing but now that I had friends and a girlfriend? My stupid feelings were always there feeling things. It sucked.

The real reason Alicia and I had less problems than Ryan and Luke? I figured we were just better.

We didn’t have any stupid misunderstandings or miscommunications that made everything worse. Or we didn’t until now. Alicia thought we would be having sex? Where had that come from? Even talking about it felt delicate because she was asexual and I wasn’t. That was, like, the one way we weren’t compatible, but we were on the same page in every other way. Why did it have to be a big thing? How hard was it to not have sex?

Maybe that was oversimplifying things and I was probably being, I don’t know, one of the words other people generally used when they criticized me. Cold. Brusque. Stubborn. But talking, especially about relationships or emotions or serious stuff? That sucked so much. Even having feelings was a little much, so I tried to do that as little as possible. Alicia was worth it, but still, distasteful.

Fake dating, fake break ups, and other stuff that is not fake.

I adulted today! Take that not-adulting! My dog will not get heartworm because I ordered more heartworm pills for her. I even talked to a person over the phone and everything.

If you regularly talk to people on the phone for business or pleasure, or if you have less social anxiety than me, maybe this isn’t a big deal. I’m still going to bask in the imaginary glory of a task handled and a job well done.

Wow, I’m actually going to get at least two things done today. What else am I doing? Posting this. Here is an extended scene from One Little Lie. This is a different version of something similar in the book.

Setting the scene: Due to insanity and stupidity, Luke was out of the closet at school and publicly dating Ryan Miller. When this news reaches home, he pretends to be dating a girl instead. Now the group is talking about this.

Basically, the boys in this story are dating each other. The girls in this story are dating each other. Coming out is difficult, so the people with ‘L’ names said they were dating each other instead.

~

Ryan

Our foursome talked strategy at lunch. Now that Alicia had seen how terrible Luke and Lydia were together, she was in and wanted to help. My guess was that she hadn’t been as cool about this idea as I was when she was told and was trying to make up for that now.

Her efforts to get Luke and Lydia to formulate a plan weren’t working; it didn’t seem like they wanted to do much. They sat on the same side of the table and people watched us and whispered. Hey, in this fake scenario, I was a pretty mature person by eating lunch with my ex and his new girl. Good for pretend me.

I couldn’t even imagine I would be anywhere near as composed if this were real but that just meant I had a strong sense of self. I knew who I was and what I was about. Still. I liked the idea of being that mature. I tried to find this hidden well of maturity while talking about Luke and Lydia’s relationship.

“Are you and Ryan going to break up?” Alicia asked Luke.

“Like hell we are, you homewrecker,” I responded automatically.

So much for that maturity.

kiss-2931833_960_720Alicia gave me a patient, amused expression. “If the latest rumor is that you two are dating,” she nodded her head at the pair across from us, “maybe you two should publicly break up first.” She pointed to me and Luke.

Okay, I was feeling a lot less cool with this suddenly. I glared at Alicia and she shrugged, not understanding. Because she wasn’t out and no one knew about her and Lydia, so she didn’t have to “break up” with anyone to make this work.

Luke smiled at me. “What do you think? I bet we could top our last fake break up.”

I felt an eyebrow raise against my will as I considered that. Our fake breakup had included a public screaming match in the hallway, accusations of betrayal and jealously, and Luke being slapped.

Maybe this new charade would make sense as everyone thought Luke and me already broke up once partly because Lydia was the other woman. Topping that would be a challenge but could be fun.

Then I remembered what I was thinking about and shook my head.

“I don’t know if that’s necessary,” I said, trying to sound rational instead of weak and scared.

“Come on, give us a show,” Alicia encouraged.

“You do have a flair for dramatics when the occasion calls for it,” Lydia said stiffly.

Had Luke not been helping her out, she probably would have found a way to say that in a less complementary manner: drama queen. I smiled sunnily at her and she scowled until Luke saw her scowling at me and elbowed her and she looked down at her food instead with a little huff.

Still. “I don’t want to break up,” I admitted quietly.

“You don’t have to,” Lydia said unsurely, “But it would help.” She glanced at Luke.

“Come on, it won’t be a big deal,” he tried.

“No,” I said firmly.

I was already loaning out my boyfriend and I felt sympathetic to their cause, but I couldn’t do more. Fine, no maturity for me, but I couldn’t go through a break up, not even a fake one.

Luke and I were actually dating now and I didn’t want a break up screwing that up even if it wasn’t real. And our fake fight had turned real last time; that could happen again. I couldn’t stand up in public and say I didn’t want to date him anymore and I didn’t want to hear that from him. It felt like tempting fate or at the very least subjecting myself to something awful.

I didn’t explain very well, but Luke seemed to get it. His foot kicked mine under the table and he had a small gentle smile on his lips when he looked at me. “Hey, it’s okay. We won’t break up.”

I was probably being silly. But then again, it was hard to feel anything other than content when Luke looked at me that way and our legs touched under the table.

After a moment Alicia sighed. “So, the basic plan is just to half ass this?”

Everyone nodded.

~

This has been More on Mondays, where I post outtakes and deleted scenes. On Mondays. Every other Monday to be exact.

Dudes Making out in a Car: A Short Story

Man, I’m so great at titles. However, it is accurate and to the point (two things I rarely am).

This is what I’m calling a quick writing exercise because that makes it sound professional and official, but really, I was going to post a song on this blog and then I decided to write a short story with it. Since I’m, you know, a writer.

The song is Little Secrets by the band Passion Pit.

And now, here’s a short story!

Panted breaths after dashing to the car were the only sound in the enclosed spaced for one blissful moment while my hands dug into his styled dark hair, relishing the chance to mess it up while his hands settled on my chest.

Lips brushed against mine, a quick kiss and then, “No, we’re not really doing this,” he whispered in the space between our mouths.

“Making out in your car?” My smirk couldn’t be seen, but he could feel it against his lips. “I hate to tell you, but it kinda seems like we are.”

He put space between us, furrowed brow and annoyed dark eyes watching me from thick framed glasses that were either the style these days or he just didn’t care if they weren’t in fashion.

“In theory, the whole throw caution to the wind thing?” he carried on. “It’s hot, having to get our hands on each other immediately–”

Since he was watching, I didn’t let myself smile, but that was so him, having to say things that didn’t need to be said.

“However, there’s a limit to the thrill,” he continued. “It’s also extremely risky—”

While I could only stand to look away from him and outside of the car for a moment, it was pretty clear what was out there. Bright sky, no raindrops on this dry day, and the car stayed where it was despite the two guys that just rushed to it, so yeah, wasn’t hard to figure out what was going on if someone saw us. However…

“Some risks are worth taking,” I responded before surging up and crashing our lips together, my hands moving to his back and drawing him nearer to me.

He made a little annoyed noise at being interrupted that quickly turned into a groan and then our tongues were dancing together. Really surprising that worked, but I wasn’t gonna say anything because I’d have to remove my mouth from his.

“Risks are best undertaken only after a thorough cost-benefit analysis,” he told me a moment later.

“Sexy—”

“Isn’t the whole point of a secret relationship that it stays secret? Hidden. Everything we’ve been doing, all the caution we expended could be set asunder in this one moment.”

I sighed, giving him an even look. This wasn’t what I wanted at all, but I managed to sound neutral when asking, “Okay, so you wanna go somewhere else?”

Expecting him to get off me and move into the driver’s seat, my hands tightened, as if to confirm he was still there, watching me with a frown.

“Huh,” he said quietly. “I guess we’ll just have to… risk it.” He didn’t want to leave this moment either.

“No cost-benefit analysis?” This time, he could see the smirk, which made it widen as I wryly commented, “I’m honored.”

He shut me up with his lips.

There were many things I thought of for this scenario. One of the guys involved could be the president’s son, one of them could be a vampire and the other a werewolf, maybe they come from rival warring families. An innocent preacher’s son and the bad boy next door. Something like that.

A quote from nothing (Also books and gay magicians)

Soon as I started writing this post, intending to share an image quote, I got sidetracked and thought of something from Arrested Development, so I will now journey down this detour and see where it goes.

First order of business is, of course, the obligatory disclaimer. I, F.N. Manning, being an Arrested Development fan of Sound(ish) Mind and Body, and having seen all the episodes and seasons while in possession of a brain, do hereby acknowledge that the new offerings aren’t as good as the old ones.

If you like AD, you will never in your life be able to have a convo about the show without talking about how the Netflix seasons aren’t as good.

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And now, a very brief version of the story of one family and their disappointing magician relative

Do I sound a little bitter? I didn’t hate the new stuff. (It wasn’t as good the original, I agree and I know, but I didn’t hate it) And without the new stuff, there would be no gay-magician Gob in all his glorious gay-magician glory.

blunderI would never want to live in a world without the beautiful trashcan fire that was Gob Bluth and Tony Wonder. Two narcissistic showmen with few redeeming qualities realize that they’re alike enough to fall in love with the only person they could ever fall in love with: themselves.

A wild and very entertaining ride to watch. Gob, a person who only knows how to make a giant spectacle of himself had very little experience with being a human being suddenly had to handle real emotions in his over-the-top, completely stupid way. Basically, he was very suited to being in peak gay disaster mode, but he also got just about as close to acceptance and honesty as a person like him is capable.

Gob and Tony also have one of the best and most accurate couple names: Blunder.

Closer to what I actually intended to talk about

The very precise and thoughtful way I come up with titles for blog posts is just by writing down whatever and then going, eh, good enough. As soon as I wrote, a quote from nothing, it made me think of the moment (in the 4th season of AD) where Tobias starts singing what sounds like a show tune.

Why is that hilarious? I have no idea. I think it’s hilarious. That’s basically the story of AD, you either love it and all of it is brilliant for reasons you aren’t really sure of (minus the new seasons) or you don’t care about it at all.

At long last

We get to my original point, which is an image quote related to Ryan and Luke from the One Little Word series, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t actually from any of the books. Unless it is. Keeping track of things is hard.

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Ryan and Luke are really good at being giant idiots together! So that’s… something.