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.

Romantic Couple’s songs and completely inexpert opinions about music

I’m not a music snob. Not that I’m entirely opposed to the idea but my conversational ability when it comes to music is “I like this’ or ‘I don’t like this.’ And keeping track of all the artists and songs is, well, I already can’t keep track of all the books and TV shows I like and want to check out, so music is something I enjoy but it’s not a passion and I’m not an expert.

Feels like I should break this post up into sections

Looking at some of the songs I’ve posted in the past, I seem like I could be a music snob. My tastes are all alternative, sometimes not even the tracks played on the radio stations. It almost seems like I know my stuff. Oh, you like Billy Eilish too? Bad Guy is so overplayed, and I liked her before she was cool! That was my hipster impression.

(Apparently I’m feeling lucky because I’m just taking it on faith that I spelled Eilish right. So if I did, go me! If I didn’t, my bad!)

In reality, I’m not sure the music snobs would accept me into their group. One, while alternative is my favorite musical genre, what the hell even is alternative? I’ve been listening it to for a very long time and I have no idea. The closest I can come up with is that it includes a lot of other things, some folk, rock, indie, punk, grunge, etc. And also its not pop. Can that be a definition, not being something? Even though some pop and alternative do crossover but that’s way over my head.

More Cowbell… or more pop music

equalizer-153212_640I actually like all kinds of music. In a verbal conversation, this is normally the point where someone is like, oh yeah, you like metal/christian/country? Dude, you don’t have to be a jerk. And the answer: No! Not as a whole, but yeah, I could find a few songs I liked of just about anything.

While alternative is generally not pop (except for when it is) I do love me some pop songs. One Direction, Britney, Ke$ha, I’m all for it. That’s what this post is about, adding some pop. Because I wrote everything that went before this paragraph without remembering that I had also posted a Taylor Swift song.

A Very Serious Musical Debate

I put all of that in title case, but I didn’t for the other headers, so please don’t notice that. Thanks, you’re the best.

Music critics Ryan Miller and Luke Chambers of the esteemed Not-Real Music Magazine discuss some pop songs in One Little Problem. They’re trying to figure out what their couple song would be. I will soon give you that scene and one of their options, Sucker by the JoBros.

One more thing though, remember when I said I could almost be a music snob? That was before I revealed my intense love for the Year 3000. That was like the first Jonas Brothers hit, and it’s really old now, and I was a little too old to like it even then, but damn, it’s a great freaking song.

Then I got distracted by Danny Trejo

Photo from WGNTV

Oh, I know one other thing about the Jonas Brothers. (Actually, I know a fair amount, because I once made the mistake of clicking on an article about Joe and Sophie Turner and now my Google feed won’t shut up about that.) Danny Trejo was in one of their music videos, Burning Up.

 

You may not know the actor’s name, but Trejo is the scary Mexican from literally everything where they’ve ever cast a scary looking Mexican for the past couple decades. While the amount of media with scary Mexican dudes isn’t great, there is so much that is great about Danny Trejo.

My favorite random fact is that Trejo would agree to be in people’s student films if he was available just because he’s an incredibly kind person. (He got into acting later in life and he’s a fellow Mexican American, that’s cool too.) And also, he was in a JoBro music video for some reason!

Ryan, Luke, and the JoBros

This is Ryan and Luke trying to figure out their song. And also a song.

Ryan

The fading sun cast Luke’s tan features and sandy blonde hair in a soft glow and if I listened very closely, I might be able to hear angels singing because even they marveled at his beautiful muscles and green eyes.

Luke cut into my thoughts, saying in a firm voice, “No Jonas brothers. I have to take a stand somewhere.” He made a fist with one hand, punching it against the steering wheel to show the force of his metaphorical stand.

“The JoBros are the hill you want to die on?” It was in my nature to question things, but I could maybe respect that. Nick was pretty hot; the Jonas Brothers weren’t a terrible way to go.

Luke paused for just a second, aha! Then he doubled down. “It’s an important hill.”

“Whatever, I know you have Year 3000 on your iPod.” I turned towards my window to avoid showing my smile. Wait for it…

“Dammit,” he cursed under his breath. “Did Lily tell you?” She didn’t; his little sister wasn’t a terrible secret keeper.

I grinned triumphantly. “No, you just did.”

The car slowed as he took the turn to his house. “Isn’t that song  you mentioned before kinda suggestive for us?” he questioned. He just got a haircut, so his dirty blonde hair was cut relatively close to his head. My fingers itched to familiarize themselves with the new length of his locks.

“And that’s a point against it?” I was all for suggestions, as long as those suggestions were about and/or coming from sexy guys.

“No,” he admitted. “But come on, we’re gonna tell people that’s our song? Sucker?”

Luke knew what it was called! He totally dug the JoBros. Wait, did he think Nick was more attractive than me? Wait again…

“Okay,” I said. He had a good point. I tried to relax into my seat.

I wasn’t driving, so I had a good view of the slight pout forming on his face. “That’s all? I thought it was good innuendo.” It went something like, I’m a sucker for you, which yeah, could be taken so differently.

“It is,” I agreed. That was why I hadn’t been able to say anything else. Startling the driver by screaming or tackling him with my body wasn’t a great idea. “I’m so proud of you.” This is why his nickname was Genius. There was no one else I’d rather spend my Friday night with.

~

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.

Boyfriends, bowling, and bloodlust

Having a character like Ryan Miller who doesn’t always play by the rules of the world when he can make stuff up instead is fun because it gives me a chance to take something normal like bowling and then make it much weirder.

In this case, that means Ryan thinks bowling should be like a monarchy with guards and rulers and prizes. Well, the prizes are just cause prizes are awesome. Duh.

Despite having no experience ever bowling and only respecting the sport because it includes outfit changes (the shoes), Ryan is determined to kick ass when on a double date with his boo Luke and his friends Alicia and Lydia.

The following is a scene from the bowling date in One New Start and some art. Ryan and Luke are on one team with the girls on the other, and Ryan and Luke really enjoy winning, each other, winning again, and each other again.

~

bowlingsep

Ryan

Bowling. Was. AWESOME.

Winning helped. Winning was the best. The girls were trailing in our metaphorical dust. Luke and I were totally gracious winners.

Just kidding, we were so stupidly obnoxious, the worst winners ever. Hey, we won at being bad winners too! Alicia and Lydia got more and more annoyed while losing harder and harder.

One magical time, I almost got a strike!

A lot of times, I got less than almost a strike.

“Okay, you’re up,” Luke told me, handing me my ball.

I started with the pink one for little girls because it looked like fun, but I was using a regular black ball now because I was a man, grrr, and I wanted to win dammit.

“Eyes on the prize,” my boyfriend instructed.

“There are prizes?” Bowling just got even better.

“I’ll get you a prize afterward,” Luke promised. Yay! “Focus,” he ordered a moment later, knowing prizes were dancing around behind my eyes. His eyes blazed with fierceness. He was a commander, readying his troops for war.

I raised the fist not holding the ball in the air, looked towards the pins, and gave my best war cry. “Wooo!” I ignored how girly that war cry was.

Luke nodded, smacked me on the ass, and sent me off to war. Bowling.

I marched up, squared my shoulders, let the ball fly and—

I knocked them all down.

I hit all the pins! On the first try! I did the thing! Strike! I punched my fist out in front of me, like I was going to strike. No, that was what it was called. That was the first strike I had ever bowled because this was the first time I had ever bowled.

I stood there looking at the pins, wondering if they were going to pop up and say just kidding.

Luke Chambers screamed in the background. Hollering for me. Excited for me. “YAY, RYAN, YOU DID IT!”

I turned around in a daze and there he was, jumping out of his seat. Face alight with excitement and caught up in the moment. He was beautiful. Always was, but now he was beautiful for me, because I did the thing.

“MY BOYFRIEND GOT A STRIKE!” He hollered and Lydia snickered. “CRAP,” he yelled a moment later. “SHOULD I HAVE YELLED THAT?” Did he know he was still yelling? “OH WELL, WOOHOOO. GO RYAN!”

I went. Flinging myself into Luke and he was there and ready to catch me and we jumped up and down together, celebrating like lunatics, big grins on both our faces.

Bowling date! The rest is available in One New Start.

You’ve already posted this quote before, I’ve told myself multiple times. Are you sure, I ask me next. Pretty sure, I reply. I should check just in case, I decide and then I agree with me. And then my dog tells me to pay attention to her or I see something outside or whatnot and I get distracted. Until today, when I finally see that, no, I have not yet posted this quote.

The quote is from Summer Romance, and it’s available on Amazon.

fnmanningsr

Diabolic Shrimp… just go with it

What do gay young adult books and seafood have in common? I have no idea! However, a blog quirky enough to be about YA lit and sending shrimp to space resonates with me on a spiritual level. Diabolic Shrimp has tons of book reviews for indie books across all genres and the website also raises money for different charities.

Joshua Grant is a YA author and book blogger like me, so we have that in common even though I don’t eat shrimp and all I know about space is that my nephew doesn’t like it anymore, he’s all about Godzilla now. Anyway, my books and this author’s aren’t exactly in the same sphere, but I have never stayed on topic once in my life and I don’t intend to now, mostly because I couldn’t even if I tried.

I’m a pretty small-time blogger, so it was cool when he emailed me about being featured on my site because it’s like I have arrived. I don’t know where I arrived, but wherever it is, that’s where I am now. When I stop making sense, it’s time to move on to the next thing.

One thing Joshua Grant is better at than me is reviewing books, so while his is on my list to read, I haven’t yet. His works have more of a sci-fi/dystopian vibe. I really like sci-fi, but I don’t think a lot of my interests at the moment are reflective of that, so I’m just going to say the first related words that pop into my head. Doctor Who, robots, Dungeons and Dragons, oh hey, I love Stranger Things! Does that count? I’m saying that counts.

Here’s a summary for one of his books, Nexus.

nexus

When the Hollow Men came, humanity fell. Forced to scrape out an existence from the rubble with the rest of the survivors, Jonah Byerly struggles to get by. Hunted by dark murderous things, he yearns for something more—a hope from civilization long past, for love and acceptance. But Jonah isn’t like the others as much as he would like to be. He harbors a secret, a shadow in his soul that could revive humanity…or see it drown in the endless hunger of the Hollow Men.

Beach Bum

pexels-photo-457882

I live by the beach. I go to the beach occasionally, but I picture lounging in the sun and reading a good book and I can’t actually do that at the beach. I have a dog and I love my dog and my dog loves going with humans wherever they go and especially to the beach.

Or more specifically, my dog loves walking, finding food people have left behind on the sand, and jumping on people. She doesn’t understand relaxing on a beach towel. I could try anyway but she would whine the entire time. I had to put her in her kennel a few times when older relatives were around and she’s a dachshund so she’s stubborn as hell and she made noise the whole time.

Basically, I can’t leave her behind. I could but that would be really mean and she would know and give me sad eyes when I came back.

My aim is to write three books for summer, which seems like a pretty achievable goal when I’ve already written two. I haven’t solely been rambling on about the beach because the second of my summer novels is called Beach Bum.

Beach Bum

5122gc0gwllCharlie Powell doesn’t date.

Until he meets Bryce Davenport.

Bryce Davenport writes appointments in a day planner, pays attention in class, and tries his best at anything he does. And his name is Bryce Davenport, which is pretty pretentious.

Charlie should find him repulsive, but Bryce is sweet and bossy and a million things that make Charlie’s heart beat a little faster and his palms sweat.

The problem?

Bryce has goals and ambitions. Charlie spends his days lounging at the beach. Bryce plays sports and loves staying busy. Smoking marijuana probably isn’t a sport, but Charlie would excel at it if it was.

Can the beach bum find his happily ever after with the perfect guy or will it all go up in smoke?

~~~

This is a coming of age story that features romance, humor, and growing up. It’s also super gay.

Get the book here!

Loving Lakyn Review

Loving Lakyn

Plot: Lakyn doesn’t want to live anymore, but he grudgingly attempts to make things better after a suicide attempt. His life might be improving: he’s with family who loves him, he finds a therapist he can tolerate and then there’s a boy. Scott’s a lot more enthusiastic and optimistic, but he also has his share of problems. They might be able to get through life together if their combined demons don’t drag them down first.

My Thoughts: I’ve been around for… an amount of years I don’t entirely admit to, but it’s been at least 20. And somewhere in those years, I’ve had my fill of dramatic gay tragedies. I tend to like things happy and lighter when I want entertainment. Some angst is okay, as long as there’s also some comedy.

Loving Lakyn has a lot of heavy elements, but there was enough sweetness and jokes that the darker elements weren’t too much for me. It’s a little bleak but also hopeful, which is a vibe I actually really dig.

It was an interesting read that doesn’t sugar coat things but isn’t completely a downer either. I liked the mix of romance with personal growth story lines and there was plenty of both.

Best Part: The chapter titles were great, though Scott and Lakyn’s relationship was also a highlight. Scott seems happy and well adjusted and Lakyn seems dark and sarcastic, but they’re both drawn to each other anyway and make a compelling pair.

Summer Romance

While I’ve watched Death in Paradise at different points in the year, it’s particularly fitting in the summer. Not the death part, but the paradise part. It’s all sunny and there’s palm trees and a lot of it takes place on or near the water. I really don’t know why I started watching a British procedural detective show but it’s on Netflix and I like trying to figure out who did it, which is what I’m doing right now, so I’ll just get to what I wanted to say.

My new book is particularly fitting in the summer but hopefully it can be read anytime. I don’t know if I announced that I have a new book out. So here I am… announcing that I have a book out. It’s called Summer Romance and it’s about… yes, romance in the summer.

summeromancewithsubtitle.jpeg

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.